previous next

[337] by that vile wretch, Judge Advocate General Holt. A committee of the then Republican Congress says of these:

Several of these witnesses, when brought before the committee, retracted entirely the statements which they had made in their affidavits, and declared that their testimony as originally given was false in every particular.

Utterly failing in the attempt to connect Mr. Davis with this crime, they then tried to involve him in the alleged cruelty to prisoners at Andersonville, and a reprieve was offered to the commandant of the prison, Wirz, the night before he was hung, if he would implicate Mr. Davis,—which offer the brave Captain indignantly refused.

It was only after every attempt to connect Mr. Davis with other crimes had failed, that the authorities at Washington dared to have him indicted for the alleged crime of treason. Three several indictments for this offence were then set on foot. The first was found in the District of Columbia, but no process seems ever to have been issued on that. The second was found May 8th, 1866, at Norfolk, Va., in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Virginia, then presided over by the infamous Judge Underwood; and as Underwood himself tells us, this indictment was found after consultation with, and by the direction of Andrew Johnson, the then President of the United States. Almost immediately on the finding of this indictment, Mr. William B. Reed, a distinguished lawyer from Philadelphia, appeared for Mr. Davis, and asked: ‘What is to be done with this indictment? Is it to be tried?’

* * ‘If it is to be tried, may it please your honor, speaking for my colleagues and for myself and for my absent client, I say with emphasis, and I say with earnestness, we come here prepared instantly to try that case, and we shall ask no delay at your honor's hands further than is necessary to bring the prisoner to face the Court, and enable him under the statute in such case made and provided, to examine the bill of indictment against him.’

At the instance of the Government, the case was then continued until October, 1866. Although efforts were made by Mr. Davis's counsel to have him admitted to bail, or removed to some more comfortable quarters, neither of these could be accomplished until May 13th, 1867, when he was admitted to bail, after a cruel imprisonment of two years, Horace Greeley, Gerritt Smith and other distinguished Northerners then becoming his sureties.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (2)
Norfolk (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Jefferson Davis (5)
Underwood (2)
Henry Wirz (1)
Gerritt Smith (1)
William B. Reed (1)
Andrew Johnson (1)
Mamie Holt (1)
Horace Greeley (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 13th, 1867 AD (1)
October, 1866 AD (1)
May 8th, 1866 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: