May 27, 1865 - Testimony of Jeremiah Dyer
JEREMIAH DYER, a witness called for the accused, Samuel A. Mudd, being duly sworn, testified as follows:
By MR. EWING:
Q. Where do you live?
A. I live in Baltimore at this time.
Q. Where did you reside last before you went to Baltimore?
A. In Charles County, Md., the Fourth Election District.
Q. Do you know the prisoner at the bar, Samuel A. Mudd?
A. I do.
Q. State how far you lived from his house.
A. The riding way, about half a mile; but, around the main road, I suppose it was about four miles.
Q. When did you leave your residence in Charles County?
A. I entered into business in Baltimore this May two years ago.
Q. How long had you lived at your place in Charles County before going to Baltimore?
A. I was raised there. I was born about a mile and a half from there, and I went to that house when I was a child.
Q. State whether you know Sylvester Eglen, who has been a witness for the prosecution.
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is he a servant of the father of the accused?
A. Yes, sir; Mr. Mudd’s carriage-driver.
Q. Do you know Sylvester’s brother Frank?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know Dick Gardiner and Lou Gardiner?
A. I know Dick; but I do not know any one by the name of Lou Gardiner. There were several by the name of Dick: I do not know what Dick you are alluding to.
Q. Dick, the servant of Dr. Mudd.
A. I think he called himself Dick Washington. I knew him very well: he was raised on the place where I was. Luke Washington, of the same family, was a boy that belonged to me.
Q. State whether in August, 1863, at the house of the accused, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, under an oak-tree, when you were in conversation with Walter Bowie and the accused, the accused said that he would send Sylvester Eglen and his brother Frank, and any others of his servants, to Richmond.
A. I never had such a conversation with him. I never heard a conversation with him by Dr. Mudd on that subject in my life. In August, 1863, I was not in the county. I went to Baltimore from the county on the 1st day of August, and remained there until about October. I then heard some of my hands had left the farm, and I went down to secure my crop. Several had left, leaving me short of hands; and I had to hire hands to get in the rest of my crop.
Q. The time you heard of the hands going away was the time when a large party of them left that neighborhood, was it not?
A. Yes, sir: some thirty or forty left.
Q. You never after that, or at any time, heard Dr. Mudd speak of sending those servants to Richmond?
A. No, sir.
Q. Did you ever hear him speak of sending any of his servants to Richmond?
A. Never. I heard, when I got down in the country, that there had been such a report started there by a man named Turner, stating he was going to catch all the negroes in the neighborhood, and send them away. So far as my entertaining such an opinion is concerned, or Dr. Mudd’s saying such a thing, I never heard it.
Q. Did you ever meet Dr. Mudd in company with Walter Bowie?
A. Not that I am aware of.
Q. Can you say that you never met Dr. Mudd in company with Walter Bowie at the house of Dr. Mudd’s father?
A. I do not think I ever did: I am satisfied that I never did. I recollect that about two years ago—I think in the fall of 1862 or spring of 1863—I was standing in Mr. Mudd’s yard, and some one rode in the lot. I was talking then with Dr. Mudd, the old man, in front of his porch; and he turned to me, and said, “I wonder who is coming in.” I turned, and said, “I believe it is Wat Bowie.” Then he said, “I wonder what that fellow wants here;” turned his back, and went into the house. Bowie came in a side gate, got some whiskey, I believe, and had a conversation with some gentlemen a little while, and then went away. I do not know whether Dr. Mudd was there or not; but my impression is that he was not.
Q. Did you know Andrew Gwynn?
A. Very well.
Q. Do you know where he has been since 1861?
A. He has been in the rebel army.
Q. Have you ever seen him since 1861?
A. I have not.
Q. Did you meet him and Surratt and Dr. Blanford at the house of Dr. Mudd’s father?
A. Never. I never saw Surratt there. I have seen him; but never at Mr. Mudd’s place, or anywhere in the neighborhood. The only time I ever saw him in that vicinity was when I met him coming from Bryantown: he was going towards home, and I rode up the road with him.
Q. When was that?
A. Some two or three years ago.
Q. Do you whether or not any of Surratt’s family were at Bryantown then?
A. He had a sister at school there.
Q. Did you last year see Surratt drive up to the house of Dr. Mudd’s father, and take his horse out of a buggy?
A. I did not.
Q. Are you acquainted with Milo Simms, who has been a witness in this case?
A. Yes: I know Milo, the boy that used to live at Dr. Mudd’s.
Q. Rachel Spencer?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Melvina Washington?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Elzel Eglen?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Mary Simms?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. State whether any or all of them were servants at Dr. Mudd’s house in 1861.
