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G. W. Carleton & Co., Publishers. 




AH Unwritten Page of History. A Political Resume*. 
Abraham Lincoln is Elected President. . 33 


Opposition to Mr. Lincoln s Inauguration. A Plot to 
Assassinate him. The Journey from Springfield, 
Illinois. . . . . . .45 


The Conspirators at Work. Detectives on tJieir Trail. 
Webster as a Soldier. .... 



Tki Conspirators in Council. My Operative Joins the 

Conspiracy. . . . . -74 


The Presidential Party Arrives in Philadelphia. Inde 
pendence Hall. The Departure from Harrisburg. 
Telegraph Wires Cut. Through the Lines of Trea* 
son. Safe Arrival at Washington. . . 8 1 


My Connection with tJie Rebellion. Timothy Webster 
Accepts a Mission. ..... 104 


Webster on his Way to the Capital. Wrecked Trains 
and Broken Bridges. An Adventure with a Cav 
alryman. A Rebel Emissary. President Lincoln 
and Timothy Webster. . . . .114 


Timothy Webster in Washington. The Return to Phila 
delphia. I go to tJie Capital. An Important Letter. 131 



An Adventure in Pittsburg. A Mob at Bay. An Ex- 
planation. Good Feeling Restored. . . .142 


General McClellan in Command of Ohio. / am Engaged 
for the War. The Secret Service. A Consultation. 
-Webster Starts for Rebeldom. . . . 151 


Webster Fraternizes with the Rebel Officers. A Seces 
sion Hat. A Visit to a Rebel Camp." The Com 
mittee of Safety: A Friendly Stranger. -A 
Warning. The Escape* . . . .168 


Take a Trip to the South. Danger in Memphis. A 
Timely Warning. A Persistent Barber. An Un 
fortunate Memory. Return to Cincinnati. . .182 


East and West Virginia. Seceding from Secession. 
My Scouts in Virginia. A Rebel Captain Enter 
tains "My Lord." An Old Justice dines with 


Royalty. A Lucky Adventure. A Runaway Horse. 
A Rescue. 2 3 


The Rebels Attempt to Occupy West Virginia. General 
McClellan Ordered to Drive Them Out. Early 
Battles. The Federals Victorious. West Virginia 
Freed from Rebel Soldiers. .... 227 


General McClellan is Called to Washington, and Placed 
in Command of the Armies after the Battle of Bull 
Run. The Secret Service Department. Its Duties 
and Responsibilities. .... 237 


A Female Traitor. Suspicious Correspondence. A Close 
Watch under Difficulties. / am Arrested. Expos 
ure of the Treason of a Trusted Officer. A Dis 
graced Captain. . . . . .250 


Timothy Webster in Baltimore. An Encounter with a 
Fire-rater. Webster Defends Himself. Treason 
Rampant in the Monumental City. . . . 271 




Webster Makes a Journey to the South. A Secret Organ 
ization. The " Knights of Liberty." Webster Be 
comes a Member. A Sudden Intrusion of the Mili 
tary. TJte Conspiracy Broken Up. . . . 283 


Suspicions in Washington* " UncU Callus" Property 
Searched. A Rebel Family sent South. Webster 
Starts for Richmond. .... 301 



The Spy at Richmond. Earthworks Around the Rebel 
Capital. An Unexpected Meeting. Pistols for Two. 
A Reconciliation. Safe Return to Washington. . 314 


Again in Baltimore. A Warning. The Spy is Ar 
rested. And Escapes. i .326 

xv iii CONTENTS. 


Curtis Again on His Travels. A Loving Episode Dan 
McCowan Again Turns up. The Capture of Curtis. 
A Fight for Life. And Escape. A Bit of Mat- 
rimony. .. 445 


McClellan and his Enemies. The Peninsula Campaign. 
The Rebel Forces Before Richmond. The Union 
Forces Outnumbered by the Enemy y and their Com 
mander Hampered by Superiors. An Honest Opin 
ion. ....... 457 


Webster s Expedition. His Gallantry. A Stormy Pas 
sage. A Mysterious Package. Treason Discovered 
and Punished. ..... 468 


Activity in Washington. Webster s Journey Through the 
South. His Return to the Capital. . . .481 




Webster s Last Mission. Anxiety at his Long Absence. 
No Tidingsof the Faithful Scout. Operatives Sent 
in Search of Him. Webster III in Richmond. 485 


McClellan and the Government. Lewis and Scully Ar 
rested as Spies. An Attempted Escape. Trial and 
Conviction. Condemned to Die. Before the Gallows 
their Mouths are Opened. .... 498 


Webster Arrested as a Spy. A Woman s Devotion, and 
a Patriot s Heroism. Webster is Convicted. The 
Execution. A Martyr s Grave. . . . 53 


The Defeat of General Pope at the Second Battle of Ma- 
nassas. McClellan Again Called to the Command. 
The Battle of Antietam A Union Victory. A Few 
Thoughts About the Union Commander. McClel 
lan s Removal from Command, and His Farewell 
Address. . - 




General Burnside in Command. My Connection with the 
Secret Service Severed. Reflections upon Important 
Events. Conclusion. . . . . 579 
























TV T EARLY a score of years have passed since the 
* ^ occurrence of the events related in the follow 
ing pages. The " Rebellion," with its bloody scenes, 
has ended, and the country is at peace. The grass is 
waving green and beautiful over many Southern 
fields that once ran with human blood, as the con 
tending forces met in the deadly encounter. The 
birds are carolling sweetly in the air, which then was 
laden with the clarion notes of the trumpet; the 
fierce, wild yell of assaulting soldiery ; the booming of 
cannon, and the groans of the wounded and dying 
The merchant, the mechanic, and the husbandman 
have returned to the pursuits which they followed 
before the dark clouds of war had overshadowed this 
fair land, and they shouldered their muskets in 
defense of the Union. From the desolation and the 
ravages of war, the country has emerged into the 


xxiv PREFACE. 

sunshine of abiding peace, and now, in the evening 
twilight, the gray-haired veterans gather around their 
family hearthstones to repeat the stories of bravery 
and devotion associated with those trying hours of 
their country s history. 

In the twilight of my days I have been tempted 
to the recitals which follow, and in relating my 
experiences as the Chief of the Secret Service of the 
Government during the Rebellion, I have been 
governed by a desire to acquaint the public with the 
movements of those brave men who rendered invalu 
able service to their country, although they never 
wore a uniform or carried a musket. Working 
quietly, and frequently under diguises, their assist 
ance to the Union commanders was of incalculable 
advantage, and many acts of courage and daring were 
performed by these men which, until now, have never 
been revealed. Indeed, as to my own nom-de-plume, 
" E. J. Allen," many of the officers of the army and 
officials of the Government, with whom I was in con 
stant communication, never knew me by any other 
name, and the majority of them are to this day in 
ignorance of the fact that E. J. Allen, late Chief ol 
the Secret Service, and Allan Pinkerton are one and 
the same person. 

During the progress of the struggle, and the years 


which have since elapsed, many of my old acquaint 
ances, who held important positions in the army and 
in governmental departments, have passed away from 
earth. Some of them falling in the heat of battle, 
in the courageous discharge of duty, while others, 
passing through the fiery ordeal, have died amid 
the comforts and the charms of home. 

President Lincoln, Edwin M. Stanton, William 
H. Seward and Salmon P. Chase, all giants in their 
day, have departed from the sphere of their useful 
ness, and have gone to their long home. Soldiers 
and civilians, generals and privates, with whom I was 
connected, and their name is legion, have taken up 
their journey to "that bourne from whence no traveler 
e er returns." 

In detailing the various events which follow, I 
have been careful to offer nothing but that which 
actually transpired. I have avoided giving expres 
sion to any thoughts or feelings of antagonism to the 
South, because the time for such utterances has 
passed. Indeed, except for the existence of slavery, 
I always cherished a warm affection for the Southern 
people. But this institution of human bondage 
always received my most earnest opposition. Believ 
ing it to be a curse to the American nation, and an 
evidence of barbarism, no efforts of mine were ever 


spared in behalf of the slave, and to-day I have not 
a single regret for the course I then pursued. 

Many times before the war, when I was associated 
with those philanthrophic spirits who controlled the 
so-called " Underground Railroad," I have assisted 
in securing safety and freedom for the fugitive slave, 
no matter at what hour, under what circumstances, 
or at what cost, the act was to be performed. John 
Brown, the white-haired abolitionist of Kansas fame, 
was my bosom friend ; and more than one dark night 
has found us working earnestly together in behalf of 
the fleeing bondman, who was striving for his 
liberty. After his gallant effort at Harper s Ferry, 
and while he was confined in a Virginia prison, my 
efforts in his behalf were unceasing ; and had it not 
been for the excessive watchfulness of those having 
him in charge, the pages of American history would 
never have been stained with a record of his execu 
tion. As it is, though his fate may have been in 
accordance with the decrees of the laws then existing, 
I can recall with all the old enthusiasm that I then 
experienced, the thundering effect of thousands of 
our brave " boys in blue," joining in that electric war 
cry, the refrain of which was : 

John Brown s body lies mouldering in the grave, 
But his soul goes marching along," 


while they harried in solid phalanx to meet the 
enemy upon the field of battle. 

In the preliminary chapters, I have detailed with 
accuracy the facts connected with the conspiracy to 
assassinate Abraham Lincoln, when he was first elected 
to the Presidency. The part I took in discovering 
the existence of that plot and the efforts of my men 
in ferreting out the prime movers of that murderous 
compact, are told for the first time in these pages, 
and the correctness of their relation is undoubted ; 
though in the dark days that followed, the bullet of 
the assassin removed the martyred President, while 
engaged in the fulfillment of his mission. I cannot 
repress a sense of pride in the fact, that at the com 
mencement of his glorious career I had averted the 
I >low that was aimed at his honest, manly heart. 

In the events which transpired during the years 
1861 and 1862, I took an active part. From the 
early days of April until after the battle of Antietam 
had been fought and won, I was connected with the 
military operations of the government. In Washing 
ton I acted under the directions of the Secretaries 
of War, and Colonel Andrew Porter, the provost- 
marshal ; and in the field, I was under the immediate 
direction of General George B. McClellan. 

My relations with the various departments were 

xxviii PREFACE. 

always of the most cordial and confidential character 
To particularize in this matter is almost impossible ; 
but I cannot refrain from mentioning, in the highest 
terms of respect and friendship, Colonel Thomas 
A. Scott of Pennsylvania. In the early days of the 
nation s peril, he occupied the position of Assistant 
Secretary of War. In him I always found a warm 
friend and advocate, and in many emergencies his 
prompt and intelligent action was most potent in ac 
complishing good results in that era of confusion, of 
doubt and hesitation. 

Of my service with the military department while 
in active duty, little needs to be said here. From the 
time of his commission by Governor Dennison of 
Ohio, to the day when he was relieved, after his 
splendid victory at Antietam, I followed the fortunes 
of General McClellan. Never doubting his ability or 
his loyalty always possessing his confidence and 
esteem, I am at this time proud and honored in rank 
ing him foremost among my invaluable friends. 
When secret enemies were endeavoring to prejudice 
the mind of the President against his chosen com 
mander ; when wily politicians were seeking to be 
little him in the estimation of the people, and when 
jealous minded officers were ignorantly criticising 
his plans of campaign, General McClellan pursued 


his course with unflinching courage and with a devo 
tion to his country unsurpassed by any who have 
succeeded him, and upon whose brows are entwined 
the laurels of the conqueror. 

His marvelous reorganization of the army, the 
enthusiasm with which his presence invariably in 
spired the soldiers under his command, and the grand 
battles which he fought against enemies in front 
and in rear, have all passed into history and to-day 
the intelligent and unprejudiced reader finds in a 
calm and dispassionate review of his career, an ample 
and overwhelming justification of his course as a 
loyal and capable commander-in-chief. 

Self-constituted critics, whose avenues of informa 
tion jvere limited and unreliable, have attempted to 
prove that the force opposed to General McClellan 
was much less than was really the case ; and upon this 
hypothesis have been led into unjust and undeserved 
censure of the commanding general. From my own 
experience, I know to the contrary. My system of 
obtaining knowledge upon this point was so thorough 
and complete, my sources of information were so 
varied, that there could be no serious mistake in the 
estimates which I then made and reported to General 
McClellan. From every available field the facts were 
gleaned From prisoners of war, contrabands, loyal 



Southerners, deserters, blockade-runners and from 
actual observations by trustworthy scouts, my esti 
mates were made, and to-day I affirm as strongly as 
I then did, that the force opposed to General Me- 
Clellan before Richmond approximated nearer to 
200,000 men, than they did to the numerous esti 
mates of irresponsible historians who have placed the 
strength of the rebel forces at that -time below 
100,000 men. In this connection I must refer also 
to the valuable assistance rendered both General Mc- 
Clellan and myself by that indefatigable Aid-de-camp 
Colonel Key. Though he no longer mingles with 
the things of earth, the memory of his devotion and 
his intelligent services to the cause of the Union is 
imperishable. No truer, braver man ever drew a 
sword than did this noble and efficient staff officer, 
now deceased. 

Of Timothy Webster, who so ably assisted me in 
my various and delicate duties, and whose life was 
sacrificed for the cause he held so dear, I have only 
words of warmest commendation. Brave, honest and 
intelligent, he entered into the contest to perform his 
whcle duty, and right nobly did he fulfill his pledge, 
No danger was too great, no trust too responsible, 
r.o mission too delicate for him to attempt, and 
though executed as a spy in a Richmond prison, his 


name shall ever be cherished with honor and friend- 
ship by those who knew his worth, and who appro 
ciated the unswerving devotion of a loyal heart No 
dishonor can ever attach to the memory of a patriot 
who died in the service of his country. 

The events narrated have all occurred. The re* 
cord is a truthful one. Although not so complete as 
I could wish, they must serve the purpose for which 
they are intended. In the disastrous fire which swept 
over Chicago in 1871, my records were mainly de 
stroyed, and to this fact must be attributed the failure 
to more elaborately detail the multitudinous opera 
tions of my men. With the able assistance of Mr. 
George H. Bangs, my efficient General Superinten 
dent, " we did what we could/ and the approbation 
of our commanding officers attest the efficiency of 
our efforts. 

After leaving the service, the conduct of the war 
passed into other hands. Other men were chosen to 
the command of the armies, and other sources of in 
formation were resorted to. Succeeding battles have 
been fought, defeats have been sustained, victories 
have been achieved, and the war is happily ended 
The slave is free, and in the enjoyment of the rights 
of citizenship. The country is at peace, her prosperity 
is assured, and now that passion and prejudice have 



died away, and honest judgments are given of the 
events that have transpired, I leave to the impartial 
reader, and historian, the question whether the course 
I pursued, and the General whom I loved and faith 
fully served, are deserving of censure, or are entitled 
to the praises of a free and enlightened people. 






* An Unwritten Page of History" A Political Rtsumt. 
Mr. Lincoln is Elected President. 

MANY years have elapsed since the occurrence 
of the events, which I am about to relate. 
Years that have been full of mighty import to the 
nation. A bitter, prolonged and bloody war has laid 
its desolating hands upon a once united country. 
For years the roar of cannon and the clash of steel 
reverberated through the bright valleys and the 
towering hills of the fruitful South. In those years 
when brother arose against his brother, when ties of 
kindred and association were broken asunder like frail 
reeds, glorious deeds were wrought and grand results 
have been accomplished. America has taught the 
world a lesson of bravery and endurance ; the shackles 
3 [33] 


have been stricken from the slave; an error of a 
century has been crushed, and freedom is now no 
longer an empty name, but a beautiful and enduring 

To-day peace spreads her broad, sheltering arms 
over a reunited and enlightened nation. The roll of 
the drum and the tramp of armed men are now no 
longer heard. North and South have again clasped 
hands in a renewal of friendship and in a perpetuity 
of union. 

But a short time ago a Republican President, 
elected by but a slight majority of the voters of this 
great community, left his peaceful home in the West 
and journeyed to the capital of the nation, to take 
the oath of office and to assume the high duties of 
a chief magistrate. As he passed through the 
towns and cities upon his route a general plaudit 
of welcome was his greeting, even noted political 
foes joining in the demonstrations. His road was 
arched with banners and his path was strewn with 
flowers. Everywhere he found an enthusiasm of 
welcome, a universal prayer for success, and the 
triumphal train entered the capital amid the ovations 
of the populace, which reached almost a climax of 
patriotic and effervescing joy. 

Twenty years ago witnessed a different condition 
of affairs. The political horizon was dark and ob 
scured The low mutterings of the storm that was 
soon to sweep over our country, and to deluge our 


fair land with fratricidal blood, were distinctly heard 
Sectional differences were developing into wide- 
spread dissensions. Cherished institutions were 
threatened with dissolution, and political antagonism 
had aroused a contented people into a frenzy of hate. 

On the twenty-second of May, 1856, an Ameri 
can Senator was assaulted in the Senate-house by 
a political opponent for daring to give utterance 
to opinions that were hostile to the slave-holding 
interests of the South. Later in the same year a 
Republican candidate, with professed anti-slavery 
views, was nominated for the presidency, and al 
though defeated, gave evidence of such political 
strength that Southern leaders became alarmed. 

At this time the Hon. Stephen A. Douglas was a 
prominent leader of the Democratic party, but 
through his opposition to what was known as the Le- 
compton BiH, he incurred the displeasure of his polit 
ical friends of the South, who vainly endeavored to 
enact such legislation as would practically lead to his 
retirement from the party. 

In 1858 the famous contest between Abraham 
Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas for the United 
States Senatorship from Illinois took place, and dur 
ing its progress absorbed public attention throughout 
the country. The two candidates indulged in open 
discussions of questions of public policy, which were 
remarkable for their brilliancy and for the force and 
vigor with which their different views were uttered 


It was during this canvass that Mr. Lincoln made the 
forcible and revolutionizing declaration that : " The 
Union cannot permanently endure half slave and half 
free." Mr. Lincoln was defeated, however, and Mr. 
Douglas was returned to the Senate, much against 
the wishes of those Democrats who desired the un 
limited extension of the institution of Slavery. 

In the following year occurred the slave insurrec 
tion in Virginia, under the leadership of that bold 
abolitionist, John Brown. The movement was frus 
trated, however, and John Brown, after a judicial trial 
for his offense, was sentenced to be hung. Up to 
the day of his execution he remained firm in the belief 
that he had but performed his duty toward enslaved 
humanity, and he died avowing the justice of his 
cause and the hope of its ultimate success. 

All of these occurrences tended to engender a 
spirit of fierce opposition in the minds of the South 
ern leaders. The growing sentiment of abolitionism 
throughout the North, and the manifest disposition to 
prevent its increase or extension, aroused the advo 
cates of Slavery to a degree of alarm, which led to 
the commission of many actions, both absurd and 

The year of 1860 opened upon a scene of political 
agitation which threatened to disrupt long united as 
sociations, and to erect sectional barriers which ap 
peared almost impossible to overcome. 

In April, 1860, the Democratic National Conven- 


tion assembled in Charleston, South Carolina, for the 
purpose of nominating a candidate for the presidency. 
During its session loud and angry debates occurred, 
in which the Southern element indeavored to obtain 
a strong indorsement of the institution of Slavery, 
and of the right to carry slaves into the Territories of 
the United States. They were met by the more con 
servative portion of the party, who desired to leave 
the question to be decided by the States themselves. 
After a prolonged discussion the majority of the 
Southern States withdrew their delegates from the 
convention, and the remainder proceeded to ballot for 
a candidate of their choice. 

After a protracted sitting, during which several 
ballots were taken and no decided result obtained, the 
convention adjourned, to meet in the city of Balti 
more on the eighteenth day of June succeeding. 
Stephen A. Douglas, of Illinois, received a large per 
centage of the votes that were cast, but failed to 
obtain a sufficient number to secure his nomina 

The withdrawing delegates organized a rival con 
vention, but, without transacting any business of a de 
cisive character, also adjourned, to meet in Baltimore 
at a date nearly coincident with that of the regular 

On the nineteenth day of May, the Constitutional 
Union (being the old American) party held their con 
vention m the city of Baltimore, and nominated John 


Bell, of Tennessee, for President, and Edward Everett, 
of Massachusetts, for the Vice-Presidency, 

The Republican Convention was held On the 
sixteenth day of May, in the city of Chicago, and upon 
the third ballot nominated Abraham Lincoln, of Illi 
nois, for the office of President, and Hannibal Hanv 
lin, of Maine, for the second office. 

This convention also adopted a platform very 
pronounced upon the subject of Slavery, and which 
was calculated to give but little encouragement to the 
extension or perpetuity of the slave-holding power. 

On the eighteenth day of June the regular Demo 
cratic Convention assembled, pursuant to adjourn 
ment, in the city of Baltimore, and named Stephen 
A. Douglas, of Illinois, and Herschel V. Johnson, of 
Georgia, as their standard-bearers in the political 
conflict that was to ensue. 

On the twenty-eighth day of the same month the 
seceding delegates met in the same city, and after 
pronouncing their ultra views upon the question of 
Slavery, nominated John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky 
(then the Vice-President of the country), and General 
Joseph Lane, of Oregon, as the candidates of their 

The lines of battle were now drawn, and from 
that time until the election, in November, a fierce 
contest was waged between the opposing parties. 
Never before in the history of parties was a canvass 
conducted with more bitterness or with a greater 



amount of vituperation. The whole country was 
engrossed with the gigantic struggle. Business inter 
ests, questions of finance and of international import 
were all made subservient to the absorbing considera 
tion of the election of a national President. 

The Southern " Fire-eaters," as they were called, 
fully realized thei r inability to elect the candidates 
they had named, but strove with all their power to 
prevent the success of the regular Democratic nomi 
nees, and when at last the day of election came, and 
the votes were counted, it was found that the Repub 
lican party had been victorious and that Abrahm 
Lincoln had been elected. 

In many portions of the South this result was, 
hailed with joyful enthusiasm. The anti-slavery pro 
clivities of the successful party was instantly made a, 
plausible pretext for secession and the withdrawal of 
the slave-holding States from the Union was boldly 

The same power that threatened in 1856, in the 
words of Governor Wise of Virginia : " That if Fre 
mont had been elected, he would have marched at 
the head of twenty thousand men to Washington, and 
taken possession of the capital, preventing by force 
Fremont s inauguration at that place" -was again 
aroused, and an open opposition to the Republican 
inauguration was for a time considered. 

The absorbing and exciting question in the South. 
was : " Would the South submit to a Black 


lican President and a Black Republican Congress T 
. and the answer to the question was a loud and deci 
sive negative. 

Among the bolder advocates of secession the elec 
tion of Mr. Lincoln was regarded with pleasure, and 
meetings were held in Charleston, rejoicing in the 
triumph of the Republican party. Secession and dis 
union were loudly advocated, and the slave oligarchy 
of South Carolina regarded this event as the oppor 
tunity to achieve her long-cherished purpose of break 
ing up the Union, and forming a new confederacy, 
founded upon the peculiar ideas of the South. 

Says Horace Greeley : " Men thronged the streets, 
talking, laughing, cheering, like mariners long be 
calmed upon a hateful, treacherous sea, when a sud 
den breeze had swiftly wafted them within sight of 
their looked for haven, or like a seedy prodigal, just 
raised to affluence by the death of some far-off, un 
known relative, and whose sense of decency is not 
strong enough to repress his exultation." 

Open threats were made to withdraw at onte from 
the Union, and these demonstrations seemed to find 
sympathy among other nations than our own, and 
soon foreign intrigue was hand and glove with domes 
tic treason, in the attempt to sap the foundations of 
our government, and seeking peculiar advantages from 
its overthrow. 

It is unnecessary to detail the various phases of 
this great agitation, which, firing the Southern heart 


with the frenzy of disunion, finally led to the seces 
sion of the Southern States. Various compromises 
were attempted, but all failed of beneficial result 
The " masterly inactivity " of the administration con 
tributed in no small degree to the accomplishment of 
this object, and in the end the Southern Confederacy 
was organized and Jefferson Davis was elected as its 

The Palmetto waved over the custom-house and 
post-office at Charleston ; government forts and 
arsenals were seized by the volunteers to the South 
ern cause, and on February i, 1861, the Federal mint 
and custom-house at New Orleans were taken posses 
sion of by the secessionists. 

The removal of Major Anderson from Fort Moul- 
trie to the more secure stronghold of Fort Sumter, 
in Charleston harbor, had been accomplished, and as 
yet no measures had been taken by the government 
to prevent further demonstrations of a warlike charac 
ter on the part of the Southern Confederacy. The 
administration remained passive and inert, while every 
effort was being made to calm the public fears of hos 
tilities, and the organization of an open revolt 

The city of Baltimore was, at this time, a slave- * 
holding city, and the spirit of Slavery was nowhere 
else more rampant and ferocious. The mercantile and 
social aristocracy of that city had been sedulously and 
persistently plied, by the conspirators for disunion, 
with artful and tempting suggestions of her future 


greatness and advancement as the chief city of the 
new government. 

If a Confederacy composed of the fifteen slave* 
holding States was organized, Baltimore, it was urged, 
would naturally be the chief city of the new Republic. 
In time it would become the rival of New York, and 
occupy to the Confederacy the same relations which 
New York does to the Union, and would be the great 
ship-building, shipping, importing and commercial 

These glittering prophecies had not been uttered 
without effect. The ambition of the aristocracy was 
aroused. Already they saw the ocean whitened with 
her sails, and the broad domain of Maryland adorned 
with the palaces reared from her ample and. ever-ex 
panding profits. Under these hallucinations, their 
minds were corrupted, and they seemed eager to rush 
into treason. 

Being a border State, Maryland occupied a posi 
tion of particular importance. Emissaries were sent 
to her from South Carolina and elsewhere, and no 
effort was spared to secure her co-operation in these 
revolutionary movements. It is to be regretted that 
they were too successful, and the result was that the 
majority of the wealthier classes and those in office 
were soon in sympathy with the rebellion, and the , 
spirit of domestic treason, for a time, swept like a 
tornado over the State. 

Added to the wealthier classes was the mob 


element of the city of Baltimore reckless and 
unscrupulous, as mobs generally are and this portion 
of her community were avowedly in full accord with 
the prospective movement, and ready to do the 
bidding of the slave power. Between these, however, 
there existed a great middle class, who were loyally 
and peacefully inclined. But this class, large as it 
was, had hitherto been divided in their political 
opinions, and had as yet arrived at no common and 
definite understanding with regard to the novel 
circumstances of the country and the events which 
seemed to be visibly impending. 

The government of the city of Baltimore was 
under the control of that branch of the Democracy 
who supported Breckinridge, and who had attained 
power under a popular cry for reform, and it was soon 
learned that these leaders were deep in the counsels 
of the secessionists. 

The newspaper press was no small factor of this 
excitement their utterances had much to do in lead 
ing public opinion, and though their efforts " to fire 
the Southern heart," many were led to sanction the 
deeds of violence and outrage which were contem 

Especial efforts had been made to render Mr. 
Lincoln personally odious and contemptible, and his 
election formed the pretexts of these reckless con 
spirators, who had long been plotting the overthrow 
of the Union. No falsehood was too gross, no state- 


ment too exaggerated, to be used for that purpose, 
and so zealously did these misguided men labor in the 
cause of disunion, and so systematically concerted 
was their action, that the mass of the people of the slave 
States were made to believe that this pure, patient, 
humane, Christian statesman was a monster whose 
vices and passions made him odious, and whose 
political beliefs made him an object of just abhorrence. 
This was the condition of affairs at the dawning 
of the year 1861. 



Opposition to Mr. Lincoln s Inauguration. A Plot toAssassi 
nate him. The Journey from Springfield. 

WITH the opening of the new year, the political 
condition evinced alarming symptoms. As 
the day of the inauguration of the new President drew 
near, the excitement became intense. Loud threats 
were made that Mr. Lincoln should never be per 
mitted to take the oath of office, and the hostility of 
the South manifested itself in such a manner as to 
excite the fears of those who desired the peaceful 
solution of the important question of continued 

The events about to be related have been for a 
long time shrouded in a veil of mystery. While 
many are aware that a plot existed at this time to 
assassinate the President-elect upon his contemplated 
journey to the capital, but few have any knowledge 
of the mode by which the conspiracy was detected, or 
the means employed to prevent the accomplishment 
of that murderous design. 

Considerations which affected the personal safety 
of those who actively participated in this detection, 
precluded a disclosure at the time, but that such a 


4 6 A PLOT TO 

conspiracy existed no doubt can be entertain* d. Now, 
howover, that the dark clouds have passed away, and 
the bright sunshine of an enduring peace is throwing 
its bcneficient rays over a united country, the truth 
may be disclosed, and a desire to peruse a hidden 
page of history may now be gratified. 

Early in the year 1861 I was at my headquarters 
in the city of Chicago, attending to the manifold duties 
of my profession. I had, of course, perused the daily 
journals which contained the reports of doings of the 
malcontents of the South, but in common with others, 
I entertained no serious fears of an open rebellion, 
and was disposed to regard the whole matter as of 
trivial importance. The same tones had been listened 
to before, and although the disunionists had hitherto 
never taken such aggressive steps, I was inclined to 
believe that with the incoming of the new administra 
tion, determined or conciliatory measures would be 
adopted, and that secession and rebellion would be 
either averted or summarily crushed. 

At this time I received a letter from Mr. Samuel 
H. Felton, the president of " The Philadelphia, Wil 
mington and Baltimore Railroad," requesting my 
presence in Philadelphia upon a matter of great im 
portance. From his communication it appeared that 
rumors were afloat as to the intention of the roughs 
and secessionists of Maryland to injure the road of 
which he was the President. From what had already 
been learned, it was feared that their designs were to 


prevent travel upon the road either by destroying the 
ferry-boats which then carried the trains across the 
Susquehanna river at Havre de Grace or by demol 
ishing the railroad bridges over the Gunpowder river 
and other streams. This road was the great con 
necting link between the metropolis of the country 
and the capital of the nation, and it was of the utmost 
importance that no interruption should be permitted 
to the free communication between Washington and 
the great cities of the North and West. 

This letter at once aroused me to a realization of 
the danger that threatened the country, and I deter 
mined to render whatever assistance was in my 
power towards preventing the successful operation of 
these ill-advised and dangerous men. 

I lost no time, therefore, in making my arrange 
ments, and soon after receiving Mr. Felton s commu 
nication, in company with four members of my force 
was upon the train speeding towards Philadelphia. 
Upon arriving in that city, I went directly to the 
office of Mr. Felton and obtained from him all the in 
formation he possessed of the movements and designs 
of the Maryland secessionists. I also had a consul 
tation with Mr. H. F. Kenney, the superintendent of 
the road, with reference to a plan of operation which 
I proposed, and which was considered would result in 
obtaining the information so much to be desired. 

I resolved to locate my men at the various towns 
along the road, selecting such places where, it was 

4 8 A PLOT TO 

believed, disaffection existed. With a view, therefore, 
of acquiring the facts necessary for an intelligent prose 
cution of the inquiry, I took passage on one of the trains 
of the road, intending to see for myself how affairs 
stood, and to distribute my men in such a manner as to 
me seemed best. 

At the city of Wilmington, in Delaware, I found 
evidences of a great political excitement, but nothing 
that indicated a hostile disposition or which led me 
to believe that any danger was to be apprehended at 
this place. Nothing that savored of organization was 
apparent, and I was therefore compelled to look fur 
ther for the existence of any antagonism to the rail 
road or any desire to prevent the running of their 

At Perryville I found the same excitable condi 
tion of affairs, but nothing of a more aggressive 
character than at Wilmington. Men indulged in 
fierce arguments, in which both sides were forcibly 
represented, but aside from this I discovered no 
cause for apprehension, and no occasion for active 
detective work as yet. 

At Havre de Grace, however, the lines were more 
clearly drawn and the popular feeling much more bit 
ter. It was at this point that the boats which carried 
the trains crossed the Susquehanna river, and where 
serious damage might be done to the company, 
should the ferries be destroyed. I therefore left one 
man at this place, with instructions to become ac- 


quainted with such men as he might, on observation, 
consider suspicious, and to endeavor to obtain from 
them, by association, a knowledge of their intentions. 

At Perrymansville, in Maryland, the feeling was 
considerably more intense, yonder the influence of 
bad men the secession movement had gained many 
supporters and sympathizers. Loud threats were ut 
tered against the railroad company, and it was boast 
fully asserted that "no d d abolitionist should be 
allowed to pass through the town alive." 

I have always found it a truism that " a barking 
dog never bites," and although I had but little fear 
that these blatant talkers would perform any danger 
ous deeds, I considered it best to be fully posted as 
to their movements, in order to prevent a catastrophe, 
if possible. 

I accordingly directed Timothy Webster, a daring 
and discreet man upon my force, to locate himself at 
this point, and to carefully note everything that 
transpired which had any relation to attempted vio 
lence or a disposition to resort to aggressive meas 

As I neared the city of Baltimore the opposition 
to the government and the sympathy with secession 
was manifestly more intense. At Magnolia, particu 
larly, I observed a very dangerous feeling, and among 
men of all classes the general sentiment was in favor 
of resistance and force. Another operative, John 
Seaford, was accordingly left at this place, with in- 


5 o A PLOT TO 

structions similar to those which had been given to 
the others. 

I then proceeded on to Baltimore, and there I 
found the greatest amount of excitement that I had 
yet experienced. I took quarters at the Howard* 
House, and proceeded to inquire closely and carefully 
into the political situation. I soon found that the 
fears of the railroad officials were not wholly without 
foundation. The opposition to Mr. Lincoln s inaugu 
ration was most violent and bitter, and a few days 
sojourn in this city convinced me that great danger 
was to be apprehended, and that the sentiment of dis 
union was far more widespread and deeply rooted 
than I had before imagined. 

The police force of the city was under the control 
of Marshal George P. Kane, and was almost entirely 
composed of men with disunion proclivities. Their 
leader was pronouncedly in favor of secession, and 
by his orders the broadest license was given to dis 
orderly persons and to the dissemination of insurrec 
tionary information. This individual was subse 
quently arrested, and, after a brief sojourn in Fort 
McHenry, fled in 1863 to the more congenial associ 
ations of Richmond. 

From the knowledge I gained of the situation in 
Baltimore, I resolved to establish my headquarters in 
that city. I accordingly engaged a building situated 
on South street, and in a position where I could re 
ceive prompt reports from all quarters of the metrop 


olis. I also sent for an additional force of men, 
whom I distributed among the people of all grades 
and conditions of life. The building I had selected 
was admirably adapted for my purpose, and was so 
constructed that entrance could be gained to it from 
all four sides, through alleyways that led in from 
neighboring streets. 

Day by day, the reports of my men contained 
many important revelations of the designs of the 
opposition, and as a matter of additional precaution, 
I advised Mr. Felton to employ a small number of 
men to guard the various bridges and ferries, who 
could be warned in time to resist attack should such 
be made. 

The chief opposition seemed to be to the inaugu 
ration of President Lincoln, and the plan of the con 
spirators was to excite and exasperate the popular 
feeling against the President-elect to the utmost, and 
so successfully had this been done that a majority 
of the wealthier classes, with few exceptions those in 
office and the mob element in general were in full 
accord in their desire to prevent the inauguration 
from taking place. 

On the eleventh day of February, Mr. Lincoln, 
with a few of his personal friends, left his quiet home 
in Springfield to enter upon that tempestuous politi 
cal career which eventually carried him to a martyr s 
grave. Among the party who accompanied the 
President were Norman B. Judd, Esq., Col. Ward 

5 a A PLOT TO 

H. Lamon, Judge Davis, Col. Sumner, a brave and 
impetuous officer, Major Hunter, Capt John Pope, 
Col. Ellsworth, whose heroic death took place shortly 
afterwards, and John G. Nicolay, the President s 
private secretary. 

As the President was about leaving his home, the 
people turned out en masse to bid him farewell, and 
to them Mr. Lincoln addressed the following pathetic 
words of parting : 

" My Friends : No^one who has never been placed 
in a like position can understand my feelings at this 
hour, nor the oppressive sadness I feel at this part 
ing. For more than a quarter of a century I have 
lived among you, and during all that time I have 
received nothing but kindness at your hands. Here 
I have lived from youth until now I am an old man ; 
here the most sacred ties of earth were assumed ; 
here all my children were born, and here one of them 
lies buried. To you, dear friends, I owe all that I 
have, and all that I am. All the strange checkered 
past seems now to crowd upon my mind. To-day I 
leave you. I go to assume a task more difficult than 
that which devolved upon Washington. Unless the 
great God who assisted him shall be with me and aid 
me, I must fail ; but if the same Omniscient Mind and 
Almighty Arm that directed and protected him shall 
guide and support me, I shall not fail I shall sue 
ceed. Let us all pray that the God of our fathers 
may not forsake us now. To Him I commend you 
all. Permit me to ask that with equal sincerity and 
faith you will invoke His wisdom and guidance for 


me. With these few words I must leave you, for 
how long I know not. Friends, one and all, I must 
bid you an affectionate farewell." 

How touchingly simple and earnest seem these 
words. A strange and almost weird presentiment of 
grief and suffering give his utterances a pathos that 
becomes profoundly impressive when linked with 
subsequent events. How prophetic too full of tears 
and fraught with the prescience of a future terrible 
and bloody war they bear yet an echo like that of 
the voice that sounded in the ear of Halleck s dying 
hero for surely in their tones are heard the thanks 
of millions yet to be. How more than prophetic they 
seemed when, four years later, "a funeral train, 
covered with the emblems of splendid mourning, 
rolled into the same city, bearing a corpse whose 
obsequies were being celebrated in every part of the 
civilized world." 

From Springfield the passage was a perfect con 
tinuous ovation. Cities and towns, villages and 
hamlets, vied with each other in testifying their 
devotion to Union and their determination to uphold 
the chief magistrate in the great trial before him. 
Immense crowds surrounded the stations at which 
the special train halted, and in the cities of Indi 
anapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, Pittsburg, Cleveland, 
Erie, Buffalo, Albany, New York, Trenton, New- 
ark, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, public demon- 
strations of an imposing character were given in his 


honor, and vast concourses of people assembled to 
greet him. Everywhere he was received and honored 
as the chief of a free people, and in reply to compli 
mentary addresses which he day by day received, the 
President endeavored to utter cheering words, and 
indicated a disbelief in any bloody issue of our 
domestic complications. 

On the day prior to the departure of Mr. Lincoln 
from his home, I received a letter from the master 
mechanic of the railroad, of which the following is an 
extract : 

"I am informed that a son of a distinguished 
citizen of Maryland said that he had taken an oath 
with others to assassinate Mr. Lincoln before he gets 
to Washington, and they may attempt to do it while he 
is passing over our road. I think you had better look 
after this man, if possible. This information is 
perfectly reliable. I have nothing more to say at 
this time, but will try to see you in a few days." 

This communication was confirmatory of reports 
of an indefinite character which had reached me prior 
to this, and the information was far too important to 
be disregarded. I determined, therefore, to probe 
the matter to the bottom, and obtaining the authority 
of Mr. Felton for such action, I immediately set about 
the discovery of the existence of the conspiracy and 
the intention of its organization, and then, if coolness, 
courage and skill could save the life of Mr. Lincoln, 
and prevent the revolution which would inevitably 


follow his violent death, I felt sure of accomplishing 

My plans were soon perfected, and they were to 
have several of my men, together with myself, an 
nounced as residents of Charleston and New Orleans, 
and by assuming to be secessionists of the most ultra 
type, to secure entrance into their secret societies and 
military organizations, and thus become possessed of 
their secret designs. In looking over the qualifica 
tions of the members of my corps I found two men 
admirably adapted to the object I had in view. They 
were both young and both fully able to assume and 
successfully carry out the character of a hot-blooded, 
fiery secessionist. 

One of these men, whom I shall call Joseph 
Howard, was a young man of fine personal appear 
ance, and of insinuating manners. He was of French 
descent, and in his youth had been carefully educated 
for a Jesuit priest, but finding the vocation distasteful 
to him, he had abandoned it. Added to his collegiate 
studies, he possessed the advantage of extensive 
foreign travel, and the ability to speak, with great 
facility, several foreign languages. He had a thorough 
knowledge of the South, its localities, prejudices, 
customs and leading men, which had been derived 
from several years residence in New Orleans and 
other Southern cities, and was gifted with the power 
of adaptation to persons whom they wish to influence, 
so popularly attributed to the Jesuits. 

$ e A PLOT TO 

Howard was instructed to assume the character ol 
an extreme secessionist, to obtain quarters at one of 
the first-class hotels, and register his name, with 
residence at New Orleans. This was done because 
he was well acquainted with the city, having resided 
there for a long time, and was consequently enabled 
to talk familiarly of prominent individuals of that city 
whom he had met. 

The other man whom I selected for this impor 
tant work was Timothy Webster. He was a man of 
great physical stiength and endurance, skilled in all 
athletic sports, and a good shot. Possessed of a 
strong will and a courage that knew no fear, he was 
the very man to operate upon the middle and lowei 
classes who composed the disunion element. 

His subsequent career as a Union spy one of 
the most perilous and thankless positions and his 
ignominious death at Richmond, at the hands of the 
rebels, have passed into history, but no historian will 
ever relate the thousand perils through which he passed 
in the service of his country ; of his boldness and in 
genuity in acquiring information that was of incalcu 
lable value to the Union officers, nor of his wonderful 
fertility ot invention, which frequently enabled him to 
escape from dangers which would have appalled a 
less brave or less devoted man. Arrested at last, he 
was condemned as a spy, and on the thirtieth day of 
April, 1862, he was executed in the City of Rich 
mond, by order of Jefferson Davis. Even then he 


would have succeeded in effecting a well-devised plan 
of escape, had he not been rendered incapable of 
movement by reason of a prostrating sickness. His 
name is unknown to fame, but fewer hearts beat truer 
to the Union, and fewer arms performed more de 
voted service in its cause, and a record of his daring 
and romantic adventures as a Union spy, would 
certainly equal, if not surpass, those of the Harvey 
Birch of Cooper. 

It was not long before I received undoubted 
evidence of the existence of a systematized organiza 
tion whose avowed object was to assist the rebellious 
States, but which was in reality formed to compass the 
death of the President, and thus accomplish the 
separation of the States. I learned also that a branch 
of this conspiracy existed at Perrymansville, under 
the guise of a company of cavalry, who met frequently 
and drilled regularly. Leaving Harwood to operate 
in Baltimore with the others, I dispatched Timothy 
Webster back to Perrymansville, and in twenty-four 
hours thereafter he had enrolled himself as a member 
of the company, and was recognized as a hail fellow 
among his rebel associates. 


The Conspirators at Work. Detectives on Their Trails- 
Webster as a Soldier. 

EVERY day reports would be brought to me 
from the numerous men I had detailed along 
the line of the railroad, and regularly on alternate 
days I would make the journey from Baltimore to 
Philadelphia for consultation with the officers of the 

At every visit which I made to the suspected 
localities, I could not fail to notice an increase in the 
excitement and the indications of a disposition to 
open revolt became more evident. Everywhere the 
ruling principle seemed to be opposition to the new 
administration and a decided inclination to aid the 
Confederacy. As the daily papers, which chronicled 
the events which occurred upon the journey of Mr. 
Lincoln towards Washington, or the desperate move 
ments of the Southern ringleaders, were perused by 
the people, or were read aloud in tavern or store, 
they would be greeted by alternate expressions of 
hate and malignity for the abolitionist and wild cheers 
for the rebellion. 

This feeling, too, was largely increased by the 



visits which prominent villagers would make to Balti 
more, and who, upon their return, would relate 
marvelous stories of what they had seen and heard 
of the courage, the unity and the determination of the 
Southern people. Everything calculated to inflame 
the popular mind was seized upon, and the wonderful 
spirit of invention which these men evinced was 
simply astonishing. As a consequence, the ignorant 
residents of these villages and towns, having no 
authoritative information of their own, relied implic 
itly upon the exaggerated statements and untruth 
ful reports of their leaders, and were kept in a 
condition of excitement that made them ready tools 
of their unscrupulous and better-informed managers. 
As far as could be learned, however, no definite plan 
of action had been arranged, and no public outbreak 
had as yet occurred. 

Barnum s Hotel, in Baltimore, appeared to be the 
favorite resort of the Southern element. The visitors 
from all portions of the South located at this house, 
and in the evenings the corridors and parlors would 
be thronged by the tall, lank forms of the long-haired 
gentlemen who represented the aristocracy of the 
slaveholding interests. Their conversations were 
loud and unrestrained, and any one bold enough or 
sufficiently indiscreet to venture an opinion contrary 
to the righteousness of their cause, would soon find 
himself in an unenviable position and frequently the 
subject of violence. 


As this hotel was so largely patronized by the so- 
called "Fire-eaters," I instructed Howard to go there 
in order to secure quarters and to ingratiate himself 
with these extremists. It was not long after this, 
that, joining a company of gentlemen who were loudly 
declaiming against the ruling powers of the country, 
he entered into their discussion, and by blatant ex 
pressions of the most rebellious nature, he was warmly 
welcomed by the coterie and instantly made one of 
their number. 

Hailing as he did from New Orleans, his resi 
dence was a ready passport to their favor and con 
fidence, and his tine personal appearance, gentle 
manly address and the fervor of his utterances soon 
won the favor of those with whom he associ 
ated. To a general inquiry he stated that private 
affairs of a financial nature required his presence in 
Baltimore, but as his acquaintance with the trust 
worthy emissaries of rebeldom increased, he quietly 
insinuated that affairs of a national character were 
far more dear to him than individual interests or 
private concerns. 

By continued intercourse with these men, he 
greatly increased the circle of his acquaintances, and 
soon became a welcome guest at the residences of 
many of the first families of that refined and aristo 
cratic city. Here his accomplishments appeared to 
the best advantage. His romantic disposition and 
the ease of his manner captivated many of the sus- 


ceptible hearts of the beautiful Baltimore belles, 
whose eyes grew brighter in his presence, and who 
listened enraptured to the poetic utterances which 
were whispered into their ears under the witching 
spell of music and moonlit nature. 

He gradually neared the circle of which Marshal 
George P. Kane appeared to be the leader, and in a 
short time he had succeeded in entirely winning his 
confidence, and from this gentleman Howard acquired 
many important items of information. The entire 
police force of the city officers and men were in 
full sympathy with the rebellion, and it became ap 
parent to him that a strict watch was kept over every 
man who expressed Northern opinions, or who 
was not identified with the cause which they had 

To all of these arrangements Howard signified his 
hearty indorsement, and by every means in his power 
he sought to convince the leaders of his full sympathy 
with their efforts and his resolve to take a leading 
part in the struggle that seemed to be impending. 

Accepting the invitation of Mr. Kane, he one 
evening accompanied that gentleman to a meeting of 
one of the secret societies that then existed, the first 
one he had succeeded in gaining entrance to. Arriv 
ing at the place of assembly, he was surprised at the 
many familiar faces which greeted him. Men whose 
aristocratic doors had opened to his entrance and 
whose social positions were unquestioned; youpg 


men who traced their lineage through several genera 
tions, and whose wealth and intelligence gave them 
a social status of no ordinary character, were found in 
full accord and upon perfect equality with tradesmen, 
artificers, and even with those whose vocation was 
decidedly doubtful, and some of whom had heard 
the key of a prison lock turned upon them for offenses 
committed in days gone by. 

The leader and President of this society was a 
Captain Fernandina, who was known as one of the 
most active of the conspirators. This individual at 
one time occupied the exalted position of a barber at 
Barnum s Hotel, but treason and conspiracy had 
elevated him to the station of a military captain whose 
orders were to be obeyed, and a leader whose man 
dates compelled respect. He was an Italian or of 
Italian descent, and having lived in the South for a 
number of years he was thoroughly impressed with 
the idea of Southern wrongs, and that the election 
of Mr. Lincoln was an outrage which must not be 
tamely submitted to by the high-toned and chival 
rous people of the South. 

He was an enthusiast and fanatic, a dangerous 
man in any crisis, and particularly so in the one now 
impending, which threatened a civil war and all its 
direful consequences. Educated with Italian ideas and 
possessed of the temperament of his people, he openly 
justified the use of the stiletto, and fiercely advocated 
assassination as the means of preventing the Presi- 


dent-elect from taking his seat in the executive chair. 
He was also the captain of a military company which 
drilled regularly and whose members were believed 
to fully indorse the views of their chief. 

At this meeting Fernandina delivered an address 
which, for its treasonable nature and its violent oppo 
sition to all laws, human or divine, has scarcely a 
parallel. He boldly advocated the doctrine of State 
rights ; he fiercely denounced the party who had suc 
ceeded in obtaining power ; he inveighed in violent 
language against the policy of the so-called abolition 
ists, and his arraignment of Mr. Lincoln was most 
vile and repulsive. As these words fell from his lips 
the excitement became intense. Faces were eagerly 
turned towards him, eyes glistened with the fires of 
hate, and hands were clenched as though each one 
present was imbued with the same feelings which 
animated their sanguinary leader. 

As he proceeded, overcome by the violence of his 
emotions, he drew from his breast a long, glittering 
knife, and waving it aloft, exclaimed : 

" This hireling Lincoln shall never, never be Pres 
ident. My life is of no consequence in a cause like 
this, and I am willing to give it for his. As Orsini 
gave his life for Italy, I am ready to die for the 
rights of the South and to crush out the abolitionist" 

As he stood before them, his black eyes flashing 
with excitement, his sallow face pale and colorless 
and his long hair brushed fiercely back from his low 


forehead, he seemed a fitting representative of so 
desperate a cause, and his influence over the assem 
blage was wonderful to behold. Loud cheers and 
wild clapping of hands greeted his utterances, and all 
seemed in perfect accord with his declared intentions. 

There could be no mistaking the fact, that the 
object of these men was dangerous, and that they had 
fully determined to oppose and prevent the inaugura 
tion of Mr. Lincoln, but the exact plan of operation 
had not as yet been agreed upon. 

Upon these facts being conveyed to me by How 
ard on the following morning, I resolved to interview 
this desperate leader of the conspiracy myself, and 
endeavor to learn from him further particulars of 
their movements and designs. 

In the immediate vicinity of Barnum s Hotel at 
that time there was a famous restaurant, popularly 
known as "Guy s," and this place was much fre 
quented by the secessionists who were in the city. 
Fernandina spent much of his time there, either in 
drinking or in consultation with his numerous politi 
cal friends, who all seemed to regard him as an im 
portant personage, and one who was eventually to 
perform giant service in the cause. 

Howard having effecting an introduction to Fer 
nandina, and convinced him of his devotion to the 
interests of the South, I experienced no difficulty in 
obtaining the desired interview. About three o clock 
on the following afternoon Howard and myself care- 


C t? r-Fr-p, 



lessly entered the saloon, and were gratified to per 
ceive that Fernandina was also there, accompanied by 
several members of the military company which he 
commanded. Walking directly up to these gentle 
men, Howard introduced me as a resident of Georgia, 
who was an earnest worker in the cause of secession, 
and whose sympathy and discretion could be impli 
citly relied upon. 

Fernandina cordially grasped my hand, and we 
all retired to a private saloon; where, after ordering 
the necessary drinks and cigars, the conversation 
became general, and to me, absorbingly interesting. 

The question of assassinating the President was 
freely discussed, and Captain Fernandina expressed 
himself vehemently in its favor. 

Some one in the party remarked : 

" Are there no other means of saving the South 
except by assassination ?" 

"No," replied Fernandina; "as well might you 
attempt to move the Washington Monument yonder 
with your breath, as to change our purpose. He 
must die and die he shall. And," he continued, 
turning to Captain Trichot, a fellow-conspirator who 
stood near, " if necessary, we will die together." 

" There seems to be no other way," interposed 
Howard, " and while bloodshed is to be regretted, it 
will be done in a noble cause." 

Fernandina gazed approvingly at Howard, and 
then added : 


11 Yes, the cause is a noble one, and on that day 
every captain will prove himself a hero. With the 
first shot the chief traitor, Lincoln, will die, then all 
Maryland will be with us, and the South will be for 
ever free," 

" But ? said I, " have all the plans been matured, 
and are there no fears of failure ? A misstep in so 
important a direction would be fatal to the South 
and ought to be well considered." 

"Our plans are fully arranged," answered the 
Captain, "and they cannot fail; and," he added, with 
a wicked gleam in his eyes " if I alone must strike 
the blow, I shall not hesitate or shrink from the task. 
Lincoln shall certainly not depart from this city 

"Yes," added Captain Trichot, "it is determined 
that this G d d d Lincoln shall never pass through 
here alive, and no d d abolitionist shall ever set foot 
upon Southern soil except to find a grave." 

" But about the authorities " I asked " is there 
no danger to be apprehended from them ?" 

"Oh, no," said the Captain, assuringly, "they 
are all with us. I have seen Col. Kane, the Chief 
Marshal of Police, and he is all right. In a week 
from to-day the North shall want another President, 
for Lincoln will be a corpse." 

All the company gave approving responses to 
these threats, with but one exception, and he re* 
mained silent, with a doubtful, troubled expression 


upon his face. This young man was one of the fast 
"bloods" of the city, who proudly wore upon his 
breast a gold Palmetto badge, and who was a Lieu* 
tenant in the Palmetto Guards, a secret military 
organization of Baltimore, and I determined to select 
this man for the purpose of obtaining the information 
I so much desired ; and as the company shortly after 
wards broke up, Howard and myself accompanied 
Lieutenant Hill from the saloon. 

Hill soon proved a pliant tool in our hands. Be 
ing of a weak nature and having been reared in the 
lap of luxury, he had entered into this movement 
more from a temporary burst of enthusiasm and be 
cause it was fashionable, than from any other cause. 
Now that matters began to assume such a warlike 
attitude, he was inclined to hesitate before the affair 
had gone too far, but still he seemed to be enamored 
with the glory of the undertaking. 

By my directions Howard, the ardent secession 
ist from Louisiana, and Hill, of the Palmetto Guards, 
became bosom friends and inseparable companions. 
They drank together, and visited theaters and places 
of amusement in each other s company. 

By reason of his high social position Hill was en 
abled to introduce his friend to the leading families 
and into the most aristocratic clubs and societies of 
which the city boasted, and Howard made many valu 
able acquaintances through the influence of this rebel 
lious scion of Baltimore aristocracy. 


Finally the young man was induced to open to 
his companion the secrets of the plot to assassinate 
the President. It was evident, however, that Hill 
was playing his part in the conspiracy with great re 
luctance, and one day he said to Howard : 

" What a pity it is that this glorious Union must 
be destroyed all on account of that monster Lincoln." 
From Hill it was learned that the plans of the con 
spirators were first to excite and exasperate the pop 
ular feeling against Mr. Lincoln to the utmost, and 
thus far this had been successfully accompanied. 
From the published programme Mr. Lincoln was to 
reach Baltimore from Harrisburg by the Northern 
Central Railroad on the twenty-third day of February, 
now but a few days distant. He would, therefore, 
reach the city about the middle of the day. A vast 
crowd would meet him at the Calvert street depot, at 
which point it was expected that he would enter an 
open carriage and ride nearly half a mile to the Wash 
ington depot. Here it was arranged that but a small 
force of policemen should be stationed, and as the 
President arrived a disturbance would be created 
which would attract the attention of these guardians 
of the peace, and this accomplished, it would be an 
easy task for a determined man to shoot the Presi 
dent, and, aided by his companions, succeed in making 
his escape. 

Agents of the conspirators had been dispatched 
to all the principal Northern cities, to watch the 


movements of the presidential party, and ready to 
telegraph to Baltimore any change of route or delay 
In arrival. A cipher had been agreed upon between 
them, so that the conspirators could communicate 
with each other without the possibility of detection, 
and everything seemed to be satisfactorily arranged 
except to depute one of their number to commit the 
fatal deed. This was to be determined by ballot, 
and as yet no one knew upon whom might devolve 
the bloody task. 

Meanwhile, the idea of assassination was preying 
heavily upon the mind of the Lieutenant of the Pal 
metto Guards ; he grew sad and melancholy, and 
plunged still deeper into dissipation. Howard had 
now become a necessity to him and they were scarcely 
ever separated. Under the influence of the master 
spirit, the disposition of Hill underwent wonderful 
changes. At times, he would be thoughtful and 
morose, and then would suddenly break out into 
enthusiastic rhapsodies. H is sleep became tormented 
with dreams in which he saw himself the martyr to a 
glorious cause and the savior of his country. 

At such times he would address himself to 
Howard, in the most extravagant language. 

" I am destined to die," said he one day, 
"shrouded with glory. I shall immortalize myseff 
by plunging a knife into Lincoln s heart" 

Howard endeavored to calm his transports, but 
without avail. Raising himself to his full height, he 


exclaimed : " Rome had her Brutus, why should not 
we ? I swear to you, Howard, if it falls to me I 
will kill Lincoln before he reaches the Washington 
.depot, not that I love Lincoln less, but my country 


As the day drew nearer for the arrival of the 
President, he became more nervous and excited, and 
would more frequently indulge in extravagant expres 
sions, which would have been regarded as absurd, 
but for the fact that he was but one of a large num 
ber of fanatics, who seriously entertained the same 
ideas of murder, and his expressions but the reflex of 
others, more determined. 

Timothy Webster was still at Perrymansville, 
and by this time had fully identified himself with 
the rebel cause, and the company of cavalry of which 
he was a member. On several occasions he had 
given undoubted indications of his loyalty and devo 
tion to the South, and was generally looked upon as 
a man who could be trusted. He became quite 
intimate with the officers of the company, and 
succeeded in gaming their entire confidence. As yet, 
however, he had learned but little of the important 
movement which we believed was in contemplat/on,as 
all conversations upon that subject appeared to be 
between the officers of the company, at their secret 
meetings, to which he had not been able as yet tc 
gain an entrance. 
I At length one morning, after the usual daily drill, 


and when the company had been dismissed, the 
Captain addressed Webster and requested him to be 
present at his house that evening, as he desired to 
consult with him upon important affairs, at the same 
time cautioning him to say nothing to any one con 
cerning the matter. 

Promptly at the time appointed Webster pre 
sented himself at the residence of the Captain, and 
was ushered into a room upon the upper floor, where 
there were several men already assembled. The cur 
tains had been drawn close, and heavy quilts had been 
hung over the windows, which effectually prevented 
any one from the outside from discovering a light in 
the room. On his entrance he was introduced to the 
gentlemen present, three of whom were unknown to 
him, who were members of the secret league from 
Baltimore, and who were evidently impressed with 
the solemnity and importance of their undertaking. 
They greeted Webster cordially, however, and made 
room for him at the table around which they were 

A few minutes satisfied Webster as to the nature 
of the meeting, and that it was a conclave of the con 
spirators, who had met to discuss a plan of action. 
Intensely eager as he was to acquire all possible in 
formation, he was obliged to restrain his impetuosity 
and to listen calmly to the developments that were 
made. From what transpired that evening there 
could be no doubt of the desperation of the men en- 


gaged in the conspiracy, or of the widespread interest 
which was taken in their movements. 

The plans for the assassination of the President 
had been fully matured, and only needed the selection 
of the person to perform the deed, in order to carry 
them into effect. In the meantime, however, other 
important measures required attention and considera 
tion. If the affair stopped simply with the assassina 
tion of the President, but little, if any, good would be 
accomplished. The North would rise as one man to 
avenge the death of their leader, and they would only 
hasten a disaster they were anxious to avoid. It 
was necessary, therefore, that the work should be 
thoroughly done, and the plan suggested was as 
follows : 

As soon as the deed had been accomplished in 
Baltimore, the news was to be telegraphed along the 
line of the road, and immediately upon the reception of 
this intelligence the telegraph wires were to be cut, the 
railroad bridges destroyed and the tracks torn up, in 
order to prevent for some time any information being 
conveyed to the cities of the North, or the passage of 
any Northern men towards the capital. 

Wild as the scheme was, it found instant favor 
with the reckless men assembled together, and all 
signified their hearty assent to the propositions and 
offered their aid in successfully carrying them out 
Among the most earnest in their protestations was 
Timothy Webster and as he announced his intention 


to perform his duty in tte affair he was warmly con 

Matters were evidently getting warm, and but 
littte time *i8 left for action. 



The Conspirators in Council. My Operative Joins the Con 

I HAD already written to Mr. Norman B. Judd 
as the party reached Cincinnati, informing him 
that I had reason to believe that there was a plot on 
foot to murder the President on his passage through 
Baltimore, and promising to advise him further as the 
party progressed eastward. 

This information Mr. Judd did not divulge to 
any one, fearing to occasion undue anxiety or unneces 
sary alarm, and knowing that I was upon the ground 
and could be depended upon to act at the proper 

When the party reached Buffalo another note 
from me awaited Mr. Judd, informing him of the 
accumulation of evidence, but conveying no particu 
lars. The party were now journeying towards New 
York city, and I determined to learn all that there 
was to learn before many hours. 

Previous to this, in addition to the men engaged 

in Baltimore, I had sent for Mrs. Kate Warne, the 

lady superintendent of my agency. This lady had 

arrived several days before, and had already made 



remarkable progress in cultivating the acquaint 
ance of the wives and daughters of the conspira 

Mrs. Warne was eminently fitted for this task 
Of rather a commanding person, with clear-cut, 
expressive features, and with an ease of manner that 
was quite captivating at times, she was calculated to 
make a favorable impression at once. She was of 
Northern birth, but in order to vouch for her 
Southern opinions, she represented herself as from 
Montgomery, Alabama, a locality with which she was 
perfectly familiar, from her connection with the detec 
tion of the robbery of the Adams Express Company, 
at that place. Her experience in that case, which is 
fully detailed in " The Expressman and the Detec 
tive," fully qualified her for the task of representing 
herself as a resident of the South. 

She was a brilliant conversationalist when so 
disposed, and could be quite vivacious, but she also 
understood that rarer quality in womankind, the art 
of being silent. 

The information she received was invaluable, but 
as yet the meetings of the chief conspirators had not 
been entered. Mrs. Warne displayed upon her 
breast, as did many of the ladies of Baltimore, the 
black and white cockade, which had been temporarily 
adopted as. the emblem of secession, and many hints 
were dropped in her presence which found their way 
to my ears, and were of great benefit to me. 


As I have said, the Presidential party were in 
Buffalo, and I had resolved upon prompt and decisive 
measures to discover the inward workings of the 
conspirators. Accordingly I obtained an interview 
with Howard, and gave him such instructions as I 
deemed necessary under the circumstances. He was 
to insist upon Hill taking him to the meeting at which 
the ballots were to be drawn, and where he, too, 
would have an opportunity to immortalize himself, 
and then, that being accomplished, the rest would be 
easy and all further danger would be over. 

Accordingly, that day Howard broached the mat 
ter to Hill in a manner which convinced him of his 
earnestness, and the young Lieutenant promised his 
utmost efforts to secure his admission. At five 
o clock in the afternoon they again met, and Hill 
joyfully informed his companion that hisrequest had 
been granted, and that, upon his vouching for the 
fidelity of his friend, he had succeeded in obtaining 
permission for him to enter their society. 

That evening Howard accompanied his friend 
Hill to the rendezvous of the league, and as they 
entered the darkened chamber, they found many of 
the conspirators already assembled. The members 
were strangely silent, and an ominous awe seemed to 
pervade the entire assembly. About twenty men 
comprised the number, but many entered afterward. 
After a few preliminary movements, Howard was 
conducted to the station of the President of the 


assembly and duly sworn, the members gathering 
around him in a circle as this was being done. 

Having passed thrpugh the required formula, 
Howard was warmly taken by the hand by his asso 
ciates, many of whom he had met in the polite circles 
of society. After quiet had been restored, the Presi 
dent, who was none other than Captain Fernandina, 
arose, and in a dramatic manner detailed the particu 
lars of the plot. 

It had been fully determined that the assassina 
tion should take place at the Calvert street depot. 
A vast crowd of secessionists were to assemble at 
that place to await the arrival of the train with Mr. 
Lincoln. They would appear early and fill the nar 
row streets and passages immediately surrounding it. 
No attempt at secrecy was made of the fact that the 
Marshal of Police was conversant with their plans, 
and that he would detail but a small force of police 
men to attend the arrival, and nominally clear and 
protect a passage for Mr. Lincoln and his suite. 
Nor was the fact disguised that these policemen were 
in active sympathy with the movement. George P. 
Kane s animus was fully shown when he was subse 
quently arrested by General Banks, and afterwards 
became an officer in the rebel army. 

When the train entered the depot, and Mr. Lincoln 
attempted to pass through the narrow passage lead- 
ing to the streets, a party already delegated were to 
engage in a conflict on the outside, and then the 


policemen were to rush away to quell the disturbance. 
At this moment the police being entirely withdrawn 
Mr. Lincoln would find himself surrounded by a 
dense, excited and hostile crowd, all hustling and 
jamming against him, and then the fatal blow was to 
be struck. 

A swift steamer was to be stationed in Chesapeake 
Bay, with a boat awaiting upon the shore, ready to 
take the assassin on board as soon as the deed was 
done, and convey him to a Southern port, where he 
would be received with acclamations of joy and 
honored as a hero. 

The question to be decided this evening was : 
" Who should do the deed ?" " Who should assume 
the task of liberating the nation of the foul presence 
of the abolitionist leader ?" For this purpose the 
meeting had been called to-night, and to-night the im 
portant decision was to be reached. 

It was finally determined that ballots should be 
prepared and placed in a box arranged for that pur 
pose, and that the person who drew a red ballot 
should perform the duty of assassination. 

In order that none should know who drew the 
fatal ballot, except he who did so, the room was ren 
dered still darker, and every one was pledged to 
secrecy as to the color of the ballot he drew. The 
leaders, however, had determined that their plans 
should not fail, and doubting the courage of some of 
their number, instead of placing but one red ballot in 


the box, they j laced eight of the designated color, 
and these eight ballots were drawn each man who 
drew them believing that upon him, his courage, 
strength and devotion, depended the cause of the 
South each supposing that he alone was charged 
with the execution of the deed. 

After the ballots had been drawn the President 
again addressed the assembly. He violently assailed 
the enemies of the South, and in glowing words 
pointed out the glory that awaited the man who would 
prove himself the hero upon this great occasion, and 
finally, amid much restrained enthusiasm, the meeting 
adjourned, and their duties had thus far been accom 

My time for action had now arrived ; my plans had 
been perfected and I resolved to act at once. Taking 
Mrs. Warne with me I reached New York city on the 
same day that the presidential party arrived there, 
and leaving Mrs. Warne to perfect arrangements, I 
proceeded at once to Philadelphia. That evening 
Mrs. Warne repaired to the Astor House and re 
quested an interview with Mr. Judd. Her request 
being granted, Mrs. Warne informed that gentleman, 
that, fearing to trust the mail in so important a matter, 
she had been delegated by me to arrange for a per 
sonal interview, at which all the proofs relating to the 
conspiracy could be submitted to him. It was sug 
gested that immediately after the arrival of the party 
in Philadelphia, I should inform Mr. Judd of my plans 


for an interview, and that he would be governed ac 

While they were conversing, Col. E. S. Sandford 
President of the American Telegraph Company, 
called, and was introduced by Mrs. Warne to Mr. 
Judd. This gentleman had been made fully ac 
quainted with what I had learned, and had promised 
all the assistance within his power, and he accordingly 
tendered to Mr. Judd his own personal service and 
the unlimited use of the telegraph lines under his con 
trol, for any communications he might desire to make. 

On arriving at Philadelphia, I proceeded directly 
to the office of Mr. Felton, and acquainted him with 
all the information I had received, of the designs of 
the conspirators with regard to Mr. Lincoln, and of 
their intention to destroy the railroad should their 
plot be successful. The situation was truly alarm 
ing, and cautious measures were absolutely necessary. 
It was therefore resolved to obtain an interview with 
Mr. Lincoln, submit the facts to him, and be gov 
erned by his suggestions, whatever they might be. 

This interview took place on the 2Oth day of 
February, and Mr. Lincoln was expected to arrive on 
the following day. Great preparations had been 
made for his reception, and the military, of which 
Philadelphia was justly proud, were to escort the Pres 
ident-elect from the depot to the Continental Hotel, 
where quarters had been engaged for him, and where 
he would receive the congratulations of the people. 


The Presidential Party arrives in Philadelphia. Independ 
ence Hall. The Departure from Harrisburg. Telegraph 
wires Cut. Through the Lines of Treason and Safe 
Arrival at Washington. 

THE twenty-first dawned bright and sunny, and 
the streets were alive with the eager populace, 
all anxious to do honor to the new President, and to 
witness the scenes attendant upon his reception. In 
due time the train containing the party arrived, and 
after an informal welcome they took carriages, and, 
escorted by the troops, the procession took up the line 
of march for the hotel. Vast crowds lined the side 
walks and the enthusiasm of the people was unbound 
ed. The President graciously acknowledged their 
courtesies as he passed along. On each side of the 
carriage in which Mr. Lincoln was seated, accompa 
nied by Mr. Judd, was a file of policemen, whose duty 
it was to prevent the mass of people from pressing too 
closely to the vehicle. As the procession reached the 
corner of Broad and Chestnut streets, a young man 
approached the file of policemen and endeavored to 
attract the attent ; on of the occupants of the carriage. 
Finding this impossible, he boldly plunged through 

6 [81] 


the ranks of the officers, and coming to the side of 
the carriage, he handed to Mr. Judd a slip of paper, 
on which was written : 

" St. Louis Hotel, ask for J. H. Hutchinson? 

This young man was Mr. George H. Burns, an 
attache of the American Telegraph Company and 
confidential agent of E. S. Sandford, Esq., who acted 
as my messenger, and who afterwards distinguished 
himself for his courage and daring in the rebellion. 
It is needless to add that J. H. Hutchinson was the 
name I had assumed in registering at the hotel, in 
order to avoid any suspicion or curiosity in case any 
emissary of the conspirators should ascertain my real 
name and thus be warned of the discovery of their 

Shortly after the arrival of Mr. Lincoln at the 
Continental, Mr. Judd was announced at the St. Louis 
Hotel as desiring to see me. Mr. Felton was with me 
at the time, and in a few miuutes Mr. Judd made his 
appearance. More than an hour was occupied in 
going over the proofs which I produced of the exist 
ence of the conspiracy, at the end of which time Mr. 
Judd expressed himself fully convinced that the plot 
was a reality, and that prompt measures were required 
to secure the safety of the President. 

" My advice is," said I, after I had succeeded in 
convincing Mr. Judd that my information was reliable 


that Mr. Lincoln shall proceed to Washington this 
evening by the eleven o clock train, and then once 
safe at the capital, General Scott and his soldiery will 
afford him ample protection." 

" I fear very much that Mr. Lincoln will not 
accede to this," replied Mr. Judd ; "but as the Presi 
dent is a:j old acquaintance and friend of yours and 
has had occasion before this to test your reliability 
and prudence, suppose you accompany me to the 
Continental Hotel, and we can then lay this informa 
tion before him in person and abide by his decision." 

This idea was at once adopted and we proceeded 
to the hotel. Here we found the entrances blocked up 
by a surging multitude which effectually prevented 
our admission, and we were obliged to enter by the 
rear of the building through a door used by the 

On reaching the room occupied by Mr. Judd 
that gentleman summoned Mr. Nicolay, the Presi 
dent s private secretary, and dispatched him with a 
note requesting the presence of Mr. Lincoln upon a 
matter of urgent importance. 

The President at that time was in one of the large 
parlors surrounded by a number of ladies and gentle 
men, all eager to extend to him the hospitalities of 
the city and to express their good wishes for the 
success of his administration. Upon receiving the 
message, however, he at once excused himself, and 
forcing his way through the crowd came directly to us. 


Up to this time Mr. Lincoln had been kept io 
entire ignorance of any threatened danger, and as he 
listened to the facts that were now presented to him, 
a shade of sadness fell upon his face. He seemed 
loth to credit the statement, and could scarce believe 
it possible that such a conspiracy could exist. Slowly 
he went over the points presented, questioning me 
minutely the while, but at length finding it impossible 
to discredit the truthfulness of what I stated to him. 
he yielded a reluctant credence to the facts. 

After he had been fully made acquainted with the 
startling disclosures, Mr. Judd submitted to him the 
plan proposed by me, that he should leave Philadelphia 
for Washington that evening. 

"But," added Mr. Judd, "the proofs that have 
just been laid before you cannot be published, as It 
will involve the lives of several devoted men now on 
Mr. Pinkerton s force, especially that of Timothy 
Webster, who is now serving in a rebel cavalry 
company under drill at Perrymansville in Mary 

Mr. Lincoln at once acknowledged the correctness 
of this view, but appeared at a loss as to what course 
to pursue. 

"You will therefore perceive" continued Mr. 
Judd "that if you follow the course suggested that 
of proceeding to Washington to-night you w ll nec 
essarily be subjected to the scoffs and sneers of you? 
enemies, and the disapproval of your friends who can- 


not be made to believe in the existence of so despe 
rate a plot." 

" I fully appreciate these suggestions," replied 
Mr, Lincoln, " and I can stand anything that is neces 
sary, but," he added rising to his feet, " I cannot go 
to-night. I have promised to raise the flag over 
Independence Hall to-morrow morning, and to visit 
the legislature at Harrisburg in the afternoon be 
yond that I have no engagements. Any plan that 
may be adopted that will enable me to fulfill these 
promises I will accede to, and you can inform me 
what is concluded upon to-morrow." 

Saying which Mr. Lincoln left the room and 
joined the people in the parlor. During the entire 
interview, he had not evinced the slightest evidence 
of agitation or fear. Calm and self-possessed, his 
only sentiments appeared to be those of profound re 
gret, that the Southern sympathizers could be so far 
led away by the excitement of the hour, as to con 
sider his death a necessity for the furtherance of their 

From his manner, it was deemed useless to 
attempt to induce him to alter his mind, and after a 
few minutes further conversation, which was partici 
pated in by Mr. Sandford, who had entered the room, 
I left for the purpose of finding Thomas A. Scott, 
Esq., the Vice-President of the Pennsylvania Central 
Railroad, in order to make arrangements for the 
carrying out of a plan which had occurred to me, and 


which would enable Mr. Lincoln to fulfill his engage 

I was unable, however, to find Mr. Scott, b-. t suc 
ceeded in reaching Mr. G. C. Franciscus, the general 
manager of the road, and at twelve o clock that riight, 
in company with that gentleman and Mr. Sai: .i crd, 
we called again upon Mr. Judd. 

At this meeting a full discussion of the entire 
matter was had between us, and after all possible 
contingencies had been considered, the following 
programme was agreed upon. 

After the formal reception at Harrisburg had 
taken place, a special train, consisting of a bag 
gage-car and one passenger-coach, should leave 
there at six o clock P. M. to carry Mr. Lincoln 
and one companion back to Philadelphia ; this train 
was to be under the immediate control of Mr. Fran 
ciscus and Mr. Enoch Lewis, the general superin 
tendent. In order to avoid the possibility of acci 
dent, the track was to be cleared of everything be 
tween Harrisburg and Philadelphia from half-past 
five o clock until after the passage of the special 
train. Mr. Felton was to detain the eleven o clock 
p. M. Baltimore train until the arrival of the spe 
cial train from Harrisburg, Mrs. Warne in the mean 
time engaging berths in the sleeping-car bound for 

I was to remain in Philadelphia in order that 
no accident might occur in conveying the President 



from one depot to another, and Mr. Judd was to 
manage the affair at Harrisburg. Everything that 
could be suggested in relation to this matter was 
fully considered, and having at length perfected 
our plans, the party separated at half-past four o clock 
in the morning, fully prepared to carry out the pro 
gramme agreed upon. 

At six o clock on the morning of the 22d, a 
vast concourse of people assembled in front of 
Independence Hall on Chestnut street, and at pre 
cisely the hour appointed, Mr. Lincoln made his 
appearance. With his own hands he drew to the 
top of the staff surmounting the edifice a beauti 
ful new American flag, and as its Stripes and Stars 
floated out gracefully to the breeze, the air was rent 
with the shouts of the multitude and the music of 
the band. 

Mr. Lincoln s speech upon this occasion was 
the most impressive and characteristic of any which 
he had delivered upon his journey to the capital, 
while a tinge of sadness pervaded his remarks, 
never noticed before, and which were occasioned 
no doubt by the revelations of the preceding night. 
He gave a most eloquent expression to the emo 
tions and associations which were suggested by the 
day and by the historic old hall where he then stood 
He declared that all his political sentiments were 
drawn from the inspired utterances of those who 
had sat >within the walls of that ancient edifice. 


He alluded most feelingly to the dangers and toils 
and sufferings of those who had adopted and made 
good the Declaration of Independence a declara 
tion which gave promise that in due time the 
weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all 
men." Conscious of the dangers that threatened his 
country, and feeling also that those dangers originated 
in opposition to the principles enunciated in the 
Declaration of Independence, knowing that his own 
life was even then threatened because of his devotion 
to liberty, and that his way to the national cap 
ital was beset by assassins, he did not hesitate to 
declare boldly and fearlessly "that he would rather 
be assassinated on the spot than surrender those 
principles " so dear to him. 

After these proceedings, Mr. Lincoln was driven 
back to the Continental Hotel, and sending for Mr. 
Judd, he introduced him to Mr. Frederick H. Seward, 
a son of the late William H. Seward, who was in the 
room with the President. Mr. Lincoln then informed 
Mr. Judd that Mr. Seward had been sent from Wash 
ington by his father and General Scott to warn him 
of the danger of passing through Baltimore, and to 
urge him to come direct to Washington. 

From whom this information was originally 
obtained did not appear, but the facts were deemed 
of sufficient moment to be brought to the ears of the 
President, and hence Mr. Seward s visit to Philadel 
phia. Mr. Lincoln evinced no further hesitancy in 


the matter, and signified his readiness to do whatever 
was required of him. Mr. Judd then directed Mr, 
Seward to inform his father that all had been 
arranged, and that, so far as human foresight could 
predict, Mr. Lincoln would be in Washington before 
the evening of the following day, and cautioned him 
to preserve the utmost secrecy in regard to the matter. 
No particulars were given and none were asked. 

At the time appointed Mr. Lincoln started for 
Harrisburg, and I busied myself with the preparations 
that were necessary to successfully carry our plans 
into operation. From reports which I received 
from Baltimore, the excitement in that city had grown 
more intense, and the arrival of the President was 
awaited with the most feverish impatience. The 
common and accepted belief was that Mr. Lincoln 
would journey from Harrisburg to Baltimore over the 
Northern Central Railroad, and the plans of the con 
spirators were arranged accordingly. 

It became a matter of the utmost importance, 
therefore, that no intimation of our movements should 
reach that city. I had no doubt but that trusty 
agents of the conspirators were following the presi 
dential party, and after the absence of Mr. Lincoln 
had been discovered, the telegraph would be put into 
active operation to apprise the movers of this scheme 
of the change that had been made. To effectually 
prevent this I determined that the telegraph wires 
which connected Harrisburg with her neighboring 


cities should be so " fixed " as to render communica 
tion impossible. 

To arrange this matter Capt. Burns was sent to 
the office of the American Telegraph Company, and 
obtaining from Mr. H. K. Thayer, the manager of 
the company, a competent and trustworthy man for 
the purpose, departed for Harrisburg, in order to 
carry out the proposed measures. Mr. Thayer, in the 
meantime, was to remain in the office during the 
night, in order to intercept any dispatches that might 
be sent over the wires from any point between 
Harrisburg and Baltimore, and to immediately deliver 
any messages that might be sent to me. 

Mr. W. P. Westervelt, the superintendent, and 
Mr. Andrew Wynne, the line-man of the telegraph 
company, were delegated to Harrisburg to " fix" the 
wires leading from that place in such a manner as to 
prevent any communication from passing over them, 
and to report to Capt. Burns upon their arrival. 

After the train containing Mr. Lincoln and his 
party had left Philadelphia, Mr. Judd sought the first 
favorable opportunity of conversing with Mr. Lincoln 
alone, and fully detailed to him the plan that had 
been agreed upon, all of which met with the hearty 
approval of the President, who signified a cheerful wil 
lingness to adapt himself to the novel circumstances. 

It was evident, from the manner of several of the 
gentlemen of the party, that they suspected some 
thing was transpiring of which they had not been ad 


vised, but they all very judiciously refrained from ask 
ing any questions. Mr. Judd, however, who felt the 
responsibility of his position, finally suggested to Mr. 
Lincoln the propriety and advisability of informing 
them of what had taken place, and of consulting with 
them upon the proper carrying out of the contem 
plated journey. To this Mr. Lincoln yielded a ready 
assent, adding, with an amused smile : 

" I suppose they will laugh at us, Judd, but I 
think you had better get them together." 

