Grave Thursday: General Levi Dodd

In an effort to get back to posting on a more regular schedule, I’ve decided to attempt a weekly post entitled, Grave Thursday. Each week I will highlight the final resting place of someone related to the Lincoln assassination story. It may be the grave of someone whose name looms large in assassination literature, like a conspirator, or the grave of one of the many minor characters who crossed paths with history. They won’t be lengthy posts, but they will be something to look forward to between my increasingly irregular research intensive pieces.

Bvt. Brig. Gen. Levi Axtell Dodd

Gen Levi Dodd

Burial Location: Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland

Levi Dodd's Grave Green Mount

Connection to the Lincoln assassination:

On May 2, 1865, Col. Levi Axtell Dodd of the 211th Pennsylvania Volunteers was assigned duty under the command of Maj. Gen. John Hartranft. At that time, General Hartranft had been assigned as the commander of the Old Arsenal Penitentiary in Washington, D.C. and was charged with the imprisonment and care of the Lincoln assassination conspirators as they underwent trial. Col. Dodd joined Hartranft’s staff and would serve under him. Dodd’s major duties were to supervise the prisoners. Reports show that he supervised George Atzerodt as the latter bathed. After the day’s trial proceedings were over, Dodd would also stay in the court room with some of the prisoners when their lawyers wished to counsel with them. Dodd also supervised visits between the conspirators and their guests, sitting in on a meeting between Mary Surratt and her friend Mr. Kirby. After the execution of four of the conspirators, Dodd, who was subsequently brevetted as a brigadier general due to the recommendation of General Hartranft, was given the task of escorting the four remaining conspirators to their distant prison of Fort Jefferson off of the coast of Florida. This task he completed, earning the appreciation of Dr. Mudd who stated that Gen. Dodd allowed the lily iron handcuffs to be removed from the conspirators during part of the voyage. Dr. Mudd’s appreciation of Gen. Dodd would not last, however. Upon returning back from Fort Jefferson, Dodd, along with two others who accompanied the conspirators, would state that on the journey to the island prison Dr. Mudd confessed that he had known the identity of John Wilkes Booth the moment the assassin showed up at his door. According to Dodd and the others, Dr. Mudd lied about not knowing Booth due to his own fear of punishment.

It is also interesting to note that Levi Dodd was born in Franklin, a small town in Venango County, Pennsylvania. In 1864, John Wilkes Booth traveled to Franklin and invested a great deal of his wealth in the oil fields nearby. Booth and some of his pals sunk quite a lot of money into a well in Franklin called the Wilhelmina, but the enterprise was a failure.

Gen. Dodd is buried in Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, the very same cemetery as John Wilkes Booth and many others connected to the assassination of Lincoln. Check out the Maps page for more details.

GPS coordinates for Gen. Levi Dodd’s grave: 39.306333, -76.604881

Categories: Grave Thursday, History | Tags: , , , , | 23 Comments

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23 thoughts on “Grave Thursday: General Levi Dodd

  1. Don’t forget Father Jacob A. Walter, who was at St. Patrick’s in D.C. at the time and who attended Mary Surratt at the time of her trial and execution. Earlier he had been pastor of St. Ignatius Church (1792), Hickory, Maryland, a few miles from Tudor Hall.

  2. Dr. Mudd confessed that he had known the identity of John Wilkes Booth the moment the assassin showed up at his door. According to Dodd and the others, Dr. Mudd lied about not knowing Booth due to his own fear of punishment.

    This statement is false.

  3. Dr. Mudd confessed that he had known the identity of John Wilkes Booth the moment the assassin showed up at his door.

    This statement is totally false.

    • “This statement is totally false”

      Dr. Mudd certainly thought so. Once he learned that reports of his confession had reached the newspapers he wrote out a lengthy statement which he sent to his wife for publication. He denied making any such confession and yet we have Dodd, Paymaster William Keeler, and Captain George Dutton all writing that Dr. Mudd confessed his knowledge of Booth’s identity while being transported to Fort Jefferson. These statements were deemed reliable and trustworthy enough for Captain Dutton’s statement to be added as an addendum to the final page of the official court proceedings:

      And this would not be the last time that others would state that Dr. Mudd confessed his knowledge of Booth’s identity. Samuel Cox, Jr. wrote that, in 1877, Dr. Mudd admitted the same thing to him. Mudd denied any foreknowledge of the assassination plot, which seems extremely likely, but said he recognized the famous actor with whom he had been so involved with in November and December of 1864.

