Who thinks that that only Lincoln did this? Silly goose…

Southern Unionist post-worthy is the fact that 149 years ago, on this day, Jefferson Davis suspended habeas corpus and declared martial law in Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia because of Union threats.

Gen. Winder

Two days later, the same was done in Richmond, Virginia; Gen. John H. Winder being declared military governor of the city. Part of the irony in this was that Winder was a Marylander. While there seems to be much talk in Confederate celebrationist circles about the appalling treatment of Marylanders as a result of Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus and declaration of martial law there, Jefferson Davis (who, incidentally, had also been a student of Winder’s at West Point), as we can see here, did the same.

J.M. Botts

One of those taken into custody under Winder’s period of authority was John Minor Botts. Not unlike George P. Kane, who was taken from his home in the dead of night in Maryland (as a result of Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus), Botts was taken from his bed in the dead of night, in March of 1862. Botts was then carried to prison, and held in solitary confinement for eight weeks. Botts’ crime against the Confederacy: suspicion that he was writing a secret history of the war.

Though a search was made for the manuscript, the Confederates could find nothing. After his release from prison, Botts returned to his home in Culpeper County, Virginia, though continually harassed by Confederate authorities.

Following the war, the manuscript which the Confederates sought was found, a portion of which had been entrusted to the Count de Mercier, French minister at Washington, D.C. This work formed the basis for Botts’ The Great Rebellion, its Secret History, Rise, Progress, and Disastrous Failure! (New York, 1866).


4 Responses to “Who thinks that that only Lincoln did this? Silly goose…”

  1. […] the wake of my post, yesterday, at Southern Unionists Chronicles (and recalling the suspension of habeas corpus and declaration of martial law, under the […]

  2. Hard to believe anyone interested enough in the war to get exercised about Lincoln’s action would not know that Davis did the same.

  3. Great post! I very much agree, as I have often wondered why it is that Lincoln receives all the blame for suspending habeas corpus, while virtually nobody admits to the fact that Jeff Davis also did the same, as well as placing Richmond under a continual state of Martial Law.

  4. Marilyn Marme Says:

    My ggg grandfather William D Fitzgerald was jailed inRichmond for unspecified crimes against the Confederacy. He died in CastleThunder, but not before writing a letter in protest to General winder and a letter in support of the Union and compensated Emancipation to President Lincoln. To learn more, check out this blog posting.

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