It was therefore arranged that after the reception 
at the State House had taken place, and before they 
sat down to dinner, the matter should be fully laid 
before the following gentlemen of the party : Judge 
David Davis, Col. Sumner, Major David Hunter, 
Capt. John Pope and Ward H. Lamon, Esq. 

Mr. Lincoln arrived at Harrisburg at noon, and 
was introduced to the people from the balcony of the 
Jones House, where an address was delivered by Gov. 
Andrew G. Curtin, whose fame became widespread 
during the dark days of the rebellion that followed, 
as the " War Governor of Pennsylvania." From the 
hotel the party proceeded to the House of Repre 
sentatives, where he was welcomed by the Speaker, to 
which he replied in a few well-chosen words. 

After a short time spent in congratulations and 
hand-shaking they returned to the hotel, and the gen 
tlemen who have been previously named were invited 
(in company with the Governor) to confer with the 


President in the parlor. At this meeting the if. forma- 
tion of the discovery of the plot to assassinate the Presi 
dent was laid before them, and also the details of the 
proposed journey to Washington. After the matter 
had been fully explained, a great diversity of opinion 
manifested itself among the gentlemen present, and 
some warm discussion was indulged in. Finally, Judge 
Davis, who had expressed no opinion upon the subject 
as yet, addressed the President, saying : 

"Well, Mr. Lincoln, what is your own judgment 
upon this matter?" 

" I have thought over this matter considerably 
since I went over the ground with Mr. Pinkerton last 
night," answered Mr. Lincoln, "and the appearance of 
Mr. Frederick Seward, with warning from another 
source, confirms my belief in Mr. Pinkerton s state 
ment ; therefore, unless there are some other reasons 
than a fear of ridicule, I am disposed to carry out 
Mr. Judd s plan." 

Judge Davis turned to the others, and said : 

"That settles the matter, gentlemen." 

" So be it," exclaimed Col. Sumner. " It is 
against my judgment, but I have undertaken to go to 
Washington with Mr. Lincoln, and I shall do it." 

Mr. Judd endeavored in vain to convince the gal 
lant old soldier that every additional person only 
added to the risk, but the fiery spirit of the veteran 
was aroused and debate was useless. 

Having arranged the matter thus satisfactorily 


the party, at about four o clock in the afternoon, re 
paired to the dining-room for dinner. 

All the preliminaries had now been successfully 
arranged. The special train, ostensibly to take the 
officers of the railroad company back to Philadelphia, 
was waiting upon a side track just outside of the 
town. The telegraph operators had performed their 
work admirably. Walking out of the city nearly two 
miles, Mr. Wynne climbed the poles and placing fine 
copper ground wires upon the regular lines, the city 
was soon entirely isolated from her neighbors. No 
message could possibly be sent from Harrisburg, and 
the capital of Pennsylvania was cut off temporarily 
from the rest of the world. 

The preparations in Philadelphia had also been 
fully made. Mrs. Warne had succeeded in engaging 
the rear half of a sleeping-car for the accommodation 
of her invalid brother, and that portion of the car was 
to be entirely separated from the rest by a curtain, sc 
arranged that no one in the forward part of the car 
would be aware of the occupants of the same coach. 

In order to detain the Baltimore train until the 
arrival of Mr. Lincoln, the conductor was directed 
not to start his train until he received personal in 
structions to that effect from Mr. H. F. Kinney, the 
superintendent, who would hand him an important 
parcel, which President Felton desired should be de 
livered early on the following morning to Mr. E. J. 
Allen at Willard s Hotel, in Washington. (E. J. 


Allen was the nom-de-plume I generally used when 
on detective operations.) 

At a quarter to six o clock everything was in read 
iness. A carriage was in waiting at the side entrance 
of the hotel, and the entire party were still at the 
table. A message was delivered to the President by 
Mr. Nicolay, and upon receiving it, he immediately 
arose, and, accompanied by Mr. Curtin, Mr. Lamon 
and Mr. Judd, he left the dining-room. Mr. Lincoln 
exchanged his dinner dress for a traveling suit, and 
soon returned with a shawl upon his arm and a soft 
felt hat protruding from his coat pocket. 

The halls, stairways and pavement were filled with 
a mass of people, who, seeing the President in com 
pany with the Governor, at once imagined that they 
were going to the executive mansion, where a recep 
tion was to be held in the evening. 

Mr. Judd whispered to Mr. Lamon to proceed in 
advance, adding : 

" As soon as Mr. Lincoln is in the carriage, drive 

As the party, consisting of Mr. Lincoln, Governor 
Curtin, and Mr. Lamon, entered the carriage, Col. 
Sumner attempted to follow them, but Mr. Judd 
gently put his hand upon the old gentleman s shoul 
der, and as he turned quickly around to inquire what 
was wanted, the carriage was driven rapidly away. 

Thus far everything had passed off admirably, and 
in a short time Mr. Lincoln was upon the special 


train, accompanied only by Mr. Lamon and the rail 
road officials, and speeding along toward Philadel 

Without accident the party arrived at the Quaker 
City shortly after ten o clock, where I was waiting 
with a carriage, in company with Mr. Kinney. With 
out a word Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Lamon and myself 
entered the vehicle, while Mr. Kinney seated himself 
alongside of the driver, and we proceeded directly to 
the depot of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Balti 
more Railroad. 

Driving up to the sidewalk on Carpenter street, 
and in the shadow of a tall fence, the carriage was 
stopped and the party alighted. As we approached 
the train, Mrs. Warne came forward, and, familiarly 
greeting the President as her brother, we entered the 
sleeping-car by the rear door without unnecessary 
delay, and without any one being aware of the distin 
guished passenger who had arrived. 

A carefully inclosed package, which resembled a 
formidable official document, but which contained 
only some neatly folded daily papers, was placed in 
the hands of the unsuspecting conductor the whistle 
sounded, and soon the train was in motion, whirling 
on towards the capital of the nation. 

So carefully had all our movements been conducted, 
that no one in Philadelphia saw Mr. Lincoln enter 
the car, and no one on the train, except his own im 
mediate party not even the conductor, knew of his 


presence, and the President, feeling fatigued from the 
labors and the journeys of the day, at once retired to 
his berth. 

In order to prevent the possibility of accident, I had 
arranged with my men a series of signals along the 
road. It was barely possible that the work of 
destroying the railroad might be attempted by some 
reckless individuals, or that a suspicion of our move 
ments might be entertained by the conspirators, and 
therefore, the utmost caution must be observed. 

As the train approached Havre de Grace, I went 
to the rear platform of the car, and as the train 
passed on a bright light flashed suddenly upon my 
gaze and was as quickly extinguished, and then I 
knew that thus far all was well. 

From this point all the way to Baltimore, at every 
bridge-crossing these lights flashed, and their rays 
carried the comforting assurance " All s Well !" 

We reached Baltimore at about half-past three 
o clock in the morning, and as the train rumbled into 
the depot an officer of the road entered the car and 
whispered in my ear the welcome words " All s Well !" 

The city was in profound repose as we passed 
through. Darkness and silence reigned over all. 
Perhaps, at this moment, however, the reckless con 
spirators were astir perfecting their plans for a tragedy 
as infamous as any which has ever disgraced a free 
country perhaps even now the holders of the red 
ballots were nerving themselves for their part in the 


dreadful work, or were tossing restlessly upon sleep 
less couches. 

Be that as it may, our presence in Baltimore was 
entirely unsuspected, and as the sleeping-car in which 
we were, was drawn by horses through the streets 
from the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore 
depot, until we reached the Washington station, no 
sign of life was apparent in the great slumbering city. 
At the depot, however, a number of people were 
gathered, awaiting the arrival and departure of the 
various trains, and here the usual bustle and activity 
were manifested. 

We were compelled to remain here fully two 
hours, owing to the detention of the train from the 
West, and during that time, Mr. Lincoln remained 
quietly in his berth, joking with rare good humor with 
those around him. 

Ever and anon some snatches of rebel harmony 
would reach our ears, as they were rather discordantly 
sung by the waiting passengers in and around the 
depot. " My Maryland " and " Dixie " appeared to 
be the favorites, and once, after an intoxicated indi 
vidual had roared through one stanza of the latter 
song, Mr. Lincoln turned quietly and rather sadly to 
me and said : 

" No doubt there will be a great time in Dixie by 
and by." 

How prophetic his words were, the succeeding 
years too fully proved. 


At length the train arrived and we proceeded on 
our way, arriving in Washington about six o clock in 
the morning. Mr. Lincoln wrapped his traveling 
sha\\l about his shoulders, and in company with Mr. 
Lamon, started to leave the car. I followed close 
behind, and on the platform found two of my men 
awaiting our arrival. A great many people were gath 
ered about the depot, but Mr/ Lincoln entirely 
escaped recognition, until as we were about leaving 
the depot, Mr. Washburne, of Illinois, came up and 
cordially shook him by the hand. 

The surprise of this gentleman was unbounded, 
and many of those standing around, observing his 
movements, and the tall form of Mr. Lincoln exciting 
curiosity, I feared that danger might result in case he 
was recognized at this time. I accordingly went up 
to them hurriedly, and pressing between them whis 
pered rather loudly : 
" No talking here !" 

Mr. Washburne gazed inquiringly at me, and was 
about to resent my interference, when Mr. Lincoln 
interposed : 

"That is Mr. Pinkerton, and everything is all 
Thus satisfied, Mr. Washburne quickly led the 
way to a carriage in waiting outside, where we met 
Mr. Seward, who warmly greeted the President, and 
then the party were rapidly driven down Pennsyl 
vania Avenue to Willard s Hotel I following 


closely behind them with my men, in another 

On his arrival at the hotel Mr. Lincoln was 
warmly greeted by his friends, who were rejoiced at 
his safe arrival, and leaving him in the hands of those 
whose fealty was undoubted, I withdrew, and engaged 
temporary quarters at another hotel. 

Dnring the forenoon I received a note from Mr. 
Lincoln requesting an interview, and received his 
warm expressions of thankfulness for the part I had 
performed in securing his safety, after which, finding 
that my object had been fully accomplished, I took 
the train and returned to Baltimore. 

Here I found the utmost excitement prevailing. 
The news of the safe arrival of Mr. Lincoln had 
already reached there, and a general sentiment of 
rage and disappointment pervaded the entire circle 01 
conspirators and secessionists. I lost no time in 
securing an interview with Howard, and learned from 
him the particulars attendant upon the discovery that 
Mr. Lincoln had outwitted his enemies and was now 
safely quartered in Washington. Finding that their 
plans had been discovered, and fearing that the 
vengeance of the government would overtake them, 
the leading conspirators had suddenly disappeared. 
All their courage and bravado was gone, and now, 
like the miserable cowards that they were, they had 
sought safety in flight. 

A curious episode occurred at Harrisburg irnme- 


diately after the departure of Mr. Lincoln from that 
city. Two newspaper correspondents connected with 
prominent New York journals had accompanied the 
party from Springfield, and had faithfully noted the 
incidents which had occurred upon the journey. As 
soon as the train which carried Mr. Lincoln away 
from Harrisburg was on its way, a gentlemanly indi 
vidual, well-known to me, went to the room occupied 
by these journalists, and found them engaged in 
preparations to witness the further proceedings of the 
presidential party 

The visitor quickly informed the gentlemen that 
Mr. Lincoln had left the city and was now flying over 
the road in the direction of Washington, which he 
would no doubt reach in the morning. This was the 
signal for renewed activity, and both gentlemen has 
tily arose, and, grasping their hats, started for the 
door. Their visitor however, was too quick for them, 
and standing before the door with a revolver in each 
hand, he addressed them : "You cannot leave this 
room, gentlemen, without my permission !" 

" What does this mean ?" inquired one of the sur 
prised gentlemen, blinking through his spectacles. 

" It means that you cannot leave this room until 
the safety of Mr. Lincoln justifies it," calmly replied 
the other. 

" I want to telegraph to the Herald" said the 
second correspondent " what is the use of obtaining 
news if we cannot utilize it ?" 


" You cannot utilize anything at present, gentle 
men. The telegraph will not be of any service to 
you, for the wires are all down, and Harrisburg will 
be separated from the rest of the world for some 
hours yet." 

" When do you propose to let us out ?" humbly 
asked one. 

" Well, I ll tell you, gentlemen. If you will sit 
down calmly, and bide your time and mine, I will 
make matters interesting for you, by informing you 
all about this flank movement on the Baltimoreans." 

Their indignation and fright subsided at once> 
and they quietly sat down. Refreshments were sent 
for, and soon the nimble pencils of the reporters were 
rapidly jotting down as much of the information as 
was deemed advisable to be made public at that time. 
After they had heard all, they prepared their dis 
patches for New York, both correspondents writing 
long and interesting accounts of the affair. 

When daylight dawned, and the gladsome tidings 
had been received that Mr. Lincoln was safe, these 
knights of the quill were liberated, and, rushing to 
the telegraph offices, which were now in running order 
again, the news was transmitted to New York and in 
less than an hour the types were being set which 
would convey to the public the startling news of the 
discovered conspiracy, and the manner in which the 
conspirators had been outwitted. 

As the later train arrived at Baltimore, I went to 


the depot and found the remaining members of the 
President s party, who also brought Mrs. Lincoln with 

Mr. Judd was jubilant at the success of the 
adventure, but Col. Sumner had not yet recovered 
his good humor. I have no doubt, however, that 
Mr. Lincoln succeeded in placating his irascible 
friend, and I know that in the bloody scenes which 
followed Col. Sumner bore an honorable and cour 
ageous part. 

Thus ends the narration of this important episode 
in one of the most interesting epochs of the country s 
history, and a truthful record has been given. 
Exaggerated stories and unauthorized statements 
have been freely made with regard to this journey of 
Mr. Lincoln. The caricaturist has attempted to 
throw ridicule upon the great man who now sleeps in 
a martyr s grave. A silly story of his being disguised 
in a Scotch cap and plaid obtained a temporary 
currency, but the fact remains that Mr. Lincoln, as a 
gentleman, and in the company of gentlemen, 
successfully passed through the camp of the con 
spirators and reached in safety the capital of the 

Now the war is ended. Peace reigns throughout 
the borders of the great Republic. And when, 
during the last dying throes of the rebellion, this 
great man was stricken down by the hand of an 
assassin, North and South alike united in lamenting 


his death, and in execrating the damnable deed and 
its reckless perpetrators. 

I had informed Mr. Lincoln in Philadelphia that 
I would answer with my life for his safe arrival in 
Washington, and I had redeemed my pledge. 



My Connection with the Rebellion. Timothy Webster Accept* 

a Mission. 

MY connection with the "Great Rebellion "of 
1 86 1 began almost from the inception of 
that gigantic struggle. , During the days that inter 
vened between the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln 
and the memorable 1 2th day of April, 1 86 1, treason 
was busy in the South, and secession resolved itself 
into an accomplished fact. Scarcely had the rever 
berating tones of the guns upon the batteries in 
Charleston Harbor died away upon the air, than I was 
called into the service of the military branch of the 
government. At that time I was engaged in the 
energetic practice of my profession as a detective, 
which, large as it was, and constantly increasing, 
required a personal supervision, which absorbed my 
undivided attention. When, however, it became 
evident that a conflict was unavoidable, I soon found 
my services were needed, and putting aside all con 
siderations of a private or business nature, I yielded 
a ready and cheerful response to the call, and during 
my connection with what was afterwards known as 


the secret service of the government, I rendered every 
assistance that lay in my power to further the cause 
of union, and to serve the country of my adoption. 

The month of April, 1861, was an important one 
in the history of the country. Whatever fears and 
apprehensions had filled the minds of the Northern 
people as to the solution of the great political ques 
tions then pending, a resort to arms had, until that 
time, been regarded as not likely to occur. A peo 
ple who had been reared amid the blessings of a long 
and undisturbed peace, and whose lives, under this 
benign influence, had been prosperous and happy, they 
were almost entirely unprepared for a serious contest 
or a warlike struggle. Many times before the politi 
cal horizon had grown dark and threatening, but the 
storm had subsided almost instantly, under that wise 
yielding of obedience to law and to the will of ma 
jorities, which it was hoped would now exercise its 
power for the preservation and continuance of amity. 

When, therefore, on the i2th of April, the attack 
upon Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor was made, 
the Northern people were almost startled by sur 
prise. Though entirely unprepared for such an 
event, it was clearly demonstrated to all that war 
could now no longer be honorably avoided. It 
was now too late to inquire into original causes of 
the contest ; it remained only for the loyal heart 
to resent the insult to a nation s flag, and to sus 
tain the government in upholding its constitution 


and in enforcing its laws. This act fired the pa 
triotic heart and solidified the patriotic ranks, and, 
with the crumbling of the walls upon Fort Sum- 
ter, were shattered all the hopes previously enter 
tained of a peaceful solution of the problems which 
were then before the country. I have very little 
doubt that the assault upon Fort Sumter was ordered 
by the rebel government, under the fallacious hope 
and groundless belief that it would not provoke 
immediate or wide-spread civil war. The Southern 
leaders were well aware of the fact that the frontier 
could not be entirely stripped of regulars, and as 
suming, or pretending to, that the existing laws 
contained no provision authorizing a call of the 
militia, they inferred that it would be difficult for 
the new administration to obtain at once legislation 
of a coercive character. Then, too, they relied, in 
a great measure, upon a friendly feeling toward the 
South from their late political associates in the 
North ; but in this their reckoning was at fault, 
and the roar of Beauregard s guns in Charleston 
Harbor cleared up the political horizon as if by 

There could no longer be any doubt as to the 
position and intentions of the Confederates. Seven 
disloyal States, with all their machinery of a separate 
government, stood behind those batteries, and the 
cool deliberation of the assault gave evidence of 
plan, of purpose and of confidence. What had been 


believed to be a mere conspiracy for the gaining oi 
certain political ends, now gave way to a revolution, 
which menaced the perpetuity of the government 
and which required the armed force of the govern 
ment to combat and subdue. 

The news of the assault upon Sumter reached 
Washington on Saturday, the I3th day of April, 
and on the following day, Sunday though it was, 
President Lincoln assembled his Cabinet to discuss 
the duty of the hour, and on Monday morning a proc 
lamation was issued, calling forth an army of seventy- 
five thousand men, for objects entirely lawful and 

The effect of this proclamation upon the people 
of the North was almost electrical, and the heart of the 
whole nation throbbed with its patriotic emotions as 
that of a single individual. The general sentiment 
appeared to be in entire accord with the utterance 
of Stephen A. Douglas, a live-long Democrat, that 
" every man must be for the United States, or against 
it ; there can be no neutrals in this war only patriots 
and traitors." More than double the number of men 
that were required tendered their services, and before 
the lapse of forty-eight hours armed companies and 
regiments of volunteers were in motion toward the 
expected border of conflict. Nor was there exhibited 
that division of Northern sentiment that had been so 
boastfully predicted by the Southern leaders, and all 
men, of every belief, Democrats and Republicans. 


Conservatives and Radicals, natives and foreigners, 
from Maine to Oregon, responded to the call, and 
came to the defense of the constitution, the govern 
ment and the Union. 

At this time the position of Maryland was rather 
a precarious one. There could be no doubt that the 
Unionists were greatly in the majority, but it was 
also true that there was a large and influential mi 
nority of her people in favor of secession. Here, as 
elsewhere, conspiracy had been at work for months, 
and many of the prominent political leaders were in 
full accord with the rebel government. The legis 
lature was believed to be unreliable, and treason had 
obtained so firm a foothold in the populous city of 
Baltimore, that a secret recruiting office was sending 
enlisted men to Charleston. The venomous germ of 
treason, once planted, grew in magnitude and viru 
lence, until it finally culminated in the infamous riot 
of April i Qth, when the blood of the citizen soldiery 
of Massachusetts was first shed in defense of the 
Union. A spirit of opposition to the passage of 
Northern troops through the city, on their way to the 
seat of government, had been engendered among the 
" rough " element of Baltimore, and the excitement 
reached its climax upon the arrival of the Sixth 
Massachusetts Regiment, which was the first to 
answer the call for troops. When their presence 
oecame known the traitorous element could no longer 
be restrained, and while the men were passing quietly 


through the city, on their way from one railroad 
station to another, they were murderously attacked 
by a reckless, howling mob, which resulted in blood 
shed and carnage, and some of the most fiendish out 
rages were perpetrated that ever blackened a page of 
American history. 

The crowning act of disloyalty, and one which 
threatened the most serious consequences to the 
government, was committed about midnight of the 
same day. A secret order was issued by the mayor 
and police officers to burn the nearest bridges on the 
railroads leading into Baltimore from the free States, 
and parties, under the command of the police authori 
ties were dispatched to execute the order. 

Before daylight the following morning, the 
bridges at Melvale, Relay House and Cockeysville, 
on the Harrisburg road and over the Bush and Gun 
powder rivers and Harris Creek, were completely de 
stroyed by fire, thus effectually severing railroad com 
munication with the North. The telegraph wires 
leading to and from the capital were also cut, com 
pletely shutting off Washington, and the government 
from the loyal Northern States. These acts, com- 
mited by the orders of the very men who that morn 
ing had risked their lives in defending the soldiers of 
the Union, are sufficient to show the rapid and over 
mastering influence of revolutionary madness. 

Of course, the news of these outrages spread far 
and wide over the country, and while they aroused 


universal indignation, they nevertheless were the 
occasion of grave fears for the safety of the capi 

It was on the 2ist of April, two days after 
the occurrence of these events that my services were 
required. Several gentlemen of prominence in Chi 
cago, intimate friends of President Lincoln, and men 
of influence and intelligence in the State, desired to 
communicate with the President upon questions con 
nected with the existing condition of affairs, and ap 
plied to me for the purpose of having letters and dis 
patches conveyed directly to Washington by the 
hands of a trusty messenger. 

I at once accepted the duty, and selected a man 
for its performance. Experience proved that I was 
not mistaken in my selection, and as the messenger 
chosen for this duty is to bear an important part in 
the event, which 1 am about to relate, a description of 
him will at once acquaint the reader with his personal 

He was a tall, broad-shouldered, good-looking man 
of about forty years of age. I n height he was about 
five feet ten inches ; his brown hair, which was 
brushed carelessly back from a broad, high forehead, 
surmounted a face of a character to at once attract 

There was such a decided mixture of sternness 
and amiability, of innate force and gentle feelings, of 
frankness and resolution stamped upon his features, 


that he instinctively impressed the beholder at a 

The deep gray eyes could twinkle and sparkle 
with good humor, or they would grow dark and 
menacing, and seem to flash under the influence of 
anger. The mouth, almost concealed by the heavy 
brown mustaches which he wore, and the square, 
firm chin evinced a firmness that was unmistakable. 
His nose, large and well-formed, and the prominent 
cheek bones all seemed in perfect harmony with the 
bold spirit which leaped from the eyes, and the 
strong will that lurked about the set lips. In figure, 
he was rather stout, but his shoulders were so broad, 
his feet and hands so shapely, and the lithe limbs so 
well formed, that he did not appear of as full habit 
as he really was. A casual observer on meeting this 
man would almost immediately and insensibly be 
impressed with the conviction that he was a man 
who could be trusted ; that any duty devolving upon 
him would be sacredly kept ; and as he stood before 
me on this sunny afternoon in April, I felt that I 
could implicitly rely upon him in any emergency in 
which he might be placed, and to perform any service 
for which he might be selected. 

This man was Timothy Webster, a faithful officer, 
a true friend, and an ardent patriot. 

I had known this man for years. He had been 
in my employ for a long time, and had been engaged 
upon operations of a varied and diverse nature, con- 


sequently I knew precisely what his capabilities were, 
and how entirely he could be trusted. Though not 
a man of great enlightenment, he was gifted with a 
large amount of natural shrewdness, which enabled 
him to successfully meet any emergency which might 
arise. From his association with people in the vari 
ous walks of life, he had acquired that habit of easy 
adaptation which made him appear, and feel, perfectly 
at home in almost any society, whether in the draw 
ing-room or the tavern, in the marts of trade, or la 
boring at the plow. 

From my knowledge of Timothy Webster, and 
my confidence in his wisdom and reliability, I had 
chosen him to be the bearer of the dispatches to Mr. 
Lincoln. I therefore called him into my office and 
explained to him the nature of the duties he was to 
perform, the possible dangers he would encounter, 
and the importance of the trust that was to be re 
posed in him, and when I had concluded, I asked : 

"Timothy, knowing what you do of the task 
before you, will you undertake its performance ?" 

" I understand all perfectly," he replied, drawing 
himself up to his full height, while his eyes flashed 
with a patriotic fire, " I know that my country de 
mands my services, and that, if it shall cost me my 
life, I am ready to perform my full duty." 

The preparations for his departure did not occupy 
a very long time ; the services of Miss Kate Warne, 
my female superintendent, were requested, and in 


a few minutes the important dispatches, some 
twelve in number, were securely sewed between the 
linings of his coat collar, and in the body of his waist 
coat, and Timothy Webster was on his way to the 
capital of the country. 



WebsUr m his Way to the Capital. Wrecked Trains and 
Broken Bridges. An Adventure with a Cavalryman. 
Rebel Emissary. President Lincoln and Timothy Webster* 

EVERYWHERE along the route the greatest 
excitement prevailed, and the people were 
in a state; of wildest commotion. A rumor had 
spread throughout the country that the govern 
ment, indignant at the riotous conduct of the 
BaltimoreaKS, had ordered the guns of Fort Mc- 
Henry to rue upon the city, that the bombardment 
was now going on, and that half the town was 
reduced to ashes. This rumor was false, as Web 
ster learned on arriving in Philadelphia, although 
even in the staid old Quaker City there was 
manifest a degree of excitement scarcely to be 
expected in a community so sedate and easy- 
going as Philadelphians usually are. 

Leaving the train at Philadelphia, Webster made 
his way through the crowded streets to the center 
of the city. He deemed it best to take counsel 
with some of the railroad and express officials, with 
whom he was very well acquainted, by reason of his 
connection with the discovery of the conspiracy to 


assassinate President Lincoln in Baltimore in the 
month of February immediately preceding. 

At that time Webster had been enrolled as a mem 
ber of a volunteer company of cavalry at Perrymans- 
ville, in Maryland, and, gaining the confidence of his 
officers, had assisted in discovering the plans of the 
conspirators, and partly through his efforts, I had 
been successful in frustrating their murderous de 
signs. This operation had brought him in close 
association with several gentlemen who were con 
nected with the railroad and express companies, 
whose travel lay between Philadelphia and the 
now riotous and isolated city of Baltimore. As he 
was walking leisurely down Chestnut street he was 
accosted by Mr. Dunn, a gentleman who was con 
nected with a leading express company in the city, and 
who was now upon his return from a visit to the Phila 
delphia, Wilmington and Baltimore depot. After an 
interchange of salutations, Webster inquired of Mr. 
Dunn the condition of affairs in and around Baltimore. 

" Very bad, indeed," replied that gentleman ; " the 
bridges are all down, and the tracks have been 
torn up all along the road from Peirysville to 
Baltimore. The telegraph-wires have been cut, and 
no communications have been received from Balti 
more or Washington except through couriers. The 
roads are guarded with soldiery, whose sympathies 
are with the rebellion, and it is almost impossible 
for any one who cannot identify himself as a South- 


ern man to pass the guards who are stationed 
along the highways." 

" It does not look very favorable for my reaching 
Washington to-morrow, then ?" said Webster, inquir 

" No, sir. I am afraid that you will find it difficult, if 
not dangerous, to attempt such a journey, particularly 
by the way of Baltimore ; and perhaps you had better 
delay your departure until it can be more safely ac 
complished," said Mr. Dunn. 

" It may be as you say," replied Webster, "but I 
left Chicago for Washington, and my line of travel 
was laid out through Baltimore. I will obey my 
orders to the letter, and I will arrive in Washington 
to-morrow night, or lose my life in attempting it !" 

" I see that you are determined to go," said Mr. 
Dunn, u and further argument would be of no avail ; 
but I assure you, that you cannot travel further by 
rail than Perrysville ; you may succeed in getting 
across the river to Havre de Grace, but after that you 
will have to rely entirely upon yourself."- 

" Never fear for me," replied Webster, with a 
smile, " I will get through all right, I feel confident 
I will have but little time now to catch the train, Mr. 
Dunn, and if you will be kind enough to telegraph to 
Mr. Pinkerton according to my directions, I will es 
teem it a great favor." 

" Certainly, Webster ; anything I can do for you, 
or Mr. Pinkerton, will be done cheerfully " 


Writing out a message, informing me of his arrival 
in Philadelphia, and of his intentions, he requested 
Mr. Dunn to forward the same, and then, bidding that 
gentleman good-bye, he made his way to the Balti 
more depot, and was soon on the road to that city. 

As the train went speeding along upon its jour 
ney, Webster had ample time for the consideration of 
his plans. He was pretty well acquainted with the 
country between Havre de Grace and Baltimore, and 
had no fear of losing his way, even if the journey 
must be made by foot. He was impressed, however, 
with the necessity of using the utmost caution. While 
he did not fear for his own personal safety for fear 
was an element entirely unknown to him he realized 
the importance of his mission too well to rashly im 
peril its success by any useless exposure, or unneces 
sary risk. To. reach Washington, however, he was 
determined, and to accomplish that object no danger 
would be too great, no hardship too severe. He 
nevertheless felt that he must rely solely upon him 
self, that he would have no one to advise him, and 
his own discretion and wisdom would have to be 
depended upon under all circumstances. Arriving at 
the Perrysville station, he found that the train could go 
no further, and that, to reach Havre de Grace, upon the 
opposite side of the Susquehanna River, the passen 
gers would be requied to take small boats and be 
rowed over, after which each man must make his 
way as besfc he could. 


As the boat touched the land Webster sprang 
ashore, and, going directly to the hotel, inquired for 
the landlord. He found that gentleman engaged in 
earnest conversation with an individual who at once 
instinctively awakened the suspicions of my operative. 
This gentleman was a tall, fine-looking man, with the 
erect carriage and and self-reliant air of the soldier, 
but there was something in the nervousness of his 
manner, and in the furtive glances of his eyes, which 
convinced Webster that he was concealing something 
and would bear watching. 

Approaching the spot where the two men were 
conversing, Webster at once addressed the landlord 
in a hearty manner. " Landlord, I must get to Balti 
more to-day. How am I going to do it ?" 

" I do not know," replied the hotel-keeper, " this 
gentleman is anxious to do the same thing, but I am 
afraid I cannot help either of you." 

The gentleman thus referred to turned to Web 
ster, saying : 

"Yes, I am very anxious to get through. I am a 
bearer of dispatches to the British Consul at Wash 
ington, and it is of the utmost importance that they 
should be delivered at once." 

While he was speaking a man drove up to the 
front of the hotel with a fine, strong team of horses 
attached to a covered road wagon, and throwing the 
reins across the back of his horses, leaped lightly to 
the ground. 


" Here is a man who can help you," said the lai d- 
lord, as the new-comer entered the room ; and then he 
called out : 

" Harris, come here !" 

The driver of the team came over to where the 
three men were standing, and the landlord at once 
made known to him the wishes of Webster and the 
messenger of the British Consul. 

" Harris, these gentlemen want to get to Balti 
more to day. Do you think you can manage it for 
them r 

The man addressed as Harris gazed at Webster 
and his companion in a scrutinizing manner, and 
finally, apparently satisfied with his investigation, 
signified his willingness to make the attempt, provided 
the price he demanded, which was fifty dollars, was 
agreed to. 

Both men assented to the payment of the sum 
named, and after dinner had been partaken of, the 
two men took their seats in the vehicle, the driver 
cracked his whip, and they were upon their way. 

" I cannot promise to take you through to Balti 
more," remarked the driver, after they had started ; 
44 1 was stopped twice on the road yesterday, and I 
may not be able to pass the guards to-day." 

" Do the best you can," said Webster, good-na 
turedly, "and we will take the risk of a safe arrival." 

Webster then turned to his companion, who had 
remained silent and watchful ever since they had set 


out, and endeavored to engage him in conversation, 
The bearer of dispatches, however, was very little in 
clined to be sociable, and Webster had great diffi 
culty in breaking through the reserve which he re 
solved to maintain. 

The further they journeyed, the more Webster 
became convinced that this man was not what he as 
sumed to be, but he vailed his- suspicions carefully, 
and appeared as frank and cordial in his manner as 
though they were brothers. 

Nothing worthy of note transpired upon the route 
until the party arrived at the outskirts of Perrymans- 
ville, which had been the scene of Webster s first ex 
perience in military service, and where, a few months 
before, he had been a member of a company of cav 
alry. They were trotting along quietly, and as the 
day was balmy and bright the ride was quite an en 
joyable one, and for a moment the detective forgot 
the grave duties which he had undertaken and the 
dangers that might surround him, and gave himself 
up to the full enjoyment of the scenes around him. 
His pleasant reflections were short-lived, however, for 
just as they were entering the town they saw a 
mounted cavalryman approaching, who, as he reached 
the carriage, commanded them to halt. 

The driver suddenly pulled up his horses, and then 
the soldier, in a tone of authority : " Who are you, 
and where are you going ?" 

" We are residents of Baltimore," answered Web- 


ster, not at all dismayed by the stern appearance and 
manner of his soldierly interlocutor, "and we are 
endeavoring to get home." 

" You will have to go with me," replied the sol 
dier, decisively, "you can t go any further without 

Here was a detention as unwelcome as it was 
unexpected, but Webster had recognized the uniform 
worn by the soldier as that of the very company of 
cavalry he had previously been a member of, and a 
duplicate of one in which he had previously arrayed 
himself. The man who had accosted him, however, 
was unknown to him, and he could, therefore, do 
nothing but submit quietly to his orders and await a 
favorable operation of circumstances. 

As Webster glanced casually at his companion, 
the British messenger, he was surprised at the change 
which was apparent in the expression of his features. 
Instead of the calm, dignified air of watchful repose 
which he had observed before, his face had grown 
pale, and there was such an unmistakable evidence 
of fear about the man, that Webster s suspicions were 
confirmed, and come what might he resolved to as 
certain the nature of his business before they parted 

They had traveled but a short distance under 
the escort of their guard whett they met another man 
dressed In a similar uniform, and evidently a member 
of th same company, and as Webster gazed at the 


new-comer he experienced a sensation of relief and 
joy, for in him he recognized an old companion in 

As this man approached nearer, Webster called 
out from the carriage, in a cheery voice : 

" Hello, Taylor ! how are you ?" 

Thus suddenly accosted, the soldier rode up to 
the vehicle, and after a momentary glance at the 
features of the detective, he reached forth his hand 
and cordially saluted him. 

"Why, Webster, how do you do ? The boys said 
you would not come back, now that the war had com 
menced, but I knew better, and I am glad to see 

The face of the reputed Englishman cleared in 
an instant, as he found that his companion was 
among friends, and this effect was not lost upon 
Webster, who had been furtively observing him. He 
turned his attention, however, to the soldier who 
had addressed him. 

" Oh, yes," he replied, " I have come back ; and 
my friend here and I are anxious to get to Baltimore 
as soon as possible." 

"That will be all right," said the soldier; and 
then, turning to his comrade, he said : " These men 
are all right, you will permit them to pass." 

After a few minutes spent in a pleasant conver 
sation, the soldier handed to Webster a pass which 
would prevent further interruption to their journey, 


and with a mutual pull at a flask with which Webster 
had provided himself before starting, the pairles sep 
arated, and they proceeded on their way. 

This little incident produced a marked change in 
the demeanor of Webster s companion, and on being 
informed that the soldiers were Southerners, and not 
Federals, he seemed quite relieved. 

By the time they were approaching the suburbs 
of Baltimore the stranger had grown exceedingly 
communicative, and upon Webster hinting to him 
that he also was engaged in the cause of the South, 
he without hesitation informed my operative that he 
was similarly employed, and that he was at present 
carrying dispatches to prominent Southern sympa 
thizers then residing in Washington. 

As he communicated this important item of infor 
mation Webster grasped him warmly by the hand, 
and greeted him as a fellow-patriot, after which, with 
rare good humor, they cemented their acquaintance 
and confidence with a friendly draught from the 
spirit bottle. 

Several times on their journey they were halted 
by the guards along the roads, but the talismanic pass 
obtained at Perrymansville avoided all questioning, 
and gained for the travelers a safe passage to their 
destination. Arriving safely at the outskirts of Balti 
more, the two men left the carriage, and walking a 
short distance, they entered a street car, and were 
driven to a retired hotel where Webster had fre> 


quently stopped when in the city on former occasions. 
Here they engaged quarters for the night, and 
Webster s companion had by this time formed such 
an attachment for his fellow-traveler that communi 
cating rooms were engaged, and after partaking of a 
hearty repast, the two men lighted their cigars and 
strolled out through the city. 

There were still many evidences of the riotous 
affrays which had but lately taken place. The people 
were in a feverish state of excitement, the drinking 
saloons and the corridors of the hotels were filled 
with crowds of excited men, each of whom seemed to 
vie with the other in giving loud expressions of their 
opinions, and of denouncing the attempt of the 
government to transport armed troops through the 
streets of a peaceful city. Ever mindful of the 
important duty devolving upon him, Webster wisely 
forebore to engage in any conversation with those 
whom he met, and among the number of the most 
outspoken of the Southern sympathizers were many 
whom he had previously met, and to whom he was 
known as an adherent of the South. At an early 
hour he and his newly found companion returned to 
their hotel, and shortly afterward retired for the 

Arising early on the following morning, they 
found the same difficulty was to be encountered that 
had been successfully overcome at the commencement 
of their journey. The railroads between Baltimore 


and Washington had also been torn up 5 so as to 
Bender the running of the trains an impossibility. 
This fact necessitated the procuring of a team that 
would convey them to the capital ; but this time 
Webster s acquaintance with the proprietors of the 
hotel, and several of the permanent guests of the 
house, enabled them without difficulty or delay to se 
cure a pair of horses and a road wagon, with a trusty 
driver, who guaranteed to carry them to Washington 
for the same amount which had been paid upon 
the other portion of their journey, and at an early 
hour they were upon the road to the seat of govern 

Meantime Webster had been seriously considering 
his course of action with regard to his fellow-passen 
ger. That he was an agent of the Confederacy he 
had already admitted, and that he was the bearer of 
dispatches to prominent sympathizers with the South 
who were now living in Washington, was also well 
known to the detective. How, therefore, to arrange 
his plans, so that these papers would be intercepted 
and the ambassador detained without arousing his 
suspicion ? It must be accomplished so that no delay 
should result to his own journey, as he had resolved 
that his dispatches must be delivered that day. Just 
before starting out an idea occurred to him, and re 
questing the driver to wait a few minutes, as he had 
forgotten something in his room, he re-entered the 
hotel, and going to the room they had occupied the 


evening before, he hurriedly wrote a note which he 
folded up and placed in his pocket The note was as 
follows : 


<4 My companion is an emissary of the Confederacy, 
carrying dispatches to Southern sympathizers in 
Washington. Apprehend him, but do so discreetly 
and without compromising me. T. W." 

He then descended the stairs, and entering the 
wagon, they were driven away towards Washington. 
The day was exceedingly warm, and the horses, un 
used to long journeys, early began to show signs of 
weakness, but they kept on without incident, save an 
occasional question from a passer-by as to their 
destination, and about noon arrived at a hotel known 
as the " Twelve-Mile House," so called from its being 
located at that distance from Washington. 

Here the party halted for" dinner, and while en 
gaged at their repast Webster noticed at an opposite 
table a friend of years ago, who wore the uniform of 
a Lieutenant of infantry. Fortunately, however, the 
officer did not appear to recognize him, and during 
the progress of the dinner Webster kept his face 
hidden as much as possible from his new-found friend. 
As the Lieutenant ceased eating and arose from the 
table, Webster, who also had about completed the 
bill of fare, arose, and excusing himself to the driver 
and his companion, passed out into the hallway and 


7 he officer face to face. Cordial greetings were 
interchanged, and in a few minutes Webster had de 
tailed to his friend the circumstances attending his 
meeting with the so-called British messenger, and his 
suspicions concerning them. It was not long before 
a plan had been arranged for the carrying out of the 
project of arresting the pseudo Englishman without 
occasioning the slightest suspicion to fall upon 
Timothy Webster, and shortly afterwards the Lieuten 
ant mounted his horse and rode off in the direction of 

After smoking their after-dinner cigars, Webster 
and his companion again resumed their journey. By 
this time they had become thoroughly acquainted, 
and they enlivened their drive with many a pleasing 
anecdote of experience or of invention, until they 
came in sight of Washington city. Here a difficulty 
awaited them, apparently unexpected by both travel 
ers. A Lieutenant at the head of eight men emerged 
from a house by the wayside, and in a voice of au 
thority directed the driver to stop his horses, after 
which he advanced to the vehicle and saluted the 
occupants with the utmost courtesy, saying : 

" Gentlemen, I am sorry to discommode you, but I 
have orders to intercept all persons entering the city, 
and hold them until they can satisfactorily account 
for themselves. You will be kind enough to consider 
yourselves under arrest and follow me." 

Blank astonishment was depicted on the counte- 


nances of both Webster and his companion, but realiz 
ing that to parley would be useless, the two men 
dismounted and followed the lieutenant and his men 
into the building, which proved to be a military 

Here they were separated and conducted to 
different apartments, where they were securely locked 
in, Webster s companion standing outside of the 
door of the room in which Webster was placed, and 
after witnessing the operation which confined Web 
ster a prisoner, he was conducted to the room as 
signed to him, and the key was turned upon him. 

In a few minutes afterwards Webster was quietly 
released by the Lieutenant who had effected his ar 
rest, and who was none other than the friend to whom 
he had given the information. In less than half an 
hour thereafter my detective was ascending the steps 
of the White House, inquiring for his Excellency, 
the President of the United States. 

Having also been provided with a letter to the 
President s private secretary, Mr. Nicolay, Webster 
was soon ushered into the presence of Mr. Lincoln, 
to whom he made known the nature of his business, 
and taking off his coat and vest, he removed the 
dispatches and letters, and handed them to the Pres 
ident, who had been silently watching his movements 
with a great deal of amused interest. 

"You have brought quite a mail with you, Mr. 
Webster," said the President, "more, perhaps, than 


it would be quite safe to attempt to carry another 

" Yes, sir," replied Webster. " I don t ihink I 
would like to carry so much through Baltimore an 
other time." 

The President carefully looked over the papers 
he had just received, and finding that they re 
quired more consideration than could be given to 
them at that time, he turned to Webster and said : 

" Mr. Webster, I have a Cabinet conference this 
evening, and I will not be able to give these matters 
my attention until to-morrow. Come to me at ten 
o clock and I will see you at that time." 

Again thanking the detective for the service he 
had so successfully rendered, he bade him good even 
ing, and Webster sought his hotel, thoroughly ex 
hausted with his journey, and soon after he was sound 

The next morning, on repairing to the White 
House, he was at once admitted, and the President 
greeted him with marked evidences of cordiality. 

" Mr. Webster, you have rendered the country an 
invaluable service. The bearer of dispatches who 
was arrested last evening by your efforts, proved, as 
you suspected, to be an emissary of the South, and 
the letters found upon him disclose a state of affairs 
here in Washington quite alarming. Several promi 
nent families here are discovered to be in regular 
communication with the Southern leaders, and are 



furnishing them with every item of information. 
Until this time we had only a suspicion of this, but 
suspicion has now resolved itself into a certainty, 
You have performed your duty well, and before many 
days there will be an account demanded of some of 
these people which they are far from expecting." 

" I am glad to be of any service," replied Web 
ster ; " and I have done nothing more than my 
duty. If you have any further commands for me, 
Mr. President, I am ready to obey them." 

"Very well," said the President; "take these 
telegrams, and when you have reached a point 
where communication is possible, send them to 
General McClellan, at Columbus, Ohio; they are 
important and must be sent without delay. Also 
telegraph to Mr. Pinkerton to come to Washing 
ton at once ; his services are, I think, greatly needed 
by the government at this time." 

Rolling up the papers which he received, Web 
ster placed them in the center of a hollow cane, 
which he carried ; then, replacing the handle, and 
promising to attend faithfully to the duties as 
signed him, he left the executive mansion, 


Timothy Webster in Washington. The Return to Philadel 
phia. I go to the Capital. An Important Letter. 

A^TER leaving the White House, Timothy 
Webster went immediately in quest of a con 
veyance that would enable him to reach Baltimore 
without unnecessary delay. He expected to encoun 
ter greater difficulties in obtaining what he desired 
here in Washington than he had met with in Bal 
timore, for the reason that in the capital he was a 
comparative stranger, while in the latter city he had 
numerous friends, who believed him to be in sym 
pathy with the Confederacy, and whose assistance 
he could rely upon on that account. His only hope, 
therefore, lay in his being able to find some friendly 
Baltimorean, upon whose influence he could depend 
to procure him a mode of conveyance for his re 
turn. Having arrived late on the preceding even 
ing and being terribly fatigued by the journey he 
had made, Webster had retired almost immediately 
after he reached his hotel, and consequently he 
was surprised at the busy scenes which greeted 
him now. The capital was swarming with soldiers 
and civilians. Regiments continually arriving and 



were being assigned to quarters and positions around 
the city, and the streets were filled with eager and 
excited multitudes. The position which Maryland 
had assumed was vehemently discussed everywhere, 
and the riotous conduct of the Baltimoreans was 
loudly denounced by Northern men, and secretly 
applauded by those whose sympathies were with 
the cause of the South. The prompt action of 
General Butler, with his regiment of Massachusetts 
soldiers, who followed quickly after the sixth, in go 
ing by boat directly to Annapolis, in order to reach 
Washington without hindrance or delay, and his 
patriotic and determined response to those in au 
thority, who sought to induce him to change his 
plans for reaching the capital, were everywhere 
warmly commended. There could be no doubt that 
the North was thoroughly aroused, and were dread 
fully in earnest in their determination to suppress 
a rebellion which they believed to be causeless, un 
lawful and threatening the future of a great country. 
As Webster walked along Pennsylvania Avenue, 
carefully scanning the faces of every one he met in 
the hope of discovering some one whom he knew and 
who might be of service to him, he recognized the 
driver who had brought him from Baltimore on the 
day before, and who started in astonishment at find 
ing the man whom he had last seen a prisoner in the 
hands of United States troops now walking the streets 
free and unattended. This man was accompanied by 


three others, with two of whom Webster was slightly 
acquainted, and he at once advanced toward them 
and greted them cordially. 

" Why, Webster, is that you ?" inquired the fore 
most of the party, a well-known " sympathizer " of the 
name of John Maull. " We heard you had been taken 
prisoner how did you get out so soon ?" 

" That is easily accounted for," said Webster, with 
a laugh ; " I was simply arrested on suspicion, and 
when they could find nothing about me that was at 
all suspicious, they were compelled to let me go." 

"This country is coming upon strange times," 
remarked a sallow-faced Baltimorean who boasted 
of having been one of the most prominent of the riot 
ers a few days before, " when a man can be arrested 
in this way and have no means of redress." 

"That is very true," replied Webster, "but we 
will have a decided change before long, or I am very 
much mistaken. Uncle Jeff means business, and 
there will be long faces in Washington before many 

"Give me your hand, old boy," exclaimed Maull 
heartily, " you are of the right stripe ; but don t talk so 
loud ; let us go around the corner to a quiet little 
place where we can talk without danger." 

The party repaired to a drinking saloon, in a re 
tired neighborhood, and on entering it they were 
greeted warmly by several parties who were standing 
before the bar. Webster was immediately intro- 


duced to these gentlemen, and it was not long before 
he had firmly established himself in their good opin 
ions as a devoted friend of the South. 

The conversation soon became general, and the 
most extravagant ideas were expressed with regard to 
the wonderful achievements that were expected of 
the Southern soldiers, and no doubt was entertained 
that the Yankees, as they called the Northern men, 
would be quickly vanquished by the chivalrous armies 
of the " Sunny South." 

To all of these suggestions Webster yielded a 
ready assent, and not one among the number was 
more pronounced in his belief in the needs of the 
Southern cause than was my trusty operative, who, in 
the cane he flourished so conspicuously, carried im 
portant dispatches from the President of the United 
States to a General in command of Northern sol 

All the time, however, he was growing very 
restive under the enforced delay in his journey, and 
seeking a favorable opportunity during a lull in the 
conversation, he turned to the driver of the wagon 
and inquired of him when he was going to return to 

" Not for a day or two, at least," replied the man. 

" That is very bad," said Webster. " I must get 
there this evening ; it is of the utmost importance that 
I should do so." 

At this one of the party approached Webster and 


informed him that he was going back that day and 
had engaged a conveyance for that purpose, and as 
there was room enough for two, he would be most 
happy to have his company. Webster at once 
accepted the invitation, and having thus relieved his 
anxiety upon the point of reaching Baltimore, he 
joined heartily in the conversation that was going 
on around him. No one, to have heard him, would 
doubt for a moment his loyalty to the South, or his 
firm belief in the eventual triumph of her armies. 

After remaining in the saloon for some time, 
Webster noticed that the men were becoming intoxi 
cated, and fearing that they would become noisy and 
probably get into trouble, he suggested to the gentle 
man with whom he was to drive to Baltimore the 
propriety of leaving the rest to their enjoyment while 
they arranged matters for their departure. His 
advice was at once accepted, and the two men bade 
their associates farewell and repaired to the hotel, 
where they had their dinner, and about two o clock 
they were upon their journey. Webster s fears were 
proven to be well-founded, for as they were passing 
the locality where they had spent the morning, they 
saw their former companions between a file of 
soldiers, and there was little doubt that they had 
allowed their libations to overcome their judgments, 
and that they would be allowed to recover their 
reason in a guard-house. 

The journey was made without event, the carriage 


and driver being apparently very well known along the 
route, and Webster arrived in Baltimore late that 
evening. He was desirous of pushing on without 
delay, as it was important that the dispatches which 
he carried should be forwarded at once, and he there 
fore went immediately to the hotel he had occupied 
when he first arrived in the city. Requesting the 
landlord to use his best efforts to procure him a con 
veyance to Havre de Grace, he sat down to his 
supper, and did ample justice to a plenteous repast. 
When he had finished the landlord entered the room 
and informed him that he had succeeded in providing 
a team for his service, but that grave doubts were 
entertained whether he would succeed in reaching his 
destination. Expressing his willingness to assume 
any responsibility of that" kind, Webster bade his 
entertainer good-bye, and entering the wagon, he 
started upon his midnight journey to Havre de 

Again fortune favored him, and although repeat 
edly halted, he was able to give such a straightfor 
ward account of himself that they were allowed to 
proceed, and he arrived in Havre de Grace in time 
for breakfast Crossing the river, he went directly to 
the headquarters of Colonel Dare, who was in charge 
of the Union troops at Perrysville, and requested 
that officer to forward the telegram to General 
McClellan at once. This the Colonel promised to do, 
and in a few minutes the important message was fly- 


ing over the wires to its destination at Columbus, 
Ohio, and the President s request for my appearance 
at Washington followed soon after, and was received 
by me in due time. 

Recognizing the importance of the call, I lost no 
time in answering the dispatch of Mr. Lincoln, and 
started at once on my journey to Washington, 
accompanied only by a trusty member of my force. 
Before leaving I left orders that should I fail to meet 
with Webster upon the way he should be directed 
to await my return in the city of Pittsburg. 

On my arrival at Perrysville I found that a mode 
of communication had been hurriedly established with 
Washington, by means of a boat which sailed down 
the Chesapeake Bay and landed their passengers at 
Annapolis, from which point the railroad travel to 
Washington was uninterrupted. 

Arriving at the capital I found a condition of 
affairs at once peculiar and embarrassing, and the 
city contained a strange admixture of humanity, both 
patriotic and dangerous. Here were gathered the 
rulers of the nation and those who were seeking its 
destruction. The streets were filled with soldiers, 
armed and eager for the fray ; officers and orderlies 
were seen galloping from place to place ; the tramp of 
armed men was heard on every side, and strains of 
martial music filled the air. Here, too, lurked the secret 
enemy, who was conveying beyond the lines the cov 
eted information of every movement made or contem- 


plated. Men who formerly occupied places of dignity, 
power and trust were now regarded as objects of sus 
picion, whose loyalty was impeached and whose 
actions it was necessary to watch. Aristocratic ladies, 
who had previously opened the doors of their luxuri 
ous residences to those high in office and who had 
hospitably entertained the dignitaries of the land, 
were now believed to be in sympathy with the attempt 
to overthrow the country, and engaged in clandestine 
correspondence with Southern leaders. The criminal 
classes poured in from all quarters, and almost every 
avenue of society was penetrated by these lawless 
and unscrupulous hordes. An adequate idea can be 
formed of the transformation which had been effected 
within a few short weeks in this city of national gov 

On the day following my arrival I wended my 
way to the White House and sought an interview 
with the President. Around the executive mansion 
everything was in a state of activity and bustle. 
Messengers were running frantically hither and 
thither ; officers in uniform were gathered in clusters, 
engaged in animated discussions of contemplated 
military operations ; department clerks were bustling 
about, and added to these was a crowd of visitors, 
all anxious, like myself, to obtain an interview with 
the Chief Executive. 

I was not required to wait an unusual length ol 
time, and I was soon ushered into the presence ol 


Mr. Lincoln, who greeted me cordially and intro 
duced me to the several members of the Cabinet who 
were engaged with him. I was at once informed that 
the object in sending for me was that the authorities 
had for some time entertained the idea of organizing 
a secret-service department of the government, with 
the view of ascertaining the social, political and pa 
triotic status of the numerous suspected persons in 
and around the city. As yet, no definite plans had 
been adopted, and I was requested to detail my 
views upon the subject, in order that the matter 
might be intelligently considered, and such action 
taken as would lead to definite and satisfactory re 
sults. I accordingly stated to them the ideas which 
I entertained upon the subject, as fully and concisely 
as I was able to do at the time, and, after I had 
concluded, I took my departure, with the understand 
ing that I would receive further communications from 
them in a few days. 

It was very evident to me, however, that in the 
confusion and excitement which were necessarily inci 
dent to the novel and perplexing condition of affairs 
then existing, that anything approaching to a sys 
tematized organization or operation would be for a 
time impossible. The necessity for war had come so 
suddenly upon a peaceful community that there had 
been as yet but little time for thorough prepara 
tion or system. The raising of a large army, with 
all the various contingencies of uniforming, arming 


and drilling ; the furnishing of supplies, and the as 
signing of quarters, were occupying the attention of 
the rulers of the government, and I felt confident that 
I would be required to wait a longer time than I could 
then conveniently spare from my business, ere I would 
be favored with any definite instructions from those 
in authority. This opinion was fully confirmed, after 
several unsuccessful attempts to obtain satisfying par 
ticulars from the heads of several of the departments, 
and leaving my address with the secretary of the 
President, I returned to Philadelphia. 

I had directed, prior to leaving Chicago, that all 
important communications addressed to me should be 
forwarded to that city, and on my arrival there I 
found a number of letters which required immediate 

Among the number was the following, which had 
been somewhat delayed in its transmission. 

" COLUMBUS, Oftio, 
April 24, 1 86 1. 


" Dear Sir : 

" I wish to see you with the least possible delay, to 
make arrangements with you of an important nature. 
I will be either here or in Cincinnati for the next few 
days here to-morrow Cincinnati next day. In this 
city you will find me at the Capitol, at Cincinnati at 
my residence. 

" If you telegraph me, better use your first name 


alone. Let no one know that you come to see me. 
and keep as quiet as possible. 

" Very truly yours, 


" Maj. Gen l Comd g Ohio Vols. 

This letter at once decided me. Anxious as 1 
was to serve the country in this, the hour of her need, 
I sought the first opportunity for active duty that 
presented itself, and I left Philadelphia at once, in 
order to comply with the instructions contained in 
this message of Gen. McClellan. 



An Adventure in Pittsburg. A Mob at Bay. An Explana 

tion. Good-feeling Restored. 

EVERAL influences operated in my mind to in- 
duce me to respond at once to this letter, and 
some of them of a directly personal nature. I had 
been acquainted with General McClellan for a long 
time before this, and had been intimately associated 
with him while engaged upon various important op 
erations connected with the Illinois Central and the 
Ohio and Mississippi Railroads, of the latter of which 
he was then president. From the friendship and 
esteem I entertained for him growing out of my rela 
tions with him in those matters, both as an individual 
and as an executive officer, I felt the more anxious to 
enter into his service, now that he had assumed the 
command of a military department, and was about to 
take an active part in the impending struggle. 

At Philadelphia I ascertained that Timothy Web 
ster had already departed for Pittsburg, according 
to previous instructions, and hastily telegraphing to 
the General that I would instantly respond to his 
letter in person, I took the first train leading west 
ward and was soon upon my way. 


Timothy Webster, meanwhile, had proceeded on 
his journey from Perrysville, and arrived without 
accident or adventure in Philadelphia. He immedi 
ately repaired to the office of Mr. Dunn, who informed 
him that he had just received a dispatch for him from 
Chicago. Webster hastily opened the message and 
found my directions for him to await my return at the 
city of Pittsburg. Remaining in the Quaker City 
until the following day, he took the western train and 
in due time arrived at his destination. On inquiring 
at the telegraph office in Pittsburg he received another 
message to the same effect as the first one, and he 
therefore engaged quarters at a hotel, patiently await 
ing my coming. On the second day after his arrival 
in the Smoky City, which* was Sunday, he again went 
to the telegraph office, where he received information 
that I would probably arrive there in the course of 
that day. 

Returning to the hotel, Webster entered the bar 
room, and while he was being attended to two men 
came in, apparently engaged in excited conversation. 
They advanced to the bar and requested drinks, 
The excitement in the city, attendant upon the news 
from Baltimore, had not abated in the least since 
Webster had passed through several days before, and 
these two men were discussing the action of the 
government in regard to this matter. One of them, 
an excitable, empty-headed fellow, was cursing the 
President and General Scott, in very loud tones and 


in unmeasured terms, for not burning the city of Balti 
more to ashes, and thus teaching the rebels a lesson 
they would be apt to remember. The remonstrances 
of his friend seemed only to excite him still more, 
and Webster, feeling desirous of avoiding any con 
troversy at that time, started to leave the saloon, 
when the angry disputant turned to him, and arro 
gantly demanded his opinion of the matter. 

"I think," said Webster, "that the President and 
General Scott understand their duties much better 
than I can inform them, and I suppose they do not 
wish to destroy the property of many who are true to 
the government." 

" That is all nonsense," replied the other, sharply, 
"there is not a single Union man in the whole city." 

" I think you are mistaken," said Webster, coolly. 
" I am sure there are thousands of them there." 

This answer seemed to infuriate the man, and 
striding up to Webster, he asked, with an air of im 
pertinence : 

"Are you a Southern man ?" 

"No, sir, I was born in New York," was the reply. 

" What is your name ?" impudently demanded the 

" You will find my name upon the register of the 
hotel, if you desire it, and as I do not wish to have any 
further controversy with you, I bid you good morning," 
replied Webster, still remaining cool and unruffled. 

By this time a crowd of about twenty men had 


gathered about them, and as Webster turned to 
leave the room, one of them demanded to know the 
contents of the telegram he had just received. 

This demand, added to the previous suggestion 
that Webster was a Southern man, was sufficient to 
excite the entire crowd, who had been living upon 
excitement for more than a week, and they began to 
press around him in a threatening manner, one of 
them calling out : 

"I believe he is a d d spy; let us see what he 
has got !" 

Webster broke loose from those nearest to him, 
and retreating backwards toward the door, ex 
claimed, in a determined voice : 

"Gentlemen, I am no spy, and if any of you 
attempt to trouble me further, some of you will 
assuredly get hurt !" 

At this the crowd grew boisterous and violent, 
and several called out, " Hang him !" " Hang the 
spy !" while some of them made a rush toward 
where he stood. 

Drawing his revolver, Webster faced his angry 
assailants, who drew back involuntarily when they 
saw that he was both well armed and undismayed. 

" Gentlemen, we have had enough of this non 
sense. You can talk about hanging me, and perhaps 
there are enough of you to do it, but, by God, the 
first one that attempts to put his hands upon me is a 
dead man !" 



Matters began to look serious. It seemed evi 
dent that these excited people were determined to 
resort to violence, and that there would be blood 
shed in consequence. Webster, whose relations 
with the government were of so intensely loyal a 
character, was filled with regret at having allowed 
himself to become a party to a conversation which 
would lead to such serious consequences. He was 
resolved, however, to maintain his position. To 
show signs of weakness, therefore, would be danger 
ous, if not fatal, to him, and he stood bravely in front 
of the angry mob, who had drawn back at the sight 
of the revolver which was leveled so menacingly at 

Only for a moment, however, did the crowd stand 
awed and irresolute one moment of silence, in 
which every man appeared to be deciding for him 
self his course of action. Then one tall, stalwart 
man stepped from their midst, and waving his hand 
toward his companions, he cried out : 

" Come on, he is only one against twenty, and we 
will take him dead, or alive !" 

The crowd took a few steps in advance, and Web 
ster had braced himself to receive their attack, when 
suddenly, close beside him stood a form, and a loud 
voice called out : 

" Stop, gentlemen, where you are ! This man is no 
traitor, and I will defend him with my life !" and the 
muzzles of two revolvers ranged themselves beside 



that presented by the suspected, but undismayed 

Involuntarily the crowd stood still at this unex 
pected arrival of reinforcements, and Webster, who 
had recognized the voice, looked up in surprise 
and relief at this unlooked-for, though timely, assist 

I had arrived just in the nick of time, and I was 
resolved to defend my undaunted operative to the 

At this moment the proprietor of the hotel en 
tered the saloon, and in a calm voice and quiet man 
ner attempted to subdue the angry feelings of the by 

" Gentlemen, " said he, " there need be no 
trouble about this matter; Mr. Webster can fully 
explain his position, and I think the best plan would 
be for you all to repair to the office of the mayor, 
where any explanation can be given." 

" I am perfectly willing to do that," said I ; "I 
know this man, and will answer for him under any 
circumstances ; we will accompany you to the office of 
the mayor at once, and I think I can convince him 
that he is no spy." 

This proposition was eagerly accepted by some, 
and reluctantly by others, and finally the entire party 
marched out of the hotel on their way to the office 
of the chief magistrate of the city; Webster and my 
self walking together. , 


The crowd increased as we went on, and frequent 
calls were still made to " hang the traitor," but no 
further attempts were made to molest us, and we 
reached the office without any event of a troublesome 
nature occurring. 

The noise of the crowd attracted the attention of 
the chief of police, who, during the temporary absence 
of the mayor, was in charge of affairs of this nature, 
and he came to the door to ascertain the occasion of 
the tumult. 

As the crowd, with Webster and myself in the van, 
reached the steps which led up to the municipal 
office, I at once recognized the chief of police, having 
been connected with him some time before in the 
detection of some burglars from the city of Pittsburg, 
and that officer was not slow to identify me as the 
detective, who had frequently enabled him to secure 
the desperate criminals whom the law had at various 
times pursued. 

As we reached the platform where the officer was 
standing, I stretched forth my hand, which the chief 
cordially grasped. 

" Why, Mr. Pinkerton, what are you doing here ?" 
inquired the chief, with some surprise. 

" I have come to defend one of my men, whom 
these people insist upon hanging as a rebel spy, but 
who is loyal to the core," I answered, laughingly. 

" I will take care of that," replied the chief, " and 
your word is sufficient for me," at the same time ex- 


tending his disengaged hand and warmly greeting 
Webster, who stood beside me. 

As the crowd noticed the evident acquaintance 
and good-feeling that existed between the reputed 
spy and their chief of police, they drew back instinct 
ively, while some of them looked as if they were not 
insensible to a feeling of shame. The chief realized 
the state of affairs at once, and turning to the now 
crestfallen and subdued gathering, he addressed 
them : 

" Gentlemen, I will be responsible for the loyalty 
and integrity of these gentlemen, and you will 
instantly disperse." 

The leaders of this assault on Webster looked 
terribly ashamed of themselves when they found how 
ridiculously they had been acting, and as the door of 
the chief s office closed on our retreating figures, they 
slowly and silently retired. 

In an hour afterwards, when Webster and I 
returned to the hotel, we found the gentlemen who a 
short time before were anxious to hang him, awaiting 
our arrival, and we received from them their heartfelt 
apologies for their hasty and inconsiderate conduct, 
all of which were received with a spirit of good nature 
that won the regards of all present, and when the time 
of our departure arrived, they accompanied us to the 
depot in a body, and cheered us lustily as the train 
slowly moved away. 

Thus an adventure, which promised to be very 


serious in its results, terminated in a manner satisfac 
tory to all, and Webster and myself, instead of being 
lynched by a Pittsburg mob, departed in safety on 
our journey, and arrived in Cincinnati upon the 
following day, prepared to receive from General 
McClellan such instructions as were deemed necessary 
by him for the furtherance of the cause in which he 
was engaged. 



General McClellan in Command of Ohio. / am Engaged 
for the War. The Secret Service. A Consultation. 
Webster starts for Rebeldom. 

A the outbreak of the rebellion many difficulties 
were encountered which the people and their 
leaders were ill-prepared to surmount, and many 
expedients were resorted to in order to equip and 
officer the troops as they arrived. The State of 
Ohio, the militia of which General McClellan had 
been called upon to command by Governor Dennison, 
was no exception to this rule ; but that gentleman 
realized the importance of calling some one to the 
command of the volunteers, upon whose knowledge, 
judgment and experience he could place implicit 
reliance. He therefore turned to Captain McClellan, 
who was a graduate of West Point, and had been a 
captain in the regular army, but who had for some 
years past been devoting himself to the management 
of a prominent railroad enterprise in the State. 

The Governor at once sent a communication to 
the general government, requesting that McClellan 
should be restored to his old rank in the army, and 


that the duty of organizing the Ohio volunteers 
should be assigned to him. To this request no 
answer was received, and it was afterwards learned 
that the Governor s letter, owing to the interruption 
of communications with Washington from all points, 
had not reached its destination. Failing, therefore, 
to receive any reply from the general government, 
and being thus forced to rely upon his own resources, 
Governor Dennison at once summoned McClellan 
to Columbus, where the latter applied himself ear 
nestly to the work of organizing the numerous volun 
teer regiments which offered" their services to the 
country. The State laws were changed in such a 
manner as to allow the Governor to select command 
ing officers for these volunteers outside of the mem 
bers of the State militia, and very soon afterward the 
Ohio troops were commanded by thoroughly compe 
tent men, who had made military movements the sub 
ject of scientific study. 

On the third day of May a " Department of the 
Ohio " was formed, consisting of the combined forces 
of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and this department, 
by order of General Scott, was placed under the 
command of General McClellan. 

The Ohio troops, as they arrived, were mainly 
located at Camp Dennison, which was situated in a 
valley about sixteen miles northwesterly from the city 
of Cincinnati. This was the largest and the chief camp 
in the State, and here the volunteers received that 


thorough instruction and training so essential in pre 
paring for the rigors of war. 

As I have stated, my personal acquaintance with 
George B. McClellan had, from its earliest incipiency, 
been of the most agreeable and amicable nature, and 
when I called at his house in Ludlow street, as I did 
immediately upon my arrival in Cincinnati, I was re 
ceived with genuine cordiality. After we were 
closeted together I explained fully to him the charac 
ter of the business that had called me to Washington, 
and how the complication of affairs at the seat of 
government necessitated so much delay that I had 
found it imperative upon me to leave without arriv 
ing at any definite understanding with the President. 

The General had already been advised of his ele 
vation in rank, and among other things desired to 
consult with me in relation to his affairs at the War 

I need not stop to give the details of that inter 
view. His object in sending for me was to secure 
my aid and co-operation in the organization of a 
secret service for his department, and finding me 
more than willing to do all in my power to help along 
the cause of the Union, he immediately laid before 
me all his plans. 

Our business was settled. It arranged that I 
should assume full management and control of this 
new branch of the service, and that I should at once 
enter upon the discharge of the multifarious duties 


attending so responsible a position. The General 
then informed me that he would write to General 
Scott for permission to organize this department 
under his own personal supervision ; and he also 
agreed to submit the project to Governor Dennison, 
of Ohio, with a request to that gentleman to solicit 
the co-operation of the Governors of Illinois, Indiana, 
Michigan and Wisconsin, in sustaining the organi 

To this arrangement I gave a ready assent, and 
we then entered upon the discussion of affairs requir 
ing immediate attention. Several measures, more or 
less important, had suggested themselves to my mind 
while the General was talking, and in the course of the 
conversation which followed, I presented them for 
his consideration. It was a relief to me to find that at 
the outset there was no clash of opinion between us, 
and I felt confident that there was not likely to be 
any in the future. 

For several days my time was principally taken up 
in private consultations with General McClellan, in 
laying out a line of operations, by which I was to as 
sist in making arrangements for bringing my own 
force into active duty at the earliest possible hour. I 
rented a suite of rooms and fitted up an office in Cin 
cinnati, where I called about me some of the most 
capable and trustworthy detectives in my employ, and 
impressed upon them the great importance of the 
tasks that were about to be imposed upon them. 


The general informed me that he would like ob 
servations made within the rebel lines, and I resolved 
to at once send some scouts into the disaffected 
region lying south of us, for the purpose of obtaining 
information concerning the numbers, equipments, 
movements and intentions of the enemy, as well as to 
ascertain the general feeling of the Southern people 
in regard to the war. I fully realized the delicacy of 
this business, and the necessity of conducting it with 
the greatest care, caution and secrecy. None but 
good, true, reliable men could be detailed for such 
service, and knowing this, I made my selections ac 
cordingly ; my thoughts reverting first of all to Timo 
thy Webster. 

Within six hours after the commander had ex 
pressed his wishes to me, Timothy Webster was on 
his way to Louisville, with instructions to proceed 
southward from that city to Memphis, stopping at 
Bowling Green and Clarkesville on the way. 

In Webster s case it was not necessary to devote 
much time to instructions, except as to his line of 
travel, for he was a man who understood the whole 
meaning of a mission like this, and one who would 
perform his duty with that faithfulness and ability by 
which he had fairly earned the confidence I now 
reposed in him. 

Within a few days I also sent out other scouts, 
singly and in pairs, on the different routes that had 
been carefully prepared for them, and in a short time 


quite a number of my best operatives were engaged 
upon more or less difficult and dangerous tasks, all 
tending to the same end. 

In organizing and controlling this secret service, I 
endeavored to conceal my own individual identity so 
far as my friends and the public were concerned. 
The new field of usefulness into which I had ven 
tured was designed to be a secret one in every re 
spect, and for obvious reasons I was induced to lay 
aside the name of Allan Pinkerton a name so well 
known that it had grown to be a sort of synonym for 
detective. I accordingly adopted the less suggestive 
one of E. J. Allen ; a nom de giierre which I retained 
during the entire period of my connection with the 
war. This precautionary measure was first proposed 
by the General himself, and in assenting to it I carried 
out his views as well as my own. This ruse to con 
ceal my identity was a successful one. My true name 
was known only to General McClellan, and those of 
my force who were in my employ before the breaking 
out of the rebellion, and by them it was sacredly 
kept. Indeed, I doubt if McClellan has ever 
divulged it to this day, if I may judge by the fre 
quent occurrence of such incidents as the following : 

A short time since, while on a visit to my New 
York agency, I chanced to meet one of my old army 
friends, General Fitz-John Porter. He recognized 
me, gave me a hearty greeting, and proceeded to ad 
dress me as Major Allen, after the custom of by-gone 


days. I permitted the conversation to go on for 
some time, and then said : 

"Are you not aware, General, that the name of E. 
J. Allen, which I used during the war, was a fictitious 

He looked at me, as if to satisfy himself that I 
was not jesting, and then exclaimed : 

" Fictitious ! You are not in earnest, Major ?" 

I assured him that I was never more so. 

"Why, I never suspected such a thing. What, 
then, is your true name ?" 

"Allan Pinkerton," I replied. 

" Allan Pinkerton !" he ejaculated. 

His astonishment knew no bounds, and he de 
clared it was the first intimation he had ever had 
that Allan Pinkerton and Major Allen were one and 
the same person. 

It was on the thirteenth of May that Timothy 
Webster left Cincinnati on his trip southward. He 
arrived at Louisville, Ky., late in the night, and re 
mained there until the following day, when he pur 
sued his course into the heart of that self-satisfied 
State which only desired to be " let alone." 

It is not my purpose to give in detail all the events 
of Webster s journey, as there was much that would 
only prove tedious at this late day, though at that 
time regarded as of the utmost importance to the 
country. Shrewd, wide-awake, and keen as a blood- 
hound on the scent, he allowed nothing to escape 


him. but quietly jotted down every item of intelli 
gence that could possibly be of advantage to the 
Union army, and picked up many important points, 
which would have escaped the notice of a man of less 
detective experience and ability. 

He stopped a day or two at Bowling Green, Ky., 
and then proceeded on to Clarkesville, Tenn. He 
made friends of all he met, and cleverly ingratiated 
himself into the good graces of those whom he be 
lieved miglit be of service to him. He was a " Hail, 
fellow ! well met," " A prince of good fellows," a 
genial, jovial, convivial spirit, with an inexhaustible 
fund of anecdote and amusing reminiscences, and a 
wonderful faculty for making everybody like him. 
He partook of soldiers fare in the rebel camp, shook 
hands warmly with raw recruits, joked and laughed 
with petty officers, became familiar with colonels and 
captains, and talked profoundly with brigadier-gen 
erals. He was apparently an enthusiastic and deter- 
mined rebel, and in a few cunningly-worded sentences 
he would rouse the stagnant blood of his hearers till 
it fairly boiled with virtuous indignation against Yan 
kees in general, and " Abe Linkin " in particular. 

Webster s talent in sustaining a role of this kind 
amounted to positive genius, and it was this that 
forced me to admire the man as sincerely as I prized 
his services. Naturally, he was of a quiet, reserved 
disposition, seldom speaking unless spoken to, and 
never betraying emotion or excitement under any 


pressure of circumstances. His face always wore that 
calm, imperturbable expression denoting a well-bal 
anced mind and a thorough self-control, while the im 
mobile countenance and close-set lips showed that he 
was naturally as inscrutable as the Sphinx. Many of 
his associates were of the opinion that he was cold and 
unfeeling, but / knew there could be no greater mis 
take than this ; / knew that a manlier, nobler heart 
never existed than that which beat within the broad 
breast of Timothy Webster ; and I knew that, re 
served and modest as he was, he was never want 
ing in courtesy, never derelict in his duty, never 
behind his fellows in acts of kindness and mercy. 

It was when he was detailed for such operations 
as the one in question that his disposition underwent 
a complete metamorphosis. Then his reserve 
vanished, and he became the chatty, entertaining 
boon companion, the hero of the card-table, the story 
teller of the bar-room, or the lion of the social gather 
ing, as the exigencies of the case might require. He 
could go into a strange place and in one day surround 
himself with warm friends, who would end by telling 
him all he desired to know. In a life-time of varied 
detective experience, I have never met one who could 
more readily and agreeably adapt himself to circum 

Webster represented himself as a resident of 
Baltimore, and gave graphic accounts of the recent 
troubles in that city ; of the unpleasant position in 


which the " friends of the cause " were placed by the 
proximity and oppression of Northern troops, and of 
the outraged feelings of the populace when the 
" Lincoln hirelings " marched through the streets of 
the Monumental City. His eyes seemed to flash with 
indignation during the recital, and it would have been 
difficult indeed to induce his audience to believe that 
he was acting a part, or that his heart was not with 
the South. 

On the morning of his departure from Clarkesville 
quite a number of soldiers and citizens, who had become 
attached to him during his brief sojourn with them, 
accompanied him to the depot, shook him warmly by 
the hand at parting, and earnestly wished him God 
speed. He told them all that he hoped to see them 
again soon, and waved them a smiling adieu from the 
platform of the car, as the train whirled him away 
toward Memphis. 

As the train stopped on the east bank of the 
Tennessee river, and the passengers swarmed out of 
the cars, Webster noticed a man take the conductor 
aside and engage in earnest conversation with him 
for a few moments. This man was a dark-com 
plexioned, sharp-visaged, long-haired individual, clad 
in civilian s garb, and wearing a broad-brimmed hat. 
There was an air of mystery about him which 
attracted more than a passing glance from the scout, 
and caused the latter to keep an eye on him there 


The passengers were obliged to cross the river in 
a ferry-boat. The train going south was in waiting 
on the other side, and its conductor stood on the 
bank alone, making entries in his memorandum-book. 
As soon as the boat touched the land the man with 
the long hair and broad- brimmed hat sprang ashore 
and approached the conductor, to whom he began to 
talk in the same hurried, nervous manner that he had 
done to the one on the other side. As the time 
for starting approached, the mysterious stranger and 
the conductor walked toward the train together, 
conversing excitedly as they went. 

" There s something up/ thought Webster, as he 
boarded the train. " Perhaps that fellow is on the 
look-out for new-comers like myself ; but we ll see 
whether he is sharp enough to catch a weasel asleep." 

For the first twenty miles after leaving the Ten 
nessee river, the road lay through an uncultivated re 
gion of swamps and heavy timber. At every station 
along the route uniformed men, heavy guns, car-loads 
of muskets and ammunition were seen, indicating gen 
eral and active preparations for war, while the se 
cession flag was flying in the breeze, and the music of 
fife and drum was frequently borne to the ear. At 
Humboldt, where the train arrived at four o clock in 
the afternoon, they were delayed for some time, and 
Webster improved the opportunity to look around 
him and to procure his dinner. The man with the 
broad-brimmed hat seated himself almost opposite 


Webster at table, who noticed that his restless, inquis 
itive eyes were kept busy scrutinizing every face that 
came within range of his vision. He did not address 
himself to any one during the progress of the repast, 
and after hurriedly satisfying his own appetite, he 
walked out upon the platform of the depot, where he 
stood intently watching the other passengers as they 
returned to the train. 

Webster, as he crossed the platform, instinctively 
felt that those searching eyes were riveted upon him 
as if they would pierce him through, but he did not 
evince the slightest degree of trepidation -or uneasi 
ness under the ordeal. Assuming an air of quiet un 
consciousness, he sauntered past the man without 
seeming to notice him, and entered the smoking-car, 
coolly lighted a cigar, drew a Nashville newspa 
per from his pocket, and settled himself to his read 
ing. He saw no more of the mysterious stranger 
during the remainder of the journey, but on alighting 
from the train at the Memphis depot, the first object 
that met his gaze was the wearer of the broad-brim 
med hat. 

Arriving in Memphis at nine o clock in the even 
ing, Webster went directly to the Worsham House, 
where he intended to stay while in the city. While 
registering his name he observed a military officer in 
full uniform standing at his elbow, watching him 
closely as he wrote. Several other new arrivals 
placed their signatures after Webster, and he then no- 


ticed that the officer was engaged in making a copy 
of names and addresses on a piece of paper. 

While watching this proceeding, his attention was 
distracted by some one hastily entering the hotel 
office. It was his mysterious fellow-traveler, who, 
stepping into the center of the room, glanced quickly 
around, apparently looking for some particular face. 
The search was evidently successful, for, walking up 
to one of the men who had just arrived on the 
train from the North, he tapped him on the shoul 
der and beckoned him. 

After a few moments conversation, during which 
the new-comer appeared to be both surprised and 
frightened, the two left the hotel together and walked 
up the street arm in arm. 

Two citizens who were lounging near the door 
had been interested spectators of this incident, and 
Webster heard one of them inquire : 
" What does that mean ?" 

" It means that the stranger is under arrest," re 
plied his companion. 

"Under arrest? And who is the man who 
arrested him ?" 

" Oh, he is a member of the safety committee." 
" But what crime has the stranger committed, that 
he should thus be taken into custody ?" 

" Nothing, perhaps ; but the fact that he is a 
stranger from the North, is sufficient to mark him as 
an object of suspicion " 


" Isn t that a little severe ?" 

"Severe? It s a necessity in these times. For my 
part, I am in for hanging every Northern man who 
comes here, unless he can give the most satisfactory 
proof that he is not a spy." 

The rest of the conversation did not reach Web 
ster s ear, and, being much fatigued by his day s 
journey, he soon retired, to seek that much needed 
rest which slumber only could afford. 

