In Whitman's Hand

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Title: Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar to Henry A. Wise, 4 June 1870

Date: June 4, 1870

Source: Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Location: National Archives and Records Administration

Whitman Archive ID: nar.01359

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Vanessa Steinroetter, Kevin McMullen, and John Schwaninger



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June 4, 1870.

Hon. Henry A. Wise,

Richmond, Va.

Sir:

James Madison, a private soldier in the 5th U. S. Cavalry, has been indicted, as I am informed, for the murder of Wm. P. Boley, and is to be tried at Lynchburg. James Madison, with Thomas Jones, was charged with the crime before a military commission, while Virginia was in military occupation by the United States, and Jones was convicted of manslaughter. Madison was not apprehended until after it was too late to try him by a military commission, and he is now held by the civil authorities. The War Department suppose that Madison may have some responsibility for the death of Boley, but are inclined to the opinion that there were such extenuating or mitigating circumstances as might reduce the character of this act to manslaughter. They wish to make some provision for his defence, so that his life shall not be endangered, because he is poor and friendless, and wish that some competent person should be employed to appear for him on his trial and make a suitable defence. It does not seem to them proper to incur a large expense, because it is not strictly the duty of the Government to defend the case. I suggested to the Secretary of War that it would be well to apply to you to know whether you could give some attention to the case at Lynchburg, or, if not, whether you could recommend some suitable lawyer at Lynchburg, to be employed for the purpose—and he authorizes me to make the inquiry. The fee which the Government would be willing to offer could not of course be a large one. Perhaps therefore we could hardly expect to secure the services of any gentleman not on the spot, where it would occasion him no unusual trouble or expense.

Very respectfully,

E. R. Hoar,

Attorney General.


Case of James Madison [prvt.?] chg'd with murder
see p. 338 seq.


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