Download Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War: The Trials of by Jonathan W. White PDF

By Jonathan W. White

Within the spring of 1861, Union army gurus arrested Maryland farmer John Merryman on fees of treason opposed to the us for burning railroad bridges round Baltimore so one can hinder northern squaddies from attaining the capital. From his criminal mobile at castle McHenry, Merryman petitioned leader Justice of the preferrred courtroom Roger B. Taney for unlock via a writ of habeas corpus. Taney issued the writ, yet President Abraham Lincoln overlooked it. In mid-July Merryman used to be published, basically to be indicted for treason in a Baltimore federal court docket. His case, even though, by no means went to trial and federal prosecutors eventually brushed aside it in 1867.In Abraham Lincoln and Treason within the Civil warfare, Jonathan White unearths how the arrest and prosecution of this little-known Baltimore farmer had a long-lasting impression at the Lincoln management and Congress as they struggled to improve guidelines to house either northern traitors and southern rebels. His paintings sheds major new mild on a number of perennially debatable felony and constitutional matters in American background, together with the character and volume of presidential struggle powers, the improvement of nationwide regulations for facing disloyalty and treason, and the security of civil liberties in wartime.

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Additional info for Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War: The Trials of John Merryman (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War)

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39 On May 15, Scott replaced Butler with General George Cadwalader, a Philadelphia lawyer and veteran of the Mexican War. Upon Cadwalader’s arrival at Fort McHenry, Butler headed southward to Hampton Roads, Virginia, where he took 24 | Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War command of Fortress Monroe. Butler would again become embroiled in controversy there when he welcomed fugitive slaves at the fort and declared them contraband of war. On May 16, Assistant Adjutant General E. D. Townsend sent a message to Cadwalader at Fort McHenry: “Herewith you will receive a power to arrest persons under certain circumstances, and to hold them prisoners though they should be demanded by writs of habeas corpus.

The military officers at Fort McHenry seemed ambivalent about what exactly their prisoner was charged with doing. 18 They knew he was suspected of committing some sort of treasonous acts that included “holding a commission” in a militia unit that was hostile toward the government. ” 19 But nothing in these original “charges” accused Merryman of burning railroad bridges or cutting telegraph wires, the accusations usually cited by historians. The military’s justifications for holding Merryman exhibited a surprising level of ambiguity and lack of specificity as to what exactly John Merryman stood accused of having done.

As the rioters were destroying the track, one James Whiteford of Baltimore yelled, “Rally boys! 9 The remaining 228 Massachusetts soldiers at President Street Station formed ranks and marched toward Camden Station, leaving behind the thousand unarmed Pennsylvanians. They marched through the city exchanging volleys with civilians who hid in upstairs windows. ” Another thirty-six were wounded. Henry S. Durkee, a citizen who lived on Orleans Street, recalled the horrors he witnessed: “Saw a soldier in the gutter & two men kicking him almost to death.

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