Having been imprisoned for nearly two years in Fortress Monroe, Jefferson Davis, the one and only Confederate president, was bailed out 150 years ago today. Here’s a summary from the June 1, 1867 issue of Harper’s Weekly (page 338):
TRIAL OF JEFF DAVIS.
CHIEF-JUSTICE CHASE issued a writ of habeas corpus on May 8, requiring the person of JEFFERSON DAVIS to be brought before the United States Circuit Court for the District of Virginia. The writ was served on General BURTON, the commandant at Fortress Monroe, on May 11, and the same day the prisoner was taken to Richmond, where a mounted guard received him and held him in custody at the Spottswood Hotel until May 13. During Sunday he held a levee, to which his friends were admitted without any restriction. On May 13 he was brought by General BURTON before Judge UNDERWOOD and delivered up to the civil authorities, thus finally releasing him from military custody. Judge UNDERWOOD ordered his arrest on the indictment found against him in his court a year ago, and the prisoner was at once taken in charge. The attorneys of the Government having announced that they were not prepared to prosecute at this term of the court, a motion was made to release the prisoner on bail. The motion was granted, and the bail fixed at one hundred thousand dollars. HORACE GREELEY, AUGUSTUS SCHELL, JOHN MINOR BOTTS, and thirteen others were accepted as securities. …
You can read a more complete account of the proceedings in the May 14, 1867 issue of The New-York Times.
Born, raised and educated in New York State, John Curtiss Underwood “was one of the most conspicuous antislavery activists in Virginia during the 1850s, one of the first members of the Republican Party in Virginia, a federal judge from 1863 to 1873, and the president of the Constitutional Convention of 1867–1868.”