Dr. Watson's Case--The Military Commission Dissolved By Direction Of the President

December 24, 1866


President Johnson ordered for the military commission trying Dr. Watson be dissolved because the commission did not have proper jurisdiction to try him.


Dr. Watson's Case--The Military Commission Dissolved By Direction Of the President.--The military commission for Dr. Watson's trial met at the custom house at half-past 10 o'clock on Saturday morning. At 11 o'clock, after a secret consultation, the doors of the United States courtroom were opened, and the public session of the commission commenced. The minutes of the last meeting were read by the Judge-Advocate; after which the following order was announced: Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, Headquarters Assistant Commissioner, Department of the Potomac, Richmond, Va., December 22, 1866.--Special Orders No. 190.--[Extract.] By direction of the President of the United States, the military commission appointed by Special Order No. 180,' paragraph 1., from these headquarters, is hereby dissolved. By command of Brevet Major-General J. M. Schofield, Assistant Commissioner. O. Brown, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General. General Granger thereupon discharged Dr. Watson, and declared the court dissolved and Dr. Watson dismissed. We made application to General Schofield for a copy of the order of the President, and though he could not give us a copy, we are indebted to his courtesy for a synopsis. The order dissolving the commission was received from Adjutant-General Townsend, who stated in a letter to General Schofield that an application had been made through the Attorney-General for a writ of habeas corpus in the case, and the Attorney-General had reported to the President that in his opinion the military commission convened for Dr. Watson's trial had not competent jurisdiction for such trial; whereupon the President ordered that the commission be immediately dissolved and the prisoner discharged.
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“Dr. Watson's Case--The Military Commission Dissolved By Direction Of the President,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed March 29, 2023, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/465.