Robert Ould (January 31, 1820 – December 15, 1882) was a lawyer who served as a Confederate official during the American Civil War. From 1862 to 1865 he was the Confederate agent of exchange for prisoners of war under the Dix–Hill Cartel. After the war he became a member of the Virginia General Assembly and was later elected president of a railroad company.
|Born||January 31, 1820|
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
|Died||December 15, 1882 (aged 62)|
|Place of burial|
|Allegiance||Confederate States of America|
|Service/||Confederate States Army|
|Years of service||1862–1865 (CSA)|
|Commands held||Commissioner of Exchange|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
Ould was born in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., on January 31, 1820. After attending Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, he graduated in letters at Columbian College in D.C. in 1837, and in law at William & Mary College in 1842. During the antebellum period he worked as a lawyer in Washington, and in 1855 he was appointed under Franklin Pierce to a commission to codify the district's laws.
In 1859, following the shooting of Philip Barton Key II, Ould was appointed by James Buchanan to succeed Key as United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. Ould charged Key's killer, Daniel E. Sickles, with murder, but lost the case after Sickles' lawyer (and future United States Secretary of War) Edwin M. Stanton invoked one of the first uses of the temporary insanity defense in U.S. history.
Ould was also a Brigadier General in the District of Columbia militia; in his role as United States Attorney, he advised Buchanan not to arm newly raised Unionist militia companies in the District. Following the secession of Virginia in 1861, Ould decided to support the Confederacy and moved with his family to Richmond. Early in the war he was appointed to the War Department as Assistant Secretary of War, serving under Judah P. Benjamin.
In July 1862 Ould was appointed as the chief agent of exchange under the terms of the Dix–Hill Cartel, with the rank of colonel. In this position he was responsible for negotiating the exchange and treatment of prisoners of war with his Union counterparts. He held the office for most of the remainder of the war, until he was succeeded by William Norris in April 1865. During the war he also served as judge advocate in Richmond and seems to have been a high-ranking official in the Confederate Secret Service.
After the surrender at Appomattox in 1865, Ould was arrested and briefly incarcerated at Libby Prison on charges of misappropriating funds belonging to Union prisoners, but was soon after released, and on October 30 he received a pardon from Andrew Johnson. He subsequently defended former Confederate president Jefferson Davis against charges of treason.
After the war, Ould remained in Richmond and returned to practicing law. In 1866 he was elected to one term in the Virginia Senate, and from 1874 to 1875 he served as a representative for Richmond in the House of Delegates. In 1878 he was elected president of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad Company.
- Allardice 2008, p. 296.
- Evans 1899, pp. 630-31.
- Hall 1981, pp. 185-86.
- Ould & Cross 1857, pp. v-vi.
- Hall 1981, p. 186.
- Wheelan 2010, pp. 23-24.
- Charles Pomeroy Stone, "Washington on the Eve of the War" , in Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel (1887), edd., Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, reprint, Secaucus, NJ: Castle, pp. 12, 18-20, ISBN 0-89009-569-8 .
- Wagner, Gallagher & Finkelman 2002, p. 620.
- Heuvel & Heuvel 2013, p. 115.
- Tidwell, Hall & Gaddy 1988, p. 85.
- Tidwell, Hall & Gaddy 1988, p. 49.
- Blackett 1989, p. 325.
- Ainsworth & Kirkley 1899, p. 667.
- Bergeron 1991, p. 214.
- Commonwealth of Virginia 1918, pp. 190, 195.
- Ainsworth, Fred C.; Kirkley, Joseph W., eds. (1899). The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series II, Volume VIII. Washington: Government Printing Office.
- Allardice, Bruce S. (2008). Confederate Colonels: A Biographical Register. Columbia: University of Missouri Press. ISBN 978-0-8262-1809-4.
- Bergeron, Paul H., ed. (1991). The Papers of Andrew Johnson, Volume 9, September 1865–January 1866. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press. ISBN 0-87049-689-1.
- Blackett, R. J. M., ed. (1989). Thomas Morris Chester: Black Civil War Correspondent, His Dispatches from the Virginia Front. Cambridge: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80453-0.
- Commonwealth of Virginia (1918). Annual Reports of Officers, Boards and Institutions of the Commonwealth of Virginia, for the Year Ending September 30, 1917. Richmond: Davis Bottom, Superintendent of Public Printing.
- Evans, Clement A., ed. (1899). Confederate Military History, Vol. I. Atlanta: Confederate Publishing Company.
- Hall, Virginius Cornick, ed. (1981). Portraits in the Collection of the Virginia Historical Society: A Catalogue. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia. ISBN 0-8139-0813-2.
- Heuvel, Sean M.; Heuvel, Lisa L. (2013). The College of William and Mary in the Civil War. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7864-7309-0.
- Ould, Robert; Cross, William B. B., eds. (1857). The Revised Code of the District of Columbia, Prepared Under the Authority of the Act of Congress, Entitled "An Act to Improve the Laws of the District of Columbia, and to Codify the Same," Approved March 3, 1855. Washington: A. O. P. Nicholson, Public Printer.
- Tidwell, William A.; Hall, James O.; Gaddy, David Winfred (1988). Come Retribution: The Confederate Secret Service and the Assassination of Lincoln. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 0-87805-347-6.
- Wagner, Margaret E.; Gallagher, Gary W.; Finkelman, Paul, eds. (2002). The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4391-4884-6.
- Wheelan, Joseph (2010). Libby Prison Breakout: The Daring Escape from the Notorious Civil War Prison. New York: PublicAffairs. ISBN 978-1-58648-716-4.
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