This trip to Fort Jefferson, with over 50 Mudd descendants and hangers-on, was for the purpose of visiting the cell where Dr. Sam Mudd was imprisoned. In case you don’t know who he is, he is the doctor who set John Wilkes Booth’s leg, after Booth shot Lincoln. Mudd was arrested as a conspirator in the assassination plot and sent to prison on Fort Jefferson, which is a forbidding hulk of brick in the middle of the ocean. He was there for four years, and then he was pardoned (for his work at the Fort, fighting the yellow fever epidemic).
The fort is, indeed, right smack in the middle of the ocean. It’s 70 miles west of Key West. For someone like me who has only seen an ocean once before (and that at Ocean City, where I was distracted from its majesty by the fact that there was no way at all to avoid being pooped on by gulls), it was a fairly staggering sight.
Here’s the approach to the fort (okay, so this was taken on the way back–but still).
The whole thing is massive–lots of bricks.
Up on the third floor/roof of the fort, there is no railing or anything. I was extremely nervous the whole time we were up there. No question though that the view is amazing.
It’s unbelievable, isn’t it? Think about it–imprisoned here. You could see the water, but you couldn’t swim in it. And there’s no possibility of escape because–well–where would you go?
Mary really liked it. She wanted to explore everything.
Actually, so did Wesley.