Transcriber's Note: Inconsistent hyphenation in the original document has been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. For a complete list, please see the end of this document. A list of illustrations is provided for the reader's benefit.
BETWEEN THE LINES
Secret Service Stories Told Fifty Years After
BVT. MAJOR H. B. SMITH
Chief of Detectives and Assistant Provost Marshal General with Major General Lew Wallace Civil War
Booz Brothers 114 West Fifty-Third Street New York
Copyright, 1911, by Henry Bascom Smith
Press of J. J. Little & Ives Co. New York
DEDICATED TO SAMUEL GRAHAM BOOZ
TO WHOSE PERSISTENCY IN THUMPING OUT ON HIS TYPEWRITER THE WORDS HEREIN HAS RENDERED IT POSSIBLE FOR ME TO INFLICT MY FIFTY-YEAR-OLD STORIES ON MY FRIENDS
The Harry Gilmor Sword—General Wallace's Comments 21
1861-1862 New York Harbor—Fort Schuyler—Fort Marshal—Aunt Mag 25
1862-1863 Fort McHenry—General Morris—Colonel Peter A. Porter— Harper's Ferry—Halltown—Trip to Johnson's Island—Lieutenant-General Pemberton and other Confederate Officers—Ohio Copperheads—Incident of York, Pa., Copperheads—Dramatic incident on July 4th, 1863, at Fort McHenry 30
A taste of the Draft Riots, July 13th, 1863, when conveying wounded Confederates from Gettysburg to David's Island, New York Harbor— Governor Seymour's questionable conduct—A mysterious Mr. Andrews of Virginia—"Knights of the Golden Circle"—"Sons of Liberty" and a North Western Confederacy—Uncle Burdette—The Laurel incident 37
Appointed Assistant Provost Marshal at Fort McHenry, where I began my first experience in detective work—Somewhat a history of my early life—Ordered to execute Gordon by shooting 50
Detective work required an extension of territory—A flattering endorsement by Colonel Porter—Introducing Christian Emmerich and incidentally Charles E. Langley, a noted Confederate spy 57
Investigator's education—I branded E. W. Andrews, adjutant-general to General Morris, a traitor to the Colors 63
Initial trip down Chesapeake Bay after blockade runners and contraband dealers and goods, incidentally introducing Terrence R. Quinn, George G. Nellis and E. W. Andrews, Jr.—A description of a storm on the Chesapeake 66
General Wallace assumes command of the Middle Department—General Schenck's comments on Maryland—Colonel Woolley 79
Here begins my service as an Assistant Provost Marshal of the Department and Chief of the Secret Service—Confederate General Winder's detectives—E. H. Smith, special officer, War Department —Mrs. Mary E. Sawyer, Confederate mail carrier—W. V. Kremer's report on the "Disloyals" north of Baltimore 83
Mrs. Key Howard, a lineal descendant of the author of "The Star Spangled Banner," forgetting her honor, prepared to carry a Confederate mail to "Dixie"—Miss Martha Dungan—Trip on the steam tug "Ella"—Schooner "W. H. Travers" and cargo captured—James A. Winn, a spy—Trip to Frederick, Maryland 92
F. M. Ellis, Chief Detective U. S. Sanitary Commission—Arrest of W. W. Shore, of the New York "World"—John Gillock from Richmond 100
Ordered to seize all copies of the New York "World," bringing in one of the great war episodes, the Bogus Presidential Proclamation— Governor Seymour's queer vigor appears 103
Arrest of F. W. Farlin and A. H. Covert—The Pulpit not loyal, reports on Rev. Mr. Harrison and Rev. Mr. Poisal—Comical reports on a religious conference and a camp meeting—Seizure of Kelly & Piet store with its contraband kindergarten contents—Sloop "R. B. Tennis" one of my fleet, and an account of a capture of tobacco, etc.—Arrest of Frederick Smith, Powell Harrison and Robert Alexander—Harry Brogden 109
General pass for Schooner "W. H. Travers"—Trip down the Bay after blockade runners and mail carriers—Gillock and Lewis, two of my officers captured by Union pickets—Commodore Foxhall A. Parker— Potomac flotilla—Arrest of J. B. McWilliams—My watch gone to the mermaids—The ignorance of "poor white trash" 121
Captain Bailey makes a capture—Sinclair introduces me (as Shaffer) to Mr. Pyle 132
A Confederate letter 136
Confederate army invades Maryland in 1864—General Wallace's masterly defence of Washington—Trip outside our pickets—Confederate General Bradley Johnson and Colonel Harry Gilmor—The Ishmael Day episode— Uncle Zoe—Arrest of Judge Richard Grason—Report on certain "Disloyals" 138
Trip to New York regarding one Thomas H. Gordon 149
Thomas Bennett, a U. S. mail carrier, disloyal—Samuel Miles, a prominent Baltimore merchant, a blockade runner—A laughable letter about an overdraft of whiskey—Dr. E. Powell, of Richmond 151
Terrence R. Quinn 155
The Great Fraud attempted in the Presidential Election of 1864, wherein the misplacing of a single letter led to its detection and may be said to have saved our Nation from disruption—Involving Governor Seymour and Adjutant General Andrews—Arrest of Ferry, Donohue and Newcomb, one of the most successful kidnappings on record 159
John Deegan, a forger, captured—A report that led to a historic raid by Colonel Baker on the Bounty Jumpers and Bounty Brokers of New York 175
General Wallace's letter to Secretary of War, Charles A. Dana (afterwards editor of the New York "Sun") asking for an extension of territory for my work, incidentally introducing Colonel John S. Mosby, giving a list of his men and their home addresses—A train robbery, paymasters robbed—I recapture part of the money—Commissions in promotion declined 184
Capture of Confederate bonds and scrip—Arrest of Pittman, Brewer and Fowler; Lieut. Smith, alias I. K. Shaffer, alias George Comings, led them, victims, into a maze, to their undoing 193
Arrest of T. A. Menzier and expose of a prominent railroad official —Arrest of Barton R. Zantzinger, involving Milnor Jones—Arrest of John Henry Skinner Quinn, alias J. Y. Plater, alias Simpson, a spy— Arrest of E. R. Rich, a spy 200
Statement of Illinois Crothers, giving valuable and reliable information, implicating Mr. William Mitchell and a Mrs. Keenan of Winchester, Virginia—Report on Daniel W. Jones, and Joseph Bratton —Am given unlimited access to prisoners in Baltimore City jail 205
Statements of Jeremiah Artis, a real deserter from the Confederates —William J. Bradley, an honest refugee—Charles E. Langley, an official Confederate spy—Langley personating a correspondent of the "New York Tribune," was a most successful and dangerous spy 210
Patrick Scally, an honest deserter from the Confederate service—A sketch of the defences of Richmond 222
Confederate Colonel Harry Gilmor, the raider, telling how he did not "come back" as a conquering hero; of the sword he never received; of his capture, etc.—The arrest and conviction of the fair donor 227
Steam tug "Grace Titus"—Statement of George Carlton, containing valuable confirmatory information 236
The pungy "Trifle" (one of the captures)—Colonel McPhail—-Major Blumenburg and his corrupted office—"Boney" Lee, Bob Miller, and other thugs 243
Statement of James Briers, Bollman, McGuarty and Welsh—United States marine corps 246
General W. W. Morris in command in General Wallace's absence—General Sheridan's order to arrest E. W. Andrews, formerly adjutant general to General Morris 250
Ordered to New York—Interviewed Secretary of War Stanton relative to an independent command and extension of our territory—Major Wiegel's weakness exposed 252
Paine, who was afterwards one of the conspirators in the assassinators' plot, in my custody—Miss Branson appeared to plead for him—Paine released on parole, lacking evidence to prove him a spy 255
Missionary E. Martin, an agent of the Confederate Treasury Department, arrested, his big tobacco smuggling scheme exposed—Kidnapped him from General Dix's department—Manahan involved 259
Secretary of War consulted about the extension of our territory to include the district between the Rappahannock and the Potomac Rivers —Robert Loudan, alias Charles Veal, a boat-burner and spy—A kidnapped colored boy 271
The chase after the steamer "Harriet Deford," which was captured by pirates, supposedly to supply a means of escape to Jefferson Davis from the crumbling Confederacy—Captain Fitzhugh 275
Ordered to Northern Neck of Virginia the day before President Lincoln's assassination—Martin Van Buren Morgan's statement, and order for his disposal 281
I am introduced to General Grant—The assassination—Capture of Samuel B. Arnold, one of the conspirators, sent to Dry Tortugas—Arrested the Bransons and their household, uncovering Paine's pedigree; thereafter he was Lewis Paine Powell—Paine had my parole on his person when arrested—Paine hung 290
Richmond had fallen—Class of detective work entirely changed— Counterfeiters—Secretary McCullogh—Go to steamboat of the Leary Line and capture a youthful murderer—Arrest of Mrs. Beverly Tucker 312
Camp Carroll rioting—Troops being mustered out 317
Indicted for assault with intent to kill, the only clash between the Military and Civil Authorities during General Wallace's administration 322
Trip to Norfolk and Richmond—Ralph Abercrombie—Miss Elizabeth L. Van Lew 324
My muster out—Reemployment as a civilian—Ordered to Philadelphia— Twice ordered to Washington with horse-thieves 327
Captain Beckwith convicted—Gambling—Order to take Beckwith to Albany penitentiary 331
Trip to Carlisle, Illinois, to unravel a fraudulent claim—John H. Ing 335
Brevetted major—Governor Fenton's letter 342
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
H. B. Smith frontispiece after page The Monitor Waxsaw 28 Lieutenant Joseph H. (Joe) Barker 30 The Maples, Laurel, Md. 48 Major General M. W. Lew Wallace 78 John Woolley 82 Ishmael Day 144 Lucius F. Babcock 162 Charles E. Langley 218 Map of Richmond Defences 224 Colonel Harry Gilmor 226 Lewis Paine 256 Samuel B. Arnold 292
Fifty years ago! Gracious me! It makes me think of my age to talk of it. Yes, just fifty years ago was enacted the greatest tragedy the world ever saw, THE CIVIL WAR.
