loud speaker

Parents and Teachers: While MrNussbaum.com and its 10,000+ activities are always free, if you wish to subscribe to MrN 365, enter the coupon code august45 (to celebrate my 45th birthday) to receive 55 percent off the normal price through August. If you choose to renew, your renewal price will always reflect the 55% discount!

arrow up
Home > History > Dr. Samuel Mudd - The Wrong Path Through the Ages

Dr. Samuel Mudd - The Wrong Path Through the Ages

This is a biography on Samuel Mudd - the doctor that set the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth during his escape through Maryland.

Dr. Samuel Mudd

Dr. Samuel Mudd

Meetings with John Wilkes Booth

Dr. Samuel Mudd was an American physician and farmer who lived near Bryantown, Maryland, during the American Civil War. Like many people who lived near Bryantown, Mudd was a slave owner who supported the Confederate States of America. In 1864, the state of Maryland abolished slavery, making the future of Mudd’s tobacco plantation uncertain. That same year, Mudd was introduced to the actor John Wilkes Booth. Booth claimed he was interested in buying land in the region, but was really touring the area to map an escape route for his planned kidnapping of Abraham Lincoln. To what extent Mudd and Booth discussed the kidnapping plot is unclear. Historians do know that Booth stayed overnight at Mudd’s farm and purchased a horse from him. Ultimately, the kidnapping plan failed to come into fruition. Booth and Mudd met again in Washington in late December of 1864 but the details of the meeting remain unknown as well.

Booth Comes to Dr. Mudd's House

On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. While managing a desperate escape from the theater, Booth broke his leg. Despite his injury, he was able to escape Washington that night and rode toward southern Maryland. One of his accomplices, David Herold, met Booth in the wilderness in an attempt to guide him to safety. When it became clear that Booth would be unable to continue without medical attention, Herold guided him to the house of Dr. Mudd. At 4:00 in the morning, they knocked on Mudd’s door. Mudd recognized Booth but was likely unaware that he had just assassinated the president. Mudd diagnosed the broken fibula, fashioned a splint, and arranged for a pair of crutches to be delivered. Booth and Herold were extended hospitality and spent the remainder of the morning and much of the next day at Mudd’s farm.

At the Crossroads of History

The next morning, Mudd rode into Bryantown, where he quickly learned news of Lincoln’s assassination and the identity of the assassin. Unbelievably, Mudd found himself at crossroads of American history. He had two choices. He could tell the authorities in Bryantown that Lincoln’s assassin was incapacitated at his farm less than five miles away, and thus, become one of America’s great heroes. Or, he could say nothing and protect the assassin. Mudd’s decision would have a major impact on his life and on the course of American history!

Mudd Chooses to Protect Booth

Mudd chose to protect Booth. Although there are conflicting accounts of what followed, Mudd probably calmly returned to his farm and demanded that both Booth and Herold leave immediately. It is thought that Mudd waited at least 24 hours to tell the authorities anything about his visitors. When he was finally questioned by the authorities, he may have also led them in the wrong direction in their quest to capture Booth. Mudd’s explanations drew the suspicion of detectives, who continued to question him over the course of the next few days. Mudd initially claimed to never have met Booth before, but eventually it was revealed he had in fact met him several times.

Dr. Mudd is Arrested

On April 26, 1865, Dr. Samuel Mudd was arrested and charged with conspiracy to murder Abraham Lincoln. In this context, conspiracy means he was involved with the planning and execution of the murder and escape. On June 29, 1865, Mudd was sentenced to life in prison. He escaped the death penalty by a single vote.

Pardoned

In 1869, Mudd was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson for helping to stop an epidemic of yellow fever in prison. He was released from jail and returned to his farm near Bryantown. He died at the age of 49 from pneumonia. Mudd’s conviction remain a source of controversy today.

Abraham Lincoln Articles

Abraham Lincoln Reading Comprehension (Grades 5 and up). These Include Between 7-10 Critical-Thought, Multiple Choice Qustions. Online Versions Give Immediate Feedback and Score Reports

