A Book With No Credibility–Chapter Three

In Chapter Three, Adams stoops to new lows.  He compares Lincoln to Julius Caesar and claims, “the killing of a tyrant was a patriotic act, a belief held by both the Romans and the Greeks.  John Booth felt that way about Lincoln.”  [p. 36]  Let’s see what really happened.  On April 11, 1865, Lincoln gave what proved to be his last public address.  In that address, Lincoln publicly supported giving the vote to some African-American men.  This is what led Booth to decide to murder Abraham Lincoln.  “Lincoln’s address on April 11 triggered Booth’s shift from thought to action.  In the crowd outside the White House that evening, he heard the President recommend suffrage for blacks who were educated or had served in the Union armies.  ‘That means n—– citizenship,’ the actor muttered, and he vowed, ‘That is the last speech he will ever make.’  He urged Lewis Paine to shoot the President on the spot.  When Paine refused, Booth turned in disgust to his other companion, David Herold, and exclaimed, ‘By God, I’ll put him through.’ ”  [David H. Donald, Lincoln, p. 588]  Adams lied again.

Adams continues, “After the attack on Fort Sumter, Lincoln assumed dictatorial powers.”  Quite obviously, this is false also.  Let’s go into it a bit more.

Adams says, “He circumvented his constitutional duty to call Congress in times of emergency by delaying the meeting for almost three months.  In the meantime, he made the decisions, which, according to the Constitution, the Congress should have made.  The first thing he did was to call out the militia from the states to put down what he said was an insurrection in the South.  Even assuming this to be true, it is the duty of Congress to make such a decision according to Article 1, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution:  ‘The Congress shall have the power … To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppressing Insurrections and repel Invasions.’ ”  [pp. 36-37]  Here Adams shows himself to be stupid.

Congress did provide for calling forth the Militia with the Militia Acts of 1792 and 1795.  The Militia Act of 1795 replaced the Act of 1792.

Section 2 of the Act of 1795 covers rebellion and an insurrection involving a state against the United States:  “Sec. 2.  And be it further enacted, That whenever the laws of the United States shall be opposed, or the execution thereof obstructed, in any state, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by this act, it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, to call forth the militia of such state, or of any other state or states, as may be necessary to suppress such combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed; and the use of the militia so to be called forth may be continued, if necessary, until the expiration of thirty days after the commencement of the then next session of Congress.

“Sec. 3.  Provided always, and be it further enacted, That whenever it may be necessary, in the judgment of the President, to use the military force hereby directed to be called forth, the President shall forthwith, by proclamation, command such insurgents to disperse, and retire peaceably to their respective abodes, within a limited time.” [SAL 1:424]

So the Congress provided for calling up the militia by giving the President the authority to do so.

But do you know what?  Adams himself then brings up the Militia Act of 1795:

“Lincoln, through his secretary of state, called out the militia of twenty-four states, using as authority a 1795 act of Congress that gave the president authority to do so, providing that the authority would cease thirty days after the beginning of the next session of Congress.  In other words, it was a temporary measure in the case of an emergency, to be ruled on by Congress as the Constitution requires.  With the craft of an attorney, Lincoln delayed calling Congress for almost three months, in effect giving him four months to operate his military forces without any determination by the Congress.  By then, he had the war in full operation, and the Congress could do little else than sanction his caesarian acts.”  [p. 38]

Adams is lying again,  He indicates here that he is aware of the 1795 Act which gave the President the authority to call out the militia, yet previously he had said only the Congress had that authority.  Secondly, he fails to say that Lincoln didn’t have to call the Congress into session by the Constitution.  The Act requires only that the militia can be used “until the expiration of thirty days after the commencement of the then next session of Congress.”  Congress was next scheduled to meet in December of 1861.  Instead of waiting until then, Lincoln called the Congress into session on July 4, 1861.  July 4 has a special significance in the United States, as Adams pretends to be unaware.

Additionally, we’re talking about basically untrained men.  It takes time to train those men.  Lincoln also had other considerations:  “Would it be wise to call Congress into session immediately?  Would Washington, nestled between Virginia and Maryland–two Slave States that might well secede–be a safe place for senators and representatives to gather?  In late March, one observer in the District of Columbia predicted ‘that the chances are that Virginia will go out and take the capital with her;–that as matters stand the chances are that the next Congress of the U.S. will not meet in Washington.

“Lincoln had been resisting appeals by businessmen and New York newspapers to call a special session of Congress.  They argued that legislation was needed authorizing the collection of revenues offshore and that the Morrill Tariff Act must be modified to help replenish depleted federal coffers.  Lincoln hesitated in part because elections for U.S. Representatives had not taken place in several states, including Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina, all of which were scheduled to choose congressmen in August; Virginia was to do so in May.  (In that era, not all states held congressional elections in November of even-numbered years.)  Some argued that a special session could not be held before those August elections.  Eighty-one members of the House had yet to be chosen, including twenty-six from the seceded states and forty-one from the Upper South and Border States (Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina.)”  [Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln:  A Life, Volume 2, p. 133]

Adams then claims, “Six of the governors saw through this subterfuge, refused his call for troops, and rebuked his constitutional gamesmanship.”  [p. 38]  These six governors were the six secessionist governors of the upper south and border states–Letcher of Virginia, Ellis of North Carolina, Magoffin of Kentucky, Harris of Tennessee, Rector of Arkansas, and Jackson of Missouri.  These secessionists did refuse the call for militia, but not because it was illegal, but because they wanted to join the rebellion.  Four of these states would join the rebellion.  The other two had stars in the confederate flag.

Adams now contradicts himself again.  After having claimed Lincoln had no authority to call out the militia, then saying the Act of 1795 gave Lincoln the authority to call out the militia, Adams changes his mind once more:  “If Lincoln had respected the provision in the Constitution that puts the power of calling out the militia with the Congress and not the president on his own, who knows what would have happened?”  [p. 39]  As shown above, the Militia Act of 1795 gave the President the authority to call out the militia.  But could he do so on his own?

In 1827, the US Supreme Court ruled:

“Is the President the sole and exclusive judge whether the exigency has arisen, or is it to be considered as an open question, upon which every officer to whom the orders of the President are addressed, may decide for himself, and equally open to be contested by every militia-man who shall refuse to obey the orders of the President? We are all of opinion, that the authority to decide whether the exigency has arisen, belongs exclusively to the President, and that his decision is conclusive upon all other persons. We think that this construction necessarily results from the nature of the power itself, and from the manifest object contemplated by the act of Congress. The power itself is to be exercised upon sudden emergencies, upon great occasions of state, and under circumstances which may be vital to the existence of the Union. A prompt and unhesitating obedience to orders is indispensable to the complete attainment of the object. The service is a military service, and the command of a military nature; and in such cases, every delay, and every obstacle to an efficient and immediate compliance, necessarily tend to jeopard the public interests.”  [25 U.S. 19, 29-30]

Adams writes, “Under the Constitution, it is the duty of the president to call the Congress into session during ‘extraordinary occasions.’  Sumter, like Pearl Harbor, was such an occasion.  Why didn’t Lincoln follow the commands of the Constitution and call the Congress forthwith?  Why did he, on 15 April 1861, call Congress to meet almost three months later in July?  And then only after he had driven the nation headlong into war?”  [p. 39]  We’ve dealt with this piece of ignorance on Adams’ part above.  The Constitution doesn’t require the President to call the Congress into session.  Adams then writes this lie:  “Obviously, he did not want Congress to get involved–did not want the Constitution to get involved.  Lincoln was assuming all the powers of a dictator.”  [p. 39]    As we see, this statement is merely asinine.

Compounding his ignorance and stupidity, Adams writes, “Within less than a week after Sumter, Lincoln ordered the blockade of Southern ports.  A blockade is an act of war, requiring Congressional resolution.  On April 21, he ordered the navy to buy five warships, an appropriations act requiring Congressional approval.  On April 27, he started suspending the privilege of habeas corpus, in effect just about nullifying every civil liberty of every citizen.”  [p. 39]

I dealt with habeas corpus here.  Adams’ moronic claim that it “just about” nullified “every civil liberty of every citizen” is complete idiocy.  The Supreme Court considered the blockade proclamation in The Prize Cases.  In ruling the President was well within his authority to order the blockade, the Court said, “This greatest of civil wars was not gradually developed by popular commotion, tumultuous assemblies, or local unorganized insurrections.  However long may have been its previous conception, it nevertheless sprung forth suddenly from the parent brain, a Minerva in the full panoply of war.  The President was bound to meet it in the shape it presented itself, without waiting for Congress to baptize it with a name; and no name given to it by him or them could change the fact.