A. I think they were. I do not know positively; but, to the best of my recollection, all of them were. I know I bought the woman Melvina for Dr. Mudd in 1859, 1860, or 1861, or about that time,—just before the war.
Q. Were you at Dr. Mudd’s house, or in the neighborhood, with Ben Gwynn, in the summer or fall of 1861?
A. I was, in September, 1861,—about the first of September.
Q. How long were you about the house then?
A. We were in that neighborhood about a week, I believe.
Q. What were you doing?
A. We were knocking about in the pines, and around there. It was about the time Colonel Dwight’s regiment was passing through; and there was a perfect panic in the neighborhood: the report was, that everybody was to be arrested. They were arresting a great many. Mr. Gwynn and his brother came down in a fright, stating that they had been to the house to arrest them, or had been informed they were on the way there. I also received notice that I was to be arrested. The two Gwynns came down then, and I met them there at Dr. Mudd’s or my house, I do not know which: the farms are adjoining. For several nights, we slept in the pines between his house and mine. That situation was a little inconvenient; and we moved over, and lay, I think, one or two nights near his spring. We had some bed-clothing there.
Q. Where did you get the bed-clothing from?
A. Dr. Mudd’s house and mine: I think, most of it from Dr. Mudd’s.
Q. Where did you get your meals?
A. Dr. Mudd brought them to us when we were near his house. There is a large swamp between his house and mine. The first night, we were on the other side of the swamp. After that, we came over nearer his house, within a hundred and fifty or two hundred yards of his house; and he brought down our meals to us. I think the girl Mary brought down a pot of coffee in the morning.
Q. What is her name?
A. Mary Eglen, I think; the girl that used to be about the house there. The doctor used to bring down a basket with some meat and bread, biscuit, ham, &c.; and she brought a pot of coffee.
Q. Was she a colored girl?
A. Yes, sir; Mary Eglen, or Mary Simms,—the only servant he had by the name of Mary.
Q. Who took care of the horses of the party?
A. I think Mr. Gwynn’s horses were left at Dr. Mudd’s stable.
Q. Who took care of them there?
A. I supposed they were fed by the boys there.
Q. What boys?
A. The boy Milo, who was generally about the house and stable, and who used to bring the doctor’s horses out, and put them back: sometimes the other boy—the yellow boy—would do it.
Q. State how the party was dressed.
A. They had on citizens’ clothes.
Q. Who comprised the party?
A. Ben. Gwynn, Andrew Gwynn, and myself.
Q. Can you recollect whether the apples and pears were ripe about that time?
A. It was about that season. September is our fruit season in that part of the country.
Q. Do you know whether any watch was kept at that time at Dr. Mudd’s house?
A. I recollect my telling the children there to keep a lookout, and, if any one came, to let me know.
Q. Do you know whether Albion Brooke was about the house of Dr. Mudd during that time?
A. I think not. I believe he was over at my place. He may have gone across to Dr. Mudd’s: he very often went across there. I know he came to where we were.
Q. Did you see any thing of William Mudd, Vincent Mudd, and Albert Mudd, or either of them, about that time?
A. I do not recollect. Very likely we did. They were very close by. I think Mr. William Mudd came to Dr. Mudd’s house while we were there. I have no distinct knowledge of it; but my recollection is that he came there.
Q. You lived in that neighborhood down to what date?
A. I lived there until May, 1863. I left in May, and was backwards and forwards between that and Baltimore up to the first of August; sometimes I would go to Baltimore, and stay a few days, and then come back to the farm. On the first of August, when the working season was pretty well over, I went to Baltimore, and remained until October, until after I heard that some of the hands had left. When I got to Baltimore, the first of August, I think, my father had left; and we did very little business until he returned, which was the first of September.
Q. Do you know whether there was any warrant for your arrest, or any charges against you?
A. I do not. There was a general stampede, or a panic, in the whole community; and a good many left their homes, and went to friends’ houses from place to place,—the whole community, pretty much.
Q. Are you acquainted with Daniel J. Thomas, who was one of the witnesses for the prosecution in this case?
A. I have known him since he was a boy: I have not seen much of him during the last two or three years.
Q. Are you acquainted with the reputation in which he is held in the community where he lives for veracity?
A. I know only from public rumor and general neighborhood talk; and I think I can safely say it is very bad. I think there are very few men there who have any confidence in Mr. Thomas. That is the only sentiment I have ever heard spoken of him for several years back.
