Indemnity Act of 1863 a Study in the War-Time Immunity of Governmental Officers

One of the familiar measures of the Union administration during the Civil War was the suspension of the habeas corpus privilege and the consequent subjection of civilians to military authority. The essential irregularity of such a situation in American law is especially conspicuous when one considers its inevitable sequel-namely, the protection of military and civil officers from such prosecution as would normally follow invasion of private rights and actual injury of persons and property. Such protection was supplied by a bill of indemnity passed in 1863, and this law, with its amendment of i866, forms a significant chapter in the legal history of the period.