War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0493 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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maiming and laceration by dogs, by every brutality and by every neglect-the chiefs of the rebel confederacy, the instigators and leaders of the rebellion, should be held responsible; and for these they will be held responsible by the judgment of history and by the abhorrence of the civilized world.

It is to be added that in this case, also, the complicity of the rebel Executive in the crimes of the accused was declared by the court in its findings.

This report cannot well be closed without its bearing testimony to the worth and efficiency of military commissions as judicial tribunals in time of war, as illustrated by these two trials.

These commissions, originating in the necessities of the rebellion, had been proved by the experience of three years indispensable for the punishment of public crimes in regions where other courts had ceased to exist, and in cases of which the local criminal courts could not legally take cognizance, or which, by reason of intrinsic defects of machinery, they were incompetent to pass upon. These tribunals had long been a most powerful and efficacious instrumentality in the hands of the Executive for the bringing to justice of a large class of malefactors in the service or interest of the rebellion, who otherwise would have altogether escaped punishment; and it had indeed become apparent that without their agency the rebellion could hardly, in some quarters, have been suppressed. So conspicuous had the importance of these commissions and the necessity for their continuance become that the highest civil courts of the country had recognized them as a part of the military judicial system of the Government, and Congress by repeated legislation had confirmed their authority and indeed extended their jurisdiction.

But it was not until the two cases under consideration came on to be tried by the military commission that its highest excellence was exhibited. It was not merely in that it was unincumbered by the technicalities and inevitable embarrassments attending the administration of justice before civil tribunals, or in the fact that it couail itself of the military power of the Government for the execution of its processes and the enforcement of its orders, that its efficacy (though in these directions most conspicuous) was chiefly illustrated. It was rather in th which it could give to its investigation, and in the wide scope which it could cover by testimony, that its practical and pre- eminent use and service were displayed. It was by means of this freedom of view and inquiry that the element of conspiracy, which gave to these cases so startling a significance, was enabled to be traced and exposed, and that the fact that the infamous crimes which appeared in proof were fruits borne by the rebellion and authorized by its head was published to the community and to the world. By no other species of tribunal and by no other known mode of judicial inquiry could this result have been so successfully attained; and it may truly be said that without the aid and agency of the military commission one of the most important chapters in the annals of the rebellion would have been lost to history, and the most complete and reliable disclosure of its inner and real life, alike treacherous and barbaric, would have failed to be developed.

It is due not only to the late President, who, as Commander-in- Chief, unhesitatingly employed this tribunal in the suppression of crimes connected with the rebellion, but to the heads of the military