I entered the service at twenty and one-half years of age and served three and one-half years.
At different times I have told of some of my experiences, which seemed to interest. Sometimes I have talked to literary men, story writers, who have expressed a desire to write me up in magazines and newspapers, but lack of the romantic in my make up, notwithstanding romance might be seen in the stories which to me were but cold facts, has kept me from consenting.
I am actuated now by other reasons. I have a lot of documents and memoranda that are wearing out, liable to be mislaid or lost. In fact I have already lost one document, a letter from General Lew Wallace, a very valuable and important one (to me); it was his letter of presentation to me of the Harry Gilmor sword, written on the eve of his departure for Texas (on a secret mission, known only to Lincoln and Grant), to receive the capitulation of the Confederate General Slaughter, hence I feel that these matters ought to be recorded somewhere.
The New York Historical Society and Columbia University have offered some of these documents place in their archives. The affidavit and signature of Paine, the Conspirator who attempted to assassinate Secretary Seward, ought to be in some substantial depository as a link in history. I presume it is the only finger mark extant of any of the conspirators. The reason why I have not deposited it is that the statement appears garbled, requiring me to explain the gaps and hidden meanings between the lines, which I shall try to do in these pages.
Another motive for putting these experiences in writing, is in the interest of Graham, and his children, Curtis, Evelyn and her children, Nettie and DeLos. It is to be expected these younger ones will remain longer here under the old Flag, and perhaps they may get some consolation from the fact that some of their ancestors did something in simple patriotism. Nettie has complained that her school history did not mention her uncle. I told her I could only be found by reading "between the lines," because there were so many "pebbles on the beach" besides her uncle.
But how can I make it interesting? I am afraid I shall injure the facts in trying to write them. A story writer might make a romance out of almost any one of my stories, for he would dress it up so. Every day and hour of my Secret Service experience was crowded with events; they came swift one after another; for instance the Election Fraud case of 1864 to which Appleton's Encyclopedia devotes columns, took less than five days to develop; the story would take nearly as long to tell.
BETWEEN THE LINES
SECRET SERVICE STORIES
The Harry Gilmor sword—General Wallace's comments.
The sword of Harry Gilmor, the Confederate colonel, which General Wallace had given me, had aroused Graham's interest so much that I presented it to him; I had, prior to this, presented to Curtis, my Creedmoor rifle trophies. I had become tired of telling the history of that sword and how it came into my possession, having no other evidence than my word for the truth of the story, since I had lost General Wallace's letter. However, quite unexpectedly, the story was revived in the following manner:
Evelyn, who was but a baby in those days, remembering that I was with General Wallace, on Christmas day, 1908, presented me with his Autobiography (two volumes) much to my delight. A few days later Aunt Mag, glancing through the second volume, discovered that I was remembered by the General and the sword incident was there officially described, so that now the sword is really vouched for in history, for Wallace's volumes will be in every important library in the world.
I quote from General Lew Wallace's Autobiography, page 687 and on:
"From what has been said, it would seem my friend, General Schenck, had found a disturbing element in the Secession ladies of Baltimore, and in some way suffered from it. His description of them, and the emphasis with which he had dwelt upon their remarkable talent for mischief in general, I accepted as a warning, and stood upon my guard.
"Every one into whose hands these memoirs may fall will see almost of his own suggestion how necessary it was that, of the inhabitants of the city, I should know who were disloyal with more certainty even than who were loyal; of the latter there was nothing to fear, while of the former there was at least everything to suspect. We knew communication with the enemy across the line was unceasing; that interchange of news between Richmond and Baltimore was of daily occurrence; that there were routes, invisible to us, by which traffic in articles contraband of war was carried on with singular success, almost as a legitimate commerce—routes by water as well as by land. General Butler, at Norfolk, exerted himself to discover the traders operating by way of the Chesapeake Bay, but without success; with a like result I tried to unearth the landward lines.
"Captain Smith, my chief of detectives, a man of ability and zeal, at last brought me proof incontestable that Baltimore was but a way-side station of the nefarious commerce, the initial points of active transaction centering in Philadelphia.
"As to Baltimore, this simplified our task, and shortly General Schenck's sagacity was again vindicated—those working in the prohibited business were ladies who moved in the upper circles of society.
"Should I arrest the fair sympathizers? What was the use? The simple appearance of distress was enough with the President; and if that were so with a man in concernment, what would it be with a woman? In sight of the hopelessness of effort on my part, over and over, again and again, in the night often as in the day, I took counsel of myself, 'What can be done?' At last an answer came to me, and in a way no one could have dreamed—the purest chance.
"A woman in high standing socially, alighted from a carriage at the Camden station of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, carrying a mysterious-looking box. At the moment she was stepping into a car my chief of detectives arrested her. The box being opened, there, in velvet housings, lay a sword of costly pattern inscribed for presentation to Colonel ——, a guerilla officer of Confederate renown.
"A commission was immediately ordered for the woman's trial. The word and the inscription upon it were irrefutable proofs of guilt, and she was sent to a prison for females in Massachusetts. The affair was inexcusably gross, considering the condition of war—so much, I think, will be generally conceded—still, seeking the moral effect of punishment alone, I specially requested the officials of the institution not to subject the offender to humiliation beyond the mere imprisonment. In a few days she was released and brought home. The sword I presented to Captain Smith."
General Wallace makes a slight error. I did not arrest the woman at the station, but captured her messenger with the sword, and upon his person were credentials to Gilmor, which I used myself, and of which I will tell later on. Later on I arrested the woman herself.
1861-1862 New York Harbor—Fort Schuyler—Fort Marshal—Aunt Mag.
During the first year of the war ('61) I remained at home, but I was really ashamed to be found there when service called. Burdette was already in the Army, and A. P., though equally patriotic, was compelled to remain home to "fight for bread" for the family. I started to go but mother restrained me; finally, however, Olive persuaded mother to consent, and on January 10th, 1862, I began my service as 2d Lieutenant in the 5th N. Y. Heavy Artillery. In the early part of '62 our Regiment garrisoned the forts of New York Harbor. I was stationed first at Fort Wood (Bedloe's Island), and afterwards at Fort Schuyler, where I was Post Adjutant.
Fort Schuyler is a very extensive fortification guarding the entrance to New York from the east, situated on a peninsula called Throggs Neck, where there is an abrupt turn from the waters of the East River as it enters Long Island Sound; the channel is quite narrow at that point. The fortification comprises two tiers of casemates surmounted by a parapet, and on the landward side barbette batteries. A first-class formidable defence for the arms of those days. The interior of Fort Schuyler was large enough to enable a battalion to form in line. At that time there was under construction on the opposite, or Long Island, shore, on Willet's Point, a fortification which has since been completed and is called Fort Totten.
In May, '62, we were withdrawn from the forts in New York Harbor. We were ordered to the front, to join the army at Fortress Monroe, Virginia. We were assembled, taken by steamers to Amboy, thence by the old Camden and Amboy Railroad to Camden and Philadelphia, thence by the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad to Baltimore. We were handsomely treated to a meal in the "Soldiers' Rest" in Philadelphia, by the patriotic ladies. God bless them! We were transported in box freight cars, rough board benches for seats. No drawing-room cars in those days.
On arriving in Baltimore we were loaded upon a steamer for Fortress Monroe. At this point our orders were changed. Being a heavy artillery regiment, we were ordered to garrison Fort Marshal (near Baltimore), relieving the 3d Delaware, an infantry regiment. We were marched through the city to Fort Marshal. Later we learned that the Baltimoreans dubbed us the "toughest" they had seen. Our appearance was misleading, we thought.
Fort Marshal was an earth work, a parapet with bastions, erected on an eminence just east of Baltimore, commanding the harbor and the city. It has since been demolished, crowded out by commerce and residences.
When we arrived at the fort our men were hungry, having had but "one square meal" in forty-eight hours—the one the Philadelphia ladies had given us, plus what was picked up from pie peddlers on the way. We learned the lesson all green troops must learn, when inefficiency of the commissary is shown. I volunteered to get feed for the men; the Colonel accepted my tender. I went down to the city limits, pressed three wagons (those deep box-wagons in use in Baltimore) into service, drove to the Quartermaster's Department in South Gay Street, represented myself as Acting Quartermaster (which was a little out of "plumb" but excusable by the emergency) and drew three wagon loads of aerated bread and coffee, drove back to camp, turned the kettles up and had the men banqueting inside of two hours. Inefficiency was surely our Commissary's right name.
At this point I want to tell something about Aunt Mag, my "Star in the East," who has ever since guided me.
Union people and the Star Spangled Banner were not so plenty in Maryland. Not far from Fort Marshal I espied a cheerful looking house. In its yard from a flagstaff was unfurled our glorious emblem. That was the house of Aunt Mag. I fell in love with the premises, and very soon with its occupant. Later on I was stricken down with that dreadful army plague, typhoid fever, and I was very near to death. That house was my hospital, and Aunt Mag was my nurse. I lived, and so here we are after fifty years. Many friends have remarked, how romantic! but we say it is just love. If the "Over-ruling Hand" was not in it, it certainly has proven a fortunate "happen so" for our lives have so nicely matched in the "pinions" as to have needed no other lubrication than love for all these years.
The house referred to was the home of Thomas Booz (the father of Graham and Curtis). He was a real "19th of April" Union man; and on that eventful day he defended his premises with a gun. He was of the firm of Thos. Booz & Brother, shipbuilders; also he was a member of the Legislature, and was talked of for Governor. Their firm built the pontoons that McClellan used to recross the Potomac at Harper's Ferry in 1862, after Antietam; they also built one of the first turreted monitors (the Waxsaw), patterned after Ericsson's Monitor which fought the battle with the Merrimac.