“It is not the less a civil war, with belligerent parties in hostile array, because it may be called an ‘insurrection’ by one side, and the insurgents be considered as rebels or traitors.  It is not necessary that the independence of the revolted province or State be acknowledged in order to constitute it a party belligerent in a war according to the law of nations.  Foreign nations acknowledge it as war by a declaration of neutrality.  The condition of neutrality cannot exist unless there be two belligerent parties.”  [67 US 635:668-669]  As to the adding of ships and military forces, Congress ratified Lincoln’s acts when they met in July.

Adams continues, “Soon thereafter he started shutting down newspapers that were not supportive of the war on the South.”  [p. 39]

James G. Randall deals rather effectively with the newspaper situation in his book, Constitutional Problems Under Lincoln.

According to Randall, “A striking fact concerning the subject of journalistic activity during the Civil War was the lack of any real censorship.”  [p. 481]

The fact is that military secrets were published by newspapers:  “The location of Grant’s guns secretly placed against Vicksburg in 1863 was published; his proposed concentration upon City Point in July, 1864 was revealed; Sherman’s objectives in his Georgia march and the disposition of his various corps were proclaimed; full details concerning the land and sea expedition against Wilmington, NC, in December, 1864, were supplied. Northern newspapers practically functioned as Confederate spies in Union camps, for copies of these journals were easily obtained by Southern generals.”  [pp. 486-487]

In the case of shutting down newspapers, Randall tells us, “Where the activities of a newspaper produced too grave a menace, it sometimes happened that the newspaper itself was ‘suppressed,’ which usually meant that by military action its publication was temporarily suspended.  Cases in which this drastic method of press control was applied were fairly numerous, although it is also true that throughout the war the most flagrant disloyalty was suffered to continue in many prominent papers.”  [p. 492]

“When one contemplates the full result of a loose policy toward newspapers during war, the case for some form of news control becomes a convincing one.  The American Civil War presents a significant field for study in this connection, for the double reason that a period of remarkably keen journalistic enterprise coincided with a time of laxity in the matter of press control.  Acting under no effective governmental restraint, the newspapers of the North, though in many ways deserving of admiration, undoubtedly did the national cause serious injury by continually revealing military information, undermining confidence in the management of public affairs, and giving undue publicity to the virtues of ambitious generals and the sensational features of the war.”  [James G. Randall, “The Newspaper Problem in its Bearing Upon Military Secrecy During the Civil War,” American Historical Review, Vol XXIII, No. 2, January, 1918, p. 303]

Randall details several instances where Northern newspapers revealed highly sensitive military information regarding movements of troops, objectives, locations of guns, types of defenses, size of troop formations, etc.  Indeed, Robert E. Lee found the Northern newspapers to be lucrative sources of valuable information he could use militarily.

But revealing sensitive information was not the only problem with newspapers.  Randall tells us, “In the North, however, during the Civil War, there were many powerful papers whose malignant attitude toward the administration amounted to disloyalty and active sympathy with the enemy.  The utterances of such papers as the New York World and Daily News, the Baltimore Exchange, the South, the Maryland Daily News, the Columbus (Ohio) Crisis, and the Chicago Times were so vicious that suppression or the arrest of their editors seemed but mild forms of punishment.  The publicity which these papers gave to military information was as pernicious as in the case of the ‘loyal’ or ‘administration’ press, and there was the added vice of deliberate purpose to undermine the government’s plans.  In such sheets the whole conflict was denounced as a ‘Black Republican’ war, governmental measures were characterized as tyrannous attempts to overthrow civil liberty in the North, the President was referred to as an imbecile or despot, and the secessionists were applauded.  While continually denouncing the attacks on the ‘freedom of the press,’ their unrestrained abuse was itself the best evidence that such freedom had been allowed to proceed to the point of shameless license.”  [“The Newspaper Problem,” AHR, p. 316]

Randall extracts some writings from the Chicago Times, the Baltimore Exchange, and the Indianapolis Sentinel, and then comments, “One can easily imagine the effect of such language upon that public morale which is so essential for the support of armies in the field; and yet the above extracts are not examples of the worst utterances that may be found in the newspapers of the time, but rather of the daily tone of many powerful journals.  They are representative of the sort of injurious journalism which the administration regularly tolerated, while instances of governmental repression directed against newspapers were but the exception.”  [Constitutional Problems Under Lincoln, p. 489]

Newspapers were suppressed for brief times and a few editors were briefly jailed.  For example, Randall tells us of the case of Edmund J. Ellis, editor of the Boone County Standard, Columbia, Missouri, who was charged with “the publication of information for the benefit of the enemy and encouraging resistance to the Government and laws of the United States.”  He was found guilty and banished from Missouri.  [Constitutional Problems Under Lincoln, p. 491]

Randall also tells us, “Among the newspapers subjected for a time to military ‘suppression’ were the Chicago Times, the New York World, the New York Journal of Commerce, the Dayton (Ohio) Empire, the Louisville (KY) Courier,  New Orleans Crescent, the South of Baltimore, the Maryland News Sheet of Baltimore, the Baltimore Gazette, the Daily Baltimore Republican, the Baltimore Bulletin, the Philadelphia Evening Journal, the New Orleans Advocate, the New Orleans Courier, the Baltimore Transcript, the Thibodaux (LA) Sentinel, the Cambridge (MD) Democrat, the Wheeling Register, the Memphis News, the Baltimore Loyalist, and the Louisville True Presbyterian.”  [Constitutional Problems Under Lincoln, pp. 492-493]

Regarding the overall situation, Randall tells us, “A study of the various instances of governmental repression in the case of newspapers will reveal not so much that the penalties were excessive in view of the offense committed as that the means were ill adapted to the end desired.  Popular pressure, rather than governmental repression was, after all, the most effective method by which the journals could be kept within bounds. … Viewing the whole period of the war, and taking account of all parts of the country, it appears that the actual governmental interference with the freedom of the press was comparatively slight, and that voluntary restraint or popular pressure had far greater effect in keeping improper material out of newspapers than official repression. … There was during the war no real suppression of opinion.”  [“Newspaper Problems,” AHR, pp. 322-323]

As Randall tells us, “In seeking a just interpretation of the question of press control during the Civil War, one must balance the immediate and practical considerations, of which the executive branch must be ever watchful, with the constitutional and legal phases of the subject.  When powerful papers were upsetting strategy by the revelation of military secrets, discrediting the Government, defaming the generals, weakening the morale of soldier and citizen, uttering disloyal sentiments, fomenting jealous antagonism among officers, and clamoring for a peace which would have meant the consummation of disunion, even the most patient administration charged with the preservation of the Union by war, would have been tempted to the use of vigorous measures of suppression.”  [Constitutional Problems Under Lincoln, p. 505]

Here’s Lincoln’s stated policy on suppression:

“Under your recent order, which I have approved, you will only arrest individuals, and suppress assemblies, or newspapers, when they may be working palpable injury to the Military in your charge; and, in no other case will you interfere with the expression of opinion in any form, or allow it to be interfered with violently by others. In this, you have a discretion to exercise with great caution, calmness, and forbearance.”  [Lincoln to John M. Schofield, 1 Oct 1863, Collected Works, Vol 6, p. 492]

Adams claims, “When Congress convened in July, it went along with all Lincoln had done:  the time for debate had passed, and any expressions of doubt about all these extraconstitutional acts would have put one in danger of being arrested by a military officer, tried for treasonable speech, and then locked up for who knows how long.”  [p. 41]

Once again, let’s turn to some actual facts.  According to Mark Neely, few of the arrests “involved questions of freedom of speech, press, or assembly.  Most prisoners were rather ordinary characters arrested on suspicion of contraband-trading, desertion, or draft-dodging.”  [Mark Neely, The Fate of Liberty:  Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties, p. 131]  Add to that those arrested for spying, those arrested because they were confederate citizens, and those arrested for selling liquor to soldiers and other crimes, and the number of individuals arrested for political reasons shrinks even more.  Neely tells us, “Many of the 864 arrested [under Seward] were residents of the Confederacy–almost a third.” [p. 26]

In an article for the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Professor Neely wrote, “Another substantial percentage of persons arrested were not Northerners at all. Seventy-nine of the 582, or 13.6 percent were Virginia residents, and another 12.7 percent were residents of other seceded states. Thus a whopping 26.3 percent of the people arrested were citizens of Confederate states, either persons arrested for causing trouble in the few areas of the South controlled by Union armies in the first year of the war or Southerners trapped in the North when the war began and arrested for trying to get back home to join the Confederacy.”

And, “Another 8.6 percent of the arrests were unthreatening politically because they touched another group of non-voters, foreigners. Most of these were British subjects (5.3 percent of all persons arrested), usually released after a short period of time — not because they were not guilty of serious offenses against the United States but because the British government looked after its subjects, had consuls visit the prisons regularly in search of Englishmen, and put pressure on Seward to let them go. No one felt more keenly than Seward did the necessity of keeping Great Britain out of the war — hence the lucky fate of many a British supporter of the Confederacy.”

