War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0576 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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[Inclosure Numbers 4.]


Fort McHenry, May 26, 1861.

Honorable ROGER B. TANEY,

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,

Baltimore, Md.

SIR: The undersigned to whom the annexed writ of this date signed by Thomas Spicer, clerk of the Supreme County of the United States, is directed most respectfully states that the arrest of Mr. John Merryman in the said writ named was not made with his knowledge or by his order or direction but was made by Colonel Samuel Yohe acting under the orders of Major General William H. Keim, both of said officers being in the military service of the United States but no within the limits of his command. The prisoner was brought to this post on the 25th instant by Adjt. James Miltimore and Lieutenant William H. Abel by order of Colonel Yohe, and is charged with various acts of treason and with being publicly associated with and holding a commission as lieutenant in a company having in their possession arms belonging to the United States and avowing his purpose of armed hostility against the Government. He is also informed thatit can be clarly established that the prisoner has made open and unreserved eclarations of his association with this organized force; as being in avowed hostility to the Goverment and in readiness to co-operate with those engaged in the present rebellion against the Government of the United States.

He has further inform you that he is duly authorized by the President of the United States in such cases to suspend the writ of habeas corpsu for the public safety. This is a high and delicate trust and it has been enjoined upon him that it should be executed with judgment and discretion but he is neverthelesss also instructed that in times of civil strife errors if any should be on the side of safety to the country. He most respectfully submits for your consideration that those who should co-operate in the present trying and painful position in which our country is placed should not by reason of any unnecessary want of confidence in each other increase our embarrassments. He therefore respectfully requests that you will postpone further action upon this case until he can receive instructions from the President of the United States when you shall hear further from him.

I have the honor to be, with high respect, your obedient servant,


Brevet Major-General, U. S. Army, Commanding.


Washington, May 28, 1861.

Bvt. Major General G. CADWALADER, U. S. Army,

Commanding Department of Annapolis, Baltimore, Md.

GENERAL: Your letter of the 27th instant with inclosures reporting the arrest of John Merryman and the issue by Chief Justice Taney of a writ of habeas corpus in his case has been received.

The general-in-chief directs me to say under authority conferred upon him by the President of the United States and fully transferred to you that you will hold in secure confinement all persons implicated in treasonable practices unless you should become satisfied that the arrest in any particular case was made without sufficient evidence of guilt.