What do I mean by an "April 19th" Union man? Well, I will tell you: On that day was shed the first blood of the war. A mob attacked the 6th Massachusetts Regiment in Pratt Street, as it was proceeding to Washington (April 19th, 1861). Like magic all Marylanders took sides, one part for the Union, the other for Rebellion. Ever after the prime question or test of loyalty was, how did you stand on April 19th? A Union man on that day was ever after one. Families were divided. It cost a deal to be a Union man there or in any of the border States. I have often thought they deserved as much consideration as those who fought battles.
In August, 1862, two companies, A and F, of our Regiment were detailed to go to Harper's Ferry to man batteries there. There being a vacancy in the line (in Co. A) I requested to be detailed to it, but my superior objected, claiming I was necessary with my own company. I was not permitted to go. Had I gone I would have been in that fight and would have been in the Colonel Miles surrender, along with Joe Barker and the rest. Joe's story of spiking the guns of The Naval Battery on Maryland Heights, preparatory to surrender was always interesting. His story of the four days' fighting, sustained as it is by Confederate documents, makes new history. He makes it quite plain that the detention of the enemy there saved us Antietam and perhaps Washington.
Fort McHenry in 1862-1863—General Morris—Colonel Peter A. Porter— Harper's Ferry—Halltown Trip to Johnson's Island—Lieutenant-General Pemberton and other Confederate Officers—Ohio Copperheads—Incident of York, Pa. Copperheads—Dramatic incident on July 4th, 1863, at Fort McHenry.
In the winter of '62-'63 our Regiment was removed to Fort McHenry, where Confederate prisoners of war were detained. General W. W. Morris, an old regular, commanded the Brigade (Headquarters were there) and Colonel Peter A. Porter (whose monument is at Goat Island, Niagara Falls) commanded the Post. We were carrying there about one thousand Confederate and political prisoners. A large percentage of them were commissioned officers.
Early in '63 our Regiment was ordered to the front by way of Harper's Ferry. When we arrived at the Ferry I was the first officer detailed for a two-days' turn of picket duty on Bolivar Heights.
Harper's Ferry is situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. The Potomac cuts through the Blue Ridge Mountains there. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal runs along the north bank of the Potomac, rugged mountains enclose it, presenting an alpine appearance. Here the "John Brown raid" began. It was formerly the location of one of the great national arsenals. When encamped there in '63 the Regiment was in tents on Camp Hill; the officers were quartered in a building which had been the home of the officers of the arsenal.
Our Regiment, nominally a heavy artillery regiment, was thoroughly schooled in the heavy tactics and also as light or field artillery and infantry; able or qualified to be used in either arm of the service with equal facility. The order to proceed to the front was hailed with delight, duty in the field being a panacea for garrison bickerings.
Later the regiment was moved to Halltown, encamped on the Miller farm, and threw out pickets. I was on first detail there. I learned how to get a fair sleep on top of a "herring-bone" rail fence. My proclivity for "prying into things" manifested itself there. An attack was expected, so our regiment slept on arms, anxiously waiting; it became tedious. I asked permission to reconnoitre alone, and was permitted. In the dark I sneaked out about a mile, and listened; three or four cavalrymen came whirling down the road as if riding for life; they roused the regiment. They were blood stained, but upon examination the blood was found to have come from one of their own horses. Such scares and mistakes were frequent, especially with fresh troops. I was in a dilemma to get back into line without being shot, but it was accomplished. The regiment was ordered back to Baltimore for garrison duty.
I was detailed to convey prisoners away many times. Once I took ninety odd Confederate officers to Johnson's Island, Sandusky, Ohio. Among them was Lieutenant General Pemberton, who had commanded at Vicksburg, and who had, on July 4th, surrendered Vicksburg with thirty-seven thousand men, fifteen general officers and sixty thousand stand of arms. I was surprised at the great number of "Copperheads" we met in crossing Ohio. My exhibition of Confederate prisoners was treated as a first-class circus; it "drew" the "Copperheads" and they flocked to the stations along the route to express sympathy and admiration. What was a "Copperhead"? I will try to tell you: he stood, relatively, as the Tories to the Revolution. They were composed of several elements; some wore so greedy of gain they wanted no war that might interfere with their finances; some were too cowardly; some were too partisan politically, really thinking their fealty was due to those who were fighting against an administration nominally representing an opposing political party; all of them forming a mass to be influenced by conspirators who were pursuing an intelligent purpose to destroy the Union; just such material as was needed by Vallandigham, Seymour, Andrews, Morgan and Lee to help their projects of further disruption. What became of them? They sank out of sight when the Confederate cause was lost. Naturally they were scorned by the men who had fought for the Union. As time goes on, they and their work is being forgotten. Future historians may be more kind to them than we who suffered because of them, but it is not likely that the descendants of any Copperhead will claim public honors for their anti-Union forbears.
I am reminded of an incident that was told widely through the armies: When Lee's army reached York, Pa., on the way to Gettysburg, these Copperheads went out to meet the Confederates, and assure them "how they had always loved them." The Confederates wanted tangible proof of this love; they demanded that one hundred thousand dollars in gold be paid at once; else the town of York would be burned. Now, wasn't that unkind! but lovers must ever be ready to prove, you know.
On our way home we had a railroad smash at Mifflin, Pa. I was curled up, asleep in my seat, but received only a scratch on my forehead. I crawled out of a window and helped recover bodies from the wreckage.
Fort McHenry is an historic spot. The scene described in our "Star Spangled Banner" was dedicated to it. It was its ramparts Key referred to in his first verse. In 1812 the fort was garrisoned by one thousand men under Major Armisted, to guard Baltimore from an attack by sea. September 13th, 1814, the British admiral, with sixteen heavy war vessels, opened bombardment upon the fort. Its guns failed to reach the fleet till some of the vessels approached nearer. He met so warm a reception that they withdrew, badly damaged. A force of one thousand men landed to surprise the fort in the rear, but they were repulsed. At midnight the firing ceased. Next day the fleet withdrew and Baltimore was safe. During the bombardment Francis Scott Key, a prisoner on board the British fleet, wrote the "Star Spangled Banner."
I shall never forget July 4th, 1863. The crucial battle of the war, Gettysburg, was being fought. Meade had just succeeded Hooker in command of the army. Anxiously the wisdom of the change was being watched by every soldier. It was my fortune to be detailed as officer of the guard at Fort McHenry that day. Guardmount is always an inspiring exercise, for then troops are carefully inspected and instructed before entry on their tour of duty. Fort McHenry is an ideally beautiful spot, situated on the point of a peninsula formed by the confluence of the north and south forks of the Patapsco river. The spot is loved by every American. A picture, a combination of events, produced the most strikingly emotional effect upon me. We were formed on the exact ground overlooked by Key when he wrote:
"Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say, does that star spangled banner yet wave, O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"
I was trying to examine arms. Our Post Band, the 2d Artillery Band, one of the grandest in the service, was playing that soul lifting piece. The north fork of the Patapsco was filled with transports, carrying bronzed veterans (I think the 19th Corps), who were hurrying to Gettysburg, and these boys were yelling for twice their number; cheers upon cheers. On the balcony of one of our prison buildings was a prisoner of war, a lineal descendant of Francis Scott Key, overlooking the scene. And I thought of our flag over yonder to the northwest, forty miles away at Gettysburg. Yesterday and day before we had listened, straining our ears to hear the guns. Was our flag still there? Had our boys with Meade stood fast against the lion of the Confederacy, or had the Stars and Bars been flaunted victorious upon the battle ground? God knows how our hearts were strained in those hours. And when I heard the cheers of our soldiers upon the transports and thought of Francis Scott Key and how he had watched to see if Old Glory still waved, my eyes were blinded with tears. I had to suspend my inspection to dry them. I was not alone affected; there were many. Such tears one need not be ashamed of; they are not evidence of weakness. An army of men inspired by such emotions would be best to avoid.
I shall never forget the relief which came to our anxiety the next morning (July 5th), Gettysburg was ours. Lee was started back to Virginia. Vicksburg, too, was ours. Indeed, crucial was the day, July 4th, 1863. Every one of our ninety millions of united Americans should ever give thanks for the events of that day.
A taste of the Draft Riots, July 13, 1863, when conveying wounded Confederates from Gettysburg to David's Island, New York Harbor—Governor Seymour's questionable conduct—A mysterious Mr. Andrews of Virginia— "Knights of the Golden Circle"—"Sons of Liberty" and a North Western Confederacy—Uncle Burdette—The Laurel incident.
I had a little taste of the draft riots during that memorable week beginning July 13th, 1863. I was ordered to David's Island, New York Harbor, with seven hundred wounded Confederates from Gettysburg. The demonstrations of the mob of onlookers in Philadelphia were so very unfriendly that we had to use the butts of our muskets to control the crowd. They threatened us saying, "to-morrow will be our day." I understood the threat when I learned later of the rioting. We were advised that our train was to be intercepted before reaching New York, and transportation was, therefore, furnished on the steamer "Commodore," by the outside course. After leaving our prisoners at David's Island, we landed at the Battery, and there I addressed my men, cautioning them not to reply to any assault unless ordered by me. We marched up Broadway to the City Hall Barracks (where the New York Post Office now stands) and stacked arms inside the enclosure. I was proud of my men. Each one appeared a giant, steady, firm of step, lips compressed; two-thirds of them were foreign born, yet no better Americans ever paraded Broadway.
Immediately after stacking arms, a lot of rioters who had just overcome their guards, seized our stacks. Our boys jumped on them and I had a big job to keep them from crushing their ribs. Exceeding my orders, I permitted my men to visit their homes, to report back at midnight. The cars were running but had no passengers. I rode on the Eighth Avenue car to 48th Street, my home. Our house was locked, but Cousin Wilbur F. Strong was there alone. He said Brother A. P. had taken the family into the country for safety. A. P.'s loyalty had made him a "marked man," and he had been threatened. After eating, Wilbur and I walked down to John Hardy's, in 35th Street. Stores were all closed, no one on the streets but an occasional corner loafer, who snarled at us. Hardy had been hiding his colored servant in the coal cellar, to save her life. Wilbur afterwards entered the service, and went on the "Hunter raid" up the Shenandoah Valley in 1864. He died from the exhaustion of the marches.
