Michael O'Laughlen death

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Here is another Army entry on O'Laughlen's death, from the RG393 files at the National Archives:

Dave Taylor:
Quote from: Barry Doohan on May 19, 2012, 05:12:25 PM

If you're into possible conspiracy theories, who was James Kelly who is listed as escaping Fort Jefferson on the same date as O' Laughlen's death?

Just to squash this one before it can start, James Kelly was apparently a murderer sentenced to Fort Jefferson:

     I ain't bitin', Randal!! ;D

rich smyth:
I am not sure if anyone knows where Michael was buried in the Dry Tortugas. Prior to and during the Civil War burials took place on two keys close to the fort. One mile south was East Key that was used exclusively as a cemetery and Bird Key where most burials occurred. Things began to change around the summer of 1863. Prisoner McClune noted that those interred on Bird Key would be moved to make room for fortifications. Records show the last known burial on Bird Key being May 18, 1863 and on East Key the following year on April 30, 1864. The diary of soldier William Stebbins has an entry for June 11, 1864, where he is ordered to “pull down a quarantine Hospital” on Loggerhead Key, “prepare it to be removed to an island called Sand Key.” Further diary entries during the summer of the same year show Stebbins visiting Sand Key “am going over to Sand Key to work on the Quarantine Hospital”, and on August 28, “there is a Hospital on it put up this summer”.

Eventually, Sand Key would become known as Hospital Key, although Co-conspirator Samuel Arnold wrote in his memoirs about Sand Key “Every foot of its space is now peopled with the dead, many of the bodies having been washed up by the surf of the sea.”

On Hospital Key was the “Quarantine Hospital” being used during the yellow fever outbreak of 1867.  Michael O’Laughlen’s body may have been interred here for the next few years although there were also burials on East Key, one mile southeast of the prison

Michael's remains were taken to Key West aboard the Matchless a 170-ton sailing schooner that had previously been used as a "slaver." This would also be the means of transportation for Dr. Mudd to Key West after his pardon.

One of the reasons I started this thread and asked for documentation regarding Michael O'Laughlen's death is because of the glaring omission in Sam Arnold's writing of Michael's illness and death.  I am very appreciative of Robert Summers' documents.  I think they are remarkable in several respects.  The first is that Michael is listed as having died in his "quarters", whereas at least 23 of the other deaths listed show death to have occurred in the Post Hospital.  Another thing is that is curious is that for the entire month there is only one inmate reported to have escaped, James Kelly, who just happened to escape on the day that Michael died.  The other thing that seems at variance with what I had previously read is that Michael had Yellow Fever for 19-days before he succumbed.

I've really enjoyed reading all the comments in this thread. -- Chuck 


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