Q. From your knowledge of his reputation for veracity, would you believe him under oath?
A. I should not. I could not.
Q. Are you well acquainted with Dr. Samuel A. Mudd?
A. Very well. I have known him since a boy.
Q. What is his general reputation for peace, order, and good citizenship?
A. I have never heard the slightest thing against him. He has always been regarded as a good citizen, I believe.
Q. What is his reputation as a man of peace?
A. I have never known him to have any difficulty with any one. I have always regarded him as a peaceful, quiet citizen.
Q. What is his reputation as a master over his servants?
A. I have always considered him as a very kind and humane master. I have never known any thing to the contrary, with the exception of a difficulty with one man. That is the only act I ever knew him to be guilty of that questioned his reputation at all as a kind master.
Q. What was that?
A. Shooting that boy; which he told me of, himself, the same day or the day after it happened.
Q. Under what circumstances was that done?
A. I know nothing of it, except what he told me.
Cross-examined by the JUDGE ADVOCATE:
Q. You say you would not believe Mr. Thomas under oath: have you ever heard him charged with having sworn falsely in any case?
A. I do not know that I have.
Q. He is rather a talking and noisy man in the neighborhood, is he not?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. He talks a great deal about the Union, and a great deal against the Rebellion?
A. I have not heard Mr. Thomas a great deal myself. I have seen very little of him the last two or three years.
Q. He has the reputation of being intensely loyal to the Government?
A. I think so. I think he is a loyal man. I never heard that questioned.
Q. Have you yourself been loyal to the Government of the United States during the Rebellion?
A. I do not know that I have been guilty of any disloyal act.
Q. I do not speak of acts: I speak of your sentiments. Have you, during this Rebellion, desired that the Government should succeed in suppressing it?
A. I never wanted to see two governments here.
Q. You can answer my question: it is a very direct and simple one.
A. Repeat the question.
Q. The question is, whether, during this Rebellion, you have constantly desired that the Government should succeed in suppressing it?
A. I can only answer that by saying that I never wanted to see this Government broken up. I would rather see one government here.
Q. That is not a direct answer to my question. Will you answer that yes or no?
A. I hardly understand your question.
Q. My question is, whether, during this Rebellion, you have constantly desired that the Government of the United States should succeed in its endeavors to suppress it.
A. I think I have.
Q. You say you have committed no overt acts of disloyalty?
A. Not that I am aware of.
Q. Have you ever spoken kindly of the Government or encouragingly in reference to it among your neighbors and friends?
A. I certainly have; and I have persuaded young men from going on the other side.
Q. Were you or not a member of the local military organizations spoken of by one of the witnesses, the object of which was to stand by the State of Maryland in the event that it should take ground against the Government of the United States?
A. I belonged to a military company.
Q. I believe you stated that you were at Dr. Mudd’s in 1861 with the other persons mentioned?
A. I was.
Q. Did you not suppose that the organization of which you were a member was at that time regarded as disloyal by the Government, and hence feared an arrest?
A. I hardly know how to answer that question. That was in the incipiency of the thing; and it was hardly time for men to reflect, and give their minds room to see what would be the result of rebellion and civil war. It was in the start, when every thing was wild excitement and enthusiasm; and, of course, I can hardly answer that question.
Q. Have you any knowledge of the existence of a treasonable political association in this country known as “Knights of the Golden Circle,” or “Sons of Liberty”?
A. I have not: I know nothing of them except what I have seen and read in the newspapers.
Q. At the time of which you speak, the fall of 1861, was the subject of the Legislature of Maryland passing an ordinance of secession much discussed among you?
A. It was not, to my knowledge.
Q. Was no such event contemplated or desired?
A. I do not know: I probably heard the subject spoken of very often, but I do not know that it was much discussed to any extent. I may have heard it spoken of.
Q. Was it not the subject of conversation between yourself and anybody?
A. Not that I am aware of. I may have heard it in crowds or congregations; but, so far as conversing with any particular person on that subject is concerned, I have no knowledge of it.
Q. Have you been a member of any secret political association during the Rebellion?
A. I am not, and never have been, a member of any secret society whatever.
Q. I understand you to say, then, that although you would not believe Mr. Thomas under oath yourself—
A. I only speak from his general reputation in the neighborhood; from the way I have heard him spoken of, not from personal knowledge of him.
