War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0791 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION.

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1862. To these charges the prisoner pleaded to the jurisdiction of the court on the ground that he was at the time of the commission of the several offenses charged a citizen and subject of the United States and in their military service, and that he was while so in their military service taken a prison of war by the Confederate States and that as such prisoner of war he is not liable to indictment and prosecution by a State court for any of the said offenses. To this plea the Common wealth objected and after a very elaborate argument the court rejected the said plea as insufficient. A further plea in abatement was tendered and rejected and then the prisoner pleaded not guilty to all the indictments except in the case of treason. In the case of treason the prisoner, his pleas to jurisdiction and in abatement having been overruled, demurred to the indictment. His demurrer was in some respects to matters of form which were unimportant and of no consequence to the main question. But he demurred principally upon the ground that the war in which we are engaged is a war between the United States and the Confederate States, and that the act of the prisoner in levying war the public enemy, giving them aid and comfort, was treason against the Confederate States and not against the State of Virginia. This ground of demurrer goes not to the form of the proceeding but is of the gist of the prosecution.

On count is not liable to the objection. Some of the overt acts of levying war and adhering to the enemy in other counts are not open to the objection but many of them are so liable. I desire to argue the point with due care and after ample preparation; n.

The cases will continue over until the spring term when I hope to be able to dispose of them.

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


PETERSBURG, VA., December 22, 1862.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War C. S. A., Richmond, Va.

SIR: I represent to you the case of Charles A. J. Collins. He was a citizen of Prince George County, Va., and a constituent of mine as State senator. He was arrested by military orders on or about the 10th of July, 1862. He was put in the jail until about the its instant when he was sent a prisoner to Salisbury, N. c., where he is still confined. I do not know why he was arrested, but have reason to believe that he is not guilty of any act of disloyalty. But this I can knowingly represent, to wit, that he was a civilian at the time of his arrest and so remains of course, in no way attached to the army, and is denied not only a speedy trial but any trial at all, for the authorities are ordered not to subject civilians to trial by courts-martial (see General Cooper's letter to General French under date November 21,* 1862), and he is not delivered over to the civil authority to be tried. I do therefore most respectfully and with the solemn earnestness which it seems to me every lover of civil liberty should, may must, participate in and affectionately appreciate apply to you or to the President, if he alone is competent, to order the military commanders in whose custody the said Collins is to deliver him over to the civil magistracy of Prince George County where he was arrested.


*See Vol. IV, this Series, p. 950.