War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0493 EARLY EVENTS IN MISSOURI, ETC.

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Question. Were there any other persons at Wellsville that night besides the company to which you belonged? If so who were they?

Answer. I didn't see anybody else there but citizens. Don't know who they were but must have been citizens because they were there.

Question. Where was your post while on guard?

Answer. It was right in front of the store.

Question. How far is store from depot and in what direction?

Answer. It is about 100 yards south I think.


Question. If your station as guard was right in front of the store as you say why did yougo 100 yards out of town?

Answer. That was after the goods were taken.

Question. If you were directed by the captain to guard the goods taken and did nothing else as you say how happened it that you went back to the town when the depot was burning?

Answer. I did not go back.

Question. Was your company mounted or on foot and how many were there?

Answer. Some on horses some on foot. There were between 50 and 100.

The prisoner submits to the court the following statement:

I, J. H. Norris, of Callaway County, and now on trial before a military commission at saint Louis on oath depose and say that during the night of the 20th of December last I was at home in Callaway County with my family. The night was cold and I stayed with my two children, one of the age of five and the other seven years. I was called up to go with Meyers' company but got excused on account of my family. My wife is dead. I had nothing whatever to go with the burning of the Wellsville depot or any of the depredations committed there on the night of the 20th of December last upon the railroad or elsewhere. I avow my loyalty and am ready to take the oath of allegiance to the United States and would be glad to go home and take care of my family and lead a peaceable life and be a good citizen. I submit the accompanying statement by way of comment on the testimony in the case.

The prisoner submits to the court the following points:

First. TCaptain Sharp shows the crowd at the depot at 1. 30 o'clock but the building was not fired for an hour or more. In the meantime the prisoner was not seen there; not claimed to be seen until after the depot was in full blaze. The fact that he was there after the depot was fired is not evidence that he was there before or that he had any hand on destroying he property. It may raise the suspicion that he was there at the firing of the building but it is not evidene on which to find a party guilty of a high crime. The only evidence against the prisoner is that which tends to show his presence after the offense charged against him was committed.

Second. But the witnesses are mistaken as to his presence at all. In the darkness and excitement his cousin William Norris was mistaken for the prisoner. Reed gave so little attention to the matter that he cannot say whether the party he took for the prisoner was on foot or horseback. His acquaintance with the prisoner was very slight and his testimony should be wholly disregarded.

Sharp is equally mistaken. He had his own affairs to look after and was doutless under high excitement and liable to the same mistake as Reed.