His Name Was Mudd
On the night of April 15, 1865, a man knocked on the door of the Maryland home of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd seeking medical attention. Mudd set the man's broken leg. Unfortunately for the doctor, the man was John Wilkes Booth and he had sustained his injury leaping from the balcony of the Ford Theater after assassinating President Abraham Lincoln. Booth was captured and killed by Union soldiers, and Mudd was arrested for conspiracy. Mudd proclaimed his innocence, saying he did not recognize Booth and was only doing his duty as a doctor. The court, however, sentenced him to life in prison. On this date in 1867, Mudd took a leadership role in dealing with an outbreak of yellow fever at the prison. Partially in recognition for that effort, he was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson, who doubted Mudd's guilt.
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