      Dr. Mudd’s own lawyer, Frederick Stone, also spilled the beans in 1883 shortly after Dr. Mudd’s death. He stated the following in regard to his own client: “He had denied knowing Booth when he knew him well. He was undoubtedly accessory to the abduction plot, though he may have supposed it would never come to anything. He denied knowing Booth when he came to his house when that was preposterous. He had been even intimate with Booth.”

      Mudd probably did not know of Booth’s plan to assassinate the President, but in claiming not to recognize the actor when he arrived at his home with a broken leg, I echo Stone’s assessment: “preposterous”.

      • Dr. Mudd was implicated in the plot because he had met John Booth on one occasion and was a Confederate sympathiser. The rest amounts to giving hospitality and fixing a stranger’s leg after two men banged hard on his door at four in the morning giving their names as Tyson and Henson, according to Mudd. Mudd was arrested by the army, put on trial and given 6 years hard labour having narrowly escaped the death penalty by one vote.

        Historians are able to ignore the evidence of the prison staff, of Dr. Mudd’s dedicated and selfless service, in saving so many lives in the Yellow Fever infected prison. How can they ignore the signed affidavit of 299 enlisted men and NCO’s and one brave Lieutenant Zabriskie.
        The evidence against Dr. Mudd boiled down to only one point :

        Yes, he had met Booth, but he had met him on one occasion only, according to his defence team, in relation to the sale of a horse, in November 1863, 18 months beforehand. The prosecution argued that they had met on two more occasions including Dec. 23rd 1864 but this was from Louis Weichmann and John Lloyd, two of the conspiracy trial witnesses, who are both known to have supplied false evidence under serious duress.

        And as further explained even if his visitors had assassinated Lincoln, Dr. Mudd could not have known about it, unless they had told him so. But, even Colonel Baker (head of the NDP) admitted in his book that ‘Booth’ gave Dr. Mudd a false name. And Dr. Mudd himself said they gave the names Tyson and Henson. The evidence for this comes straight from Baker himself. Thus:

        “On Saturday, before sunrise, Booth and Harold, without stopping elsewhere, reached the house of Dr Mudd, three miles from Bryantown. They contracted with him, for 25 dollars in greenbacks, to set the broken leg. Harold, who knew Dr. Mudd, introduced Booth under another name, and stated that he had fallen from his horse during the night. The doctor remarked of Booth that he draped the lower part of his face while the leg was being set; he was silent and in pain”.

        It is clear they were bent on deception from Baker saying the man had given a false name and had fallen from his horse. This is interesting because it’s the same story attributed by Baker in his book that he got from the diary account of the Confederate soldier’s horse fall.

        The news came into Byantown at around 11am when Lt. Dana of the 13th NY Cavalry arrived having crossed the Navy Bridge within a few hours of the supposed assassins. That is if the soldiers were allowed to speak about this news.

        Dana would have arrived sooner but took a wrong turn at Piscataway, Md. They camped for several days just 3 miles from where the supposed assassins were being cared for at Dr Mudd’s home.

        The New York Times were given the privilege of receiving the story from its official source at 11.16 pm that Good Friday night. Even with this news all it said was the President had been shot by a young gentleman, unknown and certainly no mention of a lame person.

        The idea he had become a lame assassin was being unwittingly initiated right there and then at Dr Mudd’s home by Tyson to gain sympathy at 4 in the morning. And of course the truth is even simpler, Dr Mudd did not recognise Booth because it really was Tyson and Henson playing off Booth and Herold, as Baker had ‘played off’ his agents many times before.

        If Dr. Mudd was in on the plot why did Baker say that ‘Booth’ gave him a false name? The fact is that this was standard operational procedure for the NDP in order to pretend they were Confederates- known as a ruse or a deception, normally used to locate possible rebel houses or indeed any friendly houses.

        After being given an upstairs room and food and a bed to sleep in Tyson came downstairs.It was then that Mudd’s wife Sarah noted that the false beard moved on his face, as he was walking down the stairs.

        They used the same ruse and operated in pairs (usually one NDP detective and one soldier in plain clothes) to arrest Sam Coxe (an agent called the ‘Captain’ working with Thomas Jones who wrote a book, of his role, about hiding in a pine copse with the decoys and getting them a boat to cross the Potomac). They arrested Mr. Claggert, Crangle (Adzerodt), Dr. Stuart, John Lloyd, Swann, Lucas, the Garrett boys (at the siege) and many others by asking favours and in some cases paying greenbacks for services rendered, just as they paid Dr. Mudd 25 dollars.