And, “Among the 866 arrests known to have occurred under Seward, 612 have some notation of cause of the arrest. Many of them have nothing to do with political dissent — or any other activity which normally takes place on dry land. One hundred and fourteen (or 18.6 percent) were picked up in boats or immediately upon disembarking from a vessel.

“Most of the persons arrested on the high seas were blockade runners: owners, captains, crews, or passengers caught going through the blockade to a Confederate port. Here again the great error in many previous conceptions of the debate over arbitrary arrests becomes apparent. They were not aimed at shaping public opinion necessarily. In some respects even, they had no “aim,” though Lincoln himself tended to think of them as being “made, not so much for what has been done, as for what probably would be done.” In fact, arrests were most often made for what had been done, though on skimpy evidence, and were frequently not so much “aimed” at alleviating particular problems as available as a catch-all solution for problems no one dreamed would arise and for which there seemed to be no other solution.”

And, “It should be remembered too that many of the arrests involved allegations, not of victimless crimes like holding the wrong political ideas, but of serious ones like murdering pickets, bushwhacking, burning bridges, and raising money and men for the Confederate Army. This was especially the case in Missouri, Virginia, and Kentucky (always) and Maryland (at times of invasions of the North). The likelihood, of course, is that the percentage of serious crimes rose after 1862 as the Union conquered more and more Southern territory, just as it is likely that the percentage of the civilians arrested who were Confederate citizens and not possible voters for or against Lincoln rose.

“In other words, the population of persons arrested got guiltier and guiltier (of being genuinely disloyal) as the war progressed. Even under Seward, a substantial portion of those arrested were guilty and were later indicted and convicted or confessed or (admittedly, the largest category here) asked to be exchanged and/or were exchanged. The Lincoln administration took the view that anyone willing to be exchanged for a Northerner in Confederate hands was guilty. This sort of follow-up information on the arrests is extremely difficult to come by, but a minimum of 2.9 percent (18) of the persons arrested were guilty by the above criteria. Add to these the blockade runners and honorable sailors (minus the English sailors who were duped into blockade running under the ruse of engaging for the West Indies trade and other confused foreigners), and it could well be argued that at least 19 percent (117) of the 612 arrests netted guilty persons.”

Adams says, “Unquestionably, the Congress was scared to death about what the Lincoln administration would do to them if they did not support his acts of war.” [p. 41]  Unquestionably, Adams is a liar.

Adams says, “Northern informers had identified members of the Maryland legislature who might support secession when the legislature met.  Mind you, these were the people’s elected officials  Secretary of War Simon Cameron issued an order to Major General Banks in Maryland that ‘all or any part of the Legislative members must be arrested’ to prevent secession.  By the darkness of night, on September 12-13, all suspected Southern sympathizers in the Maryland state legislature were arrested along with other influential citizens, and all were locked up in prison at Fort McHenry.  In the end, fifty-one citizens were arrested, and the democratic government in Maryland ceased to exist.”  [p. 41]  Typically, Adams cites nothing for his claims.

George B. McClellan ordered the arrests in September after Cameron’s message.  The Maryland Legislature, meeting in Frederick on 26 April 1861, voted that there was no constitutional authority for secession.  General McClellan did not issue the order to arrest secessionist legislators until 12 Sep 1861 [OR Series II, Vol I, p. 563]

According to McClellan, “The total number of arrests made was about sixteen, and the result was thorough upsetting of whatever plans the secessionists of Maryland may have entertained.  It is needless to say that the arrested parties were ultimately released, and were kindly treated while imprisoned. Their arrest was a military necessity, and they had no cause of complaint. In fact, they might with justice have received much more severe treatment than they did.”  [George B. McClellan, McClellan’s Own Story:  The War for the Union, pp. 146-7, quoted in Mark E. Neely, Jr., The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties, p. 16]

Let’s remember that secession was an illegal act, and in attempting to secede, they would be attempting to join in the armed rebellion, which is an act of treason.  To arrest someone and detain them for a short time to prevent them from committing treason instead of waiting for them to commit treason and make themselves vulnerable to being executed seems to me to be a humane approach.

The following is from the OR, Series II, Vol 1, pp. 678-689:

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, September 11, 1861.
Maj. Gen. N. P. BANKS,
Commanding, near Darnestown, Md.
GENERAL: The passage of any act of secession by the Legislature of Maryland must be prevented. If necessary all or any part of the members must be arrested. Exercise your own judgment as to the time and manner, but do the work effectively.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Secretary of War.
Baltimore. Md., September 11, 1861–11 p.m.
Hon. SIMON CAMERON,  Secretary of War.
SIR: Your letter was handed to me half an hour ago by Mr. Allen, who is of the opinion that in consideration of the lateness of the hour and the uncertainty of finding all of the parties the arrests should be deferred till to-morrow night. I will detain the steamer so that they can be taken directly on board. No effort or precaution will be spared to carry your order into execution promptly and effectually.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding.
FREDERICK, September 12, 1861.
Hon. W. H. SEWARD,  Secretary of State, Washington, D.C.
SIR: An adjourned session of the Legislature of Maryland will meet in extra session at this place on Tuesday, 17th instant.
Many loyal citizens believe that at the coming session some effort will be made on the part of the “Tory” majority to convulse the State and force it into an attitude of hostility to the Government. Already it is believed in intelligent quarters that at the last extra session it was decided in a caucus of the majority to pass an ordinance of secession at their next meeting at all hazards. Perhaps, sir, these beliefs are unfounded apprehensions but the magnitude of the risk should leave no foothold for uncertainty, and surely the course of the legislative majority has not been one to inspire confidence. Prevention of evil is what the loyal citizens of Maryland desire and this is almost secured by the interposition of the Federal Government in the arrest and detention of Thomas J. McKaig, State senator from Allegany.
There are twenty-two senators, of whom twelve is the requisite majority to enact a law. Of the present senators eight are loyal and reliable, leaving fourteen in whom I have no faith and I speak the sentiment of many. Of the fourteen referred to McKaig as already stated is a political prisoner; Yellott is among the rebels and we do not fear he will return; and it is rumored that Heckart is evading the Federal authorities. If this rumor be true and Heckart remains away the people will feel secure from legislative disloyalty; but if not true we hold it to be the duty of the Federal Government under its constitutional obligation (Article IV, section 4) to guarantee to Maryland a republican form of government and protect her from domestic violence; to interpose and cause the arrest of those senators whose notorious disaffection to the Government causes popular alarm here and is calculated to produce civil strife under pretext of law.
I should have referred this subject to your honorable colleague, the Postmaster. General, with whom I have a personal acquaintance, but for his absence from the seat of government as announced in the public journals and but for the fact that a longer delay would be impolitic.
These desultory remarks hastily thrown together may still be suggestive, and if they produce the result I desire in guaranteeing order and security in Maryland I shall feel that I have done a good work in bringing the subject to your notice.
With sentiments of great respect, your obedient servant,
Editor of the Examiner.
Senate of Maryland.
By provision of the constitution of Maryland (Article III, section 6) the senate is divided into two classes, one of which is elected every two years. On the 6th of November next eleven senators will be chosen for four years, while the eleven elected in 1859 hold over until November, 1863. The following statement will explain the condition of the senate: Holding over until 1863.–Allegany, Thomas J. McKaig; Baltimore City, Coleman Yellott; Baltimore County, Dr. A. A. Lynch; Cecil, John J. Heckart; Harford, Franklin Whittaker; Howard, John S. Watkins; Kent, David C. Blackiston; Worcester, Teagle Townsend–Secession, 8. Carroll, John E. Smith; Dorchester, Charles F. Goldsborough; Tal-bott, Henry H. Goldsborough–Union, 3.
To be elected in 1861.–Anne Arundel, Thomas Franklin; Charles, John F. Gardiner; Montgomery, Dr. Washington Duvall; Prince George’s, John B. Brooke; Saint Mary’s, Oscar Miles; Somerset, James F. Dashiell–Secession, 6.
Caroline, Tilghman Nuttle; Calvert, Thomas J. Graham; Frederick, Anthony Kimmel; Queen Anne’s, S. J. Bradley; Washington, John G. Stone–Union, 5.
Fort Monroe, September 14, 1861.
Capt. P. A. DAVIS,  Provost-Marshal, Fort Monroe.
SIR: Captain Davis, provost-marshal, will have special charge of the state prisoners, fifteen in number, recently arrived from Baltimore by order of the Secretary of War who directs that they be confined in close custody and without communication with any person whatever.
He will detail an intelligent sergeant and corporal and twelve men from his company as a guard for the prisoners. One sentinel will be placed in front of the casemate with the sergeant and corporal, one sentinel will be placed in the casemate adjoining on the left and one in the casemate adjoining on the right and one on the bank of the moat opposite the embrasures of the casemates occupied by the prisoners. This sentinel is to guard particularly these embrasures and to see that no prisoner escapes through them and that they have no conversation or communication with him or any other person. No one is to be allowed to pass his beat.
The same instructions will be given to all the sentinels placed as guards that no conversation or communication whatever will be allowed with the prisoners. A table and writing materials will be furnished; whatever else they may require for their comfort will be made known in writing and if it relates to provisions or other reasonable supplies it will be furnished in the presence of the provost-marshal and without a word being said to the prisoners.
The provost-marshal will have no further conversation with the prisoners than may be required in regard to their supplies and comfort, and will in the course of each twenty-four hours ascertain from time to time by personal inspection that all the prisoners are in custody. The prisoners will be allowed to communicate with their friends or others in writing, but all such communications must be submitted before being sent to the commanding general and the prisoners must be informed of this restriction. Your company will be relieved from any other detail than the guard above mentioned for the time being.
The knives, forks and other articles for the table of the prisoners must be counted before they are sent in by one of the officers of the provost guard who shall see that the same number is returned after each meal.
By command of Major-General Wool:
IMPORTANT AND CONFIDENTIAL.]                                  HEADQUARTERS,
Camp near Darnestown, September 16, 1861.
Lieutenant-Colonel RUGER,
Comdg. Third Wisconsin Regt., on special service at Frederick.
SIR: The Legislature of Maryland is appointed to meet in special session to-morrow, Tuesday, September 16. It is not impossible that the members or a portion of them may be deterred from meeting there on account of certain arrests recently made in Baltimore. It is also quite possible that on the first day of meeting the attendance may be small. Of the facts as to this matter I shall see that you are well informed as they transpire. It becomes necessary that any meeting of this Legislature at any place or time shall be
prevented. You will hold yourself and your command in readiness to arrest the members of both houses. A list(*) of such as you are to detain will be inclosed to you herewith, among whom are to be specially included the presiding officers of the two houses, secretaries, clerks and all subordinate officials. Let the arrest be certain and allow no chance of failure. The arrests should be made while they are in session I think.
You will upon the receipt of this quietly examine the premises. I am informed that escape will be impossible if the entrance to the building be held by you; of that you will judge upon examination. If no session is to be held you will arrest such members as can be found in Frederick. The process of arrest should be to enter both houses at the same time announcing that they were arrested by orders of the Government. Command them to remain as they are subject to your orders.
Any resistance will be forcibly suppressed Whatever the consequences. Upon these arrests being effected the members that are to be detained will be placed on board a special train for Annapolis where a steamer will await
them. Everything in the execution of these orders is confided to your secrecy, discretion and promptness.
[WASHINGTON], September 17, 1861.
MY DEAR SEWARD: In order to gratify Johnson I say that the release of Ross Winans will not pain me, but he is the only one of the Maryland rebels that should be suffered to go at large.
Fort Monroe, September 18, 1861.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN,  President of the United States.
SIR: The bearer of this letter, Major Cannon, has been acting on my staff as aide-de-camp for about two weeks. From his ability and opportunity for information he has become familiar with many important questions relating to this department and will be able to explain various circumstances connected with it that concern the public service and for this purpose he goes by my direction to Washington.
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The state prisoners arrested in Baltimore (the mayor and others) have been here for several days in close custody without any direct authority or instructions from the Government, the only official communication to me on this subject being an extract from a letter addressed to General Dix and sent me by the latter. I have written to the Secretary of War in regard to them but have received no reply. Major Cannon can explain fully their condition and the difficulty I have in keeping them safely from the crowded state of the fort without injury to their health from insufficient air and ventilation.
*          *          *          *          *          *          *
*          *          *
With considerations of high respect, I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
DARNESTOWN, MD., September 18, 1861.
Governor SEWARD:
But four present at opening yesterday. Eighteen s—- only in town. Twelve secured up to 5 p.m. Probably all last night.
FREDERICK, MD., September 18, 1861.
Major-General BANKS,  Darnestown.
SIR: I have just telegraphed to General Dix that we have seized seven members of the house of a very bitter character, and four officers, clerks, &c., who are intensely bitter and are said to have been very forward and to have kept some of the weaker men up to the work. Several arrests were made of violent or resisting persons whom I shall let go after the others are gone. I shall send four men at least to General Dix, at Baltimore, who are very bad men. I have advised Colonel Ruger to send to Sharpsburg Landing to seize 500 sacks of salt which are waiting for the Southerners to come and take them. They have tried twice to do it. We have also heard of some arms which the colonel will look up. There is a very bitter man here–a Mr. Sinn–who is currently reported by General Shriver and others to be the medium of communication with the Southern Confederacy. The names of the members are: W.E. Salmon, R. C. McCubbin, J. H. Gordon, C. J. Durant, Thomas J. Claggett, Andrew Kessler and Bernard Mills. We shall get J. Lawrence Jones. The officers of the Legislature: J. M. Brewer, chief clerk of the senate: Thomas H. Moore, reading clerk; Samuel Penrose, jr., assistant; W. Kilgour, reading clerk; Milton Y. Kidd, chief clerk of the house. Mr. Jones is taken; Edward Houser, citizen; Riley (very bad), printer to the house; John Hogan (very bad), citizen; Joseph Elkins, citizen; Mr. Mason, folder to the house. We shall leave here for headquarters this afternoon. The arrested were nearly all seized by the policemen.
I am, yours, respectfully,
Mr. McCubbin is a person whom I should recommend you to set at large if he takes the oath which I have no doubt he will. He is brother-in-law to General Hammond and a man much respected; also a man of rather timid nature and greatly troubled by his arrest. General Shriver has been very active for us and is very earnest that we should let him go on these terms. If you can do it it will be well to telegraph to Annapolis to have the oath tendered and release him. I should do it under my instructions only that Colonel Ruger thinks he has no authority to allow any man on the list any liberty.
R. M. C.