He rose at an early hour in the morning, feeling 
much refreshed. On entering the dining-room he 
found it crowded with guests, the majority of whom 
wore the uniform and shoulder-straps of Confederate 
officers. The conversation around the table was 
upon the all-absorbing theme which at that time was 
uppermost in every mind, and the scout was both 
amused and edified by what he heard. He did not 
long remain a silent listener, but taking his cue at the 
proper moment he entered easily and naturally into 
the conversation himself, and his pleasing address 
and intelligent observations commanded at once the 
respectful attention of those around him. 

After breakfast Webster determined to ascertain 
whether or not he was under the surveillance of the 
vigilance committee, and he accordingly left the 
hotel, and wended his way toward the post-office. 

He had not proceeded far when he noticed a man 
who appeared to be following him on the opposite 
side of the street. Desiring to satisfy himself upon 


this point he walked on for several blocks, and then 
dropped into a saloon. Remaining there a sufficient 
length of time for the man to pass from view, in case 
he did not stop in his onward course, he emerged 
from the saloon and retraced his steps toward the 
hotel. As he did so he noticed the stranger on the 
other side of the street, dogging him as before. 
This left no doubt in his mind that he was being 
shadowed, and he resolved to be guarded in his 
movements, to refrain from writing any reports or 
making any notes that could possibly betray him. He 
returned to the office and bar-room of the Worsham 
Hotel, and spent an hour or two reading and smok 
ing. While thus occupied, three military officers 
entered and stood near the bar engaged in animated 
conversation. Webster sauntered toward them, and 
heard one of the trio a man whom the others ad 
dressed as " Doctor" remark emphatically : 

" Yes, gentlemen, that is a true principle. It will 
not do to let a man set foot on Kentucky soil until the 
Northern troops disregard the neutrality of that State." 

Catching the drift of the conversation, Webster 
stepped forward and said : 

" I beg pardon, sir ; will you permit me to ask one 
question ?" 

The three officers turned toward him, with ex 
pressions of mild surprise in their faces, and thfi 
Doctor replied : 

" Certainly, sir ; certainly." 


"Do you suppose," added Webster, " that Ken 
tucky will allow the Northern army to march through 
the State without showing fight ?" 

"Not by a jug-full," was the prompt response. 
"The moment the Northern army crosses the Ohio 
river, Kentucky will rise in arms and take sides with 
the South/ 

" If she doesn t," said Webster, with much appar 
ent warmth, " she will prove herself unworthy of the 
respect of any true Southern men !" 

The Doctor s face brightened up, and he laid his 
hand approvingly on the scout s shoulder. 

" May I ask where you are from ?" 

" I was born in Kentucky and reared in Mary 
land," was the quiet reply, " and I am now direct 
from Baltimore." 

" Baltimore !" ejaculated the whole trio in chorus ; 
and the next moment were all shaking hands in the 
most vigorous fashion. 

" Baltimore !" repeated the Doctor, his face red 
with his recent exertion. " My friend, we are always 
glad to meet a Baltimorean, for we know there is 
many a true man in that city who would help us if 
he could. May I ask your name, sir ?" 

" Webster Timothy Webster." 

"A devilish good name. Mine is Burton. My 
friends all call me Doctor Burton. Allow me to intro 
duce you to Colonel Dalgetty and to Captain Stanley 
of the Arkansas Rifles." 


The introduction was cordially acknowledged on 
both sides, and Webster then said : 

" Gentlemen, I was about to call for a drink when 
I heard you speak of Kentucky. I am happy to 
know that there is still hopes for that State. Will 
you drink her health with me ?" 

And in the clinking of the glasses, and the quaf 
fing of their favorite beverages, the new link ol friend 
ship was forged. 



Webster Fraternizes with the Rebel Officers. A Secession 
Hat. A Visit to a Rebel Camp. " The Committee oj 
Safety." A Friendly Stranger. A Warning. The 

WEBSTER S new friends were men whom he 
believed he could use to good advantage, and 
he determined to improve the chance that had thrown 
him in contact with them. He found them not only 
very well informed, but disposed to be communica 
tive, and he therefore applied the " pumping " process 
with all the skill at his command. He experienced 
no difficulty in making this mode of operation 
effectual, for these officers were exceedingly willing to 
air their knowledge for the benefit of their Baltimore 
friend, and enjoyed his frequent expressions of agree 
able surprise at the extent of the preparations made 
by the people of the South to defend their rights. 

Dr. Burton was the most conspicuous one of the 
group, from his very pompousness. He wore a 
superfluity of gorgeous gold lace on his uniform, and 
assumed the dignity of a major-general. He was 
a flabby-faced, bulbous-eyed individual, with a 
wonderful stomach for harboring liquor, and that 



unceasing flow of spirits arising from a magnified 
sense of his own importance. It was evident, even upon 
a short acquaintance, that the doctor found his chief 
entertainment in listening to himself talk, a species of 
recreation in which he indulged with great regularity, 
sharing the pleasure with as many others as would 
grant him a hearing. 

In Webster he found an attentive auditor, which 
so flattered his vanity that he at once formed a 
strong attachment for my operative, and placed him 
self on familiar and confidential terms with him. 

" Webster, we ve got to do some hard fighting in 
these parts, and that before we are many days older," 
said the Doctor, with a wise shake of the head. 

" I think you are right," conceded the scout 
" We must fight it out. From what you have told 
me, however, I am sure the Lincoln troops will find 
you fully prepared to give them a warm reception 

"That they will, sir; that they will!" was the 
emphatic rejoiner. " We have one full regiment and 
four or five companies besides, at Camp Rector, and 
General Pillow has thirty-seven hundred men at the 
camp in the rear of Fort Harris, which is a little * 
above us on this side of the river. We expect to move 
with him, and if there is an attack made upon us 
every man in the town will instantly become a 

" Have you arms enough for all of them?" 


" Arms ? Let the Yankees count on oar not having 
arms, and they will meet with a surprise party. In 
two hours notice we can have from eight to ten 
thousand men ready to march." 

" No doubt of it, Doctor ; but how do you expect 
to get two hours* notice ?" 

" Lord bless you, Webster, we have men watching 
the movements of the Yankees at Cairo, and the 
minute they make a move we are notified. Then 
our signal gun is fired, and every man is mustered." 

" A good arrangement, truly," said the detective 

" You look as if you could do some hard fight 
ing yourself, Mr. Webster," remarked Colonel Dal- 

The detective smiled. 

" I have been fighting against great odds for the 
past two months in Baltimore. The last battle I 
fought was to get away from there with my life." 

" Yes, and we are confounded glad to receive you 
here," exclaimed the enthusiastic Doctor, shaking 
Webster by the hand for the twentieth time. " Come, 
gentlemen, we must have another drink. Step up 
and nominate your pizen/ " 

The glasses were filled, and some one proposed 
the toast: " Death to the Yankees f Under his 
breath, however, the detective muttered, " Confusion 
to the rebels !" and drained his glass. The toast w; 
no sooner drank than Lieutenant Stanley, who w 


evidently beginning to feel the influence of the liquor 
he had drank, took off his uniform hat and put it on 
Webster s head. 

" Excuse me, Mr. Webster," he said, " I merely 
wish to see how you look in one of our hats." Then 
stepping back, he added : "By the gods, nothing 
could be more becoming ! My dear fellow, you must 
have one by all means, if you stay among us." 

Webster endeavored laughingly to object, but 
they all refused to accept " no " for an answer. So, 
finding it impossible to resist, he went with them to a 
neighboring hat store. 

" Fit a hat to Mr. Webster s head a hat just like 
mine," said Dr. Burton, to the proprietor ; then turn 
ing to the scout, he added : " We will have you a 
cord and tassel of blue, as that will show that you are 
true to the cause, although you do not belong to the 

The hatter produced a secession chapeau of the 
kind and size required, and Webster at once put it 
on, much to the delight of the Doctor, who slapped 
Webster familiarly on the shoulder, with the excla 
mation : 

" Now, my dear fellow, you can consider yourself 
at home !" 

"Perfectly at home," echoed Colonel Dalgetty. 

" Henceforward you are one of us," put in the 

Webster thanked them cordially for their kind- 


ness, and promised to wear it in preference to any 
other. As they stepped outside of the store, how 
ever, all thoughts of the new hat were temporarily 
driven from his mind, for, standing on the sidewalk, 
within a few yards of the store door, and looking 
directly at him, was the identical individual whom he 
had noticed on the train, who had arrested the 
Northern stranger the night before. 

The gaze which this vigilant agent of the safety 
committee now bent upon Webster was full of dark 
suspicion, but after one swift glance at him the 
detective turned away with an air of perfect compos 
ure and unconcern, and walked off between his com 
panions. To say that he felt some uneasiness at this 
evidence that he was still being closely followed, 
would be only to tell the truth. His first impulse 
was to speak to his companions about it, but a second 
thought decided him not to mention the matter to 
any one, nor to betray by word or act that he had the 
slightest hint of a suspicion that he was being watched. 

The three officers introduced Webster to a large 
number of soldiers and citizens, and before the day 
was over he had quite an extended circle of acquaint 
ance in Memphis. Dr. Burton, who had conceived a 
fancy for him, as sudden as it was pronounced, as 
sumed a sort of paternal control over Webster, hover 
ing about him with an air of protection and solicitude, 
and drawing the scout s arm through his when they 
walked together. 


That afternoon, Webster, desiring to be alone for 
awhile, hired one of the hackmen at the door of the 
hotel to drive him three or four miles into the coun 
try. He went down the river road, and as it was a 
beautiful day, he enjoyed himself admiring the pictu 
resque scenery along the way. 

Just below the town, on the bank of the river, he 
found a small encampment of soldiers with a battery, 
who were on the lookout for boats coming up the 
river, and during his ride he saw several encampments 
of the same nature. After spending several hours in 
specting the fortifications along the river, Webster 
returned to the hotel, which he reached about dark. 

The next day Doctor Burton and several of his 
military friends sought out the detective, and urged 
him to go with them to Camp Rector. 

" Gentlemen, I am at your service," said Webster, 
earnestly. " I think I would enjoy a visit to your 
camp to-day above all things." 

They went to the levee, and at ten o clock were 
on the boat, steaming up the river toward Mound 
City, where Camp Rector was located. 

A distance of some six or seven miles, passing on 
their way up, various objects of interest, among them 
Fort Harris, which was merely an embankment 
thrown up, to answer the purpose. Arriving at Mound 
City, the party disembarked and walked to the hotel 
After dinner the party visited the camp-ground, a 
distance of about one-fourth of a mile from the hotel, 

i 7 4 A VISIT TO 

and here Dr. Burton and the other officers took much 
pride in showing Webster around. They talked 
volubly about the unexampled bravery of the Con 
federate soldier ; had much to say on the subject of 
Southern chivalry as opposed to Northern braggadocio; 
told how well they were prepared to meet the on 
slaught of the enemy ; and found a special delight in 
exhibiting to the visitor a portion of General Bragg s 
artillery, which they had in the camp. 

After that they seated themselves around a table 
in one of the larger tents, to rest and enjoy the 
grateful shade, as it was a warm and sunny afternoon. 
While engaged in the most bombastic utterances of 
their prowess, and of the wonderful exploits that 
might be expected of the Southern army, their con 
versation was interrupted by a shadow falling across 
the strip of sunlight that streamed in through the open 
ing of the tent Every one around the table glanced 
up, and there at the entrance stood the man with the 
broad-brimmed hat! The intruder did not tarry a 
moment, but turned and walked away. Evidently he 
had stopped only to look in ; but in that single instant 
he had shot a keen, and apparently satisfactory, glance 
at Timothy Webster, which was fortunately not ob 
served by any one save the detective himself. 

" That fellow is one of the safety committee," 
said Dr. Burton, filling his glass. 

"He appears to be looking for some one, 11 
remarked Lieutenant Stanley. 



"Reckon he is," answered the Doctor. "He s 
always looking for some one. And, by-the-bye, those 
chaps are doing a heap of good for the cause just 
now A Northern man stands no show for his life in 
these parts if the safety committee spots him. They 
hang em on suspicion." 

" That s right," said Webster, coolly. " I believe 
in hanging every Northern man that comes prowling 
around. They don t deserve a trial, for they have no 
right here anyway." 

But cool and collected as Webster outwardly 
appeared, it must be admitted that he was inwardly 
ill at ease. There was now no longer the shadow of 
a doubt in his mind that this long-haired agent of the 
safety committee was following him and watching 
his every movement, and that any attempt on his 
part to return to the North would betray him and 
cause his arrest. 

"The only reason I have not already been 
arrested," mused the scout, "is because they are not 
sure whether I came from the North or not. They 
merely suspect, and are watching me to see if I under 
take to return northward. Such an act would confirm 
their suspicions, and I would be arrested and probably 
put to death as a spy. It stands me in hand to give 
them the slip before I take the back track." 

After spending a very pleasant day at the camp, 
he returned to Memphis on the latest boat that night, 
informing Dr. Burton that he was going to Chatta- 


nooga to look up a brother whom he had not seen in 
twelve years. 

" You ll come back ?" said the Doctor, as he wrung 
his hand. 

" Oh, certainly," was the cheerful response. " I ll 
be with you again before long." 

Colonel Gaines, of the artillery, who heard this 
conversation, now grasped the scout s hand. 

" Webster, you d make a good soldier," he said, 
bluntly. " Hang me if I wouldn t like to have you 
on my force." 

Webster smiled good-naturedly. 

" I have some family business to attend to before 
I could think of entering the army. After that I may 
remind you of your remark." 

"All right," said the Colonel, "any time that you 
are ready, come ; I will make room for you." 

On his way down the river Webster found, to his 

relief, that the man with the broad-brimmed hat was 

,not aboard the boats. He now had a hope of 

being able to give his shadow the slip- by leaving 

Memphis on early train in the morning. 

Arriving in sight of their destination, the passen 
gers on the ferry-boat were surprised to see that the 
levee was crowded with people. Shortly after, they 
learned that this unusual gathering was caused by 
the capture of the steamboat " Prince of Wales " by 
the rebels. 

Webster went to the Worsham Hotel, where he 


spent the night, and at five o clock in the morning, 
after making a few preparations, and dispatching an 
early breakfast, he repaired to the depot. Arriving 
there he looked carefully about on all sides, but saw 
no one who seemed to take any interest in his move 
ments. "So far, so good," he muttered, as he 
boarded the train ; and the next minute he was leav 
ing tke scene of his most recent exploits with the 
speed of the wind. 

He was himself too shrewd and cunning to feel 
absolutely sure that he was not followed. His own 
experience in the art of " shadowing " told him he 
had not yet escaped the vigilant eyes of the safety 
committee, but he resolved to elude them if it was 
possible to do so. 

Innumerable troops were being transported at 
this time, and the train was crowded with soldiers. 
Webster amused himself by making the acquaintance 
of the officers, and skillfully drawing on their fund of 
information, until the train arrived at Grand Junction, 
where he decided to change cars for Jackson, Tennes 

Accordingly, he abandoned the Chattanooga cars 
and boarded the north-bound train, which was in wait 
ing at the junction, and again he was whirled away 
across the verdure-clad country, this time toward the 
"land of the free." But no sooner was the train 
well under way than something which came under 
Webster s observation removed from his mind all 


doubt as to whether he would be permitted to pursue 
his journey unmolested. He occupied a seat in the 
forward part of the car, and on turning carelessly 
avray from the window after gazing out upon the 
landscape for awhile, he was somewhat surprised at 
seeing an individual standing on the front platform 
of the car, looking in through the glass door. 

It was a person whose face and figure had already 
become quite familiar to him, being no other than the 
man who had so persistently followed him for the 
past few days. 

"He seems determined not to let me get away," 
thought the scout ; but neither in his face nor manner 
did he betray any of the disappointment he felt. 

He noticed that his pursuer was not alone this 
time, but was accompanied by another person an 
ill-looking man of herculean proportions with whom 
he conversed in an earnest, confidential way. 

When the train arrived at Jackson, Webster 
stepped out upon the platform of the depot, and the 
two agents of the safety committee did the same. The 
conductor stood near by, and Webster spoke to him 
in a tone which he meant his shadows to hear, ask 

" How soon will there be a train for Humboldt ?" 

" In twenty minutes," replied the conductor. 

" Do you know anything about the hotels there ?" 
inquired the scout. " I ve got to stop two or three 
days in the town, and it s a strange place to me." 


The conductor recommended him to a good house 
convenient to the depot, and thanking him for the in 
formation, Webster turned away. He had spoken in 
a tone that he knew must have been distinctly 
heard by his enemies, and he hoped this bit of strata 
gem would have the desired effect. 

He boarded the train for Humboldt, and the brace 
of shadows promptly followed him, taking seats in 
the same car. 

While the train was speeding on its way, Webster 
was aroused from a reverie by the voice of a woman 
saying : 

" Pardon me, sir ; may I occupy a portion of this 

He looked up ; a tall, very respectable looking 
lady was standing in the aisle, and he saw in an 
instant that she was the person who had addressed 

" Certainly, madam, certainly ;" he replied ; and 
quickly made room for her. 

She sat down beside him, and then, to his great 
surprise, she began to talk to him in a low, earnest 
tone, without once turning her face toward him. 

" You are going to Humboldt ?" she inquired. 

" I am," he answered, surprised at the question. 

" You are a Northern man ?" 

" Madam !" A suspicion flashed, lightning-like, 

across his mind. 

"Believe me, I am not an enemy," the lady went 


on, " I have been sitting in the rear part of this car, 
I heard twc men talking, and have reason to believe 
they were speaking about you. They said they 
would stop at the same hotel with you in Humboldt, 
and keep a close watch over you, and if you attempt 
to go northward they will arrest you, take you back 
to Memphis, and deal with you as they would with 
any Northern spy. I advise you to be very careful, 
sir, for your life depends upon it." 

The train by this time was approaching Hum 
boldt, and the lady arose and disappeared before the 
astonished detective could tender his thanks for the 
warning. She was destined to remain an utter 
stranger to him for all time to come, for he never 
heard of her afterwards. As they entered the depot, 
Webster passed out at the rear end of the car, and he 
noticed, with a smile of satisfaction, that his attendant 
shadows were making their way out at the front. As 
he stepped from the car he noticed a pile of baggage 
near him, and quickly stepping behind this, he 
watched the movements of the two men. Apparently 
fully satisfied that their game would be safely bagged 
at the hotel, they left the depot and walked rapidly 
away in the direction of the public-house. His ruse 
worked to a charm. A violent shower happened to 
be passing over at this time, and it was only natural 
for the two " safety " men to suppose that Webster 
had stopped to seek shelter in the depot for a few 



The express train from Memphis was soon due, 
and as it came dashing in " on time," Webster jumped 
aboard, and was on his way toward Louisville, smil 
ing in his sleeve as he thought of those two crafty 
foxes, whose cunning had overreached themselves, 
patiently awaiting his arrival at the hotel in Hum- 

Before crossing the Kentucky line, Webster put 
his rebel hat out of sight, and once more donned the 
one he had worn from the North. 

The remainder of his journey was made without 
inci- lent, and in due time he arrived in Cincinnati, 
and reported to me. 



/ take a Trip to the South. Danger in Memphis. A Timely 
Warning. A Persistent Barber. An Unfortunate 
Memory. Return to Cincinnati. 

TIMOTHY WEBSTER had scarcely departed 
upon his trip to Memphis, when I was sum 
moned for consultation with General McClellan. 
Upon repairing to his office, which I did immediately 
on receiving his message, I found him awaiting my 
arrival, and in a few minutes I was informed of his 
wishes. He was desirous of ascertaining, as defi 
nitely as possible, the general feeling of the people 
residing South of the Ohio river, in Kentucky, Ten 
nessee, Mississippi and Louisiana, and requested that 
measures be at once taken to carry out his purposes* 
It was essentially necessary at the outset to be 
come acquainted with all the facts that might be of 
importance hereafter, and no time offered such oppor 
tunities for investigations of this nature as the pres 
ent, while the war movement was in its incipiency, 
and before the lines between the opposing forces had 
been so closely drawn as to render traveling in the 
disaffected district unsafe, if not utterly impossible. 

As this mission was of a character that required 


coolness and tact, as well as courage, and as most of 
my men had been detailed for duties in other sections 
of the rebellious country, I concluded to make the 
journey myself, and at once stated my intention to 
the General, who received it with every evidence oi 
satisfaction and approval. 

" The very thing I should have proposed, Major," 
said he ; " and if you will undertake this matter, I 
have no fears of a failure, and every confidence in 
obtaining important developments." 

My action had been prompted by two impelling 
reasons. The first was the absence of the men whom 
I had thus far engaged, and who, as I have before 
stated, had been detailed upon missions of investiga 
tions in various parts of the South and West, and the 
other was a desire to see for myself the actual con 
dition of affairs as they existed at that time. I have 
invariably found that a personal knowledge is far 
more satisfactory than that gleamed from others, and 
whenever it was possible, I have endeavored to 
acquire my information by such means. Another 
advantage to be derived from a personal observation 
was that I would be necessarily forced to rely in 
many matters to which it would be impossible for me 
to devote my personal attention. 

Having arranged everything to my satisfaction, 
in order that my absence would occasion no disar 
rangement in the proper conduct of the investigations 
already commenced, I left my office in the charge of 


Mr. George H. Bangs, my general superintendent, 
and started upon my journey, intending to be as 
rapid in my movements as circumstances would per 
mit, and to return at as early a date as I could, con* 
sistently with the proper performance of the duties 
intrusted to me. 

My first objective point was the city of Louisville, 
in Kentucky. The position of this State at the 
present time was a peculiar one. Her Governor, if 
not a Southern conspirator, was, if his own language 
was to be relied upon, both in opinion and expecta 
tion, a disunionist. He had at first remonstrated 
against the action of the Cotton States, but after that 
action had been taken, he was unqualifiedly opposed 
to coercing them back to obedience, and in addition 
to this, he had endeavored to excite his own people 
to a resistance to the principles and policy of the 
party in power. 

The people, however, did not sustain his views, 
and wlxile the popular sentiment was deeply pro- 
slavery, and while her commerce bound her strongly 
to the South, the patriotic example and teachings of 
Henry Clay had impressed upon them a reverence 
and love for Union higher and purer than any mere 
pressing interests or selfish advantage. 

At Louisville, therefore, I found a degree of 
excitement prevailing that was naturally to be ex 
pected from the unsettled condition of public affairs. 
The Governor had refused to comply with the Presi- 



dent s call for troops, and the State had been in a 
state of hopeless bewilderment and conflict of opinion 
in consequence. A strong minority, arrogating to 
themselves an undue importance, were endeavoring, 
by self-assertion and misapplied zeal, to carry the 
State into the secession fold, but thus far they had 
made no substantial progress against an overwhelm 
ing undercurrent of Union sentiment. Failing in 
this, their energies were now devoted to an effort to 
place the State in a neutral attitude, which would pre 
vent her from taking a decided stand upon the ques 
tion of supporting the Union. Thus far they had 
been temporarily successful, and on the i6th day of 
May the house of representatives passed resolutions 
declaring that Kentucky " should during the contest 
occupy the position of strict neutrality." 

This was the existing condition of affairs when I 
arrived in Louisville, and which I found prevalent 
throughout all the sections of the State I passed 

Representing myself as a Southern man, a resi 
dent of Georgia, I had no difficulty in engaging in 
conversation with the prominent men of both ele 
ments, and I decided then, from my own observations, 
that Kentucky would not cast her fortunes with the 
South, but that, after the bubble of unnatural excite 
ment had burst and expended itself, the loyal heart 
would be touched, and " Old Kaintuck " would event 
ually keep step to the music of the Union. Results 
proved that I was not mistaken, and not many weeks 


elapsed before Union camps were established within 
her domain, and the broad-shouldered Kentnckians 
were swearing allegiance to the old flag, and, shoul 
dering their muskets, entered into the contest with a 
determination to support the government. 

Passing on undisturbed, but everywhere on the 
alert, and making copious notes of everything that 
transpired, that I considered at all material to the 
furtherance of the loyal cause, I reached Bowling 

At this place I found a very decided Union senti 
ment, the Stars and Stripes were floating from the 
various buildings, and the Union men were largely in 
the majority. There was one great cause for dis- 
quietude, however, which was very manifest even to 
a casual observer. Many residents of Bowling Green 
and the vicinity were slave owners, and the impres 
sion had become general throughout the negro com 
munities that the opening of the war naturally and 
inevitably involved their freedom, an opinion, how 
ever, without sure foundation, at that time, but 
which was eventually to be justified by subsequent 
events. The slaves had heard their masters discuss 
ing the various questions which naturally grew cut 
of a conflict of this chance character, and in which it 
was generally admitted, that emancipation must fol 
low the commencement and continuance of hostilities 
between the two sections. It was not surprising 
therefore, that this opinion should spread among the 


entire colored element, or that it should be greedily 
accepted by these down-trodden blacks as the har 
binger of a freedom for which they had been praying. 
In conversation with one of the leading men of 
Bowling Green, I was thoroughly impressed with the 
importance of this phase of circumstances. 

"Mr. Allen," said he, "you have no idea of the 
danger we are apprehending from the blacks. We 
know that the moment that Lincoln sends his aboli 
tion soldiers among our niggers, they will break out 
and murder all before them. Why, sir," continued he, 
" we cannot sleep sound at nights for fear of the nig 
gers. They think Lincoln is going to set them free." 

"Why," I interrupted, "what can they know 
about Lincoln ?" 

" They know too much about him," he replied ; 
" there has been so much talk about this matter all 
through the State, that the niggers know as much 
about it as we do." 

" You should not talk before your niggers ; it is 
not safe, and I never do it." As I never owned a 
negro this was perfectly true. 

"I know we should not, but it is too late now; 
they know as much as we do, and too much for our 
safety or peace of mind. Why, sir, we are compelled 
to mount guard at nights ourselves for mutual pro 
tection, and though there has been no outbreak as 
yet, and I believe that this is the only thing that 
keeps them in check." 


41 It would be a good plan," said I, anxious to 
preserve my reputation as a Southern pro-slavery 
man, * to take all the men and boys over fifteen years 
of age and sell them South." 

" That s the devil of it," he replied, " we cannot 
do that ; it was tried only last week, and a nigger 
Chat I was offered $1,500 for last year, I could not 
sell at any price." 

Already, it seemed, the fruits of the slavery agita 
tion were being made apparent. The very institu 
tion for which these misguided men were periling 
their lives, and sacrificing their fortunes, was threat 
ened with demolition ; and the slaves who had so long 
and so often felt the lash of their masters, were now 
becoming a source of fear to the very men who had 
heretofore held them in such utter subjection. 

This state of affairs I found to be prevalent all 
over the country which I visited. Bright visions of 
freedom danced before the eyes of the slaves, and 
they awaited anxiously the dawning of the day, when 
the coming of the soldiers of the North would strike 
from their limbs the shackles they had worn so long. 
In the after years of this bloody struggle, many deeds 
of self-sacrifice were performed by these slaves, when, 
resisting the dazzling opportunities to obtain their 
coveted liberty, they cast their lot with the families of 
their old masters, whose male members were fighting 
to continue their bondage. Many cases could be 
cited where, but for the faithful labors aiid devotion 


of the despised slave, the families of many of the 
proud aristocrats would have starved. But the faith 
ful heart of the negro ever beat warmly for those 
whom he had served so long, and disregarding the* 
tempting allurements of freedom, he devoted himself 
to the service and to the maintenance of those who 
had regarded him as so much merchandise, or simply 
as a beast of burden. 

At Bowling Green I purchased a splendid bay 
horse, whose swiftness and powers of endurance I felt 
assured could be relied upon, intending to make the 
rest of my journey on horseback. By this means I 
would be the better able to control my movements 
than if I were compelled to depend upon the rail 
roads for transportation. I would also be enabled to 
stop at any place where I might find the necessity, or 
a favorable opportunity for observation. I had no 
cause to regret the purchase I had made, for right 
nobly did the spirited animal which I had selected 
perform the arduous duties that were imposed upon 
him. Day after day he would be urged forward, and 
under his flying feet the distance sped away almost 
imperceptibly, and each morning found my charger 
rested and refreshed, and ready for the day s journey, 
be the weather fair or foul, or the roads easy or 

I reached Nashville, Tennessee, in due season, and 
resolved to devote several days to my investigations. 
Here the disunion element was more united and out* 


spoken, but even here, I detected evidences of a 
Union sentiment which was none the less profound, 
because of the danger which its utterances would 
have incurred. There could be no doubt that this 
State had resolved to cast her fortunes with the con 
federacy, and the rebel General Pillow had been for 
some time engaged in fortifying the city of Memphis. 
At Nashville I met a number of officers of the rebel 
army, all of whom were full of enthusiasm, and whose 
bombastic utterances in view of the eventual results, 
seem at this time almost too absurd to be repeated. 
Here also I came in contact with an army surgeon, 
whose head was full of wild Quixotic schemes for de 
stroying the Northern armies by other processes than 
that of legitimate warfare. One of his plans I 
remember was to fill a commissary wagon with 
whisky, in which had been previously mixed a gen 
erous quantity of strychnine. The wagon was then 
to be broken and abandoned and left upon the road 
so as to fall into the hands of the Union soldiers. 
Of course, the liquor would be consumed by the 
finders, and the valiant Doctor, with evident satisfac 
tion to himself, but to the equally evident disgust of 
his companions, loudly vaunted his death-dealing and 
barbarous scheme. This brave warrior, however, I 
learned afterward, had fled in terror at the first fire, 
and was afterwards dishonorably dismissed from the 
service he was so well calculated to disgrace. So far 
as I was afterward able to learn, this grand project 



for wholesale slaughter, of the valorous Doctor, 
received no sympathy or support from his more hon* 
orable associates, and the soldiers were enabled to 
drink their whiskey untainted with any other poison 
ous influences than is naturally a part of its composi 

Leaving Nashville, I spurred on in the direction of 
Memphis, and in due time reached the city, which now 
presented a far different aspect than when I visited 
it only a few years before. Then the country was at 
peace. The war cloud had not burst with all its fury 
over a happy land, and the people were quietly pur 
suing their avocations. I was engaged in a detec 
tive operation which required my presence in the 
city, and had been in consultation with some of the 
express company s officials, for whom I was attempt 
ing to discover the perpetrators of a robbery of one 
of their safes. Turning a corner I came upon a scene 
that stirred my feelings to the utmost. 

It was the market square, and the merchandise 
disposed of were human beings. There was the 
auction-block and the slave-pen. Men, women and 
children were being knocked down to the highest 
bidder. Wives were sold away from their husbands, 
and children from their parents. Old and young 
were submitted to the vulgar speculators in flesh and 
blood, and their value was approximated by their 
apparent age, strength and healthfulness. My blood 
boiled in my veins as I witnessed, for the first time, 


the heart-rendering scenes which I had only heard of 
read of before. The cold cruelty of the buyers and 
abject misery of the sold, filled me with a spirit of 
opposition to this vile traffic that gave me renewed 
strength to fulfill my duty as an active abolitionist, 
and to labor earnestly in the cause of emancipation. 
I shall never forget the events of that day, and I 
can recall the feeling of intense satisfaction which 
I experienced on my second visit, when even then, I 
could see the dawning of that liberty for which I had 
labored, and I knew that the day of emancipation 
could not be far distant. Then the fair fame of in 
dependent America would no longer be blackened by 
the pressure of the slave or the master, but all men 
under the protection of the starry banner would be 
free and equal under the law. 

Now the streets were filled with soldiers, some 
of them fully armed and equipped, and others pro 
vided with but ordinary clothing, and furnished with 
such inefficient arms as they had brought with them 
from their homes. A most motley gathering they 
were, and their awkward and irregular evolutions at 
this time gave but little promise of the splendid army 
of which they were destined in the near future to 
form so important a part. The work of fortifying 
the city had been progressing in earnest ; earthworks 
had been thrown up all along the banks of the 
Mississippi, and batteries were already in position, 
whose guns frowned threateningly upon the river. 


Here to be known or suspected as P. Union man 
was to merit certain death, and to advocate any 
theory of compromise between the two sections was 
to be exiled from the city. Here rebeldom was ram 
pant and defiant, and I had some difficulty in evading 
the suspicions of the watchful and alert Southron, 
who regarded all strange civilians with doubtful 
scrutiny, and whose " committee of safety " were 
ever on the qui vive to detect those whose actions 
savored in the least of a leaning towards the North. 
Fearlessly, however, I mingled with these men, and 
as I lost no opportunity in pronouncing my views 
upon the righteousness of the cause of secession, and 
of my belief in its certain triumph, I obtained a ready 
passport to the favor and confidence of the most 
prominent of their leaders. I talked unreservedly 
with the private soldier and the general officer, with 
the merchant and the citizen, and by all was regarded 
as a stanch Southern man, whose interests and sym 
pathies were wedded to rebellion. 

General Pillow was in command at this point, and 
almost every citizen was enrolled as a soldier, whose 
services would be cheerfully and promptly rendered 
whenever the call should be made upon them. 

Even this redoubtable chieftain was not proof 
against my blandishments, and he little dreamed 
when on one occasion he quietly sipped his brandy 
and water with me, that he was giving valuable 
information to his sworn foe, and one to whom every 


idea gained was an advantage to the government he 
was attempting tc destroy. 

It is needless to relate the valuable items of 
information which I was enabled to glean upon this 
journey information which in later days was of vast 
importance to the Union commanders, but which at 
this time would only burden a narrative of the events 
which they so ably assisted to successful results. 

Here, as in many other places, I found that my 
best source of information was the colored men, who 
were employed in various capacities of a military 
nature which entailed hard labor. The slaves, with 
out reserve, were sent by their masters to perform 
the manual labor of building earthworks and fortifica 
tions, in driving the teams and in transporting cannon 
and ammunition, and, led by my natural and deep- 
seated regard for these sable bonsmen, I mingled 
freely with them, and found them ever ready to 
answer questions and to furnish me with every fact 
which I desired to possess. 

Here and there I found an unassuming white 
man whose heart was still with the cause of the 
Union, but whose active sympathy could not at 
this time be of service to the country, as he dared 
not utter a voice in defense of his opinions. From 
all these sources, however, I was successful in post 
ing myself fully in regard to the movements and in 
tentions of the rebel authorities and officers, and, as I 
believed, had also succeeded in concealing my identity. 



On the third evening of my sojourn in Memphis, 
however, my dreams of fancied security were sudden 
ly dispelled, and I was brought face to face with the 
reality of danger. 

I had retired early to my room, according to my 
general custom, and had scarcely been seated when 
I was disturbed by a faint but quick and distinct 
knocking at my door. I arose hastily, as it was some 
thing unusual for me to receive visitors after I had 
retired, and throwing open the door, I was somewhat 
surprised to see, standing before me, in a state of un 
mistakable excitement, the colored porter of the hotel. 

Before I had time to question him, he sprang into 
the room and closed the door behind him. His 
countenance evinced a degree of terror that imme 
diately filled me with alarm. His eyes were fixed 
wildly upon me, his lips were quivering, and his 
knees trembled under him, as though unable to sus 
tain the weight of his body. Indeed, so frightened 
was he, that he appeared to be struggling forcibly to 
do so. 

" What is the matter, Jem ?" I inquired, in as 
calm a tone as I could assume, and with a view of re 
assuring him. " What has happened to frighten you 

" Tore God, Massa Allen," ejaculated the black, 
succeeding by a great effort in finding his voice, "you 
done can t sleep in this housn to-night, ef ye do, yell 
be a dead man before morning." 


As may be imagined, this informatior was not of 
a very agreeable nature, indefinite as it was ; I felt 
assured that my informant could be relied on that 
something had occurred to endanger my safety, and 
I became impatient to learn what he knew. 

" Out with it, Jem," said I, " and let me know 
what it is all about." I spoke cheerfully and con 
fidently, and the coolness of my manner had the 
effect of restoring the equilibrium of my sable friend, 
and, recovering himself with an effort, he began to 
explain : 

" I tell you what it is, Massa Allen, and I se gwan 
to tell it mighty quick. Ye see, de General hab got 
a lot of spies up de river at Cairo, a watching of the 
Linkum sogers, and one o dem fellows jes came in 
as you were going up stairs. De berry minit dat he 
seed you he said to de man what was wid him, Dat 
man is spicious ; I seed him in Cincinnati two weeks 
ago, and he ain t down here for no good, and he 
started right off for de General, to tell him all about 
it I kem right up heah, massa, and you must git 
away as fast as ye can." 

This was too important to be ignored. I had no 
desire to be captured at that time, and I had no 
doubt of the correctness of the porter s story. I re 
solved to act at once upon the suggestion, and to 
make good my escape before it was too late. My 
admonitory friend was fearfully in earnest about ge> 
ting me away, and he quickly volunteered to procure 


my horse, which I had quartered in close proximity 
to the hotel, and to furnish me with a guide who 
would see me safely through the lines Lnd outside of 
the city. Bidding Jem make all possible haste in his 
movements, I gathered together my few belongings, 
and in a few minutes I descended the stairs and 
made my exit through the rear of the house. 
Through the faithfulness of Jem, and the careful 
guidance of the watchful negro he had provided me 
with, I was soon riding away from threatened danger 
and ere morning broke I had proceeded far upon my 
way. How much service these faithful blacks had 
been to me, I did not fully learn until some time 
afterwards, when I was informed by Timothy Web 
ster, who arrived in Memphis following my departure, 
and who thus learned the full particulars of the ex 
hausting pursuit of one of Lincoln s spies, who had 
mysteriously disappeared from the chief hotel, while 
a guard was being detailed to effect his arrest. 

I met the faithful Jem several years later, when 
he had worked his way as a refugee from his native 
State and entered the Union lines in Virginia, and he 
was soon afterwards attached to my force, where he 
proved his devotion in a manner that was quite con 
vincing. My faithful steed, who had become thor 
oughly rested after his long journey, bore me safely 
through this danger, and in due time I entered the 
State of Mississippi. Here rebellion and disunion 
were the order of the day, and a wide-spread deter 


mination existed to fight the cause of the South to 
the bitter end. Stopping one night at Grenada, I 
pushed on my way to Jackson, and here I resolved to 
remain a day or two, in order to make a thorough in 
vestigation of the place and its surroundings. 

Putting up my horse, I engaged quarters for my 
self at the principal hotel in the city, and feeling very 
much fatigued with my long journey, I retired early to 
my room and passed a long night in refreshing sleep. 

In the morning I arose about five o clock, as is 
my general custom. I was feeling in excellent health 
and spirits ; my journey had thus far been fully as 
successful as I could have desired ; and safely con 
cealed about my person I had items of value that 
would amply repay me for the fatigues I had under 
gone and the dangers I had passed. I had plans of 
the roads, a description of the country, a pretty cor 
rect estimate of the troops and their various location? 
and conditions, and altogether I felt very well satis 
fied with myself and with the results of my mission. 

As I descended the stairs, I noticed a fine sol 
dierly officer standing in the doorway, and after bid 
ing him a hearty good-morning, I invited him to 
pany me to the saloon of the hotel, where we 
. ru uu ally indulged in a decoction as is the universal 
custom in Southern cities. After I had obtained my 
breakfast, it occurred to me that, before attempting 
an)- active measures for the day, I owed it to myself 
to procure the, services of a barber for a much-needed 


shave. I had been traveling for a number of days, 
and my face had been a stranger to a razor for a long 
time, and I concluded I would be more presentable 
if I consulted a tonsorial artist. 

This was an unfortunate idea, and I soon had 
occasion to regret having entertained it for a mo 
ment. I would have been far more contented if I 
had bestowed no thoughts upon my grizzled beard, 
and allowed nature to take its course with my hirsute 

Entirely unconscious, however, of what was in 
store for me, I entered the well-fitted saloon of the 
hotel, and patiently waited my turn to submit myself 
to the deft fingers of the knight of the razor. 

In response to the universal and well-understood 
call of "next!" I took my seat in the luxuriously 
upholstered chair, and in a few minutes my face was 
covered with the foamy lather applied by the dap 
per little German into whose hands I had fallen. 

I noticed when I sat down that the man wore a 
puzzled and speculative look, as though he was strug 
gling with some vexing lapse of memory, and as he 
drew the keen edge of the razor across my face, his 
eyes were fixed intensely upon my features. His 
manner annoyed me considerably, and I was at a 
loss to account for his strange demeanor. Whatever 
ideas I may have entertained with regard to this sin 
gular action were, however, soon set at rest, only to 
give place to a feeling of unrestful anger. 


He had just cleared one side of my face of its 
stubby growth of hair, when a smile irradiated his 
face, and with a look of self-satisfied recognition and 
pride, he addressed me : 

" Vy, how do you do, Mr. Bingerdon ?" 

Had a thunderbolt fallen at my feet I could not 
have been more perfectly amazed, and for a moment 
I could scarcely tell whether I was afoot or on 
horseback. I devoutly wished that I was anywhere 
than with this Dutch barber, whose memory was so 
uncomfortably retentive. 

I had been too accustomed to sudden surprises, 
however, to lose my self-control, and I replied to 
him, with an unmoved face and as stern a voice as I 
could command: 

" I am not Mr. Bingerdon, and I don t know the 


" Oh yes, your name is Bingerdon, and you leev 
in Geecago." 

The face of the German was so good-natured, 
and he appeared quite delighted at recognizing me, 
but for myself I was feeling very uncomfortable in 
deed. I did not know the man, nor what he knew 
of me. I knew, however, that he was perfectly right 
about my identity, and I knew also that it would be 
very dangerous for his knowledge to become general. 

" I tell you I don t know the man you are speak 
ing of," said I, sternly. 

" Oy, Mr. Bingerdon," he replied, in a grieved 


tone, " 1 know you well. Don t you mind me shav 
ing you in the Sherman House in Geecago, you was 
a customer of mine." 

The pertinacity of the man was simply exasperat 
ing, and fearing that his memory would be likely to 
get me into trouble, as several people were listening 
to our conversation, I resolved to end the difficulty 
at once. Jerking the towel from around my neck and 
wiping the lather from the unshaved portion of my 
face, I leapt from the chair, exclaiming angrily : 

" I tell you I know nothing of you Mr. Bingerdon, 
or any other d d Yankee abolitionist, and if you say 
another word to me upon this subject, I ll whip you 
on the spot !" 

The barber presented a most ridiculous appear 
ance ; he was utterly frightened at my manner, and 
yet so convinced was he that I was the man he took 
me for, that he appeared more amazed at my denial, 
than at my threats of violence. 

Meanwhile, the occupants of the saloon began to 
crowd around us, and several came in from the 
adjoining rooms. Turning to them with well-simu 
lated anger, I told them the story I had invented; I 
lived near Augusta, Georgia ; never was in Chicago, 
did not know Mr. Pinkerton or any of his gang. 
Then I denounced the discomfited barber in round 
terms, and finished by inviting the entire crowd to 
take a drink with me. 

This they all did with alacrity and by the time 


they had drained their glasses, every one of the party 
were strong adherents of mine. We then returned 
to the barber-shop, and so thoroughly was the crowd 
convinced of my truthfulness, that they were eager to 
punish the innocent occasion of my anger. One im 
petuous individual wanted to hang him on sight, and 
his proposition was received with general favor ; but 
finding I had succeeded in evading detection for my 
self, I interfered in the poor fellow s behalf and he 
was finally let off. 

After another drink all round I managed to get 
away from the party, and it was not long before I 
was upon my horse, and traveling away from the 
possibility of a recurrence of such an accidental dis 
covery. I procured a razor and shaving materials, 
and performed that operation for myself, as I did not 
care to excite curiosity by exhibiting my half-shaved 
face to any more inquisitive barbers. 

A few miles outside of the town I sold my horse, 
and concluding that I had obtained as much informa 
tion as was desirable at that time, and as I had 
already been absent from head-quarters longer than 
I had intended, I made my way back to Cincinnati 
by a circuitous route, and reached there in safety, 
well pleased with my work, and quite rejoiced to find 
that General McClellan.was fully satisfied with what 
I had learned. 


East and West Virginia. Seceding from Secession. 
Scouts in Virginia. A Rebel Captain Entertains " My 
Lord: An old Justice Dines with Royalty. A Lucky 
Adventure. A Runaway Horse. A Rescue. 

A this time the condition of affairs in the State 
of Virginia the " Old Dominion," as it was 
generally denominated presented a most perplexing 
and vexatious problem. The antagonistic position of 
the two sections of that state demanded early con 
sideration and prompt action on the part of the 
Federal Government, both in protecting the loyal 
people in the Western section, and of preserving 
their territory to the Union cause. Within the 
borders of this commonwealth there existed two 
elements, directly opposed to each other, and both 
equally pronounced in the declaration of their political 
opinions. The lines of demarkation between these 
div urnunities were the Allegheny Mountains, 

which extended through the very middle of the state, 
from north-east to south-west, and divided her terri 
tory into two divisions, slightly unequal in size, but 
evidently different in topographical features and 
personal characteristics. 



From the nature of its earlier settlement, and by 
reason of climate, soil and situation, Eastern Virginia 
remained the region of large plantations, with a heavy 
slave population, and of profitable agriculture, 
especially in the production of tobacco. West 
Virginia, on the contrary, having been first settled 
by hunters, pioneers, lumbermen and miners, pos 
sessed little in common with her more wealthy and 
aristocratic neighbors beyond the mountains. They 
made their homes in the wilds of the woods, and 
among the rocky formations, under which was hidden 
the wealth they were seeking to develop, and in time 
this western country became the seat of a busy manu 
facturing industry, with a diversified agriculture for 
local consumption, while the east was largely given 
up to the production of great staples for export. Ai 
a natural result, the population and wealth of the 
eastern portion, which was thus made to stand in the 
relation of a mere tributary province to her grasping 
neighbor, who selfishly absorbed the general taxes 
for local advantage. 

The slave interest also entered largely into the 
creation and continuance of this antagonistic feeling. 
According to a census, which had been recently 
taken, it was ascertained that Eastern Virginia held 
but a few thousands. It was not a matter of surprise, 
therefore that secessionism should be rampant in the 
east, and that a Union sentiment should almost 
universally prevail in the west. As the institution 


of slavery was more or less the cause of the war, here, 
as i.i other parts of the South, secession reared its 
most formidable front where the slave interest pre 
dominated, and treason was more alert in the centers 
of accumulated wealth and family pride, whose foun 
dations were laid by the suffering and the toil of the 
African bondsmen. The war had been waged to 
defend the " Divine institution," and it was scarcely 
to be expected that such a cause would be valiantly 
championed by men whose self-reliance and personal 
independence had endeared to them the rights of 
free and honorable manhood. 

When the Convention of Virginia met to consider 
the question of secession, the slave-holding dignita 
ries were somewhat startled by the logical, but novel, 
declaration of one of the western members, that " the 
right of revolution can be exercised as well by a por 
tion of the citizens of a State against their State gov 
ernment, as it can be exercised by the whole people 
of a State against their Federal Government." This 
was followed by another, more pointed and revolution 
ary, " that any change in the relation Virginia now 
sustains to the Federal Government, against the 
wishes of even a respectable minority of her people, 
would be sufficient to justify them in changing their 
relation to the State government by separating them 
selves from that section of the State that had thus 
wantonly disregarded their Interests and defied their 


The convention, however, denying the pertinency 
of this logic, passed its secret ordinance of secession 
en the i ;th day of April, and within a week popular 
:ncvements were on foot in the various towns and 
Bounties of Western Virginia, to effect a division 
of the State. The people united in a unanimous pro 
test against the efforts of the slave-holding aristocrats 
to carry them into a cotton confederacy, and a deter 
mination to " secede from secession," was manifested 
everywhere. The loyal determination was rapidly 
followed by popular organization, an appeal for as 
sistance was made to the government at Washington, 
who promised them countenance and support, and on 
the 1 3th day of May, delegates from twenty-five 
counties of West Virginia met at Wheeling, to devise 
such action as would enable them to fully and finally 
repudiate the treasonable revolt of East Virginia. 

Many circumstances favored their position. The 
state of Ohio, immediately adjoining, was organizing 
her military force of volunteers, and Western Virginia 
was, not long after, attached to the department of the 
Ohio under command of General McClellan. The 
blockade of Washington, and other events, had oper 
ated to keep the Western troops on the Ohio line, 
and the Unionists of West Virginia found a protect 
ing military force at once in their immediate vicinity, 
with a commanding officer who was instructed to 
give them every encouragement and support. 

Meanwhile, Governor Letcher, of Virginia, ignor- 


ing the attitude assumed by the people of the West, 
had issued his proclamation calling for the organiza 
tion of the state militia, and including Western Vir 
ginia in the call. Prompted by a spirit of arrogance 
or over-confidence, he at an early day dispatched of 
ficers to that locality to collect and organize the mili 
tia of Western Virginia. Owing to the sparsity of 
the population, and the hilly and mountainous situa 
tion of the country, there were but two principal 
localities or lines of travel, where a concentration of 
forces could be best effected one of these being the 
line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and the 
other the valley of the Great Kanawha river. In 
these districts Governor Letcher sent his recruiting 
agents, but they soon returned reports of a very dis 
couraging character. The rebel emissaries found 
the feeling very bitter : that Union organizations ex 
isted in most of the counties, and that while frag 
ments of rebel companies were here and there spring 
ing up, it was very evident that no local force suffi 
cient to hold the country, would respond to the Con 
federate appeal, while the close proximity of Union 
forces at several points along the Ohio, pointed to a 
short tenure of Confederate authority. 

This information was not at all cheering to the 
rebel Governor of the State, and he determined to 
maintain his authority in the disaffected districts with 
armed forces from the eastern portion of the State. 
To accomplish this, he detailed a few available com- 


panics from Staunton to march toward Beverly, from 
which point they could menace and overawe the town 
of Grafton, the junction of the main stem of the 
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, with its branches ex 
tending to Parkersburg and Wheeling. The inhabit 
ants showed more alacrity, however, to take up arms 
for the government than for Governor Letcher or 
General Lee. A Union Western Virginia regiment, 
under the command of Colonel Kelley, began to 
gather recruits rapidly at Wheeling, while the rebel 
camps between Beverly and Grafton were compara 
tively deserted, and Colonel Porterfield, who had 
been sent under orders of Governor Letcher, found 
his efforts at recruiting decidedly unsuccessful. 

On the 23d day of May the State voted upon the 
ordinance of secession, and East Virginia, under 
complete military domination, accepted the ordinance, 
while West Virginia, comparatively free, voted to re 
ject the idea of secession. 

Immediately after the result was ascertained, the 
rebel troops became aggressive, and Colonel Porter- 
field dispatched several of his companies to burn the 
bridge on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. 

The appearance of these troops was quickly brought 
to the notice of the Federal authorities at Washing 
ton. On the 24th day of May the Secretary of War 
and General Scott telegraphed this information to 
General McClellan, and inquired "whether its influ 
ence could not be counteracted." General McClellan 


at once replied in the affirmative, and this was the 
sole order he received from Washington regarding a 
campaign in Virginia. 

On the 26th, the General ordered two regiments 
to cross the river at Wheeling, and two others at 
Parkersburg. They were to move forward simul 
taneously by the branch railroads from each of these 
points to their junction at Grafton. The burnt bridges 
were restored in their passage, and after a most bril 
liant strategic movement, Porterfield was completely 
surprised, and the. rebels were forced to disperse, in 
utter rout and confusion. 

This complete success of the first dash at the 
enemy had the most inspiriting effect upon the 
Union troops, and also encouraged and fortified the 
Western Virginia unionists, in their determination 
to break away from the East and to form a new 
State. This movement was successfully accomplished, 
and early in July they elected two United States 
senators, who were admitted to, and took part in the 
national legislature. 

Governor Pierpont, who was head of this provis 
ional State government, organized at Wheeling, made 
a formal application to the United States for aid to 
suppress the rebellion and protect the people against 
domestic violence. General McClellan, in furtherance 
of this object, ordered additional forces into the State 
from his department. 

In order to act intelligently in the matter, it was 


necessary that some definite information should be 
derived respecting the country which was now to be 
protected, and from which it was necessary the invad 
ing rebels should be driven. For this purpose the 
General desired that I should dispatch several of my 
men, who, by assuming various and unsuspicious 
characters, would be able to travel over the country, 
obtain a correct idea of its topography, ascertain the 
exact position and designs of the secessionists. 

For this duty I selected a man named Price 
Lewis, who had just returned from a trip to the South, 
and whom I had reason to be satisfied was equal to 
the task. I resolved, therefore, that he should be 
one of the party to make this journey, together with 
several others who were delegated for the same pur 
pose. In order to afford variety to the professions 
of my operatives, and because of his fitness for the 
character, I decided that Price Lewis should repre 
sent himself as an Englishman traveling for pleasure, 
believing that he would thus escape a close scrutiny 
or a rigid examination, should he, by any accident, 
fall into the hands of the rebels. 

Procuring a comfortable-looking road-wagon and 
a pair of strong gray horses, which were both sub 
stantial-looking and good roadsters, I stocked the 
vehicle with such articles of necessity and luxury as 
would enable them to subsist themselves if necessary, 
and at th? same time give the appearance of truth to 
such professions as the sight-seeing Englishman 


might feel authorized to make. I provided him also 
with a number of English certificates of various kinds, 
and I also supplied him with English money which 
could be readily exchanged for such currency that 
would best suit his purposes in the several localities 
which he would be required to visit. 

Lewis wore a full beard, and this was trimmed in 
the most approved English fashion, and when fully 
equipped for his journey he presented the appearance 
of a thorough well-to-do Englishman, who might 
even be suspected of having "blue blood" in his 
veins. In order that he might the more fully sustain 
the new character he was about to assume, and to 
give an added dignity to his position, I concluded to 
send with him a member of my force who would act 
in the capacity of coachman, groom and body serv 
ant, as occasion should demand. The man whom I 
selected for this role was a jolly, good-natured, and 
fearless Yankee named Samuel Bridgeman, a quick, 
sharp-witted young man, who had been in my employ 
ment some time, and who had on several occasions 
proved himself worthy of trust and confidence in mat 
ters that required tact as well as boldness, and good 
sense as well as keen wit 

Calling Sam into my office, I explained to him 
fully the nature of the duties he would be required to 
perform, and when I had concluded I saw by the 
merry twinkle in his eyes, and from the readiness 
with which he caught at my suggestions, that he 


thoroughly understood and had decided to carry out 
his part of the programme to the very letter. 

In addition to these, I arranged a route for two 
other men of my force. They were to travel through 
the valley of the Great Kanawha river, and to 
observe carefully everything that came under their 
notice, which might be of importance in perfecting a 
military campaign, in case the rebels should attempt 
hostile measures, or that General McClellan might 
find it necessary to promptly clear that portion of 
Virginia from the presence of secession troops. 
These two men were to travel ostensibly as farm 
laborers, and their verdant appearance was made to 
fully conform to such avocations. 

Everything being in readiness, the two parties were 
started, and we will follow their movements separately, 
as they were to travel by different routes. 

Price Lewis, the pseudo Englishman, and Sam 
Bridgeman, who made quite a smart-looking valet in 
his new costume, transferred their horses, wagon and 
stores on board the trim little steamer " Cricket," at 
Cincinnati, intending to travel along the Ohio River, 
and effect a landing at Guyandotte, in Western Vir 
ginia, at which point they were to disembark and 
pursue their journey overland through the country. 

I accompanied Lewis to the wharf, and after 
everything had been satisfactorily arranged, I bade 
him good-bye, and the little steamer sailed away up 
the river. 


There were the usual number of miscellaneous 
passengers upon the boat, and added to these were a 
number of Union officers, who had been dispatched 
upon various missions throughout that portion of the 
State of Ohio. These men left the steamer as their 
points of destination were reached, and after they had 
departed, several of the passengers who had hitherto 
remained silent, became very talkative. They began 
in a cautious manner to express their opinions, with 
a view of eliciting some knowledge of the sympathies 
of their fellow-travelers in the important struggle 
that was now impending. Lewis had maintained a 
quiet, dignified reserve, which, while it did not forbid 
any friendly approaches from his fellow-passengers, 
at the same time rendered them more respectful, and 
prevented undue familiarity. Sam Bridgeman con 
tributed materially to this result; his deference to 
"my lord" was very natural, and the respect with 
which he received his commands convinced the 
passengers at once that the English-looking gentle 
man was a man of some importance. 

The passengers all appeared to be Union men, 
and while they expressed their regrets that the war 
had commenced, they regarded their separation from 
Eastern Virginia, with undisguised satisfaction. 

At midnight, on the second evening, the boat 
landed at Guyandotte, and Samuel, with a great deal of 
importance, attended to the transfer of his master and 
the equipage from the boat to the wharf. Here they 


found a number of men in uniform, who were ascer 
tained to be representatives of the " Home Guard/ 1 
and in a few minutes Bridgeman had secured the ser 
vices of two of them, to assist him in safely landing 
their effects. This being satisfactorily accomplished, 
he, apparently in a sly manner, treated them to a drop 
of good whisky, which formed part of the stores they 
had been provided with. Stopping at the hotel over 
night, they continued their journey on the following 
morning. They drove leisurely along, and at about 
ten o clock they stopped at a farm-house to rest 
their horses. They remained here until nearly three 
o clock in the afternoon, conversing with the old 
farmer, who seemed to be much pained at the con 
dition of affairs, but who had two sons who had 
joined the rebel army. They renewed their journey 
in the afternoon, and in about two hours reached the 
little village of Colemouth, where there was a rebel 
encampment. On passing this they were halted by 
the guard, who inquired their business and destination. 
Lewis told him he was an Englishman, accompanied 
only by his servant, and that he was traveling through 
the country for pleasure. The guard informed them 
that he could not let them pass, and asked Lewis to 
go with him to the Captain s headquarters, which was 
located in a large stone house, a few hundred yards 
distant. My operative willingly consented, and leav 
ing Sam in charge of his carriage, he accompanied 
the soldier to the officer s quarters. He was ushered 


into a large and well-furnished apartment on the 
second floor, and in a few minutes the Captain came 

He greeted my operative pleasantly, and informed 
him that he regretted the necessity of detaining him, 
but orders had to be obeyed. Lewis related in sub- 
ssance what he had already stated to the guard, which 
statement the Captain unhesitatingly received, and 
after a pleasant conversation, he invited the detective 
to accept the hospitality of the camp. 

An English gentleman traveling for pleasure was 
not to be treated with discourtesy, and upon Lewis 
accepting of his invitation, a soldier was dispatched 
to bring the horses and carriage and their impatient 
driver into camp. 

Supper was ordered, and in a short time the Cap 
tain and his guest were discussing a repast which was 
far more appetizing than soldiers fare usually is. 
During the meal Sam stood behind the chair of 
Lewis, and awaited upon him in the most approved 
fashion, replying invariably with a deferential, 
"Yes, my lord." 

After full justice had been done to the repast, 
Price directed Bridgeman to bring in from the car 
riage a couple of bottles of champagne, and by the 
time the hour of retiring had arrived the detective 
had succeeded in impressing his entertainer with a 
very exalted opinion of his rank and standing when 
at home. 


Lewis, being an Englishman by birth, was very 
well posted about English affairs, and he entertained 
his host with several very well invented anecdotes of 
the Crimea, in which he was supposed to have taken 
an active part, and his intimacy with Lord Raglan, 
the commander of the British army, gained for hirr 
the unbounded admiration and respect of the doughty 

From this officer Lewis learned that there were 
a number of troops in Charleston, but a few miles 
distant, and that General Wise, who was then in 
command, had arrived there that day. 

After a refreshing sleep and a bounteous breakfast, 
Lewis informed the Captain that he would continue 
his journey toward Charleston, and endeavor to ob 
tain an interview with General Wise. The Captain 
cordially recommended him to do so, and furnished 
him with passports which would carry him without 
question or delay upon the road. As they were 
about taking their leave the Captain put into Lewis 
hands an unsealed letter, at the same time remarking 
with great earnestness : 

"My lord, I beg of you to accept the inclosed 
letter of introduction to General Wise ; as I am per 
sonally acquainted with him, this letter may be of 
some service to you, and I should be only too happy 
if it will be so." 

" Thank you," replied Lewis, "but you have 
been far too kind already, and believe me I shall 


always recall my entertainment at your hands with 

The valiant Captain was not aware that he had 
been furnishing very valuable information to his 
gentlemanly visitor, and that while he was unsuspect- 
ingly answering his well-directed questions, his serv 
ant, the quiet Sam Bridgeman, was unobservedly 
making notes of all that he heard in relation to the 
situation of affairs and with regard to the probable 
movements of the rebel troops. 

A rather ridiculous incident occurred to our two 
travelers after leaving the camp. They had pro 
ceeded but a short distance upon their way, when 
one of the horses they were driving cast a shoe, 
which made it necessary for them to stop at a 
little village and secure the services of a black 

Driving up to the hotel, Lewis alighted from the 
wagon, while Bridgeman drove to the blacksmith- 
shop in order to have his horse attended to. As 
Lewis ascended the steps of the hotel he noticed a 
tall, rather commanding-looking gentleman seated 
upon the porch, who was evidently scrutinizing his 
appearance, very carefully. The stranger was a man 
about sixty years of age, but remarkably well pre 
served, and the lines on his face scarcely gave but 
little indication of his years. There was an air of 
seeming importance about him which impressed 
Lewis with the fact that he must be one of the digni- 


taries of the place, and as he approached him he very 
politely raised his hat and saluted him. 

The old gentleman returned the salutation with 
an inquiring gaze, and Lewis, in order to pave the 
way to his acquaintance, invited him to partake of a 
drink, which was cordially accepted. In a few 
minutes, under its influence, the two men were con 
versing with all the freedom of old friends. 

Lewis ascertained that his companion was a jus 
tice of the peace, an office of some importance in that 
locality, and that the old gentleman was disposed to 
give to his judicial position all the dignity which a 
personal appreciation of his standing demanded. In 
a quiet manner, Lewis at once gave the justice to 
understand his appreciating the honor he had received 
in meeting him, and by a few well-administered flat 
teries, succeeded in completely winning the kind re 
gards of the old gentleman. Their pleasant conver 
sation was progressing with very favorable success, 
when Sam Bridgeman drove up with the team, having 
succeeded in finding a smithy and in having the lost 
shoe replaced. 

With a deferential, semi-military salute, he ad 
dressed Lewis : 

" We are all ready, my lord." At the mention 
of the title the old fellow jumped to his feet in blank 
amazement, and in the most obsequious manner, and 
with an air of humility, that, compared with his bom 
bastic tone of a few moments before, was perfectly 


ridiculous. Jerking off his hat and placing it under 
his left arm, he advanced, and said : 

" If my lord would do me the honor to accept my 
poor hospitality, I would only be too happy to have 
the pleasure of his company for dinner ; my house 
is only a short distance off, on the road to Chtrleston, 
and will detain you no longer than to rest and 
feed your horses, and partake of a true Southern 

Lewis hesitated a moment, and then remembering 
that he had represented himself as traveling purely 
for pleasure, he did not see how he could avoid ac 
cepting his kind invitation. 

" I have heard, sir, of the hospitable character of 
the Southern gentlemen, and I assure you I shall be 
most happy to avail myself of your kindness." 

The old Justice could not conceal his pleasure at 
the prospect of entertaining a " live lord " in his own 
house, and with evident delight he accepted a seat in 
Lewis carriage. He directed the way to his dwelling, 
which stood back from the road, surrounded by a grove 
of lofty pines, and then invited his guest within ; in 
trusting the care of the team to the care of Sam and 
one of the servants, they entered the house, and were 
soon engaged in discussing the situation of affairs, both 
North and South. Lewis informed the old Justice 
that his name was Henry Tracy, of Oxford, England, 
and that his object was to reach Charleston, but that 
he was not aware that the country was so unsettled, 


or ha would not have ventured on this trip, tie 
then related his adventure of the day before, and 
commented favorably on the gentlemanly bearing of 
the Captain, and the manner in which he had been 
treated. They indulged in pleasant conversation, on 
various topics, until dinner was announced. 

When they had done justice to an excellent re 
past, they repaired to a shaded porch in the rear of 
the house, and Lewis instructed Sam to bring out a 
bottle of champagne and a bottle of brandy. These, 
as already intimated, had been labeled with foreign 
wrappers, so that the deception was complete. The 
brandy was a very ordinary article, and the wine of 
an inferior quality, but the old gentlemen went into 
ecstasies over it, and under its mellowing influence, he 
became familiar and confidential, and gave to my 
shrewd operative much valuable information. Finally 
the justice grew profusely demonstrative, and leaning 
across the table, he said : 

" My lord, I have never tasted such brandy as 
you carry in all my life, I have a couple of warm 
friends outside whom I have taken the liberty to send 
for, and whom I know will be delighted to see you, 
and still more pleased to taste this excellent liquor." 

"Certainly," replied Lewis, * bring them in; I 
shall be happy to meet them." 

Lewis supposed, of course, that the two men 
whom he had referred were planters and neighbors, 
but imagine his surprise when the justice returned, 


accompanied by the blacksmith and cobbler of the 

After being introduced . to "my Lord Tracy," 
Lewis invited them to take a glass with them, and 
with evident pleasure, yet with visible embarrassment, 
they accepted the invitation and seated themselves at 
the table. 

It was now that the old gentleman grew loqua 
cious ; he was loud and profuse in his praises of the 
brandy; he asserted again and again, that it had 
never been his good fortune to taste such liquor, in 
which encomiums the blacksmith and cobbler heartily 
joined. As the afternoon wore away, and the pres 
ent supply was exhausted, Sam was dispatched after 
another bottle, and the social meeting continued un 
til evening. Lewis was careful as to the amount he 
drank, and intensely enjoyed the whole affair. The 
idea of the blacksmith and cobbler hobnobbing with 
an English lord, struck him as being so ridiculously 
funny, that he laughed again and again at the absur 
dity of the situation. Often during the evening he 
laughed immoderately, at what they supposed their 
own jokes and wit, when he was really thinking of 
the ridiculous comedy in which he was playing the 
leading part. When the hour for retiring arrived, 
the old man begged as a special favor that he would 
be allowed to keep one of the empty bottles, as a 
memento of the occasion of his lordship s dining with 
him, and to remind him of the pleasure he had en- 


joyed of drinking some rare old imported brandy 
(made in Cincinnati). The blacksmith and cobbler 
also looked so longingly at the empty bottles before 
them, that Lewis could scarcely refrain from laughing 
heartily, as he graciously complied with their request 
for a souvenir of the occasion. The evident satisfac 
tion with which they appropriated a bottle apiece, as 
they started for home, and thek hearty thanks as 
they bid him good-night, was heartily echoed by the 
old justice, who carefully laid his bottle away as a 
sacred relic of a never-to-be-forgotten event. 

While the party were enjoying themselves on the 
porch, Sam Bridgeman had been using his time well 
among the servants, and had gleaned much valuable 
information from them. They remained over night 
with the old gentleman, and on the following morning, 
after bidding him a kind farewell, they started on 
their journey. Lewis did not forget, however, before 
leaving, to take a parting glass with his host, who 
seemed very reluctant to have them depart. They 
continued on their way towards Charleston, traveling 
but slowly, as the roads were heavy from the recent 
rains. About noon they arrived at a farm-house, to 
which they had been recommended by their host of 
the night before. Here they stopped for dinner, and 
after refreshing themselves, they again went on 
The afternoon was warm and pleasant, and their 
journey lay through a beautiful stretch of country. 
Driving quietly along, they beguiled the time admir- 


ing the beautiful scenery spread before them, and in 
pleasant converse. Their enjoyment was, however, 
suddenly interrupted by the sound of loud voices and 
the clattering of horses hoofs immediately behind 
him. Quickly turning around, the cause of this 
unusual excitement was at once apparent. A fine 
black horse, covered with foam, was tearing down the 
turnpike at break-neck speed, and evidently running 
away. Upon his back was seated a young lady, who 
bravely held her seat, and who was vainly attempting 
to restrain the unmanageable animal. Some distance 
behind were a party of ladies and gentlemen on horse 
back, all spurring their horses to the utmost, as if 
with the intention of overtaking the flying steed in 
front of them. Intense fear was depicted upon the 
countenances of those in the rear, and not without 
reason, for the situation of the young lady was 
dangerous indeed. 

Quick as a flash, my operatives realized the situa 
tion of affairs, and the necessity for prompt action. 
Without uttering a word, Sam Bridgeman turned 
his horses directly across the road, intending by that 
means to stop the mad course of the fiery charger 
approaching them. As he did so, Lewis sprang from 
the wagon, and with the utmost coolness advanced to 
meet the approaching horse. On came the frightened 
animal at a speed that threatened every moment to 
hurl the brave girl from her seat, until he approached 
nearly to the point at which my operatives had 


stationed themselves, and then, evidently perceiving 
the obstructions in his path, he momentarily slackened 
pace. In that instant Lewis sprang forward, and 
grasping the bridle firmly with a strong hand, he forced 
the frightened animal back upon his haunches. The 
danger was passed. The horse, feeling the iron grip 
upon the bridle, and recognizing the voice of 
authority, stood still and trembling in every joint, his 
reeking sides heaving, and his eyes flashing fire. The 
young lady, with a sudden revulsion of feeling, fell 
back in the saddle, and would have fallen but that 
Sam Bridgemen, hastening to the relief of his com 
panion, was fortunately in time to catch the fainting 
figure in his arms. Extricating her quickly from the 
saddle, he set her gently on the ground, and as he did 
so the fair head fell forward on his shoulder, and, she 
lost consciousness. 

By this time Lewis had succeeded in quieting the 
excited animal, and had fastened him to a tree by the 
wayside, and as he turned to the assistance of 
Bridgeman, the companions of the unconscious girl 
rode up. Hastily dismounting, they rushed to her 
aid, and in a few minutes, under their ministrations, 
the dark eyes were opened, and the girl gazed won- 
deringly around. 

After being assisted to her feet, she gratefully 
expressed her thankfulness to the men who had prob 
ably saved her life, in which she was warmly joined 
by the remainder of the party. 


Sam Bridgeman received these grateful expres 
sions with an air of modest confusion, which was 
indeed laughable, and then said : 

" It ain t no use thanking me, Miss, it was my 
lord here, that stopped the the animal." 

At the words "my lord, "a look of curiosity came 
over the faces of the new-comers, and Lewis stepped 
gracefully forward and introduced himself. 

" I am glad, ladies and gentlemen, to have been 
of service to this young lady, and permit me to intro 
duce myself as Henry Tracy, of Oxford, England, 
now traveling in America." 

The three gentlemen who were of the riding 
party grasped the hand of their new-made English 
acquaintance, and in a few words introduced him to 
the ladies who accompanied them, all of whom were 
seemingly delighted to make the acquaintance of a 
gentleman who had been addressed by his servant 
as " my lord." 

This adventure proved to be a most fortunate one 
for my two operatives. The gentlemen, upon intro 
ducing themselves, were discovered to be connected 
with the rebel army, and to be recruiting officers sent 
by Governor Letcher to organize such rebel volun 
teers as were to be gathered in Western Virginia. 
By them Lewis was cordially invited to join their com 
pany to Charleston, which he as cordially accepted 
Suggesting that as the young lady, who had scarcely 
recovered from the accident, might not feel able to 


ride her horse into town, he politely offered her a 
seat in his carriage, which offer was gratefully ac 
cepted, and attaching the runaway horse to the rear 
of the vehicle, the party proceeded on their way to 
Charleston, at which point they arrived without 
further event or accident. 

The young lady whom Lewis had so providen 
tially rescued was the only daughter of Judge 
Beveridge, one of the wealthiest and most influential 
men in the State, and upon conducting her to her 
home, the detective was received with the warmest 
emotions by the overjoyed father. Lewis was pressed 
to make the house of the Judge his home during his 
stay, but gratefully declining the invitation, he took 
up his quarters at the hotel, where he could more 
readily extend his acquaintance, and where his move 
ments would be more free. 

The young officers whom he had met upon the 
road had their quarters at the hotel at which Lewis 
had stopped, and under their friendly guidance no 
one thought of questioning his truthfulness, or im 
peaching his professions. 

By this means he was enabled to acquire a wonder 
ful amount of information, both of value and impor 
tance to the cause of the North, all of which was duly 
reported to me at headquarters, and by me commu 
nicated directly to General McClellan. 


The Rebels Attempt to Occupy West Virginia. Genei id 
McClellan Ordered to Drive them Out. Early Battle. 
T/te Federals Victorious. West Virginia Freed from 
Rebel Soldiers. 

T3 ECOGNIZING the importance of holding West 
-LV Virginia, and of preventing the Unio n forces 
from penetrating through the mountains in the direc 
tion of Staunton, the rebel authorities had sent two 
new commanders into that region. Ex-Governor Wise 
was dispatched to the Kanawha Valley, and General 
Garnet t, formerly a Major in the Federal army, was 
sent to Beverly to attempt to gather up and reorganize 
the remnants of Colonel Porterfield s scattered com 
mand, and to adopt immediate measures to reinforce 

General Wise having been assigned to the Ka 
nawha Valley, was expected to arrive at Charleston on 
the day following the appearance of my operatives, 
and the city was in a state of subdued excitement in 
anticipation of his coming. 

In the evening, Lewis, in company with the officers 
whom he had met in the morning, proceeded to the resi 
dence of Judge Beveridge, where he was cordially re- 


ceived by that gentleman and his charming daughter t 
who had now thoroughly recovered from the effects of 
her dangerous ride. With rare grace she greeted my 
operative, and her expressions of thankfulness were 
couched in such delicate language, that the pretended 
Englishman felt a strange fluttering in his breast, 
which was as novel to him as it was delicious. He 
passed a very delightful evening, and by his knowledge 
of English affairs, and his unqualified approval of the 
cause of the South, added to the fact that he was 
believed to be a gentleman of rank and fortune, he 
succeeded in materially increasing the high opinion 
which had previously been entertained regarding him. 

The next morning General Wise arrived, and his 
appearance was hailed with delight by the disunion 
element of the city, while those whose sympathies 
were with the North looked with apprehension and 
disfavor upon the demonstrations that were being 
made in his honor. 

At the first opportune moment, Price Lewis, with 
the assistance of his new-found friends, the rebel 
officers, succeeded in obtaining an introduction to the 
ancient-looking individual whose career had been 
marked by such exciting events, and who was so 
prominent a figure in the tragedy that was now being 
enacted. He was a small, intelligent-looking man, 
whose age appeared to be nearly seventy years, and 
whose emaciated appearance gave nvery token that 
he had not long to live. His eyes shone with the 


bxilliancy of youth, and the fires of ambition seemed 
to be burning brightly in his breast. Perhaps no 
other man in the South had contributed in so great a 
degree to hasten the folly of secession, and certairjy 
none rejoiced more heartily at its final realization. 

By his eloquence, and the magnetic power of his 
presence, he had led the ignorant classes of the State 
to firm belief in the justice of his cause, and by his 
teachings he had imbued them with a firm conviction 
that they were acting for their own best interests, and 
for the furtherance of the Southern supremacy and 

Stern and determined, he allowed nothing to 
stand between him and the accomplishment of his 
purposes. But a few months before, he had ordered 
the execution of John Brown, who, with a mere hand 
ful of men, had attempted to strike a blow in behalf 
of the slave. This ardent abolitionist attacked and 
captured Harper s Ferry, a government arsenal, by 
overpowering the men who were stationed at that 
place, but the authorities had been called upon, and 
then, yielding to superior numbers, he was compelled 
to surrender. In this encounter the majority of his 
men were slain, and John Brown, with six of his asso 
ciates, was taken prisoner. This occurred on the 
i6th day of October, 1859, anc * on tne 22C ^ day * 
December, after a hurried trial, the prisoners were 
ordered by Governor Wise to be publicly hanged 
The sentence was duly carried into effect, and the 


action of John Brown was used by the secession ad 
vocates to inflame the minds of the Southern people 
against the North. Now that secession had become 
an established fact, it was a matter of question 
whether the leaders of the Southern cause would not, 
in the end, strike a far more forcible blow in favor of 
the emancipation of the slave, than did the impetuous 
old man who gave up his life at the behest of the 
Southern leaders. 

The General had been previously informed of the, 
presence of Lewis in the hotel, and of his adventure 
on the day previous, consequently, when he was pre 
sented to the new commander, he was received with 
warm cordiality. The General inquired particularly 
into his history, and his present movements, all of which 
were replied to by Lewis in a dignified and satisfac 
tory manner. Under the influence of Lewis good 
nature the General became social and familiar, and 
invited him to dine with him in his apartments. 

Leaving no opportunity that offered, the detec 
tive took advantage of every available suggestion, and 
the result was he became fully posted upon every 
thing that was of importance, and was enabled to ren 
der *uch an account of his labors as was satisfactory 
in the: extreme. Sam Bridgeman, too, had not been 
idle, but mingling freely with the soldiers, he had 
succeeded in learning much of the conditions of the 
country that was of immense advantage in the after 
events of the campaign -in Western Virginia. 


They remained in Charleston about eight days, 
and then, taking leave of the many friends they had 
made, they made their way safely back to Cincinnati 
and reported. The other two men whom I had dis 
patched upon the same mission traveled by rail across 
the State of Ohio and reached the West Virginia line 
at Point Pleasant. Here they began their investiga 
tions, and passing unquestioned they roamed through 
the country, passing eastward as far as Lynchburg. 
Thence, they made a detour to the South, and jour 
neyed as far as Chattanooga and Nashville, in Tennes 
see, and thence to Louisville, Ky. Throughout their 
entire pilgrimage they were ever on the alert to 
acquire knowledge, and the immense amount of infor 
mation which they gathered would only prove tedious 
to both myself and the reader. It is enough to say 
that they performed their duty in a manner creditable 
to themselves and valuable to the cause they repre 
sented, and I will simply summarize the situation. 

General Garnett had posted himself in the pass 
at Laurel Hill, with an additional force at Beverly, 
while another, detachment, under Col. Pegram, had 
established himself in the pass at Rich Mountain. 
Here he had intended to fortify himself and to await 
a favorable opportunity for breaking the railroad. 
He found affairs upon his arrival in a miserable con 
dition ; the troops were disorganized and without dis 
cipline, arms or ammunition, and General Lee imme 
diately sent him re-enforcements. 


This was the condition of affairs, when, early in 
July, General McClellan resolved to take the offen 
sive and drive the rebels from West Virginia. In 
this campaign he received material aid and assistance 
from that brave officer General Rosecrans, who by 
superhuman exertions penetrated the pathless forest 
cutting and climbing his way to the very crest of 
Rich Mountain. 

This movement, difficult as it was, to the South of 
the rebels, was a complete surprise to the enemy, who 
was expecting their arrival from the North. 

They made a gallant resistance, however, but the 
Union forces had such an advantage that the contest 
was quickly decided. The rebel forces were driven 
from their breast-works and were compelled to take 
refuge in thickets or the mountains. Their confu 
sion was deplorable, and their defeat unmistakable. 

This victory placed the enemy in a very precari 
ous position. McClellan was in his front and Rose 
crans in secure possession of the road behind him, 
and Pegram, realizing the danger that threatened him, 
returned to his camp and, hastily spiking his guns, he 
abandoned all his stores and equipments, and endeav 
ored to escape by marching northward along the 
mountain, intending, if possible, to join Garnett at 
Laurel Hill. 

For the time being, he was successful in eluding 
the Federal commanders, and after a most laborious 
march of eighteen hours, found himself within three 


miles of Leedsville. Here he was doomed to 
disappointment, for he learned that Garnett had also 
retreated, and that a strong Union column was in 
close pursuit. Thus he was again caught between 
two Union armies, and despairing of effecting his 
escape, he sent a proposal to General McClellan, 
offering a total surrender of his command. The 
Union General accepted the proposition, and on the 
following day the half-famished rebel fugitives laid 
down their arms and became prisoners of war, only 
too glad to receive once more comfortable quarters 
and hunger-appeasing rations. 

The fugitives who had escaped from the battle of 
Rich Mountain carried the news of that disaster to 
Beverly, and to General Garnett, at Laurel Hill, and 
an immediate retreat was ordered. But he was closely 
pressed by the advancing Union armies, and when 
General Garnett reached Leedsville, he heard that 
General McClellan was at Beverly, thus cutting off 
effectually his further passage southward. He now 
resolved upon the desperate attempt of turning to the 
North and reaching St. George and West Union by a 
rough and difficult mountain road, during which his 
troops naturally became very much scattered and 
disorganized. Although he was nearly fifteen hours 
in advance of his pursuers, they gained rapidly upon 
him, and notwithstanding every effort was made by 
the rebels to impede his progress by felling trees in 
the narrow mountain defiles, the Union advance 


overtook the rebel wagon-train at Carrick s Ford, one 
of the crossings of Cheat River, about twenty-six 
miles north-west of Laurel Hill. Here Garnett 
resolved to risk an encounter, and facing about his 
troops, he took a position on a favorable and pre 
cipitous elevation on the river bank, and planting his 
guns so as to command the ford and the approaching 
road, he prepared to defend his retreat. A brisk 
engagement at once ensued, and after a sharp contest 
the rebel lines broke and fled, abandoning one of 
their guns. 

Retreat and pursuit were once more commenced, 
and at the next ford, a quarter of a mile further on, 
during a desultory skirmish fire between small parties 
of sharpshooters, General Garnett was killed. Here 
the Federal pursuit was discontinued, and the rebels 
left in the hands of the victors their entire baggage 
train, one gun, two stands of colors and fifty 

Estimated according to mere numbers, these battles 
of Rich Mountain and Carrick s Ford appear somewhat 
insignificant in contrast with the great battles of the 
rebellion, which occurred during the succeeding three 
years. Hundreds of engagements of greater magni 
tude, and attended with much more serious loss of 
life, followed these encounters, and decided the 
mighty problem of Northern success, but this early 
skirmish with the rebels cm Rich Mountain, and this 
rout of Gar lett s rear-guard at Carrick s Ford, were 


Speedily followed by great political and military 
results, which exercised a powerful influence upon the 
after-conduct of the war. They closed a campaign, 
dispersed a rebel army, which had for a long time been 
harassing a State whose sympathies were with the 
Union, and they permanently pushed back the 
military frontier to the borders of rebellious territory. 
Now, is it too much to say that the brilliant success 
which attended this first aggressive movement of 
General McClellan had a marked effect upon the 
public mind ? That they gave a general impression 
of his military skill is not to be doubted, and he was 
from that time the hero of the hour. Certain it is 
that a train of circumstances started from these 
achievements which eventually led to his being called 
to Washington after the reverses at Manassas and 
Bull Run, and made him, on the first day of Novem 
ber following, the General-in-Chief of all the armies 
of the United States. 

It is not necessary for me to follow the subse 
quent operations in West Virginia, as my duties were 
connected with General McClellan and his campaigns 
in that district ended with the death of General Gar- 
nett and the dispersion of his army. About a week 
afterwards he was called to a new field of duty at 
Washington city, and it is not my purpose to touch 
upon events in which I took no part. It is enough 
to say that, with somewhat fluctuating changes, the 
rebels were gradually forced back from the Great 


Kanawha Valley, and the eventual result left West 
Virginia in possession of the Federal troops, her own 
inherent loyalty having contributed largely in pro 
ducing this condition. The Union sentiment of the 
people was everywhere made manifest, and the new 
State government was consolidated and heartily sus 
tained, ending in her ultimate admission as a separate 
member of the Federal Union in June, 1863. 


General McClellan is called to Washington and placed in 
Command of the Armies, after the Battle of Bull Run. 
The Secret Service Department. Its Duties and Respon 

AS I am not attempting to write a history of the 
^~~i- Civil War, but merely relating, as best I can, 
the leading incidents connected with my labors in the 
secret service, I shall not dwell upon the details of 
the military movements of the war, except as they are 
necessarily connected with my own movements. It 
is necessary, however, to make cursory mention of 
that remarkable chain of circumstances which fol 
lowed General McClellan s campaign in West Vir 
ginia, resulting in entire and unexpected change of 
circumstances to him, and a consequent enlargement 
of my own field of operations. Therefore, without 
pausing to describe the various movements and enter 
prises in West Virginia during the remainder of the 
year 1861, or detailing the campaign of the three 
months volunteers under General Patterson, and 
their bloodless victory at Harper s Ferry, I will pass 
>n to other scenes and events which lead directly to 
the turning-point in my story. 



Patriotism in the North was excited to such a 
pitch that the people were impatient of delay, and 
eager to strike a decisive blow a blow that would at 
once annihilate treason and wipe out the insult to a 
nation s flag, and maintain a nation s honor. The 
resounding echoes of the rebel guns that had done 
their work of destruction on Sumter s walls, were still 
vibrating in the air. 

The Confederate seat of government had been 
transferred from Montgomery to Richmond, immedi 
ately after Virginia s indorsement of the secession 
ordinance, and this enthronement of rebellion so close 
to the very stronghold of freedom, caused patriotic 
resentment to blaze up with fresh intensity. 

In the month of June a determined movement 
against Manassas was resolved upon at Washington. 

As a preliminary step to the advancement upon 
the rebel capital, General Scott gave Patterson 
orders to offer Johnston battle, or detain him in 
the Shenandoah Valley by other demonstrations, in 
order that his army might not unite with Beauregard s 
and defeat the movement. But Patterson failed to 
perform the task assigned to him, and bis failure lost 
to the Union cause the first great battle of the 

General Beauregard was in possession of Manassas 
with six thousand men, and this force was being 
very materially increased by the arrival of reinforce 
ments from time to time; but notwithstanding this 


fact, it was believed that every chance of success 
would be provided for by the strength of the Union 
army at the capital, if only Johnston could be held in 
check for a few days. 

Delay in starting this expedition against the en 
emy s works was unavoidable, and it was not until 
the afternoon of the i6th of July that the march 
of McDowell s army commenced. Even then the 
progress was painfully slow, owing to inexperience 
and lack of discipline on the part of the troops. 

Manassas Junction was defended by about two 
thousand rebels, with fourteen or fifteen heavy guns, 
while at Bull Run, some three miles east of Manassas, 
was stationed Beauregard s main army, over twenty 
thousand strong, posted at the various fords of the 
stream, in a line fully eight miles long. McDowell, 
as a strategic movement to conceal his real purpose, 
directed his march upon Centerville, at which place 
Tyler s Division arrived on the morning of July 1 8th, 
to find that it had been evacuated by the rebels, who 
were all behind Bull Run. From Centreville, which is 
situated on a hill, Tyler and his men had a view of 
the whole valley spread out before them, with Ma 
nassas on the high plateau beyond. It has been 
hinted that Tyler was inspired with over confidence 
by the utter absence of opposition to his advance, and 
was thus betrayed into the indiscretion of a further 
advance and an experimental assault This provoked 
a skirmish, which speedly culminated in the battle of 


Blackburn s Ford, the result of which was much loss 
and demoralization. 

Two more days elapsed before the great fight 
occurred. Those two days were occupied by the en 
gineers in efforts to find an unfortified ford over Bull 
Run, which was accomplished in time to permit 
McDowell to call his officers together on Saturday 
night, and announce to them his plan of battle for 
the following day. This brought the main contest on 
Sunday, July 2ist, and before daylight on the morning 
of that eventful day, both armies were up and astir, 
each intending to take the initiative. There was much 
unnecessary confusion and delay, mingled with undue 
excitement and impetuosity, showing that everything 
was raw and awkward on both sides. Perhaps no 
troops ever engaged in warfare with as little knowl 
edge of the privations, hardships and dangers of 
soldier-life, as did the Union and Confederate armies 
on this bloody field. 

The day passed ; the shades of evening fell, and 
the battle of Bull Run had been fought and lost ! 
Victory had perched itself on the rebel banners, and 
the Union army was in full retreat towards Washing 
ton. The engagement had been well contested, and 
fought with equal courage and persistence by both 
sides, and the result was quite as unexpected to the 
Confederates as to the Federals. 

But Johnston had not been kept out of the fray, 
as it was calculated he would be. His army had 


been permitted to arrive on the battle-field in the 
nick of time to take a decisive part in the famous 
conflict, and to turn the fortunes of the day at a 
moment when the signs of victory were all in favor 
of the Federal troops. Totally unconscious of the 
fact that they had been fighting Johnston all day, the 
Union soldiers had not once lost confidence in them 
selves, and fully believed that they must win ; but 
when a fresh assault from a new quarter convinced 
them that Johnston s lorces had arrived, the realiza 
tion and acknowledgment of coming defeat pervaded 
the whole army, and the quick instinct of retreat was 
aroused. They believed that success had now become 
hopeless, and nothing could change this belief, or 
check or control the impulse of flight, once started. 
The day was lost ; the evidence of a great disaster 
became suddenly overwhelming to the non-combat 
ants in the rear ; the retreating brigades, and the 
nearer approach of cannonade and musketry soon 
confirmed the worst fears of a terrible defeat and a 
hot pursuit ; and then began that insane scramble and 
stampede for safety. 

The sights and scenes encountered on the way to 
Fairfax Court-House will never be effaced from the 
memory of those who witnessed it. The story of that 
memorable retreat has been told over and over again ; 
of the mad flight of civilians, in carriages and on 
horseback, lashing their steeds to the top of their 
speed ; of soldiers of all regiments mingled confusedly 


together, some in complete uniform, others stripped 
of everything but trousers, shirts and shoes, and all 
footsore, haggard and half-starved ; of arms, clothing 
and other valuables abandoned, that the progress of 
the runaways might not be impeded by such incum- 
brances ; of vehicles, and even ambulances, bearing 
wounded men, left standing in the road, while the 
frightened teamsters rode away like the wind, on 
horses unhitched or cut out of their harness ; of army 
wagons emptied of their loads and filled with 
stragglers, thundering along the crowded highway : of 
the dash and clatter o! artillery carriages ; of con 
fusion, panic, demoralization and headlong hurry 
everywhere along the route. 

By midnight, mounted officers and civilians began 
to arrive in Washington ; but not until the next day, 
when the rain was pouring down in torrents that 
dreadful, drenching rain that continued for thirty-six 
hours, with but slight intermission did the poor, 
hungry, fagged-out soldiers commence straggling in. 
That they were promptly and properly fed by the 
people, rich and poor, who threw open their doors 
and gave what they could to alleviate the suffering of 
these brave but unfortunate men, speaks volumes for 
the unselfish generosity of the loyal families of the 
capital during that period. 

It was while this discouraging state of affairs ex 
isted that General McClellan was called to Washing 
ton, to assume control of the lately defeated troops, 


General Rosecrans having succeeded him in the 
command of the Army of the West. Considering his 
recent success in West Virginia, and the military 
skill and judgment there displayed by him, it is but 
natural that McClellan should have been selected to 
re-create the army, which was destined to defend the 
Capital for the next three years. 

His arrival in Washington, on the 27th of July, 
was hailed with genuine delight by officers and citi 
zens, for at that date he held the esteem and confi 
dence and admiration of all loyal people. It was an 
immense responsibility which devolved upon him, but 
he accepted it cheerfully, and took up his task with 
that energy, tact and perseverance which precluded 
all possibility of failure. When first called to the 
command, he found a mere collection of regiments, 
undisciplined, undrilled and dispirited, cowering on the 
banks of the Potomac, and with only such material to 
work upon, he soon organized, equipped, and trained 
with rare skill, that grand body of troops, which he 
afterwards led in the campaign of the Peninsula. 

The war was but just commenced, at a time when 
most people thought it would be over. The " ninety 
days " theory was completely exploded. Those who 
had flattered themselves that the conflict would be 
" sharp and short " that a single victorious and glo 
rious campaign would crush the rebellion were now 
undeceived. My own hopes had controlled my judg 
ment on this subject, and made me visionary. I had 


hoped foi myself to be able speedily to return co cor* 
genial pursuits and my domestic circle, and thaf. a 
speedy collapse of their frenzy would save the South 
ern people from the inevitable ruin which must 
result from a protracted war. I had hoped for my 
country, that the spectacle she now presented to 
the world exciting the derision of her enemies, and 
the melancholy pity of her friends would soon be 
changed by the "returning good sense of the people," 
as it was so easily and egotistically phrased by many 
individuals at that time. Above all, I had hoped 
for the oppressed and shackled race of the South, 
that the downfall of slavery would be early a :com- 
plished, and their freedom permanently establ shed. 
Being myself an old line abolitionist, and by no 
means the least active or energetic of those who had 
controlled and operated the famous " under-ground 
railroad," I had the Anti-Slavery cause very much at 
heart, and would never have been satisfied until that 
gigantic curse was effectually removed. 

Indeed, during the whole time that I labored for 
the cause of th? Union, the dearest object I had in 
view was the abolition of the most cruel system of 
oppression that ever cursed any people an oppres 
sion long ago so justly characterized by John Wesley 
as " the sum of all villainy " in comparison with 
which Egyptian bondage appeared simply burden 
some. All these hopes were dissipated by the results 
of the late campaign. The war had developed into a 


reality to estimate. " The Federal Union it must 
and shall be preseived !" was the sentiment that 
now prevailed, and all realized that the time for 
doubt and hesitation had gone by. 

There was no mistaking the duty of every loyal 
heart the Republic must be saved at whatever cost. 

As I have previously stated, my connection with 
General McClellan was not interrupted by this 
change in his position. By my own preference, as 
well as at his request, I accompanied him to Washing 
ton, and cast my lot with those who were rallying 
there to protect and defend the government of the 
United States. 

Among the first things the General did, after 
being assigned to the command of the troops around 
that city, was to organize a secret service force, 
under my management and control. I was to have 
such strength of force as I might require ; my head 
quarters were for the time located in Washington. 
It was arranged that whenever the army moved I 
was to go forward with the General, so that I might 
always be in close communication with him. My 
corps was to be continually occupied in procuring, 
from all possible sources, information regarding 
the strength, positions and movements of the enemy. 
All spies, " contrabands," deserters, refugees and 
prisoners ot war, coming into our lines from the front, 
were to be carefully examined by me, and their state 
ments taken in writing. 


This was the first real organization of the secret 
service. How much benefit was rendered to the 
country by this branch of the army will probably 
never be known the destruction of nearly all my 
papers in the great fire of Chicago preventing their full 
publication but that our operations were of immense 
practical value to the Union commander is a fact 
attested to by every one connected with the leading 
movements of our forces. 

It was about this time that the city of Washington 
was placed under martial law a measure deemed 
necessary to correct the serious evils which existed, 
and to restore order in the city. Colonel Andrew 
Porter, of the Sixteenth United States Infantry, was 
appointed Provost-Marshal, and under his command 
was placed all the available infantry, a battery, and a 
squadron of cavalry. In addition to these, the assist 
ance of a detective police force was deemed indispen 
sable, and in answering this requirement I found 
work enough to keep myself and entire corps busy 
during our stay in Washington. A better under 
standing of my position and the nature of my duties 
at this time may be gained from the following extracts 
from a letter which I addressed to General McClel- 
lan wheQsthe organization of this department was yet 
in its incipiency. 


"In accordance with your expressed desire, I beg 
leave to submit to you my views with regard to the 


duties of my detective police force, should the 
services of the same be required by the government. 

%< In order to promote the efficiency of such a 
force, it is highly necessary that its existence should 
be known to as few persons as possible. It is an ad 
mitted and self-evident fact that the movements of 
the various departments of the government, civil and 
military, are closely watched, and it is beyond a doubt 
that from some source the rebels have received early, 
and to them, valuable notice of the intended actions 
of the government. I am also led to believe that the 
rebels have spies who are in the employment of this 
government, or who possess facilities for acquiring 
information from the civil and military authorities, or 
bureaus, and that this information is imparted to 
others, and transmitted, within a very short time, to 
the rebel government. Many of the parties thus 
leagued with the enemy are said to be persons of 
wealth and position. 

" In operating with my detective force, I shall 
endeavor to test all suspected persons in various 
ways. I shall seek access to their houses, clubs, and 
places of resort, managing that among the members 
of my force shall be ostensible representatives of 
every grade of society, from the highest to the most 
menial. Some shall have the entree to the gilded 
salon of the suspected aristocratic traitors, and be 
their honored guests, while others will act in the 
capacity of valets, or domestics of various kinds, and 
try the efficacy of such relations with the household 
to gain evidence. Other suspected ones will be 
tracked by the shadow detective, who will follow 
their every foot-step, and note their every action. 


" I also propose to employ a division of my force 
for the discovery of any secret traitorous organization 
which may be in existence ; and if any such society is 
discovered, I will have my operatives become mem 
bers of the same, with a view to ascertaining the 
means employed in transmitting messages through the 
lines, and also for the purpose of learning, if possible, 
the plans of the rebels. All strangers arriving in the 
city, whose associations or acts may lay them open to 
suspicion, will be subjected to a strict survillance. 

#. #.;*#.:* 

"Another and more dangerous feature of the 
service contemplated to be rendered to the govern 
ment by my detectives, is that of entering the rebel 
lines, and endeavoring to obtain accurate information 
of the nature of their defences, the number of troops 
under their command at various points, etc. 

"In order to give efficiency to this movement, 
operations should be commenced in Baltimore as well 
as at Washington. 


" Considering the amount of labor to be done and 
the necessity of immediate action on my part, in case 
these plans are to be carried out, I purpose concen 
trating my entire detective force of both sexes into this 
work. * * * * * 

" The amount of force necessary to carry out such 
an undertaking as I have indicated, will necessarily 
be very large, and the assumption of disguises and 
characters by my operatives, will be a very important 
item in itself," etc., etc., etc. 

My views were carried out just as they were set 



forth in this letter, and I was soon hard at \\ork in 
my efforts to " regulate " the District of Columbia. 
It was too true that a great majority of the local 
police were disloyal, and could not be depended upon 
to faithfully discharge their duties to the government 
that employed them : therefore, in addition to my 
other work, I exerted myself to the utmost in aiding 
the municipal authorities to reorganize and discipline 
the police of the district. 

Many personal incidents worthy of note occurred 
during this period, but there was one which I recall 
at this moment with a laugh at my own expense an 
incident in which I was reluctantly compelled to oc 
cupy the wotig side of a guard-house over night, and 
instead vf capturing a prisoner became a prisoner 



A Female Traitor. Suspicious Correspondence. A Close 
Watch under Difficulties. I am Arrested. Exposure of 
the Treason of a Trusted Officer. A Disgraced Captain 

DURING the earlier stages of the rebellion, a 
number of Southern sympathizers were domi 
ciled in the city of Washington, and among the num 
ber were many ladies of refinement and wealth, from 
the South, who had been leaders of fashion and of 
society in the brilliant days of previous administra 
tions. Many of these ladies were extremely fascinat 
ing in their manners, and being gifted with great per 
sonal beauty and with rare conversational qualities, 
they had gathered around them a brilliant circle of 
acquaintances, to whom they dispensed regal hospital 
ities and most delicate courtesies. 

When the war broke out, these ladies thoroughly 
identified themselves with the cause of the South, and 
upon all occasions were unreserved in the expression 
of opinions favorable to the rebels, and of fervent 
hopefulness for the eventual success of the disunion- 
ists. But little attention was paid to these grand 

dames of the old regime, as it was not deemed possi- 
[a 5 o] 


ble that any danger could result from the utterances 
of non-combatant females, nor was it considered 
chivalrous that resolute measures should be adopted 
toward those of the weaker sex. 

That this policy was a mistaken one was soon 
fully proved, and when it was discovered that these 
fine ladies were secretly giving information to the 
enemy, it was deemed of great importance that such 
means should be adopted as would prevent their 
treasonable actions from being made valuable to the 
opponents of the government, and who were seeking 
its overthrow. 

From information received from reliable sources, 
it was shown that the rebel authorities were as fully 
conversant with the plans of the Union commanders 
as they were themselves. That they knew of the 
position of every regiment and brigade, and the con 
templated movements of the commanders, and the 
time of proposed action, far in advance of any 
publicity being given to them, and when the utmost 
secrecy was the only true passport to victory. Indeed, 
it was openly boasted that the secret information given 
to the rebel generals had been mainly ibe cause of 
the defeat of our armies at Bull Run and Manassas. 

Upon these facts being fully proven, thr. govern 
ment resolved to effectually prevent a continuance of 
these practices, and that if they were persisted in, he 
guilty parties should either be confined or exLW tr 
the more congenial climate of Dixie. 


My department was in its infancy when the event 
occurred which I am about to relate. I had secured 
a house in Washington, and had gathered around me 
a number of resolute, trustworthy men and discreet 
women, who were devoted to the cause of their 
country, but were scarcely in such a condition as to 
move properly or with any systematized regularity. 
I had not been many days in the city when one after 
noon I was called upon by the Hon. Thomas A. 
Scott, of Pennsylvania, who was then acting as the 
Assistant-Secretary of War, who desired my services 
in watching a lady whose movements had excited 
suspicion, and who, it was believed, was engaged in 
corresponding with the rebel authorities, and furnish 
ing them with much valuable information. 

This lady was Mrs. Rose Greenhpw, a Southern 
woman of pronounced rebel proclivities, and who had 
been unsparing in her denunciation of the " Abolition 
North," and who had openly declared that " instead 
of loving and worshiping the old flag of the Stars 
and Stripes," she saw "in it only the symbol of 
murder, plunder, oppression and shame." Mrs. 
Greenhow had occupied a prominent position in the 
social circles of the capital, and was personally 
acquainted with all of the leading men of the country, 
many of whom had partaken of her hospitality and 
had enjoyed a social intercourse that was both 
pleasurable and fascinating. 

She had now become an avowed hater of the 


Union, and it was feared, from her previous associa 
tion with officers in the army, that she was using her 
talents in procuring information from them which 
would be immediately communicated to the rebel 
government at Richmond. 

The residence of Mrs. Greenhovv was situated at 
the corner of Thirteenth and I streets quite a 
fashionable quarter of the city, and within a short 
distance of the White House. The building, while 
not at all imposing in appearance, was large, 
roomy, and was furnished with every consideration 
for wealth and tasteful refinement. It was a two-story 
and basement brick building, the parlors of which 
were elevated several feet above the ground, and 
entrance was obtained by ascending a flight of steps 
in the center of the edifice. This lady was a widow, 
her husband having died some years before, and 
being possessed of considerable means, and mingling 
with the highest circles of Washington society, her 
home was the resort of most of the prominent people 
of the city. 

The instructions of the Secretary of War were, 
that a strict watch should be kept upon this house, 
and that every person entering or leaving the same 
should come under the close surveillance of my men, 
who should endeavor to ascertain who they were, and 
if they attempted in any manner to communicate with 
any suspicious persons. I was to report to him daily, 
and to continue my espionage until I received definite 


and official orders for its discontinuance. My further 
instructions were, that in case any of the visitors of 
Mrs. Greenhow should attempt to pass the lines of our 
troops, they should be arrested at once, and a rigor 
ous search of their persons instituted, in order that 
nothing should be allowed to pass through without a 
thorough examination by the Secretary of War or 
Mr. Scott. 

After the departure of the Secretary I took with 
me two of my men, and proceeded to the vicinity of 
the residence of Mrs. Greenhow. I was then quite a 
stranger in Washington, and localities were not as 
familiar to me as they afterward became, and I there 
fore preferred to reconnoiter by daylight, to depend 
ing upon a survey after nightfall. 

The entire day had been dark, gloomy and threat 
ening ; clouds had been gathering in the heavens, and 
everything indicated the imminence of a severe storm. 
As I left my headquarters, a slight shower of rain was 
falling, which I knew was but the precursor of a storm 
more violent. On arriving at the designated locality 
I found everything to be as they had already been 
described to me. The inside shutters to the windows 
were closed, and no sign was apparent that the house 
was occupied, and after carefully noting the situation 
and the exposed condition of the premises, I left the 
two men within a convenient distance of the place, 
and returned for the additional aid which I thought 
might be needed. Selecting three of my most discreet 


men, I again repaired to the scene of operations. 
We had not proceeded far, when the storm burst upon 
us in all its fury. The wind blew strong and chill, 
and the rain fell in deluging torrents. Umbrellas 
were a useless commodity, and, unprotected, we were 
compelled to breast the elements, which now were 
warring with terrible violence. 

Arriving at Mrs. Greenhow s, under cover of the 
darkness I posted my men in such positions as I thought 
would be most advantageous for our purpose, and 
then calling in the two whom I had left there during 
the afternoon, I approached to within a short dis 
tance of the house. The darkness and storm, while 
decidedly uncomfortable, were of some benefit to us, 
as but few people were abroad, and these paid no at 
tention to passing events, seeming to be only too 
anxious to reach their destination and to escape the 
pitiless rain. 

The blinds at the windows were still closed, but a 
light was observed in two rooms upon the parlor 
floor, and I knew that the house was occupied. Of 
course I could see nothing within, as my view was 
entirely obstructed by the closed blinds, and, at length, 
becoming impatient at this unprofitable and unsatis 
factory waiting, I determined to obtain a glimpse, at 
least, of the interior, and to ascertain, if possible, 
some knowledge of its occupants. 

The parlor windows, through which the lights 
were gleaming, were too high from the ground to per- 


tnit me to see within, and summoning the two men whc 
were awaiting instructions I made use of their strong, 
broad shoulders in a manner quite novel to me, and 
quite ludicrous, no doubt, to a passer-by who did not 
understand the situation. 

Ranging the two men side by side under the 
broad windows in front of the house, I removed my 
boots and was soon standing upon their shoulders 
and elevated sufficiently high to enable me to accom 
plish the object I had in view. I was now on a level 
with the windows, and noiselessly raising the sash 
and turning the slats of the blinds I obtained a full 
view of the interior of the room. The furniture was 
rich and luxurious, valuable pictures hung upon the 
walls, and several pieces of statuary and various arti 
cles of artistic ornamentation were arranged about the 
apartment, but to my disapointment, it was unoccu 

I was about to give expression to my chagrin at 
this discovery, when a warning " Sh !" from one of 
my sturdy supporters induced me to be silent 
Some one was approaching the house, and hastily 
clambering down from my perch, we hid ourselves 
under the stoop which led. up to the front door. 
Scarcely had we ensconced ourselves in this conven 
ient shelter when we heard the footsteps of the new 
comer, and to our satisfaction, he stopped in front of 
the house, and ascending the steps rang the bell and 
in a short time was admitted. 


By this time we were drenched to the skin the 
rain had fallen in copious showers and during all the 
time we had been exposed to its dampening influences 
but paying but little heed to this, we again took 
our position in front of the window, and I was soon 
remounted upon the shoulders of my operatives, pre 
pared to take notes of what transpired. 

As the visitor entered the parlor and seated him- 
self-awaiting the appearance of the lady of the house, 
I immediately recognized him as an officer of the 
regular army, whom I had met that day for the first 
time. He was a Captain of infantry and was in com 
mand of one of the stations of the Provost-Marshal, 
and not desiring to divulge the real name of the gen 
tleman, who has since died, I will call him Captain 

He was a tall, handsome man of a commanding 
figure and about forty years of age. He had re 
moved his cloak, and as he sat there in his blue uni 
form, and in the full glare of the gaslight, he looked a 
vertible ideal soldier. As I watched him closely, 
however, I noticed that there was a troubled, restless 
look upon his face; he appeared ill at ease and 
shifted nervously upon his chair, as though impatient 
for the entrance of his hostess. In a few moments 
Mrs. Greenhow entered and cordially greeted her 
visitor, who acknowledged her salutations with a 
courtly bow, while his face lighted up with pleasure as 
he gazed upon her. 


Just at this moment I again received a warning 
from my supporters, and hastily jumping to the 
ground, we hid ourselves until the pedestrians had 
passed out of sight and hearing. When I resumed 
my station the Captain and Mrs. Greenhow were 
seated at a table in the rear part of the room, and 
their conversation was carried on in such low tones 
that, in consequence of the storm that was still rag 
ing, I could not catch but fragmentary sentences. 
At last, however, accustoming myself to the noise, 
I heard enough to convince me that this trusted 
officer was then and there engaged in betraying his 
country, and furnishing to his treasonably-inclined 
companion such information regarding the disposi 
tion of our troops as he possessed. 

Presently, he took from an inner pocket of his 
coat a map which, as he held it up before the light, I 
imagined that I could identify as a plan of the forti 
fications in and around Washington, and which also 
designated a contemplated plan of attack. 

My blood boiled with indignation as I witnessed 
this scene, and I longed to rush into the room and 
strangle the miscreant where he sat, but I dared not 
utter a word, and was compelled to stand by, with 
the rain pouring down upon me, and silently witness 
this traitorous proceeding. 

After watching their movements for some time, 
during which they would frequently refer to the map 
before them, as though pointing out particular points 


or positions, I was again compelled to hide myself 
under the shelter of the convenient stoop, and when 
I resumed my position the room was empty. The 
delectable couple had disappeared. I waited impa 
tiently for more than an hour, taking occasional 
glimpses into the room and watching for their re-ap 
pearance. At the end of that time they re-entered 
the parlor arm in arm, and again took their seats. 

Again came the warning voice, and again I hastily 
descended, and as the retreating figures disappeared 
in the distance, I could hear the front door open and 
the step of the traitor Captain above me. 

With a whispered good-night, and something that 
sounded very much like a kiss, he descended the 
steps, and then, without paying any attention to the 
fact that I was without shoes, I started in pursuit of 
him, and through the blinding mist and pelting storms 
kept him in view as he rapidly walked away. It was 
then about half-past twelve o clock, and the storm 
evinced no sign of a discontinuance, 

I was not sufficiently acquainted with the city at 
that time to tell in what direction he was going, but 
I determined to ascertain his destination before I left 
him. I was compelled to keep pretty close to him, 
owing to the darkness of the night, and several times 
I was afraid that he would hear the footsteps of the 
man who accompanied me mine I was confident 
would not be detected as, in my drenched stockings, 
I crept along as steathily as a cat. Twice, I imagined 


that he turned around as though suspecting he was 
followed, but as he did not stop I reassured myself 
and plodded on. I could not, however, disabuse my 
mind of the fear that I had been seen, I could not re 
lax my vigilance, and I resolved to take my chances 
of discovery. I knew who my man was, at all events, 
and now I must ascertain where he was going. 

As we reached the corner of Pennsylvania avenue 
and Fifteenth street I imagined that I saw a revolver 
glistening in his hand, but it was too dark for me to 
determine that fact with any degree of certainty. At 
this point he passed a guard on duty, and quickly 
passed into a building immediately in advance of 

This movement was so unexpected, that I had no 
time to turn back, and I was so close to him that it 
would have been very unwise to have done so, but I 
was more surprised when, as I reached the building 
into which the Captain had disappeared, I was sud 
denly confronted by four armed soldiers, who rushed 
suddenly out upon me, with fixed bayonets pointed at 
my breast. 

" Halt, or I fire P called out the officer of the 

Realizing that an attempt at resistance or escape 
would be both foolish and useless, I attempted to 
make an explanation. All to no purpose, however. I 
informed them that I had been out late and had lost my 
way,, but they refused to listen, and ordered my - 


panion and myself to march at once into the guard 
house. I endeavored to make the best of my misfor 
tune, and entering the building we seated ourselves 
and awaited developments. 

After waiting for about half an hour, I was in 
formed that my presence was required by the Captain; 
and the guard conducted me up-stairs to his room. 
As I entered, I found myself face to face with Captain 
Ellison, who was pacing excitedly up and down the 
floor ; stopping immediately in front of me, he glared 
fiercely at me for some minutes without uttering a 

I was a sorry figure to look at, and as I surveyed 
my weather-soaked and mud-stained garments, and 
my bare feet, I could scarcely repress a laugh, 
although I was deeply angered at the sudden and 
unexpected turn affairs had taken. 

"What is your name?" imperatively inquired the 
Captain, after he had fully recovered himself, and had 
taken his seat at a table which stood in the room. 

" E. J. Allen," I replied. 

" What is your business ?" 

" I have nothing further to say," I coolly replied, 
"and I decline to answer any further questions." 

" Ah !" said the Captain, " so you are not going to 
speak. Very well, sir, we will see what time will 
bring forth." 

He endeavored to impress me with his importance 
and played restlessly with the handles of two revol- 


vers that lay before him on the table but I saw too 
plainly through his bravado, and I knew that the 
scoundrel was really alarmed. 

Finding that he could not compel me to answer 
his questions, he turned to the sergeant and or 
dered : 

" Take this man to the guard-house, but allow no 
one whatever to converse with him ; we will attend 
further to his case in the morning." 

I made a profound bow to the discomfited officer 
as I departed, to which he replied with an oath, and 
then I was conducted down-stairs and placed among 
the other prisoners. 

I found myself in a mixed and incongruous as 
sembly indeed. Most of my fellow-prisoners were 
stupidly drunk, and lay about the floor like logs ; 
others were laughing and singing, while some were 
indulging in wild threats against the men who 
arrested them. Here I found my companion, who, 
representing himself as a Southern man had already 
become acquainted with two secessionists, who were 
laughing and talking about what they would have to 
tell when they obtained their release. He soon in 
gratiated himself with these men, and before daylight 
had obtained from them a revelation of certain mat 
ters that subsequently proved of great value to us in 
our operations. 

As for myself, my feelings can better be imagined 
than described. Inwardly chafing against the unfor- 


tunate and disagreeable position in which 1 found 
myself, I was deeply concerned regarding the situa 
tion of affairs at the residence of Mrs. Greenhow. 
I had given no definite orders to my men, and they 
would be doubtful as to what course to pursue until 
they heard from me, and here was I a prisoner in the 
hands of the man against whom I had grave charges 
to prefer, and whom I had detected in treasonable 
correspondence. Added to this, my wet garments 
and the cold atmosphere of the room in which I was 
confined, affected me with a degree of chilliness that 
was distressing in the utmost. I shook like an aspen, 
and my teeth for a time chattered like castanets. It 
may be imagined that the hilarity of my fellow-pris 
oners had but little charm for me, until at length one 
of the guards very kindly brought me a blanket and 
an overcoat, which I wrapped about me, and soon be 
gan to feel more comfortable. 

Despite the aggravating circumstances under 
which I suffered, I could not refrain from smiling at 
the ridiculous appearance I must have presented as I 
stood before the irate Captain who had. caused my 
arrest. My hat was battered down over my face, and 
my clothing was spattered with mud from head to 
foot, and were dripping with water as I stood there. 
One might more readily imagine that I had been 
fished out of the Potomac than that I was the chief 
of the secret service of the government, in the per 
formance of duty. 


By the Captain s orders I was prevented from 
conversing with my fellow-prisoners, so I turned my 
attention to the guard. My chief desire was to ap 
prise Mr. Scott of my captivity, as early as possible, 
in order that my release could be effected without 
unnecessary delay, and I therefore applied myself to 
the entertainment of my jailer. 

The soldier who had charge of me I soon found 
to be a jolly, kind-hearted fellow, and I amused him 
immensely by relating some ridiculous anecdotes 
which I had heard, and before the time came for him 
to be relieved I had entirely won his favor. 

Seizing a favorable opportunity I asked him if he 
would deliver a note for me after his time for stand 
ing guard had expired, at the same time offering to 
repay him for his trouble: To this he readily as 
sented, and by the dim light afforded us I managed 
to scribble a few hasty lines to the Assistant Secre 
tary of War, informing him of my imprisonment, and 
requesting him to order my release as soon as possi 
ble, and in a manner which would not excite the sus 
picion of Captain Ellison. 

At about six o clock the guards were changed, 
and my messenger departed upon his mission. He 
was fortunate enough to find the servants of Mr. 
Scott astir, and informing them that his message was 
of extreme public importance, he had it delivered to 
the Secretary in his chamber at once. At seven 
o clock the guard returned, and coming to the door, 


he conversed a few minutes with the soldier who had 
succeeded him, when I called out : 

"How is the weather outside?" 

" All right, sir !" replied the man, with a sly wink, 
and then I knew that my note had been safely deliv 
ered, and my liberation simply a question of time. 

At about half-past eight o clock the sergeant of 
the guard came to the door with a paper in his hand, 
and called out : 

" E. J. Allen and William Ascot !" 

Ascot was the name of my operative who had 
been arrested with me, and with whom I had not 
exchanged a word since I had been imprisoned. We 
responded to our names, and following the sergeant, 
were again taken to the room occupied by Captain 

"The Secretary of War has been informed of 
your arrest, and you will be conducted to him at 
once, and then we shall see whether you will remain 
silent any longer." , 

The manner of the Captain was imperious and 
commanding, and I laughed to myself as I thought 
of the possible result of our interview with the Secre 
tary. The Captain led the way, and in the company 
of four soldiers, we left the place, arriving in a few 
minutes at the residence of Mr. Scott. He was 
awaiting our arrival, and as we entered the room he 
ordered the guard to release me, and directed me tc 
accompany him to his room. I followed him imme- 


diately, and as the door closed behind us, he burst 
into a hearty laugh at my uncouth and unkempt ap 
pearance. I was a sorry spectacle indeed, and as I 
surveyed myself in the mirror, I joined in his merri 
ment, for a more realistic picture of a " drowned rat" 
I never beheld. 

I at once detailed what had transpired on the pre 
ceding night, and as I related the interview which I had 
witnessed between Captain Ellison and Mrs. Green- 
how, his brow became clouded, and starting to his 
feet, he paced the room rapidly and excitedly. 

" Mrs. Greenhow must be attended to. She is 
becoming a dangerous character. You will therefore 
maintain your watch upon her, and should she be 
detected in attempting to convey any information 
outside of the lines, she must be arrested at once. 
And now we will attend to Captain Ellison." 

Tapping a bell which stood upon his table, he 
ordered : 

" Request Captain Ellison to come here." 

As the Captain made his appearance, he seemed 
to be very ill at ease, and gazed search ingly at Mr. 
Scott and myself, as though he suspected something 
was wrong. 

"Captain," said Mr. Scott, addressing him, "will 
you give me the particulars of the arrest of this 
man ?" pointing to me. 

The Captain answered that he had gone to visit 
some friends, who resided in the outskirts of the city, 


in the evening, and on returning at a late hour, he 
had noticed that he was being followed, and supposing 
me to be a foot-pad or a burglar, had ordered my 

" Did you see any one last evening who is inimi 
cal to the cause of the government ?" 

The Captain became flushed and nervous under 
this direct question. He darted a quick glance at 
me, and after hesitating for some moments he 
answered in a faltering voice : 

" No, sir ; I have seen no person of that char 

" Are you quite sure of that ?" sternly inquired 
Mr. Scott. 

" I am, sir." 

"In that case, Captain, you will please consider 
yourself under arrest, and you will at once surrender 
your sword to Captain Mehaffy." 

The Captain was completely unmanned as these 
words fell from the lips of the Secretary, and sinking 
into a chair, he buried his face in his hands, seemingly 
overcome by his emotions. 

But little remains to be told. Captain Ellison 
was arrested, and a search among his effects dis 
covered sufficient evidence to prove that he was 
engaged in furnishing information to the enemy, and 
he was confined for more than a year in Fort 
McHenry. He was finally released, but broken in 
spirit and in health, and fully realizing the disgrace 


he had brought upon himself, he died shortly after* 

After leaving the residence of Mr. Scott, I took a 
carriage and went directly to my headquarters, and 
dispatched new men to relieve those who had been 
on duty all night, and who had been so anxious for 
my safety that they had sent several times to make 
inquiries, and who were unable to account for my 
absence. They had, I was rejoiced to learn, taken 
care to recover my shoes, which I was afraid would 
be found by some one connected with the house, and 
thus lead to the suspicion that the premises were the 
object of espionage. 

We continued our watching of the premises, and 
during its continuance a number of prominent gentle 
men were received by the fascinating widow, and 
among the number were several earnest and sincere 
Senators and Representatives, whose loyalty was 
above question, and who were, perhaps, in entire 
ignorance of the lady s true character. 

Almost every evening one particular individual 
was observed to call at the house, and his visits invari 
ably were of long duration. He was therefore made 
the object of especial attention by me, and in a short 
time I succeeded in learning his true character, and the 
nature of the business which he followed. Ostensibly 
an attorney, I ascertained that he was undoubtedly en 
gaged in the vocation of a Southern spy, and that he 
had a number of men and women under him by whom 


the information was forwarded to the rebel authori 
ties. This gentleman, therefore, found himself, in a 
very few days, a prisoner of war. 

About eight days after this, orders were given for 
the arrest of Mrs. Greenhow herself. She was confined 
in her own house, and all her papers were seized and 
handed over to the custody of the Department of 
War. The intention of the government was to treat 
her as humanely and considerately as possible, but 
disdaining all offers of kindness or courtesy, the lady 
was discovered on several occasions attempting to 
send messages to her rebel friends, and finally her re 
moval to the Old Capitol prison was ordered, and she 
was conveyed there, where she was imprisoned for 
several months. After this she was conveyed across 
the lines, and reached in safety the rebel capital, 
where she was greeted by the more congenial spirits 
of rebel dom. 

Mrs. Greenhow afterwards went to Europe, in 
some trustworthy capacity for the Confederacy, and 
while there was noted for her bitter animosity to the 
Union, and her vituperation of Northern men and 
measures, but retribution maybe said to have followed 
her, and some time subsequent to this, having returned 
again to the South, she made her way to Charleston, 
S. C., from thence she took passage upon a blockade- 
runner, upon some secret mission for the Confederacy. 
Her person was loaded down with gold, which was 
packed in a belt close to her body. After passing 


Fort Sumter, a severe storm arose, and the little 
vessel began to pitch and roll in the angry waters, 
which swept in huge waves over her deck. Mrs. 
Greenhow was, I was since informed, washed over 
board, and the weight upon her person carried her 
down and she was lost. No trace of her was evei 
afterwards discovered 



Timothy Webster in Baltimore. An Encounter with a Fire- 
eater. Webster Defends Himself. Treason Rampant 
in the Monumental City. 

r I "HE city of Baltimore at this time was also under 
military rule. It was garrisoned by United 
States troops, commanded successively by Butler, 
Banks and Dix, for the purpose of enforcing respect 
and obedience to the laws, and of presenting any 
violations of order within its limits, by the malignant 
and traitorous element of the people. Marshal 
Kane, the Chief of Police, as well as the active mem 
bers of the police commissioners, were arrested and 
held in custody at Fort McHenry, because of the 
alleged encouragement and protection which were 
given to those unlawful combinations of men who 
were secretly aiding in numerous ways the people at 
war with the government. General Banks appointed 
a Provost-Marshal for the proper execution of the 
laws, in conjunction with the subordinate officers of 
the police department. This condition of things was 
of course a direct result of the great riot of the igth 
of April, and the intention was to curb those 
mutinous spirits, whose passions otherwise would 

[*? ] 


have led them into committing all sorts of crimes and 
outrages against the government. Notwithstanding 
these measures, however, the disturbing element was 
not by any means passive and inert, although appear 
ances may have warranted such a conclusion. Secret 
bands of conspirators were still in existence, and 
were working assiduously for the advancement of the 
Southern cause. 

By direction of General McClellan, I sent several 
of my best operatives to Baltimore, chief among 
whom was Timothy Webster, with whom the others 
were to co-operate whenever their assistance were 
required by him. The principal object in this was to 
enable Webster to associate with the secessionists of 
that city, and by becoming familiar and popular with 
them, to pave his way for an early trip into the rebel 

During his residence in Baltimore he was directed 
to represent himself as a gentleman of means and 
leisure, and to enable him the better to carry out this 
idea, I provided him with a span of fine horses and a 
carriage, for his own pleasure. He made his home 
at Miller s Hotel, lived in good style, and in his own 
irresistible way he set about establishing himself in 
the good graces of a large number of people, of that 
class whose confidence it was desirable to obtain 
This task was made comparatively easy by the fact 
that he already had numerous acquaintances in the 
city, who introduced him about with great enthu- 



siasm, representing him to be as they really believed 
he was a gentleman whose whole heart and soul was 
in the cause of the South. Thus, by easy stages, he 
soon reached the distinction of being the center and 
principal figure of an admiring crowd. Before a 
week had elapsed he had become a quietly-recognized 
leader in the clique with which he associated, and soon 
regarded as a man of superior judgment and power in 
all matters relating to political and state affairs. 

During fair weather he would frequently drive 
out with one or more of his friends, and his hand 
some equipage became well known on the streets, 
and at the race-course. He was introduced into the 
houses of many warm sympathizers with the South, 
and by his agreeable and fascinating manners he be 
came a favorite with the female members of the 
family. Through all, he was apparently an earnest 
and consistent advocate of Southern rights, never 
overdoing the matter by any exhibition of strained 
excitement or loud avowals, but always conversing 
on the subject with an air of calm conviction, using 
the strongest arguments he could invent in support 
of his pretended views. In compliance with the 
request of many of his Southern friends, he and John 
Scully, another of my operatives, went to a photo 
graph gallery one day and had their pictures taken, 
holding a large Confederate flag between them, 
while Webster wore the rebel hat which the doughty 
Dr. Burton had presented to him in Memphis. 



During all this time Webster was gathering infor. 
mation from every quarter concerning the secret 
plots and movements of the disloyal citizens, and 
promptly conveying it to me, and for this purpose he 
made frequent trips to Washington for verbal instruc 
tions, and to report in person the success of his 
operations. Sometimes he would be accompanied by 
one or more of his intimate associates, and these 
occasions were not without profit, for when thus 
accompanied, although necessarily prevented from 
reaching my office, he was enabled to increase his 
acquaintance with the traitorous element of Washing 
ton, and finally was enabled to unmask several guilty 
ones whose loyalty had never been impeached or 

Once, on returning to Baltimore, after a longer 
absence than usual, his friends greeted him warmly. 

" By Jove, Webster, we had begun to .think you 
were in trouble," one of them exclaimed. 

" No danger of that," was the laughing response. 
" I have no intention of being trapped before I fulfill 
my mission. I have some valuable work to do for 
the Southern Confederacy before the Yankees can 
get the upper hand of me." 

They were in a saloon a favorite rendezvous of 
these men and Webster was in the midst of his crowd. 
He was telling them about some imaginary "points" 
which he had picked up in Washington, and assuring 
them he would in some manner transmit the informa- 


tion he had received to the rebel comrr.anders before 
he was a week older. While thus entertaining his 
hearers, his attention was attracted by a man who en 
tered the saloon with a swaggering gait, his hands in 
his pockets, and his hat tipped over one side of his 
head. He knew this man as a ruffian and bully of 
the worst stripe, Bill Zigler, and one of the ringleaders 
of the mob that had attacked the Union troops on 
the iQth of April; consequently, he entertained a 
wholesome contempt for the fellow, and avoided him 
as much as possible. 

He was much surprised when the new-comer 
stopped in the middle of the room, and exclaimed, 
gruffly : 

" Hello, Webster ! You re here, are you ? By 
G d, I ve been looking for you !" 

Webster turned toward him a look of surprised in 

" Did you speak to me, sir ?" he asked, quietly. 

"Yes, I spoke to you, sir!" mimicked Bill 
Zigler, in a bullying voice. " I say I ve been lookin 
for you, and when I ve spoke my piece I reckon 
this town will be too hot to hold you many hours 

" I don t understand you," protested Webster. 

" Ha ! ha ! ha !" laughed the ruffian, a glitter of 
triumph and hatred in his eyes. "You ve been 
playin it fine on the boys here for the last three 
weeks, but d n you, I ll spoil your little gameP 


" What do you mean ?" demanded Webster, his 
angei beginning to rise. " You speak in riddles." 

" I ll tell you what I mean !" blustered the bully. 
" Gentlemen," turning toward the crowd, and point 
ing his finger toward the detective ; " that man is 
leagued with the Yankees, and comes among you as 
a spy." 

There was a general start of astonishment, and 
Webster himself was dumfounded. 

" Oh, nonsense, Zigler," spoke up one of the men, 
after a death-like silence of several moments. " You 
must be drunk to make such an assertion as that. 
There is not a better Southern man in Baltimore 
than Mr. Webster." 

" I am as sober as the soberest man here," declared 
Zigler ; " and I reckon I know what I am talking about. 
I saw that fellow in Washington yesterday." 

" I can well believe that you saw me in Washing 
ton yesterday," said Webster, quietly, "for I certainly 
was there. I have just been telling these gentlemen 
what I saw and heard while there." 

" Maybe you have, but I ll bet ten dollars you 
didn t tell em that you had a conversation with the 
chief of the detective force while you were there !" 

Webster, it must be admitted, was wholly unpre 
pared for this, but he realized in an instant that the 
bully s insinuation must be denied and overcome, 
With an assumption of uncontrollable rage he criad 
out " You are a liar and a scoundrel !" 


" I am, eh ?" hissed Zigler through his clenched 
teeth, and before any one could make a movement 
to restrain him he sprang furiously toward Web 

Quick as was this movement, however, Webster 
was prepared for him. Like a flash of lightning his 
fist flew straight out from the shoulder, striking the 
ruffian between the eyes, with a force that would have 
felled an ox. The man reeled half-way across the 
room, and fell prostrate between two tables. 

With a roar like that of a baffled beast, Zigler 
gathered himself up and rushed at Webster, flourish 
ing above his head a murderous-looking knife. But, 
as if by magic, a revolver appeared in the detective s 
hand, the muzzle of which covered his adversary s 

" Stop !" cried Webster, in a tone of stern com 
mand. " Hold your distance, you miserable cur, or 
your blood will be upon your own head !" 

Zigler involuntarily recoiled. The frowning muz 
zle of the pistol, the unmistakable meaning of those 
words, and the deadly purpose expressed in the cold, 
calm face before him, were too much even for his 
boasted bravery. He turned pale and drew back, 
muttering and growling. 

" Coward !" exclaimed Webster, " if I served you 
right I would shoot you down like a dog ; and I am 
afraid I can t resist the temptation to do so anyway, 
if you don t immediately leave the room. Go ! and 


in future be careful who you accuse of being in league 
with the accursed Yankees." 

By this time a number of the other men had re 
covered from their astonishment, and they immedi 
ately joined their threats to those of Webster, com 
manding Zigler to leave the saloon at once, if he 
desired to "save his bacon." 

Zigler did not dare to disobey. Sullenly putting 
up his knife, and muttering curses on the whole 
crowd, he slunk out, stopping at the door long 
enough to glance back at Webster, with the exclama 
tion : 

" I ll fix you yet, d n you !" 

When he was gone, Webster said : 

" I cannot conceive what that fellow has against 
me, that he should try to defame my character by such 
an accusation." 

Several of the men broke into a derisive laugh. 

" I d as soon suspect Jeff Davis of being a Yankee 
spy," said one, with a boisterous guffaw. 

" Lord, Webster," spoke up another, "you needn t 
calculate that anything that fellow can say is going to 
injure you with the people here." 

" I reckon Zigler is mad because you won t 
clique in with him and his gang," said a third, " No 
body takes any stock in him. It would have been 
considered a good riddance if your pistol had gone off 
while it covered his heart. Bah ! he isn t worth a 
thought Come, boys, let s licker." 


And the affair ended in a witty cross-fire of jokes, 
frequent explosions of hearty laughter, and numerous 
bumpers of sparkling wine. 

So far from proving disastrous to Webster or his 
mission, this little episode with Bill Zigler rather 
elevated him in the estimation of his companions. 
The neat knock-down with which he had met the 
bully s unprovoked assault ; his air of virtuous in 
dignation in resenting the imputation of disloyalty 
to the South, and the manner in which he had de 
feated and put to flight a man who was much feared 
among his fellows, only won for him new laurels, and 
caused him to be regarded as brave as he was loyal. 
His intimate acquaintances reposed such firm faith in 
him, that not one of them entertained for a moment 
the thought that there might possibly be a grain of 
justice in Zigler s accusation. 

One morning, not long after this little episode, 
Webster left his hotel to walk down town, when he 
noticed that there was some unusual excitement on 
the streets. On every corner on Baltimore street, 
from the Exchange office, large numbers of men were 
standing in groups, evidently absorbed in some par 
ticular topic of conversation. 

While wondering what all this meant, the detec 
tive was accosted by a man named Sam Sloan, one of 
the most faithful of his adherents. 

" Webster, I was just going up to see you. Have 
you heard the news ?" 


" I have heard nothing, Sam," was the reply. " Is 
there a new sensation this morning ?" 

" Another of Lincoln s outrages," said Sloan, 
with an indignant oath. " Major Brown, Ross 
Winans, and several others were arrested last night, 
and taken to Fort McHenry." 

" What for ?" 

" For no other purpose, I suppose, than to break 
up the election, which is to take place next month." 

" But how can that interfere with the election ?" 

" By making us all afraid to go to the polls, or 
speak our minds." 

The two walked down the street together, and 
dropped into a drug store, which was known as one 
of the resorts of the unterrified. There they found 
a number of men conversing somewhat excitedly. 
The proprietor, a Mr. Rogers, turned toward the new 
comers and said : 

" Good morning, Mr. Webster ; we were just talk 
ing over last night s proceedings." 

" It beats anything I ever heard of," said Web 
ster, warmly " But what can we do ?" 

" Nothing just now," returned Rogers ; " but I 
think there will soon be a time when we will have a 
chance to do something. In the meantime, gentle 
men, we must make up our minds to say nothing. 
We have all been too free with our tongues. Here 
after, we must keep mum, or we will all get into Fort 
McHenry " 


" We must just lay low, and wait till Jeff crosses 
the Potomac," said one of the loungers. 

" If we only had arms," said Webster, musingly. 

" Arms !" echoed Rogers ; " why, sir, we have 
from five to six thousand stand of arms right here in 

"That may be true," said Webster, "but nobody 
seems to know where they are." 

" I am satisfied they will turn up at the right 
time," said Rogers. " Marshal Kane, before he was 
arrested, put them in the hands of men who will take 
good care of them until they are wanted." 

" And let us hope they will be wanted inside of 
two weeks," put in Sloan. " We can afford to be 
quiet now, boys, but when the Southern army comes 
this way, we ll rise ten thousand strong, and help 
take Washington." 

The opinion seemed to have fixed itself in the 
rninds of nearly all the Southern sympathizers in the 
city, that in a very brief space of time, three or four 
weeks at the utmost limit, Baltimore would be occu 
pied by rebel soldiers, and Jeff Davis would be there 
in person. 

"One thing is certain," said Webster, firmly. 
" If this thing goes on much longer, there will be a 
general uprising one of these days, and the streets of 
Baltimore will run with blood a thousand times worse 
than they did on the iQth of April." 

"You are right, there," said Rogers; "but for 


heaven s sake don t let any one outside of your circle 
hear you use that expression, or you will be the next 
one in limbo." 

" If they want me, now is their time," replied the 
detective, with a smile, " for I have made up my mind 
to undertake a journey down into southern Diary- 
land and Virginia, at an early day." 

" The devil you have ! You will find that a diffi 
cult and dangerous undertaking-." 

" Nevertheless, I shall attempt it. I find that if I 
can make the trip successfully I may be of service to 
some of our people here, by carrying letters and mes 
sages to their friends and relatives, with whom they 
are unable to communicate in any other way." 

Webster made this intention known to all of his 
associates, and gave them to understand that he de 
sired to sell his horses and carriage before leaving. 
The sale was accomplished in a manner that seemed 
legitimate enough to all, though it was a mere pre 
tense. One of my operatives, whom I sent to Balti 
more for that purpose, made a sham purchase of the 
team and turned it over to me in Washington. 


Webster Makes a Journey to the South. A Secret Organiza 
tion. The "Knights of Liberty." Webster Becomes a 
Member. A Sudden Intrusion of the Military. The 
Conspiracy Broken Up. 

IN accordance with my instructions, Webster com 
menced his tour through southern Maryland, 
on Thursday, September 26th. He was accompanied 
by John Scully, who had been assisting him in his 
Baltimore operations, and they followed a line of 
travel which I laid out for them. Taking passage on 
the steamboat " Mary Washington," they baffled the 
officers who stopped them by showing a pass issued 
by the Provost-Marshal of Baltimore, and were soon 
steaming down the Chesapeake toward Fair Haven, 
which was their pretended destination. Arriving at 
that point they went ashore, and proceeded to the 
village of Friendship. From there they worked their 
way south-west to Prince Frederick, then across the 
Big Patuxent to Bendict, from which place they pro 
ceeded to Charlotte Hall, and thence on foot to Leon- 
ardtcwn, a distance of twenty miles. At the last- 
named place they found Wm H. Scott, another of 



my operatives, awaiting them, and were accom 
panied by him during the remainder of the journey. 

A number of messages, written and verbal, which 
had been intrusted to Webster by his Baltimore asso 
ciates, were delivered at various points on the route, 
thus enabling them to form the acquaintance of cer 
tain secessionists who were men of prominence and 
influence in their respective neighborhoods, and who 
in turn provided them with letters of introduction 
to others of like ilk further on. Through this medium 
they secured attention and hospitality wherever they 
stopped, and had the advantage of valuable advice 
and assistance in the matter of pursuing their journey 

They represented themselves to be rebel sympa 
thizers on their way to the Potomac, for the purpose 
of finding a safe place where goods could be shipped 
across the river into Virginia. They were frequently 
cautioned to be very careful, as there were Union 
soldiers stationed all along the river, and people whose 
hearts were with the South were not permitted to ex 
press their sentiments with impunity. They penetrated 
as far as a point called Allen s Fresh, and deciding 
that they had gained all the information that could be 
picked up in that part of the country, they returned 
to Washington and reported to me. 

When Webster re-appeared on the streets of Bal- 
t more, after completing this trip, he was more than 
r er lionized by his numerous friends who were in 


the secret of his Southern journey, and its supposed 
object. By endangering his life in the Southern 
cause, as it was believed he had done, he had made 
himself a hero in the eyes of the traitors who were 
attached to him. 

"Are you still keeping mum?" he asked, as he 
stood in the center of a group at Dickinson s billiard 
hall, adjoining the Exchange. 

" Those who have any regard for their personal 
safety are doing so," replied Rogers ; "and I think the 
majority of the boys have learned that lesson. Balti 
more is comparatively quiet now. Only one man has 
been arrested since you left, and we have hopes that 
he will be released?" 

" Who is he ?" 

" A man from Washington. He was fool enough 
to think he could talk as he pleased in Baltimore." 

" By the way," remarked some one present, 
"Webster must join our " 

"Sh," cautioned Dave Dickinson, the proprietor 
of the billiard room. " Have you no more sense than 
to reveal yourself here f Remember that your lips 
are sealed by an oath on that subject." 

There was a moment s silence ; Webster looked 
from one to another, and noticed that an air of mys 
tery had settled upon every countenance present. 

" What s this?" he demanded with a laugh. "Is it 
a conspiracy to betray me into the hands of the 
enemy ?" 


" Not exactly," replied Dickinson, whose laugh 
was echoed by the crowd. " Sloan, you will give Mr. 
Webster his cue when a favorable opportunity occurs. 
We want him with us, by all means." 

Webster s curiosity was satisfied an hour later, 
when he and Sam Sloan walked toward Miller s Hotel 

" The fact is," said Sam, in a guarded tone, " since 
you went away we ve formed a secret organiza 

" A secret organization ?" 

" Yes ; and we have held several meetings." 

" Is it a success ?" 

" A perfect success. Some of the best in town 
are among our members. We may be forced to keep 
silent, but, by Heaven ! they can t compel us to 
remain idle. We are well organized, and we mean 
undying opposition to a tyrannical government. I 
tell you, Webster, we will not dawn /" 

" Never !" responded Webster, copying the boast 
ful tone and bearing of his companion. "It does not 
lie in the power of these white-livered Yankees to 
make slaves of Southern men ! I should like to be 
come a member of your society, Sloan." 

" They all want you," said Sloan, eagerly. " They 
passed a resolution to that effect at the last meeting. 
They want the benefit of your counsel and in 

" What is your society called ?" 


" The Knights of Liberty." 

" When will your next meeting be held f 

" To-night" 

" So soon ?" 

" And you are expected to attend. Have you any 
objections ?" 

" None whatever. But how will I get there ?" 

" I am delegated to be your escort," replied 

" What is your hour of meeting?" 

" Twelve o clock." 

" Ah, a midnight affair. All right, Sam ; you ll 
find me waiting for you at the hotel." 

Here they separated. Webster realized that 
quite an important period in his Baltimore experience 
was opening up before him, and that all his detective 
skill would probably be called into play to foil a band 
of conspirators. How to thwart the schemes of these 
Knights of Liberty, whose purpose, as he understood, 
was to assist in the overthrow of the Government of 
the United States, was now the question to be 

He did not, however, attempt to form any plans 
at this time, but waited for such developments as he 
had no doubt would be made that night. He 
resolved to learn the nature of the plots that were in 
existence, before he commenced counterplotting. 

Promptly at eleven o clock Sam Sloan put in an 
appearance at the hotel, and he and Webster pro- 


ceeded toward the place of meeting. The night was 
dark and stormy, just the right sort of night, Webster 
thought, for the concocting of hellish plots and the 
performance of evil deeds. 

" That night, a chiel might understand, 
The Deil had business on his hand." 

The stars were hidden from view by masses of 
flying clouds ; the wind whistled shrilly through the 
trees and spires ; while the deep, threatening 
murmurs of distant thunder were accompanied by 
fitful flashes of lightning, which illumined the scene 
with a weird, quivering light. Few shops were open 
in the localities through which they passed. Occa 
sionally a light was seen struggling through the 
screened window of a saloon, and the sound of mid 
night orgies within indicated that business had not 
been suspended there ; but elsewhere all was dark and 

Sloan led the way to a remote quarter of the city, 
and into a street which bore a particularly bad re 
putation. Here he stopped, and said : 

" I must blindfold you, Webster, before proceeding 
further. This is a rule of the order which cannot, 
under any circumstances, be departed from." 

Webster submitted quietly, while a thick bandage 
was placed over his eyes and securely fastened 
Then Sloan took him by the arm and led him for 


Blindfolded as he was, he knew that they turned 
suddenly into an alleyway, and he also knew when 
they passed through a gate, which Sloan closed behind 
them. He rightly conjectured that they were now 
in a sort of paved court, in the rear of a building. 

" Come this way and make no noise," whispered 

The next moment the latter knocked on a door 
with a low, peculiar rap, that was like a signal. Im 
mediately a guarded voice on the inside was heard : 

" Are you white ?" 
. " Down with the blacks !" responded Sloan. 

Nothing more was said. A chain clanked inside, 
a bolt shot back, and the door creaked on its hinges 
as it swung open. 

Webster was led through, and he and his conduc 
tor began to ascend a flight of stairs, so thickly car 
peted that they emitted no sound from the footsteps 
upon them. 

At the head of the stairs they were again ac 
costed : 

" Halt ! Who comes there ?" 

" Long live Jeff Davis," muttered Sloan. 

Passing on through another door, they found 
themselves in a small, square apartment, although, so 
far as Webster was concerned, there was no ocular 
proof of this. There seemed to be several persons 
here, and a voice, that was evidently meant to be 
tragical and impressive, demanded : 


44 Whom have we here ?" 

" Most Noble Chief," said Sloan, humbly, " I have a 
friend in charge, who wishes to become a worthy 
member of this league." 

44 His name ?" 

"Timothy Webster." 

" Have the objects of the league been fully ex 
plained to him ?" 

44 They have." 

The gruff-voiced speaker then said : 
44 Mr. Webster, is it your desire to become a mem 
ber of this knightly band ?" 

44 It is," responded the detective, firmly. 

There was a sound as of a number of swords 
leaping from their scabbards, and the clank and ring 
of the steel as the blades seemed to meet above his 
head. Then the Grand Chief continued : 

44 You will now kneel upon one knee, and place 
your right hand upon your heart, while I administer 
to you the binding obligation of our brotherhood." 

Webster did as he was directed, and in this atti 
tude repeated the following oath, as it was dictated to 
him : 

" I, Timothy Webster, citizen of Baltimore, hav 
ing been informed of the objects of this association 
and being in full accord with the cause which it seeks 
to advance, do solemnly declare and affirm, upon my 
sacred honor, that I will keep forever secret all that 
I may see or hear, in consequence of being a mem- 


ber of this league ; that I will implicitly obey all 
orders, and faithfully discharge all duties assigned 
to me, no matter of what nature or character they 
may be; and that life or death will be held sub 
ordinate to the success and advancement of the cause 
of the Confederacy and the defeat of the bloody 
tyrants who are striving to rule by oppression and 
terrorism. Should I fail in the proper performance 
of any task imposed upon me, or should I prove un 
faithful to the obligations I have here assumed, may 
I suffer the severest penalty for treason and cowardice, 
as well as the odium and contempt of my brother 

The swords clanked again as they were returned 
to their scabbards, and the new-made member, having 
taken the oath, was commanded to rise. He did so 
in silence, and the bandage was removed from his eyes. 

At first the light of the room almost blinded him, 
but his eyes soon became accustomed to the change, 
and he looked about him with some curiosity. He 
found that he was in the presence of seven stalwart 
men, besides Sloan, all of whom wore swords at their 
sides, dark cloaks drooping from their shoulders, and 
black masks upon their faces. The masks, however, 
were now removed, and Webster discovered, to his 
relief, that they were all familiar to him. 

" Mr. Webster," said the Chief, dropping his tragic 
tone of voice, " without further ceremony, I pro 
nounce you a Knight of Liberty. I greet you heart- 


Sy ;" and then, extending his hand " Come with 


As they emerged into the main council-chamber, 
Webster quietly examined his surroundings. It was 
a spacious apartment, very plain in its appointments, 
with a low ceiling and bare walls, and furnished with 
chairs arranged in rows around the room. At the 
head of the hall *was a low platform on which were 
tables and chairs. Behind these, on the wall, were 
suspended two Confederate flags, artistically draped, 
above which were the initials "K. of L." Some forty 
men were already assembled, and others were quietly 
dropping in at intervals. Webster noticed that all 
these men were from the better class of citizen seces 
sionists, and that the low, rowdy element was not rep 
resented. They were mostly men who had not thus 
far been suspected of disloyalty to the Union cause. 

The Grand Chief and other officers now took 
their positions on the platform, and Webster was 
assigned to a seat where he could observe all that was 
said or done. 

Presently a clock in the room struck twelve. In 
stantly all the doors opening into the chamber were 
securely locked, and the secret conclave was in ses 
sion. The Grand Chief rose and opened the meet 
ing in regular form ; and again, after the secretary 
had read the journal, made an address of some length. 
At the conclusion of his remarks, some one arose and 
said : 


" Most V/orthy Chief, I believe we can now claim 
Mr, Webster as a member of this body. I under 
stand that he has just returned from an interesting 
and somewhat dangerous mission, and I now move 
that he be invited to address this meeting relative to 
his experiences during the journey he has just com 

Webster, taken by surprise, undertook to combat 
the proposition, but the motion was unanimously con 
curred in, and no excuses were accepted. He there 
fore yielded good-naturedly, and mounting the plat 
form, he proceeded to relate some of the particulars 
of his trip to the Potomac. He made the recital 
as entertaining and agreeable as possible, and 
although his statements did not always possess the 
merit of being strictly true, they were such as could 
not fail to meet the approval of his hearers, and 
were therefore received with great favor. Conclud 
ing with a well-timed panegyric on the "faithful" of 
Baltimore, he resumed his seat amid the congratula 
tions of his many admiring friends. 

After this, the regular business of the meeting 
was taken up, in which Webster took no other part 
than that of a close listener and observer. Motions 
were made, resolutions were adopted, and various 
duties assigned to volunteer committees. The pro 
ceedings grew more and more interesting to the 
detective as they progressed, and it was not long 
before he began to feel considerable surprise, if not 


alarm, at the unexpected revelations which were 
made. It became evident to him that these conspir* 
ators had by some means succeeded in placing them 
selves in direct communication with the Confederate 
leaders, and that a gigantic plot was now in prepara 
tion to make a united and irresistible movement 
against Washington. Nearly ten thousand Balti- 
moreans, it was alleged, were prepared to rise in 
arms at a moment s notice, and join the rebel army, 
whenever such a movement might seem feasible. It 
appeared, also, that the Baltimoreans were not alone 
in this plot against the government, but that branches 
of their organization existed in a number of the out 
lying towns, and that the secessionists of the entire 
State were working harmoniously together for the ac 
complishment of one great purpose. There was no 
lack of arms, for these had already been secured, but 
their place of concealment was known only to a few 
and they were not to be brought to light until they 
should be needed. 

The main portion of the plot seemed to be well 
matured, and was most perfect in its details. The ar 
rival of the rebel army in Maryland was expected in 
a very short time, as they had the promises of the 
Southern commanders themselves that they would 
soon cross the Potomac. Their coming was to be 
the signal for a simultaneous uprising of all the 
secessionists in the Western and Southern portions 
of the State who were to unite in a movement that 


could scarcely fail to carry everything before it. 
There were also deep-laid schemes by which the 
Federals were to be kept in ignorance of the real de 
signs of the Confederates, until too late to avert the, 

The extent of the conspiracy rather startled Web 
ster, although some of the projects sounded rather 
visionary, and he made up his mind to consult with 
me at once. Accordingly, the very next day, he pro 
ceeded to Washington, and was closeted with me for 
several hours. As soon as he had explained the 
situation, I devised a plan of procedure, and gave him 
full instructions as to the manner in which he should 
proceed. The great object, of course, was to break 
up the organization, and defeat the conspiracy in a 
manner that would not compromise Webster ; but it 
was not deemed prudent to go about this with any 
inordinate haste. 

I advised Webster to continue attending the 
meetings, in the character of an active conspirator ; 
to learn all he could, and report to me as often as 
possible. In the meantime, I would send him two 
other operatives, and he was to secure their admission 
into the secret society, as members thereof. In a 
week or two the final act in the little drama would be 
introduced by first making a confidant of Mr. McPhail, 
the deputy Provost-Marshal of Baltimore, and then 
confronting the conspirators with a company of armed 


Webster returned to Baltimore with a clear un< 
derstanding of the course he was to pursue, and he 
followed that course with the untiring zeal with which 
he performed every duty assigned to him. He at 
tended the midnight meetings regularly, and gained 
much information concerning the plans and move 
ments of the Southern commanders, which proved of 
incalculable value to the government. The two 
operatives soon contrived to join the society, not 
through Webster s recommendation, as that was to be 
avoided, if possible, but by making the acquaintances 
of men whom he pointed out to them, and represent 
ing themselves as secessionists who were capable of 
keeping their own counsel. 

This done, the rest was comparatively easy. By 
the rules of the society, no one could enter the secret 
chamber of the conspirators without passing two 
guards, and giving sundry pass-words. These guards 
were appointed by the Chief from those who volun 
teered for the positions. At stated periods, new pass 
words were arranged, by which every man was re 
quired to answer the questions of the guards, and any 
one who failed to commit these to memory sufficiently 
to satisfy these sentinels that he was a member of 
the society, found himself barred out of the meeting. 

Oir plan worked to perfection. There came a 
night when my two operatives were on duty, as 
guards, they having volunteered their services at the 
last preceding meeting. This was the night set 


apart for the surprise. It had been announced that 
Webster would speak that night, and it had been ar 
ranged with the guards, that a certain part in his 
speech should be taken as the signal for the grand 
finale th&t had been decided upon. 

The hour of midnight approached. The old 
building in which the secret conclaves were held was 
shrouded in silence and darkness. At intervals one 
or more dark figures might have been seen to enter 
the covered archway leading thereto, and pass through 
the gate into the narrow court. Then, one at a time, 
they approached a certain door, and after a signal rap, 
and a low, muttered conversation with the guards, 
they passed in and ascended the dimly-lighted stairs. 
Another brief dialogue with the inside guard, and 
they entered the council-chamber, where they dropped 
their mysterious manner, and were ready to answer 
to their names at the calling of the roll. 

The clock struck twelve. The sound rang through 
the apartment in solemn, measured tones, and as the 
twelfth stroke was still vibrating in the air, all the 
doors, even those communicating with the ante-rooms, 
were promptly locked, no one being admitted after 
that hour. 

The meeting was opened after the regular form, 
and the business disposed of without interruption, 
When the time which was set apart for addresses 
arrived, Webster was called upon for his speech. He 
ascended the platform with a serious expression on 


his face, and after thanking his fellow-knights for the 
honor conferred upon him, he launched forth into a 
stirring address, the treasonable nature of which was 
calculated to fire the Southern blood of his hearers, 
and to add much to his own popularity. As the 
speaker appeared to warm up with his subject he 
lifted his voice and exclaimed : 

"The dissolution of the Union is one of the inevi 
table necessities of Lincoln s election, and it will be 
our mission to strike directly at the heart of the 
abolition party, and bury its foul carcass beneath the 
smoking ruins of Washington city !" 

This was the signal. The words had no sooner 
passed the lips of the speaker, than a startling noise, 
like that of a battering-ram being applied to one of 
the ante-room doors, cut short the speech, and caused 
every man present to spring to his feet in astonish 
ment and alarm. Bang ! bang ! bang ! sounded the 
heavy blows. The door burst open with a crash, and 
a stream of blue-coated soldiers, all fully armed, came 
pouring into the council-chamber, and quickly de 
ployed around three sides of the room, effectually 
cutting off the retreat of the inmates before they 
could make a movement 

The sudden and unexpected appearance of these 
intruders had a paralyzing effect upon the conspira 
tors. Had so many ghosts confronted them they 
could not have been more surprised. Horrified con 
sternation was depicted on every blanched face ; 


startled eyes looked wildly around for some avenue 
of escape, and exclamations of terror or baffled rage 
broke from many white lips. Some of the most des 
perate seemed for a moment to entertain thoughts o* 
breaking through the line of soldiers and reaching tn/>. 
door, but no such mad attempt was made. McPhail 
stepped forward with a revolver in each hand, and in 
a low, thrilling voice, said : 

" Gentlemen, you are our prisoners. I advise you 
to give in gracefully. We are too many for you." 

His advice did not go unheeded. They surren 
dered as gracefully as possible under the circum 
stances, and resigned themselves to the custody of 
their armed foes. The chamber in which they had 
maliciously plotted the overthrow of the government 
became the scene of their own downfall, and it was 
with dejected countenances that they submitted to the 
inevitable, and permitted themselves to be marched 
in a body before the Provost-Marshal. It was not 
observed, however, until they were being removed, 
that Timothy Webster had somehow contrived to 
make good his escape. 

The leading spirits of this conspiracy those who 
did the actual plotting, and who were known to be 
the arch traitors and prime movers in the secret 
enterprise were taken to Fort McHenry. The rest, 
after taking the oath of allegiance, were released. 

My two operatives disappeared from Baltimore 
immediately after this occurrence, as well they might, 


for of course the suspicion of the defeated conspira 
tors fastened upon them at once. As they did not 
show themselves in that city again, however, they 
never were made the victims of the terrible vengeance 
which some of their late associates swore to bring 
down upon their luckless heads at the first oppor 
tunity. As for Webster, instead of being suspected 
of any complicity in the betrayal, he was congratulated 
upon his fortunate and remarkable escape from the 
fate which befell his unfortunate brother knights. 

With the defeat of the " Knights of Liberty " in 
Baltimore, ended the existence of the branch lodges 
all over the State. The organization, which had so 
carefully planned the destruction of the Union at a 
single blow, was completely broken up. The con 
spirators, taking warning by the fate of their leaders, 
became mute and inactive, and although skilled 
detectives were sent to all outlying towns, no new 
signs of an uprising were discovered. 


Suspicions in Washington. " Uncle Callus" Property 
Searched. A Rebel Family sent South. Webster starts 
for Richmond. 

A SIDE from the operations of Timothy Webster 
<L\. and his assistants in Baltimore, there was 
work enough to do in Washington to keep myself 
and all the members of my large force constantly 
employed. Innumerable persons, suspected of 
treasonable designs, were closely shadowed; whole 
families became objects of distrust, and fell under the 
watchful eye of my department ; while the ungracious 
task of searching the homes of people who stood 
upon the highest round of the social ladder became 
of frequent occurrence. 

Among the latter class were the wife and family 
of ex-Governor Morton, of Florida, who at this time 
were sojourning in Washington. Mrs. Morton was 
known to be in sympathy with the South, and the 
unceasing vigilance of my men soon developed the 
fact that she was in secret communication with 
certain off.cials of the rebel government, to whom she 
was giving information concerning affairs at the 
North. She was a lady of eminent respectability and 



refinement, and much esteemed by all who knew her, 
but this did not render it less advisable, under the 
circumstances, to have all her movements watched^ 
and her house constantly shadowed by detectives. 
Her pleasant residence at No. 288 "I" street, was there 
fore placed under strict surveillance, and its inmates 
followed whenever they went out for a walk or drive, 
while all visitors at the house were invariably 
shadowed when they went away. 

There was an old negro servant, known as Uncle 
Gallus, who went to and from the house oftener than 
any one else, on errands for the family. Finally one 
of my operatives drew the old fellow into conversa 
tion, and found him so cheerful and communicative, 
and so firm in his loyalty to the Northern cause, that 
when the fact was reported to me, I concluded to 
talk with Uncle Gallus myself. Accordingly, I gave 
orders to have him brought to my office, if it could be 
done without opposition on his part. The friendship 
I bore for the colored race, and my long experience 
as an underground railroad conductor, had given me 
such an insight into the character of the negro, that I 
believed I could gain his confidence arid good-will if I 
should meet him. 

Uncle Gallus came to my office quite willingly. 
He was a powerfully-built darky, though evidently 
well advanced in years, as attested by the bleached 
appearance of his wool and eye-brows. His skin was 
as black and shone as bright as polished ebony, and 


it took but little provocation to set him on a broad 
grin, which displayed two unbroken rows of glistening 

This interesting specimen appeared before me one 
afternoon, when Timothy Webster was with me in 
my office. We had just finished a discussion con 
cerning some delicate point in Webster s Baltimore 
operations, and had lapsed into a desultory conversa 
tion. My sable visitor stood bowing and scraping, 
and turning his hat round and round in his hands, till 
I bid him be seated. 

"Your name is Gallus?" I said. 

" Yes, sah," he replied, his mouth stretched from 
ear to ear. " Folks done got so dey call me uncle 
Gallus nowadays." 

"You have been a slave all your life, I under 
stand ?" 

"Yes, massa, eber sence I war knee-high to a 
hopper-grass. I se done a mighty sight o wu k, too, 
kase I wus allus as big an stout as a sixty-dollah bull, 
an I could stan mo hard-fisted labor dan any o de 
udder niggahs on de plantation. But sence I been 
wid Massa Morton I ain t had nuffin to do skursely, 
an it seems as ef I se gwine to git pow ful lazy fur de 
want o wu k. H yah ! H yah !" 

" What is your native State, Uncle Gallus ?" 

" Ole Virginny, sah." 

He held his head a little higher, and sat a trifle 
more erect as he said this, showing that inordinate 


pride in his State which I had so often noticed in 
other Virginia slaves, as well as in Virginia masters. 

I asked him if the Mortons had offered him his 
freedom since the breaking out of the war. He shook 
his head and gravely replied : 

" Dey hain t been nuffin said to dis pusson on dat 
ar subjick, but I knows dey d gimme my freedom in 
less n twenty-fo hours ef I done ax em fur it." 

" Then you don t want to be free ?" 

" Oh, yes, I does, massa ; yes, I does, fur sho . 
But Massa Linkum an de Yankee boys am gwine 
ter fetch dat aroun all right by m-bye. Bress your 
soul an body, I can t b ar fur to run away from 
missus an ole massa, kase dey s been so good an 
kyind to me ; an I se done tuk an oath dat I won t 
leave em till dey gimme leaf. When missus goes 
back down Souf I se gwine ter go wid her, ef she 
don t tole me to stay heah. It won t be long, nohow, 
kase de time am soon comin when de darkies will all 
be free." 

"Your mistress intends to return to the South, 

" Yes, sah ; we ll soon be off now, ef de good Lo d 
will let us. Massa, he s in Richmond, an he hab done 
sent fur de family." 

" Is Mrs. Morton in communication with her 
husband ?" 

" Spec* she is, sah. She writes letters, an* gits 
letters. She has ter be sorter keerful like, for dese 


yah Yankees is got eyes like a cat, an* kin see fru a 
stun wall in de dark." 

" Do you know whether your mistress writes to 
any one besides her husband ?" 

Uncle Callus leaned back in his chair, and looked 
at me somewhat suspiciously, the whites of his eyes 
shining like polished china. 

" Deed, sah, I doesn t know whedder she dusdo, 
or whedder she doant," he said, hesitatingly. " Please, 
massa, doant ax dis chile any mo questions. My 
missus is de bes woman in de wu ld, and nebber didn t 
do nuffin wrong in all her bawn days. Ole Callus 
wouldn t say nuffin to bring trubble on her for fifteen 
cents," he added, earnestly. 

