Washington DC History Resources

Matthew B. Gilmore

DC Prisoners on the Hudson: Abraham Lincoln, Amos Pilsbury, and the Albany Penitentiary

DC Prisoners on the Hudson: Abraham Lincoln, Amos Pilsbury, and the Albany Penitentiary

According to a recent Congressional report, “Notably, D.C. Code felons are unique in that they are routinely housed hundreds of miles away from their homes. In addition to placement in the District of Columbia, nearly 5,700 D.C. Code felons are housed in 33 States in facilities owned or leased by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. While the majority of these individuals reside in facilities located in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and West Virginia, some D.C. Code felons receive placement in States as far away as Florida, Texas, and California.”[1]

In August 1864, Amos Pilsbury, superintendent of the Albany Penitentiary, wrote to President Lincoln about prisoner William N. Chester, asking Lincoln to approve his pardon. Chester had been convicted in Washington DC on December 29, 1862 of grand larceny. Pilsbury wrote, “his conduct here has been unexceptionable, and believing, as I do, that if now pardoned, he will be restored to his friends a reformed man.”

Amos Pilsbury’s letter to President Lincoln seeking pardon for prisoner William N. Chester. image--The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, courtesy National Archive & Library of Congress.

Why was Pilsbury in Albany writing to Lincoln in Washington requesting a pardon for a DC man?

FULL TEXT HERE: http://intowner.com/2015/12/17/dc-prisoners-on-the-hudson-abraham-lincoln-amos-pilsbury-and-the-albany-penitentiary-2/

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