Killing of Eli Baker
Huddleston was finally arrested in connection with this incident in mid-1863. (Whether Bledsoe was arrested is not known for sure.) Huddleston, however, was quickly paroled to Greene County. The parole was soon extended to Lawrence County. Before long Huddleston absconded to St. Louis, but he was apprehended there and placed in Union custody. In September a grand jury met in Stone County and indicted both Huddleston and Bledsoe for second degree murder.
The indictment, full of legalese, declared that "James Huddleston and Isaac H. Bledsoe and divers other persons to the jurors unknown on the 1st day of October...not having the fear of God before their eyes but being moved, seduced and instigated by the devil, did willfully, premeditatively, feloniously and of their malice aforethought with a gun, which gun was loaded and charged with gunpowder and a leaden bullet, which said gun was loaded as aforesaid, they the said James Huddleston and Isaac H. Bledsoe and divers other persons to the jurors unknown had and in their hand in and upon the body of one Ali Baker in the face of God and the State...did discharge and shoot off upon and against the body of said Ali Baker, giving to the said Ali Baker one mortal wound in the thigh of him the said Ali Baker of the depth of two inches and the breath of one-half inch, of which wound the said Ali Baker did languish and did die."
The fascinating thing about this indictment is that the foreman of the grand jury was Bowling Baker, father of Eli Baker (the victim of the shooting). Huddleston retained John S. Phelps (Union colonel, U.S. congressman, and future governor of Missouri) as his attorney. Huddleston had served under Phelps, probably even at the time of Baker's killing. Phelps quickly gained Huddleston's freedom on parole and bond of $2,000. A month or two later Huddleston was re-enlisted into the Union army. A new effort was made in 1864 to revive the case against Huddleston, but he served in the arny until the end of the war.
So I don't know the final outcome of this case, but apparently Huddleston was never tried for the crime he supposedly committed. Whatever the final outcome, I find the case interesting because of the political and personal overtones. Huddleston was a Union soldier, and Baker and his father were probably Southern sympathizers or at least conservative Union men, plus Bowling Baker served as foreman of the grand jury that was investigating his own son's death.