I quieted the fears of the faithful old man by as 
suring him that I meant no harm to his mistress, 
and that I had no doubt she was the good lady he 
represented her to be. Satisfied with the result of 
my investigations, I permitted Uncle Callus to depart, 
first charging him, however, to say nothing to any 
one concerning my interview with him. He prom 
ised secrecy, and bowed himself out with all his teeth 
visible, saying, as he went : 

" Fo de Lawd, gemmen, Fse hopin an prayin 
de No thun folks will be de top dog in dis wrastle, an 
ef fcber dis niggah hes a chance to gib yu uns a help- 
in han , yu kin bet a hoss agin a coon-skin he ll do 
it ; but I hope an trus my missus not be bod- 



Nevertheless, I had learned enough to bring me 
to the decision, that Mrs. Morton s house must be 
searched, and under orders of the Secretary of War, 
\ sent three of my men to No. 288 " I " street, to 
perform this unpleasant task. The operatives chosen 
to make the search were W. H. Scott, John Scully, 
and Pryce Lewis. Mrs t Morton received them very 
civilly, and told them they were at liberty to make a 
thorough search of the premises, which they immedi 
ately proceeded to do. They had instructions to 
read all letters that were found, but to keep only 
those that were of a treasonable nature, and in no 
case to destroy any property or leave anything in a 
disordered condition. These instructions were 
obeyed to the letter. Boxes that were packed ready 
for shipment were all carefully repacked and closed 
after they had been examined by my men, and when 
the operatives departed, they left no traces of their 
search behind them. Their polite and considerate 
conduct won for them the good will, not only of Mrs. 
Morton herself, but also of her daughter and two 
sons, who expressed themselves as being agreeably 
surprised, for they had been informed that the men 
from the Provost-Marshal s office were a set of ruf 
fians, who did not scruple to break up boxes, and litter 
the house with their contents, and that their conduct 
towards ladies was insulting in the extreme. They 
even went so far as to assure the operatives, that if 
any of them should ever be taken prisoner and 


brought to Richmond, they would do all in their 
power to secure kind treatment for them. 

Among the letters that were found, two of them 
were from ex-Governor Morton, to his son and 
daughter, requesting them to come to him at Rich 
mond ; but nothing of a criminating character was 
discovered, and the family were not subjected to fur 
ther annoyance. 

Some two weeks afterwards, when John Scully 
boarded a train for Baltimore, whither I had sent him 
with a message to. Webster, he chanced to meet Mrs. 
Morton and family in the car which he entered. 
They were departing from Washington, having been 
required to leave the North, by the authorities, who 
furnished them a safe passport to Richmond, and 
they were accompanied by the faithful Uncle Gallus. 
They recognized Scully, and greeted him with cor 
dial courtesy, the eldest son rising in his seat to shake 
hands with him. They told him that on arriving at 
Baltimore, they were to take a flag-of-truce boat to 
Fortress Monroe, from which point they would con 
tinue their journey to Richmond. Scully, as a mat 
ter of policy, gave them distinctly to understand that 
he had quitted the government service and was re 
turning to his home in the North. 

This little experience with the Morton family was 
trifling enough in itself, and was only one of many 
similar episodes with which I and my force were con 
nected during those troublous times ; but I have been 


thus particular in detailing it because it has an im 
portant bearing upon other events which afterwards 

It was about a month after the incident above 
mentioned, that Timothy Webster completed his prep 
arations for making his first trip into Virginia and 
through the rebel lines. A large number of Balti- 
moreans had intrusted him with letters to their friends 
and relatives in the South, and he had assured them 
that their messages would be delivered safely and 
answers brought back in due time. 

He left Baltimore on the i4th of October, and 
proceeded southward along the " Eastern Shore " of 
Virginia, seeking a convenient place to cross over to 
the mainland or " Western Shore." He arrived at 
Eastville, the county seat of Northampton county, on 
Tuesday, October 22d, where he found that he could 
effect a crossing with the assistance of a man named 
Marshall, who made a business of smuggling passen 
gers and mails through the lines. He was compelled, 
however, to remain at Eastville several days, waiting 
for Marshall and his boat to come over from the 
other side, his trips being delayed on account of the 
bright moonlight nights, as the boatman did not dare 
to run the gantlet of the Federal guns, unless 
covered by darkness. 

Some two or three months before, this man, Mar 
shall, had owned a sloop, which he had used success 
fully in running the Federal blockade One night he 


was caught in a calm near the western shore, and was 
run-down by a gunboat. His sloop was captured, and 
he narrowly escaped capture by deserting his vessel 
.md reaching the shore in a smaller boat. Since that 
time Marshall had been pursuing his vocation with a 
sort of canoe, or " dugout," thirty-one feet in length 
and five feet in width, carrying three sails main, fore 
and jib. His route was from Gloucester Point, York 
river, to Eastville, and his business was to transfer 
from one. side of the bay to the other the Confeder 
ate mail and passengers, and sometimes a small cargo 
of merchandise. Marshall being an expert pilot and 
a thorough seaman, was frequently employed by the 
masters of sloops and schooners to pilot them past 
certain points, they giving him the privilege of put 
ting his passengers and mail-bags aboard the vessel 
without charge. It was his invariable custom to 
place a stone or other heavy substance in his mail-bag 
before starting, for the purpose of sinking it in case 
of being pressed by the gunboats. 

It was on a dark evening that Webster left Cherry 
stone Lighthouse in Marshall s canoe, to make the 
voyage across the Chesapeake. There were thirteen 
passengers, all told. Eight of these were Mary- 
landers, mostly from Baltimore, every one of whom 
announced his intention of enlisting in the Confeder 
ate army or navy upon his arrival at Richmond. 

On starting, Marshall rowed off a short distance 
from the light-house, and rested on his oars for some 


time, taking observations to ascertain if the bay was 
clear of hostile craft. The night was scarcely dark 
enough for safety ; the clouds were thin and scattered, 
and the stars were peeping through the dark, ragged 
curtain overhead. The wind was blowing strongly 
from the east, and the water was exceedingly rough. 

Resolving, however, to make the effort, Marshall 
hoisted his sails, and as they rapidly filled, the little 
vessel sprung forward like a thing of life. It fairly 
skimmed over the waves, its sharp prow cutting the 
water and dashing up clouds of spray that caused the 
men to turn up their coat-collars and pull their hats 
down closer upon their heads. All conversation was 
forbidden, lest their voices should betray them to the 
enemy. With sealed lips and motionless forms, they 
might have been so many dark phantoms speeding 
before the wind on some supernatural mission. 

Webster, by his own wish, had been put upon the 
look-out by the captain of the boat, and he keenly 
watched for signs of danger. When they had trav 
eled nearly half the distance across the bay, he spied 
a point of light to leeward, and at once called Mar 
shall s attention to it. 

" It is a gunboat with a light on her bows," said 
the latter. " Let her come. She can t catch us, for 
with our present headway we are not to be over 
hauled by any boat on this water." 

The canoe was headed due west for about four 
teen miles, then south-west by west for ten or twelve 


miles, then due west again to Gloucester Point. The 
entire run was made in three and a half hours, the 
sailing distance being about thirty miles. 

On nearing Gloucester Point, they were hailed by 
a sentinel, with the usual challenge : 

" Who comes there ?" 

The blockade-runner sent back the answer : 

44 Marshall mail boat !" 

" Stand, Marshall, and give the countersign 1" 

" No countersign/ was the reply. 

The sentinel then called out : 

" Sergeant of the Guard, Post No. i !" 

And another voice, further away, cried : 

" Who s there ?" 

" Marshall, with mail boat and passengers." 

" Sentinel, let them pass." 

A few minutes later the passengers disembarked, 
and found themselves in a rebel camp. 

Webster, with others, went to Marshall s shanty 
a rude, wooden structure, which that worthy had 
built on the Point for the accommodation of his pas 
sengers and there the remainder of the night was 
spent in the refreshing companionship of Morpheus. 

On the following morning Webster was up and 
astir at an early hour. He ascertained that the en 
campment at Gloucester Point consisted of two regi 
ments of infantry, two companies of cavalry, and one 
field battery of six guns, all under the command of 
CoL Charles H. Crump. The entrenchments com- 


prised an area of about fifteen acres, and the main 
breastwork on the beach consisted of a heavy earth- 
bank, walled on the inside with split pine logs set up 
on end. About the center of this breastwork was a 
sixty-four-pound gun, mounted on a high carriage, 
which traversed in a circle commanding a sweep of 
the whole land side of the entrenchments, where 
there was a clean field of about seven hundred acres 
bounded by timber on the north and York river on 
the south. 

General Magruder had command of this division 
of the army, including the forces at Gloucester Point, 
Yorktown and all the peninsula bounded by the 
James and York rivers, extending down to Fortress 
Monroe. The division embraced thirty-three regi 
ments of infantry and cavalry. 

Webster called at Colonel Crump s headquarters 
and obtained from that officer a pass to Richmond, 
not only for himself, but for several others who had 
crossed the bay with him. At about the hour of noon 
on Saturday, the 26th, the party were ferried across 
the river to Yorktown, in a small boat. The landing 
at Yorktown was in front of a hill which rose with a 
gentle slope some twenty-five feet above the beach, 
on the top of which, in front of the town, was an 
earth-work mounting six or eight guns. 

From this point the party proceeded in a south 
westerly direction, across the peninsula, to Grove 
Wharf, on James river. The distance was about ten 


miles, and was accomplished without difficulty or 
delay. On their arrival at Grove Wharf, however, 
they were disappointed to learn that no boat was 
to leave there for Richmond until the following 
Monday. There was no help for it, and with a rue 
ful attempt at resignation, they took quarters at a 
neighboring farm-house, where they waited and 


The Spy at Richmond. Earthworks Around the Rebel Capi 
tal. An Unexpected Meeting. Pistols for Two. A Re 
conciliation. Safe Return to Washington. 

ON Monday morning Webster left Grove 
Wharf, on the regular steam packet, for 
Richmond, where he arrived on the evening of the 
same day. Here he separated from his companions 
and made his way alone to the Spotswood Hotel, 
where he registered, and proceeded to make himself 
at home. He was now in the rebel capital, sur 
rounded on all sides by the enemies of his country, 
with no friends to whom he could apply in case of 
danger, and burdened with a mission, upon the suc 
cessful performance of which his life depended. It 
was a mission, too, requiring such delicate and skill 
ful labor, that a man less iron-nerved would have 
trembled at the very contemplation of it ; but Web 
ster, whose courage and self-command never deserted 
him in the most trying moments of his life, coolly re 
viewed the situation and laid his plans in a systematic 
manner for future operations. 

The next day, he busied himself about the city, 
delivering his letters, forming acquaintances, and 


paving the way for an interview with the Secretary 
of War, his object being to obtain from that high 
official, if possible, a pass to Manassas and Winches 
ter. He was informed by General Jones, Post-Ad 
jutant to General Winder, the Provost- Marshal at 
Richmond, and commander of the forces there, that 
no interview could be obtained with the Secretary of 
War, except upon business especially connected with 
the military department, as they were daily expecting 
an attack from the Federal Army of the Potomac, and 
the Secretary was wholly engaged with officers of the 

Among the acquaintances which Webster formed, 
was a young man by the name of William Campbell, 
originally a Baltimorean, to whom he brought a let 
ter of introduction from the father of the young 
man. Campbell treated my operative with the 
utmost friendliness and courtesy, and invited him to 
a drive during the afternoon. The invitation was 
accepted, and as the weather was all that could be de 
sired, they enjoyed a very pleasant afternoon. They 
visited the environs for the purpose of viewing the 
defenses, and Webster noted the fact that there were 
seventeen very superior earth-work batteries around 
the town, forming a rude semicircle with eithe r end 
resting on the James river. The entrenchments 
around each of these batteries were from twelve to 
fourteen feet wide at the top, and about ten feet deep. 
Some of the batteries were designed for six gui s and 


some for sixteen. They were nearly all completed at 
this time, and the work upon them had been done 
exclusively by negro slaves. In most cases they were 
mounted with their full complement of guns, varying 
in caliber, from thirty-two to sixty-four pounds. 
The land around Richmond consists of hills and val 
leys, and the batteries were planted on the most 
elevated and commanding points. The heaviest of 
these commanded the turnpikes and railroads which 
formed the approaches from Manassas and Freder- 

After visiting the batteries, Webster went with 
Campbell to the ordnance department, where he was 
introduced to several persons who had charge of the 
ordnance stores, and from whom he elicited much 
valuable information. Among other things, he was 
informed by the Colonel in charge, that the " Ber 
muda," an English vessel which had recently run 
the blockade, had brought over for the Confederate 
government twelve thousand Enfield rifles, a large 
supply of cavalry swords and a number of rifled can 
non ; and that, upon trial, the rifled cannon were found 
to be more accurate than any of their brass pieces. 

On the following day Webster concluded to make 
another inspection of the earth-works around the city. 
He went alone and on foot this time, as he desired 
to make some notes and calculations, which he was 
unable to do in the presence of others without run 
ning an unnecessary risk. It was a fine, brisk morn- 


ing, the air was slightly tinged with the coolness of 
approaching winter, and the spy occupied the entire 
forenoon in strolling leisurely from point to point, 
apparently with the single object of idling away a few 
leisure hours. Now he passed some men engaged in 
planting a cannon on one of the redoubts, and again 
he saw a group of slaves busily at work with pickaxes 
and shovels, but no one seemed to pay any attention 
to him. 

About noon he came upon a scene, which, though 
characteristic of the time and place, was rather a novel 
sight to a Northern man, and he stopped to view it 
with considerable interest. In a sunny spot near the 
river bank about a dozen negro laborers were 
gathered, their surroundings showing that they had 
just left off work for the enjoyment of their allotted 
hour of rest, at noon. Having finished their mid-day 
repast, they were now filling their time by indulging in 
a species of amusement peculiar to their race. *On a 
pine log sat a jolly-looking old negro, whose hair was 
white as snow and whose face was black as ebony, 
grinning, and rolling his head from side to side, while 
he patted " Juba" with great energy and skill, on his 
knees, chest and head. The other darkies were 
dancing to the "music," and apparently enjoying the 
sport to an unlimited degree. 

The detective was amused at the spectacle, but 
this feeling gave way to one of surprise and curiosity, 
as he looked more intently at the white-haired old 


man who was acting as musician. There was some 
thing strikingly familiar in those black, smiling features. 
Surely this was not the first time he had seen that 
face, or witnessed that tremendous grin. Where had 
he met this darky before ? 

Suddenly his recollection was quickened. The 
person in question was none other than Uncle Gallus, 
the servant of ex-Governor Morton, whom he had 
seen in my office at Washington, on the day that I 
had questioned him about his mistress. This fact 
was clear enough to Webster, but somewhat surpris 
ing, withal. He remembered that Uncle Gallus had, 
on that occasion, represented the Mortons as very 
indulgent slave-owners, who never permitted him to 
perform any hard labor ; yet here he was, in the role 
of a common workman, employed upon the fortifica 
tions around Richmond. 

Whatever had caused this change, however, it did 
not appear to weigh heavily upon the old darky, for at 
this moment he was in the very ecstasy of delight, as he 
patted inspiration into the nimble feet of his com 
panions. The other darkies danced until their faces 
shone with perspiration, and the manner in which 
their loose-jointed limbs swung and wriggled, sug 
gested the idea that those members were hung on 
pivots. They leaped and vaulted, and flung their 
heels in the airs, as if they were so many jumping- 
jacks and Uncle Gallus was pulling the string. 

The latter hummed snatches of plantation melodies 


as he warmed up to his work, and finally he sung a 
series of characteristic verses, of which the following 
are a sample : 

" Did you ebber see a woodchuck lookin at a coon-fight ? 

Linkum am a-comin by m-bye ; 
Did you ebber see a niggah gal dancin* in de moonlight? 

Glory, glory, glory hallelujerum ! 

" Possum up a gum-stump, chawin slippery-ellum, 

Linkum am a-comin by m-bye ; 
Nigga s in de market an massa tryin to sell em 

Glory, glory, glory hallelujerum ! 

"Secesh in Richmon de Yankee boys has treed em 

Linkum am a-comin by m-bye ; 
All de little pickaninnies gwine to git dar freedom 

Glory, glory, glory hallelujerum !" 

Suddenly the merriment of the blacks was inter* 
rupted in a most unexpected manner. 

Some tall bushes that covered the top of a slight 
elevation near by were suddenly parted, and a man, 
wearing the uniform of a Lieutenant in the Confeder 
ate army, leaped down among the astonished revelers. 
In a towering rage, he turned upon Uncle Gallus and 
shouted : 

" Shut your head, you d d old villain, or I ll 

fill your black hide with lead !" and he flourished a 
cocked revolver in the face of the terrified negro. 

" Afo God, Massa, we didn t mean no harm, we s 
jes passin away de time," said Uncle Gallus, in a 
frightened voice. 


"Well, then," said the officer, with an oath, " be a 
little more careful in the future about the kind of 

songs you sing, or I ll have every d d one of you 

bucked and gagged, and whipped within an inch of 
your lives." 

Replacing his weapon, and turning on his heel, he 
was striding angrily away when he came face to face 
with Webster. 

The recognition was mutual and instantaneous 
between the two men. As quick as a flash Webster 
had his revolver cocked and pointed at the head of 
the blustering Confederate. 

" Bill Zigler, what are you doing here ? You 
move at your peril." 

" I d kill you, curse you, but you ve got the drop 
on me now, as you had once before. But my time 
will come, you d d Yankee spy !" 

" Look here, Bill !" said Webster, anxious, if pos 
sible, to disarm at once and forever the suspicions of 
his enemy, "what is the use of our being continually 
at daggers points ? You were foolish enough to insult 
me in Baltimore by impeaching my loyalty to the 
South, and I resented it, as any man would. If you 
repeat the vile slander, I ll do the same thing. If, 
however, you have anything personal against me, and 
must fight, I ll put up my weapon and meet you 
hand to hand." 

Zigler looked at the speaker a moment, and then 
advancing and extending his hand, said : 


" Webster, put up your pistol ; I guess I ve made 

a d d fool of myself. I did think you were a spy, 

but I knock under ; I don t want to be an enemy to 
such a friend to the cause as I now believe you to 

Lowering his revolver, Webster good-naturedly 
received the friendly overtures of his former foe. 

" I thought you would come to your senses at 
last ; but when did you come down here ?" 

" Oh, I ve been here several weeks. I enlisted in 
Baltimore and came down as a lieutenant, " answered 
Zigler. " But where are you from ?" he continued, 
"and what is the news from the Monumental 
City ?" 

" I am just from that city," replied Webster, "and 
have brought a number of letters for parties here and 
at Manassas. I expect to go to the Junction to-mor 
row, if I succeed in getting a pass." 

" Who do you want to see there ?" 

" Well, I want to see John Bowen," replied Web 
ster, naming a particular friend of Zigler s, whom he 
knew was at Manassas. " I understand he is down 
with typhoid fever, and will no doubt be glad to hear 
from home." 

This straightforward story completely disarmed 
the suspicions of the bully as to Webster s true char 
acter, and finding that he had time to spare he invited 
the scout to his quarters. 

Thus the quarrel was settled between these two 



men, and the superior tact and coolness of Webster 
had succeeded in making a friend of a man who 
might have seriously interfered with his operations, 
and probably have jeopardized his life. 

As they were leaving the place, Webster cast a 
look at the group of negroes, whose mirth had been 
so suddenly interrupted, and he noticed that they 
were regarding the Lieutenant with looks of sullen 
anger. He was, however, considerably relieved to 
find that Uncle Gallus had not recognized him, and 
that as far as the aged negro was concerned, he had 
nothing to fear. He accompanied Zigler to his 
quarters, where they chatted pleasantly for an hour, 
after which Webster returned to his hotel, a much 
wiser man than when he first started out upon his 

As he sauntered quietly back to the city, he felt 
quite elated at the success of his management of Zig 
ler, whom he had made a fast friend. After supper, 
in company with Mr. Campbell, he strolled about the 
city for a short time, when his companion excused 
himself, and Webster pursued his way alone. He 
was walking along Utah street, apparently deeply ab 
sorbed in his own meditations, when he heard a voice 
behind him. 

" Hole on dar, Massa I" 

Turning around, he was surprised to see Uncle 
Gallus, approaching him as rapidly as his stiffened 
limbs would permit. 


" Well, uncle," said Webster, as the old man 
caught up to him "did you speak to me ?" 

" You se de man dat I dressed, sah done you 
know me ?" said the old fellow, peering anxiously in 
the face of the detective. 

" No, I don t remember you," said Webster, de 
termined to ascertain whether the old darky did 
know him ; " where have you ever seen me ?" 

" In Washington, sah," replied UncleGallus; "don 
you remember you saw me at Majah Allen s, when I 
was dah libin wid Missus Morton ?" 

Webster looked at the negro a moment, and then, 
feeling assured of the friendliness of his interlocutor, 
he said : 

" Your face does seem familiar to me ; what is your 
name ?" 

" Dey calls me Uncle Gallus, sah," answered the 
old fellow. 

"Oh, yes," said Webster, "now I remember 

"Golly, massa," grinned Uncle Gallus, "wen I 
seed you gib it to Bill Zigler dis mo nin , I dun 
knowed you right away, but I wouldn t say nuffin for 
de world, fo I knowed you was a pullin de wool ober 
his eyes." 

Knowing full well that he had nothing to fear 
from Uncle Gallus, he talked with him good-natur 
edly on various topics, and in the course of the con 
versation he learned that he was no longer with Mrs. 


Morton, having been disposed of by her, some time 
before, and that he was now being used by the Con 
federate government to work upon the fortifications. 
Not deeming it advisable to remain long in conversa 
tion with the old darky on the streets, he told him 
that he would see him in a day or two, and placing a 
coin in the old man s hand, he bade him good-night. 

The next morning Mr. Campbell and Webster 
visited General Jones, and obtained the sough t-f or 
passes to Manassas, for which place he left early in 
the forenoon. On his arrival there, he learned that 
John Bo wen, for whom he had a letter, had been 
taken to Richmond, but having several other messa 
ges to deliver to parties of prominence there, he 
busied himself during the day in forming acquaint 
ances, and in acquiring knowledge. From Manassas 
he went to Centreville, where he remained a few days, 
and from thence to Warrington, and finally back 
again to Richmond, where he delivered his remaining 
letters. Here he formed the acquaintance of a man 
by the name of Price, who was engaged in running 
the blockade, and who was making arrangements 
to return to Baltimore, to purchase a fresh supply of 
goods. Together they went to the office of the Pro 
vost-Marshal, where they obtained the necessary 
passes to insure their safe journey through the rebel 

Leaving Richmond, they went to Fredericksburg, 
where he stayed long enough to visit all the places of 


interest around that city, and in company with Mr. 
Price they went on to Brooks Station, the head-quar 
ters of General Holmes, with whom Price was inti 
mately acquainted. After remaining several days, he 
left his companion, making his way to Yorktown and 
Gloucester Point, and from thence to Washington, 
where he reported to me. 

This first visit of Timothy Webster to Richmond 
was highly successful. Not only had he made many 
friends in that city, who would be of service to him 
on subsequent trips, but the information he derived 
was exceedingly valuable. He was able to report 
very correctly the number and strength of the fortifi 
cations around the rebel capital, to estimate the num 
ber of troops and their sources of supplies, and also 
the forts between that city and Manassas Junction. 
His notes of the topography of the country were of 
the greatest value, and he received the warmest 
thanks of the commanding general, for what he had 
thus far been able to accomplish. 


Again in Baltimore. A Warning. The Spy is Arrested^ 

and Escapes. 

AFTER the return of Timothy Webster from 
/JL Richmond and Manassas, I deemed it best 
that he should again visit Baltimore and mingle 
once more with his rebel friends in that city. Since 
the summary collapse of the Knights of Liberty the 
majority of them had been remarkably quiet, and no 
indications were apparent that they contemplated 
any further proceedings of a treasonable nature. It 
will be remembered that on the night that the secret 
meeting was disturbed, Webster managed in some 
unaccountable manner to escape, and that he had dis 
appeared almost immediately afterwards. As no sus 
picion existed as yet of his having been concerned in 
the affair, and as his prolonged absence might give 
rise to doubts of his loyalty, I concluded that it was 
best for him to again show himself among his old 
associates, and account for his escape in a manner 
that would appear truthful and straightforward. 

He accordingly took the train, and after arriving 
in Baltimore, he went directly to Miller s Hotel. 
Here he found several of his friends, and their greet- 


ings were most cordial and hearty. In a few momenta 
others of the party had been notified, and came 
thronging in to welcome him and to congratulate him 
upon his escape and present safety. Eager inquiries 
were made as to the manner in which he had so suc 
cessfully eluded the soldiers, and how he had spent 
the time since the occurrence of that event. In 
reply Webster gave a satisfactory and highly interest 
ing account of his movements, all of which was 
heartily enjoyed by his listening friends. Gratified 
beyond expression at the pleasant condition of affairs, 
he became quite jolly, and the balance of the evening 
was spent in convivial and social enjoyment. 

On the following morning he started out in search 
of his old friend Sam Sloan, for whom he had a letter 
from his brother, who was in the rebel army, and 
stationed at Centreville. Having also a number of 
letters for other Baltimoreans, he desired to secure 
Sloan s services in their proper and safe delivery. 

Sam looked in astonishment as Webster blandly 
approached him, and after an effusive greeting he 
remarked earnestly : 

" Webster, you ll have to be mighty careful now, 
or you will be arrested yet. We are watched night 
and day the least suspicious move we make is re 
ported at once and if repealed, the first thing the 
offender knows he finds himself in the guard-house." 

" Well," replied Webster, laughingly, " I ll have to 
take my chances with the rest of you." 


lf I know your grit, Webster," said Sloan, "but 
by all means be careful. I was arrested myself since 
you went away." 

" The deuce you were !" ejaculated Webster. 
" How did that occur?" 

" Well, I went over to Washington to transact a 
little business, and while there I met some of the 
boys, and we had a little time. I don t know what 
I did, but when I started to come home, the Provost- 
Marshal arrested me, and I had to take the oath of 
allegiance before ! could get away." 

"You don t tell me that you took the oath, 
Sam ?" 

" Yes, I did," laughed Sam. " I would take twenty 
oaths before I would be locked up ;" and then he 
added : " I tell you, we are all spotted here in this 
city, and who is doing it we can t find out." 

"What makes you think that?" inquired Web 
ster, doubtfully. 

" Many things. Why, only the other day I was 
taken before Lieutenant Watts, who has charge of 
the station-house, and the questions he put to me 
about the gang, convinced me that he knew a great 
deal more than was good for us." 

" Did he ask anything about me ?" queried Web 

"No," replied Sam, "and if he had I wouldn t 
have told him anything, you may be sure." 

" I can readily believe that," said the detective, 


"but if it is so dangerous here, how am I going to 
deliver these letters ?" 

" I can help you there," said Sloan, after a mo 
ment s consideration ; " John Earl, Richardson and I 
will see that they are delivered, and that will keep 
you from incurring suspicion." 

"That will do," said Webster, "and you can tell 
the people you see to write their answers at once, and 
inclose them in two envelopes, one directed to their 
friend, and the other to John Hart, at Miller s Hotel." 

" I understand ; but who is this John Hart you 
mention can we trust him ?" 

" I think so," replied the detective, laughing 
heartily ; " his other name is Timothy Webster." 

" By Jove, Webster, you re a good one ; I begin to 
think myself that there isn t so much danger of your 
getting caught after all." 

This being satisfactorily arranged, the two men 
started in search of John Earl and Richardson, who 
both agreed to assist in the delivery of the letters 
which Webster had brought with him from the South, 
They all went to the room occupied by the detective 
at the hotel, and after a friendly drink, the letters 
were properly assorted, and each man was given his 
particular portion. They were instructed to request 
answers from those only in whose friendship they 
could implicitly rely, and to take in person any that 
were prepared at the time. 

In the afternoon, Webster called on Mr. Camp 


bell, the father of the young man who had accom 
panied him on his trip from Richmond to Manassas 
Junction. The old gentleman was rejoiced to hear 
from his son, and after a few minutes conversation 
Webster discovered that he was quite as bitter a 
secessionist as any one he had met, although he was 
quite aged and not very active. He informed the 
detective that he had once made a very handsome 
horse-bit for General McClellan, and that he was now 
making one for General Johnston, which he would like 
Webster to take with him when he next went to 
Richmond, and deliver it to the General in person. 

" Have everything ready," said the detective, " and 
I will see that it reaches its destination in safety." 

Returning to the hotel, he went in to supper, and 
after a hearty repast seated himself in the reading- 
room to await the return of his mail-carriers. While 
carelessly glancing over the columns of a daily paper, 
he was approached by a gentleman, who stepped in 
front of him, exclaiming heartily : " Why, Mr. Web 
ster, how do you do ? I am glad to see you ; when 
did you get back to Baltimore ?" 

Looking up hastily from his paper, Webster 
recognized the speaker as Mr. Price, the blockade 
runner whom he had met in Richmond, and with 
whom he had traveled some distance through the 
rebel country. 

Their greeting was most cordial, and the return of 
John Earl and Sam Sloan found the two men engaged 


in animated conversation. From Price, Webster 
learned that a large amount of goods had been pur 
chased by several wealthy gentlemen of Baltimore, 
who had adopted a very novel manner of transporting 
them into rebeldom, without danger from Federal 
pickets or gunboats. Their plan was to ship the goods 
upon a vessel bound for Europe and ostensibly the 
goods were intended for the same destination. In ad 
dition to this a small boat was purchased, which was 
to be taken in tow by the steamer. By an arrange 
ment with the captain the vessel was to stand in as 
close as possible to the mouth of York river, when 
the small boat was to be brought alongside, then the 
goods were to be transferred to it, and the owners 
were to pull up the river to Yorktown, effect a safe 
landing, and the rest would be an easy task. 

Webster complimented his companion on the 
shrewdness displayed in this suggestion, and that 
evening he wrote to me, conveying full particulars of 
the proposed blockade-running. 

It is needless to say that this little plan, shrewd as 
it was, failed of execution. Men were at once placed 
upon the track of these merchants, and a more sur 
prised coterie never existed than were these gentle 
men, when their goods, carefully labeled for a foreign 
port, were seized by the government, and their con 
veyance to the South effectually stopped. An 
examination of the goods fully confirmed the correct 
ness of Webster s information, and this venture, at 


least, was a losing speculation to those who had 
engaged in it. 

After Mr. Price had taken his departure, John 
Earl called Webster aside, and informed him that a 
gentleman desired to send a draft for a large amount 
of money to Richmond, and that he had insisted on 
placing it in the hands of John Hart himself. 

" Do you know this man, and that he is all right ?" 
asked Webster. 

" No," replied Earl, " I know nothing about him 
except that he is vouched for by three parties who 
are true, and they say he is all right." 

" I don t like this idea," said Webster, doubtfully ; 
" I guess you had better tell this man that you will 
deliver it safely for him, and then you can hand it to 


" I did suggest that, but he said his orders were 
to intrust it to no one but John Hart himself." 

After considering for some time, Webster finally 
concluded to see the individual in person. He was 
satisfied that no harm could come to him if the man 
was a Federal detective, as, by application to the 
authorities or to me he could readily extricate himself 
from any difficulty, and if he was a rebel, he would 
incur no risk whatever. 

" Very well," he said, after he had fully deliberated 
the question, "you can bring him to my room and 
then we will see what is to be done. Meanwhile I 
will take a short walk and smoke a cigar. * 


On his return he found John Earl awaiting him, 

" The gentleman is up-stairs in my room," said 
Earl ; " will you go up now and see him ?" 

Webster signified his willingness, and the two 
men ascended the stairs. As they entered the room 
the stranger arose to greet them, and Webster 
scrutinized him carefully. The result of his scrutiny 
was decidedly unsatisfactory. The new-comer was a 
tall, well-formed man, of about forty years of age. 
His hair was dark, and he wore long side-whiskers of 
the same color. In appearance he was what would 
be ordinarily considered a handsome man, but there 
was a look of quiet curiosity about the eyes, and a 
peculiar curl about the mouth, which struck Webster 
very unpleasantly, and caused him to instinctively 
regret having accorded him the interview which he 

"Mr. Hart," said the stranger, pleasantly, after 
they had been formally introduced to each other, " I 
have a letter here, inclosing a draft, which I am 
desirous of having safely delivered to my sister-in-law 
in Richmond. You will find the address upon the 
envelope inside. Can you attend to this ?" 

" I guess so," replied Webster. I can try, at all 

Webster could not overcome a feeling of unrest 
and suspicion, as he conversed with the man, and he 
felt considerably relieved when, after expressing his 
thanks, he took his departure. 


The. next morning Webster was astir early, and 
after partaking of a hearty breakfast, he thought he 
would pay another visit to Mr. Bowen. Leaving the 
hotel, he walked rapidly down the street in the direc 
tion of the old man s residence. He had not pro 
ceeded far when, on turning around, he noticed that 
his friend of the night before was walking upon the 
opposite side of the street, and but a short distance 
behind him. Finding that he was observed, the man 
crossed the street, and after bidding Webster a very 
cordial good-morning, said : 

"Mr. Hart, as we are walking in the same 
direction, if you have no objection, we will walk 

Webster assented, and for a short distance they 
journeyed along, indulging in a very constrained con 
versation. Webster felt assured that the man had 
been following him, and that his apparent friendliness 
was assumed. Desiring to rid himself of his unwel 
come and uncomfortable companion, he was upon the 
point of expressing himself very forcibly, when he 
was startled by the stranger grasping him firmly by 
the arm, and ejaculating : 

" John Hart, you are my prisoner!" 

Had a thunderbolt fallen at his feet he could not 
have been more surprised, but recovering himself 
quickly, he wrenched himself from the grasp of the 

" What do you mean, sir ?" he asked. 



" Just what I have said," replied the other, coolly ; 
"there is no occasion for any controversy upon the 
question, and as you are directly in front of the 
station-house, resistance would be worse than use 

The cool manner in which these words were 
spoken exasperated Webster beyond control, but he 
saw that there were two soldiers standing guard in the 
doorway, and he realized at once that any attempt at 
escape would be foolhardy in the extreme. He 
therefore submitted quietly, and suffered himself to 
be led into the building, where an officer was seated 
at a table, examining the reports of the previous day. 
The recognition between the Lieutenant and 
Webster s captor appeared to be mutual, and, indeed, 
the presence of my operative did not seem to be an 
unlooked-for event. 

"" Lieutenant, this is Mr. Hart," said the stranger. 
" All right," replied that officer, " we will take good 
care: of him." 

After a short consultation, held in a tone too low 
for Webster to hear, the stranger took his leave, and 
the officer turned to the detective : 

" Come with me, sir ; your case will be attended 
to in the course of the day." 

" Lieutenant, I would like to speak to you a 
moment, now that we are alone," said Webster, de 
sirous of ending the matter, and of enabling the 
Lieutenant to ascertain his true character. 


tf I have no time to talk with rebels," said the 
officer, shortly, and then calling to the turnkey, he 
direected him to place Webster in a cell. 

Deeply resenting the treatment of the officer, but 
feeling that opposition would only aggravate his an 
noyance, Webster followed the man, internally vow 
ing vengeance against the fellow who had instigated 
his arrest. He was anxious to express himself forci 
bly to the officer in charge, but he considered that he 
would probably do the same thing under the same cir 
cumstances. The Lieutenant believed him to be a 
rebel, and as such his treatment was harsh and impolite, 
and after debating the matter in his mind he came to 
the conclusion that he was not much to blame after 
all. He was desirous, however, of communicating with 
some one who could intercede for him, and by that 
means secure his release, and he resolved to make 
friends with his jailer as the best possible way of 
obtaining what he wanted. 

Shortly after he had been incarcerated, he heard 
the voices of Sam Sloan and John Earl, who had 
been informed of his arrest and had come to see him. 
Their request was denied, however, and they ex 
pressed themselves in very loud tones against the 
injustice they were compelled to submit to. All to 
no avail, however, and they reluctantly took their 
leave. The turnkey coming along the corridor at 
this time, Webster called to him, and requested his 
attention for a few moments. The man was about 


sixty years of age, and had a very benignant coun 
tenance, which Webster argued was a good omen for 
the work of propitiation which he had in hand. 

" Will you tell the Lieutenant that I would like 
to speak with him," asked Webster. 

" It s no use," said the old man, with a shake of 
the head ; " the Lieutenant says he won t have any 
thing to say to you, until your case is reported to 
headquarters this evening." 

" Well, then," smiled Webster, " I suppose I will 
have to wait his pleasure; but can t a fellow get- a lit 
tle whisky and cigar ? I ll make it worth your while 
if you can help me in that particular." 

The old man laughed, and said he would see what 
could be done, as Webster slipped a bill into his 
hand. He disappeared, and after about a half hour, 
he returned and slipped a small bundle through the 
grated door, admonishing Webster to be careful 
about exposing himself to the other prisoners within 

" All right," said Webster, " you keep the change, 
old man, for your trouble." 

In the afternoon another officer, accompanied by 
four men, came to his cell, and requested his appear 
ance at the office. Here he was carefully searched, and 
upon his person were found some letters addressed to 
himself ; a pass from Col. Cramp, and about seventy 
dollars in money. They were about to take these 
from him, when Webster inquired : 


"Who was the man whc arrested me this morn 

" His name is McPhail, and he belongs to the 
secret service," was the reply. 

At the mention of the name, Webster started in 
surprise. He had heard of him as connected with 
my force, and knew that everything would soon be all 

" Well," said Webster, " will you be kind enough 
to send for Mr. McPhail, and ask him to telegraph 
to Major Allen, and inquire if Tim is all right ?" 

" What Major Allen is that ?" asked the officer. 

"Of the secret service," replied Webster. 
"McPhail will know all about him; and you will learn 
that I am no rebel, in a very short time." 

" We will do what you request," said the officer, 
" and if you are all right, we will be glad to find it 

Thanking the officer for his kindness, Webster iras 
conducted back to his cell to await developments. 

About ten o clock that night, the officer again 
made his appearance. 

" John Hart, come here." 

Webster presented himself before the iron grating 
of his cell. 

" Is your name John Hart?" 

" No, sir, my name is Timothy Webster." 

" Well, my orders are for a man named Hart, who 
is to be taken to Fort McHenry." 



Something in the tone of the man s voice, 
and in the twinkle of his eye, told Webster that 
everything was understood, so he answered at 

" Very well, I am the man !" 

" Come with me, then." 

They conducted him to the street, where he saw 
a covered wagon in waiting. They all got in and then 
in a loud voice the officer gave the order : 

" Drive direct to Fort McHenry pier !" 

After they had started, the officer explained to 
Webster that it had been arranged, in order to pre 
vent suspicion, that he should be allowed to jump 
from the wagon as it was driven along, and after a 
pretended pursuit, he would make his escape to his 
rebel friends with whom he should remain quietly for 
a few days, and then return to Washington and re 
port to me. 

These directions he implicitly followed ; and seiz 
ing a favorable opportunity, he leaped from the 
wagon and rapidly made his way in the direction of 
the city. Going directly to Sam Sloan s, he knocked 
loudly at the door. After a few minutes a window 
was raised and a voice inquired angrily : 

"Who are you, and what do you want ?" 

" It is I Webster Sam, come down and open 
the door." 

The window was shut, with an oath of joyful sur 
prise, and in a twinkling, the door was opened, and 


Sloan pulled Webster into the room, closing and 
locking the door behind him. 

" Great G d, Webster, how did you manage to 
get away from the Yanks ?" 

" Let me get warm, and I ll tell you," replied 
Webster, with a laugh. 

" Come up stairs," said Sloan heartily, "and we ll 
have something to drink." 

After refreshing themselves, Webster related the 
manner of his escape, carefully concealing the action 
of the officer, and the fact that he had been peaceably 
permitted to leave the vehicle and when he had con 
cluded, Sloan s admiration was unbounded. Promis 
ing to secrete him until he could safely get away, they 
all went to bed, and slept soundly. 

Early the next morning Sloan left the house, and 
after an absence of an hour or two returned, bringing 
with him several of Webster s trusty friends, among 
whom was John Earl, who was decidedly crestfallen 
at the thought of having been instrumental in leading 
Webster into such danger by introducing the strange 
man to him, without learning more about his charac 
ter for loyalty to the cause. They were all overjoyed 
at his escape, and spent the afternoon in a jollifica 
tion over his safe return. The newspapers contained 
full particulars of the affair, and when they were 
brought before him Webster could not restrain his 
laughter at their contents, as he read : 



" It was rumored yesterday that the man Webster, 
who was arrested, stopping at the hotel of Messrs. 
McGee, upon the charge of being concerned in the 
regular transportation of letters between Baltimore 
and the seceded States, had succeeded in making his 
escape. It is learned upon the best authority that 
during a late hour of the night he was removed from 
the western police station and placed in a carriage 
under the charge of a special detective officer. The 
wagon was driven towards Fort McHenry, he having 
been previously ordered to that post, but while the 
vehicle was in motion, and when within a short dis 
tance of their destination, he gave a sudden bound 
from his seat, and before the officer could seize him, 
he was beyond his grasp. It is not known which 
direction he took, but he will scarcely be able to 
escape from the city. He is a citizen of Kentucky, 
but left there in the early part of April, and since 
that time has been residing in Baltimore." 

In another paper he read : 

f"We have learned from an entirely reliable 
source that Mr. Webster was arrested in endeavoring 
to procure replies to a number of letters which he had 
delivered from Marylanders now residing in Virginia to 
friends at home. A fact which, in view of the haz 
ards of such an attempt, should content the unfor 
tunate exiles from Maryland with the gratification of 
communication with their friends there and without 

* The above is from the Baltimore American of November 22, 1861. 
| The above is taken from the> Gazette of November 22, 1861. 


the reciprocal joy of hearing from the latter in return. 
We have reason to believe that Webster is beyond 
the reach of the Yankees." 

Remaining with his friends until after midnight 
on the second day, he made his way to the train, and 
at 4.30 in the morning started for Washington, where 
he arrived about seven o clock, and reported at my 

It may seem strange that Webster was arrested by 
one of my men, and that my intervention was neces 
sary to effect his release, but a few words will serve 
as an explanation. McPhail, the operative who had 
caused Webster s arrest, had never seen that gentle 
man, and was entirely ignorant of his true character. 
Under such circumstances he very naturally was led 
to suspect him as a rebel spy, and to lay the trap for 
his capture. The delicate and important duties 
which had been assigned to Webster were such, that 
I deemed it advisable to inform but very few of my 
men of his immediate connection with me, hence the 
arrest, as far as McPhail was concerned, was a bona 
fide revelation of what he believed to be a dangerous 
crime. As it was, the arrest did no harm, but rather 
enabled Webster to cement more closely the bonds 
of friendship which existed between himself and those 
with whom he had previously associated 


Webster and Scobell. A Negro as a Spy. A Traitor Deserti 
from the Army. He Carries Dispatches to the Rebels, 
which Fail of tlieir Destination. An Attack in the 
Woods. " The Loyal League." Slaves as Patriots. 

ON the first day of November, 1861, General 
McClellan was made the Commander-in-Chief 
of all the armies of the United States. Immediately 
on assuming this important position, the General 
turned his attention to the entire field of operations, 
regarding the Army of the Potomac as a branch, 
though the most important one, of the armies under 
his command. 

Reliable information regarding the location and 
strength of the enemy was the most desirable thing 
to be obtained at present, and although Webster had 
been performing giant labor in this direction, his 
operations comprised but a minor portion of the 
work that devolved upon me. Numerous men of 
various callings and abilities were traveling through 
the South, gathering items of news wherever possible, 
and reporting the same as accurately and as rapidly 
as they were enabled to do so. So numerous were 
the methods which I employed in promoting the 



successful operations of the secret service, that it is 
possible within the limits of the present volume to 
enumerate but very few of the many events which 
occurred. Among the many men thus employed, 
was a negro by the name of John Scobell, and the 
manner in which his duties were performed, was 
always a source of satisfaction to me and apparently 
of gratification to himself. From the commencement 
of the war, I had found the negroes of invaluable 
assistance, and I never hesitated to employ them 
when, after investigation, I found them to be intelli 
gent and trustworthy. 

As I have previously stated, all refugees, deserters 
and contrabands coming through our lines were 
turned over to me for a thorough examination and 
for such future disposition as I should recommend. 
John Scobell came to me in this manner. One 
morning I was seated in my quarters, preparing for 
the business of the day, when the officer of the guard 
announced the appearance of a number of contra 
bands. Ordering them to be brought in, the pumping 
process was commenced, and before noon many stray 
pieces of information had been gathered, which, by 
accumulation of evidence, were highly valuable. 
Among the number I had especially noticed the 
young man who had given his name as John Scobell. 
He had a manly and intelligent bearing, and his 
straightforward answers to the many questions pro- 
pounded to him, at once impressed me very favorably 


He informed me that he had formerly been a slave in 
the State of Mississippi, but had journeyed to Virginia 
with his master, whose name he bore. His mastei 
was a Scotchman, and but a few weeks before had 
given him and his wife their freedom. The young 
woman had obtained employment in Richmond, while 
he had made his way to the Union lines, where, 
encountering the Federal pickets, he had been 
brought to headquarters, and thence to me. He gave 
an intelligent account of his travels through the 
country, and appeared to be well informed as to the 
localities through which he passed, and of the roads 
and streams round about. 

I immediately decided to attach him to my head 
quarters, with the view of eventually using him in the 
capacity of a scout, should he prove equal to the task. 
For two weeks I employed him in various capacities 
of minor importance, but those in which secrecy and 
loyalty were essential qualifications, and his perform 
ance of these duties was all that could be desired. 
At the end of that time I resolved to send him into 
the South, and test his ability for active duty. Calling 
him into my quarters, I gave him the necessary 
directions, and dispatched him, in company with 
Timothy Webster, on a trip to Virginia. Their line 
of travel was laid out through Centreville, Manassas, 
Dumfries, and the Upper and Lower Accoquan. 

John Scobell I found was a remarkably gifted man 
for one of his race He could read and write, and 


was as full of music as the feathered songsters that 
warbled in the tropical groves of his own sunny home. 
In addition to what seemed an almost inexhaustible 
stock of negro plantation melodies he had also a 
charming variety of Scotch ballads, which he sang with 
a voice of remarkable power and sweetness. During 
the evenings his singing was the chief feature of the 
impromptu entertainments that were resorted to in 
order to while away the tedious hours before retiring, 
and he soon became a universal favorite. Possessing 
the talents which he did, I felt sure, that he had only 
to assume the character of the light-hearted, happy 
darky and no one would suspect the cool-headed, 
vigilant detective, in the rollicking negro whose only 
aim in life appeared to be to get enough to eat, and 
a comfortable place to toast his shins. 

It was arranged that the two men should travel to 
gether until they arrived at Leonardstown, when they 
were to separate, Webster proceeding on to Rich 
mond by way of Fredericksburg, while Scobell was 
to make his way to the rebel camp at Dumfries, and 
then up as far as Centreville. 

Proceeding by stage to Leonardstown they parted 
company, each one depending upon his own exertions 
to get across the river. Although they had traveled 
in the same coach, they paid no attention to each 
other, nor gave any indication of a previous acquain 
tance. At Leonardstown Webster went to a hotel, 
kept by a Mr, Miller, who was a bitter secessionist, 


and had known my operative for some time. His 
greeting was cordial, and his enthusiasm over his es 
cape from the officers at Baltimore, an account of which 
he had read in the paper, was quite overpowering. 

While they were conversing together a tall, dark- 
whiskered man came into the room, and after a quick, 
nervous glance at Webster, requested to see the land 
lord in another room. As they departed, Webster 
bestowed a searching look upon the new-comer and 
was at once impressed with the familiarity of his fea 
tures. He recollected that while he was coming 
down on the stage, this man came riding rapidly be 
hind them, seated in a buggy and driven by a young 
negro. They made several ineffectual attempts to 
pass the stage, and finally succeeded in doing so, and 
disappearing from view. Webster had forgotten all 
about him, until his sudden appearance at the hotel 
and his suspicious actions attracted His attention. 
After the lapse of a few minutes the two men again 
entered, and the stranger immediately took his de 

Filled with curiosity as to the identity of the 
man, Webster carelessly observed to the landlord : 

" That fellow seemed a little nervous, doesn t he ?" 

"Yes," replied the landlord, "and he has cause to 
be ; he is a deserter from the Yanks." 

"Was he an officer?" 

" He says he was a surgeon, and had served in 
the regular army on the Pacific coast for a number 


of years. His family are Southerners, and he says 
he concluded to throw up his commission and join 
our side." 

" Which way is he going ?" 

"He wants to get to Richmond as soon as he 
can. He will be back shortly and I ll introduce you 
to him ; perhaps you can give him a helping hand." 

" I ll do what I can," replied Webster, with a men 
tal reservation. " What is his name ?" 

"He gave me his name as Doctor Gurley : he 
brought a letter from a friend of mine in Washing 
ton, and I believe he is carrying some messages to 
Mr. Benjamin, the Secretary of War, which he is 
very anxious to deliver as early as possible." 

" Well, we may be fellow-travelers if he turns up 
in time to go over with me," said Webster, who was 
already attempting to devise some plan for intercept 
ing the delivery of the dispatches which the tided 
deserter was carrying. 

" I have made all arrangements," replied the land 
lord, " and will send you both down to-morrow in 
time to get the boat." 

" All right," said Webster ; "and now, as I have a 
little time before dinner, I will take a short walk to 
give me an appetite." 

Webster was intent upon finding John Scobell, if 
possible. He had formed a plan for getting posses 
sion of the dispatches, and he required the services 
of his colored companion in order to perfect it 


Keeping a sharp look-out about him, he strode on in 
the direction of the negro quarters, where he felt 
reasonably sure of meeting with the man he was in 
search of. As chance would have it, when within a 
short distance of the locality, he saw, to his intense 
delight, Scobell approaching him from the opposite 
direction. In a few words, he developed his plan to 
the intelligent darky, and from the broad grin which 
overspread his countenance, it was evident that he 
not only fully understood, but highly relished, the 
propositions that had been made. It was arranged, 
that Scobell should be in the neighborhood of the 
hotel during the afternoon, and that Webster should 
endeavor to point out to him the deserting surgeon, 
after which Scobell was to perform the duty which 
Webster had delegated to him. 

That afternoon, the Doctor, who was stopping with 
some friends, a short distance out of town, made his 
appearance at the hotel, and Mr. Miller, having first 
assured him of my operative s loyalty, introduced the 
two men to each other. By reason of Webster s 
familiarity with the country, and his evident and 
hearty desire to serve his new-found friend, he soon 
won the kindly regards of the Doctor, who prolonged 
his visit until nearly dark. At length, promising to 
meet Webster on the morrow, and with a parting 
beverage, the Doctor started to go. Webster accom 
panied him to the door, and with apparent good-feel 
ing, bade him good-evening. As Webster re-entered 


the hotel, he noticed with satisfaction that Scobell 
was on hand, and had posted himself in a secluded 
position, where, unobserved himself, he could watch 
the hotel, and notice what transpired. 

" There is going to be a shower, and the Doctor 
will have to walk fast to escape it," said Webster, as 
he entered the bar-room. 

He had been engaged in friendly conversation 
with Mr. Miller for about an hour, when they heard 
the hurried stamping of feet outside ; in a few mo 
ments, the door was thrown suddenly open, and the 
deserting Doctor stood before them. The appear 
ance of the Doctor was most rueful. He was without 
his hat ; his clothing was disarranged, and torn and 
soiled ; his face was of a death-like paleness, while his 
lips trembled as if with fear. 

Webster and the landlord sprang to their feet, 
and rushed toward the man, who was very near fall 
ing from exhaustion. 

" What has happened !" inquired Webster, in a 
tone of solicitude. 

" I ve been attacked and robbed P ejaculated the 
Doctor, weakly. 

The landlord poured out a glass of spirits, which 
he gave to the demoralized Doctor, and after swal 
lowing it, he seemed to regain his strength. After 
he had been sufficiently restored, he related his story. 
After leaving the hotel, he had started to walk to 
ward the house where he was stopping. It becom- 


ing quite cloudy, and fearing a storm, he had hastened 
his pace in order to avoid the rain. Suddenly, as he 
was passing through a small patch of woods, he was 
stealthily approached from behind, by some one, who 
struck him a fearful blow on the back of the head 
He was completely stunned and fell to the ground. 
When he recovered consciousness, he found that he 
had been thoroughly searched, and that his dispatches 
to the Secretary of War had been taken. Nothing 
else about his person was disturbed, and the attack 
had evidently been made by somebody who was 
aware of the fact that he had them in his possession. 
The Doctor s anxiety about his loss was pitiable in 
the extreme, but Webster could scarcely repress 
a smile of satisfaction, at the success which Scobell 
had achieved in capturing the precious documents. 

" Never mind," said Webster, soothingly. " The 
loss of the papers won t amount to much ; when we 
arrive in Richmond you can communicate verbally the 
nature of the papers you have lost." 

" That s the devil of it," blurted out the Doctor. 
" I don t know their contents ; they were intrusted to 
me by men who are working in the interest of the 
South, and as they were sealed, I have no more idea 
than you have what they contained." 

This piece of information was an additional source 
of satisfaction, to Webster, who had thus effectually 
prevented their transmission to the Rebel government 
He sympathized with the Doctor, however, most 


sincerely, and although that individual was decidedly 
crestfallen at the turn of affairs, under Webster s 
ministrations he recovered some of his spirits, and 
finding that he was not seriously injured, he again 
started for his lodgings. He took the precaution, this 
time, to carry his revolver in his hand, and to keep a 
sharp look-out as he journeyed along. 

Miller, the landlord, was somewhat alarmed at 
this adventure, but Webster endeavored to reassure 
him as best he could. He suggested that the attack 
was probably made by some one who was in the 
interest of the South, but who was fearful that, as 
the Doctor had deserted from the Northern army, he 
might not be as true to the good cause as he should 
be. However this may be, Miller s fears soon disap 
peared, and by nine o clock he had recovered his 
usual good-humor, and set about making his arrange 
ments for the morrow. Feeling anxious to learn from 
Scobell, Webster lighted a cigar and strolled out into 
the street. He walked slowly along, and after he 
had gone some distance from the hotel he turned 
around, and saw following him, at some distance 
behind, a figure which he instantly recognized as 
Scobell s. He therefore went on until he came to 
the outskirts of the town, and then awaited the ar 
rival of his companion. 

Scobell came up with a broad grin on his coun 
tenance, and extending his hand, said : 

" Here dey is, Mister Webster. Dey is all right, 


an 1 I reckon de Doctor don t know what hurt him by 
dis time." 

Webster took the packet from the outstretched 
hand of the black man, and complimented him warmly 
upon his success. Scobell seemed quite elated over hhj 
exploit, and it was with some difficulty that Websten 
could restrain him from breaking out into loud laugh 

Scobell informed Webster that he had already 
made arrangements for forwarding the documents to 
me, provided they met with the approval of the scout. 
He suggested that they be intrusted to an intelli 
gent and loyal colored man, who was to start for 
Washington on the following morning, and whose 
honor and truthfulness could be implicitly relied 

" I should like to see this man first," said Web 
ster, when Scobell had concluded. 

" Werry well ; cum along of me," answered Sco 
bell. " I ll show you sumfin you neber seed afore, 
I reckon. 

" Go ahead, then," directed the scout. 

Proceeding together a short distance, when the 
b .ack stopped before a dilapidated building that had 
evidently not been used for some time. It was a low, 
two-story structure, the windows of which were 
boarded up, and no sign of life was visible from 

"Come this way," said Scobell, in a low voice, 


taking Webster by the hand and through a low door, 
on which he rapped three times. 

Webster had scarcely time to give vent to his 
astonishment by a low whistle, when the door was 
noiselessly opened. They entered without challenge 
and found themselves in utter darkness, while Web 
ster could hear the bolts and bars being replaced upon 
the door. Listening intently, he thought he could hear 
voices overhead, and a noise as of the shuffling of 
feet. Presently he heard a shrill whistle from his 
conductor, which was replied to from above with the 
query : 

"Who comes?" 

" Friends of Uncle Abe !" was the reply. 

" What do you desire ?" 

" Light and Liberty !" came the response. 

Immediately a trap-door overhead was opened, 
revealing a dimly-lighted room, and a rope-ladder was 
let down before them. 

" Mister Webster, you go up first," said Scobell, 
" and I will follow you." 

Webster took hold of the ropes and, ascending 
easily, found himself in a dimly lighted room and 
surrounded by a body of negroes, numbering about 
forty. Some of them were young men who had 
barely attained their majority, while others were 
middle-aged, with a goodly number whose heads 
were as white as snow. The room in which they 
were assembled was quite large and entirely destitute 


of furniture. An upturned barrel, with an American 
flag draped over it, served as the desk of the Presi 
dent, and his seat was made of a box, which had 
once been used in packing merchandise for ship 

It was not long before Webster realized that he 
was in a lodge of " the Loyal League, "composed almost 
exclusively of colored men, and whose branches 
extended over the entire South. The trap-door be 
ing closed behind them, Webster was introduced 
to the assembly by John Scobell, who had already 
identified himself with the institution. His welcome 
was most cordial and hearty. Shortly after they had 
become quiet, the President, a tall, well-formed 
negro, about thirty-five years of age, took his posi 
tion, and in a deep, full voice, addressed the meeting. 
He detailed the operations of the various lodges 
which he had visited, and gave an encouraging 
account of the good work that was being done by the 
colored men throughout the country. He was 
listened to intently, and when he had finished he was 
greeted with numerous remarks of approval and 

Scobell had meanwhile disclosed the nature and 
objects of the " Loyal League." Although as yet 
prevented from taking up arms in defense of their 
rights, these colored men had banded themselves 
together to further the cause of freedom, to succor 
the escaping slave, and to furnish information to 


loyal commanders of the movements of the rebels, as 
far as they could be ascertained. 

The President of the League, Scobell said, was 
about undertaking a trip to Washington, and he was 
the person who had been selected to carry the packet 
to me. Webster conversed with him for some time 
after he had spoken, and finding him reliable and 
willing to undertake the task about to be imposed 
upon him, he signified his willingness to trust him 
with the delivery of the dispatches. Writing a hasty 
description of the manner in which they had been 
obtained, he safely sewed the package and his letter 
in the lining of the messenger s coat, and fully 
instructed him as to how the papers should be 

Webster was called upon before the meeting 
adjourned, and he replied in a few words of encourage 
ment and compliment, which elicited the most sincere 
tokens of appreciation from his sable auditors. 

After thanking the colored men for their kindness 
to him, Webster and Scobell descended from the 
improvised lodge-room, and Webster made his way 
back to the hotel, feeling quite relieved as to the 
safety of the dispatches, and fully confident that they 
would reach their destination in safety. He shortly 
afterwards retired to rest, fully satisfied with the day s 
work, and slept soundly until morning. 

The trusty messenger arrived in Washington in 
due time, and I received from his hands the papers 



intrusted to him. They were of a highly important 
nature, and conveyed information to the rebel 
authorities which would have been very dangerous 
had they reached their legitimate destination. As it 
was, through Webster s sagacity, Scobell s physical 
power, and the exertions of the President of the 
" Loyal League," the traitor surgeon was prevented 
from assisting the cause of treason and rebellion, and 
as a bearer of dispatches, his first venture was far 
from being successful 



A Negro Spy. Passage on a Steam Packet. Lyrical Melo 
dies. Scobell Deserts the Ship. His Tramps Through 

r I "HE next afternoon, Webster and Doctor Gur- 
ley started for their point of debarkation. 
The medical deserter was exceedingly downcast 
about the loss of valuable papers, although he had 
entirely recovered from the physical effects of his at 
tack. He indulged in curses, loud and deep, upon 
the perpetrator of the theft, and speculated with grave 
seriousness as to the effect of their loss. Webster, 
who felt that he could be liberal in dealing out his 
sympathy, was profuse in his expressions of regret 
and condolence, though I am afraid, that an observer 
who was acquainted with the facts of the case, would 
have detected a sly twinkle of merriment in his eyes, 
that belied his words. They were driven to a farm 
house, situated on a little creek that ran in from the 
bay, where they were met by a man named James 
Gough, to whom Webster had a letter of introduction 
from Mr. Miller at the hotel. After reading the let 
ter, Mr. Gough invited the travelers to enter, and in 
formed them that the boat would attempt to cross the 


bay that night if the weather would permit. After 
partaking of a bountiful supper, the party repaired to 
the landing, and although there were indications of a 
storm, the captain, who was in waiting, determined to 
make an effort to get across. A large amount of 
merchandise had already been placed on board, and 
soon after the arrival of Webster and the Doctor 
who were to be the only passengers, they put off. 
Their trip was made in safety, and by midnight they 
reached the Virginia side. Here they went to the 
house of a Mr. Woodward, who was a partner with 
Mr. Gough, in shipping goods into the rebel country, 
and who took charge of the cargo that came over with 
our travelers in the boat. 

Remaining at the house of Mr. Woodward during 
the night, on the following morning they went to 
Tappahannock, where they boarded a packet for 
Fredericksburg. Here they met a Colonel Prickett, 
who was an old acquaintance of Doctor Gurley, and 
from the general conversation that ensued, Webster 
obtained material information of the location of the 
rebel forces. That evening they proceeded to Rich 
mond, and Webster, parting with his traveling com 
panion, set about delivering some letters which he 
had brought with him. Finding that several of his 
friends, from whom he had hoped to receive informa 
tion, were absent from the city, and that it would be 
impossible to do much good service, he resolved to 
return to Washington. He went to the office of the 


Secretary of War, and, obtaining a pass to Noifolk, 
he returned by that route, taking notes by the way 
side, and arrived in Washington in due time. 

John Scobell remained in Leonardstown a few 
days after Webster s departure, mingling with the 
colored people of that locality, and posting himself 
upon several points that would be of benefit to him 
further on. The des*ire for freedom, and the expecta 
tion that the result of the war would determine that 
question, had now become universal among the col 
ored men of the South. Although as yet debarred 
from taking up arms in defense of their rights, their 
efforts in behalf of the Northern troops were freely 
given when opportunity offered, and consequently, 
Scobell made hosts of friends among the black-skin 
ned people, who advised him cheerfully and were pro 
fuse in their offers of assistance. 

During the time that he remained in Leonards- 
town Scobell made his home with an old negro who 
was an active member of the League, and who had 
conceived a wonderful friendship for my bright and 
intelligent colored operative. Uncle Turner, as he 
was called, was a genuine Virginia darky, who, having 
been reared as a house servant, had been enabled to 
acquire more than the average amount of intelligence, 
and obtaining his freedom, had settled himself in 
Leonardstown, where he obtained a livelihood by per 
forming a variety of duties for the people in the 
town. Here, with his aged wife, a fat, good-natured 


negress, he lived in comparative comfort, and a more 
thorough abolitionist never existed than was Uncle 

Through this old negro, Scobell had made arrange 
ments with a young colored man to set him across 
the river in a skiff, and after spending the day among 
his new-found friends, and amply provided with a 
substantial lunch from Aunt Judy, Scobell made his 
way to the river bank, where he found his man wait 
ing for him, carefully concealed among some bushes 
that grew along the shore. 

After remunerating the boatman, and bidding him 
a hearty farewell, Scobell started up the river. His 
first plan was to w r alk as far as Dumfries, and from 
that point commence his operations among the rebel 
camps, but after reflection, he concluded to make his 
way to the Rappahannock, and endeavor to work his 
way on one of the river boats as far as Fredericks- 
burg, which would save him a walk of some fifty miles 
and materially expedite his journey. He accordingly 
set out for the river and, walking briskly, he found 
himself about noon at Leestown, a small landing- 
place on the Rappahannock. Feeling somewhat fa 
tigued by his long tramp, he remained over night, and 
early on the following morning repaired to the wharf, 
where he was in hopes of finding a boat on which he 
could secure his passage. He had not long to wait 
for shortly after his arrival the packet boat "Virginia" 
steamed up to the landing, and soon the men were en- 


gaged in putting on board a quantity of miscellaneous 
freight, that was destined for Fredericksburg. Find 
ing that there was plenty of work to do, Scobell step 
ped quickly on board and seeking the captain politely 
asked permission to work his passage. The Captain, 
who was a kind and genial man at heart, although he 
carefully veiled these characteristics under a rough 
exterior, and a bluff and impetuous demeanor, list 
ened to the request, and being in want of some extra 
help, turned to Scobell and said : 

"You black rascal, what do you want at Fred 
ericksburg? Come now, no lies, or I ll throw you 
into the river !" 

" I done tell no lies, Massa Cap n," replied Scobell, 
with a broad grin overspreading his face, " but I ve 
bin back in de kentry to see some ob my folks dar, 
and I dun got no money fur ter git back." 

" So you want me to take you to Fredericksburg, 
do you ?" ejaculated the Captain, good-naturedly. 
" Well, go below and tell the cook to put you to work !" 

Scobell was about to express his thanks, when the 
Captain blurted out : 

" Clear out, d n you ! I ve no time for talk 


Scobell hurried below, and seeking out the cook 
was soon busily engaged at work ; before he had 
been very long employed he made a friend of his 
sable instructor, and was as merry as a cricket. The 
run to Fredericksburg was about twelve hours, but ow- 


ing to shoal water they were obliged to stop at 
Coulter s Wharf to wait for the rising of the tide. In 
the evening the negro hands gathered on the deck 
around the smoke-stack, and with the stars twinkling 
overhead, they made the shores ring with their mirth 
ful melodies. Among the party was an old negro, 
who had spent almost his entire life upon the river, 
and who was an excellent performer on the banjo, 
and he accompanied the singers with his instrument. 
" Nelly Gray," " Bob Ridley," " Way down upon de 
Swanee River," and a host of the most popular songs 
of the day were rendered in a style that elicited the 
heartiest applause from the delighted passengers. 
The climax of enjoyment was reached, however, 
when my Scobell, in his splendid baritone, and accom 
panied by the old negro and his banjo, sang that 
sweet old Scottish ballad : 

" Maxwelton s braes are bonny, 
Where early fa s the dew." 

The applause which greeted him upon its conclu 
sion was most hearty and enthusiastic, and when he 
gave them 

" A man s a man for a that," 

the passengers crowded around him and began to 
ply him with eager questions as to his knowledge of 
the music of the beloved bard of Scotia. The idea of 
a darky singing Scotch ballads and with such true 


emotional pathos and sweetness, was such a novelty 
to them that all were anxious to learn where he had 
heard them. Scobell briefly and modestly informed 
them that he had been raised by a gentleman who 
was a native of Scotland, who was himself a good 
singer, and that his master had taught him the music 
he loved so well. The Captain, who was also a 
Scotchman, and who had listened to the melodies 
with the tears trickling over his rubicund nose, now 
stepped forward and said heartily : 

" Look here, young fellow, I need an extra man 
on this boat, and I ll give you forty dollars a month 
to work for me. The work is light now what do 
you say ?" 

Here was a dilemma entirely unexpected. Scobell 
had not only sung himself into the good graces of the 
passengers, but of the rough old Captain also. It 
was plain that this offer came from the very heart of 
the old salt, who was as deeply touched by the mel 
odies as was any one else, and he wanted to secure 
Scobell s services as much for the songs he could sing 
as for the work he could, do. 

Scobell bowed his thanks to the Captain, and said : 

" I m werry much obliged to yer Cap n ; I se bin 
lookin fur a job ebber since I left ole Mississippi, an f 
I ll do my best to please you, sure." 

" All right/ replied the Captain. " It s time to 
turn in now, so go below and tell the mate to take 
your time ; your pay will commence from to-day." 




All hands went below, where Scobell duly reported 
to the mate, a bunk was assigned to him and he was 
made one of the crew of the steam-packet "Virginia." 
This was a rather different turn of affairs than he 
had expected, but he had done the best he could 
under the circumstances, and regretting that he was 
compelled to deceive the honest old Captain, he 
turned in for the night and slept soundly. 

When he awoke the next morning, the boat was 
in motion, and he knew that he was on his way to 
Fredericksburg. How to get away was the next 
question to be decided, but he resolved to await the 
operation of events and adopt any chance that 
afforded for getting away. In due time the boat 
landed at her destination and soon all was bustle and 
confusion in discharging the freight. Scobell assisted 
manfully in landing the cargo, and earned the enco 
miums of the Captain for his diligent labor. Learning 
that the boat would not start on her return trip until 
the next morning, he requested permission to go on 
shore until they were prepared to start. This was 
readily granted by the unsuspecting and really good- 
natured Captain, who also gave him a small sum of 
money to defray his expenses, and cautioned him to 
report on time or the boat would start without him, 
Scobell promised to be punctual, and then took his 

It is not necessary to state that the " Virginia n on 
her down trip went without the ballad-singing negro, 


for by the time she was ready to put off, he was on 
his way to Dumfries and the Accoquan. 

Carefully noting everything that came in his way 
he traveled through Dumfries, Accoquan, Manassas 
and Centreville, and after spending nearly ten days 
in these localities he finally made his way to Lees- 
burg, and thence down the Potomac to Washing 
ton. His experiences on this trip were quite nu 
merous and varied, and only a lack of space prevents 
their narration. Sometimes, as a vender of delica 
cies through the camps, a laborer on the earthworks 
at Manassas, or a cook at Centreville, he made his 
way uninterruptedly until he obtained the desired in 
formation and successfully accomplished the object of 
his mission. 

His return to Washington was accomplished in 
safety and his full and concise report fully justified 
me in the selection I had made of a good, reliable 
and intelligent operative. 


A Perilous Ride. A Suspicious Peddler. Uncle Callus 
Again. Scobell Investigating. Doubts and Suspicions. 

IT was on a beautiful morning in the early part of 
the month of April, 1862, when a lady, mounted 
upon a handsome and spirited black horse, and 
accompanied by a young and intelligent-looking negro, 
also excellently mounted, rode out of the city of Rich 
mond, apparently for the purpose of enjoying a 
morning ride. Provided with the necessary passports, 
they experienced no difficulty in passing the guards, 
and after a short ride found themselves in the open 
country beyond the city. 

The lady was young, handsome and apparently 
about twenty-five years of age. Her complexion was 
fresh and rosy as the morning, her hair fell in flowing 
tresses of gold, while her eyes, which were of a clear and 
deep blue, were quick and searching in their glances. 
She appeared careless and entirely at ease, but a 
close observer would have noticed a compression of 
the small lips, and a fixedness in the sparkling eyes 
that told of a purpose to be accomplished, and that 
her present journey was not wholly one of pleasure. 



After leaving the city the colored attendant 
spurred to her side, and then, putting spurs to their 
horses, they broke into a swift canter. Their road 
lay along the river bank, which here led in a south 
easterly direction. Turning to the negro at her side, 
the lady remarked : 

" Now, John, we have a ride of ten miles before 
us, and we must be at Glendale as early as possible." 

"All right, missus," rejoined her sable companion, 
" dese hosses will take us through in good shape, I 

They followed the course of the stream, whose 
waters glistened in the rays of the morning s sun like 
polished silver. On either side the road was fringed 
with a growth of cottonwood trees, that cast a grate 
ful shade along their path, while the cool breezes of 
the rippling river rendered their ride a most delight 
ful one indeed. But as they sped along the most 
casual observer would have noticed from the expres 
sion of their faces that their ride was being under 
taken for other purposes than pleasure. 

The riders pressed on, scarcely slackening their 
speed until in the near distance could be seen the tall 
spire of the single church in the pleasant little village 
of Glendale. They now drew rein and brought their 
smoking steeds to a slow walk, and riding leisurely 
onward, they stopped before a neat little inn located 
on the outskirts of the town. 

An old, white-headed negro took their horses and 


led them away, while the landlady, a neat and tidy- 
looking matron, wearing widow s weeds, met the lady 
at the door, and cordially welcomed her into the house. 
"Here, Jennie," she called to her daughter, a 
trim little girl of twelve years, " show this lady to her 


Following the little girl, the lady was conducted 
into a cool and pleasant little parlor, with windows 
opening upon the garden, and through which came 
the fragrant breath of roses in full bloom. 

Scobell accompanied the old man with the horses 
into the stable-yard, where he assisted in caring for 
the heated animals. 

" I dun spose you s on de way to Yu ktown ?" 
queried the old darky, who was rubbing vigorously 
away upon the limbs of the glossy black horse. 
After waiting a short time, and hearing no response, 
he added : 

" What d you say ? dis yer hoss is fidgettin aroun 
so I didn t haryou." 

" I didn t say anything," responded his companion 
good-naturedly, but in a tone that plainly indicated 
his intention not to submit himself to the pumping 
process at the hands of his garrulous friend. 

" I tought you hearn what I dun axed you," re 
plied the old man, a little taken aback by the cool de 
meanor of his new acquaintance. 

Scobell, however, industriously worked away at his 
own horse and said nothing. 



1 Well," said the old darky after another pause 
and apparently communing with himself " it am a 
fac dat now an den you meets people dat ain t got de 
cibbleness to answer a question nor de grit to tell a 
feller tain t nun o his business ; but dey jes let on 
like dey didn t har wat you sed wen all de time dey 
kin har jes as well as I kin. 

Still there was no satisfactory response, and at 
last the old man blurted out again : 

" Now I dun spec it am nun ob Uncle Callus s 
bizness were dese folks am a goin , but Jemima ! I 
didn t tink it any harm to ax. Folks dat knows 
Uncle Gallus aint af eared tu tell him nuffin, coz dey 
knows he dun got a mitey close head when it am 

The old man was none other than the veritable 
old Uncle Gallus, whose experience in the South 
seemed to be very different from the easy life he had 
led as the house servant of Mrs. Morton. How he 
came into this position I am unable to say, but here 
he was, and the same smile of good-nature irradiated 
his face, as when his way of life was pleasant, and his 
duties lighter. Perhaps, it would be as well to state 
here, that the two persons already mentioned were 
Mrs. Carrie Lawton, a female operative on my force, 
and John Scobell, who has figured before in these 
pages. These two persons had been for a time em 
ployed in Richmond, and were now endeavoring to 
effect their journey North. 


After finishing the last remark, Uncle Gallus 
straightened himself up and stood erect, with the 
air of a man who had been unjustly injured, and 
who was disposed to vindicate himself now and 

" I tell you, uncle," finally replied Scobell, "there 
are times when one must be careful what you say, 
and who you say it to." 

" Dat am a fac !" ejaculated the old man. 

" Now, if I knowed you was all right," Scobell con 
tinued, " I might talk, but tain t smart to tell your 
business to strangers." 

"Dat am a fac , young man," observed Uncle 
Gallus, shaking his head with a knowing look ; " but 
den I spose you s a friend to Uncle Abe, ain t you 
now ?" he queried. 

"And if I am," said Scobell, "what do you 
want ?" 

" Light and Liberty," replied the old man impres 
sively, "and fo de L ud I b lieve deday am nigh when 
it am a comin ." 

At these words, Scobell stepped forward and said 
in a low voice : 

" Do you belong to the League ?" 

" I does," answered Uncle Gallus; " I dun jined 
it in dis- berry place." 

" How often do you meet ?" inquired Scobell. 

"We meets ebery two weeks, down at Uncle 
Dicky Bassett s he libs on de bluff ob de ribber 


bott a mile furder down de road to rds Wilson s 
Landin ." 

" How far is it to Wilson s landing ?" asked Sco 
bell, who, finding that Uncle Gallus was a member of 
the League, was now no longer loth to talk with him. 

" A little grain de rise ob twenty mile," replied 
the old man. 

" About sundown, then," said Scobell, " these 
horses must be saddled and ready for the missus and 
me, for we must be at the landing before midnight." 

"All right," rejoined Uncle Gallus, "dey ll be 
ready when yu want em." 

" See heah now, is yure name John ?" suddenly 
asked the old man, as if an idea had just occurred to 

" Yes, that s what they call me/ 

" An you cum frum Richmun dis mo nin T 

Scobell nodded. 

" An dat young leddy am gwine to meet some 
body, mebbe her husband, at de landin T 

" Yes," said Scobell ; " but how do you know 
these things ? Has anybody been here to see you ?" 

"Yah! Yah!" chuckled the old man. "I dun 
tole you dat folks as knowed Uncle Gallus dun often 
come ter see him. I dun knowed you all de time, 
when you fust come in fac , I was spectin you 
and de missus all de mawnin ." 

" Was the landlady looking for us too ?" inquired 


"She knowed you was a comin , replied Uncle 
Gallus ; "dah was agem man heah las night, as talked 
about you to her, an lef a note fur de lady." 

" Is the landlady all right ?" asked Scobell. 

" True to de core," affirmed Uncle Gallus emphat 
ically ; " more n one poor feller as scaped from Rich- 
mun hes foun a good bed an supper at de * Glen 
House. " 

"Well," said my operative, "you can finish your 
work here ; I have an errand or two for the missus, 
and I must go and attend to them before dinner." 

So saying, he started for the house, leaving Uncle 
Gallus to water and feed the horses, which had now 
sufficiently cooled, and were enjoying their needed 

Scobell s errand was simply to take a stroll about 
the village in order to ascertain whether there was 
any indication of their having been followed by any 
one from Richmond. He strolled about the village, 
noting carefully every one whom he met, and, feeling 
comparatively secure, started to return to the hotel. 

Turning the corner of a street he came suddenly 
face to face with a peddler, who addressed him in a 
rich Irish brogue and inquired the way to the tavern. 
Scobell gave him the required information and stood 
watching the fellow as he ambled off in the direction 
indicated. There was something in the appearance 
of this man that attracted the attention and excited 
the suspicions of my observant operative. He re- 


solved to keep an eye upon his movements and 
endeavor to discover, if possible, whether the man 
was a genuine peddler, or a spy, who had adopted 
that disguise to conceal his true character. 

In the few words that passed between them Sco- 
bell had noticed that while the man s hair was a fiery 
red his eyebrows and lashes appeared of a dark 
brown color, and his face was altogether of too 
florid a hue to be natural. These observations were 
sufficient to put Scobell upon the alert at once, and 
convinced him that the man was not what he appeared 
to be. 

Following slowly he watched him until he reached 
the hotel and entered the bar-room, where, laying 
aside his pack, he ordered his dinner. Scobell 
entered the room immediately behind him, and pass 
ing through it, he made his way to the kitchen, where 
the landlady was superintending the preparations for 
a most savory dinner. Calling her aside, he informed 
her of the peddler s arrival and of his suspicions re 
garding him, cautioning her to convey the news to 
his missus before they met at the table. 

In a tew minutes dinner was announced, and the 
boarders, to the number of fifteen, including Mrs. 
Lawton and the peddler, with the landlady at the head, 
gathered around the long table in the low, old-fash 
ioned dining-room. The lively clatter of the knives 
and forks soon attested the vigor with which they 
attacked the viands set before them. The peddler ate 


his meal ii silence, undisturbed by the general con 
versation going on around him, and Mrs. Lawton 
noticed that he was keenly watching her whenever an 
opportunity occurred to do so, as he thought, unob 
served. She, however, affected entire unconscious 
ness of the scrutiny she was subjected to, and kept 
up an animated conversation with the landlady 
upon various trivial topics until the meal was 

Scobell, who temporarily acted as an attendant 
at the table, lost no opportunity to carefully watch 
the movements of the peddler, and his searching 
glances, directed towards Mrs. Lawton, fully con 
vinced him that his previous suspicions were well 

Mrs. Lawton returned to her room, not a little 
disturbed at the peddler s strange behavior, and having 
no doubt that the stranger was a spy, she determined 
to discover if she was the object of his visit, or 
whether his appearance bore any relation to her 
presence at the hotel. She accordingly sent for 
Scobell, and together they decided that he should 
carefully watch the movements of the peddler, and if 
nothing of a suspicious nature transpired, they would 
renew their journey after nightfall. 

Scobell immediately left the room, and as he en 
tered the bar-room he noticed that the peddler was set 
tling his score, preparatory to taking his departure. 
He remarked to the landlady, with the same rich 


brogue which Scobell had observed, that business 
was dull, and that he would have to walk to Rich 

"All right, my fine fellow," muttered my opera 
tive, "we ll see whether you are going to Richmond 
or not." 

The peddler lighted a short-stemmed clay pipe, 
and swinging his pack over his shoulder, set off .at a 
rapid pace on the road to Richmond. 

Scobell hastened to the stable and, procuring a 
pole and line that he had observed there in the morn 
ing, started off in the direction which the peddler had 
taken, but taking a shorter cut to the river, which 
would enable him to reach the road about a mile be 
low the village and in advance of the peddler. Saun 
tering along until he had gained the shelter of a belt 
of timber to his left, he then increased his pace until 
he was almost abreast of the peddler, though entirely 
concealed from view. He was now satisfied that 
with a little effort he could keep his man in sight, 
and he concluded not to pass him, as he had at first 
intended, but to follow him until he saw him on his 
way to the rebel capital. 

