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Author Topic: Sunday Survey for April 29th., 2012  (Read 2570 times)
Roger Norton
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« Reply #45 on: May 03, 2012, 03:27:02 AM »

I am with Randal regarding when Mudd first learned of the assassination.

Yesterday I read the Mudd pages of several assassination books, and then I re-read Mike Kauffman on this issue two more times. I really think Mudd first learned of the assassination in Bryantown. I also read Mr. Bean's trial testimony. He was a merchant in Bryantown who sold Mudd some calico for his wife that day. This would correspond with Mrs. Mudd's statement about why she asked her husband to go to Bryantown and get her some stuff including calico.

Personally, I would not leave my wife alone with a known assassin in the house. I would stay with my family until the assassin departed. This would be true EVEN IF I agreed with the assassination.

Maybe it makes sense to others, but to me it just doesn't make much sense that a man on an important scouting mission would stop to buy his wife some calico.

I just don't see an ulterior motive for the Bryantown trip.

My best guess as to how things played out:

1.  Booth and Herold arrive; Mudd recognizes the man as Booth, but there is no discussion of the assassination.
2.  Later on Mudd and Herold leave; Herold eventually returns, but Mudd continues into Bryantown as his wife asked him to do.
3.  In Bryantown Mudd learns of the assassination; he hears several different pronunciations of the assassin's name.
4.  Mudd slowly puts 2 and 2 together and gets worried.
5.  Upon returning to his home he confronts Booth with what he knows. Booth admits he shot the president. Mudd asks him to leave his property immediately.
6.  Mudd and his wife get together in an attempt to concoct their story.

Unless I see a smoking gun for C (so far I just haven't seen it, although the arguments you folks make are good), I will go with the traditional account of most historians (I find Kauffman's account quite persuasive) who believe Mudd first found out about the shooting in Bryantown.

So I will go back to being a "B-." Mudd was not aware of the assassination until his trip into town but then had a heated discussion about it with Booth upon his return home. I think Mudd already was worried at that time he was going to be in hot water with the Feds.

Obviously the absolute answer on this is probably lost to history (unless new evidence is uncovered), but for now I'll hold Randal's hand on this one (unless there is a snake in it).



« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 07:00:52 AM by Roger Norton » Logged
BoothBuff
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« Reply #46 on: May 03, 2012, 07:31:17 AM »

     You made some great points there, Roger. I agree this is another one that will forever be unknown. There's no smoking gun for any scenario. What kind of man was Mudd? Was he a vehement rebel that despised Lincoln? If that was the case, nonchalantly stopping to buy calico doesn't really mean anything to me. Some people publicly celebrated his death. Mudd stopping to shop while he thought "Good - he finally got what he deserved.", doesn't seem so far fetched. 
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jonathan
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« Reply #47 on: May 03, 2012, 07:54:47 AM »

I really love all this Mudd talk, and in a way I really hate to disagree with the "B" crowd because I think it is quite a fine line concerning when Mudd knew about the assassination.  I realize most of you have been over it a million times, so I'll try and control myself. But I do have one question/point about the calico purchase. Wouldn't having a reason to go to town make it easier for Mudd to carry out a scouting mission? Again, if I was in that position, I would be much more comfortable going in to town to assess the situation if I had regular business there already. If I had no reason to be there, I'd feel very awkward. Seems like it would be much easier to blend in and listen to conversations, or to pick up information by chit-chatting, if you were going about a more or less regular routine. As he rode to town, Mudd probably wasn't expecting Union cavalry to be all over the place, so he planned to just go about his day and see what info he could pick up in the course of regular business.
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"I try not to break the rules, but merely to test their elasticity" - Bill Veeck
Gene C
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« Reply #48 on: May 03, 2012, 08:49:18 AM »

I agree with Jonathan & Laurie, picking up calico at the store might be a good way to learn the latest gossip.  Mudd certainly couldn't hang out at the local barber shop.

There aren't many of us who would leave our wife and kids at home with a known criminal or even a questionable stranger.  Unless....
   A. He knew more about the assasination plot than he ever let on.
   B. He knew he didn't have to worry about Booth or Herold and the safety of his family.  He knew them better than he ever let on
   C. He was one cool cucumber
   D. His desire to know about the status of Booth's pursuers was greater than his concern about the immediate safety of his family.
   E. All of the above   
   F. None of the above
   G. Randy and Roger are 100% correct in their assesment of the situation
   H. There was somethng else going on that we will never know
   I.  There's more, but I have to get back to work

   
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 09:06:56 AM by Gene C » Logged

The more you know, the more you think the less you know, because you know that you don't know.  The less you know the more you think the more you know, because you don't know that you don't know. 
 (Not bad for an old dog)
Roger Norton
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« Reply #49 on: May 03, 2012, 11:20:16 AM »

B. He knew he didn't have to worry about Booth or Herold and the safety of his family.  He knew them better than he ever let on.

Gene, let me preface this by saying that I've exchanged many e-mails with Ed Steers over the years (since 1996), and I agree with basically everything Ed has written about Mudd. I commend Ed for all his work. Ed has been most helpful in the work I do with students. I agree with Bill Richter when he said, "I think that the best presentation of Mudd's guilt is in Steer's, His Name Is Still Mudd. Mudd was guiltier than most supposed then and now."

However, in response to what you mentioned above, I personally don't think they knew each other really that well.  As far as I know they had met only 3 times - once in November 1864, and twice in December 1864. The last meeting was December 23, 1864, which would have been over 3 1/2 months prior to April 15, 1865. Possibly a future kidnapping of Lincoln was discussed. Nevertheless, it's hard for me to really see them as being "buddies."

Maybe someone else can fill in some blanks, but offhand the only other direct Mudd/Booth connection I can think of is in Atzerodt's statement about liquor and provisions being sent to Mudd's for the trip with Lincoln to Richmond (this would be a reference to the kidnapping plans, not the assassination). And also what Laurie said about a possible Herold visit. In a very general way I think I feel the same about Mudd as I do about Mary Surratt; I think he had knowledge of the kidnap plot but probably not the assassination.

Part of the reason I stick with B is because Booth already knew certain folks were more agreeable with kidnapping than with with murder. I am not sure he knew Mudd well enough to know how he'd react to what happened at Ford's.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 02:20:46 PM by Roger Norton » Logged
BoothBuff
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« Reply #50 on: May 03, 2012, 12:30:30 PM »

     Thank you, Laurie. There were some interesting opinions all around here. 
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Gene C
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« Reply #51 on: May 03, 2012, 01:39:48 PM »

There aren't many of us who would leave our wife and kids at home with a known criminal or even a questionable stranger.  Unless....
  G. Randy and Roger are 100% correct in their assesment of the situation

Roger,
Is this your subtle way of saying the correct answer is G ?
I thought I knew the answer about Mudd, until I read all these great responses to this question. 
You all ' (yous guy's - for you northerners)  have "muddied" the water.   It's all as clear as mud.         (ouch)     
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 04:53:57 PM by Gene C » Logged

The more you know, the more you think the less you know, because you know that you don't know.  The less you know the more you think the more you know, because you don't know that you don't know. 
 (Not bad for an old dog)
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