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Prize Cases

The Issue Of Belligerency, The Captured Ships, Further Readings


Owners of four ships as claimants: Hiawatha, Crenshaw, Amy Warwick, and Brilliante


United States

Petitioners' Claim

That the seizure of these ships for violation of blockade was illegal, because the war was a civil war, not an international war.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioners

Charles Edwards

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Richard Henry Dana, Jr.

Justices for the Court

David Davis, Robert Cooper Grier (writing for the Court), Samuel Freeman Miller, Noah Haynes Swayne, James Moore Wayne

Justices Dissenting

John Catron, Nathan Clifford, Samuel Nelson, Roger Brooke Taney


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

10 March 1863


The Court ruled the president could insitute a wartime blockade without congressional approval.


The case determined that the Union government could pursue the naval war against the Confederacy as if it were an international war, using the rules of blockade.

Related Cases

  • Keppel v. Petersburg R. Co., 14 F.Cas. 357 (C.C.D.Va. 1868).
  • Holiday Inns, Inc. v. Aetna Ins. Co., 571 F.Supp. 1460 (S.D.N.Y. 1983).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1833 to 1882