October 18, 1865

Attempted Escape of Dr. Mudd

Note: Dr. Samuel Mudd set John Wilkes Booth’s broken leg, and harbored him in his home, after Booth assassinated President Lincoln. Mudd was sentenced to life in Prison but was pardoned by President Johnson in 1869.

We have obtained from an officer of the steamer Thomas A. Scott, the full particulars of Dr. Mudd’s attempt to escape, differing in many accounts from the particulars hitherto published. The prisoners of Tortugas are allowed the liberty of the island except on a day of a vessels departure. At night they are expected to sleep within the fort. The night previous to the return of the T.A. Scott, Dr. Mudd slept outside the fort in a shed, and the next morning he quietly walked on board the steamer, disappeared into the lowest deck and sent a fireman for Quartermaster Kelly. This was the last that was seen of him. Soon after he was missed at the fort, and an officer and squad sent down to search the vessel. On the very bottom of the vessel lay a platform resting on two cross beams; the officer thrust his sword under on one side and the colored soldier inserted a bayonet under the other. The roar of pain that immediately rose told that both sword and bayonet had reached their mark; the platform was raised and Dr. Mudd arose and returned to his status of a captive prisoner. He was immediately brought to the fort and the thumb-screws applied to him, and under the pressure of pain he acknowledged that Kelly, with whom he had formed an acquaintance within a few days, had agreed to help him to escape on the promise of receiving Mudd’s gold watch. Kelly was thereupon marched to the fort, a drum-head court martial held, and he was sentenced to six years imprisonment and hard labor in the Tortugas. The vessel then sailed without Mudd or Kelly, and the papers were forwarded to Washington for confirmation. (N.Y. Tribune, 12th)

October 19, 1865

Where the Immigrants Go.

The tide of emigration westward is said to be enormous. Wagon trains cover the great plains. The mineral lands of the west appear to be a great attraction, but Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, and all the nearer places where public lands are to be had, are rapidly finding occupants. Very few of the 200,000 imigrants who land annually in America go south, and it will probably be a long time before the stream will turn in that direction….The wealth of this wilderness is destined to development from their hands. Their labor will explore the mines, fertilize the fields, and gather the crops of gold grain which these almost unknown regions will yield to their industrious pursuit of them.

Also Oct. 19

J.F.D. Lanier, Esq., the New York banker, formerly of this State, is now in Europe, under a commission from the Secretary of the Treasury, explaining to the people of Germany and other countries the nature of our [the U.S. Government’s] securities, and the means at our command to pay the interest and eventually the principal.

October 20, 1865

As General Robert E. Lee has sworn to “henceforth faithfully support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the States there under,” and also to support the emancipation Proclamation , we suppose the small fry of the rebellion will not be troubled with conscientious scruples about doing the same thing. Perhaps, presently it will be seen that General Lee’s example living, is more useful and instructive than the ceremony of hanging him could have been. Lou. Jour.

What guarantee is this oath that he will not commit treason against the same Government that spared his life? This is not the first time that he has taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States against all her enemies of whatsoever kind; and as he has proved recreant to that oath once, is it not natural that loyal men should look upon him with suspicion until he proves his words by his deeds?

Research conducted by the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site.