        This in order to affect a small pretence in plain clothes, that they might be Confederates on the run. One farmer however showed two of them the barrel of his gun, so all of them stopped using this ruse. It’s all in Baker’s book where he boasts about using this deception as a standard operational procedure.

        Mudd was a Doctor and Southerners were generally hospitable to visitors and perhaps surprised and unguarded at that early hour with the insistent manner of his visitors. The fact is Baker’s agents and army officers working in pairs and in plain clothes, visited many farms and capitalised on this hospitality.

        It is all admitted by Baker in his book -…’The US Secret Service’. The arresting officer Lieutenant Lovett who went into Dr Mudd’s home and found the boot, was the same officer who accompanied Major O’Bierne’s team of six, of the NDP near Leonardstown, from the army base at Chappel Point..

        Baker even admitted in his book that they used these operations as a ‘ruse’.

        Although Baker had said ‘Booth’ had fallen from his horse, Mudd did not say Tyson had said this. The idea of the horse fall came from Baker which he likely got from the original writing in the rebel soldier’s red pocket diary; returned to him by Colonel Conger after the soldier was shot and killed in Garrett’s barn.

        According to Baker the soldier had recorded in his diary that he had ‘fallen from his horse in the tangle of the forest’ and the horse was injured or lamed so he had to shoot the animal. The soldier then had to ‘drag his own painful limbs along’ and walked or limped on alone until he met up with another confederate called Boyd. This man gave his name to the confederate Lt. Ruggles at the Rappahannock River but Ruggles changed it to Herold at the trial and later in his own account to Prentiss Ingraham, for a magazine article.

        Eventually the duo allegedly got a lift to Fort Conway in a hack driven by a freeman called Lucas, after visiting Dr Stuart. Then they crossed the Rappahannock with the confederate trio-Ruggles, Jett and Bainbridge to Port Royal, Va on Rollin’s ferry.

        Boyd was the man who had surrended from Garrett’s barn and was taken back to Washington and hung as Herold.

        • Laurie Verge

          Mr. Garrity – You have quite a few inaccuracies in your pro-Mudd account, and they lead those who have studied the Lincoln assassination in-depth for many years to shrug their shoulders and move on.

          As director of Surratt House Museum for 33 years and a student of the assassination for over 60 years, I will only say that you left out what I consider one critical point in your appraisal of the situation: It was Dr. Mudd who arranged to meet John Wilkes Booth in D.C. on December 23, 1864, and conveniently agreed to introduce him to John Harrison Surratt, Jr.

          It didn’t stop with just the introduction. Mudd could have gone on about his business and returned home with nothing else to do with Booth and Surratt. However, he went with the two men, plus Surratt’s boarder and school friend, Louis Weichmann, to Booth’s hotel room for refreshment and further conversation – some of which pertained to maps of Southern Maryland. Land deals? I think not…

          From that one introduction to Surratt there grew a relationship that ended with the first execution of a female by the U.S. government. I happen to be one of those who understands why Mrs. Surratt was found guilty — and also why Mudd failed to hang by one vote.

          And the termination of Mudd’s life sentence had nothing to do with his guilt in 1865, but everything to do with his humanitarian efforts at Fort Jefferson during the yellow fever outbreak — and Andrew Johnson’s lame duck actions to get back at the Radical Republicans (and probably to stop having to deal with Mrs. Mudd!).

          P.S. If you have not already done so, please read His Name Is Still Mudd by Dr. Edward Steers, Jr. It clearly and cogently cuts through the lore surrounding Dr. Samuel Mudd with documented facts.

          • Dear Sir,

            Thank you.

            I respect your years of historical devotion in this terrible and tragic event. And I realise that you are not willing to give out the remainder of my article or the previous one.

            It might prove upsetting reading to genuine readers. It implies that Dr Mudd was an innocent man as in the tragedy of Mary Surratt, who was an innocent woman.

            But this is not all I would claim. And this is where you would fall off your stool and called me a misguided heretic. I claim that Booth was framed and that he was not killed in Garrett’s barn.
            He did not enter the box or fight with Rathbone; or leap to the stage in front of 1700 people, army officers and three doctors -one an expert in gunshot wounds. Nor did he cry out in Latin the motto of Virginia, as if he was acting.

