Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 29, 1863 (Friday): Burnside's Administration of Justice

Congressman Clement Vanlandigham

HEADQUARTERS, Cincinnati, Ohio, May 29, 1863.
His Excellency A. LINCOLN,
President of the United States:
    A messenger from Governor Morton came to me this morning in reference to the arrest by the military authorities of a citizen of Indiana. I understood from him that my action in the administration of affairs in this department was not approved by a single member of your Cabinet. This taken in connection with your dispatch to me several days ago approving of my course convinces me that my action here has been a source of embarrassment to you. My views as to the proper policy to be pursued in this department are only changed in the belief that the present policy should be increased in rigor. You know my views upon the subject of command and you must not allow me to stand in the way of the carrying of any general policy which you may choose to adopt, and I should be glad to be relieved if the interest of the public service requires it but at the same time I am willing to remain and assume the responsibility of carrying out the policy which has been inaugurated if it is approved.

     A. E. BURNSIDE,

WASHINGTON, D. C., May 29, 1863.
Major-General BURNSIDE, Cincinnati, Ohio:
Your dispatch of to-day received. When I shall wish to supersede you I will let you know. All the Cabinet regretted the necessity of arresting for instance Vallandigham - some perhaps doubting that there was a real necessity for it, but being done all are for seeing you through with it.


Official Records, Series II., Vol. 5, Part 1, Page 717.

Burnside had published General Orders #38, which stated "The habit of declaring sympathies for the enemy will no longer be tolerated in the department. Persons committing such offenses will be at once arrested, with a view to being tried as above stated, or sent beyond our lines into the lines of their friends."  On May 1, Congressman Vallandigham of Ohio gave a speech saying the war was now being fought "...not to save the Union but to free the slaves by sacrificing the liberty of all Americans to "King Lincoln".  Burnside had him arrested and he was sent into southern lines, leaving from there to ultimately live for a time in Canada.  While there he was involved in a conspiracy to split Ohio and other western states from the Union.  He returned to the United States in defiance of his deportation and was allowed to stay, although kept under watch.  After the war he returned to the practice of law and died at age 50 while demonstrating that a client was innocent of murder because the victim could have shot himself.  While doing so he shot himself and died of his wound.

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