previous next

‘ [52] and directed’ the fetters, whenever Miles deemed it ‘advisable in order to render the imprisonment more secure,’ and hence under his plea that he but obeyed orders, the only question is whether there was any cause which rendered it reasonably necessary for him to apply any such mode of obtaining greater security.

In his letter to Stanton, of the 28th of May, he gives as his excuse, that ‘the inner doors were light wooden ones without locks,’ and hence he put anklets on the prisoner's ankles ‘which would not interfere with his walking, but would prevent his running, should he endeavor to escape.’ The inquiry naturally arises: Where was he to run? Whither escape?

The wooden doors were those between the two casemated rooms, and, according to Dana, as quoted above, were wooden, it is true. but were ‘secured by bars fastened on the outside.’ Davis was confined in the rear room with two sentinels ever present, whose duty it was to stand day and night before the doors connecting the two rooms. The window or port-hole of the rear room was barred with iron grating. Two sentinels and a commissioned officer were in the front room. The front door was to be kept locked, and the officer of the general guard was to keep the key. When the front door was to be opened the officer in the outer room was to be by it and the middle door was to be barred. A light was to be ever burning in the prisoner's room, and the commissioned officer was to look at him every fifteen minutes. These inner doors were in exactly the same condition when the anklets were used as when Dana wrote he had not given orders to have him placed in irons because General Halleck seemed opposed.

Nor were these all the guards against Davis' ‘running.’ Sentinels were stationed at the front doors, and others on top of the casemate and on the counterscarp opposite the prisoner's room, while another line was stationed on the opposite side of the road. Guards were also placed in the vacant casemates on each side of that used as Mr. Davis' prison.

Bearing these precautions in mind, and remembering that they were applied in a great fortress filled with trained soldiers and defiant with shotted guns, can Major-General Miles, the only survivor of the leading actors in that tragedy, hope that the world will believe that anklets were necessary to prevent so old and so feeble a man from ‘running’?

The animus of those who had the special control of Mr. Davis can be seen and interpreted from several small incidents which it may

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.

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 (8)
C. A. Dana (4)
E. M. Stanton (2)
Nelson A. Miles (2)
H. W. Halleck (2)
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 28th (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: