Back to top

John Curtiss Underwood, Statement on behalf of Southern Refugees to President Andrew Johnson, Washington, D.C.

John Curtiss Underwood, detail
On April 24, 1865, a sizable delegation of refugees who had been forced to flee from Confederate States due to their Unionist or abolitionist beliefs met with President Johnson. Johnson, who had himself suffered throughout the war from similar attitudes towards him, welcomed the visit. Judge John Curtiss Underwood spoke to the President and those assembled on behalf of the refugees. Underwood had been forced to leave Virginia in 1857 for his abolitionist views but had served since in several federal posts in an attempt to represent that state as a judge and in Congress. His statement was a strong plea for the Government to pursue, punish, and restrict those who had rebelled in all their states, so that they could return home without fear. President Johnson made a lengthy reply that laid out his current ideas on amnesty and retribution. (By John Osborne)