            This story makes no sense at all. It is full of holes. Rathbone’s story is not even mentioned by the press or in Stanton’s letter to Charles F Adams (Minister to the UK), when written first thing Saturday morning. Yet Stanton went into graphic detail about Payne’s even more incredible feats at Seward’s house.

            It was Rathbone’s statement to Judge Olin, Supreme Court DC, on Easter Monday that had to be fitted in then. He fabricated his own story to save face. The assassin shot Lincoln through a spyhole.

            This hole, when examined by Olin on Easter Sunday, was in exact line with Lincoln’s chair. He had gotten Clara Harris to sit in it, as she remembered its position in relation to the door. (Door No.7).

            Even Gifford said the shot came through the spyhole.

            Read Clara’s statement and H.N.Taft’s diary. Mary Lincoln said in H.N.’s diary that she looked forward to the stage not knowing where the shot came from -then she checked her husband-then felt the back of his head was wet with blood…then she went into shock.

            If the assassin was behind Mary she would have looked back instinctively and be deafened by the shot.

            And Clara Harris did not see the assassin because of the smoke from the pistol, she said, until he went over the parapet. And Rathbone didn’t even give a description except he was a gentleman who knifed him and only thought he cried out ‘Freedom’; yet he supposedly fought with him for ’30 seconds’ in front of the audience.

            How was that possible without anyone reacting?

            And you must have read Adeline’s forged diary kept at Rochester U. The account on the night of the fourteenth is full of the most macabre, ridiculous rubbish whoever put pen to paper with.
            It’s full of inconsistencies, contradictions and impossibilities with more blood spilt than in a pig’s slaughter house. It’s total hogwash and it rambles on and on. It does not compare at all with the rest of her brief daily accounts.

            Sadly her mother died three months later and she herself the following year at only 22. The shear grief they must have endured in knowing too much about the darkness around them.

            Major Robert Lincoln must have been under a lot of duress, to have his mother put into a sanatorium which she eventually got herself out, with legal help.

            Then Rathbone, years later, as an American Consulate kills his wife Clara with a gun and knife whilst trying to kill his children and his sentenced to life in an insane asylum in Hildesheim, Germany. Of course this has no connection to his past heroic actions.

            Both Stanton and Baker died before end of 1869. Two senators Stone and Lane commit suicide. They were involved, as was Baker, in blocking the reprieve from the court for Mary Surratt. Even Johnson admitted he didn’t know and would have sacked Stanton right away…it took him two years and so they tried to impeach Johnson.

            And there were so many other murders that President Grant had to get General Lew Wallace to investigate them four years later.

            What really happened to Booth is likely buried somewhere in Government files, like the photograph of the dead soldier taken on the Montauk by Andrew Gardner… never to see the light of day. Why all the secrecy -surely anyone of genuine intelligence would suspect a Govt. cover up and therefore guilt.

            Lincoln was a great President because he had humility and cared about people. He was sacrificed and they made sure he would be elevated to greatness after his death-a Martyr. Yet Stanton had no great respect for Lincoln. Stanton ran the war and wouldn’t exchange prisoners and many other atrocities.

            Lincoln was thought of as a Tyrant and not just in the South, because he allowed the ruthless Stanton too much power, whilst Lincoln took all the flak. At least for the public his suffering was finally justified. But for his family and himself it was a terrible nightmare…Tad , Willie and especially for Mary.

            Weichmann had informed his boss Gleason at the Capitol Prison about a plot to kidnap Lincoln, in February. This came out at the trial.

            In all of the years since Lincoln’s death only Otto Eisenschimmel has dared to challenge the official line in a methodical manner by getting hold of govt. documents and by logic.

            Ed Spangler got six years for saying the man who ran across the stage IMMEDIATELY after the shot was not Booth, of whom he knew very well indeed. It was the solicitor Joseph B. Stewart who ran across the stage immediately after hearing the subdued shot, through the door, at loud laughter stage in Act III. Stewart was found guilty of perjury years later before a Kansas Court in relation to the swindling of Indian land.

            It’s no wonder Mary didn’t know the source of the shot. Even Captain McGowan thought it was an interpolation in the play. And he was sitting with Colonel Crawford in the South Circle close to Lincoln’s box.

            Finally: What is the agenda of the Mary Surratt Museum?

            You quote: ‘…the first execution of a female by the U.S. government’. Is it to preserve the memory of her terrible plight? If so I would support it. However why does the society keep having to re-assure us, that she was guilty. The military prosecutors implied she supplied two carbine weapons to Lloyd’s place for Booth to collect. And Weichmann was with her!

