May 26 - Testimony of Jeremiah T. Mudd about Dr. Samuel Mudd
JEREMIAH T. MUDD, a witness called for the accused, Samuel A. Mudd, being duly sworn, testified as follows:
By MR. EWING:
Q. State whether you are acquainted with the prisoner, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd.
A. I am.
Q. State where you reside.
A. I reside in the Fourth Election District of Charles County, Md.
Q. How far from Dr. Samuel A. Mudd’s?
A. A mile and half, or two miles.
Q. State whether you came with him to Washington last winter.
A. I did.
Q. At what time?
A. I rode in on the 22d of December. Why I recollect it so distinctly is, that I am satisfied of the fact that we got home on Christmas eve, which was the 24th. On the 22d of December, I rode to one of my neighbors, who was in the huckstering business, and frequently in Washington himself. I wanted to sell him some poultry, and get him to do some purchasing of some little articles of clothing for me in Washington, as he was going up. This man’s name is Montgomery: he is in partnership with a man named Lucas. Lucas drives the wagon, and Montgomery occasionally comes up. I rode to Dr. Sam Mudd’s to see if he was going up; and concluded, if he was going, I would go also. We came up to Washington together on the morning of the 23d of December. We got to Washington. We put our horses away, near the Navy Yard; walked up to the avenue. It was a little in the night; the lamps were lit on the street; I do not know particularly the hour. We went to the Pennsylvania House, and registered our names, I think, for lodgings. However, we concluded, as we had not been to dinner, we would want something better than an ordinary supper; and we concluded to go to a restaurant, and order what we wanted. We went to a place on the avenue, that was known, when I lived here some years ago, as Walker’s Restaurant. I think now it has changed; and the name, perhaps, is Dubant’s. We ordered supper there, and remained there possibly an hour. After we left that place, we walked into Brown’s Hotel merely to see if we could recognize anybody from the country. Walked about there some time; sat there a while; staid a quarter of an hour. We then went to the National Hotel. There was a tremendous crowd there, and we got separated. I recognized an acquaintance there, who came up and spoke to me; and, as well as I recollect, Dr. Mudd came to me during that conversation. We separated at the National Hotel. I missed him in the crowd. After I got through with my conversation with the gentlemen who recognized me there, I walked down the avenue, and went into several clothing-stores for the purpose of looking at some clothing which I intended to purchase the next morning. After a while, I walked around to the Pennsylvania House; and, very soon after I got there, Dr. Mudd came in, and we went to bed very shortly afterwards. Next morning, after breakfast, we went in company together to a man on the avenue, I think by the name of McGregor, a stove-dealer, and purchased a cooking-stove. I felt interested in it, because I thought I should want one myself; and therefore I went with him. We went through the market-house once or twice during the morning. I had some clothing to buy, and he had some other little purchases to make, and we separated; but I saw him repeatedly after, every five or ten minutes, until about one o’clock. I would either meet him, or go with him in person, every few minutes until that time. We then left the avenue, and went down to the Navy Yard, where we had put our horses up; and finally, about three o’clock, we went home. We came together, and we went back together.
Q. Did you sleep in the same room at the Pennsylvania House?
A. Yes, sir; in the same bed.
Q. You said that you parted with Dr. Mudd at the National: where were you in the Pennsylvania House when you saw him again?
A. In the Pennsylvania House, there are two rooms: one room the office is in, and the register is kept there, and something of a bar, perhaps. The rooms are about equal in size. I was sitting by the fireplace, very near to the office or counter where the register is on. The first I saw of Dr. Mudd, he came through the folding-doors that let one room into the other. I was in conversation, and he walked into that room. I was sitting by the fire in conversation. He came through those folding-doors, out of the first room you enter, into the second room. That was the first I saw of him there.
Q. Was there any one with him when he came through?
A. I am certain there was not when he came into the second door. I have no knowledge of there being anybody with him. I saw no one. There may have been persons: I think it likely there were two or three persons sitting in the other room around the table; but, when he walked in there, I saw no one with him.
Q. You say you were not separated from him the next morning for over five or ten minutes at a time?
A. I think not. Our business after the purchase of this stove was that we had some little things to purchase, and we separated; but I saw him frequently, sometimes opposite on the street. Once, I think, he came from the Bank of Washington: he had a little business in the bank. I was not in his company all the time, but still saw him every ten or fifteen minutes. I met him afterwards, and we walked together through the market-house two or three times.
Q. Do you know who took the articles which he bought down to his home?
ASSISTANT JUDGE ADVOCATE BINGHAM.
I object to an inquiry about the articles he bought, or who took them. It is of no consequence.
