Richmond Dispatch, 10/4/1862

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From the Richmond Dispatch, 10/4/1862, p. 2, c. 2-3

Judge Meredith's Court.--Yesterday, the case of Dr.Rucker, to whom a writ of habeas corpus was awarded was heard before Judge [line is illegible] ing the return of Capt. Alexander to the writ. The return stated that Dr. Rucker had been arrested by the troops of the Confederate States, in Allegheny county, and that he was held in custody for the crimes of horse-stealing, murder, and arson. He also read warrants for the arrest of Rucker issued by Justices of the county named, for horse-stealing, murder, and siding and assisting the enemies of the State of Virginia.

Mr. Crane, counsel for the prisoner, in reply, said that an erroneous impression had been created by the newspapers as to the design of this proceeding. The object was not to have Dr. Rucker released entirely, but simply to decide whether or not he was illegally held; and if so, to release him from that confinement, and have him in the proper custody. As Alexander's return had been read, the writ should have been read also, that the whole affair might be before the public; and he would say in behalf of the prisoner, in respect to the warrant for horse- stealing, Rucker expected to prove a good title to the horse; that he could repel the charge of murder, and as to the charge of treason against the State, he was willing to stand a fair trial. Rucker has been held for a month in close confinement by the Confederate States, when there were not charges against him, as the return to the writ (which was the only evidence before His Honor) showed.

Mr. Aylett replied that, in order that no blame should attach to the Confederate Government for holding the prisoner in custody, he would say that he was so held for bridge burning, and for being captured in company with the enemies of the Confederate States, and in Yankee uniform.

Mr. Crane said all this was aside and irregular in this matter; his remarks had been induced by the opposite counsel's reading the return, &c., and he repeated that the return to the write did not show that Rucker was legally detained by the Government.

Judge Meredith decided that as to the arrest and confinement of the prisoner, anybody may lawfully arrest and hold a man charged with treason and felony, and he should therefore remand him whence he came.

J. R. Tucker, Attorney-General for the State, by consent, read a letter from the Secretary of War to Governor Letcher, stating that Gen. Winder had orders to deliver Dr. Rucker to the State authorities on requisition.

The prisoner was then taken back to Castle Thunder, where he will remain until the State authorities demand him for trial.


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