            John Surratt had gone to Montreal and proved he was in New York State at the time of the assassination. Stanton made sure he would hang his mother instead. Over two years later he was found not guilty of plotting to assassinate Lincoln.

            Is the Society using her name for gain yet reinforcing the Govt. line that she was guilty of murder or worse… treason. Don’t you think it smacks of hypocrisy with a capital H?

            I am sorry but the acolytes of history are unable to challenge the official line because it would cost them their reputation or even cast them down into the infamy of Booth himself.

            In regards to reading Steer’s book I am aware of his work but the title of it is dubious. It would suggest the degradation of a man honoured by President Johnson for his dedicated work in saving lives at the Yellow Fever scourged Fort Jefferson Prison.

            Jim Garrity

            • Laurie Verge

              First, Mr. Garrity, I am not a “Sir;” I am a well-educated female historian. And, in the course of my many years of being intrigued with this particular piece of history, I have had to rebut much of the same type of conjectures and speculation that you have inserted here. I have learned to trust the facts and the experts instead..

              And, to cut briefly to the chase, that is the mission of the Surratt House Museum, which is government-owned and wonderfully supported by nearly 2000 members of the associate Surratt Society, many of whom are renowned scholars in the field. That membership also extends into Europe, Canada, and Australia.

              That said, the museum and the Society support a mission of presenting documented evidence and well-known facts to our members as well as to 10,000 visitors annually. We also reach them through a monthly newsletter with history articles written by members and by way of our website — and very importantly by maintaining the James O. Hall Research Center on the museum complex. The Center honors the fifty years plus of research done by the dean of Lincoln assassination studies, and his numerous files (as well as papers of other authors and researchers) reside there and are available to the public by appointment.

              While our volunteers may offer their personal opinions, the tours and the museum take no stand as to the guilt or innocence of Mary E. Surratt. We do understand the circumstances under which the military court presided, and the fact that Mrs. Surratt was (knowingly or unknowingly) in contact with Booth up to within hours of the assassination pretty much decided her fate. The fact that Dr. Mudd could not be connected with Booth after the aborted kidnap in mid-March likely spared him the same fate. Prior to that, he had been a busy little boy entertaining Booth at his home, securing a horse for him, and arranging for the chief Confederate operative in lower Maryland, Thomas Harbin, to meet with and agree to assist Booth.

              In conclusion, it is the goal of Surratt House to educate the public as to the facts related to the assassination and to encourage them to read further and form their own opinions as to the temper of the country from at least 1850 to 1865, as well as the guilt and innocence of all involved.

              I used to get very frustrated when approached by folks with far-out theories, but I have now “inherited” Mr. Hall’s attitude. I have learned to quietly (most of the time) shake my head and say, “Oh, my…”

              • Dear Madam,

                With due respect of your position I hope I have not offended.
                I hope you will show my second article. However you must need time to vet all articles. I appreciate your reply in any case. It must take a lot of time and effort. And thanks for passing the first article.

                Jim Garrity.

                • Mr. Garrity,

                  I believe you are under the mistaken belief that Ms. Verge is the administrator of this website. That role belongs to me. I was confused by your comment about vetting articles, but I believe I have discovered what you are referring to. It appears that two of your prior comments on my blog were placed automatically into the “spam” comment folder. This tends to happen when comments contain multiple hyperlinks, come from a suspicious email, or are exceedingly long. I have removed the comments from spam and they should now be visible.


                  Dave Taylor

                • Mr. Taylor,

                  As you say, the length of the article would have put it into spam. Business sites having paid vigilators to vet bad taste and language, with a time delay. But thanks for passing my articles anyway.I appreciate your advice and your website and the work to keep it going.

                  My goal is to provide an apolitical (or even ‘beyond culture’) point of view and hopefully help to defend and honour, the names of Mary Surratt and Alexander.Mudd. I am glad the Society recognise foreign writers who are able to provide perhaps, a more objective point of view.That should not take anything away from your own sterling writers …like Otto Eisenschimmel for example.

                  Thank you.
                  Jim Garrity.

  4. Judith Breitstein

    I thought Christian Rath was in charge of the accused.

    • Gen. Hartranft was the commander of the Old Arsenal Penitentiary. Christian Rath, like Levi Dodd, was assigned to Hartranft and assisted in the care of the conspirators. Rath would more famously be the one who oversaw the construction of the gallows upon which the four conspirators were executed.