I do solemnly swear that I will bear allegiance to the United States of America, and that I will support, protect and defend the Constitution and Government thereof against all enemies whether foreign or domestic, and I will bear true faith and loyalty to the same any ordinance, resolution or law of any State, convention or Legislature to the contrary notwithstanding, and further that I do this with a full determination, pledge and purpose without any mental reservation or evasion whatsoever; and further that I will well and faithfully perform the duties which may be required of me by law. So help me God.
Milton Y. Kidd, Wm. Kilgour, E. A. Hanson, Jos. D. Elkins, John Huger, S. P. Carmack, Thos. H. Moore, Thos. Mason, E. S. Riley.
Subscribed and sworn before me the subscriber, a justice of the peace in and for Frederick County, this 18th day of September, A.D. 1861.
WASHINGTON, September 19, 1861.
Governor SEWARD.
DEAR GOVERNOR: General Edward Hammond, of Howard County, Md., desires the release of his brother-in-law, Dr. Richard C. McCubbin, of the Maryland House of Delegates. General Hammond himself is the main stay of our cause in Howard and he represents that McCubbin is not at all in favor of secession and is perfectly willing to take the oath of allegiance to the Government; has always voted against every measure tending to take the State out of the Union in the Legislature and refused to take part in the local proceedings of the disunionists.
Under these circumstances I think it highly proper that Doctor McCubbin be immediately discharged.
Yours, respectfully,
BALTIMORE, September 19, 1861.
DEAR SIR: Allow me to congratulate you upon the Government manifesting its strong arm in giving the quietus to our so-called Legislature. It has had a salutary influence in many respects and has soothed down the temper of the disunionists prodigiously. It is to be hoped the Government will now be strong enough to arrest such characters as Breckinridge, Magoffin and Burnett, of Kentucky, when we shall soon have a recurrence all over the country of the good old cry of Whig times of Clay and Webster of “Palsied be the hand and the heart of him that dares dissolve this Union.” We hope the President will not have cause to break with General Frémont. The Government can afford to incur the ire of civilians but cannot afford to lose real generals at this time. Our city is unusually quiet and orderly and we feel safe under the parental care of Uncle Sam. We are progressing with our regiments as fast as possible; and at the proper time I shall beg to have the President’s eye and your eye as I have my eye on the consulship to Shanghai.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
Camp near Darnestown, September 20, 1861.
Col. R. B. MARCY,  Chief of Staff, &c.
SIR: I have the honor to report in obedience to the order of the Secretary of War and the general commanding the Army of the Potomac transmitted to me by letter of the 12th instant that all the members of the Maryland Legislature assembled at Frederick City on the 17th instant known or suspected to be disloyal in their relations to the Government have been arrested.
The opening of the session was attended chiefly by Union men and after rigid examination but nine secession members were found in the city. These were arrested with the clerk of the senate and sent to Annapolis according to my orders on the 18th instant under guard and safely lodged on board a
Government steamer in waiting for them. Of their destination thence I had no direction. The names of the parties thus arrested and disposed of were as follows, viz: W. E. Salmon, Frederick; R. C. McCubbin, Annapolis; William R. Miller, Cecil County; Thomas J. Claggett, Frederick; Josiah H. Gordon, Allegany County; Clarke J. Durant, Saint Mary’s County; J. Lawrence Jones, Talbot County; Andrew Kessler, jr., Frederick; Bernard Mills, Carroll County; J. M. Brewer, chief clerk of the senate.
No meeting of the senate occurred; but three senators were in town and those were Union men. Three subordinate officers of the senate–the chief clerk and printer of the house and one or two others—were also arrested but released after the departure of the members for Annapolis upon taking the oath of allegiance.
Milton Y. Kidd, clerk of the house, is in the last stages of consumption beyond the power of doing harm and was released upon taking the oath and making a solemn declaration to act no further with the Legislature under any circumstances whatever. This course was adopted upon the urgent solicitation of the Union members present. The same parties desired the release of R. C. McCubbin, of Annapolis, upon the same condition. I telegraphed to the commander of the steamer that he might be left at Annapolis under sufficient guard until the orders of the Government could be ascertained.
Colonel Ruger, Third Wisconsin Regiment, Lieutenant Copeland, my aide-decamp, and a detachment of police rendered efficient aid. Sufficient information was obtained as to preparations for board, &c., to lead to the belief that the attendance of members would have been large had not the arrest of some of the leaders been made at Baltimore on Saturday and Monday before the day of meeting.
I regret the attempt at Frederick was not more successful.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding Division.
FORT McHENRY, September 20, 1861.
Hon. W. H. SEWARD:
I have arrested and put on board the Baltimore E.G. Kilbourn, a dangerous secessionist, president of the house of delegates. There are two of the arrested persons whose release would I am confident promote the Union cause, and since the Legislature is effectually broken up the Government cannot be injured and may vindicate its justice by its clemency in these cases. One is James U. Dennis, member from Somerset, and the other Philip F. Rasin, member from Kent. The first is a man of standing. Has never been violent and offers to take the oath of allegiance. The other is a man of little consequence but is connected with Union families. A delegation of Union men from the county were here this morning and ask his release on taking the oath.
Annapolis, September 20, 1861.
Maj. Gen. N. P. BANKS.
DEAR SIR: We have some of the product of your order here in the persons of some eight or ten members of the State Legislature soon I learn to depart for healthy quarters. We see the good fruit already produced by the arrests. We can no longer mince matters with these desperate people. I concur in all you have done.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
The. H. HICKS.
Washington, September 20, 1861.
Col. MARTIN BURKE,  Fort Hamilton, N. Y.
COLONEL: Mr. Ross Winans, of Baltimore, who has been or will be transferred to Fort Lafayette is an aged person and as it is understood rather infirm. I will consequently thank you to cause his confinement there to be as lenient as you conveniently can compatible with his safe-keeping.
I am, colonel, your very obedient servant,
Washington, September 21, 1861.
Maj. Gen. JOHN E. WOOL,  Fortress Monroe, Va.
GENERAL: I have received your letter of the 18th instant relative to the political prisoners in your custody. In reply I would recommend that they be allowed decent fare and the privileges of air and exercise compatible with their safekeeping. They must be watched during their confinement and be allowed to receive no visitors not authorized and when visited a commissioned officer must be present.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
FORT McHENRY, September 21, 1861.
Hon. WILLIAM U. SEWARD,  State Department:
Colonel Morse telegraphed me to know whether Mr. Rasin could be offered the oath a second time. I answered no. If a man is so indifferent to the clemency of the Government [as] to refuse when it is first tendered I think a longer confinement will not be injurious to him. A strong interest is felt for Ross Winans who is an old man and very infirm. He did not as has been alleged vote for the Wallis resolutions and has faithfully kept his parole. If the Government knows no special reason to the contrary I think he might safely be discharged instead of Mr. Rasin.
September 21, 1861.
Maj. Gen. JOHN A. DIX,  Fort McHenry, Baltimore:
You will please discharge Mr. James U. Dennis from custody.
FORT MCHENRY, September 21, 1861.
Mr. Dennis has taken the oath of allegiance. Mr. Rasin has declined to take it. I am very glad the latter was offered his discharge on condition of taking it. The indulgence tendered to him will strengthen the Government and his refusal to accept it indicates the justice of his arrest. * * *
Washington, September 21, 1861.
Maj. Gen. JOHN A. DIX,  Fort McHenry, Baltimore:
Ross Winans may be discharged by renewing his parole which he gave on his former arrest.
Baltimore, Md., September 22, 1861.
Maj. Gen. JOHN E. WOOL,  Comdg. Department of Virginia.
GENERAL: I have received a dispatch from Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, in the following words:
Ross Winans may be discharged upon renewing the parole which he gave on his former arrest.
Secretary of State.
I have the honor to inclose herein the parole(*) referred to transcribed from a copy at these headquarters and prepared for his signature. Should you think proper to send the parole when executed direct to the Secretary of State will you please send me a certified copy to be placed on file at these headquarters. Or if you will forward me the original I will forward it to the Department of State after taking a certified copy here.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding.
Baltimore, Md., September 23, 1861.
Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD,  Secretary of State.
SIR: I inclose a copy of a dispatch received on Saturday night. As the Baltimore had received orders to sail I did not telegraph it to you as I should otherwise have done.
I know nothing of the two gentlemen first named in it (Messrs. Claggett and Salmon) except that they are members of the House of Delegates from Frederick County and decided secessionists.
Mr. Landing is a member from Worcester County on the eastern shore of Maryland bordering on Accomac County, Va. He is represented to me as a man of no great consequence and it was reported to me that he came to Fort McHenry on the day of his arrest “pretty drunk.”
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding.
[ Inclosure. ]
ANNAPOLIS, September 21, 1861.
General DIX,  Eutaw House.
We are willing to take the oath taken by Dennis. Can we be discharged?
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 23, 1861.
Secretary of State, Washington, D.C.
SIR: On the 11th instant in pursuance of the orders of the Hon. Simon Cameron, Secretary of War, and Major-General McClellan I went to Baltimore, accompanied by a sufficient number of my detective force and Lieut. W. M. Wilson, of the Fourth U.S. Cavalry. On arriving at Baltimore I proceeded to Fort McHenry and delivered to Major-General Dix an order from the War Department for the arrest of T. Parkin Scott, S. Teackle Wallis, Frank Key Howard, T. W. Hall, Henry May and H. M. Warfield. The said order mentioned to General Dix that I was directed to conduct the arrests, also to search for and seize the correspondence of the above-named parties. On consultation with General Dix it was deemed advisable as it was now about midnight to postpone the attempt to arrest until the following night as it was impossible to tell if the parties to be arrested were in town or at their respective houses. General Dix directed me to call on Provost-Marshal Dodge and Assistant Provost-Marshal McPhail, of Baltimore, who would furnish me all the police force necessary to make the arrests. On the morning of the 12th instant I called on Messrs. Dodge and McPhail. I found them to be highly intelligent and able men for their respective positions, and
arrangements were at once entered into between us for procuring the necessary information in relation to the probable whereabouts of the parties named to be arrested and the hour of midnight was fixed upon as the time to make the descent, Mr. McPhail detailing a sufficient police force to accompany my own force to each house.
At about 9.30 p.m. while at the provost-marshal’s office an order was received from Major-General Dix addressed to Provost-Marshal Dodge directing the arrest of George W. Brown, W. G. Harrison, Lawrence Sangston, Ross Winans, J. Hanson Thomas, Andrew A. Lynch, C. H. Pitts, L. G. Quinlan and Robert M. Denison. Arrangements were at once made for the arrest of the above-named parties which was accomplished during the night and early on the following day (13th) they were all committed to Fort McHenry. At about midnight the several divisions moved simultaneously upon the places where we had discovered Scott, Wallis, F. Key Howard, Hall, May and War field, and at that time all the above-named were arrested within fifteen minutes, their clothing thoroughly searched and immediately thereafter they were forwarded to Fort McHenry in separate carriages. My force made diligent search for all correspondence on the premises of each of the parties all of which was seized.
Frank Key Howard being one of the editors of the Baltimore Exchange newspaper and T. W. Hall editor of the South, I construed the order to search for and seize correspondence of a treasonable nature in the possession of the parties arrested a sufficient warrant for me to enter and search the editorial and press rooms of the Exchange and South which I did, seizing the correspondence found therein.
All the correspondence found I brought with me to Washington and now beg leave respectfully to submit to you briefs of the same which I have had carefully prepared, retaining originals in my possession subject to your order.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Fort Monroe, Va., September 23, 1861.
General JOHN A. DIX,
Commanding Department of Pennsylvania, Baltimore, Md.
SIR: I have received this morning your letter of the 22d inclosing copy of the dispatch of the Secretary of State directing the discharge of Mr. Ross Winans “upon his renewing the parole which he gave on his former arrest.” I have accordingly released Mr. Winans upon his executing the parole of which I herewith inclose to you to be forwarded as suggested in your letter to the Department of State. Mr. Winans returns to Baltimore I believe to-night.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
[lnclosure. ]
FORT MONROE, VA., September 23, 1861.
I, Ross Winans, of the city of Baltimore, do solemnly give my parole of honor that I will not openly or covertly commit any act of hostility against the Government of the United States pending existing troubles or hostilities between said Government and the Southern seceded States or any one of them.

