May 29, 1865 - Testimony of John H. Downing about Dr. Samuel Mudd
JOHN H. DOWNING, a witness called for the accused, Samuel A. Mudd, being duly sworn, testified as follows:
By MR. EWING:
Q. State where you live.
A. I live in Charles County, near Mount Pleasant.
Q. State whether you are acquainted with the prisoner, Samuel A. Mudd.
A. Oh, yes! I am very well acquainted with him.
Q. Are you acquainted with Daniel J. Thomas?
A. Yes, sir: both of them were raised right by me.
Q. State whether or not the prisoner, Samuel A. Mudd, and Daniel J. Thomas, met at your house this last spring; and if so, when?
A. I think it was some time between the first of March and probably the fifteenth that they both met there at my house.
Q. Did they meet at your house at any other time this spring?
A. No, sir; never.
Q. Did they come there together?
A. No, sir: Daniel Thomas was at my house about two or three hours before Dr. Mudd came there.
Q. How long did Dr. Mudd stay there?
A. I think he staid about half an hour.
Q. Were you, or were you not, present during the time that Dr. Mudd was there?
A. All the time.
Q. You were with them all the time?
A. I was with them both: Daniel Thomas sat between me and Dr. Mudd. I was there all the time,—never left the room.
Q. Will you state whether or not, in conversation at that time, Dr. Mudd said that Abraham Lincoln was an abolitionist; that the whole Cabinet were such; that he thought the South would never be subjugated under abolition doctrines; and that all the Cabinet and every Union man in the State of Maryland, and the President, would be killed in six or seven weeks?
A. There were no such words spoken in the house, to my knowledge; and I staid there the whole time. Dr. Sam. Mudd was not there more than half an hour. He came there to see me, to collect a little doctor’s bill. I sat there for about half an hour after he came; and I then got up, and walked to the piazza; and, as I walked out, Dr. Mudd got up, and followed me out; and he then told me his business, and went directly home; and Thomas staid at my house, I believe, fully an hour afterwards.
Q. Did Dr. Mudd follow you out immediately?
A. Immediately after I got up, and before I got to the piazza, he was at the door with me.
Q. Could Dr. Mudd and Thomas have had any conversation then at that visit together without your hearing it?
A. No: I do not think they could. Even if they had whispered, I could have heard it, because I was close to them. They had no conversation at that time but what I heard: I am certain of that.
Q. Was any part of the statement which I have recited to you made by Dr. Mudd on that occasion?
A. Not to my knowledge.
Q. You think you would have noticed it if there had been?
A. I should, certainly. The President’s name was not mentioned during Dr. Mudd’s stay at my house. I do not recollect that Daniel Thomas ever mentioned his name while he was at my house.
Q. Was any reference made to any member of the Cabinet?
A. No, indeed, sir; nothing in the world of that kind.
Q. Was any reference made to killing anybody?
A. No, sir: nothing of the kind was ever mentioned, to my knowledge. I never heard a word of the kind mentioned.
Q. Will you state whether or not, two or three weeks after that occasion, you met Mr. Thomas in the road between your house and his house, and he said to you, that, at your house, Dr. Mudd had said that the President and the whole Cabinet, and every Union man in the State of Maryland, would be killed?
A. No, indeed: he never said such a word to me. We met one another very frequently, because he attends land right by me; but I never heard a word of that kind mentioned by him in my life.
Q. Neither before the assassination, nor since the assassination?
A. No, sir; neither before nor since. I never heard a word of the kind spoken; and he never said a word of the kind, that I recollect.
Q. Did Dr. Mudd say to you, on that occasion, that he did not consider the oath of allegiance worth a chew of tobacco?
A. Not that I recollect. I never heard any thing of the kind said, to my knowledge.
Q. Will you state what the conversation was about when Dr. Mudd was there?
A. I cannot recollect it at all. They commenced talking about detectives. Daniel Thomas was saying to Dr. Mudd that he was appointed a detective; and he referred to several others,—Jerry Mudd, Dr. George Mudd, Joe Padgett, I think, and I think, perhaps, one of the Hawkinses,—who, he said, were detectives as well as he was; but he said he never pretended to catch anybody. He said he would go to their houses,—it was his duty to go their houses; but he never would catch anybody. That is exactly what he said,—that he was bound to go their houses, but he was not bound to catch them.