Q. You have never heard him charged with speaking falsely under oath, and you say he has the reputation of being intensely loyal?
A. I think so: I do not know any thing to the contrary.
Q. Can you name any of the persons who have been most decided in expressing this estimate of his character?
A. I might take almost any one in that whole country.
Q. Can you not give me the name of some one?
A. You may take anyone in the neighborhood in which he lives.
Q. Have you ever heard a man of known loyalty, an outspoken and ardent supporter of the Government, speak of Mr. Thomas as a man not be believed under oath? If you have, I would thank you to name that person.
A. I do not know that I have. By the COURT:
Q. Did you not rejoice at the success of the rebels at the first battle of Bull Run?
A. I do not know that I did particularly.
Q. Do you not know that you did?
A. I do not know that I did: I might have been like a good many others.
Q. On which side were your sympathies at that time?
A. I suppose they were with them.
Q. With whom?
A. With the rebels at that time, I judge: I do not know now exactly.
Q. When Richmond was taken, on which side were your sympathies?
A. With the Government, unless I am mistaken.
Q. What Government?
A. The United-States Government. I wanted to see Richmond taken, and I wanted to see the war stopped.
Q. At what time did your sympathies undergo a change? and what produced that change?
A. I cannot say.
Q. Can you not give a cause for the change?
A. I do not know that I can. I believed this Government was pursuing the right policy. All I objected to was the emancipation of slaves. I thought that was a wrong policy of the Government. I never questioned its right to pursue any other policy.
By ASSISTANT JUDGE ADVOCATE BURNETT:
Q. What did you have to say about the draft?
A. I joined clubs in regard to the draft.
Q. To save yourself from being drafted?
Q. What did you say about the Government enforcing the draft?
A. Not a word.
A. Not that I am aware of. I did not object to it in the least.
By MR. EWING:
Q. Do you speak of Thomas’s reputation for veracity as you learned it from the common understanding in the neighborhood in which he lived during the war, or before the war?
A. I speak of him from his reputation for several years back.
Q. How many years?
A. Five or six years back, or probably more. That is what I have heard of Mr. Thomas. I have not seen a great deal of Mr. Thomas for two or three years.
Q. What you have heard then, of Mr. Thomas, on which you base your estimate of his reputation for veracity, was chiefly what you heard before the war?
A. I do not know. I know that Mr. Thomas has not borne a very good reputation for veracity in the neighborhood since he was a boy. I have heard him spoken of in that light as being one who would tattle a great deal, and tell stories, and say a great many things that were not so. That has been his general reputation, so far as I have heard it.
Q. Under whose orders or authority was the company to which you attached yourself in 1861 organized?
A. By the governor.
Q. What governor?
A. Governor Hicks. We were commissioned by Governor Hicks.
Q. What was the purpose of the company?
A. I do not really know what the organization was particularly for.
Q. When was it organized?
A. In 1859, I think. We drilled here on the 22d of February, 1860, at the inauguration of the statue. We were up here then.
Q. Your company was in the city of Washington on the 22d of February, 1860, when the statue was raised?
A. It was.
By the COURT:
Q. Were there any truly loyal men in those companies?
A. Our company broke up immediately on the breaking-out of the war, and a good many of them left.
Q. Where did they go to when they left?
A. Some of them went to Virginia, and joined the rebel army.
By ASSISTANT JUDGE ADVOCATE BURNETT:
Q. Were those who did not go made to take the oath of allegiance?
A. Most of them took the oath of allegiance.
Q. Were they not treated and held by the Government authorities as disloyal organizations?
A. I think they were so regarded after the breaking-out of the war.
By MR. EWING:
Q. Were they held as disloyal organizations in 1859?
A. I think not. The companies immediately broke up when the war occurred. We never drilled after the breaking-out of the war.
By the COURT:
Q. Has this Daniel Thomas ever been in the House of Delegates of Maryland, or a candidate for seat in that body?
A. He was a candidate for the Legislature, I think, a year or two ago.
Q. Is that the time you speak of his reputation being bad?
A. Not at all.
Q. Did the time you speak of cover that time?
A. It was previous to that time. I never heard him spoken of in any other light,—hardly ever since I have known him.
By MR. EWING:
Q. Was he nominated by any convention?
A. I do not think he was. I merely saw his name in the newspaper. I saw him on the day of election, at the polls. He was very confident of his election.