For a balanced and far more accurate account than Adams is capable of producing, see here.


Adams claims, “In November there was an election, and to make sure only Union people were elected, all members of the federal armed forces voted, even though they were not residents of the state.”  [p. 41]  Again, this is not so.  “To make sure that the Union Party would receive a large majority, military officials gave furloughs to the First, Second and Third Regiments of Infantry, Maryland Volunteers, so that they could return home and vote.”  [Harold R. Manakee, Maryland in the Civil War, p. 56]  Manakee does tell us that some soldiers who weren’t Maryland residents were able to vote in Baltimore and in Annapolis, but this was apparently very limited.

Adams claims that after publishing an editorial questioning the justification for the war, the Chicago Times was shut down and sealed [p. 43]

The suppression of the Chicago Times was related to the Vallandigham case, with the Times supporting Vallandigham and being suppressed by General Burnside.

“According to Secretary Welles, the President and every member of the Cabinet regretted Burnside’s act.  On the day the order was issued Stanton directed a letter to Burnside expressing the President’s disapproval of the action of General Haskall who had interfered in various ways with certain newspapers in Indiana.  He advised Burnside that the dissatisfaction within his department would only be increased ‘by the presence of an indiscreet military officer who will … produce irritation by assuming military powers not essential to the preservation of the public peace.’  Having written thus, Stanton added the following significant postscript after word of the order concerning the Times had been received:

“‘Since writing the above letter the President has been informed that you have suppressed the publication or circulation of the Chicago Times in your department.  He directs me to say that in his judgment it would be better for you to take an early occasion to revoke that order.’ ”  [James G. Randall, Constitutional Problems Under Lincoln, pp. 494-495] Lincoln didn’t approve of that suppression and he wanted that order revoked as soon as possible, which is what happened.

The New York World was suppressed because it published a bogus proclamation it claimed was made by President Lincoln which talked about recent reverses, asked for a national day of public humiliation and prayer, and called for 400,000 new troops.  This was an act deliberately designed to hurt the Union war effort, and thus was a part of levying war against the United States.  The editor in question was lucky he was not brought up on treason charges, but instead the administration took the more measured approach of suppressing the paper for three days.

Adams now shows there are no limits to his stupidity.  He claims, “The Supreme Court made a valiant effort to check this reign of tyranny.  In the case of Ex Parte Merryman (1861)” [p. 46].  As we all know, Ex Parte Merryman was not a Supreme Court case.  It was a Federal case in district court presided over by Roger Taney in his role as a district judge.  Time and again, through out this part of the chapter, Adams claims this was a Supreme Court ruling.  And this guy is supposed to be a lawyer?  He says, “Lincoln not only ignored the Supreme Court’s ruling, he then wrote out a standing order for the arrest of the Chief Justice, who was then in his eighties.”  [p. 48]  No such order has ever been produced, and the sole source for the claim is a self-serving, unpublished account by Ward Hill Lamon, a braggart who was known for embellishing stories and making himself seem more important than he was.  For Adams to claim definitively that this is the case goes well beyond what is supportable by the evidence.  All we know is that Lamon claimed it happened.  Lamon is not a trustworthy witness, and there is no document to back up the claim.

Adams claims that Francis Lieber backs up Lamon’s assertion, [p. 49] but this was an error made by Harold Hyman in his book, A More Perfect Union:  The Impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on the Constitution.  Lamon is the sole source for the statement, which is contained in Lamon’s papers at the Huntington Library.  Hyman mistakenly attributed the source to the Lieber papers at the same library.

Adams claims that Taney’s Merryman opinion is, “today a great classic in constitutional law”  [p. 46] and that “Today, Taney’s opinion is studied in law school as one of the great decisions on constituitonal law, with no dissenters.”  [p. 58]  I’ve already shown the criticisms and shortcomings of Taney’s opinion, and have quoted distinguished law professors who beg to differ with Mr. Adams.

Adams claims of Lincoln, “His own legal education was minimal, and his comprehension of the law was often impaired by this limitation.  He was more a politician or a trial lawyer who could sway the masses, but not the courts of law or experienced, learned justices.”  [p. 51]  This claim will come as a surprise to those who have studied Lincoln’s career as a lawyer.

Those wondering if Lincoln was a tyrant may find some perspective here.

Adams claims, “As time passed, the suspension of the writ put over ten thousand men into prison.  Men who had done nothing other than express their opinions about the despotic course of events–words opposing Lincoln’s rule.  They were not secessionists sympathizers, but Lincoln opponents–against the wholesale destruction of the Constitution.”  [p. 52]  As we’ve already seen, Prof. Neely has obliterated this particular falsehood.

Adams next brings up Ex Parte Milligan, which really was a Supreme Court case.  He claims, “the military commissions of the Civil War era were held to be illegal.  The military courts of President Lincoln were illegal.”  [p. 53]  That is not quite true.

In his majority opinion, Justice Davis wrote, “It is difficult to see how the safety for the country required martial law in Indiana.  If any of her citizens were plotting treason, the power of arrest could secure them until the government was prepared for their trial, when the courts were open and ready to try them.  It was as easy to protect witnesses before a civil as a military tribunal, and as there could be no wish to convict except on sufficient legal evidence, surely an ordained and establish court was better able to judge of this than a military tribunal composed of gentlemen not trained to the profession of the law.

“It follows from what has been said on this subject that there are occasions when martial rule can be properly applied.  If, in foreign invasion or civil war, the courts are actually closed, and it is impossible to administer criminal justice according to law, then, on the theatre of active military operations, where war really prevails, there is a necessity to furnish a substitute for the civil authority, thus overthrown, to preserve the safety of the army and society, and as no power is left but the military, it is allowed to govern by martial rule until the laws can have their free course.  As necessity creates the rule, so it limits its duration, for, if this government is continued after the courts are reinstated, it is a gross usurpation of power.  Martial rule can never exist where the courts are open and in the proper and unobstructed exercise of their jurisdiction.  It is also confined to the locality of actual war.  Because, during the late Rebellion, it could have been enforced in Virginia, where the national authority was overturned and the courts driven out, it does not follow that it should obtain in Indiana, where that authority was never disputed and justice was always administered.  And so, in the case of a foreign invasion, martial rule may become a necessity in one state when, in another, it would be ‘mere lawless violence.’ ”  [71 US 2:127]  While the Court ruled military commissions were unconstitutional where the civilian courts were operating, it did rule that they were constitutional in areas that were under rebellion, where the civilian courts were not in operation.

Adams then gets himself confused, either intentionally or unintentionally:  “It even made illegal all those military arrests and trials by Lincoln after he received congressional approval–after Congress suspended the privilege of habeas corpus.  In short, the Milligan case held that not even Congress can suspend the writ in those areas where civilian courts are open.”  [p. 53]  This is not the case.

The Court ruled:  “This nation, as experience has proved, cannot always remain at peace, and has no right to expect that it will always have wise and humane rulers sincerely attached to the principles of the Constitution.  Wicked men, ambitious of power, with hatred of liberty and contempt of law, may fill the place once occupied by Washington and Lincoln, and if this right is conceded, and the calamities of war again befall us, the dangers to human liberty are frightful to contemplate.  If our fathers had failed to provide for just such a contingency, they would have been false to the trust reposed in them.  They knew — the history of the world told them — the nation they were founding, be its existence short or long, would be involved in war; how often or how long continued human foresight could not tell, and that unlimited power, wherever lodged at such a time, was especially hazardous to freemen.  For this and other equally weighty reasons, they secured the inheritance they had fought to maintain by incorporating in a written constitution the safeguards which time had proved were essential to its preservation.  Not one of these safeguards can the President or Congress or the Judiciary disturb, except the one concerning the writ of habeas corpus.

“It is essential to the safety of every government that, in a great crisis like the one we have just passed through, there should be a power somewhere of suspending the writ of habeas corpus.  In every war, there are men of previously good character wicked enough to counsel their fellow-citizens to resist the measures deemed necessary by a good government to sustain its just authority and overthrow its enemies, and their influence may lead to dangerous combinations.  In the emergency of the times, an immediate public investigation according to law may not be possible, and yet the period to the country may be too imminent to suffer such persons to go at large.  Unquestionably, there is then an exigency which demands that the government, if it should see fit in the exercise of a proper discretion to make arrests, should not be required to produce the persons arrested in answer to a writ of habeas corpus.  The Constitution goes no further.  It does not say, after a writ of habeas corpus is denied a citizen, that he shall be tried otherwise than by the course of the common law; if it had intended this result, it was easy, by the use of direct words, to have accomplished it.  The illustrious men who framed that instrument were guarding the foundations of civil liberty against the abuses of unlimited power; they were full of wisdom, and the lessons of history informed them that a trial by an established court, assisted by an impartial jury, was the only sure way of protecting the citizen against oppression and wrong.  Knowing this, they limited the suspension to one great right, and left the rest to remain forever inviolable.  But it is insisted that the safety of the country in time of war demands that this broad claim for martial law shall be sustained.  If this were true, it could be well said that a country, preserved at the sacrifice of all the cardinal principles of liberty, is not worth the cost of preservation.  Happily, it is not so.”  [71 US 2: 125-126]  The Court did not say the privilege of the writ cannot be suspended.  It only says that where civilian courts are open, the trial must be held in the civilian courts.

