Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
June 29, 1864
Federal Court – Application Of George Dusky For Bail. – Yesterday morning George Dusky, with whose history most of our readers are familiar, was brought into Court securely hand cuffed, and his counsel, Gen. Wheat, made application for bail. The counsel stated, among other things, that Dusky was willing to take the oath of allegiance and to leave the State of West Virginia, and remain in the State of Ohio, during the existence of the rebellion.
Colonel Smith, the district attorney, said there was nothing so repugnant to his feelings as to be compelled to recommend the restraining of the liberty of a man, and if consistent with his duty to the Government and the people immediately interested, he would gladly recommend the prisoner to the mercy of the Court. Many ignorant and unreflecting people, who had always followed certain leaders, and who thought it a duty to follow them into rebellion had come before the Court upon indictments for treason. In all such cases he had recommended bail and approved such action in the Court. Was Dusky one of those men? He knew nothing of his grade of intelligence and his social status, but he did know that his name carried alarm and fear wherever it was heard, and common report said he was a house breaker and a horse and cattle stealer. In Wirt, Calhoun and adjoining counties, farms had been devastated and people had fled from their homes in terror, on account of such lawless bands as the one led by Dusky. He had been twice captured and had succeeded once in making his escape. Unless some evidence of true repentance was furnished, he (Col. Smith) could not consent to have such a man admitted to bail.
Gen. Wheat made another appeal upon behalf of the prisoner, stating that the charges against him were based mainly upon rumor – “a lying jade at best.” He suggested that the prisoner be sworn and permitted to make a statement. Dusky stepped forward and was sworn. He gave a somewhat detailed account of his connection with the rebellion, and said that the reports about him were mainly false. At the time the war broke out he was in Missouri but came home to Wirt county shortly afterwards. At first he was opposed to fighting only for the defence of the State, and his best friends were afraid to trust him. After his father’s property was burned he took up his gun and joined an independent organization. He had never made war upon any but those who made war upon him, and he could prove by good Union citizens in his neighborhood that they always felt safe when he was about. He took up his gun because he believed the South was right and that he was fighting for his rights. He said that since he had been in prison his views had undergone some change, and he was willing to take the oath of allegiance to the United States, and give bail to withdraw all connection with those in rebellion.
Col. Smith said something about an intercepted letter of Dusky’s which had been published, in which he stated that he would take any oath in order to get out of jail.
The Court held the application under advisement.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: June 1864