Treatment of political prisoners.

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major bill

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Today I purchased this. It was a quick read.
pol pw.jpg

I think this story is fairly well known. Both sides appear to have arrested people in the areas they held that could be called political prisoners. The prisoners in this booklet were treated well, however was this the norm? I am not sure either side had much to be proud of in how they treated political prisoners.
 

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Curious to know what people consider the difference between 'political prisoners' and 'prisoners of war'. Are they one and the same? I have assumed in the past that a 'political prisoner' is more of the civilian variety whereas 'prisoners of war' are regular army combatants. This could create an interesting conversation @major bill .
 

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In most wars at least some people in a nation support the enemies of that nation. Just because a nation is at war it is not normally allowed to make them prisoners of war. If one raised money for aiding a nation at war with the nation they are at war with does not make them eligible for POW status. However, certain actions that support an enemy at war with ones own nation can violate civilian criminal laws.

Let us say an American in World War Two someone uses explosives to destroy a factory making vital war materials. That person may well have violated a law but would not fall in to the criteria of being held as a prisoner of war. They could be viewed as a criminal or could be viewed as a political prisoner. This gets complicated when a citizen does not commit an overt act.

For example what if a citizen encourages a labor strike at a critical war manufacturing factory? They may well have not broken a law but could well be held as a political prisoner so they could not disrupt additional critical war manufacturing.
 
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FedericoFCavada

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Comfort, TX and Germans in the Hill Country:
http://www.civilwaralbum.com/misc14/comfort1.htm


The Great Hanging in Gainesville, north Texas:
https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/jig01

I might add that in San Antonio a vigilance committee was formed with the descent into lawlessness with men joining the Confederate army, a war between French, Austrian, Belgian, and Mexican conservatives against Mexican liberals just across the border, the Union blockade, and the resumption of hostile Indian raids leading to a lot of rustling, theft, murder and mayhem. A desperado named Bob Augustine was lynched from a China berry tree by said vigilance committee led by Asa Mitchell and Juan Peñaloza, and by the end of the day, nine more were hanged. Augustine was preparing to ride to New Mexico with Sibley's Brigade, and so a bunch of them took issue with his treatment and threatened the town with a "riot." The militia was called out, and the plazas defended by the vigilance committee and something like 250 armed citizens.
 
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Curious to know what people consider the difference between 'political prisoners' and 'prisoners of war'. Are they one and the same? I have assumed in the past that a 'political prisoner' is more of the civilian variety whereas 'prisoners of war' are regular army combatants. This could create an interesting conversation @major bill .
Political prisoners are civilians who have been taken into custody usually after martial law has been declared, for alleged crimes against the government or who pose a threat to the government. One of the better known examples of a declaration of martial law and the arrest of civilians happened during the War of 1812.

On December 16, 1814, in expectation of an attack by British forces upon New Orleans, the commanding general of the American military in that city, Andrew Jackson, without the authorization of Congress or the President, declared martial law and suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus:

"Major-General Andrew Jackson, commanding the Seventh United States military district, declares the city and environs of New Orleans under strict martial law, and orders that in future the following rules be rigidly enforced, viz. Every individual entering the city will report at the adjutant-general's office, and on failure to be arrested and held for examination.

"No person shall be permitted to leave the city without a permission in writing signed by the general or one of his staff.

"No vessels, boats or other crafts, will be permitted to leave New Orleans or Bayou St. John, without a passport in writing from the general or one of his staff, or the commander of the naval forces of the United States on this station.

"The street lamps shall be extinguished at the hour of nine at night, after which time persons of every description found in the streets, or not at their respective homes, without permission in writing, as aforesaid, and not having the counter-sign, shall be apprehended as spies and held for examination.
Robert Butler,
Adjutant-General.
December 16, 1814. "

The British eventually arrived and its army was defeated by Jackson's forces on January 8, 1815. By mid-February all remaining British forces had left the New Orleans area having received word that a treaty of peace had been signed between the two countries. With the British threat no longer a concern, citizens of the city expected Jackson to end martial law. The commanding general however refused until he had received official word from Washington that the Treaty of Ghent had been signed.

On March 3, 1815, Louis Louaillier a member of the Louisiana legislature and New Orleans resident, wrote an editorial in the Louisiana Courier protesting the continuance of martial law and suspension of the Writ. In part Louaillier wrote that it was "high time the laws should resume their empire; that the citizens of this State should return to the full enjoyment of their rights; that, in acknowledging that we are indebted to General Jackson for the preservation of our city and the defeat of the British, we do not feel much inclined, through gratitude, to sacrifice any of our privileges, and, less than any other, that of expressing our opinion of the acts of his administration; that it is time the citizens accused of any crime should be rendered to then- natural judges, and cease to be brought before special or military tribunals, a kind of institution held in abhorrence, even in absolute governments; that, after having done enough for glory, the moment of moderation has arrived; and, finally, that the acts of authority which the invasion of our country and our safety may have rendered necessary are, since the evacuation of it by the enemy, no longer compatible with our dignity and our oath of making the Constitution respected."

