In Whitman's Hand

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Title: Amos T. Akerman to B. R. Cowen, 4 August 1871

Date: August 4, 1871

Whitman Archive ID: nar.03249

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, John Schwaninger, Anthony Dreesen, and Nima Najafi Kianfar

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Aug. 4, 1871.

Hon. B. R. Cowen,

Acting Secretary of the Interior.


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your reference of this date of the letter of Mr. Clum, Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs, enclosing letters to the President, and to the Commissioner, from Mr. Hoag, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, urging the commutation to imprisonment for life of the sentence of death against the two Kiowa chiefs Satanta and Big Bow.

It does not appear that these Indian Chiefs were sentenced by any U.S. court. Indeed, I infer from the papers, which are not very distinct upon this point, that the conviction was in a State court of Texas. If such was the case, the government of the United States has no control over the matter; and I can suggest no action that will probably conduce to the beneficial requests which you desire, except a representation to the Executive of Texas, in favor of the commutation of the sentence.

Very respectfully,

A. T. Akerman,

Attorney General.

case of two Indian chiefs in Texas convicted of murder


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