the open enemy in the field. Their crime was not committed against individuals merely, but directly against the military authority of the nation, and whether viewed as a domestic insurrection en rapport with the rebellion, or as a vindictive and treasonable assault upon the soldiery to whom the suppression of that rebellion is intrusted, their act must be regarded as one of momentous public importance, and in the fullest sense a great military crime.
Moreover, it is to be remarked that these prisoners have been for four months in confinement, and that a writ of habeas corpus, issue by the U. S. circuit court, requiring them to be delivered up to the civil authorities, has been disregarded, and the prisoners retained in the hands of the military by the express order of the President. The Government would seem, therefore, to have committed itself to a prompt and special adjudication of their cases as those of offenders against military law.
In regard to Shelborne, it may be said that testimony other than that at present submitted may probably be obtained by the judge-advocate, to the effect that this man personally participated in the riot, but in the absence of such evidence both he and Hardwicke may be brought to trial upon a separate charge of violation of the laws of war in illegally imprisoning a soldier of the United States.
It remains only to add that, though many of the more prominent actors in this bloody revolt have thus far escaped, they should be deemed as public enemies, and if the capture of any of them be hereafter consummated by the military authorities, that they should be brought to immediately trial with a view to their summary punishment in case of conviction by a military court.
The names of those alluded to are as follows: John H. O'Hair, James O'Hair, Jessee O'Hair, Henderson O'Hair, B. F. Toland, Ellsbury Hanks, Benjamin Dukes, B. F. Williams, John Frazier, Robert McLain, Robert Winkler, Alexander Rodgers, Calvin Rice, Joseph Carter.
With these may also be included as present and concerned with the foregoing in the assault and riot: Young E. Winkler, G. W. Toland, George Thomas, Dick Robinson, Harry Ray, John Cooper, James Houck,
A. A. HOSMER,
Major and Acting Judge-Advocate-General.
To His Excellency A. LINCOLN,
President of the United States.
[Indorsement Numbers 1.]
NOVEMBER 4, 1864.
Let these prisoners be sent back to Coles County, Ill., those indicted be surrendered to the sheriff of said county, and the others be discharged.
[Indorsement Numbers 2.]
November 5, 1864.
Referred to the Adjutant-General to cause the execution of the order of the President.
By order of the Secretary of War:
C. A. DANA,
Assistant Secretary of War.