At midnight every man was behind his stacked arms, ready for duty. The city was deserted, as if plague stricken. I shall never forget the desolation.
Ostensibly the draft was the excuse, but with the moving spirits it was but a subterfuge. The ring-leader of the mobs in New York was a mysterious stranger, a "Mr. Andrews" of Virginia. On July 13th, 1863, at 40th Street and Fourth Avenue, while the firemen were at work in Third Avenue, he ascended a shanty which stood opposite the burning ruins. Thousands were assembled behind this shanty in an open space of untilled ground, and the Virginian orator proceeded to address them. He cried out that he wished he had the lungs of a stentor and that there was a reporter present to take down his words; he said he had lately addressed them in Cooper Institute, where he told them Mr. Lincoln wanted to tear the hardworking man from his wife and family and send him to the war; he denounced Mr. Lincoln for his conscription bill which was in favor of the rich and against the poor man; he called him a Nero and a Caligula for such a measure, etc. He then advised the people to organize to resist the draft and appoint their leader, and if necessary he would be their leader (uproarious cheers). Immediately after, the mob destroyed a beautiful dwelling at Lexington Avenue and 47th Street. And they did organize. Mounted leaders were seen to give orders to subordinate leaders of mobs; one of these mounted men rode on horseback into the hardware store of Hiram Jelliffe in Ninth Avenue and seized what arms and powder he had. Mr. Jelliffe afterwards identified him as a clerk in one of the City departments.
Governor Horatio Seymour, in answer to a call from Washington, had hurried off the militia to Pennsylvania. He made a memorable speech standing upon the City Hall steps, in which he addressed the rioters as "my friends." A report of it says: "Standing near him on the steps was a ring-leader of a mob, who had just made an inflammatory speech and who had recently come from an assault on the 'Tribune.'" The "Tribune" (editorially) said practically that: "the sending of the militia out of New York was with a knowledge that it would be desirable to have them away when his (the Governor's) 'friends' wanted to riot." I am aware that Governor Seymour has been a sort of idol with many, and that if I lay my poor weak tongue on his fair name, I will incur their displeasure; but I have always disliked shams.
Not wishing to be tedious, I want to recall that when the war broke out the Confederacy was thoroughly equipped to take its place as a fully organized nation at once. This fact was commented on and efforts were made to explain how it was accomplished. No comprehensive history of the struggle can be written that does not include the secret societies that abetted. They played as important a part as did the army which opposed us, and was vastly more dangerous by reason of the insidious character of its movements.
One State after another swung into line under some mysterious talisman, although there was a strong sentiment against leaving the Union.
In delving into affairs generally, I became possessed of information that, so far as I know, has never been in print. I learned that a secret organization known as the "Knights of the Golden Circle" was the nucleus of the Confederacy. That under its secret fostering the Confederacy was fully developed, ready to take its place among the nations. That the Knights were an outgrowth of the defunct "Know Nothing" society that had become disrupted on the subject of the extension of slavery (which also divided churches). That as soon as the Confederacy was in the saddle, no longer were there any initiations into the "Knights of the Golden Circle," but a subordinate society was organized to do further work, i. e., to further disrupt the Union. This society was known as the "Sons of Liberty."
The purpose of the "Sons of Liberty" was to form a northwestern confederacy. My source of information said that it was understood in that circle, that Governor Horatio Seymour was to give the signal for disruption, which was to be a refusal from New York to furnish its quota of soldiers. Seymour failed them. He did not refuse, but he protested and procrastinated. He obstructed the draft as adroitly as he could, claiming inequities. And on August 7th, 1863, Mr. Lincoln in a communication to Seymour regarding these claims, said: "We are contending with an enemy who, as I understand, drives every able-bodied man he can reach into his ranks, very much as a butcher drives bullocks into a slaughter pen; no time is wasted, no argument is used." And Mr. Lincoln repeatedly wrote Governor Seymour of the cost in blood and treasure by the delays he was causing.
The bloodiest and most brutal riots this country ever saw ensued in New York, Boston, Portsmouth and other cities. The draft riots were, in fact, but the first step of the "Sons of Liberty" in uprising, towards forming another rupture. To this secret movement of the "Sons of Liberty" I refer to the following documents:
Head Quarters, District of Indiana, Indianapolis, Sept. 3, 1864.
1st. Large numbers of men of suspected loyalty to the United States, have heretofore, and still are immigrating to the State of Indiana, and in some localities their open and avowed hatred to the Government, and treasonable designs are fully expressed....
By order of Bvt. Major General Alvin P. Hovey, And. C. Cemper, A.A.G.
An order had previously been issued by General Heintzelman, Commander of the Department, prohibiting the transport of arms into the Department by Railroads.
Governor Oliver P. Morton, in his message to the Legislature in June, 1865, said:
"Some misguided persons who mistook the bitterness of party patriotism and ceased to feel the obligations of allegiance to our Country and Government, conspired against the State and National Government and sought by Military force to plunge us into the horrors of revolution.
A secret organization had been formed which by its lectures and rituals inculcated doctrines subversive of the Government, and which carried to their consequences would evidently result in disruption and destruction of the nation.
The members of this organization were united by solemn oaths, which if observed, bound them to execute the orders of their Grand Commanders without delay or question, however treasonable or criminal might be their character.
I am glad to believe that the great majority of its members regarded it merely as a political machine and did not suspect the ulterior treasonable action contemplated by its leaders, and upon discovery of its true character, hastened to abjure all connection with it.
Some of the chief conspirators have been arrested and tried by the government, and others have fled, their schemes have been exposed and baffled."
The arrest of Clement L. Vallandigham, of Ohio, for treason, uncovered part of the conspiracy; he was, in fact, the Grand Commander of the Order. Of him Mr. Lincoln said:
"I solemnly declare my belief that this hindrance of the military, including maiming and murder, is due to the course in which Mr. Vallandigham has been engaged, in a greater degree than to any other cause, and it is due to him personally, in a greater degree than to any other man."
The Indianapolis "Journal," July 2d, 1864, said:
"Members of the Sons of Liberty were advised that Morgan (the Rebel raider) would be in Kentucky, and Vallandigham in Hamilton, on or about June 14th (1864). It was through information furnished by members of this order that Governor Bramlette of Kentucky was apprised of Morgan's intended raid and attack upon Frankfort.
The rumor that there was collusion between the friends of Vallandigham and Morgan seems possible. In the letter of Governor Bramlette, which we append, significant allusion is made to it. It would seem strange indeed, that the Sons of Liberty should be so advised of the simultaneous raids of the Canadian and Kentucky Confederates unless a common understanding was had between the two traitors, and concerted action determined upon. That they were so advised is evident from the fact that certain of their number admonished Governor Morton of Indiana beforehand, who in turn advised Governor Bramlette of the approaching danger in time for him to provide for it.
Commonwealth of Kentucky, Executive Department, Frankfort, June 22, 1864.
Governor Oliver P. Morton, Indianapolis, Ind.
Dear Sir.—I return you my most grateful thanks for your prompt assistance during Morgan's recent raid. The timely arrival of the 43d Regiment, Indiana Volunteers, gave us entire relief against apprehension of danger.
Although the citizens had repulsed the Rebels, yet the large numbers still infesting this section at the time of their arrival kept us upon constant vigil and serious apprehension of another assault.
The patriotism and kindly feeling which prompted the gallant veterans of the Forty-third to rush to our relief without delaying after their long and arduous labors to even greet their families, deserves the highest commendation from their countrymen, and will ever command from us of Kentucky, the profoundest gratitude.
The appearance of Vallandigham, of Ohio, simultaneously with Morgan's raid in Kentucky, fully confirms the matter made known to me through General Lindsey, by you.
The defeat of Morgan has frustrated their movements for the present, but vigilance in the future must still guard us against the machinations of evil doers.
Yours truly, THOMAS E. BRAMLETTE."
Arms for the Sons of Liberty were seized in Indianapolis and New York, and at many other places. The organization was said to have a membership of one million members, all bound, by oath, to sustain the Southern Confederacy.
In many instances, to outward appearances, they were merely social or political clubs that could be attended by the unsuspecting, when they were not in executive session.
The draft riots, hotel burnings, attempts to destroy our water supply, and kindred work, down to and including the assassination conspiracy, are all to be charged to the Sons of Liberty. They are also to be charged with the presidential election fraud of 1864. Its virus permeated all. No man has ever admitted being a member of it.
And Governor Seymour was expected to be its "bell wether" in the disruption movement. Evidently his nerve failed him. The riots in New York probably demonstrated to him that real war is real h——l, and it scared him. I do not assume that any considerable portion of the Confederates were members of either of the secret societies; soldiers are seldom conspirators.
There were characters in the Confederate service whom a Union man could well admire: Lee, "Stonewall" Jackson, Alexander H. Stevens and others, but there should be contempt only for men who, while holding office under the protecting arm of a magnanimous government, bent every nerve to trip up their benefactor.
Uncle Burdette's service was exclusively with troops. First with the 90th Regiment at Key West (Graham has yet a bottled scorpion that he sent home from there, found in his sleeping blanket), then with the 16th Cavalry in Virginia, and finally with the 162d Regiment in the assault on Port Hudson. He was also with the Banks Red River expedition. No better man ever straddled a horse; he could have acquitted himself as a champion "bronco buster."
The following incident belongs right here:
Headquarters, Fort McHenry, Md., Sept. 18th, 1863.
Special Order No. 190.
Lieut. H. B. Smith, of Co. D, 5th N. Y. Arty, with a guard from Co. G., N. Y. Arty., consisting of one sergeant, two corporals and twenty-two men, with two days rations, will, when transportation is provided, proceed to Alexandria, Va, in charge of ninety-three soldier prisoners, and turn them over with lists and charges of same to the commanding officer of Camp of Distribution, near that place.