Upon reading the editorial Jackson ordered the arrest of Louaillier and had him confined to a military barracks in the city. Louaillier's attorney, Pierre Morel went to Federal District Judge Dominick Hall and obtained a writ of habeas corpus. Upon learning of Judge Hall's issuance of the writ, Jackson ordered the judge arrested for aiding in mutiny of the army and had him lodged in the same barrack as Louaillier. On March 7, 1815 Jackson critic Louaillier was tried before a military tribunal and acquitted of the charges against him. Jackson disagreed with the tribunal's acquittal and refused to release Louaillier from confinement. On March 12, 1815, Jackson had Judge Hall escorted 4 miles outside of New Orleans and left to fend for himself. The following day Jackson received word from Washington that the peace treaty had been signed and he proclaimed an end to martial law and ordered Louaillier released. Judge Hall eventually made it back into the city and on March 22, 1815 he issued a summons for General Jackson's appearance before the court to answer why he should not be held in contempt for failing to obey the judge's issued Habeas Corpus writ. Jackson appeared before the judge and following subsequent appearances before the court, an agreement was reached where the general was fined $1000.00 which he paid.
 

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Political prisoners are civilians who have been taken into custody usually after martial law has been declared, for alleged crimes against the government or who pose a threat to the government. One of the better known examples of a declaration of martial law and the arrest of civilians happened during the War of 1812.

On December 16, 1814, in expectation of an attack by British forces upon New Orleans, the commanding general of the American military in that city, Andrew Jackson, without the authorization of Congress or the President, declared martial law and suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus:

"Major-General Andrew Jackson, commanding the Seventh United States military district, declares the city and environs of New Orleans under strict martial law, and orders that in future the following rules be rigidly enforced, viz. Every individual entering the city will report at the adjutant-general's office, and on failure to be arrested and held for examination.

"No person shall be permitted to leave the city without a permission in writing signed by the general or one of his staff.

"No vessels, boats or other crafts, will be permitted to leave New Orleans or Bayou St. John, without a passport in writing from the general or one of his staff, or the commander of the naval forces of the United States on this station.

"The street lamps shall be extinguished at the hour of nine at night, after which time persons of every description found in the streets, or not at their respective homes, without permission in writing, as aforesaid, and not having the counter-sign, shall be apprehended as spies and held for examination.
Robert Butler,
Adjutant-General.
December 16, 1814. "

The British eventually arrived and its army was defeated by Jackson's forces on January 8, 1815. By mid-February all remaining British forces had left the New Orleans area having received word that a treaty of peace had been signed between the two countries. With the British threat no longer a concern, citizens of the city expected Jackson to end martial law. The commanding general however refused until he had received official word from Washington that the Treaty of Ghent had been signed.

On March 3, 1815, Louis Louaillier a member of the Louisiana legislature and New Orleans resident, wrote an editorial in the Louisiana Courier protesting the continuance of martial law and suspension of the Writ. In part Louaillier wrote that it was "high time the laws should resume their empire; that the citizens of this State should return to the full enjoyment of their rights; that, in acknowledging that we are indebted to General Jackson for the preservation of our city and the defeat of the British, we do not feel much inclined, through gratitude, to sacrifice any of our privileges, and, less than any other, that of expressing our opinion of the acts of his administration; that it is time the citizens accused of any crime should be rendered to then- natural judges, and cease to be brought before special or military tribunals, a kind of institution held in abhorrence, even in absolute governments; that, after having done enough for glory, the moment of moderation has arrived; and, finally, that the acts of authority which the invasion of our country and our safety may have rendered necessary are, since the evacuation of it by the enemy, no longer compatible with our dignity and our oath of making the Constitution respected."

Upon reading the editorial Jackson ordered the arrest of Louaillier and had him confined to a military barracks in the city. Louaillier's attorney, Pierre Morel went to Federal District Judge Dominick Hall and obtained a writ of habeas corpus. Upon learning of Judge Hall's issuance of the writ, Jackson ordered the judge arrested for aiding in mutiny of the army and had him lodged in the same barrack as Louaillier. On March 7, 1815 Jackson critic Louaillier was tried before a military tribunal and acquitted of the charges against him. Jackson disagreed with the tribunal's acquittal and refused to release Louaillier from confinement. On March 12, 1815, Jackson had Judge Hall escorted 4 miles outside of New Orleans and left to fend for himself. The following day Jackson received word from Washington that the peace treaty had been signed and he proclaimed an end to martial law and ordered Louaillier released. Judge Hall eventually made it back into the city and on March 22, 1815 he issued a summons for General Jackson's appearance before the court to answer why he should not be held in contempt for failing to obey the judge's issued Habeas Corpus writ. Jackson appeared before the judge and following subsequent appearances before the court, an agreement was reached where the general was fined $1000.00 which he paid.
Wow! Such an interesting story @Copperhead-mi . I was in New Orleans in June and saw his statue, but had no idea of the interesting story that lay behind it. And of course, I also wondered intially what a statue of Stonewall Jackson was doing in the centre of NOLA :laugh: I get there eventually! Thanks for sharing this interesting snippet, and it is a very good example (if a rather extreme one) of how martial law can operate with political prisoners often being those who are outspoken such as writers, journalists, poets, etc.
 
