In the war’s closing months, Samuel Arnold—an unemployed clerk—was doing odd jobs on his brother’s Maryland farm. It wasn’t difficult for Booth to recruit Arnold, a former soldier in the Confederate army, in to his kidnapping plan.
“I found Booth possessed of wonderful power in conversation and become perfectly infatuated with his social manners and bearing,” Arnold later recalled.
By March 1865, however, Arnold was having second thoughts. Abandoning Washington, he got a job at Fortress Monroe, not far from Norfolk, Virginia That is where detectives found him on April 17, aided by papers retrieved from Booth’s Washington hotel room. Arnold talked freely, implicating Dr. Mudd, who would later help to save Arnold’s life during a yellow fever epidemic that swept the military prison in the Florida Keys where both men were imprisoned. President Andrew Johnson pardoned and released Arnold in 1869.


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