May it please the Court, it is of a very great deal of consequence. The prosecution has attempted to prove by one witness a meeting between Booth and Dr. Mudd, and an introduction of Booth to Surratt by Dr. Mudd here in Washington. We expect to be able to show to the Court conclusively, that, if there was any such meeting, it must have been at this visit to the city of Dr. Mudd, as to which we are now inquiring. In that view, it is of very great consequence to the accused to be able to show that he came here on business unconnected with Booth, for the purpose of rebutting the presumption or inference unfavorable to him which might be drawn from the fact of his having met Booth here. That alleged meeting with Booth has been put in evidence as part of the res gestæ of the conspiracy: on any other ground, it would be irrelevant and inadmissible. We have a right to show that Dr. Mudd came to the city at that time for other purposes; we have a right to show the acts that he did, in order to establish that his visit was a legitimate business visit to Washington. Therefore it is that we ask who took the things down; and we expect to show that he arranged, before starting from home, to have the things which he was coming here to purchase hauled down, and that, therefore, he came here on legitimate business.
ASSISTANT JUDGE ADVOCATE BINGHAM.
If the gentleman had shown that this man was with Booth on that day, I could see something in his argument; but, as it is, it does not amount to any thing.
But I assure you we expect to follow this up by testimony which will conclusively establish that he could not have been with Booth upon any other day between that day and the assassination of the President.
ASSISTANT JUDGE ADVOCATE BINGHAM.
They undertake to prove by this witness that he could not have been with Booth then: this five-minute operation is introduced for that purpose, as I understand. But now, in order to make out something, for some purpose I cannot comprehend, they propose to prove that this man bought crockery or something that day in town, and got somebody to haul it home. That has nothing in the world to do with this case. The amount of it all is, that we have introduced testimony here to prove this man’s association with Booth in Washington in another month at the National Hotel. If they can disprove that, well and good; but it does not tend to disprove it, and does not tend to throw any light on the subject, to show, that, in December (another time altogether than that stated by our witness for the meeting of Booth and Mudd, which the Court will remember was in January, and about the middle of the month), Mudd bought certain things, and hired somebody to take them home. All that has nothing to do with the case.
The COMMISSION overruled the objection.
The question was repeated to the witness, and he answered as follows:—
A. I took a portion of them myself,—a small bundle in a buggy that he purchased while I was here. The stove was to have been taken down by Mr. Lucas, who was then in market with his wagon. I went with Dr. Mudd twice to see Lucas. Lucas’s taking the stove down depended on whether he could sell all his load of poultry or not: it was a dull market. We went the second time, if not the third time, to see whether he had sold out: if he sold out his poultry, he could take down the stove; if not, he would not be able to take it that trip. That is about as much as came to my knowledge relative to the taking down of the stove.
By MR. EWING:
Q. Are you well acquainted with Dr. Samuel A. Mudd?
A. I am: I have known him from early youth.
Q. Do you know his general character, in the neighborhood in which he resides, for peace, order, good citizenship?
A. Exemplary, I think. I never heard in all my life any thing to the contrary. He has always been amiable and estimable, a good citizen, a good neighbor, honest, correct. I never heard any thing to the contrary.
Q. Do you know his character in the neighborhood as a master, in the treatment of his servants?
A. I think I do.
Q. State it to the Court.
A. I have lived very close by him all my lifetime. I think him humane, kind, to his servants. I have always regarded him, and he is regarded universally, I think, as kind and humane to his servants. He did not work them very hard, either; at least, they did not do a great deal of work.
Q. Do you know of Booth having been in that country?
A. I do: I have seen him myself.
Q. When and where?
A. I saw him at church; that is to say, I saw a stranger there whom I did not know. I asked who he was; and I was told his name was Booth, a great tragedian. From the description of him since, and from his photograph, I am satisfied it was the same man.
Q. When was that?
A. It was in the latter part of November or early December last, I think. I know the weather was pretty chilly,—enough for a light overcoat to be worn. I think it was in the middle or latter part of November.
Q. Do you know on what business Booth was in the country?
A. Only from common talk,—what I heard others say.
Q. What was the common talk?
ASSISTANT JUDGE ADVOCATE BINGHAM.
The witness need not state what the common talk was. It is not competent evidence to undertake to prove common talk about a party not on trial here.
May it please the Court, I know it is the object of the Government to give the accused here liberal opportunities of presenting their defence. I am sure the Judge Advocate does not intend, by drawing the reins of the rules of evidence tight, to shut out testimony which might fairly go to relieve the accused of the accusations made against them. I think it is better not only for them, but for the Government, whose majesty has been violated, and whose law you about to enforce, that there should be liberality in allowing these parties to present whatever defence they may offer. We wish to show that Booth was in that country ostensibly, according to the common understanding of the neighborhood, for the purpose of selecting and investing in lands. We introduce this as explanatory of his meeting with Dr. Mudd, whose family, as we expect to show, were large landholders, and anxious to dispose of their lands; and I trust to the liberality of the Court to allow us to prove it.