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Following the attack on Ft. Sumter, Secretary of State William Seward urged President Lincoln to suspend the habeas corpus privilege throughout the major East coast cities and he initially refused. Following a private meeting with the President in which Seward persisted in its suspension or "perdition was the sure penalty for further hesitation," the president relented.
From April 27, 1861 through February 1862, Seward was appointed by Lincoln as his internal security chief and it was Seward alone during this period who was responsible for the arrests of disloyal persons and the censorship of certain newspapers. It was also during this time that Seward told the British Minister to the United States, Lord Lyons, that "I can touch a bell on my right hand and order the imprisonment of a citizen of Ohio; I can touch the bell again and order the imprisonment of a citizen of New York; and no power on earth, except that of the President, can release them. Can the Queen of England do so much?"
 

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It was also during this time that Seward told the British Minister to the United States, Lord Lyons, that "I can touch a bell on my right hand and order the imprisonment of a citizen of Ohio; I can touch the bell again and order the imprisonment of a citizen of New York; and no power on earth, except that of the President, can release them. Can the Queen of England do so much?"
The way Seward is talking here makes me wonder if he would let even the President get in his way. He certainly sounds like a man on a power trip, and I've wondered about him before in terms of his influence and power. So 'political prisoners' in the civilian sense existed during the period of the Civil War, maybe on both sides, which has me wondering @major bill who were the Confederate political prisoners being held at Fort Mackinac?
 

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Alfred Ely was a political prisoner, scooped up in the shambles at Bull Run. New York congressman, he'd gone out to the battle in a carriage with other politicians- all captured and held in Richmond. JPK's brother was with him, held also because he was a politician. They were treated fairly well, newspapers being allowed access to them, to prove it. One observer claimed Ely put on weight while there- it was early in the war.

Seem to have been held solely because they were politicians. There's an idea. Collect all of them somewhere, nicely out of the way, maybe something constructive would have gotten done.
 
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The way Seward is talking here makes me wonder if he would let even the President get in his way. He certainly sounds like a man on a power trip, and I've wondered about him before in terms of his influence and power. So 'political prisoners' in the civilian sense existed during the period of the Civil War, maybe on both sides, which has me wondering @major bill who were the Confederate political prisoners being held at Fort Mackinac?
I have prior commitments today that will prevent me from responding until later this evening, but quickly, yes, both the Federal and Confederate governments held political prisoners. Historian Mark R. McNeely, Jr. has written two excellent books on arrests and political prisoners during the War. McNeely's book that examines the Confederate government's arrest and confinement of political prisoners is Southern Rights - Political Prisoners and the Myth of Confederate Constitutionalism, while the Union's arrests and confinements are discussed in his 1992 Pulitzer Prize for History winning book, The Fate of Liberty - Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties.
 
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Today I purchased this. It was a quick read.
View attachment 203270
I think this story is fairly well known. Both sides appear to have arrested people in the areas they held that could be called political prisoners. The prisoners in this booklet were treated well, however was this the norm? I am not sure either side had much to be proud of in how they treated political prisoners.
I would highly recommend the book" Junius and Albert's Adventures in the Confederacy" Peter Carlson publicaffairsbooks.com
It's thectrue story of two New York Tribune reporters captured by the Confederate Army and for years they lived with political and military prisoners in various Confederate prisons. They were able to escape Camp Salisbury and with the help of Unionist guerrillas managed to reach Union lines in Tennessee.
This book will certainly answer any questions regarding how the Confederacy treated it's numerous political prisoners.
Leftyhunter
 

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In 1861 Frank Key Howard, grandson of both Francis Scott Key of Star-Spangled Banner fame and Revolutionary War hero Colonel John Eager Howard, was arrested as a Southern sympathizer and secessionist and confined in Fort McHenry at Baltimore. Howard wrote,

"When I looked out in the morning, I could not help being struck by an odd and not pleasant coincidence. On that day forty-seven years before my grandfather, Mr. Francis Scott Key, then prisoner on a British ship , had witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry. When on the following morning the hostile fleet drew off, defeated, he wrote the song so long popular throughout the country, the Star Spangled Banner. As I stood upon the very scene of that conflict, I could not but contrast my position with his, forty-seven years before. The flag which he had then so proudly hailed, I saw waving at the same place over the victims of as vulgar and brutal a despotism as modern times have witnessed."

