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[418] Bureau of Military Justice, it appeared that I, Jefferson Davis, was implicated in the assassination of President Lincoln, and for that reason he offered a reward of one hundred thousand dollars for my capture. That testimony was subsequently found to be entirely false, having been a mere fabrication. The manner in which this was done will be presently stated. Meantime, certain persons of influence and public position at that time, either aware of the fabricated character of this testimony or convinced of its insufficiency to secure my conviction on a trial, sought to find ample material to supply this deficiency, in the great mortality of the soldiers we had captured during the war and imprisoned at Andersonville.1

Orders were therefore issued by the authorities of the United States government to arrest a subaltern officer, Captain Henry Wirz, a foreigner by birth, poor, friendless, and wounded, and held as a prisoner of war. He had been included in the surrender of General J. E. Johnston. On May 7th he was placed in the ‘Old Capitol’ prison at Washington. The poor man was doomed before he was heard, and the permission to be heard according to law was denied him. Captain Wirz had been in command at the Confederate prison at Andersonville. The first charge alleged against him was that of conspiring with myself, Secretary Seddon, General Howell Cobb, General Winder, and others, to cause the death of thousands of the prisoners through cruelty, etc. The second charge was alleged against himself for murder in violation of the laws and customs of war.

The military commission before which he was tried was convened by an order of President Johnson of August 19th, directing the officers detailed for that purpose to meet as a special military commission on August 20th, for the trial of such prisoners as might be brought before it. The commission convened, and Wirz was arraigned on the charges above mentioned, and pleaded not guilty. At the suggestion of the judge advocate, Joseph Holt, he was remanded to prison and the court adjourned. The so-called trial afterward came on, and lasted for three months, but no evidence whatsoever was produced showing the existence of such a conspiracy as had been charged. Wirz was, however, pronounced guilty, and, in accordance with the sentence of the commission, he was executed on November 10, 1865.

On April 4, 1867, Louis Schade of Washington, the attorney for Wirz on the trial, in compliance with the request of Wirz so to do as soon as the times should be propitious, published a vindication of his

1 See chapter on exchange of prisoners.

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