Mudd, Samuel Alexander

Mudd, Samuel Alexander, 1833–83, Maryland physician and Confederate sympathizer who on April 15, 1865, set the broken left leg of Lincoln's fleeing assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Mudd was accused of aiding Booth's escape and was tried along with Booth's accomplices (see Surratt, Mary Eugenia). He maintained that he did not recognized the disguised Booth, who was an acquaintance, and did not know of Lincoln's assassination, but was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, Fla. It remains unclear what Mudd might have known about the assassination. Since Edward Spangler, the sceneshifter at Ford's Theater convicted of abetting Booth's escape, received a six-year sentence, many regarded Mudd's sentence as unjust. In 1869 he was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson, who cited doubts about Mudd's guilt as well as his efforts during a yellow fever outbreak at the prison.

See The Life of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd (ed. by his daughter, N. Mudd, 1906).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies