A photograph of a number of items on a wooden tabletop: A boot, a set of surgical instruments, a set of handcuffs, a set of ankle shackles and a spur.
Photo by Carol Highsmith.

Material Evidence: Dr. Mudd

Dr. Samuel Mudd claimed not to recognize the two men who appeared at his home the morning of April 15, 1865.

On their escape from Washington, John Wilkes Booth and David Herold arrived at Mudd’s home at 4:00 a.m. on April 15, 1865. Mudd used his medical kit to treat Booth’s broken leg and allowed the two men to sleep in his home. He later told investigators that he did not recognize Booth, although they met numerous times before.

Mudd’s medical kit, as well as Booth’s boot and spur found in Mudd’s home, became evidence in the trial of Mudd and seven other conspirators. 

The military tribunal convicted Mudd, sentencing him to life in prison at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, Florida. Mudd was handcuffed and shackled for the journey there. 

In 1867 there was an outbreak of yellow fever at the prison. When the prison doctor died, Mudd took over the position, halting the spread of the disease. 

In 1869 President Andrew Johnson pardoned Mudd, Edman Spangler and Samuel Arnold.

Dr. Samuel Mudd

Dr. Samuel Mudd went on trial for helping John Wilkes Booth. See the evidence used against him.

Protect Our History

The night of April 14, 1865, forever changed our national history. Together, Ford's Theatre Society and the National Park Service partner to protect the artifacts from that night. Through these objects, we can better understand how that single event transformed our nation. Give to Ford's Theatre to help continue sharing the stories that shaped a nation.