When they were about three miles from the vil 
lage, the peddler suddenly left the road and turned into 
the woods, leading directly to the banks of the river, 
which at this point were remarkably high and steep. 
This movement was entirely unexpected by my 
operative, and his only recourse was to drop hastily 


behind a tree to prevent being seen. He was not 
discovered, however, although the peddler, after en 
tering the timber, gazed carefully around him, as if 
to see whether he was being followed. Apparently 
satisfied with his survey he resumed his walk, in 
happy ignorance of the fact that a pair of gleaming 
eyes were not far distant, noting his every move 

Waiting until he had gone a sufficient distance to 
render it safe, Scobell rose slowly from the ground 
and stealthily followed his footsteps until the peddler 
paused at the edge of the bluff, which ran down into 
the river. Here he tightened the strap of his pack, 
and after another hasty glance behind him, he began 
the descent of the bluff, with the aid of the stout 
stick which he carried with him. The bank was 
almost perpendicular, and was covered with a heavy 
undergrowth of young timber and brush, which made 
the journey rather a hazardous undertaking. 

" Wonder if he s going to swim to Richmond with 
that pack on his shoulders," said Scobell to himself, 
as he wonderingly watched these strange movements 
of the peddler. 

Fully determined to see the end of this mysterious 
maneuver, but recognizing the necessity of exercis 
ing the utmost caution in his advance, Scobell slowly 
and noiselessly made his way to the spot where the 
peddler had vanished as completely from his view as 
if he had sunk into the bowels of the earth. 


Advancing to within a few feet of the edge of the 
bluff, he threw himself upon his hands and knees, 
and drew himself forward until he could overlook 
the steep descent. He could see nothing of the 
peddler, however, for the dense growth of bushes com 
pletely obstructed his view, but he could readily 
discern the marks of footprints in the soft soil, which 
had been made by him in his descent to the bottom. 
Here was a dilemma. He had lost his man, and 
he dared not follow directly after him, as the peddler 
might be lying in ambush, and an encounter might be 
fatal. After a few moments consideration, he con 
cluded to walk along the bluff a short distance and 
endeavor to find another path by which he might 
descend, and thus avoid the peddler, if he was waiting 
to surprise him. About a hundred yards further on 
he came upon a well-beaten path, and here he began 
his descent. Everything was as quiet as the grave 
around him, and he reached the base of the cliff in 
safety, but without seeing anything of the man he 
was after. Passing up along the lane by the river a 
short distance, he discovered a narrow path leading 
in the direction which the peddler had taken, and 
showing the mark of recent footprints. Passing 
cautiously along this path a short distance, he saw 
that the high bluffs were gradually giving to more 
level banks, and that a little further on the stream 
made a sharp detour to the right, and swept out into 
the open and level country. 


In the bend of the river, and on the same side, he 
noticed a small cabin, half hidden by a clump of 
trees. Surmising that the peddler had entered this 
cabin, he resolved to hide himself and watch for a 
few minutes, hoping that the man would soon make 
his appearance. He had scarcely taken a position 
where he could unobservedly note all that was going 
on, when a man, whom he at once recognized as the 
peddler, made his appearance at the door, and stood 
anxiously gazing around, as though expecting some 
one. He still maintained his disguise, and appeared 
to be alone. Returning into the cabin, and after a 
few minutes, to the surprise of Scobell, another indi 
vidual made his appearance. This new-comer, while 
about the same size as the peddler, was a very 
different-looking person indeed, for instead of the red 
hair and florid complexion, he noticed that this man 
had a closely-cropped head of black hair, while his 
complexion was dark and swarthy. 

" So there s a pair of you !" thought Scobell. 

The fellow, after apparently satisfying himself 
that the coast was clear, proceeded to a small stable 
that stood in the rear of the cabin, and almost on the 
edge of the river bank. Scobell thought he heard 
the faint whinny of a horse, and shortly afterwards 
the man, mounted on a dark iron-gray horse, appeared, 
and made his way over the hill and out into the 
direction of the river road. 

It instantly flashed across ScobeU s mind that this 


man was no other than his peddler, and without hesi 
tation he approached the cabin and knocked loudly 
at the door. There was no response, and after a 
moment s hesitation he lifted the latch and entered, 
As he had conjectured, the cabin was empty. 



The Journey Resumed. A Midnight Pursuit. A Brave 
Woman. A Deadly Encounter. Scobell Defends Him 
self. Death of a Rebel Spy. 

WHILE these events were occurring, General 
McClellan was advancing up the Peninsula 
towards Richmond. Yorktown had surrendered, the 
battle of Williamsburg had been fought, and the arm} 
was advancing to the Chickahominy. 

Mrs. Lawton and John Scobell had been for some 
weeks in Richmond, during which time they had ob 
tained much important information, Mrs. Lawton 
taking the role of a Southern lady from Corinth, Mis 
sissippi, and Scobell acting as her servant. Having 
determined to leave Richmond, they were on their 
way to join the Union forces, which, under General 
McClellan, had their headquarters on the Chick 
ahominy at a point about ten miles from Wilson s 
Landing. Here, according to previous arrangement, 
they were to meet Mr. Lawton, who was also one of 
my operatives, and from that point were to proceed 
to the Union camp. 

The landlady of the Glen House was a stanch 
friend to the Federals, and had on more than one oc 
casion rendered valuable service to my operatives. 



especially to Hugh Lawton. It was therefore at 
his suggestion that his wife and Scobell adopted the 
plan they did to leave Richmond and to reach our 
lines. As Uncle Callus had stated, a man had stop 
ped at the tavern the night before and had informed 
Mrs. Braxton, the landlady, that these parties would 
take that route from Richmond and had left a note 
to be delivered to Mrs. Lawton, which contained in 
structions of her future line of travel. 

The trip from Glendale was one attended with 
great risk, as the country, on that side of the river, 
was filled with the scouts of both armies, and if cap 
tured by the rebel scouts or pickets, the chances were 
that detection would be followed by serious conse 
quences. Among my female operatives, however, 
none were clearer-headed or more resolute than Mrs. 
Lawton, who prior to this time had been a most effi 
cient worker and had been remarkably successful on 
her trips into the lines of the enemy. In each case 
she had escaped with rare good fortune. 

When Scobell entered the structure which the 
stranger had left, he found that it comprised but a 
single room, and immediately proceeded to make a 
thorough examination of its interior. A small fire 
place on one side, which showed no signs of having 
been recently used, and a number of benches, were 
scattered about, In the corner of the room he saw 
the pack and several articles that had been worn by 
the peddler, which left no further room for doubt in 


his mind as to the character of the individual he had 
been watching for so long a time. 

He accordingly set out for Glendale, where he 
arrived just as the sun was sinking behind the western 
horizon. He narrated the particulars of his chase to 
Mrs. Lawton, whow as convinced that the peddler was 
a rebel spy ; but the question was Was he upon 
their track ? Did he suspect them ? and if so, by 
what means had he discovered who they were and 
what their destination was ? 

Without attempting to settle these questions, 
however, they concluded to set out at once for the 
landing. The horses were brought to the door by 
Uncle Gallus, who was closely questioned as to 
whether a horseman answering the description given 
by Scobell had passed through the village that after 
noon, did not remember having seen such a person. 
Believing that possibly the man might really have 
gone on to Richmond they concluded to start that 
night and hazard the consequences. 

Both of them were well armed and were therefore 
fully prepared to defend themselves, unless attacked 
by numbers. They rode swiftly along at the free 
and sweeping gallop for which the southern saddle- 
horses are so famous, and feeling quite secure, they 
conversed pleasantly together on their way. 

" I guess we will get through all right, notwith 
standing our fears to the contrary," said Mrs. Law- 


" I dunno about that," replied Scobell ; "we re not 
through with our journey yet, and there s plenty of 
time for trouble yet Perhaps we had better walk 
the horses a spell." 

" That is a good suggestion," assented Mrs. Law- 
ton, "we will walk them a mile or two, and then we 
will be enabled to go the faster." 

" I tell you, missus," said Scobell, " I wish we was 
at the landin ; somehow I feel that there is yet dan 
ger ahead." 

" What makes you think so ?" inquired Mrs. 

" Well, I am afraid that confounded peddler will 
turn up before we get through." 

"Why, I can manage him myself," laughed Mrs. 
Lawton, "and if that is all you fear, we are perfectly 

" Now you re pokin fun at me, missus ; but you ll 
find that I can fight if I get the chance, and I was 
thinking more of you than of myself." 

" Well, there s an old saying, John, don t cross a 
bridge until you reach it ; so we won t borrow trouble 
until it comes." 

Their journey now lay through a richly cultivated 
district ; on either side were fine farms, whose grow 
ing crops had not yet been touched by the ravages 
of war, and the country, under the soft light of the 
moon presented a scene of rare beauty. Away to the 
left ran the river, now bathed in a flood of silvery 


light, which, emerging from a belt of woods, pursued 
its winding way until again lost to view in the woods 
that were sharply outlined at a distance. To their 
right the country was broken and hilly, and the land 
scape presented a rugged and picturesque appearance 
in marked contrast to the evidences of cultivation 
upon the other side. The night was soft and balmy, 
and the silence was only broken by the sound of the 
horses hoofs as they slowly trotted along. It seemed 
difficult to believe that war was abroad in the land ; 
and that even now, while in the enjoyment of appar 
ent safety, danger was lurking on every hand. 

Their horses being now sufficiently rested, they 
again pressed forward at a rapid pace until they were 
about five miles from the landing which was their 
point of destination. There Mrs. Lawton s husband 
was to meet her and the balance of the journey, to 
the Union camp would be free from danger, as the 
Federal pickets were posted across the river. 

They were now approaching a patch of timber, 
through which they would be compelled to pass, and 
an instinctive feeling of dread came over both of 
them as they drew near to it. The trees grew close 
together, shutting out the light of the moon, and 
rendering the road extremely dark and gloomy. 

" Just the place for an ambuscade," said Mrs. 
Lawton shiveringly ; " draw your pistols, John, and be 
ready in case of attack." 

Scobell silently did as he was directed, and riding 


close together, they entered the wood. The darkness 
was so great, that they could distinguish objects but 
a short distance ahead of them. They passed safely 
through the wood, however, and as they emerged 
from the darkness, they congratulated themselves up 
on their good fortune, and began to think that they 
were unduly alarming themselves. 

Their comforting reflections were of short dura 
tion, however, for scarcely had they left the wood, 
than they perceived four horsemen approaching them 
at a swift gallop. What to do now was a question to 
be decided promptly. To turn and retreat would 
certainly insure their capture, as the woods were just 
behind, and they were afraid to travel through them 
on a run so they resolved to bravely continue their 
way, and trust to chance for their safe deliverance, 
should the new-comers prove to be foes. 

A few hurried words were exchanged between 
them, as they arranged that each should select a man 
and fire on the instant they were challenged, and then 
they were to dash ahead, hoping by this bold and un 
expected move to disconcert their assailants by killing 
or disabling two of their number, and thus effect 
their escape. 

As the advancing party came closer, they divided, 
two going on each side of the road, leaving a space 
between them for our travelers to pass through. 
They were now close enough for my operatives to 
discover that two of them wore the uniform of Con- 


federate gray, with heavy sabres at their sides, while 
the others were apparently in citizens clothes. 

Scobell, who had been intently regarding them, 
now exclaimed : 

" Fore God, missus, that one on your side is the 
peddler !" 

He had scarcely uttered these words, when one of 
the men called out : 

" Halt, and throw up your hands !" 

They were now nearly face to face with each 
other, and in a flash two sharp reports rang out on 
the still night air, and two of the men reeled and fell 
from their saddles. 

" At em !" hissed Scobell, through his clenched 
teeth, as he plunged the spurs into his steed. The 
two animals sprang forward, like arrows from the 
string, and in a moment they had dashed past the 
others, who seemed dazed at the suddenness of their 
actions, and before they recovered themselves, my 
operatives were speeding like the wind some distance 

" Lay low to your saddle !" cried Scobell to his 
companion, " and turn your horse as far to the side 
of the road as you can," at the same time turning his 
own animal close to the fence that ran along the 

His directions were immediately followed by Mrs, 
Lawton, who retained a wonderful control over her 
self and the beast she rode. 


It was evident that their enemies had not been 
expecting such a result to their demand, and they sat 
for a time like statues ; then, as if suddenly recollect 
ing themselves, they wheeled their horses, and, dis 
charging their revolvers in rapid succession, started 
in swift pursuit. 

" They ll never get us now," said Scobell, " un 
less their horses are made of better stuff than I think 
they are." 

The race now became an exciting one ; the pur 
suers having emptied their weapons, without doing 
any harm to the escaping pair, did not take time to 
reload, but urged their horses to their utmost speed. 
They soon discovered that their horses were no 
match for those of the fugitives, and their curses were 
loud enough to be heard by both Scobell and his 
companion, as in spite of all their efforts they found 
themselves unable to lessen the distance between 

Scobell several times ventured a look over his 
shoulder, to note the progress of their pursuers, and 
on each occasion, finding them still lagging behind, 
he uttered some encouraging remark to Mrs. Law- 
ton, who was straining every nerve in the attempt to 

While indulging in one of these hasty observa 
tions, and forgetting for a moment the management 
of his horse, the animal suddenly swerved from the 
road, as if frightened at some object in advance of 


them, and, stumbling, fell heavily to the ground, 
throwing Scobell over his head and into the ditch. 

Scrambling quickly to his feet, the negro shouted 
to his companion : 

" Go ahead, don t mind me ; save yourself !" 

He then turned his attention to his horse, which 
had now recovered his feet, and stood panting and 
trembling in every nerve both from fright and exces 
sive exertion. Listening intently, he could hear the 
clatter of hoofs of the horse rode by Mrs. Lawton, 
in the distance, while coming closer every instant was 
the noise of the approaching horsemen. They had 
discovered his misfortune, and were now shouting 
and yelling with triumph at the possibility of captur 
ing at least one of the party. There was no time for 
mounting, even if his horse was unhurt, and Scobell 
determined to make a bold stand and sell his life 
dearly, while he would assuredly prevent the capture 
of Mrs. Lawton. 

Leading his horse to the side of the road, he 
placed himself behind him, and resting his trusty 
weapon across the saddle, he awaited the coming of 
the approaching horsemen. He calmly waited until 
the two men were within a few yards of him, and 
then, taking as good aim as the light of the moon 
enabled him to do, he fired. The horseman nearest 
him uttered a scream of anguish, and, throwing up 
both hands, toppled from the saddle and fell upon the 
ground, while his frightened horse, with a snort of 


terror, wheeled around and dashed off in the direction 
from whence he had come. 

The remaining man stopped his horse with a jerk 
that drew him back upon his haunches, and then, 
turning swiftly around, set off in the opposite 
direction, while the bullets from Scobell s weapon 
whistled in dangerously close proximity to his 

Scobell, seeing that three of the pursuers were 
either dead or badly wounded, proceeded to re 
load his weapon, and was preparing to remount his 
horse and follow after Mrs. Lawton, when he heard 
the tramp of horses feet coming from the direction in 
which she had gone. From the noise they made, he 
was convinced that the approaching party numbered 
at least a score, and that they were riding at a 
sweeping gallop. A bend in the road, however, hid 
them from his view, and he was unable to determine 
whether they were friends or foes. In an instant 
later they swept into full sight, and, to his intense 
relief, he discovered that they were Union cavalry 
men, and that Mrs. Lawton and her husband were at 
their head. 

" Hello, John !" exclaimed Lawton, as they came 
up, "are you hurt? * 

" No," replied Scobell. 

" What has become of your assailants ?" 

" Two of them we left a mile or two back, one is 
lying there in the road and the other, so far as I 


know, is making tracks for Richmond," answered 

"You are a brave fellow, Scobell/ said the 
Captain of the squad, coming forward. " You were 
lucky in escaping their bullets, and still more so that 
you didn t break your neck when your horse fell with 
you, at the speed you were going." 

" He fell on his head, I reckon," ventured one of 
the soldiers, waggishly, " which accounts for his not 
being hurt" 

"That s so," replied Scobell, in all serious 
ness, " I landed right square on my head in that 

A roar of laughter followed this remark, and Sco 
bell added, good-naturedly : 

" It might have killed one of you fellows, but it 
didn t even give me the headache. I am glad, 
though, it wasn t the missus horse, or things might 
have turned out different." 

The Captain now cut short the conversation by v , 
ordering four of the party to pursue the flying rebel; 
and, if possible, effect his capture, while the rest pro 
ceeded to hunt up those that had been injured. The 
man whom Scobell had shot last was soon found ; he 
was dead the ball having entered his skull. Riding 
back to tne spot where the first encounter took place, 
they discovered the dead body of the peddler, or spy, 
who had met his doom from the bullet of Mrs. Law- 
ton, while his companion, with a shattered anw, was 


sitting up, and nearly faint from loss of blood, and 
suffering intense pain. 

Having captured two of the horses ridden by the 
party, and bandaging the shattered arm as well as 
they were able, the wounded man was placed on one 
of the animals and under an escort they were con 
veyed to the Union lines. 

Two shallow graves were hastily dug, and in them 
were placed the bodies of the two dead men. The 
party sent after the escaped soldier soon returned, 
reporting that he had obtained too much the start of 
them to be overtaken, and they were compelled to 
give up the chase. 

The entire party then returned to the Landing, 
and in the morning my operatives were put across 
the river, where they reported in due time at head 
quarters, where they detailed fully the information 
which they had gleaned in the rebel capital. 

It was subsequently learned that the peddler was 
a rebel spy, and for some time past had been visiting 
the Union camps gathering information, which he 
had no doubt conveyed to the rebels. On his person 
were found papers which fully confirmed this, and 
that they failed to reach their destination on account 
of his death, was a fortunate occurrence for the 
Union cause. 

How he had discovered the character of my oper 
atives is a mystery yet unsolved, as his wounded 
companion, when examined the next day, stated that 



he had met him that night for the first time, and had 
at his request accompanied him in the trip which had 
ended so disastrously. He further stated that his 
party belonged to a band of independent scouts, 
which had but lately been attached to Lee s Army, 
and were assigned to Gen. Stuart s Cavalry. Mr. 
and Mrs. Lawton and Scobell soon afterwards re 
turned to Washington, where they were allowed to 
rest themselves for a time before being again called 



A Woman s Discoveries. An Infernal Machine. The Skip 
ping in Danger. Discovery and Destruction of the Sub 
marine Battery. 

THE destiny of nations, history tells us, some 
times turns upon the most trivial things. 
Rome was once saved by the gabbling of a flock of 
geese, whose cries awoke a sentinel sleeping at his 
post, just in time to give the alarm and enable the 
Roman soldiers to successfully repel the attack of 
an invading foe. A certain exiled and fugitive king 
took courage from watching a spider build its web, 
recovered his kingdom, and a crown that had been 
wrested from him by the misfortune of war. Darius, 
made King of Persia by the neighing of a horse 
and in our own day historians agree, that bad it not 
been for the opportune appearance of the " Monitor >; 
when the rebel iron-clad " Merrimac " steamed out 
of Hampton Roads in March, 186-2, the destruction of 
the Union might have been an accomplished fact. 
For had not that formidable battery met her match 
in the " Yankee cheese-box," as the " Monitor " was 
derisively called, she might have cleared the water 
of Union sloops of war, raised the blockade, opened 


the way by river to Washington, shelled the na 
tional capital and turned the fortunes of war decid 
edly in favor of the South. 

This battle was an important epoch in the history 
of nations, and demonstrated to the world the formi 
dable character of iron-clad war vessels, hitherto un 
known ; and placed the United States on record as 
having produced the most invincible navy in the world. 

In addition to the " Merrimac," the South, early in 
1862, had devised a great many ingenious machines 
in the shape of torpedoes and submarine batteries, 
that were designed for the purpose of blowing up the 
Union vessels that blockaded the Southern ports. 

It was through the efforts of one of my operatives 
that the existence of one of these submarine batteries 
was discovered, and that, too, just in the nick of time 
to save the Federal blockading fleet at the mouth of 
the James River from probable destruction. It was in 
the early part of November, 1861, that I dispatched 
one of my lady operatives to Richmond and the 
South, for the especial purpose of ascertaining as 
much information as possible about these torpedoes 
and infernal machines, which I had good reason to 
believe were constructed at the rebel capital. The 
Tredegar Iron Works, the largest factory of the kind 
in the South, were located at this place, and since the 
commencement of hostilities had been manufacturing 
cannon and all kinds of shot and shell for the Con 


The lady whom I selected for this task was Mrs* 
E. H. Baker ; she had been in my employ for years, 
and at one time had resided in Richmond, although, 
prior to the war, she had removed to the North, where 
she had since dwelt. 

This lady, fortunately enough, was well acquainted 
with a Captain Atwater and his family, who resided 
in Richmond, and after undertaking the mission, she 
wrote to them from Chicago, apparently, stating that 
notwithstanding the conflict between the two sections 
of the country, she designed to pay a visit to them 
and renew the acquaintance of years ago. 

She accordingly started, and after a circuitous 
journey, arrived in Richmond on the 24th day of the 
month. The Captain and his family received her 
most hospitably, and requested her to make her 
home with them during her stay in that city. 

Captain Atwater, although holding a commission 
in the rebel army, was at heart a Union man, and 
secretly rejoiced at the news of a Federal victory. 
He soon expressed his views to my operative so 
clearly and forcibly, that she believed, if he could do 
so, without jeopardy, he would join the Union troops, 
and fight for the cause that really had his heartiest 
wishes for success. 

While Mrs. Baker did not reveal to him her con 
nection with the secret service of the United States, 
she took no pains to conceal from him her real senti 
ments, and in their confidential conversations, was 


quite free in expressing her desire for a speedy Union 
triumph. The Captain was firm in his belief that the 
South was wrong, and that the masses had been led 
into the war by designing and ambitious politicians, 
and that she must eventually fail. Moreover, he 
said, that, while born in a slaveholding State, he be 
lieved the institution to be wicked and cruel, and that 
the South should have given up her slaves rather 
than have gone out of the Union. 

Loyal as he was, the Captain understood the 
Southern people thoroughly, and he felt sure that 
they would fight long and stubbornly, rather than 
yield to the blacks the boon of freedom. Many 
days thus passed in quiet enjoyment and in these 
stolen discussions upon the important topics of the 
day. Mrs. Baker found herself very comfortably sit 
uated beneath the Captain s hospitable roof, and 
nearly a week was passed in viewing Richmond and 
the strange sights it then afforded. 

On every hand she saw preparations for war, and 
at every street she turned, she was confronted with 
armed soldiers, whose measured tread kept time to 
the music of fife and drum. In company with the Cap 
tain, she also visited the earthworks and fortifications 
around Richmond, and gained many valuable points of 
information in regard to their number and extent. 

As yet, however, she had been unable to discover 
anything concerning the special object of her mission, 
and feeling the necessity of accomplishing something 


in that direction, she resolved to act. She had now 
established herself so firmly in the estimation of those 
with whom she associated, that she believed she could 
with safety turn her inquiries in the direction that 
would lead to the knowledge she desired to gain. 
Accordingly, one evening at the tea-table she remark 
ed, incidentally, that she desired very much to visit 
the Tredegar Iron Works. 

" Why, certainly," replied the Captain ; " I will be 
most happy to go with you to-morrow." 

" That will be delightful/ said Mrs. Baker, en 

" But stay a moment," said the Captain, musingly, 
" I am afraid I will not be able to go to-morrow, as I 
have to go down the river to witness a test of a sub 
marine battery." 

" Why couldn t I go, too ?" demurely asked my 
operative. " I am sure I should enjoy it very much ; 
that is, if there is no danger connected with it." 

" Oh, there is no danger, whatever, and there will, 
doubtless, be a number of ladies present, and you can 
go if you wish to." 

" I should most certainly wish to," laughingly 
answered Mrs. Baker. 

" Very well," said the Captain ; " if you and Mrs. 
Atwater will be ready by nine o clock, we will have 
ample time to reach the place, which is some few 
miles below the city." 

The ladies were both much pleased with this 


arrangement, and expressed themselves in extrava 
gant terms of thankfulness for a trip which, no doubt, 
would be exceedingly pleasant. The Captain then 
proceeded to explain to them the nature of the 
battery which was to be experimented with on the 
morrow. He explained the object to be obtained by 
this battery, which was to break up the blockading fleet 
at the mouth of the James River, and thus give the 
South an outlet to the sea. 

The next day they started in a carriage for the 
scene of the exhibition, which was located about ten 
miles below the city. Arriving at the appointed 
spot, they found quite a large number of military 
men, many of them accompanied by ladies, assembled 
to witness the testing of the machine, from which so 
touch was expected. 

A large scow had been towed into the middle of 
the river, and the submarine vessel was to approach 
it and attach a magazine, containing nearly half a 
bushel of powder, to which was attached several 
deadly projectiles, and this was to be fired by a 
peculiarly constructed fuse, connected by a long wire 
coiled on board the submarine vessel. 

At a given signal the boat was sunk into the river, 
about half a mile below the scow, and shortly after 
wards it began to make its way under the water 
towards it. The only visible sign of its existence 
was a large float that rested on the surface of the 
water, and which was connected with the vessel 


below, designed to supply the men that operated it 
with air. This float was painted a dark green, to 
imitate the color of the water, and could only be 
noticed by the most careful observer. As my opera 
tive listened to a full explanation of the machine and 
its workings, she could scarcely control her emotions 
of fear for the safety of the Federal boats, in the 
event of its successful operation, and provided the 
government was not speedily warned of its exist 

It was learned that this vessel was but a small 
working model of a much larger one, that was now 
nearly completed, and would be finished in about two 
weeks, and would then be taken to the mouth of the 
James River, to operate on the war vessels guarding 
that port. 

They had obtained an excellent position, where 
they had a full view of the river, and with the aid of 
a strong field-glass they could distinctly watch the 
large " float," which indicated the approach of the 

" How do the men who operate the machine man 
age to attach the magazine to the vessel they design 
to destroy ?" asked Mrs. Baker. 

" Two or three men, who operate the boat," re 
plied the Captain, " are provided with submarine div 
ing armor, which enables them to work under the 
water and attach the magazine to the ship intended 
to be blown up. They then have only to quickly 


move away to a safe distance, fire their fuse, and the 
work is done." 

The Captain also informed her, that the object 
was to break the blockade and allow the steamers 
"Patrick Henry" and " Thomas Jefferson" out to 
sea, these vessels being loaded with cotton and bound 
for England. 

While they were talking, my operative was closely 
watching, by the aid of her glass, the movements of 
the boat, and she now noticed that having approached 
to within a few rods of the scow, it stopped, and the 
water " float " which indicated its position remained 
motionless. After remaining in this position for a 
few minutes, it slowly began to recede from the scow, 
in the direction from whence it came. 

It moved steadily away some hundreds of yards, 
and Mrs. Baker was wondering at the seemingly 
long delay, when suddenly, and without any previous 
warning whatever, there was a terrific explosion, and 
the scow seemed lifted bodily out of the water and 
thrown high into the air. Her destruction was com 
plete, and there was no longer any doubt that the 
submarine battery could be used with deadly and 
telling effect on the ships constituting the Federal 
blockading squadron. 

Those who witnessed the experiment were, of 
course, mach elated over the efficient work of de 
struction which had been accomplished, and even 

Captain Atwater, in his enthusiasm as a soldier, for 


got temporarily his real feelings, in his undisguised 
admiration of the ingenuity of the invention and the 
effectiveness of its operation. 

Mrs. Baker, however, looked on with a heavy 
heart as she reflected upon the terrible consequences 
of the workings of this machine, and at once felt the 
urgent necessity of taking steps to inform me what 
she had witnessed. Unless something was done in 
this direction, she felt confident that the Federal 
ships would be destroyed, the blockade forever ended, 
and untold disaster would attend the Union cause. 

After their return home that evening, she made 
copious notes of what she had learned and witnessed, 
which she safely secreted about her person. The 
next day, in company with the Captain, she visited 
the Tredegar Iron Works, and inspected the boat 
that was being built. It was truly a formidable-look 
ing engine of destruction. 

The next day, being Sunday, she remained at the 
residence of the Captain, and on Monday morning, 
having procured a pass, she bade farewell to her host 
and his amiable spouse, and left Richmond for Fred- 
ericksburg. From thence she made her way to 
Washington by the way of Leonardstown, and lost no 
time in reporting to me the success of her trip. She 
had made a hasty, though quite comprehensive, sketch 
of the vessel, which sketch is still in my possession, 
and which showed the position under the surface of 
the water, and explained its workings. 


I immediately laid my information before General 
McClellan and the Secretary of the Navy, who at 
once transmitted the intelligence to the commanders 
of the squadron, instructing them to keep a sharp 
lookout for the " water-colored surface float," and to 
drag the water for the purpose of securing possession 
of the air tubes connecting the float with the vessel 

Nothing was heard from this for about three 
weeks, but about that time I was informed that one 
of the vessels of the blockading fleet off the mouth 
of the James River had discovered the float, and put 
ting out her drag-rope, had caught the air-tubes and 
thus effectually disabled the vessel from doing any 
harm, and no doubt drowning all who were on board 
of her. 

This incident, and the peculiarity of the machine, 
was duly discussed in the newspapers at that time, 
who stated that "by a mere accident the Federal 
fleet off James River had been saved from destruc 
tion" but I knew much better, and that the real 
credit of the discovery was due to a lady of my own 
force. The efficient manner in which this work was 
performed was of great service to the nation, and sus 
tained the reputation of the Secret Service Depart 
ment, as being an important adjunct in aiding the 
government in its efforts to suppress the rebellioa 


"Stuttering Dave" His Tramp Through the Rebel Lines* 
An Ammunition Train. "Dave s" Plan Succeeds in 
its Destruction. A Man Who Stuttered and" Had Fits" 

ONE morning, while the army was on the ad 
vance up the Peninsula, I was strolling about 
the camp, when I encountered a group of soldiers 
gathered around one of their number, who appeared 
to be entertaining them immensely with his droll 
anecdotes and dry witticisms. Approaching closer, 
I became one of the crowd that surrounded the nar 
rator, and listened to an amusing incident admirably 
told, which had happened to him a day or two before 
while out with a scouting party. 

He was a man about thirty years of age, of 
medium height, strongly and compactly built, and 
with a good, firm, intelligent face, over which he had 
the most perfect control. So perfect was his com 
mand over his facial expression that he could make 
his hearers roar with laughter, while he, to use a 
homely phrase/ would "never crack a smile." I 
noticed on joining the little crowd that had gathered 
around him, that the fellow stuttered amazingly, 
which fact, together with his imperturbable gravity, 


seemed to be the secret of his always having a good 
audience about him to listen to his stories and to 
enjoy his droll humor. I was struck with the man s 
appearance at first sight and at once concluded that, 
unless I was much deceived in him, he was a man 
whom I could use to good advantage, and I deter 
mined to ascertain who he was and where he belonged. 

Turning to a soldier at my side, I inquired the 
man s name. Looking at me as though surprised at 
my ignorance, he answered : 

"Why, that s Stuttering Dave/ the drollest, 
smartest man in this regiment, and one of the best 
fellows you ever met." 

" What regiment does he belong to ?" I asked. 

"To the Twenty-first New York," said the soldier, 
" but ever since I have known him, he has been with 
a scouting party. He used to live in Virginia be 
fore the war, and is well acquainted about here." 

That day I called upon the Colonel of the regi 
ment to which the man belonged, and informed him 
of my wishes, which, if agreeable to him, I would ask 
him to send " Stuttering Dave " to my quarters. 

Shortly after sundown he came, and to my as 
tonishment, I found that his stuttering propensity 
had entirely disappeared, and that he conversed with 
me with surprising ease and intelligence, and a quiet 
earnestness that betokened a solid and well-informed 
man. The fact was that stuttering with him was 
only a favorite amusement, and so naturally was it 


simulated, that no one would suspect he was sham* 
ming or that he was anything else but a confirmed 
stutterer of the most incorrigible type. In the inter 
view which followed he signified his willingness to 
enter the secret service, and a day or two later he 
was detailed to my force. Here he served with such 
ability and credit that he was shortly discharged from 
his regiment altogether, and for the rest of the war 
was one of my most faithful and valued operatives. 

A few days after this interview, David Graham, 
for that was his real name, otherwise known as 
" Stuttering Dave," set out under my instructions, on 
a trip within the rebel lines. As he was about leav 
ing my tent, he shook hands with me, and said in his 
dry manner : 

" G-g-go-good-by, M-m-m-major, I m g-g-g-oin to 
have s-s-some fun before I g-g-get home, if I d-d-don t 
I m a g-g-goat, that s all." 

Cautioning him against allowing his propensity 
for "fun" to get him into trouble, I accompanied him 
to the edge of the camp, and saw him set out in the 
direction of the Confederate forces. 

Graham had adopted the disguise of a peddler of 
notions, and carried in his pack a goodly supply of but 
tons, needles, thread, pins and such a trifling articles 
as he knew would be in great demand by the soldiers. 
Discarding his uniform, and dressed in a suit of but 
ternut jean, with a broad-brimmed hat, a stout stick, 
and a pack across his shoulder, he appeared a verita* 

AND "HAD FITS." 407 

ble tramping peddler. No one, to have seen him, 
would have imagined that he was an emissary of 
the secret service, and they would little have sus 
pected that the stuttering, harmless-looking fellow who 
was hawking his wares, knew aught about military 
affairs, or the plans and movements of an army. 

It was in the fast deepening twilight of a beauti 
ful evening, and but a few days after he had left the 
Union lines, that a party of rebel soldiers, weary and 
hungry with the toilsome march of the day, were rest 
ing around a camp-fire, engaged in the preparations 
of their evening meal. 

While thus employed, they were approached by a 
strange-looking individual, who walked right into 
their midst, and without, ceremony, flung down his 
pack and seated himself among them. 

"B-b-boys," said he, "I m most d-d-darned hungry^ 
iv-w-w-what do you s-s-say to givin me a b-b-b-bite to, 
eat ; d-d-dang my buttons, I m willin to p-p-pay for it, 
in t-t-trade or cash." 

" How did you manage to get inside the camp ?" n>. 
quired one, who seemed to be the leader of the mess. 

" F-f-f-followed my legs, and they b-b-b-brought me, 
right in," replied Stuttering Dave, as he coolly pro 
duced a short-stemmed, dirty-looking pipe, which he 
deliberately filled, and then lighted with a coal from, 
the glowing embers at his feet. 

"What have you got to sell?" asked a soldier at 
his side. 


" O, n-n-needles, p-p-pins, thread, b-b-buttons and 
n-n-notions " 

" Did you come from the Yanks ?" now asked the 
man who had first addressed him. 

"D-d-d-am the Yanks!" ejaculated Dave, "I 
d-d-don t know anything about em. Ain t them your 
s-s-sentiments ?" he added, nudging the fellow who 
sat nearest to him. 

His companion evidently did not relish this sly 
poke, for he growled : 

" I, for one, am gettin most thunderin tired of 
runnin around the country, and nothin would suit me 
better than for us to stop long enough to giv em a 
good lickin ." 

"You 1-licked em like the d-d-devil at Williams- 
burgh, d-d-d-didn t you ?" said Dave. 

The fellow looked at him in surprise, but failed to 
detect any evidence of an intended sarcasm in the im 
movable gravity of his face, so mentally concluding 
that the peddler was a fool and one of nature s own 
at that, he dropped the conversation. 

By this time the meal was ready, and Dave, being 
invited to join them, gladly assented, and fell to with 
an appetite that showed how thoroughly he enjoyed 
the repast. Supper over, the party spent the even 
ing in chatting and telling yarns. The detective 
opened his pack, and displaying his goods, soon dis 
posed of quite a large quantity, in return for which 
he demanded, and would take, nothing but silver or 

AND "ffAZ> FITS." 409 

gold. When " taps " were called, he turned in with 
the party, and placing his pack under his head for a 
pillow, he soon slept soundly, until reveille in the 
early morning aroused him from his slumbers. 

Having eaten his breakfast, he sauntered through 
the camp, taking keen notice of the number of troops, 
and finding out all he could concern ing their intended 
plans and movements. During the day, he did a 
thriving business with his small stock of notions, and 
was everywhere followed by a crowd, who were at 
tracted by his droll humor and witty sayings. 

On one of these occasions, and while he was driv 
ing some lively bargains with the soldiers that were 
gathered around him, he was approached by an 
officer, who slapped him familiarly on the shoulder 
and exclaimed : 

" Here, my good fellow, we can use men like you ; 
hadn t you better enlist with us ? You can do your 
country a great deal more good than you are doing, 
tramping around the country selling needles and 

The detective turned around, and seeing who it 
was addressing him, replied : 

" C-Captain, I d-d-don t think you would want 
me ; I t-t-tried t-to enlist s-s-s-sometime ago, b-b-b-but 
the d-d-doctor said, m-myf-f-fits and stuttering b-b-be- 
ing so b-b-bad, he c-c-couldn t p-p-pass me." 

" Are you subject to fits ?" the officer now asked, 
as a sympathetic look came over his face. 


" Had em ever s-s-since I was t-t-ten years old/ 
replied Dave, "have em every f-f-full of the 


"Where do you live?" interrupted the officer. 

"On t-t-the other s-s-side of the river/ he an 

" What is your name ?" 

" They c-c-call me St-st-stuttering Dave," replied 
the detective, with an idiotic grin. 

The officer now turned and walked away, feeling 
no longer any interest in the fellow, except to pity his 
condition ; and thoroughly satisfied that there was no 
harm in him, and that he was utterly unfit for a soldier. 

Well pleased to have shaken off the curious officer 
as easily as he had, Dave now turned again to the 
soldiers and resumed his occupation of dickering with 
the crowd about him ; having concluded his business 
here, he ambled off to another part of the grounds 
where a large quantity of ammunition was stored in 
the wagons. 

Instantly, an idea occurred to him which he re 
solved to carry out if possible. It was to undertake 
the dangerous feat of firing the ammunition, and 
depriving his enemies of that much destructive mate 
rial at all events. He lost all interest in disposing of 
his goods for a time, and proceeded to make a care 
ful examination of the grounds about the wagons, 
and formed his plans for carrying out his project that 
very night 


He soon decided that by laying a train of powder 
from the wagons and running it to a safe distance, he 
could readily set fire to it, and make his escape in the 
confusion that would follow. At midnight, therefore, 
he stole around to the wagons and quietly com 
menced his work. He had taken the precaution that 
afternoon, to supply himself with a quantity of pow 
der fuses, by rolling the powder up loosely in long 
strips of rags. 

Placing these in position to connect with the am 
munition in the wagons, and laying his train from one 
to another, the next thing was to lay a long train, 
that would enable him after firing it to get out of 
harm s way before the explosion occurred. Having 
completed his arrangements, he now took himself off, 
to wait until the whole camp should be quietly wrap 
ped in slumber, before he started his " fireworks," as he 
called them. 

About midnight, had the sentinel on guard at 
the wagons containing the ammunition been awake, 
and looking sharply about him, instead of dozing at 
his post, he might have observed a man stealthily 
steal up to the stores, and silently and quickly 
disappear into the woods beyond. Fortunately, how 
ever, for our friend, and the enterprise he had on 
hand, he only snored quietly and peacefully against a 
neighboring tree, little dreaming of the surprise that 
was in store for him. 

A few minutes later, a long, quick flash of light 


darted along the ground, which was immediately 
followed by a loud, stunning report, and the murky 
darkness was illumined with a brilliant, flaming light, 
and great volumes of smoke. 

Instantly the entire camp was aroused, and the 
half-dressed and fully-frightened soldiers came rush 
ing to the scene, which was now only a scattered pile 
of burning ruins. How it occurred, no one knew, or 
could tell aught about it, and wild conjectures were 
freely indulged in as to the probable cause of the 
disaster. In the meantime, the only man in the 
world who could tell anything about the affair, was 
traveling as fast as his legs could carry him in the 
direction of the Union camp. 

In a few days he made his appearance at my head 
quarters, and related the success of his journey. I 
could not refrain from laughing heartily at his 
peculiar and independent system of warfare, but 
advised him to be more careful in the future as to 
how he tampered with the stores of the enemy. 

I was not disappointed as to the ability of the 
man, however, and for months he served me faithfully 
and well, needing but little instruction, and always 
performing his work to the entire satisfaction of 
every one. He at times adopted various disguises, 
but generally depended upon his own natural shrewd- 
ness, and his natural adaptiveness for the role of an 
itinerant peddler to carry him through successfully. 

He was always fortunate in his trips, and, so far 


as I knew, his identity was never discovered, and in 
the peddler who stuttered and " sometimes had fits," 
the rebels never recognized an emissary of the Secret 



Another Trip to Richmond. A Rebel General Taken In. 
Curtis Makes Valuable Acquaintances. "The Subte~ 
ranean Headquarters" 

EARLY in 1862, it becoming necessary to obtain 
more fully the plans and intentions of the 
enemy, and their numbers around Richmond, I in 
April of that year dispatched one of my keenest and 
shrewdest operatives on this important mission. 

The man selected for this delicate and dangerous 
work was George Curtis, a young man about twenty- 
five years of age, tall, well-formed, with dark com 
plexion, clear gray eyes, and possessing handsome, 
intelligent features. He was one of those men rarely 
met, who was by nature a detective ; cool-headed, 
brave and determined, with ready wit and sagacious 
mind, he was especially qualified for efficient work in 
that important branch, the secret service. 

He was a native of New York, and had at the 
opening of the war enlisted in an infantry regiment 
from that State. 

Learning of his desire to enter the secret service, 
I had procured his discharge from his regiment, and 
he was detailed on my force, where he served until 
the close of the war. 


It was a beautiful April morning when, with his 
instructions carefully treasured in memory, for he 
dared take no written ones, he left my office on " I " 
street, in Washington, and set out on his perilous trip. 

I had previously made arrangements that he 
should accompany General McClellan down the river 
on his boat, the " Commodore," and on which he had 
established his headquarters, to Fortress Monroe, 
and landing there, make his way to Richmond. 

The morning of the first, he left Washington, and 
the next day he arrived at Old Point Comfort, and 
landed under the frowning walls of the old fort. He 
remained here until the morning of the second day 
after his arrival, where he was provided with a horse, 
and set across the river and proceeded on his way 
towards the rebel capital. 

He had now a journey of near seventy miles 
before him, through a country filled with enemies to 
the cause he espoused, and from whom, should his 
true character and mission become known, he might 
expect anything but kind treatment at their hands. 
His object in crossing the James at this point was 
to place himself in less danger from suspicion as a 
spy, and to better enable him to learn the sentiment 
of the people, as well as to gain accurate knowledge 
of the condition of the country as to roads, bridges, 
streams, etc., all of which information is of essential 
importance for the General of an invading army to 


He, therefore, on horseback, and apparently as a 
man traveling for pleasure and recreation, proceeded 
on his way up the valley of the river and towards the 
objective point of his journey, the rebel capital. 

Nothing worthy of note occurred during the day ; 
he stopped at noon at a house by the wayside, and 
obtained dinner for himself and horse. In a conver 
sation with his host, who was a well-to-do old farmer, 
he apparently in a careless manner betrayed the fact 
that he himself followed the same occupation, that he 
lived on the river in the county of Norfolk, below, 
and was on his way to visit among friends at Peters- 

It was towards evening that he neared the out 
skirts of the city, when he suddenly encountered the 
rebel pickets, stationed outside the town, who halted 
him and demanded to know his name and business. 
" My name is Curtis," replied the operative, " and I 
am from Norfolk ; my business I will state to your 
commander when I am taken to him." 

Without further ceremony he was turned over 
to the officer of the guard, who sent him under escort 
to General Hill, the general in command. 

" Whom have you here ?" queried the General, as 
in the company of his escort the detective was kd 
into his presence. 

" A man who says he is from Norfolk," replied 
the guard, " but who refuses to tell his business t<? 
any one but yourself." 

TAKEN IN. 417 

" You may retire," said the General, and the 
escort immediately left the room. " Now," he ex 
claimed, turning to Curtis, " What is your business ? 
Please be as brief as possible, as I am very busy." 

" Well, to come to the point at once," replied the 
detective ; " in the first place, then, I spoke falsely to 
your pickets when I told them I was from Norfolk. 
My name is Curtis, and I am from Washington. As 
to my business, I deal in what the Yankees are pleased 
to term contraband goods ; yet I don t see how gun- 
caps, ammunition of all kinds, and quinine should be 
considered contraband, for the simple reason that I, 
as a dealer, find a better market South than North 
for my goods. My desire," he continued, " is to get 
through to Richmond, where I hope to be able to 
effect contracts, with Secretary Benjamin, to furnish 
my goods to the Confederate government." 

" How did you get through the Union lines ?" 
asked the General, still, evidently, a little suspicious 
of the sincerity of the detective s story. 

" I came down on the Commodore, General Mc 
Clelland boat, three days ago," he answered, " was set 
across the river there, procured a horse from a friend, 
and here I am." 

" Do you know anything of McClellan s plans for 
an advance ?" asked the General. 

" I can tell you nothing about them," answered 
Curtis, "as everything is kept secret from even his 
own staff, I am told" 


The General mused, thoughtfully, a moment, and 
then said : " I will give you a pass to Richmond, and 
you can proceed on your way in the morning." 

" Thank you, General," exclaimed the detective, 
" I assure you the cause shall suffer no loss by any 
efforts of mine. I shall, in all probability, return b} 
this way, in a few weeks at farthest, when, if I can 
be of any service to you, you have only to command 


" By the way," said the General, " I have some 
letters to parties in Richmond, which ought to go at 
once. If you will do me the favor to deliver them 
I shall be obliged to you." 

" I shall be happy to serve you, General, and will 
take pleasure in seeing that your letters reach their 
destination all right." 

" Very well, then ; call at my quarters in the 
morning, before you start, and I will have them ready 
for you, and will give you also your pass to Rich 

Curtis thanked him again, and, bidding him good 
night, repaired to the hotel, and secured for himself 
and horse supper and lodging for the night. 

After he had partaken of a hearty meal, and pro 
vided himself with an excellent cigar, he sauntered 
out on to the veranda of the hotel, and, taking a 
comfortable seat, prepared to enjoy his fragrant weed, 
and amuse himself with listening to the conversation 
of those around him. 

TAKEN IN. 419 

He soon discovered that the war, and the pros 
pects for a speedy victory for the South, were the 
subjects under discussion, and he listened with mir:h 
interest to the ideas advanced, and the confidence 
that marked their assertions of the superiority of the 
Southern troops over the Northern mudsills, as they 
termed the Federalists. 

"You may depend on it, that General Johnson 
will not permit the Yanks to approach any closer to 
Richmond than they now are, without contesting 
every inch of the ground as they advance," remarked 
one gentleman of the party near which he was 

" No," emphatically rejoined another, " when they 
take Richmond, it will be when they have annihilated 
the Southern people, when not a thousand able- 
bodied men are left on Southern soil to rally to its 

" Well, I am satisfied," remarked another, " that 
right here is to be the contest, that is to decide this 
matter one way or the other." 

" If the Yankees take Richmond, the South may as 
well surrender at once ; if however they fail, as they 
are extremely liable to do, they, on the other hand, 
may as well withdraw their forces and acknowledge 
our independence." 

" If I am not greatly mistaken," now ventured my 
operative, " in the spirit of the Southern people, 
they will, to use a common phrase, fight to the bitter 


end. And yet," he continued, " to the thoughtful ob 
server, it is not pleasant to contemplate the spectacle 
of brother arrayed against brother, as they are in this 
war. I tell you, gentlemen," he added, " that while 
I am a Southern man, it grieves me to see our land 
so rent with strife and bloodshed and that the Norl h 
has made it necessary for a resort to arms to settle a 
matter that should have been amicably adjusted." 

At this juncture, the party was joined by a new 
comer, who had evidently just left the supper-room, 
as he carried an unlighted cigar in one hand, while 
with the other he was picking his teeth, with the 
manner of a man who had just eaten a hearty meal 
and who had enjoyed it. 

He was a man past the middle age, hair gener 
ously sprinkled with gray, and with a face, that while 
bronzed by exposure to the weather, was keenly in 
telligent, not unhandsome, and strongly expres 
sive of force and decision of character. He seated 
himself and soon joined in the conversation, with 
that freedom and nonchalance that characterizes 
the experienced yet courteous traveler, who has seen 
the world and is familiar with its ways. 

" We shall hear of some pretty hard fighting 
shortly, I imagine," finally observed the stranger; 
" McClellan has arrived at Fortress Monroe, and will 
no doubt commence hostilities at once." 

" And we shall also hear of his army getting badly 
whipped," put in one of the party. 

TAKEN IN. 421 

"Well," rejoined the stranger, "that may be true; 
but, after all, the real contest will be before Rich 
mond ; the fighting that may occur now, will only be 
the strategic moves preceding the final struggle. 
Lee and Johnson," he continued, "are not yet ready 
for McClellan to advance upon Richmond, and they 
will see to it that it is put in the best possible condi 
tion of defense before he succeeds in reaching it." 

At this, my operative, who had taken little part 
in the conversation, except as an attentive listener, 
now arose and laughingly said : " Gentlemen, I guess 
we are all of one mind on this subject, let s adjourn 
down below and interview the bar-keeper ; I don t 
profess to be a judge of military matters, but when it 
comes to a good article of whisky, I claim to be 

The party, numbering near a dozen gentlemen 
about him, good-humoredly took the interruption and 
laughingly followed the detective, who now led the 
way to the bar-room. 

They filled glasses all around and Curtis proposed 
the rather ambiguous toast, " May the right prevail, 
and death and confusion, attend its enemies" am 
biguous in that it as much represented his real 
sentiments as it also met the approval of his seces 
sion friends. 

After the party had drank, they separated, agree 
ing to meet later in the evening ; Curtis was himself 
starting for a stroll about the town, when the 


stranger, who had last joined the party on the 
veranda approached him and said : " I have just 
drank the toast you proposed, and judging from it 
and your conversation up stairs, I take you to be, at 
least, a friend to the South, if indeed you are not a 
Southern man. I should like much to have your 
company for a short stroll about the city ; my name, 1 
he added, "is Leroy, and I hail from Baltimore." 

" I shall be glad to accompany you, Mr. Leroy," 
said my operative, heartily : " I was just thinking of 
going for a walk alone, but I assure you I shall be 
only too glad to have a companion. And since you 
have so kindly told me your name, I may as well tell 
you, that mine is George Curtis, and I am from 
Washington. But before we start," he added, "let us 
have a fresh cigar." 

He then ordered the cigars and they started for 
their walk. 

They had not proceeded far, before his new com 
panion revealed the fact, that he also was in the con 
traband trade, and singularly enough, was on his way 
to Richmond on precisely the same business my 
operative had represented himself as engaged. Of 
course, Curtis reciprocated the confidence of his new 
found friend, and with such results, that he not only re 
turned from his walk much better posted on how to 
get goods through to Richmond, but actually returned 
a partner in an enterprize to furnish their goods in 
large quantities to the Confederate government, pro* 

TAKEN IN. 4*3 

vided they could succeed in making satisfactory ar 
rangements with Mr. Benjamin, the Secretary of 
War. They returned to the hotel, where they had a 
long talk, completing their plans. It was arranged 
that my operative should leave his horse at Peters 
burg, and in the morning, they would proceed on their 
way to Richmond by rail. 

On the following morning he arose early, and 
after breakfast, proceeded to call on General Hill 
at his quarters and obtained his pass, also the letters 
he was to carry for him to parties in Richmond. 
They then took a train for the rebel capital, and by 
noon found themselves in that city. 

The day following his arrival, in company with 
Leroy, he called on Mr. Benjamin and succeeded in 
closing contracts to furnish large quantities of their 
goods to his government, and at prices that were 
highly satisfactory to Mr. Leroy, who jovially re 
marked, as they left the Secretary s presence, that 
if they only had good luck, their fortunes were made. 
Curtis, however, felt highly gratified over the result 
of the interview, more from the reflection of the aid 
it would give him in prosecuting the real object of 
his visit, than from any financial benefit he expected 
to derive from it. He had received a pass from the 
Secretary that would enable him to pass in and out of 
Richmond at his pleasure, a most important privilege, 
and one that really removed all practical hindrances,, 
and left him free to more fully accomplish his work. 


He had not been in the city a week before he 
discovered that through some source, the rebels had 
almost daily news from the front, concerning the 
movements and plans of the Union troops. This he 
now determined to ferret out, and the next day, he in 
a careless manner, inquired of his friend Leroy, how 
it was, they obtained news so promptly from the front 

" Why," replied his friend, laughingly, " haven t 
you heard of the subterranean headquarters ?" 

" I confess I have not," replied the detective. 

" Then come along with me," said Leroy. " I 
ought to have told you about this before, as it is 
intimately connected with our business." 

He then led the way to the very hotel at which they 
were stopping, and conducted Curtis to a large and 
elegantly furnished room on the third floor, and in 
which were seated a number of gentlemen some 
reading, while others were engaged in writing at little 
tables that were ranged about the room. 

" Here," said he, laughing, "are the subterranean 
headquarters, although they are above the top of the 
ground instead of beneath it. I need not tell you," 
he added, " that the name is given as much to mis 
lead as for any other purpose." 

They then took seats at one end of the room 
where they were alone, and he proceeded with his 
explanation : 

"First," he said, "you must know that this is a 
bureau of intelligence, and is managed partly by the 

TAKEN IN. 425 

government and partly by wealthy merchants here 
and at Baltimore ; besides being used in getting in 
formation concerning the movements of the Federal 
troops, it is also used by the merchants in getting our 
goods through from Baltimore. We employ," he con 
tinued, " nearly fifty persons, some of whom are 
constantly in the field carrying dispatches, gaining 
and bringing in information from the Yankee lines. 
These persons are all under the control of a chief at 
their head, and are all known to that man yonder," 
pointing to a gentleman seated at a desk at the oppo 
site end of the room. 

" Strange as it may seem to you," he continued, 
" right here in this hotel, we have the most exclusive 
privacy. You noticed that man standing in the halJ 
when we came in, the same one now sitting at the 

Curtis nodded, and he proceeded : " Well, he 
knew me, and consequently he knew you were all 
right. Had you come alone, that door would have 
been closed, and would not have opened, had you 
tried it. Now," he said, " I will call him here and in 
troduce you." 

Touching a small bell that stood on the table, the 
gentleman, to whom he had alluded, instantly an 
swered its summons and crossed the room to where 
they were sitting. 

" Mr. Wallace," said Leroy, " this is my friend 
and partner, Mr. Curtis." The two men bowed and 


shook hands, and Wallace seating himself proved to 
be a pleasant and well-informed gentleman. 

In the course of the conversation, Leroy asked, 
" What is the latest news from the front, Mr. 

" We have nothing as yet to-day," he answered, 
" but yesterday it was reported that McClellan had 
laid siege to Yorktown ; the chances are, that we 
shall hear of a battle, in a few days at farthest." 
During the interview, Curtis learned also, that the 
persons operating for this bureau had confederates, 
both at Baltimore and at Washington ; these, he 
determined to discover, if possible, in addition to the 
information already gained. 

To this end, he made himself very agreeable to 
Mr. Wallace, and in the course of the conversation, 
expressed his willingness to do what he could in aid 
ing the force, and remarked that he should be passing 
back and forth, between Washington and Richmond, 
and could doubtless be of service. 

Mr. Wallace thanked him heartily, and gave him 
a small plain badge of peculiar shape, that would at 
any time, if shown, admit him to the headquarters, 
and then taking him about the room, he introduced 
him to the gentlemen present, and after a short con 
versation with his new friends, he in company with 
Leroy took his departure, and together they went 
down to dinner. 

That evening, as he was sitting in the bar-room 

TAKEN IN. 437 

of the hotel, one of the men he had met up-stairs in 
the forenoon, came to him and told him that in a day 
or two, he was to start for Yorktown with important 
dispatches for General Magruder, but that owing, to 
sickness in his family, he did not want to leave home, 
unless it was impossible for him to get some one he 
could trust to undertake the task for him. 

He then asked Curtis if he would object to mak 
ing the trip for him. The detective thought a mo 
ment, and told him he would give him an answer in 
the morning. The two men then indulged in a 
friendly glass, after which they separated. The man 
had n sooner gone, than Curtis made up his mind to 
take the dispatches, not to General Magruder, but to 
me at Washington. 

Accordingly, the next morning he informed his 
friend he would undertake the task for him, as he 
intended returning to Baltimore at any rate. 

The next morning found him, with the dispatches 
carefully secreted about his person, at the depot, 
ready to take the first train for Petersburgh. 

Here he arrived about noon, and proceeded to 
call on General Hill. After procuring his dinner at 
the hotel, he ordered his horse and started on his 
long ride for the Union camp, where he delivered his 
dispatches to Mr. Bangs, the superintendent of my 
headquarters in the field, and forwarded copies of the 
same to me at Washington, together with a full 
account of his trip and information he had gained ; 

4 28 


not forgetting a full statement of his discovery of the 
" Subterranean Headquarters," and his enlistment as 
a member of its force of spies and agents, employed 
in transmitting intelligence of the movements and 
plans of the Union troops. 


A Virginia Home. Unwelcome Visitors. Mr. Har court 
Arrested and Released. Dan Me Cowan Makes Forcible 
Love to Mary Harcourt. The Girl in Peril. A Timely 
Rescue. The Villain Punished. 

THE important information brought to my notice 
by Operative Curtis, on his return from Rich 
mond, concerning the character and working of the 
"Subterranean- Headquarters," at once determined 
me on a plan of using the same body of men, or 
rather the information they carried, for the benefit of 
the Union forces, instead of allowing them to use it 
in the interests of the Confederates. To accomplish 
this, I detailed several members of my force, both at 
Washington and Baltimore, to co-operate with Curtis, 
whom I intended now should become an active agent 
of the rebels in carrying dispatches to and from 
Richmond. The plan was, in short, that all dis 
patches entrusted to him should be accurately copied, 
the copies to be delivered to his confederates, and 
the originals forwarded to their destination. 

In war, as in a game of chess, if you kr.ow the 
moves of your adversary in advance, it is then an 
easy matter to shape your own plans, and make your 
moves accordingly, and, of course, always to your 



own decided advantage. So in this case, I concluded 
that if the information intended for the rebels could 
first be had by us, after that, they were welcome to 
all the benefit they might derive from them. 

I n a few days, then, having completed my arrange 
ments, Curtis started to Richmond, by the way of 
Wilson s Landing and Glendale, he having decided 
that, provided as he was with his pass from the 
Secretary, it would be perfectly safe, and at the same 
time a much shorter route than by the way of Peters- 

Leaving him for the present, then, to make his 
way to Richmond as best he can, we will turn our 
attention to other persons and to other scenes. The 
interior of a comfortable farm-house, the place, and 
early evening the time. 

The family are gathered around the tea-table, and 
cire discussing earnestly the war, and the chances of 
the success of the Northern troops. The family con 
sisted of five persons : the husband and wife, both 
traveling down the western slope of life, a young and 
beautiful daughter, apparently about twenty years of 
age, and two younger children, a boy and girl, aged, 
respectively, fourteen and twelve years. 

These latter are listening attentively to the con 
versation going on about them, and anon interjecting 
some childish observation, or asking some question 
commensurate with the quaint views and ideas of 
childish years. 


"Well," finally observed the old gentleman, "it 
is hard that one dare not speak their own sentiments 
in a country like this ; my grandfather fought in the 
revolution, my father in the war of 1812, and I, myself, 
took a hand in the brush with Mexico ; but I never 
dreamed of seeing the day when a man dared not 
speak his honest convictions, for fear of having his 
roof burnt from over his head, and, worse than all, 
endanger even his own life, and those dearest to 

" I have always told you, William," replied his 
good wife, "that the day would come when this fear 
ful curse of slavery would have to be wiped out in 
blood, and you all know now that I prophesied truly. 
And," she added, " as for me, I have no fears for the 
result. Our only mistake has been in casting our lot 
and settling in the South, and in the very presence 
of an evil we could not avert." 

" True, mother," rejoined her husband, " but you 
know I have ever been outspoken against slavery, 
and its attendant curses. I also flatter myself that I 
have had some influence in mitigating, at least, the 
condition of not a few of the black race. You re 
member Colonel Singleton liberated his slaves at the 
very outset of this war." 

" And was compelled to flee to the North to save 
his own life," answered his wife ; " and had we been 
wise, we would have gone to a country more conge 
nial to our views, and while we could have done so 


with safety. I am afraid," she continued, " if it be 
comes known that our son has joined the Union army ? 
serious trouble may befall us at the hands of men 
who have long desired an excuse for arresting you, 
and confiscating your property ; if, indeed, they would 
be content with sparing your life." 

" If I were younger," said the old gentleman, " I 
would defy them to do their worst ; and, as it is, 
my only fears are for my family, not for myself. 
Still," he added, "my neighbors are all friendly, 
and the majority of them, though thinking differently 
from me on these questions, are under obligations to 
me, so that I feel I have but little to fear at their 
hands. As to our boy, who has gone to fight for 
the old flag, I am proud of him ; I fought for it, so 
did my fathers before me, and I would disown the 
child who would refuse, if necessary, to lay down his 
life in its defense." 

And here, fired with the sentiments he had just 
uttered, he arose from the table in an agitated 
manner and began to pace the floor. 

" Ah," he continued, " I love that old flag, and 
old as I am, would fight for it yet." 

Going to a case that stood in a corner of the room, 
he took from a shelf a beautiful silken banner, and 
holding it aloft, he exclaimed, with great earnestness, 
"There is the flag I fight under the flag of the 
Union and of the country our fathers fought to save." 

"Father," exclaimed his eldest daughter, "you 


forget yourself in your enthusiasm ; even now some 
one may be outside listening ; you forget that Dan 
McCowan and his desperate gang may be in the vicin 
ity and give us a call at any moment." 

Scarcely had the warning fell from her lips, when 
there came a loud knocking at the door, followed by 
a few vigorous and well-directed blows that threatened 
to take it from its hinges. 

The whole family started up in alarm, and while 
one snatched the flag from the old gentleman and 
hastily deposited it in its hiding - place, another 
answered the summons from without. 

The old man himself, while not frightened, was 
somewhat disconcerted by the noise, and remained 
standing in the center of the room, when the door 
was suddenly burst open, revealing a body of Con 
federate soldiers headed by a villainous-looking fellow, 
their leader, who now entered the room, and ap 
proaching him, said : 

" Mr. Harcourt, I have orders to place you under 
arrest, so you will prepare to accompany us to Glen- 
dale at once !" 

" What crime have I committed?" demanded the 
old man, now perfectly calm, " that you dare enter 
my house in this manner !" 

"You will know that soon enough," replied the 
officer ; "so hustle on your duds, as we must be 
going. Bill," he commanded, turning to a fellow 
near him, " you will search the house and take posses- 


sion of anything contraband or treasonable that you 
can find." 

This order was exactly what his followers wanted, 
as it meant really an order to plunder the house and 
appropriate to their own use whatever articles of 
value they found and that pleased them to take. 

As none of the family had offered the slightest 
resistance, the unwelcome intruders had conducted 
themselves, so far, very orderly. Mrs. Harcourt, a 
kind and matronly-looking woman, with a firmness 
and self-control, that under the circumstances was 
admirable, bustled about the room, getting together a 
small bundle of clothing for her husband to take with 
him on his enforced journey to Glendale ; and anon, 
while doing this, spoke soothing words of comfort 
and encouragement to the younger children, who, 
white and speechless with terror, were crouching in 
the darkest corner of the room. 

The eldest daughter, at a sign from her father, 
accompanied the two men detailed to search the pre 
mises, and proceeded with them from room to room, 
as they rummaged chests and drawers, appropriating 
various little articles to their own use, in spite of the 
indignant protest of the spirited girl at such bare 
faced robbery. 

Finally, with much reluctance, she was compelled 
to admit them to her own room, and to witness their 
ruthless handling of the contents of a small trunk, in 
which were various little articles, trinkets and me- 


mentoes, worthless to any one else, but, of course, 
priceless to her. 

But what she most prized among them, and which 
caused her the most alarm should they be discovered, 
was a small packet of letters from her brother already 
mentioned as serving in the Union army, and a small 
locket containing his miniature. Judge of her dismay 
were one of the men picked up the letters, and with a 
laugh exclaimed : " These are from your feller, I sup 
pose ;" and then, observing the locket, he opened it 
and with a leer on his face, said : " And this is his 
picture, I reckon, eh ?" 

" Yes," said the girl eagerly uttering, or rather 
echoing, the falsehood. " Yes," she repeated, " please 
don t take them, as they are of no account to any 
one but myself." 

"All right," said the fellow, good-naturedly, "I 
guess you can have them ;" as he handed them to 
her. She eagerly seized them, trembling at the narrow 
escape they had had from falling into the possession 
of those, who knowing their contents, would have 
given her poor old father much trouble indeed. 

Having completed their search, and finding noth 
ing that could be considered of a treasonable charac 
ter, they returned to the room below, and reported to 
their Captain the result of their search. He then 
ordered his men to retire to the outside, where he 
followed them, and after consulting a short time, he 
returned to the house and brusquely informed Mr. 


Harcourt that as he had found nothing to convict 
him of treason against the Confederate government, 
he might go this time, but to be d d careful in the 
future, or he would get him yet. He then slammed 
the door behind him, rejoined his companions who 
mounted their horses and rode slowly away. 

Satisfied that they had left, the family ventured to 
express their congratulations at the departure of 
their unwelcome visitors, and at once set to work re 
arranging the disordered room. They, however, felt 
that this was only the commencement of their prose 
cutions, and they well knew that another time, the 
chances were that they would not escape so easily ; 
for should it become known that their son was in the 
Federal army, they could no longer hope to live in 
peace and safety. The men who had visited them 
on this occasion, were evidently strangers in the 
neighborhood, and were, no doubt, a scouting or for 
aging party, who had stopped more from a want of 
having anything else to do, than from a desire to 
do them any injury. They, however, knew, that from 
those in their own vicinity, there was much more to 
be feared ; and of one person in particular, they stood 
in especial dread. That person was Dan McCowan, 
the man whose name was mentioned by Mary Har 
court, in her warning to her father, only a moment 
before the soldiers, had entered their dwelling. 
Dan McCowan was a man who for years had pur 
sued the detestable calling of a negro-hunter. 



He was about thirty-five years of age, tall, of an 
ungainly form, and slightly stoop-shouldered ; his 
hair and eyes were dark, and his complexion as swar 
thy as an Indian. His features, naturally coarse and 
repulsive, were rendered still more so, by being 
bronzed and hardened by long-continued exposure 
to the weather. His only associates and his most 
intimate friends appeared to be his blood-hounds, 
which he used in hunting and bringing back to their 
masters, the poor negroes who were seeking to escape 
from a life of continued toil and bondage. The fol 
lowing unique hand-bill, which he used to post up in 
various places over the country, will serve to show the 
nature of his business, and also the vast amount of 
intelligence necessary to carry it on. 


The undersind taiks this methed of makkin it 
none that he has got the best NIGGER HOUNDS in the 
state, and is always redy to ketch runaway niggers 
at the best rates. 

My hounds is well trained, and I heve hed 15 
yeres experience. My rates is 10 dollurs per hed if 
ketched in the beate where the master lives ; 15 dol 
lurs > n J;he coonty, and 50 dollurs out of the coonty. 


N. B. 

Peters should taik panes to let me know, while 
the nfg^crs tracks is fresh, if they want quick work 
and a fcrood job. 


It is scarcely necessary to say that his services 
were frequently employed to catch and bring back 
the poor runaways, and more than once had the Har- 
court family been awakened in the night by his 
hounds, as they made the woods echo with their 
baying. Often had they pictured to themselves the 
terror of the poor wretches, over whose trail, with 
unerring scent, swept the monsters, who would tear 
them limb from limb, and whose only choice was 
death at their hands or the old life of labor and the 

Mr. Harcourt was a strong anti-slavery man. 
Holding these views, he had ever spoken consistently 
against slavery. He was also a man of deeds, as well 
as words, for many a poor fugitive had been assisted 
by him on his long and perilous journey northward 
in search of friends and the freedom he craved. 

Owing to these proclivities, and to the fact that 
he had never taken pains to conceal his views, a 
mutual antipathy had long existed between Mr. Har 
court and Dan McCowan, the nigger-hunter. While 
the latter had no direct proofs, yet he had long sus 
pected Mr. Harcourt of being a friend to, and a 
sympathizer with the very runaways whom it was 
his business to catch and return to the bondage they 
were endeavoring to escape from. Notwithstanding 
his dislike for the father, however, the fellow had 
conceived a violent attachment for Mary Harcourt, 
his daughter, and for a year past had greatly annoyed 


not only the poor girl herself, but the whole family, 
by his uncouth attentions. 

Finally, Mr. Harcourt told him plainly that his 
attentions to his daughter were extremely distasteful 
to her, and added a polite, yet firm request, that he 
cease his troublesome visits. 

Mary, who was a young lady of sweet and lovely 
disposition, possessing both intelligence and refine 
ment, shrank from the fellow as she should from a 
viper in her path ; while his odious attempts to lavish 
his unsought affections upon her so disgusted and 
frightened her that she always avoided his presence. 

Dan McCowan, however, was just the man, when 
thwarted in his plans, to at once take steps for 
revenge. For some time he had kept a close espion 
age of the house and the movements of its inmates. 
He had somehow obtained possession of the know 
ledge that young Harcourt was in the Union army, 
and he determined to use this in his well-laid plans to 
persecute the poor girl, who had been so unfortunate 
as to have been the object of his passion. 

On the day following the incidents just related, 
Mary, who had been spending the afternoon with a 
neighbor s family, towards evening was returning to 
her home, when she was suddenly and most unex 
pectedly confronted by Dan McCowan. So startled 
was she by this unlooked-for meeting, that she 
involuntarily gave a slight scream, as she recognized 
who it was that stood before her. 


" I see as how I have skeered you right smart 
now," said the fellow, grinning in her face with a 
wicked leer. " Your father told me as how he would 
be much obliged to me if I would stop my visits to 
his house, which, bein a gentleman, I was bound to 
do, and as I had a little something to say to you, I 
thought this would be the time to say it." 

The girl, who had now somewhat recovered her 
composure, yet fully realizing the character of the man 
with whom she had to deal, stood quietly looking 
him full in the face, and said, in a tone that betrayed 
her contempt, " I suppose I must listen to you, sir, 
but be brief, as it. is getting late, and my folks will be 
uneasy at my long absence." 

" Well, Miss Harcourt," he replied, " I will come 
to the point at once. You have a brother, who has 
been away from home fur some time. Do you know 
where he is ?" 

Mary was silent, and he muttered, half to himself, 
" I thought so ; the whole family are traitors. No 
more than is to be expected from these d d abo 
litionists. I can tell you where he is," he continued ; 
"he is on the other side, and fighting against the 

And what if he is in the Federal army? He is 
fighting for the government you and yours are seek 
ing to destroy," answered the spirited girl. 

" It don t matter much to me which side he fights 
on ; but suppose I tell it around, that he is fighting 


with the Yankees, do you think it would matter to 
you then ?" 

" My brother is his own man," replied Mary, " and 
he alone is responsible for his acts ; surely they would 
not harm my father and us for that ; and surely you 
would not tell what you know, to injure us ?" 

" That depends on you, Miss Mary," the fellow 
replied, now approaching closer, and attempting to 
take her hand. 

" What do you mean, you scoundrel ?" demanded 
the girl, drawing back, while the fire flashed from her 
eyes. " Don t offer to touch me, Dan McCowan, 
or I ll " 

" What would you do, now ?" he exclaimed ; and, 
before she was aware of his intentions, he had sprang 
quickly forward, seized her about the waist, and 
placed one hand over her mouth, but not until she 
had given one long and piercing call for help. 

The fellow s base designs were evident, and that 
he would have been successful there is no doubt ; but 
help, fortunately, was at hand. While he was yet 
struggling with the girl, he felt a violent clutch on 
his collar, from behind, and before he could see from 
whence it came he was thrown violently to the 
ground, and was writhing under the well-directed 
kicks, which were most lavishly bestowed upon him 
by the new comer, who was no less a personage than 
my operative George Curtis. 

The girl had sank to the ground almost fainting 


from fright, but so enraged was Curtis at the scene 
he had witnessed, that he continued to shower his 
kicks on the miserable wretch, who roared and begged 
for mercy, until the girl interposed, and begged him, 
for her sake, not to kill him, but to desist, and let 
him go. 

At this my operative ceased, more, however, from 
mere lack of breath than from a feeling that the 
fellow had been sufficiently punished, and allowed 
him to regain his feet. "You contemptible, cowardly 
brute," he exclaimed, as McCowan arose ; " I have a 
mind to finish you, while I have my hand in. Miss," 
he continued, turning to the girl, " I am happy to have 
arrived in time to be of service to you. I do not know 
anything about this difficulty, but from what I saw, I 
concluded that I had not time to make any inquiries." 

" I am very grateful to you, sir, for what you 
have done in saving me from that villain. Look 
out !" she exclaimed, "he has a pistol." 

Curtis turned his head in time to see the fellow in 
the act of drawing a revolver. Quicker than a flash, 
his own weapon was in his hands, and covering the 
man, he said, coolly : 

" Drop your hands, you hell-hound, or I will blow 
you to atoms in a second." 

The fellow saw that he was foiled, and dropped 
his hands at his sides. 

Curtis advanced and disarmed him ; then, stepping 
back a pace, he said : 


" Go now while I am in the humor to let you ; 
another move like that, and I will shoot you as I 
would a dog." 

McCowan reluctantly obeyed, and slunk away 
muttering threats of vengeance. 

My operative, however, paid no attention to hiir 
now, but turned to the young lady who proceeded 
to relate the circumstance of her meeting with 
McCowan, from which his timely interference had 
saved her, and ended by a cordial invitation, blush- 
ingly given, that he would accompany her home, and 
spend the night under her father s roof. As he was 
anxious to find a lodging-place for the night, at any 
rate, the detective, gratefully accepted the invitation, 
feeling such an interest in this really beautiful girl 
that he could not resist the desire to cultivate further 
the acquaintance, so strangely begun. He hastily 
brought his horse from where he had left him by the 
roadside, and leading him by the bridle, walked by the 
side of his companion until they reached the house. 
As they strolled along, Mary frankly told him the 
secret of McCowan s attack, and proceeded to explain 
the man s character, and the detestable nature of the 
business in which he was engaged. 

By this time, they had reached her father s house, 
where they were met at the gate by the old gentleman 
himself, who was alarmed and anxious at his 
daughter s absence so far beyond her usual time for 


" Father," said the girl, " this is" here she paused, 
visibly embarrassed, and gazed timidly into the face 
of the detective. 

" Pardon me," said Curtis hastily, seeing the cause 
of her confusion; "my name is George Curtis; we 
have been so busy talking that I had not thought of 


She then introduced them, and briefly related to 
her father the cause of her detention, and her adven 
ture with McCowan, not forgetting to mention the 
part my operative had played in her timely rescue 
from the villain s hands. 

The old man thanked him again and again, and so 
profusely, that Curtis begged that he would not 
mention it, as he had done nothing more than any 
gentleman, under the same circumstances, would have 
done, gone to the lady s rescue at her call for help. 

His horse was ordered to be taken to the barn, 
and he himself was soon seated in the house, receiv 
ing the tearful thanks of good Mrs. Harcourt, and 
the object of the admiring gaze of Mary s younger 
brother and sister, who regarded him as a hero, and a 
person who had no small claim on their affection and 


Curtis Again on his Travels. A Loiing Episode. --Dan 
McCowan Again Turns Up. The Capture of Curtis. 
A Fight For Life, and Escape. A Bit of Matrimony. 

THE next day, my operative took his leave of 
the Harcourt family, and continued on his way 
to Richmond. He, however, gave them his promise, 
that he would visit them again before long, a promise 
he was in no wise loath to keep, as Mary had joined 
her request to that of her father, that he should not 
fail to give them a call, when he was in their vicinity. 

The truth was my operative, who was a very ex 
cellent young man, and, notwithstanding his calling, 
susceptible to the charms of the fair sex, was not a 
little smitten by the fair Mary, whom he had met 
under circumstances that would have caused even a 
less romantic person than himself to have fallen in 
love with her at once. 

On the other hand, the girl s feelings of gratitude 
and admiration for the young man, who had rescued 
her from McCowan s clutches, were those almost 
akin to love ; but with true maidenly modesty, she 
simply treated him with that delicate courtesy that, 
while it showed plainly her high regard for him, yet 



it in no way overstepped the bounds of strict pro 
priety. It was evident, however, that she regarded 
him as one who certainly had strong claims upon her 
friendship and esteem. 

Bidding them good-bye, then, Curtis took leave of 
the family, whom he had known but a single night, 
yet who, in that brief space, had grown to be like old 
acquaintances ; and his regret on leaving them, was 
very much like that in parting from old and intimate 

Taking the route by Glendale, he, towards even 
ing, arrived at Richmond, without any event worthy 
of notice, and put up at Miller s Hotel. 

A few weeks later found him on his return to the 
Army of the Potomac, and in his possession impor 
tant dispatches that he had obtained in the rebel 
capital. As he left Richmond, the news reached that 
city of the evacuation of Yorktown by the rebels, 
and their retreat up the peninsula towards Williams- 
burgh. The effect of these tidings was anything but 
encouraging to those who had hoped that a final and 
decisive battle would have been fought at Yorktown, 
and the further advance of the Union troops effect 
ually checked. 

McClellan s vigorous preparations, however, for a 
protracted siege, had decided the rebels that it 
would be useless to risk a battle here, and they conse 
quently determined to evacuate the place, which 
they did on the fifth of May, and by noon of the 


same day McClellan s army had broken camp and 
was in full pursuit. With such celerity did he make 
his movements, and so closely did he press the Con 
federates, that on the following day they were com 
pelled to make a stand, and here was fought the 
battle of Williamsburgh, in which the rebels were de 
feated, and continued their retreat towards Rich 

The army of the Potomac now continued its ad 
vance, with all the rapidity the terrible condition of 
the roads would permit, having for its base of supplies 
the York River, until two weeks later it rested be 
tween the Pamunkey and the Chickahominy. It was 
at this stage of affairs on the Peninsula, that Curtis 
was on his return trip from Richmond. With his 
passes in his pocket, his dispatches securely concealed 
about him, and his trusty horse as his only com 
panion, he set out for his long ride to Wilson s Land 
ing, and the headquarters of the Union army. 

It was his purpose to stop by the way long 
enough to at least inquire after the health of the 
Harcourt family, and learn how they had fared dur 
ing his absence. So, pushing rapidly ahead, towards 
the close of what had been a beautiful day in May, 
he, near nightfall, found himself at Farmer Har- 
court s door, where he was most cordially welcomed. 

His jaded horse was led to the barn to be watered 
and fed, while he was soon resting his tired limbs in 
an easy chair, while waiting a tempting supper that 


was almost ready for an appetite keenly whetted by 
his long and hard day s ride. 

His object now, was to stop long enough to rest 
himself and horse, and then push on by night and en 
deavor to reach the Federal lines by daybreak. Mr. 
Harcourt informed him that they had not been 
molested by McCowan since his former visit, and that 
it was reported that he had formed a band of Guer 
rillas, and at their head was pillaging and robbing 
the people in an adjoining county. 

" He is an unscrupulous villain," observed the old 
gentleman, "and I confess I stand in no little dread 
that he may pay us a visit at any time, in which case, 
if we escape with our lives, we may consider ourselves 
fortunate. I have," he added, " fully made up my 
mind to take my family, leave my home here, and, if 
possible, go North, where a man of my way of 
thinking can live in security and peace. If I were 
younger, I would enlist, myself, but my fighting days 
are past." 

" I trust you may soon be able to get away from 
here," said Curtis; "and as the Union army is now 
advancing up the Peninsula, you can, I think, with 
little danger, make your way into its lines." 

He then informed him of the evacuation of York- 
town, and of the retreat of the Confederates, and 
advised him to hasten his arrangements to go North, 
while this opportunity afforded him a way to do so 
with safety. 


After the evening meal was over the family seated 
themselves on a pleasant little porch, that ran along 
one side of the old-fashioned house, facing the west, 
and in the deepening twilight they sat and talked 
over the trying times, and united in their wishes for 
a speedy termination of the fratricidal conflict. 

Thus the evening passed until near ten o clock, 
when my operative informed his friends that he must 
take his departure, as he was determined, if possible, 
to reach the Union lines by daybreak. 

The whole family urged him to pass the night 
with them ; but finding him bent on going, his horse 
was ordered to the door, and he prepared to take his 

He shook hands with the good farmer and his 
wife, and looked anxiously around for Mary ; surely 
she would bid him good-bye before he went away, 
but she was nowhere to be seen. He even lingered 
a few moments, hoping she would return ; she did not, 
however, put in an appearance ; so, leaving his regards 
for her with her parents, he mounted his horse, and 
with a heavy heart rode along down the long, narrow 
lane that led from the house to the main road. 

