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[206] Many detectives were set to work to discover the secrets of the organizations and the names of the members. Numerous reports were made, some of them based upon the evidence of informers in the order, some of them upon rumors.

All of these organizations late in 1863 or early in 1864 were apparently consolidated under the name, Sons of Liberty, though in some sections the old names continued. The membership in the Middle West, particularly in the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri, was quite large, and some of the members undoubtedly contemplated secession from the Union and the formation of a Northwestern Confederacy. A plot to assist the Confederate officials in Canada to release the Confederate prisoners held at Johnson's Island, Camp Chase, Camp Morton, and Camp Douglas had among its principals some members of the Sons of Liberty. The leaders of the Democratic party, to which, naturally, the larger portion of the membership belonged, discountenanced all violence or active disloyalty, though Vallandigham was supposed to be the supreme commander of the order in 1864. The influence of this organization in discouraging enlistments and creating resistance to the draft was considerable.

The most important arrest in connection with the Sons of Liberty was that of Colonel Lambdin P. Milligan, whose case is important also in that it settled definitely certain disputed questions in Constitutional law. This individual was a lawyer and politician in Indiana, who was arrested October 5, 1864, by order of General A. P. Hovey, commanding the District of Indiana, and taken to Indianapolis, where he was confined. A military commission composed of army officers was appointed by General Hovey for trial of Milligan and several associates, under the charges of conspiring against the Government of the United States, inciting insurrection, and otherwise violating the law, but the chief specification in all the charges was their membership in the Sons of Liberty. The commission found the prisoners guilty as charged, December 18th, and sentenced

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