Mudd Day is observed every year on December 20. The purpose is to commemorate Dr. Samuel Mudd’s birthday. On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln to death; however, he was hurt while fleeing the scene. He then drove to Mudd’s house in the early hours of April 15 with conspirator David Herold to undergo surgery on his broken leg before entering Virginia. Mudd must have known of the murder sometime that day, but he didn’t let the police know about Booth’s visit until another day later. This fact and his several tale revisions during questioning seemed to tie him to the crime. Mudd was found guilty of aiding and abetting murder by a military commission, and after being spared the capital penalty by one vote, he was given a life sentence.
History of Mudd Day
American surgeon Samuel Alexander Mudd Sr. (December 20, 1833 – January 10, 1875) was imprisoned for collaborating with Booth on the assassination of President Lincoln.
Mudd worked as a doctor and tobacco planter in Southern Maryland. His business suffered greatly from the Civil War, particularly after Maryland outlawed slavery in 1864. He initially encountered Booth, who had plans to abduct Lincoln, in that year, and Mudd was frequently spotted with three of the conspirators. However, his position in the narrative, if any, remains unclear.
Mudd is known for harboring Booth in his home after Lincoln was assassinated. Because of this, he was accused of being one of the conspirators of the assassination. Lincoln was assassinated by Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C. on April 14, 1865. Booth broke the fibula in his leg while jumping from the President’s box seat to the stage. He met with Herold and they rode by horseback to the home of Mudd, which was located about five miles north of Bryantown, Maryland.
Booth was taken upstairs, where Mudd splinted his leg. He then allowed Booth and Herold permission to stay the night. The following morning, Mudd procured a set of crutches from a nearby carpenter for Booth to use as he recovered from his wound. After spending at least twelve hours in Mudd’s house, Booth removed his mustache and left in the late afternoon. Two weeks later, Union cavalry in Virginia discovered Booth and Herold in a tobacco shack. While Booth resisted, Herold surrendered. Booth was hiding in a shed, which was set on fire. He was coerced to emerge and then shot dead right away. For years, there has been controversy over Mudd’s behavior and his involvement in the crime.
Mudd Day timeline
Witnesses claim to see Mudd and Booth together in Maryland.
Mudd is found guilty of conspiring to murder Lincoln by the military commission.
Andrew Johnson pardons Mudd.
Mudd dies of pneumonia on January 10.
Mudd Day FAQs
Does Dr. Mudd’s house still exist?
Mudd’s home still exists and has been transformed into a museum.
Is Ford’s Theatre still active?
Ford’s Theatre, where Lincoln was assassinated, now serves as both a historic site and a live theatre.
Why was Mudd released from prison?
In 1867, an epidemic of yellow fever spread in the prison, and Mudd helped treat the sick which gained him pardon.
How to Observe Mudd Day
Learn about Dr. Mudd
You can do some research to find out more about Mudd's history and gain a better understanding of him. Learning about history allows us to learn from others' past mistakes. It helps us understand the many reasons why people may behave the way they do and helps us become more impartial as decision-makers.
Share the holiday
You can let those in your vicinity know about Mudd Day. By doing this, more people will be able to learn about the holiday and express their opinions regarding Mudd's conviction.
Mudd is mostly known for helping Booth, albeit in a terrible manner. You can participate in the holiday by helping someone else in a way that is kind to all. Remember to act with caution regarding what you do and who you associate yourself with.
5 Interesting Facts About Mudd
He supported the Confederacy
Mudd supported the Confederacy during the Civil War.
He went to Maryland
Mudd studied medicine at the University of Maryland.
He didn’t like Lincoln
Mudd often expressed his hatred for Lincoln and his policies.
His family owned a plantation
Mudd was born to parents who owned a large plantation.
He tried to escape
Mudd was sent to the prison's carpentry shop after his failed attempt to break out of jail.
Why Mudd Day is Important
It creates awareness
The holiday helps to spread awareness about Mudd and his significance in society. Awareness-raising is very powerful because it educates people about topics that are new to them and encourages them to participate on days like these.
It encourages caution
The Mudd story teaches people to be more cautious in their interactions and company and to stay out of trouble. Due to the types of individuals, they hang out with, many people miss out on great possibilities or chances, which they later come to regret. Bad company can cause people to lose valuable things like their jobs, marriages, education, and friendships, among other things.
It preserves history
The events that led to this holiday hold an important place in American history. Historic preservation provides a link to the roots of the community and its people.
Mudd Day dates