Adams next shows his mendacity regarding Congressional Republicans.  He says, “Republicans who hated the South were called ‘radicals.’ ”  [p. 54]  In reality, Republicans who saw the war as a crusade against slavery and demanded equal rights for African-Americans were called “Radicals.”

Adams claims, “In the Congress, there was a significant group of South haters, with murderous demands.  The chairman of the Ways and Means Committe of the House of Representatives, Thaddeus Stevens, was willing that the South ‘be laid waste, and made a desert, in order to save this Union from destruction.’  Before a Republican state convention in September 1862, he urged the government to ‘slay every traitor–burn every Rebel Mansion. … unless we do this, we cannot conquer them.’ ”  [pp. 54-55]  He gives no citation for the first quote, but his citation for the second one is the New York Daily Herald from September 11, 1862.  In that speech he says, “Would it not be better that 15,000 armed slaves should be unburied around the battle fields near Manassas than that your friends and mine should thus be there?  The Rebels might have slain them, they would have saved us, and our own men would have gone fresh into action and to victory.  Yet at this sympathizers with treason at the North cry–‘Abolition!’  Abolition–yes!  abolish everything on the face of this earth but this Union; free every slave–slay every traitor–burn every Rebel mansion, if these things be necessary to preserve this temple of freedom to the world and to our posterity.  Unless we do this, we cannot conquer them.”  [New York Daily Herald, September 11, 1862, p. 4]  So Stevens wasn’t saying just kill everyone in the south.  He wasn’t a south hater by this speech, which is not something Adams wants us to find out.

According to Adams, “The bloodthirsty rhetoric of the radicals in the North in time found expression in the devastation of civilians and civilian property by Sherman, Sheridan, Grant, and the commander in chief–Lincoln.  It didn’t end with the war, for it was then carried on in a less violent form in the Reconstruction laws for the South by the radicals.  The object was to exterminate the culture of the Southerners, and to subjugate then destroy the political force of the Southern establishment, and not just the planter-slave owner class.  There was to be a new order in the South, including the established Southerners of all classes.”  [p. 56]  Adams again shows his utter historical ignorance.  He has no idea how the war changed in its character from a soft war to a hard war.  Anyone who is interested can see Mark Grimsley’s outstanding book, The Hard Hand of War:  Union Military Policy Toward Southern Civilians, 1861-1865.  Discussion of the book here.  He also has no clue about Reconstruction.  The object of Congressional Reconstruction was to ensure the rights of African-Americans in the south.  White racist terrorism in the south is what led to Congressional Reconstruction.  Anyone who is interested in learning accurate history should most definitely eschew Adams.

Adams continues, “These same historians ignore the awful consequences of imprisonment in federal prisons, for months and even years.  The death toll was outrageous.  How many innocent people, languishing in a federal military prison, died as a result?  Here are the numbers:  On 19 July 1866, Secretary of War Stanton published a report o the prisoners in federal prisons during the Civil War, and this included Confederate POWs.  There were approximately 220,000 prisoners, of which 26,576 died in custody.  The death toll in Confederate prisons, even Andersonville, was not any worse.”  [p. 57]

Adams again employs deceitful tactics.  He mixes in POWs with civilians to imply that a large number of civilians died in prison.  Now, let’s run some numbers.  If we accept his figures for deaths and prisoners, and that’s a huge IF, we come up with a 12.08% death rate.

In his introduction, historian William B. Hesseltine wrote, “The records are inadequate, but the estimates which Adjutant General F. C. Ainsworth gave to James Ford Rhodes in 1903 seem reasonable.  General Ainsworth counted 193,743 Northerners and 214,865 Southerners captured and confined.  Over 30,000 Union and nearly 26,000 Confederate prisoners died in captivity.  Rhodes concluded that over 12 per cent of the captives died in Northern prisons and 15.5 per cent died in the South.”  [William B. Hesseltine, “Civil War Prisons, Introduction,” in William B. Hesseltine, ed., Civil War Prisons, p. 6]  William Marvel writes of Andersonville, “Nearly 13,000 of the 41,000 who walked into the south gate at Andersonville lay in graves there, and hundreds of the others had perished at Millen, Blackshear, Savannah, or Florence.  Some died in the swamps between Albany and Thomasville during those four terrible marches, or on the road to Vicksburg, and many of those who made it to Florida died in the final hours of captivity at Lake City, or just after passing between the flags at Baldwin or Jacksonville.  The ultimate mortality among Andersonville prisoners hovered around 35 percent.”  [William Marvel, Andersonville:  The Last Depot, p. 238]  Marvel’s estimate of nearly 13,000 dead corroborates Michael Horigan’s exact figure of 12,914 Union dead at Andersonville.  The difference between the two is in the total prisoners at Andersonville.  Horigan places it at around 45,000 while Marvel places it at around 41,000.  [Horigan’s numbers are found on p. 193 of his book, Elmira:  Death Camp of the North]  Horigan’s numbers make for a death rate at Andersonville of 28.7%, while Marvel’s numbers make for a death rate of about 31.7%, due to the difference in the total population.  I’d say that Andersonville’s numbers were quite a bit worse.

Adams claims, “The POWs could have been exchanged for Northern POWs, but it was Lincoln who refused to exchange prisoners, and that makes the horrors of Andersonville partly his responsibility, especially since he refused to permit medical supplies to be exported to the South.”  [p. 57]  The exchanges were ended because 1)  the confederates were cheating and declaring men who had given paroles exchanged when in fact they had not been exchanged; and 2) the confederates refused to treat black soldiers and their white officers as regular prisoners of war.  Black soldiers were enslaved if not outright executed, and their white officers were subject to being executed as well.

“A good many historians—especially those of southern birth—have pointed to Grant’s remarks as the real reason for the North’s refusal to exchange. Concern for the rights of black soldiers, in this view, was just for show. The northern strategy of a war of attrition, therefore, was responsible for the horrors of Andersonville and the suffering of prisoners on both sides. This position is untenable. Grant expressed his opinion more than a year after the exchange cartel broke down over the Negro prisoner question. And an opinion was precisely what it was. Grant did not order exchanges prohibited for purposes of attrition, and evidence indicates that if Confederates had conceded on the issue of ex-slaves the exchanges would have resumed.  In October 1864, General Lee proposed an informal exchange of prisoners captured in recent fighting on the Richmond-Petersburg front.  Grant agreed, on condition that blacks be exchanged ‘the same as white soldiers.’  If this had been done, it might have provided a precedent to break the impasse that had by then penned up more than a hundred thousand men in POW camps.  But Lee replied that ‘negroes belonging to our citizens are not considered subjects of exchange and were not included in my proposition.’  Grant thereupon closed the correspondence with the words that because his ‘Government is bound to secure all persons received into her armies the rights due to soldiers,’ Lee’s refusal to grant such rights to former slaves ‘induces me to decline making the exchanges you ask.’

