3 Replies Latest reply on Nov 15, 2017 7:11 AM by Alex Champion

    Trial transcript and papers from U.S. v. Cruikshank?

    Aidan Hunt Newbie

      I'm working on a National History Day project about the legacy of U.S. v. Cruikshank in American second-amendment jurisprudence. I was wondering how I could access a copy of the trial transcript/record, if one exists, from the original trial of the Colfax defendants in the USDC Lousiana, as well as the papers of James Beckwith, the USA prosecuting the case, and any depositions or other accounts that are part of the federal record for the case. Where would I find these records? This is a project for my AP US History class, so I don't have the ability to find the resources in person. I know that several books and papers have been written which reference events at the original trial, does that mean that these records have already been digitized?

       

      Thanks,

      Aidan Hunt

        • Re: Trial transcript and papers from U.S. v. Cruikshank?
          Alex Champion Adventurer

          Hello Mr. Hunt,

           

          The records you want are in Record Group 21, Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685 - 2009. The series with papers regarding the Colfax Riots would be Case Files, 1873 - 1911. This series consists of unbound papers filed in criminal proceedings including indictments, information, capias, motions, notices, writs of commitment, sentences, warrants affidavits, records of proceedings before U. S. Commissioner, warrants of arrest, testimonies, rules, pleas, demurrers, findings of the grand jury, orders, summonses, and subpoenas.

           

          The National Archives has twenty-six scanned pages of United States v. Columbus C. Nash et al, one of the cases related to the riots, in our catalog. Those papers have the National Archives Identifier 251435 and they can be viewed here. Click on the hyperlink “26 item(s) described in the catalog” or the green-gray box “Search within this file unit” to view them.

           

          If you have additional questions or wish to see more, please contact the National Archives’ Fort Worth office at ftworth.archives@nara.gov. Refer to ELA144, CRIMINAL CASE FILES  1873-1911, cases 11 and 12.

           

          Thank-you for your question and best of luck to you!

           

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            • Re: Trial transcript and papers from U.S. v. Cruikshank?
              Aidan Hunt Newbie

              Thanks! I see that case 12 is U.S. v. Nash, et. al., which is exactly what I was looking for! I kept looking for a District Court record for U.S. v. Cruikshank, et. al., but I didn't realize that Nash was the first listed defendant in the original trial and that it was in Circuit Court as it was a capital case. Do you know what the title of case 11 is or is that just another part of the Nash file? Also, it looks as though the digitized pages contain all of the obvious filings, do you know if there are any paper-only files from the case? I think what's online should be good for my research but I just want to make sure I'm not missing any significant filings that could change the story.

               

              Thanks again for your help!

                • Re: Trial transcript and papers from U.S. v. Cruikshank?
                  Alex Champion Adventurer

                  Yeah, I was surprised how difficult it was to find even the names in the originating cases. Fortunately Cruikshank had implications with Reconstruction Era politics so there was enough interest to digitize the microform.

                   

                  Unfortunately those seem to be the only records available online.

                   

                  Speaking for myself regarding Case 11--my suspicion is that it had less priority for digitization or microfilming. This sometimes happens when records are not in good enough condition for digitization and remedying that utilizes resources best used elsewhere. This would be especially true if Case 12 were in optimal condition and was substantively similar or superior to 11. Or perhaps they are in similar condition and 11 has less scholarly interest or contains fewer juicy bits of history...

                   

                  In any case you'll need to contact the Fort Worth NARA office ftworth.archives@nara.gov for further information.

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