In Whitman's Hand

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Title: Amos T. Akerman to John Angel James Creswell, 24 August 1871

Date: August 24, 1871

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.03285

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, John Schwaninger, Anthony Dreesen, and Nima Najafi Kianfar



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Aug. 24, 1871.

Hon. J. A. J. Creswell,

Postmaster General.

Sir:

I have received a letter addressed to this Department under date of the 22nd instant, by C. Cochran, Jr. Esq. Superintendent of Mail Depredations, Post Office Department, enclosing for my information copies of correspondence in relation to the case of James Gilmore, an escaped prisoner recently arrested for mail-robbing in Missouri, showing the difficulty under which the agents of the Post Office Department labor, in endeavoring to bring to justice persons charged with depredations on the mails.

I have carefully read this correspondence. There is no law providing compensation to a Marshal for services or expenses in recapturing, or endeavoring to recapture, an escaped prisoner. It is the duty of the keeper of the prison in which the prisoner is incarcerated, to safely keep him, and in the event of his escape, to use all diligence for his recapture, and to defray all expenses incident to his recapture. This duty is incumbent upon the keepers in view of the fact that the Government pays them for guarding and feeding its prisoners. There is however, I regret to state, no statute compelling them to reärrest prisoners who escape from their custody, and in some cases where they have failed to attempt the reärrest the U.S. Marshals have pursued the parties within their respective Districts, and their expenses have been allowed out of the Judiciary fund.

When a prisoner escapes, and he is believed to be in another District than the one in which he was arrested and committed, a copy of the warrant for his arrest, and of the commitment, should be sent to the U.S. Attorney of the District in which the prisoner is supposed to be, in order that a warrant may be issued by the Court of that District for his apprehension and return to the place from which he escaped.

I will write to the Marshal of Missouri relative to the case of Gilmore, and direct him to have copies of the warrant and commitment sent to the U.S. Attorney of the District of Arkansas, in which said Gilmore is supposed to be living.

Very respectfully,

A. T. Akerman

Attorney General.


reärrest of escaped U.S. prisoners.
Missouri case J. Gilmore mail-robber
see Ins. B'k B. p. 600


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