“In January 1865 the rebels finally gave in and offered to exchange ‘all’ prisoners.  Hoping soon to begin recruiting black soldiers for their own armies, Davis and Lee suddenly found the Yankee policy less barbaric.  The cartel began functioning again and several thousand captives a week were exchanged over the next three months, until Appomattox liberated everyone.”  [James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom:  The Civil War Era, pp. 799-800]

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, November 17, 1863.
Major-General BUTLER, Fort Monroe:
The whole subject of exchange of prisoners is under direction of Major-General Hitchcock, to whom, as commissioner of exchange, that branch of the service has been committed. He will be glad to have any idea or suggestion you may be pleased to furnish, but there should be no interference without his assent. It is known that the rebels will exchange man for man and officer for officer, except blacks and officers in command of black troops. These they absolutely refuse to exchange. This is the point on which the whole matter hinges. Exchanging man for man and officer for officer, with the exception the rebels make, is a substantial abandonment of the colored troops and their officers to their fate, and would be a shameful dishonor to the Government bound to protect them. When they agree to exchange all alike there will be no difficulty.
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
[OR Ser II Vol 6 p. 528]

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington City, December 5, 1863.
A general summary of the military operations of the past year is furnished by the report of the General-in-Chief, herewith submitted. In the operations that have been alluded to, prisoners of war to the number of about 13,000 have fallen into the hands of the enemy and are now held by them. From the commencement of the rebellion until the War Department came into my charge there was no cartel or formal exchange of prisoners; but at an early period afterward a just and reasonable cartel was made between Major-General Dix and the rebel General Hill, which, until recently, was faithfully acted upon by both parties. Exchanges under that cartel are now stopped, mainly for the following reasons: First. At Vicksburg over 30,000 rebel prisoners fell into our hands, and over 5,000 more at Port Hudson. These prisoners were paroled and suffered to return to their homes until exchanged pursuant to the terms of the cartel. But the rebel agent, in violation of the cartel, declared the Vicksburg prisoners exchanged; and, without being exchanged, the Port Hudson prisoners he, without just cause, and in open violation of the cartel, declared released from their parole. These prisoners were returned to their ranks, and a portion of them were found fighting at Chattanooga and again captured. For this breach of faith, unexampled in civilized warfare, the only apology or excuse was that an equal number of prisoners had been captured by the enemy. But, on calling for specifications in regard to these alleged prisoners, it was found that a considerable number represented as prisoners were not soldiers, but were non-combatants–citizens of towns and villages, farmers, travelers, and others in civil life, not captured in battle, but taken at their homes, on their farms, or on the highway, by John Morgan and other rebel raiders, who put them under a sham parole. To balance these men against rebel soldiers taken on the field would be relieving the enemy from the pressure of war and enable him to protract the contest to indefinite duration. Second. When the Government commenced organizing colored troops the rebel leader, Davis, by solemn and official proclamation, announced that the colored troops and their white officers, if captured, would not be recognized as prisoners of war, but would be given up for punishment by the State authorities. These proceedings of the rebel authorities were met by the earnest remonstrance and protest of this Government, without effect. The offers by our commissioner to exchange man for man and officer for officer, or to receive and provide for our own soldiers, under the solemn guarantee that they should not go into the field until duly exchanged, were rejected. In the meantime well-authenticated statements show that our troops held as prisoners of war were deprived of shelter, clothing, and food, and some have perished from exposure and famine. This savage barbarity could only have been practiced in the hope that this Government would be compelled, by sympathy for the suffering endured by our troops, to yield to the proposition of exchanging all the prisoners of war on both sides, paroling the excess not actually exchanged; the effect of which operation would be to enable the rebels to put into the field a new army 40,000 strong, forcing the paroled prisoners into the ranks without exchange, as was done with those paroled at Vicksburg and Port Hudson, and also to leave in the hands of the rebels the colored soldiers and officers, who are not regarded by them as prisoners of war, and therefore not entitled to the benefit of the proposed exchange. The facts and correspondence relating to this subject are detailed in the accompanying report of Major-General Hitchcock, commissioner of exchanges. As the matter now stands, we have over 40,000 prisoners of war, ready at any moment to be exchanged, man for man and officer for officer, to the number held by the rebels. These number about 13,000, who are now supplied with food and raiment by this Government and by our benevolent and charitable associations and individuals. Two prisoners, Captains Sawyer and Flinn, held by the rebels, are sentenced to death, by way of a pretended retaliation for two prisoners tried and shot as spies by command of Major-General Burnside. Two rebel officers have been designated and are held as hostages for them. The rebel prisoners of war in our possession have heretofore been treated with the utmost humanity and tenderness consistent with security. They have had good quarters, full rations, clothing when needed, and the same hospital treatment received by our own soldiers. Indulgence of friendly visits and supplies was formerly permitted, but they have been cut off since the barbarity practiced against our prisoners became known to the Government. If it should become necessary for the protection of our men, strict retaliation will be resorted to. But while the rebel authorities suffer this Government to feed and clothe our troops held as prisoners we shall be content to continue to their prisoners in our hands the humane treatment they have uniformly enjoyed.
Respectfully submitted.
EDWIN M. STANTON,Secretary of War.
[OR Ser II Vol 6 pp. 647-649]

Here is Grant’s position:

In the Field, Culpeper Court-House, April 17, 1864.
Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Dept. of Virginia and N. Carolina,
Fortress Monroe, Va.:
Your report of negotiations with Mr. Ould, C. S. agent, touching the exchange of prisoners, has been referred to me by the Secretary of War with directions to furnish you such instructions on the subject as I may deem proper. After a careful examination of your report the only points on which I deem instructions necessary are: First. Touching the validity of the paroles of the prisoners captured at Vicksburg and Port Hudson. Second. The status of colored prisoners. As to the first, no arrangement for the exchange of prisoners will be acceded to that does not fully recognize the validity of these paroles and provide for the release to us of a sufficient number of prisoners now held by the Confederate authorities to cancel any balance that may be in our favor by virtue of these paroles. Until there is released to us a sufficient number of officers and men as were captured and paroled at Vicksburg and Port Hudson not another Confederate prisoner of war will be paroled or exchanged. As to the second, no distinction whatever will be made in the exchange between white and colored prisoners; the only question being, were they at the time of their capture in the military service of the United States. If they were the same terms as to treatment while prisoners and conditions of release and exchange must be exacted and had in the case of colored soldiers as of white soldiers. Non-acquiescence by the Confederate authorities in both or either of these propositions will be regarded as a refusal on their part to agree to the further exchange of prisoners, and will be so treated by us.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U.S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.”
[OR Ser II, Vol 7, pp. 62-63]

It wasn’t until January 24, 1865 that the confederate POW commissioner, Col Ould, proposed a one-for-one exchange with no regard to color:
“But that great suffering must ensue if your prisoners remain in our hands is very certain. For that reason I propose that all of them be delivered to you in exchange, man for man and officer for officer, according to grade, for those of ours whom you hold.” [OR, Series II, Vol VIII, p. 123]

In response to this, Grant made preparations to exchange upwards of 3,000 men per week:
“CITY POINT, VA., February 2, 1865–11.30 a.m.
Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
I am endeavoring to make arrangements to exchange about 3,000 prisoners per week. This is as fast and probably faster than they can be delivered to us.
Please have facilities given Lieutenant-Colonel Mulford to get rebel prisoners to comply with this arrangement. I would like disabled troops (troops from Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Louisiana) sent first, as but few of these will be got in the ranks again, and as we can count upon but little re-enforcement from the prisoners we get.
[OR Series II, Vol VIII, p. 170]

As to medicines, assuming Adams’ statement is true, which is a huge assumption to make, why would Lincoln or any other commander allow medicines to go to an enemy for that enemy to treat soldiers wounded in battle?  If the confederates wanted medicine from Lincoln, all they had to do was lay down their arms.

Adams ends up, “In one of his strangest acts of contempt of the Constitution, he [Lincoln] created the state of West Virginia, in contravention of Article 4, section 3, which required the approval of Virginia.  No such approval was obtained.  Lincoln excused this because it was ‘expedient.’ ”  [p. 58]  Again, Adams shows massive ignorance.  The Loyal Government of Virginia gave its consent.  It was the legally recognized government of Virginia.  Was it irregular?  Yes, but it did follow the requirements of the Constitution.

Adams shows a lack of intelligence, a lack of honesty, and a lack of knowledge.  He thinks bombastic lies can replace factual truth.  Only those who have no idea about what happened during this time will believe him.


  1. There you go again, attempting to rebut “scholarship” using facts, clear thinking, and force of intellect. Shame on you.

    1. Yes, I just don’t know what I was thinking. The back of the book calls Adams “the world’s leading scholar on the history of taxation.” Someone obviously has no idea what a scholar is, because it ain’t Adams.

  2. There’s an actual scholar of the history of taxation in the United States at UC Berkeley, Robin Einhorn. She has written a book, American Taxation, American Slavery (University of Chicago Press 2006), which argues that the strains of extreme anti-government/anti-taxation attitudes in our political culture “are part of the poisonous legacy we have inherited from the slaveholders who forged much of our political tradition.”

    I haven’t read the book yet, but Professor Enhorn introduces and summarizes her thesis in a short essay posted at http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/194876.html It’s worth reading.

    Whether or not one accepts the full ramifications of Professor Einhorn’s arguments, they certainly shed a fascinating light on a possible connection between Adams’ belief that “taxation has been a scourge for mankind” and his views on the Confederacy, Reconstruction, and civil rights for African-Americans.

    1. Thanks for the link. I enjoyed reading the essay. I found this especially useful:
      “But slaveholders had different priorities than other people—and special reasons to be afraid of taxes. Slaveholders had little need for transportation improvements (since their land was often already on good transportation links such as rivers) and hardly any interest in an educated workforce (it was illegal to teach slaves to read and write because slaveholders thought education would help African Americans seize their freedom). Slaveholders wanted the military, not least to promote the westward expansion of slavery, and they also wanted local police forces (“slave patrols”) to protect them against rebellious slaves. They wanted all manner of government action to protect slavery, while they tended to dismiss everything else as wasteful government spending.”

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