II. This duty performed Lieut. Smith and guard will return without delay and report to the commanding officer of this post.
Lieut. Thos. Grey, the quarter master, will furnish the necessary transportation.
By command, Col. P. A. PORTER. Ford Morris, 1st. Lieut. 6th N. Y. Arty. Post Adjutant.
Lieut. SMITH, D. Co., 5th N. Y. Arty.
On our way to Washington, at Laurel, Md., we found the railroad bridge crossing the Patuxent river had been washed away by a recent freshet. We were forced to disembark, go down a high embankment and cross the river by a foot bridge. By some means some of the prisoners had obtained some "fire water" and were troublesome; some of them were fighting on this foot bridge. I took a hand in it and tumbled a few into the river (not very deep). Just then I noticed three or four of them scurrying away, running through a field of grain. I really felt more sorry for the owner of the field than for the loss of the men. Aunt Mag had often spoke of our visiting her brother William and sister Mary at Laurel, but we never went there until after our marriage, when I found, on arriving there, that the owner of the grain field my prisoners had so ruthlessly damaged was brother William. He could not remember the instance, as such events were of frequent occurrence, but we had a laugh over it.
Appointed assistant provost marshal at Fort McHenry, where I began my first experience in detective work—Somewhat a history of my early life—Ordered to execute Gordon by shooting.
I was on duty with troops until detailed as Assistant Provost Marshal at Fort McHenry. The administration of prisoners confined at Fort McHenry had become unsatisfactory; escapes were frequent. Colonel Porter selected Capt. Holmes of the 8th New York Heavy Artillery and myself to reform the prison.
Headquarters, Fort McHenry, October 25, 1863.
General Order No. 51.
I. Lieut. George Nellis, Co. D., 5th Arty., N. Y. V., is hereby relieved from duty as Asst. Provost Marshal and will without delay report to his Company Commander for duty.
II. Lieut. H. B. Smith, Co. D., 5th Arty., N. Y. V., is hereby appointed Asst. Provost Marshal and will without delay assume the duties of that office.
P. A. PORTER, Col. 8th N. Y. V. Arty. Com. Post.
Lieut. H. B. SMITH, D. Co., 5th Reg., N. Y. V., Arty., Fort McHenry, Md.
Right here was begun what led up to my ultimately becoming a full-fledged secret service operator. Born in the green foot-hills of the Catskill Mountains (near where Rip Van Winkle dozed), I learned my "A B abs" in the little brown school house at Cornwallville. Father died when I was four years old. Mother traded the farm for some New York tenements, and we all located there, when I was ten years old. I attended the public schools where I was properly "hazed" and got what was "coming" to all country boys; finally I graduated under the tutelage of Dr. Joseph Finch (a patriot indeed, who made a lasting impress for earnestness on thousands of boys), and then went to business as an entry clerk with a large importing metal house, where I remained until the war broke out. You will therefore see I had had no former experience (my age was 22 years) and whatever wit I had for such service was inborn or home-made. Zeal I know I had; perhaps its birth was from a chalk legend some pedagogue had inscribed over the door-frame in the little brown school house, reading: "What man has done, man can do." At any rate I have remembered it.
My education in the burning political questions had been sharply marked by the presidential campaign of 1860. My brothers, A. P. and Burdette, were "Douglas" Democrats. My fellow clerk, Clarence W. Meade (later Judge Meade), was a "Bell and Everett" Democrat. I was a born "Lincoln" Republican. So between the discussions at the house and the office, I was somewhat sharpened. I remember how I struggled against their arguments that Lincoln was an uneducated, uncultured rail-splitter. I knew of his discussions with Douglas, but never did I completely vanquish them until Mr. Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg oration, and "that ball fetched all the pins and knocked a hole through the alley." And it must be noted that I thought myself, somewhat like a Demosthenes, for I had practiced in that little school house on "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and two verses of "On Linden When the Sun Was Low," much to mother's delight. So equipped, or so not equipped, I began my duties as Assistant Provost Marshal.
Confederate mail carrying, spy promoting, blockade promoting, recruiting for Confederate service, were being engineered right from among these prisoners. I "under-grounded" it all. Through this channel I enlisted for the Confederate service. Of course you know that when I enlisted in the service of our enemies, I did so to discover their actions, and was what most people call a "spy." I had often read the story of Nathan Hale, the splendid patriot of the American Revolution who was a spy in the service of General Washington and who gave up his life to the service. (The Sons of the Revolution of the State of New York have erected a fine monument to him in the New York City Hall Park). Perhaps there would be less danger in being a soldier in the ranks who goes forward with arms in hand and fights openly in battle and dies thus, than to be a spy and constantly in the shadow of death, night and day, and no soldier's death for him, but the death of the hangman's noose; yes, I knew all this.
I worked a blockade running outfit, involving General Morris's adjutant general, Capt. E. W. Andrews (of whom I will tell more later on), and I captured Confederate mail carriers, none of which were any part of my duty, but all contributed to the general good of the service. Strictly speaking, my duties were completed by caring for the safe keeping, discipline and comfort of the prisoners in our charge. To do more was supererogation, and ought to be credited to zeal.
In a short time I found that these Confederates worked their escape through the use of gold supplied them by their sympathizers in bribing the guards. But we stopped that and thereafter the soldiers for sentry duty at certain posts were selected for their known probity. Escapes continued for a time (but they were always recaptured when they supposed themselves safe outside our guards). When these escapes (?) were accomplished there was great jubilation among the Confederates. They had a great "laugh" on the Yankees; which laugh was changed to "the other side of the mouth" when all the escaped (?) ones were marched back into camp, one bright morning. About a mile down the road leading from our exterior gate to Baltimore was a hotel called the "Vineyard." I engaged the upper floors of it in which to domicile my escaped (?) prisoners. When we had accumulated there about fifteen we marched them all back to our prison.
After telling their fellows of the futility of their plans no more escapes were attempted.
The government was kind to prisoners. We clothed them and gave them blankets to keep them comfortable. I have receipted rolls now showing such issues. They came to us in rags or worse than rags, in fact, and left us fat and well clothed. On one occasion when an exchange of prisoners was ordered, I judged that one good suit of clothes was enough to start them off with; but orders came from Washington to allow them to carry away all the clothing given them by their friends, which in some instances was three or four suits to a man. Our prisoners were confined in buildings known as the Ringgold Battery Barracks, quite insecure for the purpose. We constructed about the premises a plank fence twelve feet high, with balcony and sentry boxes on top, leaving no good chance for communication between prisoners and guards.
The first unpleasant duty devolving on me is described in the following order:
Headquarters, Fort McHenry, Nov. 19. 1863.
General Order No. 53.
In pursuance of General Order No. 54 and 56 issued from Headquarters, Middle Department, 8th Army Corps, Oct. 26, and Nov. 3, 1863, and General Order No. 92, issued from headquarters 2d. Separate Brigade, Defences of Baltimore, Nov. 19, 1863, William F. Gordon, a prisoner in confinement at this post, will be shot to death with musketry, between the hours of 12 M. and 3 o'clock P. M., on Friday, the 20th inst., on the Parade Ground at Fort McHenry, according to military usage in such cases, provided the approval of the President of the United States be received.
The Asst. Provost Marshal of the Post, Lieut. H. B. Smith, is charged with the execution of this order.
(Signed) By Command of Col. P. A. PORTER, 8th N. Y. V. Arty., Com'd'g Post.
GEO. WIARD, Lieut. 8th N. Y. V. Arty and Post Adjt.
A harder duty could not be directed. In cases where execution is by shooting, a firing party is picked, and their rifles are loaded for them. One gun among them is loaded with a blank cartridge, so that each member of the firing party can hope he has it. In case death does not result from the firing it becomes the duty of the officer commanding the firing party to complete the execution of the order. That was not a cheerful prospect for me. I had twenty-four hours for serious contemplation; suppose the men should aim wrong? Then I would be compelled to shoot the man as a mere cold duty. We were spared its execution by the following telegraphic order:
War Department, Nov. 20, 1863.
Major General Schenck:
The President directs that the execution of sentence of death against Gordon, now in Fort McHenry, be suspended until further orders.
(Signed) E. M. STANTON, Sec. of War.
Detective work required an extension of territory—A flattering endorsement by Colonel Porter—Introducing Christian Emmerich and incidentally Charles E. Langley, a noted Confederate spy.
For the purpose of showing how I grew in the service I will ask you to read each order carefully. Sometimes they explain themselves, sometimes not.
Investigations started in the prisons required work to be done outside the garrison, throughout Maryland and perhaps into Virginia, which would carry me outside our post limits and required authority from Department commanders. The Department comprised Maryland, parts of Delaware and Virginia. The following personal letter was addressed to Colonel W. S. Fish, Provost Marshal under General Schenck:
Headquarters, Fort McHenry, Nov. 27, 1863.
Dear Colonel.—Our Assistant Provost Marshal, Lieut. Smith, has got hold of a sloop and her Captain. He was to be examined before you, but Smith says that McPhail's men have other and earlier accounts to settle with him. I suggest this as you may have a great deal to do and may prefer to transfer the case to those already familiar with it.
Very truly, P. A. PORTER, Col. 8th N. Y. V. Arty., Com'd'g Post.
The following will show my progress in such matters:
Headquarters, Middle Department, 8th Army Corps. Office Provost Marshal, Baltimore, Dec. 23, 1863.
Lieut. H. B. Smith, Assistant Provost Marshal, Fort McHenry, is hereby authorized to visit and search any house in the City of Baltimore that he has good reason to believe contains Rebel mail, or any treasonable matter.
By order, W. S. FISH, Col. and Provost Marshal General, 8th Army Corps.
My work at Fort McHenry absolutely required freedom to act outside.
Office Provost Marshal, Fort McHenry, Jan. 8, 1864.
Confidential. Colonel Fish, Provost Marshal, 8th Army Corps.
