War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0078 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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country military occupied, or in which war is actually waged this line may vary according to the particular circumstances of the case. Thus, robbery, theft, arson, murder, &c., are ordinarily offenses cognizable by the civil courts, but they may also become military offenses, cognizable by military tribunals. It is a well-established principle that non-combatant inhabitant of a country military occupied, who robs military stores and munitions, burns store-houses, bridges, &c., used for military purposes, or, as military insurgent, bears arms and taken life, may be tried and punished by a military court. Against, in a section of country where there are no regularly constituted civil authorities, or where such authorities are suspended for disloyalty, offenses not ordinarily cognizable by military courts nuts be tried by such tribunals or allowed to go unpunished. The good of society as well as the safety of the Army requires that crimes should not to unpunished, and where they cannot be taken cognizable of by one class of tribunals they must be by another.

Starting from these general principles, there will be no serious difficulty in assigning each case that may arise to a proper tribunal for adjuration. And if you and Governor Johnson (as I have no doubt you will) act together in harmony, and with an eye single to the general good, there need be no serious conflict of authority in Tennessee.

You are both laboring for no selfish or personal objects, but for the accomplishment of the same great and patriotic purpose - the redemption of Tennessee from the oppression of the Confederate oligarchy, and the restoration of her loyal citizens to the rights which they have heretofore enjoyed under the Constitution, and protection which is afforded to persons and property by the glorious flag of the Union. A few words upon military courts, and I must close this communication.

Courts-martial, as you must be aware, are courts of special and limited jurisdiction under the Rules and Articles of War, both with regard to persons and offenses. They cannot take jurisdiction of persons or cognizance of offenses not specially authorized by those rules and articles. But the laws of the United States, as well as the military usages of other countries, recognize courts of general military jurisdiction under the common law of war. Such tribunals are with us denominated "military commissions." They have a general jurisdiction under the common law of war, and can try and punish all military offenses not cognizable by courts-martial.

There are no status regulating the constitution of these military tribunals, but it is generally agreed that where possible they should be constituted in the same manner and their proceedings be regulated by the same rules as general courts-martial.

I should add that experience has proved that all matters of local police should be left to the civil authorities, and that provost- marshals should be charged only with matters of military police, and that their powers should be confined within narrow limits. This is necessary in order to avoid serious abuses of power.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



P. S.- Since writing the above the Secretary of war suggests that, as Governor Johnson is a brigadier-general of volunteers, it might he well to place him in command of the troops in Nashville, and thus harmonize the civil and military authorities there.

H. W. H.