And such report was expressed in the following terms:
BUREAU OF MILITARY JUSTICE, May 2, 1865.
Respectfully returned with report that the testimony which has been under consideration by this Bureau indicates that Jefferson Davis, George N. Sanders, Beverly Tucker, Jacob Thompson, William C. Cleary, and Clement C. Clay were in complicity with the assassins and their accomplices who committed the crimes referred to.
I have now to state that the testimony alluded to as having been "under consideration by this Bureau" and as "indicating" the complicity of the parties enumerated was principally that of Richard Montgomery and Dr. James B. Merritt. This testimony had not, it is believed, been at the date mentioned formally embodied in depositions, and for the reason, no doubt, that it was desired that every precaution should be taken to protect the witnesses from such personal risk or danger as might ensue upon their names becoming known. The testimony, therefore, was not at the date of the proclamation technically "on file" in this Bureau. It had, however, been fully communicated to me in all its details, not only through the officers of theGovernment in whose charge the witnesses then were but by the parties themselves in repeated interviews. As thus made known to me it formed the basis for the judgment submitted in my said report to May 2, and also for the verbal opinion expressed by me to the President prior to the issuing of the proclamation, and subsequently repeated in a deposition give by me before the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, to the effect that by this testimony at least a prima facie case of complicity in the assassination was made out against the parties named.
The statements of Montgomery and Merritt, as thus laid before me and reported upon, were substantially the same as those made by them shortly afterward as witnesses upon the trial of the assassins. Copies of their testimony transcribed from the record of the trial are accordingly herewith transmitted in compliance with the direction contained in your note.*
I have further to state that the evidence of Montgomery and Merritt was strongly corroborated by that of sundry other witnesses introduced upon the trial, to wit, by George B. Hutchinson, Hosea B. Carter, Henry Finegas, John Deveny, Samuel K. Chester, Robert A. Campbell, Lewis F. Bates, Henry von Steinacker, and some others whose testimony is to be found faithfully reported between pages 37 and 47 in the publication of the record compiled by Benn Pitman and authorized by the Government. The examination of these witnesses preliminary to the trial was chiefly conducted by the Assistant Secretary of War and other officers at the War Department, and I am now unable consideration by this Bureau as early as the date of my report of May 2, of that year. It is proper to remark that the evidence of the witness Merritt in regard to the presence of C. C. Clay, jr., in Canada at or about the time mentioned by him in his testimony, and afterward, has since the trial been abundantly confirmed by quite a number of persons whose depositions, taken at this Bureau and in Canada, have already been communicated by me to the Secretary of War in official reports.
*Inclosures not found, but see the "Trial of the Conspirators," compiled by Benn Pitman and published by authority of the Secretary of War, pp. 24, 26, 28, 35, 37.
62 R R - SERIES II, VOL VIII