Dear Sir.—I am at last able to report that we have gotten underway an underground correspondence between Trought and Emmerich. At first the correspondence was unimportant (which was, of course, policy for them), but now they have become confidential. I, with some others, intend to enlist in the Rebel service, but my plan is too long to explain here.
Now, Colonel, if you will drop a line to Colonel Porter, asking him to allow me to organize a squad of reliable men, say twelve or fifteen, and instruct them, whom we can call upon at any time, we will guarantee to show some rich developments inside of three weeks.
Emmerich is not alone but is connected with some of the largest houses in Baltimore.
Trusting this will meet your approval, I am, Col.
Very resp'y, H. B. SMITH, Lt. and Asst. Pro. Mar.
This was officially approved first by Colonel Fish, and then by Colonel Porter.
Office Provost Marshal, Fort McHenry, Jan. 26, 1864.
Col. P. A. Porter, Commanding 2d Separate Brigade, Defences of Baltimore.
I respectfully beg leave to lay before you the following and ask for authority to proceed further.
Four recruits for the Rebel Army are in Baltimore, also two Rebel officers. I want authority to follow them and make the arrest when about to cross the Potomac, thus implicating all the parties connected in recruiting for the Rebel Army in and about Baltimore. I have it so arranged that it will be impossible for them to get away from me, if I am allowed to proceed. And as I have some more operations in process of development, I would respectfully ask to have the authority extended to cover them also.
I could make some of these arrests in Baltimore, but as it is perfectly safe, by allowing them to get a little further, it would make the case a still more fatal one for the parties concerned.
I am, Colonel, Very Resp'y, Your Ob'd't Serv't, H. B. SMITH, Lt. and Asst. Pro. Mar.
The endorsement on the back of the above paper has always been a source of gratification. No man from New York State was ever more highly esteemed than Colonel Porter. He was talked of for Governor. A brave, true, and generous man, loved by all. He was killed at Cold Harbor, leading his regiment. His body was dragged back to our lines in the darkness of the night.
Headquarters, 2d Separate Brigade, Defences of Baltimore. Jan. 26, 1864.
I approve of the proceedings of Lieut. Smith, who has my entire confidence as an upright and skillful officer. I have referred him to the Provost Marshal for advice, instruction, and authority.
P. A. PORTER, Col. 8th N. Y. V. Arty., Commanding 2d Separate Brigade.
On the same day the application was approved at Department Headquarters.
The centre around which this recruiting and other disloyal schemes revolved was one Christian Emmerich, a fashionable shoemaker on South Gay Street. His place was a convenient centre for all important Confederate sympathizers. His residence was in a fashionable part of the city. We were entirely successful, capturing the whole party, including a conductor on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, who was caught transporting these recruits, well knowing their character. We simultaneously seized the Christian Emmerich store on South Gay Street, and his residence; in the latter we found much incriminating evidence, such as orders for Confederate uniforms, gold braid, buttons and Confederate letters. Emmerich was not a common mender of "old soles," but was the shoemaker to the bon-ton of Baltimore. We entirely destroyed the Confederate recruiting business conducted through that channel.
I have a photograph of the conductor referred to, taken together with his pal or partner, who was a spy. The spy's name was Charles E. Langley. I will tell you all about him and his mysterious backing when I come to my regular work in December, 1864, where his statement is printed.
Investigator's education—I branded E. W. Andrews, adjutant general to General Morris, a traitor to the colors.
In our prison were confined prisoners of all classes, Confederate officers, spies, blockade-runners, pirates, civil and political prisoners. Our office was the reception room where these persons interviewed their "sympathizers," much of such interviewing taking place in my presence. Their mail passed through our hands, what better place could there have been to develop an "investigator?"
War Department, Washington, Feb. 27, 1864.
General Morris, commanding at Fort McHenry, will allow Mr. W. G. Woodside to see Thomas I. Hall and —— Baylor, Rebel prisoners confined there. General Morris will be present at the interview.
By order of the Secretary of War.
(Signed) C. A. DANA, Asst. Secy. of War.
This was endorsed:
To the Provost Marshal:
You will allow Mr. W. G. Woodside, the bearer of this, to see the prisoners mentioned within, Hall and Baylor. Lieut. Smith will be present at the interview.
(Signed) P. A. PORTER, Col. 8th N. Y. V. Arty., Commanding-Brigade.
Fort McHenry, Feb'y 28, 1864.
Baltimore, Feb'y 15, 1864.
Sir.—Will you be kind enough to deliver the joined letter to Jules Klotz, a French subject, detained at Fort McHenry. He wrote to me to direct my letters to yourself.
I should be very obliged to you to let me know the reasons why he has been arrested and his true situation towards the American government.
Very respectfully yours, (Signed) A. SAUVAN, French Vice Consul.
To Mr. SMITH, Lieutenant, Fort McHenry.
You will see by these documents that my survey of prisoners and their letters was always by authority and not merely to gratify my own curiosity.
The Adjutant General is the confidential reliance of a commanding officer. General Morris was advanced in years and depended implicitly on his Adjutant General, Captain E. W. Andrews. I branded Andrews a traitor to the colors. It was a serious position for a subaltern to assume, but I had the evidence to substantiate the charge. In searching the house of one Terrence R. Quinn, a noted blockade-runner, then a prisoner in Fort McHenry, I found evidence that Andrews was a partner in his crimes. And I found that my predecessor, the former Assistant Provost Marshal, was also incriminated; then it became easier for me to understand how so many prisoners had been allowed to escape (as many as sixty-five in one night). Later on I will have two more references to Andrews, which will explain what became of him.
Andrews was a man of brains. He started in life, I believe, as a minister of the gospel, then turned to law. By his suavity and impudence, he gained control of General Morris. The post was important because it carried so great a number of prisoners. Andrews had his son made Provost Marshal, and the escapes of prisoners by one means or another, were made so easily that the scandal of it had appeared in many Southern newspapers. When I finally imprisoned Andrews on General Sheridan's order, in his half intoxicated condition he admitted his Confederate sympathies.
Initial trip down Chesapeake Bay after blockade runners and contraband dealers and goods, incidentally introducing Terrence R. Quinn, George G. Nellis, and E. W. Andrews, Jr.—A description of a storm on the Chesapeake.
My initial trip down the Chesapeake Bay after blockade-runners was made under the following order:
Headquarters, Middle Department, 8th Army Corps, Baltimore, Mch. 22, 1864.
Special Order No. 73.
2d Lieut. H. B. Smith, 5th Regt. N. Y. Artillery, is hereby ordered to proceed down the Eastern shore, Virginia, and arrest —— Jacobs (citizen) and such other persons as may be found in company with him. If Lieut. Smith has reason to believe that they are engaged in the practice of smuggling or running the blockade, and seize all contraband goods in their possession.
Lieut. Smith will seize and hold the following named vessels, viz.: Schooners "Trifle," "Frances E. Burgess," "Despatch," "Washington," and "Glib," wherever he may find them, and will convey them to the nearest place of safety within our lines.
Lieut. Smith will assume command of the steam tug placed at his disposal by orders from this office, and having accomplished the object of this order will return to this city, and make immediate report to the Commanding General.
Lieut. Smith is permitted to use his discretion as to the disposition of the vessels named in case of emergency. By command of
Major General LEW WALLACE, (Signed) SAM'L B. LAWRENCE, Asst. Adj. Gen'l.
Quinn, the prisoner referred to above was out on parole and was thus able to pursue his business. He was in the habit of purchasing much of his supplies from a certain ship chandler on Pratt street, a friend of mine, and, in fact, a good Union man, who so concealed me in his premises that I learned much of Quinn's plans from his (Quinn's) own mouth; and this order was to enable me to develop the matters he had disclosed.
Blockade running, mail carrying and "spy" carrying, along the Potomac and Chesapeake, was carried on in such a cute manner as to necessitate a peculiar service to meet and stop it. Gunboats nor troops could baffle it; it was done in skiffs, canoes (called cunnas), small sail boats with dirty sails hardly to be seen in broad day light. These little "creepers" would run right up under the bows of gunboats unnoticed; as soon as shore was touched, if a plug was pulled out of the bottom of a boat it would immediately and entirely submerge itself, until wanted for use again.
The price for carrying one person across the river was fifty dollars in gold, which tempted to the business the most dare devil men on either side of the line. As to merchandise, the plan was to "work" the local storekeepers, for in the North it was perfectly legitimate to allow all the merchandise desired to go to the line just on the borders of territory patrolled by us, which might be only an hour's sail with fair wind to put it at night within the reach of the Confederates. These stores were not in villages, as was the case further north, but were isolated, very frequently on a cross road in the woods.
Oystering was a favorite cloak for blockade-runners. Sometimes vessels of little value (three hundred dollars or so) were loaded in Baltimore with goods and purposely swamped on the south side of the river to allow the Confederates to confiscate. I was "on the inside" once when a Captain was offered fifteen thousand dollars to allow his vessel to be loaded and to permit its destruction when in reach of the Confederates.
There was some delay in the preparation of my written report which caused anxiety at headquarters, which was expressed in the following:
Headquarters, Middle Department, 8th Army Corps, Baltimore, Apl. 5, 1864.
Colonel.—I am directed by Major General Wallace to request you to inform him what is the latest information you have concerning Lieut. H. B. Smith, 5th N. Y. Arty., who was sent with a squad of men on the 22d ult. to make certain seizures. Please state near what point he was last known to be.
Resp'y your ob'd't serv't, SAM'L B. LAWRENCE, A. A. G.
To Col. Porter, Com'd'g 2d Sep. Brigade.
The above I find among my papers. I cannot understand it in view of the fact that I reported March 30th (see following), and was appointed Chief of the Secret Service by General Wallace on April 3d. The years are many since then and it is hard to remember details, but my present theory is that as General Wallace had but recently assumed command, the Adjutant General's office was in confusion. "I am directed by Major General Wallace" is the usual language for an Adjutant General to use; at any rate my report is dated March 30th, and I was interviewed by General Wallace on April 2d, this I clearly remember.
