War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0150 OPERATIONS IN MD., AND PA., VA., AND W. VA. Chapter IX

Search Civil War Official Records

or Colonel Kenly of an authority which the law commanded them to exercise exclusively themselves. They could not authorize their police force to serve under any command or control but their own in the face of the express provisions of the law to the contrary. They could not expose their officers and men to civil and criminal responsibility by leaving them on duty under unlawful orders which could afford them no protection before the tribunals of justice. Your memorialist had no choice therefore but to protest as they did; to declare their force off duty, and to leave the military authority to deal, on its own responsibility, with the exigency it had seen fit to create.

In entering thus at large into a discussion of the grounds set up by General Banks in justification of their arrest, your memorialist have been governed altogether by a desire to vindicate their personal and official character and conduct from unfounded and disparaging imputations, and to demonstrate the gratuitous character of the injustice against which they appeal to Congress for relief. They are in no wise to be considered as thereby recognizing for an instant the right of the War Department, or of any officer thereunder, to proceed against them in the mode adopted, even if the accusations which they have repelled were perfectly well founded. The State of Maryland is one of the States of the Union. She is it peace with the Government. Her people are disarmed, and her territory is occupied by an overwhelming military force. Martial law has not been proclaimed among her people, but, on the country, all intention to set it up or enforce it is disavowed in the most explicit way in the proclamation of June 27. The Federal courts and those of the State are in full and undisturbed operation so far as citizens not belonging to the military force are concerned, and process is served without obstruction, and is obeyed without resistance by all except those in military authority. If, therefore, your memorialist were charged with any offense known to the law there was and is nothing to prevent their arrest and detention by the civil arm, in due course, and upon proper and lawful warrant supported by oath, as prescribed and required by the Constitution.

But they respectfully submit that in the proclamation by which their arrest is sought to be justified, there is no allegation of any matter or thing which, if sworn to in proper form of law, would authorize the issuing of process against them by any judicial tribunal.

If they were so unfortunate as to place an erroneous construction upon the first proclamation of General Banks, as he alleges, they are not aware of any statute of the United States, which renders such a mistake a penal offense.

If it be a crime on their part to regard as illegal and wholly null the attempted suspension by a Federal officer of their functions as constituted authorities of the State of Maryland, they have been unable to learn by what provisions of the Constitution and laws such an offense is created or defined.

If they are lawfully punishable for holding subject to their orders a police force which the laws of Maryland made it their duty so to hold, and for refusing to recognize as public officers of Maryland the appointees of General Banks, whom they are bound under the laws of Maryland to prosecute as offenders for attempting to exercise police functions, they are at a loss to conceive under what head of the penal law such criminality on their part exists. They mean no improper reflection when they assert their belief that no law officer of the Government would venture to ask for a warrant upon an affidavit of the facts recited in the proclamation of July 1, and that no competent tribunal