April 30, 1863

27Thursday.  In forenoon finished the case of Theodate Melancon.  The witnesses called by him for the defence really knew little about the matter he was tried for.  Their testimony being introduced chiefly to prove that the prisoner told them he was going to the negro Capt. to get back a couple of horses that the gang had taken from him.  After getting through with the witnesses, he made quite a long statement through the interpreter, asserting that the negroes compelled him to go with them, & that he escaped from them as soon as he could safely.  Two members of the Commission decided him to be guilty of that part of the  Specification that declared him to have unlawfully joined a band of armed negroes with whom he proceeded to St. Martinsville for the purpose of plundering, & as they were on a majority, they sentenced him to “Six months hard labor with a b all & chain attached to his left leg.”  I felt obliged to vote “Not guilty” on both charged & specifications, there appearing to be ground for a very reasonable doubt in regard to his guilt, & I felt bound to give him the benefit of it.

Diary of Isaac Winslow Case [Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection]

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