Cross-examined by ASSISTANT JUDGE ADVOCATE BINGHAM:
Q. Were they talking during that whole half-hour? or were they quiet all that half-hour?
A. They were talking a good deal.
Q. Were they talking all that half-hour?
A. I reckon they were.
Q. Do you not know that they were talking all the time Dr. Mudd was there?
A. Yes, sir: I know they were talking.
Q. Was the whole half-hour consumed with that remark?
A. It was pretty much about the detectives.
Q. Was it consumed in Thomas making that statement of two lines. Was that all there was of it?
A. All that I recollect, or nearly all.
Q. Do you think it took a whole half-hour for Thomas to say that he was a detective, and did not catch anybody?
A. I believe it pretty much did.
Q. Do you say that?
A. He was telling a whole parcel of foolish things there.
Q. You said that was all you minded about any thing connected with that talk?
A. Oh, no! I did not.
Q. What did Mudd say?
A. I do not recollect now.
Q. What did you say?
A. I had no conversation with them; none at all.
Q. Mudd and Thomas were talking?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did Mudd say to Thomas?
A. I believed he compared him to a jack; that was all.
Q. He said that, did he?
A. He did so.
Q. Did it take him half an hour to say that?
A. I do not recollect.
Q. What did he call him a jack for?
A. Because Thomas said he was appointed a deputy provost-marshal under Colonel Miller.
Q. And what did Mudd say to that?
A. Mudd said, “I think, Daniel, I am better educated than you are, and I do not think I am capable to fill that office myself, and I do not think you are;” and I believe he got up, directly, and compared him to a jack.
Q. That what took place next?
A. He went and followed me out.
Q. Who did?
A. Mudd. I was irritated myself when he called him a jack, because it was in my house, and I did not suffer jacks to come into my house.
Q. Was that what you said?
A. Yes; and then he got up, and followed me out.
Q. You went out first?
A. I went out first, and Mudd followed; and then he went off.
Q. Did it take a whole half-hour for Mudd and Dan. to say that?
A. I believe it did, very near.
Q. That was all that was said in the half-hour?
A. That is just about it.
Q. How long were you gone before Mudd went out?
A. Not two seconds,—not as long as you count two.
Q. Where did you go to before Mudd came out?
A. I went to door, and Mudd followed me.
Q. Where did you go before Mudd came out?
A. I did not go anywhere, only to the door. Mudd followed me to the door. We went out of the door into the yard, and had some talk there; and then Mudd went off, and Daniel was in the house.
Q. How long were you at the door before Mudd came?
A. Not more than two seconds, I reckon. He followed me immediately.
Q. Mudd staid there half an hour, and then you started for the door?
A. That was the end of it.
Q. Did you not say at first that they talked there for half a hour?
A. They were talking there.
Q. For half an hour?
A. Yes: I reckon Mudd staid about an hour.
Q. I understood you to say that you did not mind any of the talk between Mudd and Dan., except that Mudd concluded by saying that Dan was a jack, and then you broke?
A. Then I broke, I went out.
Q. Who did Thomas call a secesh that time?
A. He did not call anybody that, that I heard.
Q. Who did Mudd say was an abolitionist?
A. I do not know who; I do not recollect.
Q. Are you very sure that he did not call Dan. an abolitionist, as well as a jack?
A. No: I do not recollect that he ever did.
Q. You do not mind much about that talk?
A. No, indeed: I do not recollect.
Q. Did not Mudd call Dan. an abolitionist right off, and a jack too?
A. Not at that time he did not.
Q. It was at another time?
A. He might have, for all I know.
Q. He might have done so, for any thing you know?
A. Yes: I do not mind all that.
Q. You do not mind all that talk of half an hour? you do not know any thing about it, except that Dan. pretended that he was a detective and deputy-provost, and the other insisted that he was a jack?
A. It was something in that way.
Q. And they spent half an hour on that?
A. Pretty much.
Q. Did these fellows show any spirit or blood? Was Mudd mad when you ran out of the door?
A. I do not know.
Q. Or did he just say it in the best humor in the world to this other neighbor of his, that he was a jack? Was he mad or not?
A. I reckon he was then.
Q. What was he mad about?
A. About Dan. being a deputy provost-marshal, I suppose.
By MR. EWING:
Q. I understand you to say that you were not out of the room at all during that interview between Thomas and Mudd?
A. No, indeed: I was not.
Q. And you were sitting right by both of them?
A. I was. Dan. sat between me and Mudd. I was sitting on the left side of Daniel Thomas.
Q. How far were you from Mudd?
A. I reckon, about a yard. We all sat very close together, and close to the fire, because it was cold weather; and we had a cold fire at that time. We had not wood enough on the fire.
Q. And you sat right alongside of Thomas?
A. Yes, I did so: right alongside of him.
Q. And heard all the conversation?
A. Yes: I heard every word that was spoken between them during the time that Mudd staid.