Arrest of W C Loftin -- 1862

Transcribed by Carolyn Shank

The Raleigh Standard,  31 Dec. 1862

  -- We learn that MR. W. C. LOFTIN, of Lenoir County, N. C., was taken 
through this City, on Sunday last, under a Confederate  guard, to be lodged in 
the Bastile at Salisbury.

   The charge against him is that he crossed the lines and went to Newbern, 
and that he gave aid and comfort to the enemy, and probably took the oath. MR. 
LOFTIN, we learn, denies that he took any  oath. He says he went to Newbern to 
endeavor to recover his negroes, and that he was promised them in case he 
would take the oath to Lincoln's government, which he says he refused to do.

   He was arrested by GEN. ROBINSON. MR. BADHAM, of this City, obtained a writ 
of habeus corpus in the case from JUDGE SAUNDERS, on Sunday night, and left on 
Monday evening for Salisbury, to take the necessary steps for investigation.
If MR. LOFTIN is guilty, let him be punished; if innocent, let him go free.

Additional Comments:
 * Note:  The editor of the paper points out in other editions that the 
military had begun making summary arrests, without regard to civil laws. 

The Raleigh Standard, Jan. 7, 1863


   We stated recently that MR. W. C. LOFTIN, of Lenoir, had been arrested by 
the Confederate military authorities and consigned to the Bastille at 
Salisbury, and that MR. BADHAM, his counsel, had obtained a writ of habeus 
corpus  in his case from JUDGE SAUNDERS.

   We now have to state that MR. BADHAM proceeded to Salisbury with the writ, 
and that CAPT. MCCOY, in command of the Bastille at that place, refused to 
allow the writ to be executed. He told MR. BADHAM, among other things, that he 
had two hundred bayonets at his command, and that any attempt to arrest him 
for refusing to obey the writ, would be resisted. We learn also that COL. 
FOWLE, MR. BADHAM'S associate counsel, waited on JUDGE SAUNDERS to know what 
he would do after this resistance to this fiat by this military officer, when 
the Judge replied that he would take no further steps in the case.

   We have, therefore, an unmitigated military despotism in our midst, and a 
Judge who shrinks and cowers before the military power.

   MR. BADHAM'S card, detailing the facts in the case, will appear in our 
next. As the conductor of a free press, we commend MR. BADHAM for his fearless 
discharge of his duty as counsel in this case. 

The Raleigh Standard: 14 Jan. 1863


   We publish below the card of MR. BADHAM, of this City, detailing the 
circumstances attending the resistance of the habeous corpus in the case of 
MR. LOFTIN. Comment is not necessary in so plain a matter. That great writ is 
secured by the Constitution and the laws of this State to every person who is 
arrested and held in prison. Its object is to give a hearing to the suspected 
party, in order that if good cause exists for is imprisonment shall continue 
until a trial can be had; and if cause exists, he shall be set a liberty.

   This was all MR. LOFTIN asked, but this was denied him. We are neighter his 
champion nor apologist, for we know nothing of the facts in this case, we are 
simply contending for a great principle as old as civil liberty itself. If MR. 
LOFTIN has committed treason, or adhered to our enemies, we trust he will be 
punished, but if he be innocent of this great crime, or any crime, he is 
entitled to his liberty. He has demanded an investigation of his case, which 
has been denied him. Meanwhile he languishes in the Bastile at Salisbury under 
the iron hand of military power, with many others, who have asked in vain that 
their cases may be investigated.  The Judge who issued the writ in his case 
has backed, and backed, and the judicial ermine has been lowered and dragged 
in the dust at the feet of a subordinate military office.

Additional Comments:
Note: This story is a follow-up to two other stories about the arbitrary 
arrest and imprisonment by military police of W. C. LOFTIN of Lenoir County, 
for crossing military lines in search of his slaves. The editor argues for the 
basic constitutional right of freedom from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment. 
LOFTIN'S counsel was an attorney from Wake County, MR. BADHAM.

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