The Dutton Report
|The Dutton Report (1865)
Following their conviction at the Lincoln assassination trial, Dr. Samuel Mudd, Edman Spangler, Samuel Arnold, and Michael O'Laughlen were transported to the Fort Jefferson military prison in the Dry Tortugas islands on the Navy transport U.S.S. Florida. U.S. Army Captain George W. Dutton accompanied the men during the trip. After their arrival, Captain Dutton submitted the following report.
The Assassination of President Lincoln and the Trial of the Conspirators, by Benn Pitman
Camp Fry, Washington, D.C.
Brig. Gen. Joseph Holt,
Judge Advocate General, U. S. A.:
Sir - I am in receipt of your communication of this date, in which you request information as regards the truthfulness of certain statements and confessions reported to have been made by Dr. Mudd while under my charge, en route to the Dry Tortugas.
In reply, I have the honor to state that my duties required me to be constantly with the prisoners, and during a conversation with Dr. Mudd, on the 22nd of July, he confessed that he knew Booth when he came to his house with Herold, on the morning after the assassination of the President; that he had known Booth for some time but was afraid to tell of his having been at his house on the 15th of April fearing that his own and the lives of his family would be endangered thereby. He also confessed that he was with Booth at the National Hotel on the evening referred to by Weichmann in his testimony; and that he came to Washington on that occasion to meet Booth by appointment, who wished to be introduced to John Surratt; that when he and Booth were going to Mrs. Surratt's house to see John Surratt, they met, on Seventh street, John Surratt, who was introduced to Booth, and they had a conversation of a private nature. I will here add that Dr. Mudd had with him a printed copy of the testimony pertaining to his trial, and I had, upon a number of occasions, referred to the same. I will also state that this confession was voluntary, and made without solicitation, threat or promise, and was made after the destination of the prisoners was communicated to them, which communication affected Dr. Mudd more than the rest; and he frequently exclaimed, "Oh, there is now no hope for me." "Oh, I can not live in such a place."
Please acknowledge receipt of this letter.
I am General, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
George W. Dutton
Capt. Co. C, 10th Reg't. V. R. C., com'dg. Guard.
This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.