Sarah Frances Mudd’s July 6, 1865 Affidavit

Sarah Mudd’s July 6, 1865 Affidavit  (1865) 
by Sarah Mudd

On July 6, 1865, Mrs. Mudd prepared a second affidavit that provided additional details of Booth’s visit to the Mudd farm. Source: Thomas Ewing Papers, Library of Congress

I, Sarah F. Mudd, wife of Dr. Mudd, on oath do say,

That I saw John Wilkes Booth when he was in Charles County last fall. He came Sunday evening after supper, staid all night, and next day my husband went with him to Gardiner’s where Booth bought the horse - Booth did not return from Gardiner’s with my husband - and was never at my husband’s house, or so far as I know in the neighborhood before or after until the 15th of April - nor did I ever hear of my husband having met him elsewhere, or being in any way directly or indirectly in communication with him.

The two men came to the house on the 15th of April just before daybreak. After my husband had set the leg he went to bed again, and slept till about 9 o’clock when he breakfasted and went to the field where the hands were working. He returned between 11 and 12 and went to the crippled man’s room for a few minutes and then went back to the field to get a pair of crutches made. He returned at dinner, when Herold (who called himself Hanson, or Harrison) asked if he could not get a carriage or buggy to take his friend (who was called Tyson) away. The Doctor said his father had a carriage which might be got, and he would go with him and see about it. I then told the Doctor that I wanted some calico, soda, needles, and matches, and asked him to go on to Bryantown to get them. He said he would, and I am sure that is all he went to Bryantown for.

The Doctor and Herold had not been gone over a half an hour, when Herold returned and said he could not get father’s carriage and that Doctor had gone into Bryantown and he was going to take his friend off horseback. While Herold was gone, I went to the room where the crippled man was. He had heavy whiskers on - and looked pale, thin and haggard. I staid about five minutes and talked with him. He said his leg was broken a mile and a half from our house by the fall of his horse, and that he had been thrown against a stone which injured his back.

About an hour after Herold got back, they left. As Booth came down to go I was in the hall and saw his whiskers become detached and he pushed them back. Herold came down with him, and went to the front gate where his horse had been standing after his return from Bryantown, and rode him around the house to the stable. Booth went on his crutches through the back yard towards the stable, and just as he was getting to the stable the Doctor rode up from Bryantown to the front gate. The stable is 300 yards from the house. The Doctor dismounted at the front gate and came into the house. He did not see either Booth or Herold on his return near enough to speak to either of them. He came into the house, and went to the fire, and took a book and commenced reading. He did not leave the room until supper time - an hour and a half after they had gone.

Before supper he told me of the report in Bryantown that he President was killed and Mr. Seward and his son. After supper I was speaking of the two men and told him of the crippled man’s whiskers becoming detached. He said that that looked suspicious; and that he had also shaved off his moustache and seemed more excited than the mere fracture of the limb would cause him to be. He then sent for his horse to go to Bryantown and tell the military authorities about these two men. I begged him not to go himself - but to wait till Church next day and tell Dr. George Mudd or some one else living in Bryantown all the circumstances, and have him tell the officers at Bryantown about it. He was very unwilling to delay and warned me of the danger from failure to tell of these men at once. I told him that if he went himself Boyle who was reported to be one of the assassins and who killed Capt. Watkins last fall in that country might have him assassinated for it, and that it would be just as well for the authorities to hear it next day because the crippled man could not escape.

Up to this time I had not the least suspicion that the crippled man was Booth - and I am sure no one would have recognized him as being the same man who was at our house last fall - for he was very much thinner, and looked so pale and haggard, and changed with his heavy whiskers, as to alter entirely his appearance. I am certain that my husband did not recognize him, or suspect him to be Booth even after I told him of the false whiskers. I am sure too that Herold was a total stranger to the Doctor, as he was to me.

Something was said at the trial about the boot, but it was not shown when it was found. I found it on Thursday under the bed, when I was cleaning the room. And next day my husband told Lt. Lovett about it as soon as he saw him and before a word had been said between them as Mr. Hardy testifies.

On Tuesday when the officers came to the house I sent for the Doctor to the field and before he came told the officers everything in presence of Dr. George Mudd. They said from my description the smaller man was certainly Herold. When my husband came to the house and before he saw the officers I told him that I had given them a full statement. He said “That was right”. Then Dr. George Mudd before he introduced my husband told him that he had bought the officers there in compliance with his request on Sunday, for further information about the two suspected men who had been at our house.

The description given by my husband to Herold of the short route to Parson Wilmer’s was given before they started to Bryantown. I saw my husband point out the route to him - they both were then standing in the yard from which the by road could be seen. This was in the early part of the day, while the young man was talking of taking his friend off horseback. The carriage was not spoken of until dinner. I do further certify that Dr. Mudd was not from home but three nights from the 23rd of December until the 21st of April, one of which was in January when he went with me to a party at Mr. George Gardiner’s. On the 23rd of March he came up to Washington with Mr. Lewellyn Gardiner to attend a sale of Government horses and mistook the day. On the third occasion, which was the 10th of April, he came up to Dr. Blandford’s with his brother Henry, remained all night, went to Giesborough the next day in company with Dr. Blandford and his brother Henry and did not come into Washington. If my husband knows John Surratt at all, it is nothing more than a passing acquaintance - having seen him at his hotel at Surrattsville. I saw John Surratt once at Surrattsville. I have never seen him at our house and never know of his having stopped there.

It was said in the Argument of the Judge Advocate that Booth and Herold were secreted in the woods near our house after they left. If they were secreted there, neither I nor my husband knew it. My husband was not out of the yard that evening or the next day until he went to church, and we both supposed the men had gone to Parson Wilmer’s.

As to my husband having recognized Booth while he was at our house, I repeat that he did not recognize or suspect the stranger to be Booth; had he done so he certainly would have mentioned it to me, but he did not. Moreover, he did not notice the crippled man specially, nor seem to be interested in learning where he came from or where he was going.

Sarah F. Mudd

Sworn and Subscribed before me this 6th day of July 1865

B.W. Ferguson J.P.