GDG- Mudd & Surratt's guilt

John Grim jgrim1941 at
Mon Jan 16 11:27:51 CST 2012

Esteemed Members

Booth and Herold arrived at Dr. Mudd's around 4:00 a.m. on April 15th.  It
is unknown whether either of them told Dr. Mudd about the assassination.
 Dr. Mudd asked carpenter John Best to make a pair of crutches for Booth.
Dr. Mudd rode into Bryantown, Md (nearby) later that day on errands.  If he
didn't hear of the assassination from Booth or Herold he most probably did
hear while in Bryantown.  When Mudd returned home later that evening theere
are conflicting accounts of whether Booth & Herold had left or whether they
left a bit afterwards. Mudd waited until the following day (Sun) when he
asked his cousin Dr. George Mudd to inform the authorities (13th NY
Cavalry) who were in Bryantown.   As early as April 18th he denied knowing
either Booth or Herold....  Subsequent information showed that he was being
far from truthful.

On Mon, Jan 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM, <CWMHTours at> wrote:

> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> There is some controversy about it but I am of the belief that  Booth only
> told people things in order to keep them in the conspiracy.  If  they
> didn't
> have a "need-to-know" he didn't tell them anything.
> What is not focused on here is that was a vast active  underground of Conf
> agents and safe houses in both DC and the 4 counties of S.  MD.  Everybody
> who was a Conf knew someone else who shared the same  sympathies.
> Before the war people were pretty vocal about their political  views.  When
> the war broke out many went south and the rest who stayed  learned quickly
> that it was best to conceal their sympathies or bad things  happened.  In
> those days everybody in S MD was a Conf.
> There were perhaps 100s of safe houses all over DC and S  MD.  And
> everybody knew everybody else.
> And couriers and agents were constantly going back and forth  across the
> Pot R along the route Booth later took.  John Surratt and Davy  Herold were
> always going back and forth, among others.
> A good modern example:  I have a commercial drivers  license.  In the event
> of anything happening I am completely drug free and  have no oniterest in
> illegal drugs but it seems like a lot of people around DC  all know someone
> with pot for sale.  There's a big underground network  of this around DC.
> People just talk to each other and things  happen.
> I think that was analogous to the Conf Underground.  They  all knew each
> other and hated the Lincoln gov't.
> We won't know how many S Marylanders came into contact with  Booth, Herold,
> Surratt, et all.  After the war a number of people came  forward.
> I think Dr Mudd was active in running a safe house for agents  and
> communicated useful info.  Having met with Booth three times I think he
>  knew that
> Booth was up to something.  I doubt that unless Booth thought  Mudd had a
> need to know he wouldn't have told Mudd about any kidnapping  plot.
> The fewer the people who know, the better, right?
> I think Booth used Mudd to make connections and to get info  about the
> geography in the area.  Such as the introduction to John  Surratt.
> I don't think people talked only of kidnapping as far as  activities went.
> There were probably many things considered.
> And I think Booth had probably wished he could kill Lincoln  and others
> many times.
> And Mary Surratt's boarding house was clearly a safe  house several years
> before Booth even came around.  Kaufman makes good  reference the agents
> coming and going.  I think Mary knew that Booth was  plotting something
> and that
> it iuvolved possibly her son.
> With one contrary argument it would seem to me that Booth  would ttry very
> hard to conceal his plans.  He may have had a loose  tongue when he drank
> but I think he was motivated to keep things very quiet,  particularly in a
> town full of Union authorities.
> Mary's big connection is that she had Louis Weichman, John's  friend, drive
> her out to Surratt Tavern, a long trip by wagon.     Ostensibly her reason
> was to collect money owed her by John Nothey, who had  yet to pay for land
> he had purchased from her.  At the Tavern she gave John  Lloyd the binocs
> and
> told him to have the shooting irons  ready.
> It would appear that she was aware that Booth was going to do  something
> but assassinating Lincoln?
> To further implicate her at the tavern she didn't bother  looking for
> Nothey.  On her return to DC by the Navy Yard bridge she  encountered
> Nothey
> returning from DC.  I think Weichman said money was  really not discussed.
> So there are discrepancies here.
> I think Mudd was guilty of not going to the authorities  immediately once
> he found Booth and Herold were the assassins.  Instead  because he tried to
> cover it up he got into trouble.  But I don't think he  had a
> "need-to-know"
> and may have had no idea of anything specific.
> Mary knew something was going to happen but  assassination?  There's no
> evidence that she knew about it in  advance.  What would her
> "need-to-know" be?
> I kinda think the fewer people the better.
> But the contrary argument, made by Kaufman, says Booth would  implicate
> people just to keep their silence.  If they knew about the plot  and went
> to
> the authorities then they were at risk of prosecution.  Kaufman  gives goes
> into a number of examples.
> So Dr Mudd-  guilty of giving aid and  shelter.
> M Surratt- guilty of doing favors for Booth.
> I think that is the only things we can be certain  of.
> "Just  the facts, ma'am."
> Your Most Obediant  Servant
> Peter
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