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.

Just six hours after shooting President Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth and David Herold arrived at the home of Dr. Samuel Mudd 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 had met numerous times before. The items below became evidence against Mudd on charges that he was involved in the conspiracy to assassinate the President.

The military tribunal convicted Mudd, sentencing him to life in prison at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, an island 70 miles off the Florida coast. In 1869, President Andrew Johnson pardoned Mudd, in part because of his efforts to halt the spread of an outbreak of deadly yellow fever at the prison.

Examine the Evidence: What questions would you ask Dr. Mudd to determine his guilt or innocence? If a stranger asks you for help, how do you decide whether to help them or not?

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.