He could not understand why the girl should 
have absented herself just as he. was taking his leave ; 
could it be that he had in any way offended her, that 
she should avoid him on purpose ? Revolving the 
matter in his mind, and feeling that hereafter he 

would take pains to avoid the Harcourt mansion, he 


now approached the terminus of the lane, still buried 
in thought, when his horse, becoming frightened, shied 
slightly to one side ; hastily raising his eyes, he saw, 
to his amazement, the object of his thoughts standing 
by the roadside. 

He checked his horse, and, in a tone that betray 
ed his astonishment, exclaimed, " You here, Miss 
Mary !" 

" Yes," she answered, evidently a little confused, 
"I wanted to see you a little while alone. I trust you 
will pardon me for adopting the means I have to 
secure a short talk with you." 

By this time Curtis had dismounted, and was 
standing at her side. 

" Well, what is it, Miss Harcourt ? I am happy 
to be at your service in any way in my power." 

" Thank you," she answered, hastily, " you have 
placed me under obligations to you, but I venture to 
night to ask one favor more." 

"If is granted already," said Curtis. 

Thanking him again, she proceeded : " You know 
my brother is in the Union army, and I have not 
heard from him for several weeks ; I wish you would 
try to get this letter to him, and, if it is not asking 
too much," she added, hesitatingly, "will you kindly 
bring me his reply, or at least some word that I may 
know he is safe and well ?" 

Curtis took the letter from her hands, and, de 
positing it safely in an inside pocket of his coat, he 


said " I will do my best to deliver the letter, and, 
should I not return soon with an answer, you may 
know something unavoidable has detained me." 

As he stood there, gazing earnestly into the sweet 
face of his fair companion, a sudden purpose to then 
and there declare his love for her came into his mind 
With him, to resolve was to act ; extending his hand, 
he took hers in a friendly clasp, and said : " Miss 
Harcourt, I am going to bid you good-bye, with the 
hope of seeing you again very soon ; but I will not 
conceal from you the fact, that, in the fortunes of 
war, it is possible that we may never meet again. 
Under these circumstances, then, I make bold to 
tell you to-night something that, ordinarily, I would 
not mention until your longer acquaintance with me 
would make it appear more proper, at least so far as 
society rules are concerned. 

" Miss Harcourt," he continued, still holding the 
hand that now lay passively in his, " in the short time 
I have known you I have learned to love you, and I 
am confident time only will strengthen that love. I 
do not ask your answer now ; when we meet again, if 
we do, you can tell me my fate. If your answer then 
should be nay, I will try to bear it like a man, 
respecting you none the less even if I fail to win the 
love I would so highly prize. Good-bye, darling !" 
and lightly pressing her hand to his lips, he threw 
himself into his saddle, and giving his noble animal 
the rein, dashed away, leaving Miss Harcourt stand- 


ing in a half-dazed manner, straining her eyes after 
his figure, that in the pale moonlight was rapidly dis 
appearing from her view. 

Curtis now set off for the headquarters of the 
Union army. Our friend pushed on, and shortly 
after midnight arrived at the Landing, and from here 
faced about to the east, and in the direction of 
Williamsburgh, where the Union army, victorious in 
the battle just fought, were encamped. 

He now slackened his speed somewhat, to rest his 
jaded steed, and, dropping the reins, allowed him to 
take a moderate walk, while he himself fell into a deep 
reverie over the events of his trip. 

On this occasion he had been very successful in 
his work in the rebel capital, and had, so far, effectually 
escaped any suspicion as a spy. Considering the 
watchful vigilance that at this time was maintained 
by the rebels, Curtis had indeed done well ; and it 
was with feelings of thorough satisfaction that now, 
near the close of his arduous journey, and when he felt 
reasonably secure from being molested, that he re 
laxed somewhat his usual vigilance, and allowed him 
self and animal a much needed rest. 

He was not, however, destined to get through 
so easily as he had anticipated. As he entered a 
small clump of timber, and while he was unsuspecting 
any danger at this nearness to the Union camp, two 
mounted men suddenly made their appearance from 
the side of the road, and from where they had been 


concealed in the bushes, and, holding their cocked 
weapons at his head, commanded him to halt. 

At the same instant, men came pouring in from 
both sides of the woods, that here skirted his path, 
and almost before he could realize his situation, or 
who were his assailants, he was overpowered, taken 
from his horse, and securely bound. 

He soon discovered his captors were a band of 
guerillas, who had been quartered in the grove, and he 
had by the merest chance stumbled right into their 
midst. While he was quickly debating in his mind his 
chances for escape, and his probable fate at their 
hands, he was led into the presence of the captain of 
the band, who, with a few of his followers, had 
evidently been sleeping about a camp-fire that had 
now burned low, leaving only a bed of glowing 
embers, that cast a faint light on the swarthy faces of 
the rough-looking men that now grouped yawningly 
about it awaiting his coming. 

" Who have you here," asked the Captain, as the 
party escorting Curtis came up, 

" Don t know, Capten," laconically answered one 
of the men ; " we jest now found him and handed 
him in here without askin him enny questions ; but 
here he is, you can talk to him yourself." 

Curtis was now unbound, and led forward, and 
stood facing the Captain. As their eyes met, the 
recognition was mutua} and instantaneous; in tha 
man that stood before him, my operative recognized 


no less a personage than Dan McCowan, the man 
whom he had so unmercifully drubbed on a former 
occasion, which has already been described. 

At the same moment, McCowan saw who it was 
that had so unexpectedly fallen into his hands, and 
with a wicked laugh and a horrible oath, he sprang 
forward, and clutching him by the throat, exclaimed : 

" By G d, I have been looking for you for some 
time ; it is my turn now." 

It was evident that the fellow in his rage meant 
murder ; but turtis, who was both brave and cool, 
besides being strong and active, wrenched loose from 
his grip, and springing hastily backward, he dealt him, 
with the rapidity of lightning, a powerful blow 
between the eyes, that felled him like an ox Then, 
before the lookers-on could scarcely realize what had 
taken place, he leaped over the form of the pros 
trate man, and disappeared in the darkness of the 

The Captain by this time regained his feet, and 
showering curses upon his men for a pack of cowardly 
idiots, started off in pursuit, followed by a half a 
score of his fellows, who now, in order to conciliate 
their enraged leader, determined to retake the detec 
tive at all hazards. 

Fortunately for Curtis, he had been allowed to 
retain his weapons, and being fleet of foot, he had 
but little to fear. 

He soon succeeded in eluding his pursuers, and, 


shortly after daylight, found his way into the Union 

He then reported to me with his dispatches from 
Richmond, and related his adventures here re 

I ought to state, however, that he did not, at that 
time, inform me of his proposal to Miss Harcourt ; 
but after remaining with me until the close of the 
war, during which time he made many trips to and 
fro between Richmond and the headquarters of the 
Federal army, after the struggle was ended and we 
both had retired to the life of a citizen, he, as a sales 
man in a business house in Chicago, I to my business 
as a detective in the same city, then it was he related 
the story of his courtship, and the manner in which 
he wooed and won the woman who was then, and 
still is, his wife. As for the Harcourt family, they 
made their way to the North, by the aid of my oper 
ative and young Harcourt, and the courtship between 
Curtis and the daughter was kept up until the close 
of the war, when they were married. 

I will also say, that they are still living happily 
together, surrotfhded by an interesting family of 
children, who with childlike eagerness clamber on their 
papa s knees to hear him tell them stories of the war, 
and his adventures before they were even born, 
a period that to them seems ages and ages ago. 

Dan McCowan was killed in an attack that his 
party, led by him, made on a band of our scouts, 


shortly after the occurrence of the incidents described 
in this chapter. 

I would fain have dwelt longer on the work of 
young Curtis, and noted more minutely the impor 
tance of his labors in the secret service, but a lack of 
space and time compel me here to drop him with the 
passing comment, that he was an excellent operative, 
and that he so faithfully and efficiently did his work, 
that the subterranean headquarters, with its corps of 
operatives, never did the Union cause any practical 
harm, but a great deal of good, in furnishing intel 
ligence of the movements and intentions of the rebel 



McClellan and his Enemies. The Peninsula Campaign. The 
R-zbel Forces Before Richmond. The Union Forces Out 
numbered by the Enemy, and their Commander Hampered 
By Superiors. An Honest Opinion. 

IT is not my purpose to? attempt to detail the vari 
ous movements of the army, to describe the bat 
tles which were fought, or to chronicle the victories 
and defeats which were achieved and sustained by the 
brave soldiers who fought under the flag of the 
Union. That duty belongs to the historian ; mine 
simply to relate the experiences of my own men in 
the delicate, dangerous and laborious duties which 
devolved upon them. Far less is it my desire to 
enter into a discussion upon the various subjects that 
have, since that fratricidal conflict, engrossed the at 
tention of the student of history. 

I trust, however, that I may be pardoned, if, for a 
time, I depart from the main narrative and devote a 
brief space to the consideration of that much dis 
cussed subject, the campaign of the Peninsula. 1 
make no pretension whatever to being a military 
scholar, nor in any sense a military man, but my 
connection with the government during the war, and 
participation in the movements of the Army of the Po 



tomac, together with my long and intimate acquaint 
ance with its commander, General McClellan, may en 
title me to a brief expression of my own views of that 
campaign. I may be pardoned, also, if I attempt to 
ascribe to their proper source, some of the causes 
which contributed largely to the disasters that at 
tended it. 

There can be no doubt of the fact, that the young 
commander-in-chief was subjected to the persecu 
tions of the most malignant political intriguers, who 
feared that his growing popularity would result in 
political exaltation. Taking advantage of the fact, 
therefore, that General McClellan was an avowed 
Democrat, a scheming cabal was working to weaken 
his influence with the people by vague insinuations 
against his loyalty to the Union cause. To further 
that end, his plans, so carefully and intelligently ma 
tured, for the speedy crushing of the rebellion, were 
either totally disregarded by an unfriendly cabinet, or 
were so frequently thwarted, that to successfully carry 
them out was an utter impossibility. 

As I have always been a faithful adherent of the 
maxim, " speak the truth, though the heavens fall," 
and believing it to be a doctrine, that if practically 
carried, will right all wrongs, uphold the innocent, 
administer censure where deserved, and praise where 
it is due, I have invariably attempted to form my 
judgment of my fellow-men upon their own intrinsic 


Whatever may have been his faults as a man, his 
mistakes as a General, he was throughout unflinch 
ingly loyal to the cause of the North. With him it 
was but one sentiment, and one ambition to whip the 
rebels into subjection and manfully did he perform 
his duty toward the accomplishment of that object. 
Much of the censure which has been heaped upon 
him and his conduct as Commander of the Army of 
the Potomac, is due to a hasty and inconsiderate 
judgment of the man and his motives, or the result 
of direct prejudice and ill-will. In the eyes of his 
critics his great fault lay m what they considered his 
inexcusable delay in moving against the enemy in the 
Spring of 1862, after, as they supposed, he had ample 
time to prepare his army for the field. 

From this point began the open and unfriendly 
criticisms which were designed to excite an impatient 
people, who did not, and could not, understand why 
active operations were not at once begun. This delay 
was adroitly used by scheming politicians to cast the 
shadow of disloyalty upon a man, who never for one 
moment entertained a disloyal thought, nor performed 
a single action which he did not believe would re 
dound to the credit and honor of the Union troops, 
and of the Government which he served. 

My acquaintance with General McClellan began 
before the war, and when he was the Vice-President 
of the Illinois Central Railroad. That corporation 
had, on frequent occasions, employed my services in 


various operations affecting their interests, and in this 
way I first met and became associated with the Gene 
ral. From this date began my warm regard for the 
man, which during the many years that have passed 
has known no diminution. 

I knew the man so well, and my confidence in his 
integrity and patriotism was so thorough, that a doubt 
of his loyalty never entered my mind. Many of my 
old-line abolition friends went so far as to reproach 
me for my steadfast adherence to McClellan, and 
accused me of abandoning my principles. I, however, 
knew my own ground, and held it. I knew that the 
General was not an abolitionist, but that he was not 
a patriot I could not believe for a moment. I have 
always thought, and my opinion remains unchanged to 
this day, that had he been left free to carry out his 
plans in the Peninsula campaign, the Army of the 
Potomac would have escaped the disasters that befell 
it ; Richmond would have been reduced, and occupied 
by the Federal troops ; and victory instead of defeat 
would have crowned their heroic efforts from the 
river to the rebel seat of government. 

" How do you account for General McClellan s 
1 masterly inactivity during all these months that his 
army lay at Washington ?" is asked. Ah, there is the 
mistake. It was anything but inactivity, and it is 
beginning to be pretty generally understood now 
what he was doing at that time. 

More than one writer on the campaigns of the 


Civil War, has taken occasion to say that the splen 
did achievements of the Army of the Potomac at 
subsequent periods, and under other commanders, 
were mainly due to the careful drilling and the rigid 
discipline inculcated under McClellan. At the time 
he was called to the command of the army it was 
nothing better than a band of disorganized men, who 
had not recovered from the defeat of Bull Run, and 
whatever efficiency it attained, was accomplished by 
the indefatigable efforts of General McClellan and 
the officers under his command. 

The South, at the outbreak, was far better prepared 
for war than the North. For months preceding the 
election of Mr. Lincoln the people of the South were 
secretly preparing for a struggle. They had even 
then determined, if beaten by the ballot, to resort to 
the bayonet, and to decide upon the battle-field the 
questions which they failed to settle by fair discussion 
and honest legislation in the National Congress. The 
people of the North, on the contrary, being so long 
accustomed to submit to the expressed will of the 
majority, apprehended no danger. While they were 
keenly alive to the important nature of the issues pre 
sented in the campaign, they did not dream that the 
new party, if successful, would have a gigantic civil 
war on its hands as the result of its triumph in a 
contest peaceably decided by the silent yet all-power- 
ful ballot Resting in this fancied security from 


danger, the war was a surprise, for which they were 
but illy prepared. 

I need not detail the situation of affairs when the 
news flashed over the wires that Fort Sumter was 
fired upon. Suffice it do say, that the South was up 
in arms, in full preparation almost, before the North 
could realize that war was at hand. 

The first great battle of the war was fought, and 
the Union troops suffered a most humiliating defeat, 
falling back in disordered crowds upon Washington, 
and at this time General McClellan took command 
and brought order out of chaos. 

The community did not seem to consider, or to 
understand, that it was necessary to spend so much 
time in drilling the troops and making elaborate prep 
arations for the field. But the commanding officer 
was too good a general to imitate the impetuous ac 
tions of his predecessors, and to make an aggressive 
campaign with raw and undisciplined troops. It was 
in consequence of this, that months were spent in 
the patient and persistent task of properly organiz 
ing, drilling and equipping his men for the field, and 
in the spring of 1862, when the army did move, in 
the language of the General, it was one " from which 
much was to be expected." 

Unfortunately, however, at the very outset, the 
General and the President had each matured a plan 
for the conduct of the war, and, in many respects, 
these where diametrically opposed to each other. At 


this point the question might be asked, whose plan 
should have been followed ? 

By the Constitution, the President is the Com- 
mander-in-Chief of all the armies and the navy of 
the United States, and is, of course, ex-officio, the 
highest military authority in the land. " But if a 
President disclaims all knowledge of military affairs," 
as President Lincoln did, " it then becomes a question 
how far he should defer the conduct of a war to his 
appointed Commander-in-Chief, who is supposed to 
be chosen on account of his skill and sagacity in 
military matters, and upon his presumed fitness for 
the position." 

In President Lincoln s hesitation between the ad 
vice of his Generals in the field, and the views urged 
by his Cabinet lay the foundation of many of the 
blunders and mistakes of the war, the trouble being, 
as one writer affirms, that " instead of one mind, there 
were many minds influencing the management of 
military affairs." As the result of this there was a 
lack of concert and action between the two heads of 
the military department, and at the critical period of 
the campaign, McDowell s forces were held at Wash 
ington when McClellan expected him to re-enforce 
the army of the Potomac. 

Notwithstanding all that has been said and writ 
ten upon this subject, I have no hesitation in express 
ing the opinion, that had not the President and his 
advisors, stood in such ungrounded fear for the safety 


of Washington, and had not withheld McDowell s 
forces at a time when their absence was a most 
serious blow to the plans of General McClellan, the 
close of the year would have seen the Rebellion 
crushed, and the war ended. 

At the commencement of the campaign I had an 
interview with General McClellan, and he expressed 
the utmost confidence in his ability, provided his 
plans were fully supported and carried out, to gain 
the objective point of the war, and to accomplish the 
reduction of the rebel capital. My force of operatives 
had been diligently at work in procuring what in 
formation that was possible of attainment, of the 
numbers of the enemy, and with such success that in 
March I was able to report the approximate strength 
of the rebel army at 115,500 men, apportioned about 
as follows : 

At Manassas, Centerville and vicinity, 80,000 

" Brooks Station, Dumfries, &c., . . 18,000 

" Leesburg 4,500. 

In the Shenandoah Valley, .... 13,000 

Total, .115,500 

In gaining this important information, Timothy 
Webster, Pryce Lewis, John Scobell and a host of 
other efficient members of my force, some of whom 
have already been mentioned in these pages, deserve 
especial credit for their sleepless energy in prosecut 
ing the work that had been assigned to them, 


On the 4th of April the f 3rward movement was 
made, and the siege of Yorktown was begun. The 
result of this seige the student of history already 
knows, a simple detention of the Army of the Poto 
mac, until the enemy could occupy and fortify Rich 
mond. Here is where McClellan suffered from the 
detention of McDowell at Washington he had pre 
pared a plan with McDowell as one of its principal 
actors, and with that force withdrawn, the General ^ 
intentions were not only radically interfered with, 
but seriously deranged. 

During this time the rebel army was being daily 
reinforced and strengthened, until, by June 26th, its 
numbers were swelled to nearly 200,000 effective 
men. McClellan, on the contrary, starting as he did, 
with a smaller army than he thought was necessary 
to cope with the enemy, found himself, when before 
their fortifications, after being deprived of McDowell s 
division, with an army of less than 90,000 effective 

Another element in this campaign must not be 
lost sight of. The Navy, whose co-operation and as 
sistance had been promised and relied upon, was un 
able to aid him at all. Can it be wondered at, there 
fore, that his plans, however well laid, and whatever 
their merits, viewed from a military stand-point, or 
the stand-point of common sense, failed in their 

One writer> in speaking of the treatment of Gen- 


eral McClellan, has well said : " A general of high 
spirit and sensitive soul might have found in the 
government s action the occasion for sending in his 
resignation ; but General McClellan continued in 
command, accepted the situation, and endeavored to 
make the best of it." 

And still another has said, although inclined to be 
partial and unfair, in his account of the battles of 
Antietam and Fredericksburg : 

"His capacity and energy as an organizer are 
universally recognized. He was an excellent strategist, 
and, in many respects, an excellent soldier. He did 
not use his own troops with sufficient promptness and 
vigor to achieve great and decisive results, but he 
was oftener successful than unsuccessful with them ; 
and he so conducted affairs that they never suffered 
heavily without inflicting heavy loss upon their adver 
saries. It may appear a strange statement to follow 
the other matter which this volume contains, but it 
is none the less true, that there are strong grounds 
for believing that he was the best commander the 
Army of the Potomac ever had." Concluding a com 
parison, that redounds much to the credit of Gen 
eral McClellan, both as a soldier and a patriot, the 
same writer says : 

" A growing familiarity with his history as a 
soldier, increases the disposition to regard him with 
respect and gratitude, and to believe, while recogniz 
ing the limitations of his nature, that his failure to 


accomplish more was partly his misfortune, and not 
altogether his fault." 

General McClellan knew much better than soem 
of his self-appointed critics the numbers and strength 
of the enemy. He knew from the reports of the 
secret service that the general estimate of the rebel 
army at, and around Richmond, was far below their 
real numbers. 

My shrewd and daring operatives, men and 
women trained for the work, moved in and out 
among the Rebel troops at all times and places. 
From actual observation they gathered the location, 
character and strength of their fortifications, and 
from actual count the estimates were made of the 
numerical strength of the opposing army. 

Suffice it to say, that I knew of my own knowl 
edge, and General McClellan knew from the reports 
I laid before him, the fearful odds against which he 
had to contend in the bravely fought but disastrous 
campaign of the Peninsula.* 

* See detailed statement in Appendix. " 


Webster s Expedition. His Gallantry. A Stormy Passage. 
A Mysterious Package. Treason Discovered and Pun 

IT was Christmas morning, in Washington, and 
the bells were ringing merrily throughout the 
city. The sun was just peeping over the hills, and 
lighting up the winter landscape with a beauty and 
brilliancy that would defy the skill of an artist. 
Washington was alive with soldiers. Throughout 
the city the military was the predominating element 
and for miles around the country was dotted with the 
white tents that marked the encampments of the 
country s defenders. Thousands of muskets gleamed 
in the morning light, as with the rattle of the drum 
or the shrill blast of the bugle, the reveille awoke the 
hills and valleys from the deathlike silence and slum 
ber of the night. 

The Union army was encamped around the 
capital, and General McClellan was in command. 
For months the process of drilling and disciplining 
the volunteer troops had been going on under his 
watchful eye and masterful hand, and the " Army of 
the Potomac " was rapidly approaching a degree of 
[ 4 68] 


efficiency that was eminently calculated to make them 
formidable adversaries to their reckless and deter- 
in i red enemies. 

This morning, at my headquarters on I street, 
Timothy Webster was engaged in completing his 
arrangements for another extended journey into 
Rebeldom. By this time he had succeeded in 
thoroughly ingratiating himself into the favor of the 
rebel authorities, and at the War Department in 
Richmond he was regarded as a trusted emissary of 
the Confederate government. 

Upon the trips which he had previously made he 
had carried numerous letters from Northern residents 
to their secessionist relatives in the South, and then, 
upon returning, he had delivered communications 
from Southern people to individuals north of the line. 
Of course these letters and communications, before 
being delivered to the parties to whom they were 
addressed, were first submitted to the inspection of 
trusted employees of my office, and anything which 
tended to convey information of the movements and 
intentions of the Southern leaders was carefully noted, 
and the Federal authorities duly notified. By this 
means a double purpose was served. Webster not 
only won the entire confidence of the Southern 
authorities, but he was very frequently the bearer of 
important dispatches, whose contents were often 
valuable to the Northern leaders. 

After finishing his preparations, Webster came in- 


to my room, where Mr. Bangs and I were seated, and 
announcing his readiness to start, inquired if I had 
any further orders for him. 

" I am ready now, Major," said he, cheerily, " have 
you any further commands ?" 

" No, Webster," said I, " I believe everything has 
been carefully arranged, and I have no cpmmands to 
give except for you to take good care of yourself." 

" I ll try to do that," he replied with a laugh, and 
then, tapping his breast lightly, where his letters were 
sewed into the lining of his waistcoat, " I will take 
care of my mail too." 

With a warm clasp of the hand, and a hearty 
good-bye, Webster went out into the bright sunlight 
and frosty air of a winter s morning, and was soon 
lost to view. 

Procuring a conveyance, Webster left Washing 
ton, passing the guards without difficulty, and made 
his way toward Leonardstown, in Maryland. This 
journey was accomplished without event or accident, 
and early on the following morning, he drove up be 
fore the hotel, and was warmly greeted by John 
Moore, the landlord of the hostelry at that place. 

This Moore was a strong secessionist at heart, 
although openly professing to be a Union man, and 
regarding Webster as a Southern emissary his greet 
ing was always cordial, and his hospitality unstinted. 
The air was cold and frosty, and riding all night in a 
stagecoach, which was far from being weather-pr^f, 


Webster was chilled through when the stage stopped 
before the comfortable inn of John Moore. Very 
soon, however, a jug of steaming punch, and the gen 
ial warmth from a fire of crackling logs in the large 
open fire-place, were instrumental in loosening the 
stiffened joints of my tired operative, and contribut 
ing materially to his comfort. 

"Well, John," said Webster at length, "what is 
the prospect for crossing the river to-night ?" 

" We can t cross here at all any more, Webster," 
replied Moore, with an oath ; " the damned Yankees 
are too sharp for us." 

" Is there no way of getting over about here at 
all ?" asked Webster, somewhat troubled at the un 
expected information. 

" There s a way for some people," replied Moore 
with a laugh, and a significant wink, " and I guess 
you are included in the number." 

" All right," said Webster, immeasurably relieved, 
"but how do we manage it ?" 

"Well," replied Moore, "you will have to go up 
to Cob Neck, and then I will see that you are taken 
care of." 

Cob Neck is a point of land extending out from 
the main shore, about fourteen miles distant from 
Leonardstown, and was very well adapted for the 
purpose in view. On each side of the point, or neck, 
there was a wide bay or inlet where a boat could put 
out, and the ground, which was soft and marshy, was 


completely covered with a growth of pine thickets 
and underbrush, which prevented the placing of vigi 
lant pickets at this point. Being perfectly acquainted 
with the locality named, Webster had no fears of be 
ing able to get safely across the Potomac into Vir 
ginia, and then continuing his way to the rebel 

" By the way," said Moore, " I have a favor to 
ask of you, Webster." 

" Well," replied Webster, " anything I can do 
will be cheerfully done for you, Moore." 

" I know that, Webster," said Moore, heartily, 
" and there is no one in the world I would rather 
oblige than you. The fact is, I have got two ladies 
here, who are wives of army officers, now stationed 
in Richmond, they have been living North for some 
time, and are anxious to get to their husbands ; they 
have three children with them, and I want you to take 
charge of the party, and see them safely on their 

" I ll do that with pleasure," replied Webster, 
" and I ll take good care of them, too." 

That night, about nine o clock, a close-covered 
carriage was driven away from the hotel, in the 
direction of Cob Neck. John Moore and Timothy 
Webster sat on the driver s seat, while within were 
the families of the rebel officers, who had been placed 
in my operative s charge. Reaching their destina 
tion in safety, the party alighted, and walking out to 


the end of the point, Moore uttered a shrill whistle, 
which was immediately answered in the same manner. 
Soon they heard the splashing of oars, and in a few 
minutes a boat was discernable through the darkness, 
and the voice of a man called out : 

" Here I am, Cap n ! on time, as ye see." 

"All right, Tom," replied Moore, " I ve got a 
party here that you must take good care of." 

" Very well, Cap n, I ll do the best I can, but I m 
afraid the wind ain t right for landin on t other side." 

"Well," said Moore, "you must do your best, and 
I guess you will get over all right." 

The night was dark and cold, the wind was blow 
ing sharp and chill, and heavy clouds were shifting 
overhead. The river was running swiftly, and was of 
that inky blackness that invariably presages a storm. 
The wind through the low pines was sighing like a 
human being in distress, and the ladies gazed fear 
fully and shudderingly at the dark waters and the 
frail craft which was to carry them to the opposite 
shore. Webster uttered words of courage and 
assurance to the shrinking ladies, and assisted in com 
fortably bestowing them in the boat, and then, with a 
parting salutation to John Moore, the boat pushed off 
from the shore. 

After getting clear of the land they hoisted sail, 
and were soon flying rapidly over the water, before 
the driving wind. As the wind was against them, 
they were obliged to make short and frequent tacks, 


and thus their approach to the opposite shore was 
accomplished by slow and labored degrees. The 
ladies were huddled together in the stern, clasping 
their frightened children nervously in their arms 
while Webster, active and alert, rendered such assist 
ance in managing the boat as was in his power. 

" The storm s coming !" shouted the boatman, 
after a long silence, " and the women had better cover 

The storm came, sure enough. A blinding rain, 
icy cold, which beat pitilessly down upon the unpro 
tected voyagers, while the little vessel rocked to and 
fro at the mercy of the dashing waves. The wind 
suddenly changed, the frail yacht gave a sudden 
lurch, and in a twinkling the keel of the boat was 
heard scraping upon the bottom of the riven and they 
were aground. They had been blown out of their 
course, and had drifted into the shallow water, a mile 
below their landing place, and within a hundred feet 
of the shore. 

Without a moment s hesitation, Webster bade the 
boatman lower his sail, and then, jumping into the 
water, which was waist deep, and as cold as ice, he 
took two of the children in his strong arms, and carried 
them safely to the river-bank. Returning again, he 
assisted in carrying the ladies and the remaining 
child ashore, although he was so chilled that his lips 
were blue and his knees knocked together with the 
cold. The nearest place of shelter was a mile away, 


but unmindful of the cold and the pelting- storm, 
Webster cheered his companions by his hearty words, 
and bidding the boatman take care of one of the 
children, he picked up another, and the weary party 
set out to walk through the icy rain to the little hut, 
whose welcome light was gleaming in the distance. 

Thanks to a flask of good brandy, which Webster 
fortunately had with him, the ladies were strength 
ened and sustained sufficiently to make the journey ; 
and when they arrived at last at the comfortable 
cabin, their words of gratitude to Webster were 
heartily and unstintingly uttered. 

After warming themselves before the fire, and 
drying their drenched and dripping garments as far 
as practicable, the ladies retired to another room, 
leaving Webster, who, overcome with fatigue, was 
obliged to sleep in his wet clothing in the room to 
which they were first admitted. Unmindful of him 
self, however, his only solicitude was for the ladies 
who had been placed in his charge, and after they 
haa been comfortably disposed of, he prepared to 
take his own much-needed rest. 

He spread a blanket before the roaring blaze, and 
was about to stretch his weary limbs upon it, when 
he noticed, lying upon the floor, a short distance 
from him, a small packet, wrapped in oiled-cloth, and 
tied with red tape. It had evidently been dropped 
by one of the ladies, and its loss had escaped her 
notice. Picking It up, he examined it carefully by 


the light of the fire and to his surprise he found that 
it was directed to Mr. Benjamin, the Rebel Secretary 
of War. As " all things are fair in love and war," 
Timothy lost no time in secreting the precious docu 
ment about his own person. He had no objection at 
all to assisting two ladies to reach their husbands, 
even if they were enemies ; but he objected decidedly 
to lend his aid to the forwarding of dangerous in 
formation to those who were fighting against the 
cause he held so dear. His conscience, therefore, 
gave him but little uneasiness as he pocketed the 
mysterious little packet, and with the resolve to dis 
cover its contents on the morrow, he stretched himself 
before the burning logs, and was soon sound asleep. 

The next morning, when he arose, his clothing 
was dry, but he experienced acute pains in his limbs, 
and a sense of weariness, that boded no good to his 
physical condition. Ignoring his own ailments, how 
ever, he busied himself in securing the comfort of his 
charges, and after a hearty breakfast, the party set 
out upon their trip to Richmond. They traveled for 
several miles in an ox-cart, and then by team, to a 
place called Hop Yard Wharf, on the Rappahannock 
River. Here the party embarked on a steamboat, 
and traveled as far as Fredericksburg, where Webstei 
was obliged to remain for two days, owing to an acute 
attack of rheumatism, which was caused by his ex 
posure in behalf of the ladies, whose safety he had 
undertaken to insure. At this time he received a 


striking illustration of the gratitude which one earns 
by the performance of a kindly act of self-sacrifice. 
No sooner had the boat landed at Fredericksburg, 
than these ladies expressed their impatient desire to 
push on directly to the rebel capital. Notwith 
standing Webster s precarious condition, the danger 
in leaving him alone, and the fact that his sufferings 
had been occasioned by his efforts in their behalf, 
these high-toned Southern dames, intent only upon 
their selfish pleasures, left him to his own resources, 
and without displaying the slightest interest in his 
welfare they wen* their way, and Webster, unable to 
move himself, was obliged to depend upon the services 
of absolute strangers, for that care and attention of 
which he stood in so much need. 

It was while he was detained at Fredericksburg, 
that he seized the opportunity of examining the pack 
age, which had come into his possession in the little 
cabin at Monroe s Creek. Removing the enfolding 
wrappers, he discovered that the contents of the bun 
dle were complete maps of the country surrounding 
Washington, with a correct statement of the number 
and location of the Federal troops. Several items of 
information were also conveyed, in regard to the 
probable intentions of the Union Commanders in 
the coming spring. From the nature of this informa 
tion, it was evident that a trusted officer of the 
Federal government was unfaithful to his duty, and 
was assisting the enemies of the country Webster 


congratulated himself upon the lucky chance which 
had thrown this little packet in his way, and he re 
solved to forward the same to me at the first oppor 
tunity that occurred. 

On the second day, though suffering severely, he 
was able to resume his journey, and taking the train 
at Fredericksburg he was soon approaching the City 
of Richmond. Immediately upon his arrival, he re 
paired to the office of the Secretary of War, and de 
livered the letters which he had brought with him 
from the North, and which were to be forwarded to 
their various addresses by the Confederate authorities. 
Mr. Benjamin warmly congratulated Webster upon 
his success in passing through the Union lines, and 
for the information which he brought. He furnished 
him with passports, which would enable him to journey 
unrestricted and unquestioned throughout the South 
ern dominions, and requested a further interview at 
a later day. 

Leaving the War Department, he went to the 
Monumental Hotel, where he engaged a room for 
himself, and where he found Mrs. Lawton, who had 
remained in the city during his absence. Mrs. Law- 
ton informed Webster that she had just received a 
visit from Mr. Stanton, another of my operatives, 
who had arrived in Richmond from Nashville, Tenn., 
and that he was going to attempt to leave for Wash 
ington that night 

This was a lucky chance, and Webster resolved 


to see Stanton, and entrust to him the conveyance of 
the packet that had so fortunately come into his 
hands. Knowing the places at which he would be 
most apt to be found, he made a tour of the city, and 
was at length fortunate enough to discover the man 
he was in search of. Selecting a secluded place, 
Webster confided his package to Stanton, instructing 
him to deliver it to no one but myself under any cir 
cumstances, and then, feeling the need of rest, he 
went back to the hotel, and shortly afterward retired 
to bed. The next day he was unable to move. His 
sufferings were excruciating, and for weeks he was 
compelled to endure the agonies of an acute attack 
of inflammatory rheumatism, which confined him a 
prisoner to his bed. 

Leaving Webster at the Monumental Hotel, we 
will return to the movements of my operative, who 
had been delegated to deliver the package which 
Webster had found. Mr. Stanton arrived safely in 
Washington, and after rendering a report of his own 
observations upon his journey from Nashville to 
Washington, he produced this packet of Webster s, a 
careful examination of its contents revealed to me 
the author of the treasonable communications. 

His name was James Howard, a native of the 
South, and he was a clerk in the Provost-Marshal s 
office. I had frequently seen his handwriting, and 
knew it perfectly. There could be no possibility of 
mistake about this, and I lost no time in laying before 


the commanding officer, the proof of the suspected 
man s guilt. Howard was confronted with the evi 
dence against him, and finding it impossible to deny 
the truth, he confessed his treason, and implicated 
several others in the conspiracy. Before the shades 
of night had fallen over the tented city, James How 
ard, and his treasonable confederates, were placed 
within the enfolding walls of the old capital prison, 
and behind iron bars were left to meditate upon the 
heavy price they had paid for an attempt to betray 
their country. 



Activity in Washington. Webster s Journey Through The 
South. His Return to the Capital. 

DURING the month of January, 1862, I was 
actively engaged in the city of Washington. 
With a part of my force, I was acting in conjunction 
with General Andrew Porter, the Provost-Marshal of 
the district, while the remaining portion was assisting 
General McClellan in obtaining reliable information 
about the topography of the Southern country, and of 
the number and disposition of the Southern troops. 

Almost every day witnessed some incident of im 
portance to the national cause, and my time was fully 
occupied with the numerous and responsible duties 
which necessarily devolved upon me. Mr. George 
H. Bangs, who is now the general superintendent of 
my agencies, was detailed to the headquarters of the 
army, while I remained in charge of my office on " I " 
street, although I was kept fully informed by daily 
reports of whatever transpired at both places. As 
may readily be imagined, my office was no sinecure. 
Many times I was obliged to deprive myself of 
needed rest and sleep, engaged in laborious duties 


from early morn far into the waking hours of the 
succeeding day, and for weeks scarcely obtaining a 
peaceful night s slumber. The capital was filled with 
suspicious personages, with Southern spies, and their 
Northern allies, and frequently officers of the govern 
ment, holding elevated positions, would be discovered 
in secret, but active correspondence with the rebel 
authorities. Arrests were numerous, and the search 
ing of suspected premises of almost daily occurrence, 
while the large number of men employed by me re 
quired constant and unceasing personal surveillance. 

In the army it was astonishing what rapid prog 
ress had been made in drilling and disciplining the 
large, and, for the most part, untried force of soldiery. 
The commanding general was engaged in perfecting 
his plans for a campaign against Richmond, and in 
order to do this intelligently, much information was 
required of the condition of the country through 
which the aimy must pass, and of the number of the 
enemy he would be likely to encounter. The obsta 
cles that must be overcome, the defenses which 
would impede his passage, and all the minutia of 
war-like particularities, were mainly left to be dis 
covered by the men in the secret service department, 
of which I was the authorized leader, and responsi 
ble head. Engaged in these duties the month of 
January passed away. Numerous operatives had 
been dispatched into the hostile country before us, 
and had made their examinations, and returned, con- 


veying to me and to the commanding general items of 
valuable information which could have been obtained 
in no other way. 

We will now follow the movements of Timothy 
Webster, whom we left in Richmond struggling with 
his old and relentless enemy, the rheumatism. 

After a painful confinement to his bed for nearly 
a week, he was at last able to move about once more, 
and in a few days thereafter was strong enough to 
uundertake a journey which he had been contemplat 
ing for some time. 

In company with one of the largest contractors 
for the rebel government, he left Richmond for Nash 
ville, Tennessee. Mr. Campbell, the contractor, was 
engaged in the purchaser of leather and desirous of 
purchasing directly from the tanner, instead of de 
pending upon the dealers, who might not be able to 
supply him in such quantities as he required. Trav 
eling with this gentleman, and armed as he was, 
with an all powerful passport from the Secretary of 
War, Webster would have every opportunity for 
making his observations without incurring the slight 
est suspicion. During this journey he traveled 
through Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville, in 
Tennessee, then to Bowling Green, in Kentucky, and 
then, on his return, he passed through Manassas and 
Centreville, carefully noting in his passage through 
the country the number and condition of the various 
troops, the number and extent of batteries and forti- 


fications, and eliciting an amount of information that 
seemed wonderful for one man to accomplish. He 
made the acquaintance of commanding officers, and 
conversed unreservedly with them upon the various 
matters connected with their divisions, and their 
movements, present and perspective. He carefully 
examined the fortifications that had been erected, and 
the number of guns they contained. He talked with 
the private soldier and the civilian, and in fact, on 
his return to Richmond, was as well informed with re 
gard to the military resources of the enemy as were 
the generals themselves. Rejoiced at his success, 
and carefully noting what he had witnessed, Webster 
prepared to return North. 

Visiting the War Department and the office of 
the Provost-Marshal, he received from Mr. Benjamin 
and General Winder a large number of letters and 
several important commissions, which were to be 
delivered and attended to after he should arrive in 
Washington and Baltimore. 

Leaving Richmond, he safely passed the pickets 
and outposts of both Federals and rebels, and 
reported to me. His trip had been a most important 
and successful one, and the information he brought 
was most invaluable. Webster seemed as well 
pleased at his success as were either General 
McClellan or myself, and after a short rest announced 
himself as quite prepared to make another journey to 
the South, whenever his services should be required 


Webster s Last Mission. Anxiety at his Long Absence. No 
Tidings of the Faithful Scout. Operatives Sent in 
Search of him. Webster III in Richmond. 

IN the latter part of January, 1862, another packet 
of rebel mail matter had accumulated, and the 
various articles, which Webster had agreed to pur 
chase for the residents of Richmond and vicinity, 
were ready for delivery, and Webster prepared him 
self for another journey into the South. While in 
Washington he had not experienced any painful 
reminders of his old disease, and he was impatient to 
be actively employed once more. 

Accordingly, everything was arranged for his trip, 
and early one bright winter s morning he came, as 
was his custom, to bid me farewell 

I often recall, and with an emotion that I cannot 
control, the appearance of Timothy Webster, as I 
saw him that day. Brave, strong and manly, he 
stood before me. The merry twinkle in his eyes seemed 
to belie the sternness of the set lips, which were even 
now curved with a smile of good humor. No trace 
of fear or hesitancy was apparent in his manner. 
He seemed to be animated solely by an earnest desire 



to serve his country to the best of his ability. He 
well knew, as did I, that his journey lay through a 
hostile country ; that danger was lurking everywhere 
around him, and that if his true character was discov 
ered, the consequences would, no doubt, prove fatal to 
him. Notwithstanding this, there was no quivering of 
the compact muscles, the hand that grasped mine was 
as firm as iron, and the brave heart that throbbed in his 
bosom was insensible alike to a thought of shrinking, 
or a desire to evade, the responsibility that devolved 
upon him. 

After a few words of necessary caution and with 
good wishes for his welfare and safe return, Timothy 
Webster took his departure, and went his way. I 
did not know then that I had looked upon his .face 
and manly form for the last time, and no hint or 
warning of his subsequent fate came to me as I sat 
watching his retreating figure. But to this day, I can 
picture him with sentiments of pride, in his valor and 
services, and regrets, deep and heartfelt, for the brave 
man who but a few months afterwards laid down his 
life for his country. 

For some time previous to this journey of Web 
ster s, Mrs. Lawton had been located at Leonards- 
town, where she had assiduously cultivated the ac 
quaintance of the most important people in that local 
ity, whose sympathies were with the Southern cause, 
and whose assistance to Webster and herself would 
be valuable in time of need 


Among this number was a man whose name was 
Washington Gough, a wealthy secessionist, who was 
one of the most active in his efforts to assist the 
Southern blockade-runners in crossing over into Vir 
ginia, and in eluding the watchfulness of the Federal 
pickets. Through her acquaintance with this man, 
Mrs. Lawton was enabled to acquire much valuable 
information from those who sought the aid of Mr. 
Gough in obtaining the facilities for reaching the 
rebel lines in safety. 

With Gough, Webster was a prime favorite, and 
so thoroughly had my operative ingratiated himself 
into the favorable opinion of this rebel gentleman, 
that any service which would be required would be 
performed without question or delay. Mrs. Lawton 
was invited to make the house of Gough her home, 
while in Leonardstown, and by her charms of mnaner 
and conversation proved a powerful ally to Webster 
in the discovery of important secrets relating to the 
movements and intentions of the enemy. 

Webster s footing with the rebel authorities was 
also firmly established, and every one of them with 
whom he came in contact yielded to the magic of his 
blandishments and was disposed to serve him when 
ever possible. 

An event which happened about this time fully 
justified this assertion. It appeared that during 
Webster s absence from Leonardstown, a gentleman 
by the name of Camileai had crossed over the river, 


and although a noted secessionist in his own immedi 
ate vicinity, was not known to any one upon the 
other side of the water. He was accordingly arrested 
and placed in confinement. The appeals of his 
friends and relatives were unavailing in securing his 
release, and the captive chafed terribly under the 
burden of his captivity. At length, on Webster s ap 
pearance, the matter was presented to him, and he 
was entreated by Camilear s relatives to intercede in 
his behalf. He promised to do so, and indited a let 
ter to the officer who had the prisoner in charge, re 
questing his release, and giving assurances of the 
man s fealty to the Confederate government. In a 
few days the prisoner was returned to his home, and 
was informed by the officer, that only the protesta 
tions made by Webster had been sufficient to accom 
plish his release. From the highest to the lowest, 
the confidence in Webster was universal. 

On this last mentioned trip Webster decided to 
take Mrs. Lawton with him, and having obtained my 
sanction to his proposition, he journeyed to Leon- 
ardstown and communicated his wishes to the lady, 
who was nothing loath to accompany him. They 
accordingly made their preparations, and in the dark 
ness of the night they made their way to the river- 
bank where an oyster boat was in waiting to cross the 
river. Mrs. Lawton wore an overcoat and felt hat 
belonging to Webster, and to a casual observer ap 
peared very masculine in her habiliments. The river 


was entirely clear of vessels, and the journey was 
made in perfect safety. As they neared the opposite 
bank the moon shone out brightly, and revealed the 
" pungy " to the rebel pickets, who were known by 
Webster, and from whom he expected no interference 
or opposition. 

The lights on shore revealed the stations of these 
pickets, and as they were expecting his return Web 
ster called out loudly : " Pickets ! Pickets ! !" 

There was no response to this call, and to his 
dismay the lights were suddenly extingiushed. The 
boatman was greatly frightened at this proceeding, 
and was in momentary dread of being fired upon ; 
but Webster reassured him, and continued his loud, 
but ineffectual calls for the guard. 

Finding it impossible to attract the attention of 
those who should have been upon the lookout for 
him, Webster assisted the boatman in landing their 
trunks, after which the " pungy " was pushed off from 
the shore, and soon afterwards disappeared in the 

Webster and his companion wandered about for 
more than an hour, and it was nearly midnight when 
they came to a farm house, where their approach 
was heralded by the loud barking of numerous dogs, 
who were aroused by the unwonted presence of 
human beings, and were diposed to resent their ap 

The noise of the dogs brought the farmer to his 


door, who demanded, in no very gentle terms, to 
know who they were, and what had brought them 
*here at that unseasonable hour. In a few words 
Webster explained the situation, and the genial 
farmer bade them welcome, and safely bestowed them 
for the night. 

They had scarcely retired, when they were aroused 
by a loud knocking at the door, which was discovered 
to have been made by the pickets from the adjoining 
camp, who demanded to know who the new-comers 
were, and stated that they had been ordered to bring 
them immediately before an officer of the guard, two 
miles away. 

11 Why didn t you tell them that, when they called 
out to you before?" inquired the farmer, in a con 
temptuous tone. 

" Well we did not know who they were," answered 
the leader of the party, " and we did not think it was 

" Oho ! you were afraid of them, were you, and 
ran away ?" 

At this point, Webster, who had heard the con 
versation, made his appearance at the door, and 
demanded to know what was wanted. 

The leader of the guard again explained his nr is- 
sion, and demanded that Webster should accompany 
him to the camp 

" Tell your commander that I will not stir from 
this house until morning. My name is Timothy 


Weoster. I am in the employ of the Confederacy, 
and if you had answered my call, there would have 
been no difficult) 

Finding that Webster was determined, the men 
went away, and left the household to their repose. 
The next morning Webster reported at the camp, 
and requested to see Major Beale, the officer in com 
mand. He was informed, that this gentleman was 
stationed twenty miles away, and upon telegraphing 
to him, the answer was returned : " Let Webster go 
where he pleases." 

The day was cold and stormy, and the roads were 
in a wretched condition, but notwithstanding this 
Webster pushed on to Fredericksburg, and after de 
livering some letters and merchandise which he had 
brought for residents there, he pushed on to Rich 

Taking up their quarters at the hotel, they re 
solved to wait until the following day before 
commencing their operations. During the night, 
however, Webster s malady returned, and he suffered 
terribly from his old enemy, the rheumatism. In the 
morning he was helpless, and unable to move. 

From this time, I heard nothing further from him 
directly, and for weeks was utterly ignorant of his 
movements or condition. I began to grow alarmed. 
Hitherto, his visits had not occupied more than three 
or four weeks, and he had always succeeded in escap 
ing suspicion, and evading being detained by either 


force through which he would necessarily be obliged 
to pass. As the days and weeks passed, and brought 
no tidings from him, my apprehensions became so 
strong that I resolved to send one or two of my men 
to the rebel capital, in order to ascertain the cause 
of his unusual and long-continued absence. 

My anxiety was equally shared by General 
McClellan, with whom Webster was a great favorite, 
and who placed the utmost reliance upon his re 
ports. One evening, early in February, the General 
called upon me, and advised the sending of one mes 
senger, or two, for the sole purpose of hunting up 
Webster, or discovering some trace of him. I in 
formed him that I had already considered the neces 
sity of some such action, and was upon the point of 
submitting the matter for his approval. Finding the 
General thus fully in accord with the proposition, I 
at once selected two of my men for this important 
mission. After mature consideration, I decided upon 
despatching Price Lewis and John Scully upon this 
delicate quest. My reasons for this selection, were 
that both Scully and Lewis had been connected with 
other operations in Baltimore, in company with Web 
ster, and had thus been enabled to form the acquaint 
ance of a great number of secessionists in that city, 
some of whom had gone South, while others, who 
remained at home, had influential friends in Rich 
mond. During these operations, both Lewis and 
Scully had pretended the most earnest and sincere 


sympathy for the cause of the Confederacy, and were 
known as ardent secessionists. This, I concluded, 
would materially assist them after reaching Richmond, 
particularly if they should be fortunate enough to 
meet any of their old Baltimore associates. They had 
also been engaged upon various investigations through 
the Southern States, and especially in Western Vir 
ginia, where they had rendered good service in the 
early campaigns in that section of the country. I had, 
therefore, no doubt of their ability to perform the 
task assigned to them, and felt perfectly satisfied that 
they would perform their duties to the best of that 

Requesting their presence in my private office, I 
broached the matter to them, and submitted the 
question of their undertaking this task to their own 
election. Upon operations of this kind, where there 
was danger to be incurred, where a man literally took 
his life into his own hands, and where death might be 
the result of detection, I invariably placed the ques 
tion upon its merits, before the person selected for 
the mission, and then allowed him to decide for him 
self, whether he would voluntarily undertake its 

I did this for various reasons. In the first place, 
I felt very loath to peremptorily order a man upon 
an enterprize where there was every possibility of 
danger, for in the event of fatal result, I should be 
disposed to reproach myself for thus endangering the 


lives of those under my command. It is true, that 
under their terms of service, and by virtue of the 
authority vested in me, I had the undoubted right to 
issue such order ; but I always preferred that my men 
should voluntarily, and without urging, signify their 
willingness to .undertake hazardous missions. Again, 
I have invariably found, that the ready and cheerful 
officer performs the most acceptable service, and that 
the absence of fear or hesitation are sure passports 
to success ; while on the other hand, should there be 
timidity or unwillingness, or a disposition to avoid 
danger, success is rarely, if ever, attained. 

It is but just, however, to state that during my 
entire connection with the secret service of the gov 
ernment, I never found any jf my men disinclined to 
undertake an operation that was delegated to them ; 
but on the contrary, I alwa) s experienced the utmost 
cheerfulness and ready support from those who so 
valiantly served under my orders. Nor was I dis 
appointed in the present instance. On presenting 
the case, with all its attendant dangers, to Price 
Lewis and John Scully, both of them signified, with 
out the slightest hesitation, their voluntary desire to 
go to Richmond, and to make the inquiries, which 
were considered of so much importance by both 
General McClelkm and myself. 

But few instructions, and very little preparation, 
were required for this journey, and in the afternoon 
both men were prepared to start I did not deem it ad- 


visable to provide them with any goods, as was some 
times the case, in order to furnish an excuse for their 
blockade-running experiences, for the reason that 
their journey would be much delayed, owing to the 
impassability of many of the roads. I did, however, 
cause a letter to be written, apparently by a rebel 
spy, then in Washington, and which was directed to 
Webster. This letter introduced the two men to 
Webster as friends of the South, and informed him 
that his old route back was no longer a safe one, 
owing to the presence of Federal troops in that 
locality, and advising him to select some other and 
less hazardous one on his return to Washington. I 
did this to guard against their being suspected and 
detained after reaching the rebel lines, as, upon 
presenting this, they would at once be known as 
Southern emissaries, and given safe conduct to the 
capital. Provided with this letter, and with full 
verbal instructions as to their manner of proceeding, 
they started from Washington late on the evening of 
the 1 4th of February. As an additional safeguard, I 
sent along with them an operative by the name of 
William H. Scott, who was well acquainted with the 
various Federal commanders, and who was to see 
them safely across the Potomac river. 

The three men departed in good spirits, and, 
though fully conscious of the danger before them, 
thoroughly resolved to successfully accomplish what 
they had undertaken. 


Prior to despatching these men, I had some mis 
givings that there might be still remaining in Rich 
mond some of those families who, while residing in 
Washington, had been suspected of sympathizing 
with, or furthering the cause of the Confederacy, and 
whose papers had been seized, and themselves trans 
ported beyond the lines. Among the most noted of 
these were the families of Mrs. Phillips, of South 
Carolina, and of Mrs. Ex-Gov. Morton, of Florida, 
who had been residing in Richmond for a short time. 
To satisfy myself upon this point, I made extensive 
inquiries from deserters, refugees and contrabands, 
and learned, from a variety of sources, that Mrs, 
Phillips had gone to Charleston, and that Mrs. 
Morton and her family had departed for their home 
in Florida. Believing my information to be reliable, 
I felt reassured, and then the men were selected. 

While these men were making their way to Rich 
mond, Webster was suffering excruciating pain, con 
fined to his bed, and unable to move. During all 
this time, he was carefully attended and nursed by my 
resident operative, Mrs. Hattie Lawton, and through 
the long, weary days and sleepless nights, no patient 
ever had more careful nursing, or more tender con 
sideration than did Timothy Webster, from the brave 
true-hearted woman who had dedicated her life and 
her services to the cause of her country and its noble 

This was the state of affairs on the last day of 



January, and when the information which Webster 
had gained would have been of vast importance and 
benefit to the cause of the Union, but which, lying an 
agonized invalid in a Richmond hotel, he was unable 
to communicate to those who were anxiously awaiting 
his return. And now, leaving Webster at Richmond, 
and with Price Lewis and John Scully on their way 
to the rebel capital, we will return to Washington, 
and watch the events which were transpiring at the 




McClellan and the Government. Lewis and Scully Arrested 
as Spies. An Attempted Escape. Trial and Convic 
tion. Condemned to Die. Before the Gallows their 
Mouths are Opened. 

THE month of February added its slowly passing 
days to those that had preceded it, and as yet no 
tidings were received from Timothy Webster, or from 
those who had gone in search of him. W. H. Scott had 
returned, and reported that they had safely passed 
over the Potomac River, and landed upon rebel soil, 
but further than this, I had no information that tended 
to allay my anxieties, or to give assurance of their 

In the meantime, the troops around Washington 
had not been idle. Reconnoissances had been made 
from time to time, by the advance-guard of the army, 
and skirmishes with the enemy were of frequent oc 
currence. These movements were of great impor 
tance, not so much from the actual results of victories 
attained, as for the education which it imparted to 
the troops, in accustoming them to the presence of 
their foes, and giving them confidence while under 



General McClellan had completed his plans for 
the investment of the rebel capital, and the public 
mind was in a state of feverish anxiety and expecta 
tion for the forward movement of the troops. The 
popular cry of " On to Richmond," was echoed from 
lip to lip throughout the entire country. Every one, 
except those who knew and realized the danger and 
difficulties to be encountered and overcome, were 
filled with an enthusiasm which only regarded results 
and never considered the cost of their accomplish 
ment. Extravagant ideas of a struggle which should 
be "short, sharp and decisive," were the only ones 
entertained by the great army of " stay at homes," 
and the question of caution, foresight and sagacity 
was left to the consideration of those who must brave 
the dangers of the field, and face the deadly fire of 
their determined enemies. 

Added to this a feeling of dissatisfaction began to 
display itself in high circles at Washington. The 
delay, which General McClellan wisely deemed neces 
sary for the perfect equipment and education of his 
army, was being used as a pretext by those who 
envied the young commander, to detract from his 
reputation, and to impair the confidence which a 
united people had reposed in his loyalty and ability. 
The President was besieged by importunate cavillers 
the burden of whose refrain was the defamation of 
the hero of West Virginia, and it is not surprising, 
however much to be regretted, that Mr. Lincoln 


gradually permitted their clamors to disturb him, 
and eventually partook of some of the distrust with 
which they endeavored to impress him. From a 
legitimate and wise desire to prevent an untimely di- 
vulgence of his plans, General McClellan had, up to 
this time, kept his ideas and opinions to himself and 
confined his military discussions to but a few of his 
immediate officers, and those whom he had known 
and trusted for years. This manner of proceeding 
was not to the taste of some of the leading men in 
high places at that time, who deemed themselves as 
competent to confer with and advise the commanding 
general, as those whom he had chosen. In order to 
soothe their wounded self-pride they had recourse to 
a species of revenge not admirable, to say the least. 
They plied the ears of the President with comments 
derogatory to McClellan, and with innumerable sug 
gestions of pet schemes of their own conception, 
which would, in their opinion, undoubtedly end the 
war with surprising alacrity. The result of these 
onslaughts was, that McClellan was required by Mr. 
Lincoln to unfold his own carefully arranged plans to 
a council of generals, for their consideration and ap 
proval. To this "wicked and ignorant clamor" he 
was obliged to yield, and it is not to be wondered at, 
that his proposed movements were betrayed, and 
that not long afterwards he was subjected to the 
mortification of having his army divided into 
corps, against his wishes, and their commanders aj> 


pointed without consulting him, and without his 
knowledge. Subsequently he was compelled to sub 
mit to having the conduct of the war in Virginia 
placed in charge of inexperienced, irresponsible and 
jealous-minded officers, whose antipathy to him was 
as well known as it was unceasing and violent. 

Notwithstanding all this, the general pursued his 
way. His army was organized, his plans prepared. 
The defense of Washington was provided for, as he 
thought, in the most complete manner possible, and 
in command of a noble army, which had grown up 
under his immediate guidance and control, the brave 
commander started upon his campaign. 

During the month of March, 1862, the forward 
movement was commenced. By divisions the army 
was transported from Alexandria to their point of 
destination upon the Peninsula, and on the first day 
of April, General McClellan embarked, with his head 
quarters, on the steamer " Commodore," reaching 
Fort Monroe on the afternoon of the following day. 

At this point we will leave the army, to follow the 
movements of my operatives, and detail their experi 
ences in the rebel capital, although the facts were not 
reported to me until a long time after their actual 

Price Lewis and John Scully reached the city of 
Richmond without accident or delay, and at once 
established themselves in the Exchange Hotel, where 
they remained quietly for the night The next 


morning they started out to search for Timothy 
Webster, and for the purpose of obtaining reliable 
information of him they went to the office of the 
Richmond Enquirer, for the proprietors of which 
Webster had frequently carried letters, and purchased 
gcx>ds while in the North. Here they were informed 
that Webster was confined to his bed at the Monu 
mental Hotel. Repairing at once to the place where 
they were directed, they were shown to Webster s 
room, and here they found the brave fellow, lying a 
weak and helpless invalid, attended by Mrs, Lawton, 
whose attentions to him were unremitting. There 
was also in the room, a Mr. Pierce, a warm Southern 
friend, whose friendship for Webster was of long 
standing, and whose visits to the sick man were of 
daily occurrence. 

The recognition between them was a most formal 
and undemonstrative one, and no one would have 
suspected that they were engaged in the same 
vocation, and acting under the same authority. 
During the short interview that ensued, Webster was 
fretful and ill at ease. Knowing the sentiments of the 
people as he did, and associated as intimately as he 
was with the most prominent of the Confederate 
authorities, he was fearful that the precipitate and 
unheralded appearance of his companions might lead 
to their being suspected, as well as to attaching sus 
picion to himself. 

The few words of conversation, therefore, that 


ensued, were marked by a constraint which was 
uncomfortable to all parties, and the visit was of 
short duration. When they called again upon Web 
ster, they found with him a rebel officer from the 
Provost-Marshal s office, who was a friend of Webster, 
and who visited him frequently. 

Webster introduced his two friends to Captain 
McCubbin, for that was the man s name, and after a 
few minutes, that officer inquired : 

" Have you gentlemen reported at General Win 
der s office ?" 

" No, sir," replied Lewis, "we did not think it 
was necessary, having fully reported to Major Beale, 
and received his permission to travel." 

"It is necessary for you to report to the Provost- 
Marshal here, and I now give you official notice of 
the fact," said McCubbin, laughingly. 

"Very well," returned Lewis, "we will do so as 
early as possible." 

" Any time within a day or two will answer," said 
the officer. 

Webster watched the rebel captain carefully 
while he was speaking, and. he thought he detected 
beneath his careless, laughing demeanor, an element 
of suspicion, which he did not like, and more than 
ever he deplored the fact that my men had visited 
him so soon, or had appeared to be acquaintances of 
his. However, the mistake had been made, if mis 
take it was, and he resolved to give the matter as 


little concern as possible, trusting that his anxiety 
was ill-founded, and that all would be right in the end. 
On the following morning my two operatives 
presented themselves at the office of the Provost- 
Marshal, and meeting Captain McCubbin there, they 
were soon introduced to General Winder, who oc 
cupied that position in the rebel capital. After they 
had been formally introduced to General Winder, 
that officer made very minute inquiries, as to the 
antecedents and the business of the two men before 
him, although no word was mentioned, that led either 
of them to believe that they were suspected of being 
other than they seemed. They informed the Marshal 
that they were natives of England and Ireland, that 
Scully had been in America nearly three years, while 
Lewis had arrived only eighteen months before ; that 
one of them had been connected with a prominent 
dry-goods house in New York city, and the other 
represented a London publishing firm, whose office 
was located in the same city. They also stated that 
in Baltimore they had become acquainted with W. 
ri. Scott, who had informed them of great oppor 
tunities for making money by smuggling goods into 
the Confederacy, and that this visit had been made 
to afford them the knowledge requisite to embarking 
in such an enterprize. They had agreed to delivei 
the letter, which Mr. Scott gave them, to Mr. Webster, 
which they had done, and further than this their 
intimacy with either gentlemen did not extend 


This interview was conducted in a very pleasant 
manner by General Winder, and after they had fully 
answered all the questions which had been pro 
pounded to them, they took their leave, being politely 
invited by the General to call upon him whenever 

Congratulating themselves upon the fortunate 
outcome of a visit which they had looked forward to 
with more or less solicitude, they repaired to Web 
ster s room to give him an account of what had trans 

They had not been seated very long, when a de 
tective from the Marshal s office made his appearance, 
and after apologizing for his visit, inquired from what 
parts of England and Ireland the two men had come ; 
stating also, that General Winder desired the in 

After this man had left, Webster turned to his 
companions and in as firm a voice as he could com 
mand, said : 

" Get away from Richmond immediately ! There 
is danger brewing. You are certainly suspected, and 
it may go very hard with all of us, unless you leave 
the city at once !" 

"Why do you think so?" inquired Scully, in a 
skeptical tone. " We certainly cannot be suspected, 
and I am confident that you are alarming yourself 

A spasm of pain prevented Webster from reply- 


ing immediately ; but when the agony had somewhat 
subsided, he answered : 

" I tell you that man never would have come here 
with that question unless there was something wrong. 
You must, indeed, get away, or the consequences will 
be serious." 

Scarcely had he uttered these words, when there 
came a sharp rap at the door, which, upon being 
opened, revealed the forms of two men, one of them 
being George Cluckner, a detective officer attached 
to the Provost-Marshal s office, and the other no less 
a personage than Chase Morton, a son of ex- 
Governor Morton, of Florida, whose house in Wash 
ington my operatives had at one time assisted in 

The consternation of Lewis and Scully may well 
be imagined, and the latter, without uttering a word, 
walked rapidly towards the open doorway and disap 
peared, leaving Lewis, filled with astonishment and 
apprehension, to pass the ordeal of an introduction. 
The salutations between them were, as may be 
conjectured, not of a very cordial character ; and after 
the merest form of politeness, Lewis bade Webster 
good-evening, and left the room. At the top of the 
landing he found Scully awaiting him, and they were 
about to descend the stairs, felicitating themselves 
upon having escaped a threatened danger, when the 
door of Webster s room was opened, and the Con 
federate detective again stood before them. 


"Are your names Lewis and Scully?" he in 

"Yes, sir," answered Lewis, promptly, resolved 
to put as bold a face upon the matter as possible. 

"Then," said the officer, " I have orders to convey 
you to General Winder s office." 

There was no help for it, and they signified their 
readiness to accompany him at once, intending to 
make an effort to escape when they reached the 
street. This hope, however, was dashed to the 
ground ; for, as they descended the stairs, they found 
three other officers awaiting their appearance, who 
immediately took them in charge, and accompanied 
them to the Provost-Marshal s office. 

Several times, during their journey, Lewis noticed, 
with increasing apprehension, that the gaze of young 
Chase Morton was riveted fixedly upon them, and 
he had no doubt whatever that they had been recog 
nized, and would certainly be apprehended. This 
prospect was far from being a cheerful one ; but they 
mustered up all their latent courage, and conversed 
good-humoredly with their escort, as they walked 
briskly along. 

Arriving at the General s headquarters, they 
learned that that functionary was absent upon some 
urgent business, but would shortly return, and had 
left orders that they should await his appearance. 
Lewis and Scully were accordingly admitted to a 
private room, and requested to make themselves com- 


fortable until General Winder should desire ther 
presence. The door closed upon the retreating forms 
of their escort, and left them in a most uncomfortable 
condition of mind indeed. There was now no doubt 
of the correctness of Webster s suspicions, and they 
bitterly regretted their haste in visiting him, and also 
not having taken his advice at once. However, this 
was no time for regrets, and they resolved to firmly 
adhere to their original statements, and await the 
disposition of their case by General Winder. 

While they were conversing together, the door 
was opened, and young Morton entered the room, 
accompanied by an officer. Stepping directly up to 
Price Lewis, he addressed him : 

" Don t you remember me ?" 

" I do not," responded Lewis ; " I do not 
remember to have seen you at any time before 

He looked unflinchingly into the eyes that met 
his, and the determined tones of his voice betrayed 
no trace of the emotions that were raging within his 

" Don t you remember," continued young Morton, 
coming to my mother s house, in Washington, as 
an agent of the secret service of the Federal govern 
ment, and making a thorough search of our premises 
and its contents ?" 

"You are mistaken, sir," replied Lewis, firmly 
I know nothing of what you are alluding to." 


"I am not mistaken." said the young Southerner, 
" and you are the man !" 

" Perhaps this gentleman will say that he recollects 
me, next," said Scully, resolved to be as bold as pos 
sible, under the circumstances. 

Chase Morton gazed at him a few moments and 
then answered, decidedly : 

Yes sir, I recollect you also; you were one of 
the men who assisted in searching my mother s resi 

Both men insisted strongly upon their ignorance 
of any such proceeding, and indignantly repudiated 
the charges that had been made against them. 

At this juncture General Winder came in, and 
walking up to Lewis he greeted him cordially, warmly 
shaking him by the hand, saying : 

" How do you do, Mr. Lewis, and how is Mr. 
Seward ?" 

" I do not know what you mean," replied Lewis. 

" Perhaps not," said Winder, with a disagreeable 
smile, "but I am inclined to think that you know a 
great deal more than you are willing to admit." 

" I do not understand you." 

" Very well," said the Provost-Marshal, " you will 
understand me, and all in good time. Do you know 
gentlemen, I suspected you were all wrong from the 
start, and you were not keen enough to impose your 
story upon me ? George," he added, turning to one 
of his men, " go to the hotel, and get the baggage 


belonging to these gentlemen. We will see if that 
will throw any further light upon their true charac 

The officer departed, and during his absence, 
General Winder plied them with questions about 
their mission ; their knowledge of Timothy Webster ; 
their visit to Richmond, and in fact about everything 
imaginable, and all of them showing conclusively that 
he believed them to be spies, and unworthy of cre 
dence. Their satchels were finally brought in, and 
a rigid examination failed to discover anything to 
justify his suspicions, and Winder finally left the 
room, angrily ordering them to remain where they 
were, and directing his officers and Chase Morton to 
accompany him. 

A few minutes elapsed after their departure, dur 
ing which the loud voice of Winder could be heard, 
angrily declaiming against the two men ; he then came 
back again, and addressing my operatives said : 

" Gentlemen, your stories don t agree with what I 
know about you, and we will give you time to think 
the matter over ;" then turning to his deputy he com 
manded, " Take them away !" 

" Where to ?" inquired the officer. 

To Henrico Jail," was Winder s response. 

They were then conducted to the jail and placed 
in a room in which six others were confined, where 
the officers left them to their meditations, which, as 
may be imagined, were far from pleasant. Not know- 


ing what might be in store for them, and fearing that 
their presence in Richmond might result in danger tc 
Webster, they resolved to say nothing whatever, and 
to adhere strictly to the story originally told by them, 
and then to abide by the consequences, no matter 
how serious they might be. 

During the afternoon of the following day, an of 
ficer accompanied by an elder son of Mr. Morton 
made their appearance at the jail, and he, too, identi 
fied the two men, as being concerned in searching his 
mother s residence in Washington, and endeavored 
to recall several incidents which had taken place on 
that occasion. To all of his statements, however, 
Price and Scully made emphatic denials, and vehe 
mently asserted their entire ignorance of anything 
connected with the Mortons, or their relations to the 
Federal government. 

Finding it impossible to obtain any admission 
from the two prisoners, they took their departure, and 
left the confined detectives to their own unpleasant 

For three days they remained in their place of 
confinement, and during that time no word came 
from the Marshals office or from any one concerning 
their disposition or future movements. It seemed as 
though the authorities had been content with simply 
placing them in durance vile, and then had dismissed 
them from their minds. This was the most favorable 
view they were able to take of the case, and they 


were solacing themselves with the fallacious hope of 
having escaped a fate which they dreaded, and also 
with the belief that Webster, their friend and com 
panion, would not be associated with their presence 
m Richmond, and that their discovery would not 
operate to his injury. 

Or. the fourth day, however, an attach^ of the 
Marshal s office came to the jail, and calling for John 
Scully informed him that his presence was required 
by General Winder. Scully prepared himself for the 
visit, and taking leave of his companion followed the 
officer. He did not return that night, and for days 
afterwards Lewis was in ignorance of what had be 
come of him, or what fate he was to expect at the 
hands of these minions of disloyalty and secession. 

Lewis, meanwhile, had become acquainted with 
his fellow prisoners, all of whom were in a ^tate of 
anxiety as to what measure of punishment would be 
meted out to them, and all nearly crazed with the 
uncertainty of their impending fate. For days they 
had been concocting a plan of escape, and finding 
Lewis disposed to make an effort to be released from 
his confinement, they developed their plans to him, 
and requested his aid in the accomplishment of their 

Lewis hailed with delight a proposition that 
promised to enable them to exchange the damp and 
noisome air of a prison for the free breath of nature, 
and the dark hours of captivity for the freedom and 


liberty he longed for, and he became an energetic 
and careful coadjutor of those who suffered with him 
the degrading position of being imprisoned by a gov 
ernment which they despised, and by which their lives 
were menaced. 

The part of the jail in which they were confined 
was separated from the main building, and contained 
four cells, two upon the ground floor and two imme 
diately above them. These cells were reached through 
a corridor from the yard outside, and secured by two 
doors ; one a heavy iron one fastened on the inside, 
and the other a stout wooden barricade, the lock of 
which was placed on the outside of the building. It 
was the custom of the old man, who acted as the 
jailer, to allow the prisoners a half hour s walk in the 
yard during the early evening, and then, locking them 
up safely again, he would leave them alone in the 
building, while he went to his home, several blocks 

One of the men had managed to secrete a file about 
his person, and with this they succeeded in making a 
saw out of a knife. These were the only implements 
which they had to work with. Notwithstanding the 
meagerness of their implements, but a few days had 
elapsed before the bolts on every cell-door were 
sawed through so that they only required a few min 
utes* labor to detach them from their fastenings 

It is impossible to detail the hours of feverish 



anxiety, of tireless energy, and of momentary fear of 
detection, through which these men passed while en 
gaged in their difficult and dangerous work or to 
depict their joy, when at last their labor was com 
pleted, and they awaited the time of carrying their 
plans into execution. 

The outside door was now the only barrier be 
tween them and their coveted freedom, and various 
plans were suggested to overcome this obstacle. At 
length one was decided upon which promised to 
secure the object of their desires. In one corner of 
the yard in which they took their daily exercise, 
there was a large pile of ashes and garbage, which 
had been accumulating for a long time. It was re 
solved that one of their number should be buried 
under this rubbish, while several of the other prison 
ers engaged the old jailer in animated conversation. 

The man selected for this purpose was a good, 
brave fellow, who was formerly a sailor, and had lately 
been a member of an .artillery company from New 
York. His name was Charles Stanton, and he had 
come into the South upon his own inclination, and 
for the Quixotic purpose of obtaining command of 
a gunboat of the Confederacy, and then attempting to 
run it through to the Union lines. He had, however, 
been suspected, and remanded to prison, where he 
had remained without a trial, and without hope of 
release, for several months. 

The prisoners were all turned out for their usual 


exercise in the yard, on the evening which had been 
agreed upon ; and in accordance with their arranged 
plan, several of the prisoners surrounded the old 
turnkey, and engaged him in an earnest discussion, 
while others set actively to work to dig the grave of 
Stanton in the ashes. In order that he might not be 
unbearably uncomfortable, his body only was covered 
with the contents of the ash-heap, while his head and 
shoulders were concealed from view by some straw, 
which one of the men brought from his cell for that 

In the jail, at this time, there were a number of 
negroes, who had been captured while attempting to 
make their way to the North, and although these faith 
ful blacks were aware of the attempted escape, and 
knew full well that they were not included in the 
movement, their efforts were none the less active 
in behalf of the white men who were struggling for 

They had been informed of the attempted escape, 
from the first, and had kept the matter a profound 
secret, at the same time rendering such service as 
they were capable of to the whites. 

Everything worked to their entire satisfaction. 
The turnkey was unsuspicious ; the grave was made 
without discovery, and St^nton was carefully con 
cealed. In a few minutes afterwards the call for 
retiring was heard, and the men, with throbbing 
hearts, rushed in a mass toward the door of the corri- 


dor. This was done in order to escape the counting 
of their number, in case the old man should attempt 
to do so. They passed quickly into their cells, and 
were not required to be counted. Thus far, all had 
been done as successfully as could be hoped for, or 
expected ; no suspicions were excited, nor was their 
missing comrade called for. It had been the custom 
of the old man to make a tour of the cells after the 
prisoners had retired, to see if they were all there 
before he went away for the night. In order to over 
come this possibility of detection, a figure had been 
made of straw, stuffed into the garments of the men, 
and laid upon the bed, in order to look as much like 
a human being as possible. 

This precaution proved to be a good one, for just 
before the time of closing up the prison arrived, the 
glimmer of the old turnkey s lantern was seen in the 
corridor, and shortly after, his face appeared at the 
door, as he eagerly scanned the occupants of the 
various cells. Apparently satisfied with his scrutiny, 
the jailer went his way, the heavy outside doors were 
closed and locked, and the retreating footsteps of 
the old man could be distinctly heard. 

The critical moment had at last arrived, and they 
awaited in breathless silence the appearence of Stan- 
ton. Fortune favored them in a peculiar manner 
this evening. As the old man was passing the 
pile of ashes under which Stanton was concealed, 
he noticed the unusual appearance of the . straw. 


Stopping for a moment, he drew a m^tch from his 
pocket, lighted it, and then walked toward the heap as 
though with the intention of setting fire to it. The 
match fortunately was extinguished by a blast of 
wind, and after searching in his pocket for another 
match, but finding none, he slowly turned, and walked 
out of the gate, locking it securely behind him. 

Stan ton s feelings, under this ordeal, may be 
imagined. If the old man had succeeded in igniting 
the straw, under which he was concealed, detection 
would have followed instantly, and no doubt serious 
injury would have been inflicted upon the brave 
fellow, who had willingly suffered the discomforts of 
his unpleasant confinement for the purpose of assist 
ing his comrades to escape. 

No sooner had the gate closed upon the jailor, 
than he crawled nimbly out from his place of conceal 
ment, and hastily made his way to the door He at 
once began his operations upon the lock. The ap 
pearance of Stanton at the door was the signal for 
the others, and in less than an hour the locks upon 
the cell doors had been removed. Stanton had 
wrested the lock from the outside door, and only the 
iron inside one was now to be overcome. This bar 
rier resisted all their efforts, and it was at last decided 
that the lock must be removed by main force. This 
was a proceeding which necessitated a great deal of 
noise, and they were in an agony of apprehension 
lest their clamor should attract the attention of 


people passing on the outside, and thus lead to theif 
detection. To prevent this, the colored men, with 
out any solicitation or instruction, came to the 
rescue in a very important, though unexpected man 
ner. They commenced to sing in concert, at the top 
of their voices, snatches o-f plantation and camp- 
meeting melodies, which effectually drowned the 
sound of their blows, and enabled them to work with 
out fear of detection. 

The lock at last yielded to their combined efforts, 
and the men issued silently forth into the darkness of 
the night, breathing once more the stimulating atmos 
phere of hope and promised liberty. Only the wall 
around the prison yard was now to be surmounted, 
and with the aid of some old planks that were lying 
around, they succeeded in reaching the top, after 
which they noiselessly dropped themselves to the 
ground. Although this wall was very high, they all 
readied terra fir ma in safety, and with one impulse 
bre;i hed a prayer of thankfulness for the success 
which had thus far attended their efforts. 

Silently, and walking in couples, at long distances 
apart, they started out to leave the city. The sky 
was clear, and the moon was shining brightly over 
head. The stars were twinkling merrily, as though 
enjoying the success which had attended these brave, 
patient men, in their labor and toil of days and 

This was on the eighteenth day of March, and 


Martial law had been proclaimed some time pre 
viously. It was now nearly eight o clock, and by the 
provisions of the law any one found upon the streets 
after nine o clock, must be in possession of a pass, or 
be liable to arrest. Great haste was therefore neces 
sary, in order to leave the city before that hour 
With only the stars for their guide, they set out in a 
northerly direction. Not one of the men was ac 
quainted with the country, and their journey was all 
the more perilous on that account. 

By midnight they had reached the Chickahominy, 
having succeeded, by the greatest good fortune, in es 
caping any one who was disposed to make in 
quiries or to molest them in any manner whatever. 
Across this swamp their way led through quagmires 
and deep pools, and was dangerous in the extreme. 
Sometimes waist deep in the soft mud and water, and 
scrambling over slipping places which furnished in 
secure footholds, and threatened instant danger from 
falling back into the pools through which they had 
made their way. Their journey was full of hardship 
and suffering. The air was cold and frosty, and their 
wet garments clung to them like ice ; their limbs 
trembled ; their teeth chattered with the cold, and 
their condition was really a pitiable one indeed. 

At length they reached the woods upon the 
opposite side. Here they were obliged to stop and 
rest, completely exhausted. Some of the hardier of 
the party removed their dripping garments, and 


attempted to wring the water from them ; while 
others, unable to stand the chilling air any longer, 
built a fire, around which they gathered in the effort 
to warm their bodies and to dry their water-soaked 

They rested for about two hours, and then pushed 
on again until daylight, when they sought the shelter 
of the woods and laid down, hoping to get some sleep 
after their laborious and fatiguing journey of the pre 
ceding night. Sleep, however, was impossible ; their 
clothing was wet, and the air was cold. Their suffer 
ings became intense, and at length, finding it 
impossible to endure the freezing atmosphere 
longer, they determined to build a fire, regardless of 
the consequences. Proceeding further into the wood, 
they gathered some boughs, and soon the cheerful 
blaze afforded them sufficient heat to dry their frozen 
clothing and to warm their benumbed and freezing 
bodies. Thus passed the day, and when darkness 
came on again they resumed their journey. 

Already they began to experience the pangs of 
hunger. They had eaten nothing since the evening 
before, and had walked many weary miles. They were 
foot-sore and tired and hungry. They had provided 
themselves with the remnants of the corn cake which 
had been served for their supper on the previous 
evening, but these had become thoroughly soaked 
with water on their journey through the swamps, and 
had crumbled to pieces. Notwithstanding their 


pitiable condition, their strong wills and brave hearts 
sustained them, and they plodded on. 

The night was intensely dark ; the stars were 
obscured, and a pall of inky blackness hung over 
them, which rendered their journey exceedingly 
hazardous, as they could not see the way before 
them, and were unable to tell in which direction they 
were traveling. 

They had not proceeded far when the storm 
broke, and a drenching torrent of rain descended. 
The wind whistled and howled through the trees, and 
for hours the tempest raged with relentless fury. 
Seeking the shelter of the woods again, they crouched 
close to the trunks of the trees, and vainly attempted 
to screen themselves from the deluge. It was of no 
avail, however ; the leafless timber afforded them no 
protection, and during the continuance of the storm 
the poor, tired and almost exhausted fugitives were 
exposed to the pitiless blast. 

Shivering with cold, their teeth chattering, their 
garments drenched through to their quivering skin, 
they knelt or crouched upon the ground, and when 
daylight dawned, and the storm at last cleared away, 
they were almost too weak to help themselves. 