The JUDGE ADVOCATE.
I wish certainly the utmost liberality in the introduction of the testimony of the defence here, and I hope the Court will maintain it. If I at any time fall short myself of maintaining that spirit, I trust the Court will do it. I think, however, in this case, there is no principle of evidence that will admit the mere talk of a neighborhood. Any fact which any witness knows tending to show for what purpose Booth was there, no matter what that fact may be, is admissible; but a mere idle rumor of which you cannot take hold, on which you cannot cross-question, in regard to which you cannot speak, it seems to me on no principle by which the ascertainment of truth is sought can be received. I wish to state most distinctly to the Court, that I desire the utmost latitude of inquiry indulged in; and that every thing shall be introduced which tends in any manner to illustrate the defence which is made for these prisoners. I wish no technical objection, and shall never make one; and, if made, I trust it will never be sustained by this Court.
The COMMISSION sustained the objection.
Cross-examined by the JUDGE ADVOCATE:
Q. You speak of the general reputation of the prisoner, Dr. Mudd. Do you know his reputation for loyalty to the Government of the United States during this war?
A. I really do not know. I have heard him say myself that he did not desire to see two governments here. So far as my own knowledge goes, I have never heard of any disloyal act of his in my life,—never known of any.
Q. Never heard any disloyal statements expressed by him?
A. No, sir; not that I am aware of. I have heard him express sentiments opposed to the policy of the Administration.
Q. Do you, or not, know that he has been throughout opposed to the action of the Government of the United States in its endeavors to suppress this Rebellion; has been open and undisguised in his opposition to it?
A. I do not know it. For the last two or three years, our people indeed, myself particularly, have had no disposition to talk about the Rebellion or about the war. Going on a long time, I very seldom ever talked about it with anybody. Very frequently, I would not send to the post-office for my papers for a week; and, when I would get them, would not read them; just look over them on Sunday, and nothing more.
Q. Do you, or not, know that he has constantly held that the State of Maryland had been false to her duty in not going with other States into the Rebellion against the Government?
A. I never heard him say so.
Q. Have you not from time to time seen Confederate officers or soldiers about his house?
Q. Never have seen them?
Q. You spoke of his amiability and kind treatment to his servants. Have you ever known of his shooting any of them?
A. I heard of that.
Q. Have you any doubt of its truth?
A. No, sir.
By MR. EWING:
Q. State what you heard about his shooting the slave.
A. I heard that the servant was obstropulous; that he had ordered him to do something about the stable, and he refused to do it, and started off to go away. The doctor had his gun with him, and he thought he would shoot him and frighten him to make him stop and come back. I think I heard him say so myself. He shot him somewhere in the calf of the leg, I think.
Q. Do you know what the gun was,—whether it was a shot-gun or not?
A. It was a shot-gun. I do not know whether it was double-barrelled or a single-barrelled gun, but a shot-gun, a bird-gun, I think.
Q. Did you hear any thing of the servant’s having attacked him?
A. I do not recollect.
Q. Did you hear that the servant had first attacked him with a curry-comb?
A. Really, I do not recollect. I do not think I have heard that. I have heard but little about it.
By the JUDGE ADVOCATE:
Q. Do you know that servant?
A. I do not.
Q. Have you seen him?
A. I have no doubt that I have seen him often; but I do not know him.
Q. Do you not know that he is still lame from that wound?
A. I do not. I do not think I have seen him since the occurrence. I think he left the neighborhood some time afterwards. If I were to see him now, I think it doubtful whether I should know him.
Q. Did you hear that his limb was broken by that shot?
A. No: I heard it was only a flesh wound.
By MR. EWING:
Q. In what part of the leg?
A. In some part of the leg; I do not know whether in the thigh or the calf of the leg. It was about the leg.
Q. You spoke, on cross-examination, of your having heard Dr. Mudd express himself in opposition to the policy of the Administration.
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you ever hear him express himself with any violence?
A. No, sir: I have never heard in my life, I think, a violent expression from him. I have been in his company a great deal; and in gentlemen’s company I do not remember every hearing an expression from him that would not have been admissible in ladies’ society.
Q. Did you ever hear him indulge in violent denunciation of the Government?
A. I never did: it is not his character to do so.
Q. Did he ever talk much in opposition to the Government with you?
A. No, sir: I have never heard him talk a great deal about it; but I have heard him make use of expressions, so that I knew him to be opposed to the policy of the Administration—I mean the emancipation policy. I have reference only to the emancipation policy.
Q. You have not heard him express himself in opposition to the policy of putting down the armed rebellion?
A. No, sir. I have heard him express himself as being opposed to the emancipation policy: as a large slave-owner, himself and his father, he did not want to lose his property. I suppose that was the objection he had to the emancipation policy of the Government,—I think, always uncompromising opposition to that.