By Jonathan W. White
In 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 as a way to hinder northern infantrymen from attaining the capital. From his felony phone at castle McHenry, Merryman petitioned leader Justice of the ideal court docket Roger B. Taney for liberate via a writ of habeas corpus. Taney issued the writ, yet President Abraham Lincoln neglected it. In mid-July Merryman used to be published, purely to be indicted for treason in a Baltimore federal courtroom. His case, even if, by no means went to trial and federal prosecutors eventually brushed off 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 an enduring influence at the Lincoln management and Congress as they struggled to improve rules to accommodate either northern traitors and southern rebels. His paintings exposes numerous perennially arguable felony and constitutional matters in American heritage, together with the character and quantity of presidential struggle powers, the improvement of nationwide rules for facing disloyalty and treason, and the security of civil liberties in wartime.
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Extra info for Abraham Lincoln and treason in the Civil War : the trials of John Merryman
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.
The Pennsylvania soldiers were able to board a train back to the City of Brotherly Love. 13 Baltimore secessionists could not contain their rage. “Let any more Northern troops attempt passage of this city and not one will live to tell the story,” seethed Jabez Pratt, a Baltimore businessman who had been born in Massachusetts. A Baltimore County newspaper echoed this sentiment with a grotesque call to arms: “Organize at once and take every precaution to prevent the passage of these murderers over Maryland soil.
The wall and moaned rather than exclaimed ‘Oh! Yes. ’ ”17 Word spread quickly that the city and state governments had authorized the destruction of railroad bridges and telegraph wires around Baltimore. Colonel Isaac R. Trimble led a group of Baltimore policemen and city guards to burn bridges along the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore line, while Captain J. G. Johannes and Police Marshal George P. Kane led men to burn bridges of the Northern Central. Within hours of the meeting at the mayor’s house multiple bridges were ablaze.