  5. Gary Goodenow

    I note Gen. Dodd’s middle name of Axtell. From that name, there’s a very (very!) remote historical connection to Booth’s thinking. I’m grateful this web site discusses Booth’s thinking at length.

    One of my Puritan relatives, Mary Goodenow, was born Mary Axtell in England. Her brother was Col. Daniel Axtell, one of the regicides involved in the execution of British King Charles I.

    Charles I antagonized Parliament, embroiled his Kingdom in the Thirty Years’ War, inflamed tensions in Scotland and Ireland and ultimately led his country to a terrible Civil War.

    In his youth, Charles had been under the care of Alletta Carey, wife of Lord Chamberlain Sir Robert Carey, who was a patron of William Shakespeare. Carey sponsored a company of actors, “The Lord Chamberlain’s Men”, to which Shakespeare belonged.

    In the British Civil War, Charles I was ultimately put on trial. Col. Axtell was in charge of military security during the King’s trial, the result of which was that Charles I was beheaded at Whitehall in 1649, in front of what was called “the Banqueting House.” This “Banqueting House” was where Shakespeare performed some of his most famous plays like King Lear, Macbeth and Othello, all well known to Booth.

    Upon reinstatement of King Charles II in March 1660, Col. Axtell was put on trial for treason. The Court rejected his defense that a command of his superior officer justified his participation in the trial of Charles I. The Court considered Axtell’s superior officer was also a traitor and all who joined him were traitors. Found guilty, Axtell was executed on October 19, 1660.

    I don’t know if Gen. Dodd was related to Col. Axtell, the regicide. Even if he was related, I can’t say the General knew of Col. Axtell’s actions in respect of Charles I. But it’s one of the interesting co-incidences in this case, albeit a very minor one. If he’d ever learned these facts (and of course, he didn’t), the co-incidence may have struck Booth in his delusional view of what he considered an immoral assassination could accomplish.

    Regards, Gary Goodenow

  6. In addition to what Dave said about Mudd’s recognition of his visitor, I would like to add another opinion. George Alfred Townsend (Gath) interviewed Samuel Mudd’s cousin, Dr. George Dyer Mudd. The interview was published in the “Cincinnati Enquirer” on April 16, 1883. In the interview George Mudd stated:

    “I think there is no question that Sam Mudd immediately knew Booth, and that Booth told him that he had murdered the President. If he had possessed the moral courage to have said at once: ‘I will have nothing to do with assassination; I will give this man up to his Government,’ he would have stood very differently toward himself, his family and his fame. But you see those rebel views he had held, that obstinacy of character, his prejudices, his false sense of honor, made him secrete his information till he had actually made himself an accessory after the fact.”

  7. I have left two comments but there is no sign of activity.

  8. Pingback: Following Orders: The Arrest and Case of John McCall, Assassination Sympathizer | BoothieBarn

  9. Thank you.

  10. Pingback: Grave Thursday: General John Hartranft | BoothieBarn

  11. Pingback: An Interview with Dr. Mudd | BoothieBarn

  12. Paul Fisher

    As usual, I’m a little late to the party. Unfortunately, there is too much here to get into an in-depth discussion. Suffice it to say, Booth was killed in the Garrett barn. Not Tyson, Tyser, Henson, or Boyd. Too many people identified him after his death to believe that story. Dr. Mudd remains one of my favorite characters to study in the assassination world and that being said, I believe one of the things that kept him from the gallows was the testimony of a Mr. Daniel J. Thomas, a neighbor of Mudd’s. Dave, through your study of the trial, I’m sure you’ll agree that he was about the most useless witness the prosecution could have called. The defense called 20-ish witnesses to refute his testimony, nearly one third of all the defense witnesses for Dr. Mudd. Pitman’s transcript even has a section entitled “Impeachment of Dan’l J. Thomas!” Trials hinge on casting reasonable doubt upon whatever the prosecution is trying to prove. It is possible that Mudd could have met the gallows had Mr. Thomas not testified. Thomas Ewing (Mudd’s attorney) called Thomas’s evidence the most important in the case against Dr. Mudd. I personally think that Ewing felt this because it was the easiest for him to fully rebut and cast doubt upon Mudd’s guilt in the case, further strengthening his defense of Mudd. As many Mudd defenders though the years have said, this was a hanging court. I don’t believe that innocence was really an option. Any doubt cast by the defense on any of the accused could only serve to reduce their sentences. Anyway, always an interesting discussion to be had with the Lincoln assassination!

  13. Pingback: Edman Spangler: “I am entirely innocent” |

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