In Whitman's Hand

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About this Item

Title: Amos T. Akerman to Robert McPhail Smith, 30 October 1871

Date: October 30, 1871

Whitman Archive ID: nar.02104

Source: National Archives and Records Administration. 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.

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

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Oct. 30, 1871.

R. McPhail Smith, Esq.

U. S. Attorney,

Nashville, Tenn.


I enclose herewith a copy of a letter addressed to this Department under date of the 27th ultimo, by Rufus Dowdy, relative to an indictment against him for murder in the first degree in the Circuit Court of Overton County, Tennessee. It appears from Mr. Dowdy's letter that this prosecution is for acts done by him as an officer of the U. S. Army, while in the discharge of his official duties—and that he desires to have the case removed into the Circuit Court of the United States for your District, and defended by the Government.

The Secretary of War, (to whom a copy of Mr. Dowdy's letter was referred on the 3rd instant,) in a communication on the 27th instant, says that in his opinion "the case is one where the United States should protect, as far as practicable, its servant from the consequences of acts performed in his public capacity"; and requests that the proper officer be instructed to take charge of the defence of the case.

Accordingly I desire that you will take such steps as may be necessary to remove the case to the U. S. Court, and that you will take charge of the defence thereof, in said Court; for which service a reasonable compensation, to be determined by this department, will be allowed to you.

Very respectfully,

A. T. Akerman,

Attorney General.

Rufus Dowdy's case


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