an execution which he held against him. Besides, the pending prosecutions for both of these offenses were instituted after the defendant's capture at Nicholas Court-House in July, 1862.
At the December term, 1862, the indictment for treason was demurred to upon the ground that, if treason at all, it was treason against the Confederacy and not against the State of Virginia.
The prisoner's counsel were then anxious and the court was then ready (as it stated) to decide the demurrer but, at the instance of the counsel for the Commonwealth, that decision was deferred until the ensuing term of the court, and the demurrer is still pending.
The indictment for burning the Cow Pasture bridge and the other seven indictments for stealing horses, grain, and other property (which we claim to have been impressed instead of stolen)-all of these the Commonwealth was ready and proposed to try in December, 1862. To this we objected, and these cases were continued, on the motion of the counsel for the prisoner, for two reasons:
First . Because, if innocent of the treason (or which is the same thing, if legally in the military service and employment of the United States) he could not be guilty of the overt acts relied upon as constituting that treason, and which would then be legitimate acts of regular war, instead of arson or larceny in a legal sense.
Second. Because, if forced into a trial of these offenses we were without any evidence as to the handwriting of Colonel Crook and other officers, in order to show the prisoner's connection, either as provost-marshal or otherwise, with the Northern Army, and that in burning the bridge and impressing property he acted in a military capacity and in pursuance to the command of his superior officer.
This is my recollection of the facts as they occurred in court. If I am wrong the learned counsel upon both sides or his honor (Judge Hudson) will not doubt be able to set me right.
There appears to be a general misapprehension as to the present legal status of the defendant, which a more general acquaintance with the facts would perhaps remove.
Attorney for William P. Rucker.
I must throw myself on your indulgence and beg you to overlook the error of my copyist in writing on both side of sheet.
OCTOBER, 5, 1863.
I see no benefit that could result to the Government from the publication of this communication. Mr. H. may be discharging only a duty to his client, but I am to consider only the effect on the Government, and in that view the publication can do no good and may prove mischievous.
J. A. SEDDON,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Numbers 162.
Cincinnati, Ohio, September 25, 1863.
Paragraph I, General Orders, Numbers 126 [August 8], current series,* from these headquarters, is revoked, to date August 17 last.
The following+ in regard to the same subject is republished for the information and guidance of all.
*See p. 190.
+See General Orders, Numbers 286, August 17, p. 212.