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In Richmond, Confederates select prisoners for trial in retaliation for Northern convictions of privateers

Federal Government and Politics, iconic image
The four day trial of Confederate privateer William Smith in the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia resulted in a guilty verdict and a death sentence for piracy. The trial caused a sensation in the South and reprisals were threatened against Union prisoners of war.  General John H. Winter visited Libby Prison in Richmond and drew lots from among the senior Union prisoners there to select who would be tried as criminals in retaliation.  The trials never took place and the Union reclassified the convicted privateers as prisoners of war in February, 1862. (By John Osborne) 
Source Citation: 
D.F. Murphy, The Jeff Davis piracy cases: full report of the trial of William Smith for piracy, as one of the crew of the confederate privateer, the Jeff Davis : before Judges Grier and Cadwalader, in the Circuit Court of the United States, for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, held at Philadelphia, in ... (Philadelphia, PA: King & Baird, 1861), 12-13 
Spencer C. Tucker, ed., The Civil War Naval Encyclopedia (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2011), 179-180