The Trial of Jefferson Davis

October 18, 1866


Now that the military government has been withdrawn and a peace proclamation given to all the States, the courts appear to be ready to try Jefferson Davis. The trial could be before a District Court as soon as November.


The Trial Of Jefferson Davis. Our military government has been withdrawn by the proclamation declaring peace reestablished throughout all the States, Chief-Justice Chase and associate Justice Wayne have been ready to join the district Judge In the several districts in holding the Circuit Court. They could not join in holding them while the military government lasted, but have been always willing to do so as soon as military supervision and control should be disclaimed. Indeed, the Chief Justice, soon after the close of the last term of the Supreme Court in April last, requested the President to issue a proclamation, no matter how short, but expressly disclaiming such supervision and control by declaring martial law abrogated and the habeas corpus restord in all cases of which the United States Court had jurisdiction. Had this been done he would have joined Judge Underwood in holding the Circuit Court in may last. Since then an act of Congress has been passed abolishing one of the circuits, and changing seven others, one of which is that including the district of Virginia, but making no provision for a new allotment of judges of the Supreme Court to the new circuits. This makes it very doubtful whether those judges have any authority to hold the Circuit Courts, or sit with the district judges in holding them; but it does not affect all the authority of the district judges to hold them. the Circuit Court will be held in Richmond, in November, by Judge Underwood, and will doubtless try any case which the Government may bring before it. Correspondence of the New York Tribune.
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“The Trial of Jefferson Davis,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 20, 2022,