The story of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was imprisoned after innocently treating President Lincoln's assassin in 1865.The story of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was imprisoned after innocently treating President Lincoln's assassin in 1865.The story of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was imprisoned after innocently treating President Lincoln's assassin in 1865.
Entertaining debatable film
Most history buffs will like this though they may disagree with the portrayal of Dr. Mudd as being complete innocent after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Historians say Mudd knew John Wilkes Booth from often seeing the famous actor on the stage. However, it doubtful if he knew Booth had just assassinated Lincoln and was in flight from pursuing soldiers after breaking his leg while leaping from the Ford Theatre balcony onto the stage. It is now believed by many that Dr. Mudd allowed Booth to remain in his home overnight due to the strain put upon the recently set leg. The next morning Mudd went into town to get a newspaper and then discovered that Booth was wanted for Lincoln's murder. He was thus placed in the uncomfortable position of unintentionally harboring a murderer and if he had notified the police at that time he would never have been implicated in the tragedy. He unwisely chose not to do so and instead returned home to tell Booth to leave. The pusuing troops discovered that Booth had been at the Mudd home and the doctor was arrested and later tried. The movie does give a good presentation of the trial which was a travesty conducted by the military with orders from the authorities to convict and hang all those charged. Booth did luck out a bit by escaping the death penalty. Many legal experts now believe that the trial was illegal since the civilian courts were still functioning. But vengeance was to be extracted and what did befall Dr. Mudd could have been far worse.
- Aug 26, 2000
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