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By Jonathan W. White

In the spring of 1861, Union army specialists arrested Maryland farmer John Merryman on fees of treason opposed to the us for burning railroad bridges round Baltimore so as to hinder northern infantrymen from achieving the capital. From his felony phone at citadel McHenry, Merryman petitioned leader Justice of the preferrred courtroom Roger B. Taney for unlock via a writ of habeas corpus. Taney issued the writ, yet President Abraham Lincoln overlooked it. In mid-July Merryman used to be published, basically to be indicted for treason in a Baltimore federal courtroom. His case, even though, by no means went to trial and federal prosecutors ultimately disregarded it in 1867.

In Abraham Lincoln and Treason within the Civil warfare, Jonathan White finds how the arrest and prosecution of this little-known Baltimore farmer had a long-lasting influence at the Lincoln management and Congress as they struggled to improve regulations to house either northern traitors and southern rebels. His paintings exposes a number of perennially debatable felony and constitutional concerns in American heritage, together with the character and volume of presidential battle powers, the improvement of nationwide rules for facing disloyalty and treason, and the safety of civil liberties in wartime.

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District judge John Cadwalader told an old family friend in Maryland that in ceding the District of Columbia to the United States, the state of Maryland had given up its right to impede the passage of federal troops to the national capital. “The purpose for which military forces of the United States may pass through Maryland cannot be rightfully questioned by her people, or by her government,” wrote the judge. “She ceded the present district of Columbia to the United States as the seat of their Government.

9 A company of about twenty-five men under Lieutenant Merryman’s command burned several bridges of the Northern Central Railway and cut telegraph wires on the morning of April 23, 1861, as the Pennsylvania troops retreated from Cockeysville back to their home state. Most historians have assumed that Merryman’s actions had been on the night of April 19–20; in fact, they came three days later. 10 On April 27, the War Department divided the seat of war into three military districts. ” On May 21, Yohe ordered a subordinate to “be cautious in your movements and be well satisfied that the captain or any of them are spreading secession sentiments and using their influence in favor of the Southern Confederacy.

Here we are in Washington, cooped up by the cutting off by the crazed secessionists of Maryland of all communication with [the] North either by mail, railroad, or telegraph,” noted one Washington official. The president felt some consolation when the Sixth Massachusetts arrived from Baltimore on the evening of the nineteenth. ” The Bay State soldiers drilled on Pennsylvania 18 | Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War Avenue and kept their quarters in the Capitol. 21 On April 20 and 21, Lincoln met with Mayor Brown and several “penitent and suppliant crowd[s] of conditional Secessionists from Baltimore” who begged that no more northern troops be sent through their city.

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