Abraham Lincoln Activities

  • Important Places in the Life of Abraham Lincoln Interactive Map - This interactive map allows students to explore the important places in Abraham Lincoln's life such as New Salem, Springfield, New York City, and many others.
  • Mr. Polk's War - This captivating printable requires students to understand the concept of manifest destiny and to conduct a mock interview in which they answer tough questions in the role of Abraham Lincoln (against the Mexican-American War) and in the role of President James K. Polk (in support of the war).
  • Futility Versus Immortality - This activity requires students to analyze the qualities of poor leaders such as Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan and contrast them with a leader such as Abraham Lincoln.
  • I'll Always Remember Where I Was - This historical prompts requires students to imagine the earth-shaking effect the news of the Emancipation Proclamation had on Americans in 1862. In the spirit of the Emancipation Proclamation, students must write about the biggest news event of their lives and describe its impact.
  • The Power of Dreams - This printout describes Abraham Lincoln's famous dream about his own assassination and then requires students to describe and draw a scene from a powerful dream they've had.
  • Oh Captain! My Captain! - This printout describes Walt Whitman's famous Oh Captain! My Captain! elegy to President Lincoln and then asks students to think of their own hero and to write a similar poem.
  • Primary Source Analysis - Lincoln's Letter to Fanny McCollough This printable activity requires students to analyze a famous condolence letter written by Abraham Lincoln to a teenage girl after her father was killed in the Civil War.
  • With Malice for None, With Charity for All Decoding Puzzle - This activity requires students to decode and interpret the famous presidential quote uttered by Abraham Lincoln.
  • Dr. Samuel Mudd - Critical Thought Questions The printable narrative that describes the role Dr. Mudd played after Lincoln's assassination. It includes three short-answer questions regarding the main ideas of the article content, critical thought about the content, and vocabulary from the passage.
  • Ms. Laura Keene - Critical Thought Questions This printable narrative that describes the role Ms. Laura Keene played after Lincoln's assassination. It includes three short-answer questions regarding the main ideas of the article content, critical thought about the content, and vocabulary from the passage.
  • The Execution of Mary Surratt - Critical Thought Questions - This printable narrative describes the circumstances in the Mary Surratt execution . It includes four short-answer questions regarding the main ideas of the article content, critical thought about the content, and vocabulary from the passage.
  • Abraham Lincoln Paragraph Paramedics - Find and correct the spelling, punctuation, and usage errors in the paragraph. Click on the error and then type in the correction. Immediate feedback is given.
  • Presidential Quotes - This activity first requires students to match the famous quote with the president. Next, students must choose their favorite quote and attempt to explain it in detail.
  • Presidential Heights - Did you know James Madison was the shortest president? Did you know Abraham Lincoln was the tallest president? This fun math activity requires students to answer questions about the heights of presidents by viewing the bar graph and making conversions from feet to inches and inches to feet.
  • Printable Presidents Word Search
  • - All 45 are in there!
  • Illinois State Quarter (Featuring Lincoln) Coloring
  • Lincoln Memorial Coloring
  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site Video

Online Games Involving Lincoln

  • Presidential Mismatch - Students must rearrange the presidential chart so that the presidents are in the correct order in which they served. The number of presidents used in the game is customizable. The timer allows for friendly competitions. Students who enjoy history will love this game!
  • Currency Mismatch - This is a wildly fun game that requires students to drag and drop the correct presidential faces to their correct dollar bills. The game is timed and makes for awesome friendly competitions within a classroom.
  • Glamour Legends - This fun game allows students to dress up George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Harriet Tubman, or Christopher Columbus in more modern, or more primitive clothes.
  • Presidents Word Search - This is an online word search with the 45 presidents. Choose with or without a timer.

United States Presidents

 1. George Washington  16. Abraham Lincoln  32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
 2. John Adams  17. Andrew Johnson  33. Harry S. Truman
 3. Thomas Jefferson  18. Ulysses S. Grant  34. Dwight D. Eisenhower 
 4. James Madison  19. Rutherford B. Hayes  35. John F. Kennedy
 5. James Monroe  20. James A. Garfield  36. Lyndon B. Johnson
 6. John Quincy Adams  21. Chester A. Arthur  37. Richard Nixon
 7. Andrew Jackson  22/24. Grover Cleveland  38. Gerald R. Ford
 8. Martin Van Buren  23. Benjamin Harrison  39. Jimmy Carter
 9. William Henry Harrison  25. William McKinley  40. Ronald Reagan
10. John Tyler  26. Theodore Roosevelt  41. George H.W. Bush
11. James K. Polk  27. William Howard Taft  42. Bill Clinton
12. Zachary Taylor  28. Woodrow Wilson  43. George W. Bush
13. Millard Fillmore  29. Warren G. Harding  44. Barack Obama
14. Franklin Pierce  30. Calvin Coolidge  45. Donald J. Trump
15. James Buchanan  31. Herbert Hoover  

UPGRADE TO MRN365.COM

Upgrade to MrN 365 to access our entire library of incredible educational resources and teacher tools in an ad-free environment. If you like MrNussbaum.com, you will LOVE MrN 365!

Learn More