Letters exchanged between Thomas Ewing and Daniel Anthony, July 20th and 22nd, 1863

Click the link below for the full text from the two letters that Thomas Ewing and Daniel Anthony exchanged following Ewing’s declaration of martial law. In these two letters, Ewing and Anthony each lay out their arguments for and against martial law. Each describes the sequence of events leading up to Ewing’s declaration, although their accounts differ from each other.

Anthony and Ewing correspondence about martial law

One noteworthy passage from Anthony’s letter describes how he and Ewing had come to an arrangement whereby action by the military would be avoided. Anthony writes with palpable anger, asking Ewing to revoke his order and citing previous legal cases from other states, including Massachusetts. He also points to previous orders given by Ewings superiors that explicitly state that martial law is not to interfere with the application of civilian systems of justice.

As a soldier, Anthony had little regard for official Union policy (or lack thereof) for dealing with slaves, and he took it upon himself to free them. Now as a civilian mayor, he showed his true colors once again, resisting the notion that the Union army should be preventing the people of Kansas from working to free slaves or to seek revenge against secessionist Missourians. 

Sources: The text of these letters is from The Miscellanious Documents of the House of Representatives, 1888-1889, volume 3. This book is fully digitized and is available for free on Google Books as part of their Public Domain digitization program. The letters begin on page 389.

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