Another political prisoner held there along with many others was the father of memorialist Major Henry Kyd Douglas, staff officer for Stonewall Jackson and other officers in the Second Corps Richard Ewell, Jubal Early, and Edward Johnson. Due to the harsh treatment he received, the experience fatally weakened the elder Douglas even though he was released before the war's end.
 

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A fair amount of the political prisoner held by the Union were the result of the Union occupation of Kentucky. Would this be somehow different from the Confederacy arresting Unionist in Confederate areas, or are all political prisoners about the same?
 
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I have prior commitments today that will prevent me from responding until later this evening, but quickly, yes, both the Federal and Confederate governments held political prisoners. Historian Mark R. McNeely, Jr. has written two excellent books on arrests and political prisoners during the War. McNeely's book that examines the Confederate government's arrest and confinement of political prisoners is Southern Rights - Political Prisoners and the Myth of Confederate Constitutionalism, while the Union's arrests and confinements are discussed in his 1992 Pulitzer Prize for History winning book, The Fate of Liberty - Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties.
These sound really interesting @Copperhead-mi . And with perspectives from both sides. I'll look forward to hearing/reading more.
 

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Here's another snippet I clipped from another thread:

'The author of The Lost Cause was Edward Alfred Pollard, a southern journalist arrested by U. S. troops and briefly held for his work as a Confederate propagandist, i.e. apologist.'

Not sure when he was held, but definitely a political prisoner.
 
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Here's another snippet I clipped from another thread:

'The author of The Lost Cause was Edward Alfred Pollard, a southern journalist arrested by U. S. troops and briefly held for his work as a Confederate propagandist, i.e. apologist.'

Not sure when he was held, but definitely a political prisoner.
Julius Browne and Albert Dean Richardson, mentioned in @leftyhunter 's post #13, were correspondents for the New York Tribune who were captured by Confederates on the Mississippi River north of Vicksburg when the barge they were riding caught fire and they attempted to escape to shore. Initially they were reported as killed and when Sherman heard the news he said "That's good! We'll have dispatches from Hell now before breakfast." Anyway, long story short. The two journalists were sent to the Vicksburg jail and when Confederate officials found out who they were, the journalists were ordered to be sent to Libby Prison in Richmond. President Lincoln tried to intervene and secure the release of Browne and Richardson on the grounds that they were civilian noncombatants but President Davis refused because he and other Confederate government officials believed that the New York Tribune was more responsible than any other newspaper for bringing on the war. Anyway, to my point...Edward A. Pollard. Author Brayton Harris, in his work on newspapers and journalists during the Civil War, The Blue & Gray in Black & White - Newspapers in the Civil War writes on pp. 263-264:

At one point, Richardson was incensed to learn that a captured Confederate journalist — "Edward A. Pollard, a malignant Rebel, and an editor of the Richmond Examiner, most virulent of the southern papers" — was paroled "to the city of Brooklyn." Pollard had been captured aboard a blockade runner headed for England; his story, to make arrangements for publication of his next book. Some detractors suggested that he merely was trying to escape an enlarged Confederate draft. [25]

The news of Pollard's parole, Richardson wrote, "cut us like a knife. We, after nearly two years of captivity, in that foul, vermin-infested prison, among all its atrocities — he, at large, among the comforts and luxuries of one of the pleasantest cities in the world!"

Richardson made a point of fingering "Mr. Welles, Secretary of the Navy" as the "person who set Pollard at liberty." While the circumstances of their captivity were quite different, it was captivity nonetheless, and Richardson did not know that Pollard had been offered in trade, nor did he know that General Grant had ordered that Pollard would be held until Richardson was released or exchanged. [26]

In December 1864, Richardson and Browne parlayed assignment to the camp hospital, with some freedom of movement, into an escape from the camp and almost a month of hide-and-seek across the winter mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. Each created a memoir of their wartime and prison experiences: Richardson's The Secret Service, The Field, The Dungeon, and The Escape and Browne's Four Years in Secessia. Richardson's is by far the more readable.

On the same day that the Tribune correspondents reached safety in Knoxville, Commissioner Ould, a bit out of touch with current events, had sent a note to the captive Pollard: "I am compelled by a sense of duty to decline the exchange," he wrote. "I have already refused to exchange Richardson for half a dozen different named parties. . . ." [27] One might wonder what role Pollard's open antagonism to the Davis administration had played in this decision.
 
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"That's good! We'll have dispatches from Hell now before breakfast."
One thing I can appreciate about Sherman is his humour :biggrin:

Fascinating stuff, and I'm curious now about Pollard's open antagonism to the Davis administration ... probably fodder for another thread!
 
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