Fort McHenry, Mch. 30, 1864. To the General Commanding, 8th Army Corps, Middle Department.
General.—I have the honor to report that in compliance with Special Order No. 73, Mch. 22, 1864, I proceeded with a guard of 12 men on board the steam tug "Adriatic," but on account of the weather did not leave until the morning of the 23d.
I was alongside the Cutter (Revenue) and notified the officer commanding to arrest any of the vessels named in my order. I was afterwards hailed, and ran back to the Cutter again, and learned that the schooner "Frances E. Burgess," Capt. J. J. Lewis, had left just one-half hour before. On the morning of the 22d, she came in and just touched at the wharf, immediately dropping out in the stream. This last fact, connected with the previous one, also the fact that Quinn was much worried about the "F. E. B." led me to believe that the "Burgess" was not all right, and that Captain Lewis had learned of my moves and had attempted to evade me. I made chase for her.
At Hill's Point (below the Choptank river) I arrested the schooner "Trifle," and took her in tow to Point Lookout. By her papers she is with bonds given by E. R. Quinn, T. R. Quinn, and George G. Nellis, stated in her license, dated Feb'y 3, 1864. Her enrollment dated Feb'y 3d, 1864, shows that T. R. Quinn, master, is a citizen of the United States, and had sworn to it, when he was then on his parole as being a British subject.
Her crew consisted of Captain Seward, Farrell, Reddick, Zervicks, and Bailey, deck hands. Captain Seward has acknowledged that he ran the blockade, and that he was in Richmond about last Christmas, but did not go on this vessel. I believe the balance of the crew are innocent men. I found Bailey to be of great service to me on the balance of my trip.
I remained at Point Lookout on the night of the 23d. On the 24th, went up to St. Mary's river for a harbor, on account of a heavy blow. On the evening of the 24th, I started for and arrived at Pocomoke Sound (Accomac), where we remained that night. On the 25th, went into Onancock Creek, where I landed with eight men, and sent the Steamer around to the Pungateague river to wait for us. In the evening we arrived at the house of one T. W. Jacobs, on the sea side. We entered and searched his house; next morning we learned our error, and although he is undoubtedly a Rebel, I released him.
We then made our way to the house of one William E. Jacobs, on the bay side, where we arrived at 3 P. M., on the 26th. At this place I found the schooner "Frances E. Burgess"—Captain Lewis. I arrested Mr. Jacobs, and found him to be the man engaged with Quinn. I searched his house and barns but found nothing contraband, as they had been duly warned by the arrival of the "Burgess."
Captain Lewis stated that he left Baltimore on the 11th of March, and arrived at Accomac Creek on the 14th, and said that was his last trip. Mr. Jacobs made same statement.
Captain Lewis was arrested about last June, about the same time that Quinn was arrested. He said that he was caught in the act of leaving the Eastern shore with contraband goods and that his intention was to run the blockade; he said he was examined by Captain E. W. Andrews, and afterwards released after taking the oath of allegiance.
Both Jacobs and Lewis say that Lieut. Andrews, Capt. Andrews' son, was to go into business on the Eastern shore; that they engaged two stores for the purpose, but that Andrews did not come down there.
Mr. Jacobs said that Quinn had often remarked that he could get anything done at Fort McHenry with the Adjutant General. At first both Jacobs and Lewis denied all knowledge of any man named Andrews.
Jacobs said that J. J. Hodge (the writer of some of the letters found in Quinn's possession) was arrested on the Eastern shore about the same time that he and Quinn were, on the charge of attempting to go south; said that he heard Quinn speak of letters that he had from Hodge, but did not know their contents. Quinn was the first man that employed him (Lewis) after his release, and said it was Quinn's own seeking (to employ a man of that character appears rather suspicious).
The creek where we found the "Burgess" is one that no steamer can enter, or even a sailing vessel, unless piloted by an old residenter of that neighborhood. The creek is very crooked and the channel is very narrow.
All the people about that country seem to be very closely united and watch a stranger's movements very closely. On the evening of the 27th, we left this creek with the schooner, and on the afternoon of the 28th, we arrived in the Pungateague, and started on the steamer, towing the schooner for Point Lookout, where we arrived at 9 P. M.
On the morning of the 29th we left the Point with the two schooners, but afterwards let go the "Burgess," and sent her up under sail to Baltimore, where she arrived at 4 P. M., after encountering a very heavy sea. We arrived here at 9.20 P. M.
I could find nothing of the schooners' "Despatch" or "Glib," I made many inquiries for the schooner "Washington," but could not find her.
On our way back to the city Captain Seward, of the "Trifle" said that there was a sign "Washington" painted on it, in the hold of the "Trifle," which I afterwards found to be true. I think by the actions of all connected, that "Washington" was sometimes substituted for "Trifle"; this sign was hid away and only by accident found.
Both the "Burgess" and "Trifle" have been confiscated before, two or three times.
I have this day been on the Cutter, twice, to ascertain to a certainty if the "Burgess" left on the 23d inst., and the officers say they will swear she passed out on that day; that she was in here I know. I then went to the Custom House and found that she did not enter or clear on that trip but left without any papers, and did not stay in Port over 24 hours.
I have the honor to be,
Very respy. your obdt. servt, (Signed) H. B. SMITH, Lieut. 5th N. Y. II. A.
Lieutenant Andrews and George G. Nellis, "tied up" to Quinn and Lewis, the blockade-runners, had been, respectively, Provost and Assistant Provost Marshals at Fort McHenry, prior to the assignment of Captain Holmes and myself to those offices.
It pleases me to note how vivid my memory is, after forty-seven years, of the incidents connected with this expedition. Our party of eight, after landing in Accomac, split up, and straggled over the country about ten miles, through fields and timber, in snow and slush nearly ankle deep, avoiding the highways and stopping only at negro huts to inquire our way. We arrived at T. W. Jacobs' house quite late and began our search; right here I want to say our search was orderly, endeavoring not to unnecessarily annoy.
About midnight a great commotion was raised outside the house by the tramping of horses, rattling of sabres, and loud voices. We were surrounded by a troop of cavalry (our cavalry). They were very excited, and they threatened us with everything, until I took the Commandant aside and made him aware of who we were; even then he soundly upbraided me for giving him such a scare. He finally departed.
The next day we went over to the Chesapeake Bay side of the peninsula. When we arrived there we divided into two parties, in order to approach the harbor from two directions. When we arrived on the bluff (about twenty feet above water) my party of four was first to discover that there were a number of sailing vessels at anchor in the little bay. What to do was the question. I determined that we four must capture the whole fleet. Which we did in this way: As quietly as possible we possessed ourselves of one vessel and from it, under the persuasive influence of our revolvers, we compelled the men on all the other vessels to go below deck. Then we searched the vessels in detail, detaining only the "Frances E. Burgess."
This harbor was an ideal place for such "traders," i. e., blockade-runners. It was perfectly land-locked, could not be seen from the bay, and was very hard to get in or out of; it was impassable for gunboats, and so it was well chosen for the business.
The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries are indented almost continuously with smaller estuaries, which make excellent hiding places. Beautiful places for residence, and likely spots for romance.
While laying at Point Lookout on our way home a severe March storm came up, dreadful to a land lubber like me. The point is where the Potomac empties into the Chesapeake. Storms are felt there nearly as greatly as at Old Point. It blew so hard I feared it would blow us over onto the wharf. The water was up to the wharf's surface, and there was no sleep for us that night. Next morning, when we started for Baltimore (ninety miles away), as we were rounding the Point a big boiling sea took the yawl of the "Burgess," davits and all, throwing it high in the air. But to turn back spelled death. Our pilot was Captain Cannon, an old bay pilot. He did not conceal that he was frightened. He said he never had seen such weather. We breasted that storm for about twelve hours. The only encouragement from Captain Cannon was that if our boat could live until we got under the influence of North Point we would be all right; we lived.
The heavens were never more unkind in appearance. I did not spend much time in gazing that way, for the awful waves occupied me. Captain Cannon kept the vessel as near head on as possible, first on top of the wave and then in a trough of the sea. Half the time our screw was revolving in the air. Everything loose on deck washed away. I never had a better chance to contemplate my past and future than in that twelve hours. I remember my great regret was that if we should go down, no one could know what became of us, for I had not reported at Point Lookout and we were unknown on the peninsula. The severity of this storm became a matter of history. Seagoing steamers remained tied to their wharves. The shores of the Chesapeake Bay were strewn with wrecks. The "Adriatic" (our vessel) was iron bottomed and drew six feet of water. The Chesapeake can kick up a sea, give it a northeaster, that would gratify the most hungry tar.
When we were opposite the mouth of the Severn river we saw the steamer "Nellie Pentz" headed out, her bow tossing up and down in the air like a cork. She did not dare come out, to certain wreck, dared not turn around, so she backed up the river again. When we got under the lee of North Point I became courageous and generous; off towards the west was in view a schooner, on the rocks. Her crew of four men were in the rigging. I proposed to Captain Cannon to rescue them. He said it was impossible, as our boat drew more water than theirs and would be wrecked before we could reach them. However, we notified the revenue cutter and they were rescued. When we arrived at Baltimore (nine o'clock P.M.) the wharves were afloat. The big Bay Line steamers, sea-going vessels, had not left the wharf. They had not dared to venture out in the storm our little eighty-foot craft had passed through.
General Wallace assumes command of the Middle Department—General Schenck's comments on Maryland—Colonel Woolley.
