their appearance above the screens to withdraw at once, and if they persisted in disregarding this warning, to fire upon them.
On the 25th of May, Hardcastle and a prisoner named Pleantoding inside the screen (and therefore outside the wall of the prison), and were leaning over the top in full view of the street. Their appearance in this position being in direct contravention of the rules and discipline of the prison, and calculated to excite disorder on the street, they were repeatedly and in civil language admonished by the sentry, Chapman, to withdraw. Instead of so doing, they remained and commenced to argue with the sentry as to their rights. At this juncture Mr. Wood, the superintendent, passed by, and at once called the attention of the prisoners to the impropriety of their behavior, and urged their complying with the directions of the sentry, who, as he explained to them, had no discretion but to execute the orders which had been given him by his officer. Mr. Wood added that, were he in the sentry's place, he should (under the circumstances of the president refusal to retire on the part of the prisoners) enforce his commands by firing upon them. It is further shown that about this time the "officer of the key," attached to the prison, went to the door of the room in which Hardcastle and Pleantonton were confined and admonished them of the danger to which they were subjecting themselves by their conduct. The prisoners notwithstanding these repeated warnings refused or neglected to retire within the screen, whereupon the sentry discharged his piece and Hardcastle was mortally wounded, so that he died in a few minutes. It would appear, though it is not certainly established, that the sentry in firing aimed his piece at Pleasonton. The latter is alleged to have used insulting language in his disregard of the directions of the latter. It further appears that prior to the occurrence of May 25, Hardcastle had repeatedly disobeyed the orders both of Mr. Wood and his subordinates by conduct similar to that which has been described, and by communicating from above the screen with persons outside, and moreover, that ever since the commencement of his imprisonment he had been in the hearing the rules prescribed for the government of the prison. It is represented in fact by Mr. Wood, that Hardcastle had, in conjunction with one James, become so regardless of discipline as to render it necessary to place them both in close confinement. It was not until James had been sent to Richmond for exchange that Hardcastle was removed to the room which he occupied at the time of his death.
Under all the facts as they appear in evidence, it is submitted that the life of Hardcastle cannot justly be held to have fallen a sacrifice to a "rough and numerical system of prison discipline," but rather to have been forfeited by the persistent neglect to observe a necessary and salutary rule established in the prison (with his full knowledge), and after repeated warnings of the probable and legitimate consequences of his behavior in this regard. And it is conceived therefore that neither the sentry, who in firing obeyed the orders of his officer, nor the inferior officer who imparted these orders, nor the superior who issued them in the first instance, can be deemed responsible in any way for Hardcastle's death. Nor is it necessary to excuse the rule in question on the ground of the unsuitableness or the overcrowded state of the prison. Such rule or a similar one would have been found necessary in any military prison similarly situated. It is represented that these screens allowed ample light and ventilation for the rooms, so that there could have been nothing to complain of in their erection, except