In Whitman's Hand

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

Date: August 24, 1871

Whitman Archive ID: nar.03300

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 Nima Najafi Kianfar

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Aug. 24, 1871.

Hon. J. A. J. Creswell,

Postmaster General.


I have received a letter addressed to this Department under date of the 20th inst. by C. Cochran, Jr. Esq. Superintendent of Mail Depredations, P. O. Department, enclosing for my information copies of correspondence in relation to James Gilmore, an escaped prisoner recently arrested for mail robbing in Missouri, showing the difficulty under which the agents of the P. O. Department labor in endeavoring to bring to justice persons charged with depredations upon the mails.

I have carefully read this correspondence. There is no law providing compensation to a Marshal for services or expenses in capturing or endeavoring to re-capture 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 re-capture, and to defray all expenses incident to such re-capture. 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 say, no statute compelling them to re-arrest persons who escape from their custody—and in some cases where they have failed to attempt the re-arrest, 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 Gen'l.

pp. 182-3-4-5
mail robbing cases
see p. 209 ante
p. 242 seq.


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