War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0100 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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FORT LAFAYETTE, N. Y. Harbor, July 10, 1863.


Solicitor of the War Department, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: Your letter of the 9th instant and telegraph of this date have been received, and in reply I would respectfully say that the case for which the attachment has been issued against me is that of the Baltimore police commissioners, which was before the courts nearly two years ago. It has been revived by Algernon R. Wood, Gideon J. Tucker, and J. C. Van Loon, lawyers of Brooklyn. F. J. Dallon, also a lawyer of Brooklyn, accompanied the sheriff of Kings County when he came to Fort Hamilton to arrest me on yesterday. I inclose a slip cut from the Herald and one from the Brooklyn Eagle which will bring the case before you.

Mr. Wood has been very officious and troublesome in this matter, therefore I would most respectfully request the President to cause the arrest of these parties and send them to Key West.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Commanding Fort.

[Inclosure Numbers 1. - Extract from Brooklyn Eagle, Friday evening, July 10.]


It will be remembered that two years ago Colonel Burke, at present commandant at Fort Hamilton, was instructed by the authorities at Washington to resist the execution of a writ of habeas corpus issued out by the county court of Kings County on behalf of the Baltimore police commissioners, who were then confined in Fort Lafayette by order of the Government. At that time the military power of the State was wielded by the Republican party, who took no steps to have the legal authority of the State respected by the General Government, and there the matter was allowed to rest until the counsel in the case made application to the county court a short time ago for an alias attachment to compel the appearance in said court of Colonel Burke to show cause why he set the laws of the sovereign State of New York at defiance. Judge Garrison, after a careful examination of the points involved in the case, issued, on the 7th instant, the following, and placed it in the hands of the sheriff for execution:

The People of the State of New York to the Sheriff of the County of Kings:

We command you, as we before commanded you, forthwith to apprehend and attach Colonel Martin Burke, of Fort Hamilton, in the said county of Kings, and to bring him immediately before our county judge of the said county, at the chambers of the said county court, in the city hall, in the city of Brooklyn, to answer for his contempt it not obeying a certain writ of habeas corpus to him directed and on him duly served on the relation of Algernon R. Wood, and have you then there this writ of attachment.

Witness, the Honorable Samuel Garrison, county judge of our said county of Kings, at the city hall, in the said city of Brooklyn, this 7th day of July, 1863.


County Judge.



JOHN C. VAN LOON, Attorney for Relator.

To the above writ the following return was made by the sheriff yesterday afternoon:

BROOKLYN, July 9, 1863.

I return to the written writ of attachment that I am unable to arrest the within Colonel Martin Burke, as within, commandant of Fort Lafayette and Fort Hamilton. I