War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0576 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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places within this department. There is no party, no community, no State government, no State legislative body, no corporation or body of men that have the power to inaugurate a war policy that has the validity of law and power but the constituted authorities of the Government of the United States and I am determined to support their policy. If the people do not approve that policy they can change the constitutionally authorities of that Government at the proper time and by the proper method. Let them freely discuss the policy in a proper tone, but my duty requires me to stop license and intemperate discussion, which tends to weaken the authority of the Government and Army. Whilst the latter is in the presence of the enemy it is cowardly so to weaken it. This license could not be used in our camps; the man would be torn in pieces who would attempt it. There is no fear of the people losing their liberties. We all know that to be the cry of demagogues and none but the ignorant will listen to it. All intelligent men know that our people are too far advanced in the scale of religion, civilization, education and freedom to allow any power on earth to interfere with their liberties; but this same advancement in these great characteristics of our people teaches them to make all offices for their country when an emergency requires. They will support the constituted authorities of the Government whether they agree with them or not. Indeed the Army itself is a part of the people, and is so thoroughly educated in the love of civil liberty which is the best guaranty for the permanence of our republican institutions that it would itself be the first to oppose any attempt to continue the exercise of military authority after the establishment of peace by the overthrow of the rebellion. No man on earth can lead our citizen soldiery to the establishment of a military despotism and no man living would have the folly to attempt it. To do so would be to seal his own doom. On this point there can be no ground for apprehension on the part of the people.

It is said that we can have peace if we lay down our arms. All sensible men know this to be untrue. Were it so ought we to be so cowardly as to lay them down until the authority of the Government is acknowledged?

I beg to call upon the fathers, mothers, brothers, sons, daughters, relatives, friends and neighbors of the soldiers in the field to aid me in stopping this license and intemperate discussion which is discouraging our armies, weakening the hands of the Government and thereby strengthening the enemy. If we use our honest efforts God will bless us with a glorious peace and a united country. If we use our honest shade of opinion have the same vital interest in the suppression of this rebellion, for should we fail in the task the dread horrors of a ruined and distracted nation will fall alike on all whether patriots or traitors.

These are substantially my reasons for issuing General Orders, Numbers 38, my reasons for the determination to enforce it and also my reasons for the arrest of Honorable C. L. Vallandigham for a supposed violation of that order for which he has been tried. The result of that trial is now in my hands.

In enforcing this order I can be unanimously sustained by the people or I can be opposed by factions, bad men. In the former event quietness will prevail; in the latter event the responsibility and retribution will attach to the men who resist the authority and the neighborhoods that allow it.

All of which is respectfully submitted.


Major-General, Commanding Department of the Ohio.


LEAVITT, J., delivered the following opinion:

This case is before the court on the petition of Clement L. Vallandigham, a citizen of Ohio, alleging that he was unlawfully arrested at his home in Dayton, in this State, on the night of the 5th of May instant, by a detachment of soldiers of the Army of the United States acting under the orders of Ambrose E. Burnside, a major-general in the Army of the United States, and brought against his will to the city of Cincinnati where he has been subjected to a trial before a military commission and is still detained in custody and restrained of his liberty. The petitioner also avers that he is not in the land or naval service of the United States and has not been called into active service in the militia of any State, and that his arrest, detention and trial as set forth in his petition are illegal and in violation of the Constitution of the United States. The prayer is that a writ of habeas corpus may issue requiring General Burnside to produce the body of the petitioner before this