General Wallace assumed command of the Middle Department, 8th Army Corps, March 22d, 1864. The Department headquarters were located in a large mansion on the northwest corner of Calvert and Fayette Streets, just opposite Battle Monument. I can give no better description of the Department than to quote General Schenck, who formerly commanded there, in his words to General Wallace:
"Your trouble will have origin in Baltimore. Baltimore viewed socially is peculiar. There is more culture to the square block there than in Boston; actual culture. The question of the war divided the old families, but I was never able to discover the dividing line. Did I put a heavy hand on one of the Secessionists, a delegation of influential Unionists at once hurried to the President and begged the culprit off. The most unfortunate thing in connection with the Department and its management is that it is only a pleasant morning's jaunt by rail from Baltimore to Washington. There is another thing you should know, without being left to find it out experimentally, Baltimore is headquarters for a traffic in supplies for the Rebel armies the extent of which is simply incredible. It is an industry the men have nothing to do with. They know better, and leave it entirely to the women, who are cunning beyond belief, and bold on account of their sex. They invent underground lines, too many and too subtly chosen to be picked up by the shrewdest detectives."
General Wallace exactly "fitted the niche," a soldier, lawyer, statesman, and an even tempered man. He so ably administered the Department as to overcome all obstacles. One permanent order was that every prisoner should have a hearing at once. If evidence would stand law, the prisoner was to be held; if not, to be at once released. The Paine case is an apt illustration. I felt sure I could get evidence that he was a spy, but had it not at hand and so had to let him go (I will tell about this later on). There was never a suit for false arrest during General Wallace's administration.
One of my duties was to collate the evidence in cases for trial. I learned what was evidence. I was a witness almost constantly before courts martial and military commissions. It was good experience for me and it has served me ever after in civil life. I am proud to say (but perhaps ought not to) that General Wallace gave me credit for aiding in his able administration of the Department.
No better man could have been found for Provost Marshal General than Colonel Woolley. He was a soldier and a thorough business man.
The Provost Marshal General's Department was located on the southwest corner of Camden and Eutaw Streets. It was in a handsome three-story brick building and had a massive marble entrance. Adjoining it was what had formerly been a slave pen. Between the corner building and the slave pen there was an open court which had been used for the slave mart. The slave pen we used for our prison purposes. The first floor of the main house was used as our public offices. The second floor was General Woolley's headquarters. The third floor was my headquarters. In the rear of the main front corner building was a three-story brick extension, running back about a hundred feet (to an alley) in which were quartered the troops (our guards). The buildings were admirably constructed and centrally located for our purposes.
From now on I was Assistant Provost Marshal General and Chief of the Secret Service. I had a corps of about forty (men and women) under my direction. To illustrate my general lines of work I will give copies of some memoranda which I have. To give all would take more room than I can spare. In looking these memoranda over the greatest gratification I feel comes from the evident fact that I was not a drone, but tried to do my duty. And fifty years further along in our nation's history it may be a satisfaction to my then living relatives to know it.
Here begins my service as an assistant provost marshal of the department and chief of the Secret Service—Confederate General Winder's detectives— E. H. Smith, special officer, War Department—Mrs. Mary E. Sawyer, Confederate mail carrier—W. V. Kremer's report on the "Disloyals" north of Baltimore.
The Secret Service, as its name implies, is the most confidential arm of the service. Its information intelligently guides the commanding general. It gives him to know of the conduct of the enemy and discloses weaknesses, if any exist, in his own armour. There is always a "cloud of mystery" thrown around it by outsiders. But its pursuit, on the inside, is not that of romance, but simply of cold facts; it deals with business propositions. In telling my stories, not being a story writer, I shall tell plain facts, leaving the reader to clothe them with the glamour that a fiction writer would usually apply. Were I to attempt to tell something of all my many stories it would weary a reader; so I will try to select some that are really historic, or interesting from their unusual character.
Provost Marshal's Office, Fort McHenry, Apl. 10, 1864.
Lieut. H. B. Smith, Asst. Provost Marshal 8th Army Corps.
I have just been informed by Mrs. Myers that a detective of General Winder's staff from Richmond, Virginia, is in the city in disguise.
Respy., J. W. HOLMES, Capt. and Provost Marshal.
General J. H. Winder commanded the Department of Henrico, headquarters at Richmond, Va. Many of his detectives were Marylanders, among them were John Lutz, Wash Goodrich, T. Woodhall, —— Taylor, and William Byrne.
I perfectly imitated General John H. Winder's signature to passes which we used with success. I had a close imitation of his stationery; only an expert could detect our passes. If he is living I am sure he will pardon the liberty I took, for it was all in the game.
Following is one of General Winder's genuine passes:
Headquarters, Department of Henrico, Richmond, Va., March 26th, 1864.
Mrs. James Gordon & (3) children, a citizen of Great Britain, having sworn, in good faith, not to reveal, either directly or indirectly, any information that may benefit the enemy, is hereby permitted to pass beyond the limits of the Confederate States, by the route herein designated: and none other. Strictly forbid to pass through General Lee's lines. Go by the lower Rappahannock.
This passport is given, subject in all cases to the approval, delays and restrictions of military commanders through whose lines the persons or person may pass.
By command of the Secretary of War,
JNO. H. WINDER, General Comdg.
Hair: light Eyes: blue. Age: 33. Complexion: florid. Height: ——
Our sources of information were numerous, as our own officers were always on duty, and officers in other departments worked in conjunction with us, thus forming an extended net work.
Baltimore, April 14, 1864.
Sir.—I am very unfortunate in always coming when you are out. How has Kremer progressed with the case, anything been done? I go to Washington per order of the Secretary of War. I am obliged to go to New York within two weeks. I wish the case here might be disposed of before I go to New York. Would you oblige me by writing P. O. Box 62, Washington?
Very respy, your obdt servt., E. H. SMITH, Special Officer, War Dept.
The following is Kremer's report of progress:
United States Military Telegraph, War Department, April 17, 1864.
H. B. Smith:
Two men answering description but under different names left here for Leonardtown on the 16th. Shall I follow? If so, answer and send White.
W. V. KREMER.
Headquarters, Middle Department, 8th Army Corps, April 22, 1864.
Special Order No. 43.
Lieut. H. B. Smith, 5th N. Y. Arty., will proceed to Washington with Mrs. Mary E. Sawyer, Rebel mail carrier, turn her over to Supt. of Old Capitol Prison, taking receipt for prisoner. Will then deliver to Hon. C. A. Dana, Asst. Secy. of War, all the papers in her case, after which he will report without delay at these headquarters.
Quartermasters will furnish transportation.
By command of Major General Lew Wallace.
JOHN WOOLLEY, Col. and Provost Marshal.
Persons were not disturbed in the enjoyment of their opinions so long as they did not become actively disloyal, but it was my duty to learn who were disloyal for the purpose of keeping them under surveillance. The following report I put in to illustrate that character of work:
Headquarters, Middle Department, 8th Army Corps. Office Provost Marshal, Baltimore, Apl. 24, 1864.
H. B. Smith, Lieut. and Chief:
I have the honor to report that I left Baltimore as per orders and proceeded to Reisterstown and stopped at a tavern and was accosted by a citizen who told me there were detectives in the house, and that he knew I was from the other side, and sent me to a woman named Mrs. Hofman, who keeps a hotel there. I went to her house and represented myself as a Rebel captain.
I had been there a short time when Mrs. Hofman took me upstairs in a bedroom that was in the back part of the house and told me if the detectives came upstairs, to get out of the back window and take a horse that she would have saddled ready for me; she said she did not care for the horse as the citizens would make it up to her.
The detectives did not come upstairs, but a man named C. L. Alder came up to the room and told me to get ready and come down stairs, that he had a buggy ready to see me safe and that he would die before I should be taken and that he had helped many of the Rebels out of just such scrapes by taking them to the Rebel lines.
We went about a mile and a half from Reisterstown and stopped at the house of Dr. J. Larsh, and held a conversation with him and another man that I could not learn the name of; about the best plan for me to adopt was to keep away from the detectives; he, the Doctor, told me that he was very busy or he would take me safe through himself, but told Alder to take me to Charles T. Cockey's, and that he would see me all right.
We then went to C. T. Cockey's and Alder explained to him who I was and Mr. Cockey then introduced me to John C. Brown, of Busson Parish, La., and lately manager of the Rebel Secretary of War's plantation. Mr. Cockey told me to remain there all night and he would see me safe, as he was engaged in the business ever since the war commenced, and had run off a great many men to the Rebel army; in fact he said that men from all parts of the country were sent to him to take across the lines, and that he always went into the Rebel lines with them.
Among the rest that he had taken across was Capt. Simms and Capt. Beard and Gus Williamson. He said when General McClellan was following Lee into Maryland, a man came to him from Washington and gave him the number of men that McClellan had, and the direction he was going to take, and that he went to Frederick, and gave the information to Lee; and would, he said, do so again, if it would do any good to the Southern cause.
Cockey receives papers regularly from Richmond. He also said that Capt. Harry Gilmor stops at his house whenever he comes over the lines, and that a great many men from the South come to his house, and he always helps them. I remained at his house all night, and listened to him and John C. Brown cursing the government for everything they could think of, and telling what they would do if the Rebel army would come into Maryland again. C. T. Cockey was also engaged at the time of Lee's raid into Pennsylvania; he took men to the Rebel army and was in the Rebel lines several times, and gave them all the information that he could get hold of that would do them any good.
Mr. J. C. Brown gave me the name of his brother, Benj. F. Brown, of Frederick, Md., agent for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Co., and in charge of the government warehouse which he surrendered to the Rebels without endeavoring to destroy the goods, or to get them out of the way. J. C. Brown told me to go to his brother and let him know who I was and everything would be right, and that he would meet me there with a lot of recruits, and a Rebel mail to take south.
The next day, 21st April, I expressed a wish to go into Pennsylvania for a few days, and promised to meet Mr. Brown in Frederick. Mr. C. T. Cockey took me in his buggy to T. D. Cockey of "I" at Ellingown, near Texas, on the Northern Central Railroad, where I met T. D. Cockey, of "I".
T. Deye Cockey and Philip Fendel, who are violent Rebels, say they have been running men off ever since the war commenced. And T. Deye Cockey says that he has been in the Rebel lines several times, and at one time took three recruits from Harford County to Hanover Junction, when the Rebels were there, and gave them all the information he could.