Price Lewis looked around him as the faint 
streaks of sunrise illumined the horizon, and to his 
dismay saw that nearly all of his late companions had 
disappeared, and that only three others beside him 
self remained. 


With the greatest difficulty they succeeded in 
building a fire, and were just preparing to enjoy its 
comforting warmth, when they were alarmed by the 
sound of the hasty tramping of feet, and in a moment 
they were surrounded by a number of Confederate 
soldiers, who commanded them to surrender at once 

This sudden and unexpected appearance was a 
crushing blow to their hopes. They submitted with 
out a word ; and although bowed to the ground with 
disappointment, they experienced a sensation almost 
amounting to relief, at the prospect of receiving the 
ewe and attention which even enemies would give to 
those in such distress as were these poor fugitives. 

Limping along, they were marched to an out 
building, connected with a farm-house near by, when, 
to their surprise, they saw the remainder of their 
party, who had been captured by another band of 
soldiers, huddled together in one corner of the room. 

The soldiers were touched with pity, as they be 
held the forlorn condition of the men whom they had 
secured, and in a short time they had provided them 
with a repast, which the famished fugitives devoured 
with a rapidity which gave ample testimony of their 
long and painful abstinence. 

After dispatching this meal they were conveyed 
directly back to Richmond, and returned to their old 
quarters in Henrico jail. On their arrival each man 
was placed in a separate cell, and doubly ironed, to 
prevent a repetition of their efforts to escape. 



While Price Lewis had been engaged in this un 
successful attempt to gain his liberty, John Scully had 
been undergoing a far different experience. A court- 
martial had been hurriedly convened, where he was 
fully identified by every member of the Morton fam 
ily as the man who had searched their premises in 
the city of Washington, and had, after a very sum 
mary trial, been convicted and remanded back to 
prison to await his sentence. 

On the second day after the return of Price Lewis 
he was conducted before a court-martial, and in a re 
markably short space of time was accorded a trial, if 
trial it could be called, and his conviction followed 
as quickly as did that of John Scully. 

They had been charged with being alien enemies, 
and at one time acting in the service of the Federal 
government in Washington. In addition to this, 
they were charged with loitering around the fortifica 
tions at Richmond and taking plans of the same. 
Notwithstanding the fact that no witness could be 
procured who would swear to having seen them in 
such localities, or engaged in any such occupation, the 
members of the court-martial, with singular unanimity, 
found them guilty of the second charge, with as much 
haste, and as manifest an air of solemnity, as they did 
of the first. 

The next day they were each informed of theif 
sentence, which was that they should be hung by the 
neck, as spies, and that their execution should take 


place in one week from the day of the communica 
tion of the information to them. 

This sentence was a heavy blow to the two pris 
oners ; and from the character of the men by whom 
they were surrounded, thay felt that hope was use 
less. The spirit of animosity manifested toward them 
by the court, the indecent haste with which their 
trial had been conducted, and the rapidity with which 
their sentence had followed their conviction, gave 
them no reasons for hoping for clemency, or that they 
would be able to escape the dreadful fate which now 
was impending over them. 

The conduct of the various members of the Mor 
ton family in betraying my operatives to the author 
ities, and in appearing as accusing witnesses against 
them, in face of their promises, long ago made, to be 
friend them if possible, was an act which did not re 
flect very favorably upon their regard for truth, or 
their appreciation of delicate treatment when they 
themselves were suspected of treachery. 

Lewis and Scully had never seen each other from 
the time when the latter was removed from the cell 
a few days after their first imprisonment, and eacli 
was unconscious of the other s fate or of the state of 
their feelings under the fatal sentence whicb hung 
over them both. 

After their conviction they had both been sent to 
a prison called Castle Godwin, and had been placed 
in irons, and in separate cells. During the first two 


days that elapsed after their conviction, they were 
visited by Judge Crump, who conducted the trial, and 
by several members of General Winder s staff, all of 
whom endeavored to obtain some admissions from 
the two prisoners which would justify their action in 
condemning them to death. All with no avail, how 
ever ; the two men stoutly insisted upon their original 
story, except so far as to admit that they had searched 
the premises of Mrs. Morton, but each man was firm 
in stating that he had become disgusted with the ser 
vice, and had left it very soon after that act had been 

On the day after their sentence had been com 
municated to them, a letter was brought to Lewis, 
from the commandant of the post, stating that Scully 
was suffering with a serious illness, and having re 
quested that Lewis be allowed to visit him, the privi 
lege had been granted. On entering the cell where 
Scully was confined, Lewis found his fellow-prisoner 
in a very depressed condition of mind, although his 
physical infirmities had been assumed in order to se 
cure an interview with his partner in misfortune. 

After discussing their situation as philosophically 
as possible under the circumstances, seeking for some 
ray of hope and finding none, they were at last com 
pelled to the belief that their doom was sealed, and that 
their only plan was to bear up manfully to the end. 

Scully, who was a Roman Catholic, desired the 
services of a priestly comforter, to whom he could 


make such statements as would relieve his mind in 
the coming trial, and made known this wish to Lewis. 

" You will not tell him what you know of Web 
ster, and his connection with this matter, will you ?" 
said Lewis, fearful that Webster might be betrayed. 

" I don t know what I will tell him," answered 
Scully ; " I have not decided what to say, nor do I 
know what I will be commanded to relate." 

" For God s sake, Scully, don t say anything about 
Webster ; we can meet our fate like men, but to men 
tion his name now, would be wrong indeed." 

" I tell you," said Scully, " I don t know what I 
am going to say. I don t want to do wrong, but I 
cannot tell what I may have to do yet." 

Lewis argued with his companion long and earn 
estly upon this matter, and when at last the priest 
arrived, and Scully followed him to another cell, the 
warning admonitions of his fellow-prisoner were ring 
ing in his ears. 

What transpired during that secret meeting be 
tween the condemned spy and his father-confessor, 
Lewis did not know, but when he was conducted to 
his own cell, late that night, he saw a man and woman 
closely guarded, in the lower hall, and his heart grew 
heavy and cold as his imagination conjured up the 
direful fate which a confession from his imprisoned 
comrade would bring to the faithful patriot Webster, 
who lay suffering and anxious upon his bed of pain. 

After a long and restless night, in which he tossed 


uneasily upon his hard prison bed, vainly attempting 
to court the rest-giving slumber of which lie stood so 
much in need, Lewis arose from his couch, feverish 
and unrefreshed, as the first faint rays of the morning 
sun penetrated his damp and dingy cell. 

His mind was in a state of confusion, and his 
h( art was filled with fear. What had been done he 
knew not, and yet those guarded figures of the night 
before were ever in his mind. Could it be that they 
were Webster and his faithful attendant Mrs. Lawton ? 
He shrank involuntarily from this thought; and yet, 
strive as he would, it recurred to him, with increased 
force, and with more convincing power, after each at 
tempt to drive it from him. 

In a little while, the prison was astir. The guards 
were making their accustomed rounds, breakfast was 
served, and another day, with all its solemn activity, 
and its bustle so death-like and subdued, had begun. 

Unable to partake of the scanty meal that was 
set before him, Lewis impatiently awaited the hour 
when he would be permitted to visit his fellow-pris 
oner whom he had left upon the eve of consulting 
with his spiritual adviser, and, if possible, learn the 
result of his interview with the priest. 

About ten o clock the turnkey appeared, and he 
was conducted to Scully s cell. As he entered the 
dimly-lighted room, he noticed that the face of the 
man whom he had left the night before, had under 
gone a wonderful change. His cheeks were sunken 


and pale ; his eyes had a strange, wild expression, and 
the shadows under the lids were dark and heavy. 
His hair was unkempt, and his lips trembled with, the 
emotions which he was struggling to repress. What 
ever events had transpired since he had seen him last, 
it was evident that their effect upon Scully had been 
terrible and agonizing. He had been unable to sleep, 
and the tortures of his mind had been almost t unbear 
able. His greeting to Lewis showed a degree of re 
straint which had been unknown before, and for a 
moment he seemed unable to speak. 

At length he grew calmer, and related to his 
friend the events of the preceding night, and the 
influences that had been brought to bear upon him. 
The promise of freedom ; his loving family at home ; 
the certainty of an ignoble death if he refused ; the 
degradation of the impending scaffold; and the 
promise that his admissions should result in injury to 
no one, all combined against his weak condition of 
both mind and body, and at last, yielding to the in 
fluences which he could not control, he had told his 
story, and had given a truthful account of all his 

Who can blame this man ? Who, that has stood 
before the frowning scaffold, and with a free world 
before him, can utter words of censure ? Only those 
who have suffered as he did, prostrated as he was, 
can know the terrible agony through which he passed 
ere the fatal words were forced from his trembling 


lips. For myself, I have no judgment to utter. 
Now, as when the news was first communicated to 
me, I cannot express an unjust sentence. John Scully 
and his companion were not heroic martyrs. What 
then ? They were simply men who, after having 
performed many brave acts of loyalty and duty to 
their country, failed in a moment of grand and great 
self-sacrifice. I cannot apologize for them I cannot 
judge them. Their trial was a severe one, and they 
were in sore distress. If they succumbed to a con 
trolling emergency, it was because of a lack of the 
heroic elements of humanity ; and who, in our day, 
can claim their possession in the very face of death 
and dishonor ? 

Let us hasten over these unpleasant and disas 
trous events. Finding that the worst had occurred, 
and that further concealment was of no avail, Lewis, 
too, opened his mouth. He was again visited by the 
rebel authorities, and at last he, too, added his voice 
to that of Scully, and made a revelation of his true 
character, and of the nature of his mission to Rich 
mond. The next day they were respited. They had 
escaped an ignominious death, but, perhaps, in their 
lonely cells they suffered a death in life, beside which 
an actual demise might have seemed a blessing. 
Leaving them to their reflections, we turn again to 
Timothy Webster. 



Webster Arrested as a Spy. A Woman s Devotion and a 
Patriot s Heroism. Webster is Convicted. The Execu* 
tion. A Martyr s Grave. 

A 7 TER the departure of Lewis and Scully from 
Webster s room, where they were so closely 
followed by the Confederate detective and Chase 
Morton, my trusty operative heard nothing of them 
for some time. Fearing to make inquiries concern 
ing them, lest he should compromise them still 
further, as well as bring himself under the suspicion 
of the rebel authorities, he maintained a strict silence 
with regard to the movements of his companions. 
Several days of anxious suspense followed, which, to 
one in Webster s critical condition, were fraught with 
agonizing doubts and heartfelt fears for the ultimate 
safety of himself and his friends. Resolving, how 
ever, to utter no word which would compromise 
them, he bore the solicitude with unmurmuring 
firmness. Only to the heroic woman, who so faith 
fully nursed him, did he unburden his mind of the 
weight of care which oppressed him, and her words 
of womanly friendship and encouragement were the 


only influences which supported him through the 
trying ordeal. 

One day, Mrs. Lawton came into his room as 
was her custom but this time there was a gravity 
about her manner, which, to Webster s quick percep 
tions, boded no good. Finding him receiving some 
friendly visitors, the lady withdrew, and repressing 
his impatience as well as he was able to do, Webster 
dispatched his friends as quickly as politeness, and a 
due consideration for their kindly regard, would per 
mit. When they had disappeared, Mrs. Lawton 
again entered the room. 

"You have news for me," said Webster, impa 
tiently; "what is it?" 

" Be calm, my dear friend," said the devoted lit 
tle woman; "what I have to tell, calls for the 
utmost calmness." 

" Tell me what it is," said Webster ; " I will be as 
calm as you could wish, but do not, I pray you, keep 
me in suspense." 

" Well," replied Mrs. Lawton, " I learned this 
morning that Lewis and Scully have been arrested 
and taken to Henrico Jail." 

" When did this occur ?" asked the invalid, a great 
weight pressing upon his heart. 

" The very day they were here last," answered the 

Then all is lost," exclaimed the sick man. " I 
feared as much ;. and now the time has come I will 


meet it manfully; however/ he continued, "it will 
be only a short time before I will share the same fate." 
" Why do you think so ?" anxiously inquired Mrs, 
Lawton. "Surely they cannot connect you with 
these men." 

" I do not know why I think so, but I am as con 
fident that I will be brought into this matter as 
though the officers were already here to arrest me." 

While he yet spoke, there came a knock at the 
chamber door, which, on being opened, revealed the 
form of Captain McCubbin. 

As he entered the room he gazed furtively around, 
and his salutation to Webster was very different from 
the cordiality which had marked his previous visits. 

" Good morning, Webster," said he, as he took 
the offered chair, and for the first time since they had 
known each other neglecting to shake the invalid by 
the hand. " This is bad news about Lewis and 
Scully, isn t it ?" 

"What is it?" inquired Webster, apparently re 
ceiving the information for the first time. 

"They have been arrested as spies, are confined in 
prison, and General Winder wants that letter which 
they brought to you from the North." 

There was something so cold and imperious in 
the officer s tones, which confirmed Webster s fears 
for his own safety ; but without evincing the slightest 
alarm, he cheerfully made reply : 

" I am sorry to hear this news, arid trust that they 


will be able to exonerate themselves from the charge. 
Anything, however, that General Winder wants from 
me will be cheerfully given. Mrs. Lawton, will you 
get the letter, and hand it to Captain McCubbin." 

There was no tremor of the voice, and the watch 
ful Confederate looked in vain for any evidence of 
fear in the face of the man, who, stricken by disease 
as he was, still showed the bravery of a lion, and 
gazed unflinchingly at him. Though the hand of fate 
was upon him, Webster never lost his heroic courage, 
and bore the scrutiny of the officer without the quiver 
of a muscle. 

Captain McCubbin received the letter, and almost 
immediately withdrew. As he closed the door behind 
him, Webster turned to his faithful companion, and, 
in a low, solemn voice, said : "That letter has sealed 
my fate !" 

From this point. Webster s physical condition 
seemed to improve, and although depressed with 
fears for the fate of his companions, he gradually 
became stronger, and was at length able to leave his 
bed and move about his room. 

The visits of his numerous friends had now almost 
ceased. From General Winder s officers, with whom 
he had previously been so intimate, he heard nothing, 
nor did they make inquiries about his health, as had 
been their custom. Of the many friends in private 
life, who had surrounded him, only two remained. 
These were Mr. Pierce and Mr. Campbell, with 


whom Webster had traveled for some time, and his 
family. This dropping away of old friends, and the 
breaking up of old associations, was significant to 
Webster of impending danger. It must be that he, 
too, was suspected, and that the favor of the rebel 
authorities had been withdrawn. 

Day by day, during his convalescence, did the 
brave little woman who had nursed him back to life, 
endeavor to encourage him to a hopeful view of his 
situation, and to impress him with her own sanguine 
trust for a favorable outcome from this present 
dilemma. Webster listened to the bright promises 
of his devoted companion, but he was too profoundly 
aware of the danger that threatened him to permit 
himself to hope that the result to him would be a bene 
ficial one. 

After he was able to leave his bed, he accepted 
the pressing invitation of Mr. Campbell, and was re 
moved to the residence of that gentleman, where he 
would be more quiet, and where he could receive that 
care and attention which could not be afforded him 
in a hotel. The kindness of Mr. Campbell and his 
family was heartfelt and unceasing. They did every 
thing in their power to make him comfortable, and 
their courtesy to Mrs. Lawton was as marked and 
genuine, as was their regard and care for Timothy 

Webster had been domiciled at the house of Mr. 
Campbell but two days, when one of Winder s men 


came to know if Webster was sufficiently recovered 
to go out, as his presence was imperatively demanded 
at the court room, as a witness in the trial of John 
Scully. The officer further stated that the evidence 
of Webster had been solicited by Scully himself. 
Finding him unable still to leave the house, the 
officer stated that arrangements would be made by 
which his testimony could be taken in his room. On 
the second day after the appearance of the officer, 
the court-martial adjourned to Campbell s house, 
and Scully accompanied them. Seating themselves 
around the bedside of the invalid, the court was 
formally opened, and Webster was requested to state 
what he knew of the antecedents of the accused. 

Though very weak, and speaking with consider 
able difficulty, Webster made his statement. He said 
that he had known John Scully from April, 1861, to 
the time of his arrest. That the prisoner was in 
Baltimore when he first met him, and was always in 
the company of known secessionists, and was con 
sidered by them to be a good friend to the South. 
So far as he had any knowledge of the accused he 
was what he assumed to be, and that his appearance 
in Richmond was a surprise to him. He was not 
known to be in the employ of the government, and 
Webster had never met him under any circumstances 
which would indicate that fact. 

This was all that he could say, and although 
closely questioned by the president of the court, and 


the attorneys present, he insisted that his knowledge 
of John Scully was confined to what he had already 
stated. Finding it impossible to obtain any further 
information upon this subject from the sick man, the 
court, in a body, left the room, and departed from 
the house. 

Mrs. Lawton, who had been compelled to retire 
on the entrance of the Confederate authorities, and 
who had been in a wild state of excitement and ap 
prehension during their visit, instantly repaired to 
Webster s room. When she entered the chamber, 
she found that the brave man, after the exciting ex 
periences through which he had been compelled to 
pass, had fainted. His strength of will, which had 
supported him through the investigation, had given 
way, and he lay, limp and inanimate, upon the bed. 

Several days of anxiety and solicitude now passed. 
Unable to learn any tidings of his unfortunate com- 
iades ? Webster tortured himself with all manner of 
vague fears and doubts as to their probable fate, all 
of which had their effect in retarding his recovery, 
and keeping him confined to his room. 

At last, after days of weary and anxious waiting, 
the newspapers were brought in one morning, and 
the information of the conviction of Lewis and Scully 
was duly chronicled. The same paper also announced 
the day upon which their death was so speedily to 
follow. This filled the cup of Webster s misery to 
overflowing, and, sinking upon a chair, he wept like 


a child. Refusing to be comforted, although Mrs. 
Lawton exerted herself to the utmost, Webster 
paced the room, half frantic with his grief, at the hor 
rible fate which had overtaken his friends. 

Slowly the day passed, and when the shadows of 
evening were falling Webster was at last induced to 
lie down, and attempt to snatch a few hours sleep. 
He was soon slumbering quietly, although ever and 
anon he would start nervously and utter an inarticu 
late moan, as though his mind was stil troubled with 
the sad events of the day. While he lay thus, at 
tended by Mrs. Lawton, Mr. Campbell suddenly en 
tered the room, with a look of fear upon his face, 
which filled Mrs. Lawton with alarm. 

" What is the matter ?" she hurriedly ejaculated. 

" One of Winder s men is below, and I fear his 
presence indicates misfortune for Webster," was the 

" Who is it ?" 

" Cashmeyer," answered Mr. Campbell. " He in 
quired for Webster, and says he must see him at 


Webster, disturbed by this conversation, was 
awake in an instant and inquired what was wanted. 

" Cashmeyer has called, and wishes to see you," 
said Mr. Campbell. 

" Let him come up at once," replied Webster, in 
the hope that he might bring some tidings of Lewis 
and Scully. 


Mr. Campbell departed, and in a few moments re 
turned with the Confederate officer. Cashmeyer s 
salutation was cold and formal, and without any pre 
liminary he addressed Webster. 

" I have a painful duty to perform, Mr. Webster. I. 
am directed by General Winder to arrest you, and 
convey you at once to Castle Godwin." 

As he spoke, two soldiers appeared at the door 
way, f 

" You cannot wish to take him away in this condi 
tion, and at this hour of the night," said Mrs. Law- 
ton. "Such an action would be his death, and 
would be the worst of inhumanity." 

Webster stood silent and unmoved. He did not 
utter a word, but gazed fixedly at the officer, whose 
visits heretofore had been those of sympathy and con 

" I cannot help it," said Cashmeyer, " my orders 
are to take him dead, or alive, and those orders I 
must obey." 

"Then," said Mrs. Lawton, " I will go too. He 
needs care and attention, without it he will die, and 
no one can nurse him so well as I." 

Cashmeyer gazed at the brave little woman for 
a moment, and a shade of pity came over his face. 

I am sorry to inform you, that my orders are 
to arrest you also, and to search your trunks." 

"This is infamous," exclaimed Webster; "what 
can Winder mean by arresting this woman, and what 


am I charged with that renders your orders neces 
sary ?" 

"Webster," answered Cashmeyer, "as God is my 
witness, I do not know ; I only know what my orders 
are, and that I must obey them." 

Without further parley, Webster and Mrs. Lawton 
prepared to accompany their guards, and Cashmeyer, 
demanding their keys, commenced a search of their 
trunks, which resulted in his finding nothing that 
would criminate his prisoners. 

A carriage was procured, and Webster was assisted 
into it, while Mrs. Lawton, under the escort of Cash 
meyer was compelled to walk. It was quite late 
when they arrived at the prison, and as Price Lewis 
was ascending to his cell, Webster and his faithful 
female companion entered the gloomy portals of the 

General Winder was present when they arrived, 
and after a hurried examination Webster was re 
manded to a room, in which a number of Union 
prisoners were already confined, and the atmosphere 
of which was reeking with filth and disease. 

As he entered the room, pale and emaciated, and 
scarcely able to walk, the prisoners gathered around, 
in silent pity for his forlorn condition. 

" My God !" excaimed one of their number, 
"they will send the dead here next." 

Mrs. Lawton was conducted before the General, 
but she stoutly declined to answer a single question 


that was propounded to her. This so enraged the 
valiant officer that he ordered her to be taken away 
at once. She was then conducted to a room in 
which another lady was confined, and left for the 

As midnight tolled its solemn hour over the city, 
and the tramp of armed men resounded through the 
streets, the noises within the prison died away. An 
awful and impressive silence brooded over the place. 
The dim light in the corridor shone faintly upon four 
miserable human beings, who tossed restlessly upon 
sleepless couches through the long, weary watches of 
the night. 

Who can tell the thoughts that thronged through 
their brains, as the slow moving hours advanced 
toward the dawn ? The brave woman who had been 
cruelly deprived of her privilege to administer to the 
needs of her suffering friend. The heroic Webster, 
wasted by disease, weakened by his long and painful 
illness, but still brave and defiant. Price Lewis and 
John Scully, tortured with the thoughts of their im 
pending fate, and harassed with reflections of a more 
agonizing nature, which we may not analyse. 

The trial of Webster was ordered for an early 
day. With a haste that was inhuman, the Provost- 
Marshal made his preparations for the farce of an in 
vestigation. It seemed as though he was fearful that 
his victim would die, ere he could wreak his ven 
geance upon him. The court was convened, and, 


owing to Webster s weakened condition, their ses 
sions were held in the jail. For three long, weary 
weeks did the investigation drag its slow length 
along, although it was apparent that those who tried 
him had already decided upon his fate. Numerous 
witnesses were examined, and testimony was admitted 
which would have been excluded by any righteous 
tribunal whose ideas of justice were not obscured by 
an insane desire for revenge. 

Price Lewis and John Scully were compelled to 
give their evidence ; and although they attempted to 
do their utmost to lessen the effect of their testimony, 
it bore heavily against the poor prisoner, who sat 
pale and emaciated before them, and whose heart 
never failed him through the long and tedious ordeal. 
What Webster s feelings must have been during 
this harrowing experience is unknown to any one. 
What thoughts were rushing through his brain, as the 
damaging statements fell from the lips of his late as 
sociates, were never revealed by him. No murmurs 
escaped his lips, no words of censure or blame 
against the men whose evidence cost him his life, 
were ever uttered. A heroic calmness, born of the 
very despair which oppressed him from the first, was 
manifest throughout the long, weary investigation. 
Indeed so manfully had he borne himself, so com 
pletely had he controlled his feelings, that his 
physical health perceptibly improved, so much so 
that the tribunal removed their sittings to the court- 


house, and Webster was able to be in daily at* 

Webster had secured able counsel for his defence, 
and they did all that was possible for man to do. 
Although they were rebels, their efforts in behalf of 
the accused spy were such, that if pleadings could 
have availed him aught, his fate would have been 

It was not to be, however ; the trial came to an 
end at last. A verdict of guilty followed quickly 
upon the heels of the partial and antagonistic charge 
of the judge, and Timothy Webster was convicted of 
being a spy in the employ of the Federal authorities. 

Not even then did the brave spirit break down. 
Firm and heroic he received the fatal verdict, and 
the satisfaction of his enemies was robbed of its value 
by the unflinching deportment of their victim. 

After the trial, he was remanded to a cell, and 
closely watched. But a little time elapsed, and then 
came the warrant for his execution. An officer ap 
peared in the cell, the paper was produced, and the 
faithful, brave, true-hearted man was condemned to 
be hung on the twenty-ninth day of April, but ten 

days after the approval of his sentence. 


The Union army was before Yorktown. Mc- 
Clellan had already sustained two serious disappoint 
ments, and both of them at the hands of the govern 
ment at Washington. In the first place, on his 




arrival at Fort Monroe, he had ascertained that the 
promised assistance of the navy could not be relied 
upon in the least, and that their efficient co-operation 
with him would be an utter impossibility. This inter 
ference with his plans might have been overcome, 
although the loss of the naval support was a serious 
misfortune to him ; but a more surprising and dis 
heartening act of the authorities was yet in store for 
him. A few days later, he was thunderstruck at the 
unexpected information that General McDowell s 
entire corps, upon whose assistance he had confidently 
relied, was detached from his command, and had been 
ordered to remain in front of Washington, for the 
protection of the capital, which was erroneously 
believed to be in imminent danger of capture by the 
rebels. These events rendered a scientific siege of 
Yorktown a necessity; and while engaged in this 
laborious work, I was in constant consultation with 
the commanding General. Numerous scouts had 
been sent out through the rebel country, and the secret 
service department was taxed to its utmost. George 
H. Bangs was busily engaged in examining the rebel 
deserters and prisoners, Southern refugees and con 
trabands, who were either captured or came willingly 
into camp, and in preparing daily reports of our 
movements, which were required to be made to the 
General in command. I had accompanied McClellan 
upon this campaign, and gave my untiring personal 
supervision to the management of the large corps of 


men and women, white and black, then engaged in 
obtaining information. 

During all this time, not a word had been received 
of my missing operatives. Tortured by the uncer 
tainty of their fate, I passed many an anxious hour. 
At length all doubts were set at rest, and a dreadful 
certainty manifested itself to my mind. A news 
paper, published in Richmond, was received by me, 
and in hastily perusing its contents, with a view of 
acquring such military information as it contained, 
my eye alighted upon a small paragraph, which filled 
me with dread and sorrow. This paragraph was the 
simple announcement that Price Lewis and John 
Scully had been arrested as spies in the rebel capital, 
and had been sentenced to be hung on the 6th day of 

I cannot detail the effect which this announce 
ment produced upon me. For a moment I sat almost 
stupefied, and unable to move. My blood seemed to 
freeze in my veins my heart stood still I was 
speechless. By degrees I was able to exercise a 
strong command over myself. I then sought my 
immediate associates, and communicated the fatal 
news to them. Their consternation and grief were 
equal to my own. Every man seemed to be im 
pressed with the solemnity of the fate of their com 
rades. What was to be done ? How to intercede in 
their behalf ? I rushed to the tent of General Mc- 
Clellan, and relating the news to him, besought his 


aid in this direful extremity. His sympathy and 
sorrow were as acute as though the men had been 
joined to him by ties of blood. Anxiously we dis 
cussed the situation, in the vain attempt to seek some 
mode of obtaining their release, and all without 
definite or satisfactory conclusion. 

All that night I paced the camp, unable to sleep 
unable almost to think intelligently; and when 
morning dawned I was as far from devising any 
practical plan of relief as when I first received the 

I telegraphed to Captain Milward, Harbor-Master 
at Fortress Monroe, and in charge of the flag-of- 
truce boat for exchanging prisoners, asking him to 
endeavor to ascertain from the Richmond papers, or 
from any other source, anything definite as to the 
fate of my unfortunate operatives. 

Several messages were received from that officer 
containing various statements of the case, and finally 
came the crushing intelligence that Lewis and Scully 
had been respited, after having given information 
which implicated Timothy Webster, whom the rebels 
now regarded as the chief spy of the three. 

This was the crowning burden of all, and I was 
almost prostrated by the blow. Hurried consulta 
tions were held, every conceivable plan was suggested 
and discussed, which would avail in the slightest 
degree to avert so terrible a fate from the faithful 
patriot who now was in such deadly danger. 



I suggested that General McClellan should send, 
by flag-of-truce boat, such a demand as would, if 
possible, save their lives; but to this the General 
demurred, fearing, and justly too, that such a course 
might be productive of more injury than good that 
it would be a tacit acknowledgment of their real 
character as spies, and they would be hung without 
further delay. 

It was at last decided that I should go to Wash 
ington, accompanied by Colonel Key, an eminent 
patriot, and an efficient member of General McClellan s 
staff. We were to confer with the President and the 
members of the Cabinet, lay the matter before them, 
and petition for the official interposition of the 
government in their behalf. 

With Colonel Key, I started for Washington, 
about the middle of April. The interest of that 
officer was scarcely second to my own, and he was 
fully determined to exert every energy of his manly, 
sympathetic nature in the work of saving their lives, 
if possible. 

The journey to Washington was quickly made. 
Mr. Lincoln was readily seen, and he, too, filled with 
sympathy for the unfortunate men, promised to call a 
special session of the Cabinet to consider the case, 
that evening. 

In the meantime, Colonel Key and I occupied 
ourselves in visiting the various heads of the depart 
ments, in order to prepare them, before evening 


arrived, for energetic and speedy action. We felt 
that no time was to be lost ; if, indeed, it was not 
already too late to avert their dreadful doom. 

Secretary Stanton, whom, among others, we saw, 
expressed in strong terms his willingness to assist 
Webster to the extent of the resources of the govern 
ment, but he was but little disposed to assist the 
others, who, he alleged, had " betrayed their com 
panion to save their own lives." 

In the evening the Cabinet was convened, and, 
after a full discussion of the matter, it was decided 
that the only thing that could be done, was to author 
ize the Secretary of War to communicate with the 
rebel authorities upon the subject. He was directed 
to authorize General Wool to send by flag-of-truce 
boat, or by telegraph, a message to Jefferson Davis, 
representing that the course pursued by the Federal 
government toward rebel spies had heretofore been 
lenient and forbearing ; that in many cases such per 
sons had been released after a short confinement, and 
that in no instance had any one so charged been tried 
for his life, or sentenced to death. The message con 
cluded with the decided intimation that if the rebel 
government proceeded to carry their sentence of 
death into execution, the Federal government would 
initiate a system of retaliation which would amply 
revenge the death of the men now held. 

Receiving a copy of these instructions, Cclonel 
Key and myself, feeling that we had exhausted the 


power of the government in this matter, returned at 
once to Fortress Monroe. We arrived there on the 23d 
day of April. General Wool was immediately found, 
and without a moment s delay, he caused the required 
dispatches to be forwarded, by way of Norfolk, 
through General Huger, who was then in command 
of that place, with the urgent request that he would 
instantly transmit it by telegraph to the" Richmond 

This, I learned, was done as had been requested, 
and I learned further, that it reached the officers of 
the rebel government, and received their considera 
tion in time to have been of avail, had there been 
one spark of manly sympathy animating the breasts 
of those who were the leaders of a vile conspiracy to 
destroy the noblest government under the blue 
canopy of heaven. 

Feeling that all had now been done that was pos 
sible to save the lives of my men, and believing that 
the hate and malignity of the rebel officers would 
not carry them to such a murderous extent as this, I 
awaited the result of our mission with painful solici 


After the day of execution had been fixed, Mrs. 
Lawton was permitted to visit Webster in the room 
to which he had been assigned. During all the time 
that the trial had been in progress, they had never 
been allowed to communicate with each other, and 


the noble little woman had been compelled to suffer 
in silence, while Webster was undergoing the painful 
experiences of the investigation, which had resulted 
in his being condemned to be hung as a spy. 

The meeting between Webster and Mrs. Lawton 
was a most affecting one. Tears filled the eyes of the 
faithful woman, as she gazed at the pale and emaci 
ated form of the heroic patriot. Their hands were 
clasped in a warm pressure, and her words of heart 
felt sympathy and grief were choked by the sobs 
which shook her frame. Even in the excess of his 
despair, Webster s fortitude never for a moment for 
sook him. He bore the burdens which had been im 
posed upon him with a courage and firmness that 
impressed all who witnessed it. 

Under Mrs. Lawton s direction, the room in 
which he was confined was soon made cheerful and 
clean ; with her own hands she prepared for him such 
delicacies as he needed most, and her words of com 
fort were of great effect in soothing his mind, and in 
preparing him for the dreadful fate which he was 
called upon to meet. 

Nor did Mrs. Lawton stop here. She sought an 
interview with Jefferson Davis, but, finding him en 
gaged with General Lee, she obtained the privilege 
of visiting the wife of the Confederate president. With 
Mrs. Davis she pleaded long and earnestly in behalf 
of the condemned man. Besought her by every holy 
tie of her own life to intercede for the pardon of 


the poor invalid, whose life hung by so slender a 

All in vain, however. While fully sympathizing 
with the fate of the unfortunate man, Mrs. Davis de 
clined to interfere in matters of state, and Mrs. Law- 
ton left the house utterly hopeless of being able to 
avert the dreadful fate which impended over Webster. 

The hours flew swiftly by, and the day of execu 
tion drew near, and still a ray of hope glistened 
through the gloom which surrounded him. If 
McClellan only succeeded in capturing Richmond all 
would be well. But as the days passed, and this re 
sult seemed further from accomplishment than ever, 
even that flickering ember of hope died out, and he 
prepared to meet his fate like a man. 

One thing, however, impressed the doomed man 
more than anything else the thought of being 
hung. Any other mode of punishment would have 
been accepted with joy, but to be hanged like a mur 
derer, was a disgrace which he could not bear to 
think about. On the day before his execution, he 
requested a visit from General Winder, and that of 
ficer, evidently expecting a revelation from the lips 
of his victim, soon made his appearance at the prison. 

As he entered the cell where Webster was reclin 
ing upon his couch, he roughly accosted him: 

" Webster you have sent for me ; what is it that 
you desire?" 

"General Winder," replied Webster, "I have 


sent for you to make an appeal to your manhood ; 
my fate is sealed I know that too well I am to die, 
and I wish to die like a man. I know there is no 
hope for mercy, but, sir, I beseech you to permit me 
to be shot, not be hanged like, a common felon, 
anything but that." 

" I am afraid that cannot be done," said Winder, 

" It is not much to ask," pleaded Webster; " I am 
to die, and am prepared, but, sir, for God s sake let 
me not die like this ; change but the manner of my 
death, and no murmur shall escape my lips." 

" I cannot alter the sentence that has been or 

Mrs. Lawton, who was present, and unable fur 
ther to restrain herself, exclaimed : 

" General, as a woman I appeal to you you have 
the power, and can exercise it. Do not, I pray you, 
condemn this brave man to the odium of a felon s 
death. Think of his family, and his suffering. Let 
the manliness of your own heart plead for him. 
It is not much that he asks. He does not sue for 
pardon. He seeks not to escape your judgment, 
harsh and cruel as it is. He only prays to be 
alloyed to die like a brave man in the service of his 
country. You certainly can lose nothing by granting 
this request, therefore, in the name of justice and 
humanity, let him be shot instead of the dreadful 
death you have ordained for him;" 


While she was speaking, the hard lines about the 
rebel s mouth grew still more harsh and rigid. He 
did not attempt to interrupt her, but when she had 
finished, he turned coolly upon his heel, and, as he. 
reached the door he said : 

"His request and yours must be denied. He 
hangs to-morrow." 

" Then," ejaculated the undaunted woman, " he will 
die like a man, and his death will be upon your head, 
a living curse until your own dark hour shall come !" 

Without deigning to notice them further, he 
passed out of the cell, violently closing the door be 
hind him. 

The shadows of the night came down over the 
prison. The last night on earth to a brave man who 
had met death in a hundred forms ere this. How 
many times the gaunt, repulsive form of the fatal scaf 
fold, appeared to the vision of the condemned man, as 
he sat firm and rigid in his dark cell, we may not know. 
How many times he lived over again the bright 
scenes of his past life ! The happy, careless days of 
childhood, when the fond eyes of a loving mother 
beamed upon him in his sportive gambols. His 
school days, the lessons conned by the evening lamp 
in the dear old home of long ago. The merry days 
of youth, which glided away amid scenes of mirth and 
jollity. The first dawnings of the passion of his life, 
when a soft hand nestled lovingly in his, and earnest 
eyes, full of love and trust, seemed to speak a world 


of affection. Then the stirring scenes of active life, 
he a man among men battling with the world, per 
forming his daily duties, mingling honorably with his 
fellows, and upheld by a pride of honor and self-re 
spect. His sacrifices for his country in the dark hour 
of her peril. The lonely marches, the weary bur 
dens, the unflinching steadfastness of his fealty to his 
government The long nights of storm and danger, 
the varying episodes of pleasure and of pain, conflicts 
with enemies, and happy hours with friendly compan 
ions all these thoughts came upon him with a dis 
tinctness which brought their actual presence near. 
Now he was listening to the sweet lullaby of his 
mother s voice, now he stood in the hall of the " Sons 
of Liberty," in the midst of affrighted conspirators 
and blue-coated soldiers anon he strayed by a purl 
ing stream, with a loved one upon his arm and again 
he breasted the dashing waters and the deluging storm 
on the bay, as he rescued the women and children 
from the stranded boat. So vivid were these pictures 
of his mind that he lived again a hundred scenes of 
his past life, partook of a hundred pleasures, shared 
in a hundred sorrows. Suddenly in the midst of 
some thrilling vision of by-gone days, the flickering 
of his lamp or the tread of the sentry outside would 
recall him from a delightful reverie to the dark and 
dreadful present. Then gloomy and despondent 
thoughts would come to him. He would picture 
minutely the scenes of the morrow, the rude platform, 


the dangling noose, the armed soldiers, the hideous 
black cap, the springing of the gallows trap. 

Then, unable to bear the agony of his thoughts, 
he would start to his feet, press his hands to his ears, 
as if to drown the fearful sounds, and pace rapidly 
the narrow cell. Mrs. Lawton never left him ; ever 
alert to his needs, ever ready with sustaining words, 
although her own brave, tender heart was breaking, 
she did her utmost to strengthen and sustain him. 
Gradually he became calmer. The slow moving 
hours passed on, and he resolutely performed the last 
duties that devolved upon him. Messages were con 
fided to his unwavering nurse for the dear friends 
at home ; expressions of love and regard for his 
kindred, and unswerving breathings of devotion to 
his country. 

" Tell Major Allen that I met my fate like a man. 
Thank him for his many acts of kindness to me. I 
have done my duty, and I can meet death with a 
brave heart and a clear conscience." 

The first faint streaks of the early dawn came in 
through the grated window ; the sun was rising in the 
heavens, brightly and gloriously lighting up a day 
that should have been shrouded in gloom. Its beams 
illumined the little chamber, where Webster lay calm 
and wakeful, his hands clasped by the woman who 
had so nobly shared his captivity. 

A silence had fallen upon them. Each was busy 
with thoughts which lips could not utter, and the 


deathlike stillness was undisturbed save by the tramp 
of the guards in the corridor. 

Suddenly there came the sound of hurried foot 
steps. They paused before the door. The heavy 
bolts were shot back, and in the doorway stood Cap- 
Alexander, the officer in charge. 

The little clock that ticked upon the wall noted a 
quarter past five o clock. 

" Come, Webster, it is time to go." 

There was no sympathy in the rough voice which 
uttered these words. 

" To go where ?" inquired Webster, starting up in 

" To the fair grounds," was the laconic reply. 

" Surely not at this hour," pleaded the condemned 
man ; " the earliest moment named in my death- 
warrant is six o clock, and you certainly will not 
require me to go before that." 

" It is the order of General Winder, and I must 
obey," answered Alexander. "You must prepare 
yourself at once." 

Without another word Webster arose from his 
bed, and began his preparations. Not a tremor was 
apparent, and his hand was as steady and firm as 
iron. When he had fully arranged his toilet, he 
turned to Mrs. Lawton, and taking both her hands 
in his, he murmured : 

" Good-bye, dear friend ; we shall never meet again 
on earth. God bless you, and your kindness to me. 


I will be brave, and die like a man. Farewell, for 
ever !" then turning to Captain Alexander, who stood 
unmoved near the door, he said : 

" I am ready !" 

As they went out through the door, a piercing 
shriek rent the air, and Mrs. Lawton fell prostrate to 
the floor. 

Arriving at the entrance to the prison, they found 
a company of cavalry drawn up before them, and a 
carriage, procured by Mrs. Lawton, awaiting their 
appearance. Webster crossed the pavement with un 
faltering step and entered the vehicle, the order to 
march was given, and the procession started for the 
scene of execution. 

At Camp Lee, the scene was one of bustle and 
excitement. Soldiers were moving about in compa 
nies, and in small detachments. Eager spectators 
were there, curious to watch the proceedings, and the 
streets leading to the grounds were lined with people 
whose prevailing emotion seemed to be that of idle 

On arriving at the camp, Webster was conducted 
into a small room, on the ground floor of one of the 
buildings, and was left alone with the clergyman who 
bad been requested to accompany him. 

Thus he remained for several hours. At ten min 
utes past eleven, the carriage was drawn up before 
the door, and Webster appeared leaning uf on the arm 
of the jailer, and attended by his spiritual adviser. 


The doomed man wore a look of calm composure. 
His face was pale, and the feebleness of his condition 
was manifest in his tottering walk ; but his eye was 
clear and steady and not a muscle of his face betrayed 
his emotion. 

They reached the scaffold, which was erected on 
the north side of the parade ground. Slowly and 
painfully he ascended to the platform. Amid a 
breathless silence, he stood for a moment and gazed 
about him. The bright blue sky overhead, the mus 
kets of the soldiers glistening in the rays of the sun, 
the white,, eager faces which surrounded him. His 
last look on earth. Though much exhausted by his 
long illness, he stood alone and firmly whilst his arms 
were tied behind him and his feet were bound to 

The black cap was placed over his head, and then 
followed a moment of solemn stillness. The entire 
assembly seemingly ceased to breathe. The signal 
was given, the trap was sprung, and, with a dreadful, 
sickening thud, Webster fell from the gibbet to the 
ground beneath. The hang-man s knot had slipped, 
and the man, bound hand and foot, lay in a confused 
heap, limp and motionless, before the gathered throng. 
He was lifted up and carried to the scaffold. 

" I suffer a double death," came from the lips of 
the dying man as he was again placed upon the read 
justed trap. The rope was again placed around his 
neck, this time so tight as to be excruciatingly painful 


" You will choke me to death this time," came in 
gurgling tones from within the enveloping hood. 

In a second the trap was again sprung, and the 
brave patriot was swinging in the air, between heaven 
and earth. 

Rebel vengeance was at last satisfied, the appteite 
for human blood was sated. 

Treason had done its worst, and the loyal spy was 

Early in the afternoon, Captain Alexander re 
turned to the prison, and informed Mrs. Lawton that 
all was over. He found her deathly pale, but now 
firm, and giving no other outward sign of the agony 
of the past few hours. 

" May I see him before he is taken away ?" she 

" There is no objection to that." 

Accompanying the officer, she went to the room 
in which the body lay, incased in a metallic coffin 
which Mrs. Lawton had procured. His face was not 
discolored in the least, and the features indicated the 
same Roman firmness which he exhibited when he 
left the prison. He died as he had lived a brave 

Several rebel officers stood around the coffin. 
Turning suddenly upon them, and facing Captain 
Alexander, Mrs. Lawton, in a burst of passion, ex 
claimed : 

" Murderers ! this is your work. If there is ven- 


geance or retribution in this world, you will feel it 
before you die !" 

As if stung to the quick by this accusation, Cap 
tain Alexander stepped up to the coffin, and laying 
his hand upon Webster s cold, white forehead, said : 

"As sure as there is a God in Heaven, I am 
innocent of this deed. I did nothing to bring this 
about, and simply obeyed my orders in removing him 
from the prison to the place of execution." 

Application was made to General Winder for the 
privilege of sending Webster s body to the North, 
where it might be buried by his friends ; but this the 
rebel officer peremptorily refused. A petition was 
then made that it be allowed to be placed in the vault 
in Richmond, with no better success. Not content 
with heaping ignominy upon him while living, the 
fiend was determined that even in death the patriot 
should be the subject of odium and contempt. 

In the dead hour of the night, he ordered the 
remains to be carried away, and buried in an obscure 
corner of the pauper s bury ing-ground. 

Farewell, brave spirit ! I knew thee well. Brave, 
tender and true; thou hast suffered in a glorious 
cause, and died a martyr s death. Thy memory will 
long be green in the hearts of thy friends. When 
treason is execrated, and rebellion is scorned and 
despised, the tears of weeping friends will bedew the 
sod which rests above the martyred spy of the Rebel 
lion Timothy Webster. 


After the war was over, and peace once more 
reigned throughout the land, I procured his body, 
and it now lies in the soil of a loyal state the shrine 
of the patriot the resting-place of a hero. 

But little more remains to be told. After weary 
months of captivity, Mrs. Lawton, Price Lewis and 
John Scully, were sent to the North, where their 
stories were told, and from whose lips I learned the 
particulars I have narrated. 


The Defeat of General Pope at the second Battle of Manasias. 
McClellan Again Called to the Command. The Battle 
of Antietam. A Union Victory. A Few Thoughts about 
the Union Commander. McClellan s Removal from 
Command and his Farewell Address. 


N the second day of September, 1862, the 
following order was issued : 

" War Department, Adj t-Gen. s Office, 

"Washington, Sept. 2, 1862. 
" Major-General McClellan will have command of 
the fortifications of Washington, and of all the troops 
for the defense of the Capital. 

" By order of 

* E. D. TOWNSEND, " Maj.-Gen. HALLECK. 

Ass t Adj t.-Gen." 

At this time the Federal troops, under General 
Pope, were retreating in great disorder from the disas 
trous defeat in the Virginia campaign, and the roads 
leading to Washington were, for the second time during 
the war, filled with stragglers from the ranks, making 
their way to the capital. It will be remembered that 
while McClellan and the main Eastern army were in 
the Peninsula, the divisions of McDowell, Fremont 
36 [561 | 


and Banks were, by orders of the government, htJd 
near Washington, for the protection of the national 
capital. On the 26th day of July, these forces were 
consolidated as the Army of Virginia, and placed 
under the command of General Pope. This army 
was guarding the line of the Rapidan, 

Soon after the retreat of the Union army under 
General McClellan, the Confederates, in August, 
1862, began to move towards Washington. Stone 
wall Jackson, leading the advance of the Southern 
army, attacked Banks force at Cedar Mountain, on 
the 6th day of August. Banks, however, was able to 
hold Jackson in check for some time; but the main 
body of the rebels arriving, Banks was compelled to 
retreat. Lee now pressed heavily upon Pope, who 
retreated northward from every position then held by 

When this movement became known to the 
authorities, General McClellan was ordered to hastily 
ship the Army of the Potomac back to Washington, 
and so persistent was General Halleck in his orders 
to that effect, that at the second battle of Manassas 
McClellan found himself completely stripped of his 
army literally without a command and compelled 
to submit to the mortification of listening to the roar 
of the battle from afar, and without being allowed to 
participate in its conflicts. Some idea of his feelings 
may be learned from a dispatch sent by him to Gen 
eral Halleck at this time: 


" I cannot express to you the pain and mortification 
I have experienced to-day, in listening to the distant 
sound of the fighting of my men. As I can be of no 
further use here, I respectfully ask that if there is a 
probability of the conflict being renewed to-morrow, 
I may be permitted to go to the scene of battle with 
my staff, merely to be with my own men, if nothing 
more ; they will fight none the worse for my being 
with them. If it is not deemed best to intrust me 
with the command even of my own army, I simply 
ask to be permitted to share their fate upon the field 
of battle." 

These appeals, however, were utterly disregarded 
Gen. Pope was to command the army, and to do the 
fighting, and in the end the contemptuous superiors 
of the heroic commander suffered a crushing defeat 
in the bloodiest battle of this campaign. The second 
battle of Manassas was a most disastrous one, and on 
August 29-30 Pope s army was utterly defeated. 

Lee was now pressing forward, flushed with 
victory, and threatening Washington. On the ist 
of September the battle of Chantilly was fought, and 
in which those brave Generals, Kearney and Stevens, 
lost their lives. 

Learning by bitter experience the culpable folly 
of ignoring the genius and bravery of Mc- 
Clellan, and with the rebel army besieging the 
capital, General Halleck, in the excess of fear, was 
forced to again call for the services of the gallant 
commander of the Army of the Potomac, and General 


McClellan was once more placed in command of an 
army defeated and demoralized by the incompetency 
of its generals. 

The broken army of Pope was now united with 
that of the Army of the Potomac, and the army of 
Virginia ceased to exist as a separate organization. 
With the intense enthusiasm of the soldiers for Mc 
Clellan, he soon brought order out of chaos, and in an 
incredibly short space of time he faced them about, 
in orderly columns, and started to repel the invading 
army of Lee, who was now crossing the Potomac. 

From reports made by my operatives at this time, 
it was ascertained that Lee had abandoned, if, indeed, 
he ever seriously entertained the idea of advancing 
directly upon the capital, and was now contemplating 
carrying the campaign into Maryland. Longstreet s 
division had left Richmond about the 5th day of 
August for Gordonsville, marching to Orange Court 
house, he fell back to Gordonsville. Jackson fell 
back at the same time, and they both participated in 
the battle of Manassas, and in the fighting that fol 
lowed. Jackson then crossed the river into Mary 
land, before Longstreet, who crossed a few days later, 
at or near Edwards Ferry. 

On the 4th day of September, my operatives, who 
were watching the movement of the rebel army, re 
ported that Lee had his headquarters on the Aldie 
turnpike, near Dranesville ; while Jackson was near 
Fairfax Court-house. On the Qth, it was under- 


stood that the rebels had moved their entire army in 
to Virginia, and it was presumed that his objective 
point was Baltimore. 

General McClellan left Washington on the 7th 
day of September, and established his headquarters 
at Rockville, having first made all arrangements for 
the defense of Washington, and placing General 
Banks in command of the troops at that place. By 
this time it was known that the mass of the rebel 
army had passed up the south side of the Potomac 
river, in the direction of Leesburg, and that a part of 
the army had crossed the river into Maryland. 

The uncertainty of Lee s intentions greatly dis 
tracted the authorities at Washington for the safety 
of that city, and they were fearful that he would make 
a feint towards Pennsylvania, and then suddenly seize 
the opportunity to attack the capital. 

Some writers have animadverted freely upon the 
alleged " slowness " of McClellan s movements up the 
Potomac, and his " delay " in offering battle to Lee 
before the latter had time to unite his army and 
occupy the strong position he held at Antietam ; but 
they persistently ignore the fact that the dispatches 
from the commander-in-chief at Washington, to 
McClellan in the field, from the ;th to the i6th of 
September, were filled with cautions against a too 
hasty advance, and the consequent impropriety of 
exposing Washington to an attack. Indeed, it seems 
evident to me, when I regard the career of the Army 


of the Potomac, that had those in power in Washing 
ton been less concerned for their own safety, and 
trusted more to the skill and sagacity of the general 
in the field to direct its movements, the history of 
that army would have been widely different from 
what it is. The campaign of the Peninsula termi 
nated disastrously to the Union arms, and it was 
mainly due to this real or assumed fear of the author 
ities for the safety of Washington. 

It is not presuming too much to say, that McClel- 
lan knew far better than those at Washington the 
movements and intentions of the enemy, and that he 
was apprised of them sooner ; but it is equally true 
that a certain element in the Cabinet was unfriendly 
to the secret service branch of the army, and, with 
characteristic stubbornness, placed but little reliance 
upon the information obtained from this source. 

For instance, General Halleck was of the opinion, 
on the evening of the day before Antietam, that 
Lee s whole force had crossed the river, and so tele 
graphed McClellan, when the fact was that the rebel 
army was actually in our front, and ready for the bat 
tle that so speedily followed. 

Still, the importance of moving with extreme 
caution was kept constantly in view, and the army 
was moved so that it extended from the railroad to 
the Potomac River, the extreme left flank resting on 
that stream. 

On the twelfth of September, a portion of the 


right wing of the army entered Frederick, Md , and 
on the following day the main body of the right and 
the center wings arrived, only to find that the e^-my 
had marched out of the place two days before, t^jig 
the roads to Boonesboro and Harper s Ferry. 

Lee had left a force to dispute the possession of 
the passes, through which the roads across South 
Mountain ran, while he had dispatched Jackson to 
effect the capture of Harper s Ferry. In these plans 
he was partially frustrated, for while Jackson suc 
ceeded in capturing Harper s Ferry, McClellan drove 
the rebel troops from the passes, after short but 
vigorous engagements at South Mountain, on Sep 
tember 1 4th, but failed in his efforts to relieve 
Harper s Ferry, and that place was surrendered on 
the following day. 

Immediately following the actions at South 
Mountain, Lee, being closely pressed by McClellan, 
turned at bay in the beautiful valley of the Antietam. 
Here he resolved to endeavor to hold his position 
until he could concentrate his army. His forces at 
this time numbered about forty thousand men. 

On the sixteenth, he was reinforced by Jackson s 
gallant corps, numbering about five thousend men, 
which, together with other reinforcements, received 
during the day, swelled his numbers to fifty thousand 
men, which, in the language of one of their own 
writers, constituted " the very flower of the Army of 
Northern Virginia." 


Our own forces did not exceed eighty-five thou 
sand men, and it is but correct to say that not seventy 
thousand were actually engaged on the day of the 
great battle. My own judgment is, that at no time 
during the fight was the Confederate army ever con 
fronted by a force outnumbering their own. 

Confederate writers have sought to make it ap 
pear that Lee, at Antietam, fought and practically de 
feated a force in excess of his own in the ratio of 
three to one. This assertion is proven to be a 
glaring ei ror, for the facts are that the odds were less 
than three to two, even in point of actual numerical 
strength present, while, all things considered, these 
were reduced until the two armies faced each other 
on the morning of Antietam pretty evenly opposed, 
and with no decided advantage in favor of either 

To explain : taking it for granted that McClellan 
had eighty-seven thousand men at roll-call on the 
morning of the seventeenth, it is now known that the 
battle was mainly fought by the First, Second, Ninth 
and Twelfth Corps, while the Fifth and Sixth Corps 
and the Cavalry Division were scarcely used at all. 
In addition to this, it should be remembered that 
ours was the attacking force ; that the enemy oc 
cupied a chosen position, and therefore, in this view 
of the situation, the odds were by no means great in 
favor of the Federal troops. 

On the morning of the sixteenth, being then at 


headquarters, and desiring to learn from personal ob 
servation something of the position of the enemy, I 
accompanied a party of cavalry sent out to recon 
noitre across the Antietam. Here it was discovered 
that the enemy had changed the position of some of 
their batteries, while their left and center were upon 
and in front of the Sharpsburg and Hagerstown turn 
pike, and their extreme left rested upon the wooded 
heights near the cross-roads to the north. 

While returning from this reconnoitering expedi 
tion, fire was opened upon us from a masked battery 
upon the hill, and my horse, a beautiful sorrel, that 
had carried me for months, and to which I was much 
attached, was shot from under me while I was cross 
ing the stream. Several of the men who accom 
panied me were seriously wounded, and I narrowly 
escaped with my life. 

The next morning, at early dawn, the battle com 
menced, and raged with unabated fury until nightfall, 
when the rebels withdrew, and our soldiers slept that 
night upon a dearly won, yet decisively victorious 
field. McClellan determined not to renew the attack 
upon the following day, for which his critics have cen 
sured him severely ; yet, I am satisfied, that not a 
few writers, who have fought, on paper, the battle of 
Antietam, just as it should have been fought in their 
own estimation, have not, in a single instance, given 
the subject more painful and anxious thought than 
did the General himself, during all that night, while 


his weary troops lay resting on their arms, on a field 
covered with their own and their enemy s dead. 

No better reasons can be assigned, and. indeed, 
none better need be given for the course he pursued, 
than he, himself, has stated in his own report of that 
battle. He says : " I am aware of the fact, that, 
under ordinary circumstances, a General is expected to 
risk a battle if he has a reasonable prospect of success ; 
but at this critical juncture, I should have had a nar 
row view of the condition of the country, had I been 
willing to hazard another battle with less than an 
absolute assurance of success. At that moment, Vir 
ginia lost, Washington menaced, Maryland invaded, 
the National cause could afford no risks of defeat. 
One battle lost, and almost all would have been lost. 
Lee s army might then have marched as it pleased on 
Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia or New York. 
It could have levied its supplies from a fertile and 
undevastated country, extorted tribute from wealthy 
and populous cities, and nowhere east of the Alle- 
ghanies was there another organized force able to 
arrest its march." 

The day after the battle, however, General 
McClellan gave orders for a renewal of the attack on the 
morning of the nineteenth ; but when morning dawned, 
it was discovered that the rebels had suddenly aban 
doned their position and retreated across the river, 
leaving nearly three thousand of their unburied dead 
on the late field of battle. Thirteen guns, thirty-nine 


colors, upwards of fifteen thousand stand of small 
arms, and more than six thousand prisoners, were 
taken in the battles of South Mountain, Crampton s 
Gap and Antietam, while not a single gun or color 
was lost by our troops in any of these encounters. 

The Battle of Antietam, in its effects, was a bril 
liant and decisive victory for the Union arms, as it 
was a terrible blow to the South, who had expected 
much from Lee s sudden and daring invasion of a 
loyal state ; and their losses, from the time they first 
invaded Maryland until the end of the Battle of An 
tietam, were in the neighborhood of thirty thousand 

Whatever, therefore, has been said by unfriendly 
critics, concerning General McClellan s achievements, 
they must be regarded by the intelligent and fair- 
minded student of history, as far from being failures. 
Nor were they merely the achievements of an ordinary 
man. It is an easy, and no doubt a tempting task, 
nearly twenty years after a battle has occurred, and 
with the knowledge and materials now at hand, for 
writers to fight this battle over again, and point out 
alleged blunders here and there, and in their vivid, 
and not always truthful, imaginations conduct affairs 
as they should have been conducted. 

It may be safely asserted, that no General in the 
history of the Nation was ever so shamefully treated 
by his government, as was General McClellan. With 
a brave and noble devotion, and with a self-sacrificing 


love for his country and her flag, he fearlessly offered 
his life and his services in sustaining the honor of the 
one, and the perpetuity of the other. 

Reviewing his career from the date of his taking 
command of all the armies, down to the close of the 
battle of Antietam, he received the bitter opposition 
of the Cabinet, and the ill-concealed enmity of the 
politicians ; and scarcely had he been called to this 
important position, than his enemies began working 
to effect his downfall. With such persistence and 
success did they devote themselves to their task, that 
by the time he had his Army of the Potomac ready 
for the field, they had practically deposed him as the 

His plans of the campaign were required to be 
submitted to a body of twelve of his subordinates for 
approval, and this ridiculous proceeding ended in 
their adoption by a vote of eight to four. The next 
day the enemy abandoned Manassas, a move which 
was the result of direct treason, or, at least, criminal in 
discretion on the part of some member of that com 
mission, either directly or indirectly. After his plans 
were adopted, and their execution commenced, he 
was hampered and distressed by orders from his su 
periors at Washington, conflicting with his own well 
formed ideas and deranging his carefully prepared 
plans in the field. 

He, however, bore all these things patiently, and 
at all times faithfully endeavored to do the very best, 


under the adverse circumstances which surrounded 
him. He, however, at all times, had the courage to 
speak his convictions, knowing the purity of his own 
actions, notwithstanding the fact that he was fre 
quently called upon to execute orders that his own 
better judgment convinced him were conceived in 
ignorance or malice, and which could but do harm to 
him and to the cause he loved. 

On July 7, 1862, we find him writing to the Presi 
dent his views on the conduct of the war. He said : 

" In carrying out any system of policy which you 
may form, you will require a Commander-in-Chief of 
the army, one who possesses your confidence, under 
stands your views, and who is competent to execute 
your orders by directing the military forces of the 
nation to the accomplishment of the objects by you 
proposed. I do not ask that place for myself, I am 
willing to serve you in such position as you may as 
sign me, and I will do so as faithfully as ever subor 
dinate served superior. I may be on the brink of 
eternity, and as I hope for forgiveness from my 
Maker, I have written this letter from sincerity to 
wards you, and from love for my country." 

Through all his correspondence, while in the field, 
with his superiors, there breathed a spirit of earnest 
and sincere devotion to country ; and rarely was he 
tempted to utter words which proved how sorely he 
was tried and how much he resented the interference 
of incompetent authority. When p ushed beyond all 


control by the foolish, unfriendly and unjust course 
of those at Washington, and when their interference 
had caused the failure of his plans, he wrote to Secre 
tary of War Stan ton, " You have done your best 
to sacrifice this army," and even then the words were 
written more in a tone of regret than of anger. 

Nearly a month later, when the order was issued 
for the withdrawal of the Army of the Potomac before 
Richmond, under the full force of his convictions, he 
uttered a manly protest against such action, and en 
treated that the order might be rescinded. " All 
points," said he, " of secondary importance elsewhere 
should be abandoned, and every available man 
brought here. A decided victory here and the 
strength of the rebellion is crushed, it matters not 
what partial reverses we may meet with elsewhere. 
Here is the true defense of Washington ; it is here, on 
the banks of the James, that the fate of the Union 
should be decided. Clear in my convictions of right, 
strong in the consciousness that I have ever been 
and still am actuated by love of my country, .... 
I do now, what I never did in my life before, I 
entreat that this order may be rescinded." 

How true these words were, and how prophetic 
the/.r scope, may be proven by the words of General 
Sheridan several years later. When Grant was 
compelled at last to adopt the very plans of Mc- 
Clellan, thus giving as practical a vindication of that 
general as could be desired, Sheridan sent a mes- 


sage to Grant, but a little while before the surrender, 
urging him to come with all the force he could com 
mand in pursuit of Lee, saying, "Here is the end 
of the rebellion A fit corollary to McClellan s 
dispatch from James River to Halleck : " Here, di 
rectly in front of this army, is the heart of the rebel 

No general in this country, or in any other, was 
more universally beloved and admired by his troops, 
and no commander ever returned that affection with 
more warmth than did McClellan. Troops that 
under other commanders suffered defeat after defeat, 
until dismayed and discouraged they fled to Wash 
ington, followed by a pursuing and exultant enemy, 
were in a few days, by his magical influence over 
them, again transformed into brave and hopeful 
soldiers, ready to follow anywhere their trusted com 
mander might lead. 

It is a strange fact, but a fact, nevertheless, that 
the Army of the Potomac received all its good words, 
words of cheer and encouragement, from McClellan 
alone. Those in power at the capital were painfully 
blind to its sufferings on the toilsome march, or its 
deeds of valor on the bloody field. After the battle 
of Antietam, and after the Army of the Potomac had 
driven Lee from Maryland, General McClellan tele 
graphed his chief as follows : " I have the honor to 
report that Maryland is entirely freed from the 
presence of the enemy, who has been driven across 


the Potomac. No fears need now be entertained for 
the safety of Pennsylvania ; I shall at once occupy 
Harper s Ferry." 

Two days later, receiving no word of acknowl 
edgement for his troops, whom he felt had earned 
them from the Commander-in-Chief, he, in a tele 
gram of September 2Oth, said : <( I regret that you 
have not yet found leisure to say one word in com 
mendation of the recent achievements of this army, 
or even to allude to them." 

Before this, he had taken occasion to remind 
General Halleck of the fact that the army deserved 
some credit for its labors, and appreciated any 
acknowledgment of the_same which the Commander- 
in-Chief might make. 

On August 1 8th, 1862, and after the fighting 
before Richmond, he wrote to General Halleck as 
follows : 

" Please say a kind word to my army, that I can 
repeat to them in general orders, in regard to their 
conduct at Yorktown, Williamsburg, West Point, 
Hanover Court-house, and on the Chickahominy, as 
well as in regard to the seven days, and the recent 
retreat. No one has ever said anything to cheer them 
but myself. Say nothing about me ; merely give my 
men and officers credit for what they have done. Jt 
will do you much good, and strengthen you much with 
them, if you issue a handsome order to them in 
regard to what they have accomplished. They 
deserve it" 


Is it any wonder, then, that the army exhibited 
such splendid enthusiasm for their leader, when they, 
above all others, were fully acquainted with his char 
acter as a man and a general ? 

Self was his last and least consideration. Always 
mindful of the comfort of his men, yet inculcating, 
by his splendid discipline, the essential requisites of 
the true soldier, he led his troops through the cam 
paigns of the Peninsula and of Maryland, achieving a 
record that was a credit to him, his army, and the 
nation, and is an enduring monument to the faithful 
devotion and the gallant services of the Army of the 
Potomac. I cannot close this chapter in more fitting 
words than those used by General McClellan, in his 
brief and affectionate farewell to his officers and men, 
after the battle of Antietam, when, having won a vic 
tory at a critical period, he was, as a reward, relieved 
from his command. 

"November 7th, 1862. 

" Officers and soldiers of the Army of the Potomac : 
" An order of the President devolves upon Major- 
General Burnside the command of this army. In 
parting from you I cannot express the love and grati 
tude I bear you. As an army, you have grown up 
under my care. In you I have never found doubt or 
coldness. The battles you have fought under my 
command will proudly live in our nation s history. 
The glory you have achieved, our mutual perils and 
fatigues, the graves of our comrades fallen in battle 
and by disease, the broken forms of those whom 



wounds and sickness have disabled the strongest 
associations which can exist among men unite us 
still by an indissoluble tie. We shall ever be com 
rades in supporting the constitution of our country 
and the nationality of its people. 1 


General Burnside in Command. My Connection with thi 
Secret Service Severed. Reflections upon Important 
Events. Conclusion. 

ON the evening of the seventh of November, fol 
lowing the battle of Antietam, General Mc- 
Clellan was removed from the command of the Army 
of the Potomac. After having spent weeks in the 
laborious effort of reorganizing his forces, which had 
been severely shattered and weakened by the hard 
marching and the still harder fighting in the recent 
battles with Lee, the brave commander, upon the eve 
of an important forward movement was deprived of 
his noble army. General Burnside was named as his 
successor. Again had the political cabal at Washing 
ton succeeded in their opposition to the noble com 
mander of the Army of the Potomac, and this time 

McClellan s tardiness was the alleged cause of his 
removal. No one in authority seemed to consider 
for a moment the necessity, which was apparent to 
their immediate commander, of affording the Federal 



troops an opportunity to recuperate from their ex 
hausted condition. The serious losses sustained at 
South Mountain, Crampton s Gap, and Antietam had 
left the army badly disorganized, and the privations 
and hardships to which they had been subjected, ren 
dered a delay, for the purpose of allowing the worn 
and weary soldiers time to rest and recuperate, an ab 
solute necessity. In the language of McClellan, 
" The Army had need of rest." After the terrible ex 
periences of battles and marches, with scarcely an in 
terval of repose, which they had gone through from 
the time of leaving the Peninsula ; the return to 
Washington ; the defeat in Virginia ; the victory at 
South Mountain, and again at Antietam, it was not 
surprising that they were, in a large degree, desti 
tute of the absolute necessities for effective duty. 
Shoes were worn out ; blankets were lost ; clothing 
was in rags ; the army was unfit for duty, and time 
for rest and equipment was absolutely necessary. 

McClellan at once notified the authorities of the 
condition of his troops, and made the necessary requi 
sitions on the proper departments for the needed 
supplies. For some unaccountable reason unac 
countable to this day the supplies ordered were 
so slow in reaching the men, that when, on the 
seventh of October, the command came for him to 
cross the river into Virginia, and give battle to the 
enemy, a compliance with the order was practically 


Then, too, reenforcements were needed. In or 
dering the advance, the President, through the Gen 
eral-in-Chief, had submitted two plans, of which 
McClellan could take his choice. One was to ad 
vance up the valley of the Shenandoah with re- 
enforcements of fifteen thousand troops, the other 
was to cross the river between the enemy and Wash 
ington, in which case he was be reenforced with 
thirty thousand men. McClellan s first inclination 
was to adopt the movement up the Shenandoah Val 
ley, believing, that, if he crossed the river into Vir 
ginia, Lee would be enabled to promptly prevent suc 
cess in that direction by at once throwing his army 
into Maryland. Owing, however, to the delay of 
the supplies in reaching the army, it was nearly the 
end of October before the troops were ready to 
move. About the twenty-sixth, the army commenced 
to cross at Harper s Ferry, and by the sixth of Novem 
ber the advance upon the enemy was begun. On the 
night of the seventh, therefore, when the order came 
relieving him from the command, McClellan s advance 
guard was actually engaged with the enemy. 

I had already learned that Longstreet was im 
mediately in our front, near Culpepper, while Jack 
son and Hill s forces were near Chester s and Thorn 
ton s Gap, west of the Blue Ridge. McClellan had 
formed the plan of attempting to divide the enemy, 
with the hope of forcing him to battle, when it was 
believed, an easy victory would be achieved. 


At this junctnre, however, and when the army 
was in an exellent condition to fight a great battle, 
when officers and men were enthusiastic in their 
hopes of being able soon to strike an effective blow, 
McClellan was removed, and Stanton had, at last, ac 
complished his revenge, Not only this, but he had 
also secured the failure of, what was undoubtedly 
destined to be, a great and decisively victorious 

McClellan s plan on discovering the position of 
the enemy s forces, was to strike in between Culpep- 
per Court House and Little Washington, hoping by 
this means to separate the rebel army, or at least to 
force their retreat to Gordonsville, and then advance 
upon Richmond, either by way of Fredericksburg or 
the Peninsula. 

Burnside, on assuming the command, submitted a 
plan of his own, which was to make a feint of doing, 
what McClellan really intended to do, before adopt 
ing the move upon Fredericksburg or the Peninsula, 
and then to advance from Fredericksburg. 

This plan, however, did not meet the approval of 
General Halleck. That General had a long confer 
ence with Burnside, at Warren ton. Pi ere their 
various plans were discussed, without either agreeing 
to the plan of the other, and the matter was finally 
referred to the President for his decision. After a 
further delay of several days, Mr. Lincoln adopted 
Burnside s plan, and the advance was ordered. 


The success of this plan depended upon the im 
mediate possession of Fredericksburg by the Federal 
army. The intelligent student knows full well that 
this was not even attempted until Lee had ample time 
to heavily re-enforce the rebel army already there. 
The subsequent results show Burnside s delay to have 
been fatal to his success. 

There was a time when he could certainly have 
taken Fredericksburg, with but little loss ; but that 
time was passed when he permitted the enemy to fully 
garrison the place, and make ample provision for its 
defense with an army of nearly ninety thousand men. 

At this time, however, my connection with the 
Army of the Potomac, and with the military concerns 
of the government, ceased. Upon the removal of 
General McClellan, I declined to act any further in 
the capacity in which I had previously served, 
although strongly urged to do so by both President 
Lincoln and the Secretary of War, Edwin M. 

From my earliest manhood, I had been an ardent 
and active abolitionist, and I have endeavored to 
demonstrate this fact throughout these pages. My 
deep admiration, therefore, for General McClellan, 
was the result of my knowledge, of my intimate 
acquaintance with him, and a consequent high regard, 
based upon his innate and intrinsic qualities, both as 
a man and a soldier, and not from any political affinity 


Refusing longer to continue with the army under 
its new commander, I was afterwards employed by 
the government in the work of investigating the 
numerous claims that were presented against the 
United States. While acting in this capacity, I was 
instrumental in unearthing a vast number of fraudu 
lent claims, and, in bringing to justice a large number 
of men who were engaged in the base attempt to 
swindle and defraud the nation in the dark hours of 
her need and peril. 

In the Spring of 1864, I was transfered to the 
Department of the Mississippi, under General 
Canby, and my headquarters were located at New 
Orleans. Here I was engaged in looking after cotton 
claims, and the frauds which were sought to he 
perpetrated against the government in that region of 
the country. 

In 1865, I severed my connection with the " Secret 
Service of the United States," and returned to 
Chicago, where I have since been engaged in the 
active prosecution of my profession as a de 

Very often, as I sit in the twilight, my mind re 
verts back to those stirring scenes of by-gone days ; 
to those years of war and its consequent hardships, 
and I recall wjth pleasure my own connection with 
the suppression of the rebellion. My subsequent life 
has been none the less happy because of my having 
assisted, as best as I could, in putting down that 


gigantic act of attempted disunion, and in upholding 
the flag of our fathers. More than all do I rejoice in 
the freedom it brought to nearly half a million of 
people, who, prior to that time, had been held in in 
human bondage, striking the shackles from their 
bruised limbs, and placing them before the law free 
and independent. 

My task is done. In a few brief pages I have at 
tempted to depict the work of years. The war is 
over, the rebellion has been crushed, peace and plenty 
are everywhere apparent. The flag of the Union 
floats from every port in the United States, the slave 
is free, the South is recovering from the ravages of 
war, and the stories of those stirring times seem now 
like the legends of an olden time. 

One more scene remains, and I will then draw the 

It is a Sabbath morning, the air is fragrant with 
blossom and flower, the birds are carolling sweetly a 
requiem for the dead. Around us, sleeping the sleep 
that knows no waking, lie the forms of those whom 
we knew and loved. We are in the " city of the dead." 
The wind sighs through the waving branches of the 
trees, with a mournful melody, suggestive of the 
place. Near by is the bustling city, but here we are 
surrounded only by the mute, though eloquent testi 
monies of man s eternal rest. Here beneath a droop 
ing willow let us pause awhile. Flowers are bloom 


ing over a mound of earth, saturating the atmosphere 
with a grateful aroma. Let us lean over while we 
read what is inscribed upon the marble tablet. 








APRIL 29, 1862, 





Alike to him are the heats of summer, or the snows of winter. 
Peacefully and quietly he sleeps. The Spy of the Rebellion l at rest. 



IN submitting the following detailed statement of 
the rebel troops opposing General McClellan in 
his advance upon Richmond, and in the various bat 
tles that followed, a few words of explanation may be 

On the 26th day of June, 1862, as Chief of the 
Secret Service, I submitted a report to General 
McClellan, showing the estimated strength of the 
enemy at the time of the evacuation of Yorktown to 
have been from 100,000 to 120,000 men, and that the 
number of the rebels on the day of the report was 
estimated to be about 180,000 men. 

My reports, it will be remembered, were made 
daily, in writing, and were also matters of almost 
daily discussion among the general officers and their 
staff. My sources of information were not confined 
to my large corps of experienced detectives, who 
were constantly employed as spies, but every contra- 



band, deserter, refugee, friendly Southerner and pris 
oner, taken in daily picket skirmishes, were examined 
by me, and their statements verified by incontestable 
proofs. The Richmond papers, also, were promptly 
and regularly obtained, and these gave detailed lists 
of sick and wounded soldiers received at the Rich 
mond hospitals during the progress of the fighting. 

From the above-mentioned report, as far as could 
be ascertained, the force of the enemy consisted of 
the following organizations, viz.: 208 regiments of in 
fantry, including the forces of Jackson and Ewell, 
just arrived ; 9 regiments of cavalry ; 39 battalions of 
artillery ; 30 companies of infantry and independent 
cavalry ; besides 63 batteries of artillery; amounting in 
all to from 40 to 50 brigades. There were undoubt 
edly many others, whose designations I did not learn ; 
and I am confident that my estimate did not exceed 
the actual strength of the rebels at that time. 

In the list which follows, I have detailed and 
classified, as far as possible, the information then ob 
tained and submitted to the commanding General, 
and this will furnish to the impartial reader, a com 
paratively intelligent idea of the nature, the extent, 
and the approximate correctness of our system of ob 
taining information, as well as the almost definite re 
sults which we were enabled to achieve, while the 
country was in a state of conflict and the two armies 
were in almost constant action. 








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EVERY person who may have survived the expe 
rience has undoubtedly a lively recollection of 
the wild groups of people which the building of the 
Union and Central Pacific Railroads brought together 
from all directions, and from all causes. 

There were millions upon millions of dollars to be 
expended ; and as the points of construction neared 
each other, and the twin bands of iron crept along the 
earth s surface like two huge serpents, spanning 
mighty rivers, penetrating vast mountains, and trail 
ing through majestic forests, creeping slowly but 
surely towards each other, there was always the 
greatest dread at the most advanced points, which, 
like the heads of serpents, always contained danger 
and death; and the vast cities of a day that then 


sprang into existence, and melted away like school- 
children s snow-houses, were the points where 
such wild scenes were enacted as will probably never 
again occur in the history of railroad building. 

Everything contributed to make these places 
typical of Babelic confusion, or Pandemoniac conten 
tion. Foreigners were told, of the exhaustless work, 
and the exhaustless wealth, of this new country which 
was being so rapidly developed, and they came ; men 
brave men, too who had been on the wrong side 
during the late irritation, and who had lost all, having 
staked all on the result of the war, saw a possible 
opportunity of retrieving their fortunes rapidly, and 
they came ; the big-headed youth of the village whose 
smattering of books at the academy, or the seminary, 
had enlarged his brain and contracted his sense so 
that he was too good for the common duties and 
everyday drudgeries which, with patience, lead to 
success, learned of the glory and grandeur of that 
new land, and he came ; the speculating shirk and the 
peculating clerk came ; the almond-eyed sons of the 
Orient in herds herds of quick-witted, patient, plod 
ding beings who could be beaten, starved, even mur 
dered came ; the forger, the bruiser, the counterfeiter, 
the gambler, the garroter, the prostitute, the robber, 
and the murderer, each and every, came ; there was 
adventure for the adventurous, gold for the thief, 
waiting throats for the murderer; while the few 
respectable people quickly became discouraged, and 


fell into the general looseness of habits that the loose 
life engendered, and gradually grew reckless as the 
most reckless, or quickly acquiesced in the wild orgies 
or startling crimes which were of common occurrence. 
In fact, as in the human system, when any portion of 
it becomes diseased and all the poison in the blood 
flows to it, further corrupting and diseasing it until 
arrested by a gradual purification of the whole body, 
or by some severe treatment, so from every portion 
of the country flowed these streams of morally cor 
rupt people, until nearly every town west of Mis 
souri, or east of the mountains, along these lines, 
became a terror to honest people, and continued so 
until an irresistible conflict compelled a moral revul 
sion, sometimes so sweeping and violent as to cause 
an application of that unwritten, though often exceed 
ingly just law, the execution of which leaves offenders 
dangling to limbs of trees, lamp-posts, and other con 
venient points of suspension. 

As a rule, in these places, every man, whatever 
his business and condition, was thoroughly armed, the 
question of self-defense being a paramount one, from 
the fact that laws which governed older communities 
were completely a dead letter ; and the law of might, 
in a few instances made somewhat respectable by a 
faint outline of ruffianly honor, alone prevailed, until 
advancing civilization and altered conditions brought 
about a better state of society ; so that in these reck 
less crowds which pushed after the constantly chang- 


ing termini of tae approaching roads, any instrument 
of bloodshed was considered valuable, and stores where 
arms and ammunition could be secured did quite as 
large a trade as those devoted to any other branch of 
business ; while so outrageous was the price extorted 
for these instruments of aggression or defense, that 
they have often been known to sell for their weight 
in gold ; and just as, during the war, the army was 
followed by enterprising traders who turned many an 
honest penny trafficking at the heels of the weary 
soldiers, so the same class of people were not slow to 
take advantage of such opportunities for gigantic pro 
fits which, though often lessened by the many risks 
run in such trading, were still heavy enough to 
prove peculiarly attractive. 

As a consequence, there were many firms engaged 
in this particular business, but probably the heaviest 
was that of Kuhn Brothers, who were reported to 
be worth upwards of one hundred thousand dollars, 
which had principally been made along the line of the 
read, and who, with headquarters at Cheyenne, had 
established various " stores " at different points as 
the Union Pacific was pushed on, always keeping the 
largest stock at the most advanced point, and with 
drawing stocks from the paper cities which had been 
left behind, though only in those towns which had 
not been altogether destroyed by the periodical ex 
odus occasioned by each change of terminus. 

For this reason the firms were obliged to entrust 


their business to the honesty of many different em 
ploye s, who were subject to the vitiating influences 
and temptations, which were unusual and severe un 
der the circumstances already mentioned, while the 
distances between the points, and the scarcity of 
secure means of safely keeping the large sums of 
money which would occasionally unavoidably accrue 
at certain points, left Kuhn Brothers, in many in 
stances, really dependent on those dependent on 

In this condition of affairs, and after a slight de 
falcation had occurred at one of their smaller stores 
in the spring of 1867, the firm were seeking a man 
whom they could place in actual charge of one or two 
of their establishments at the larger towns, and give 
a sort of general supervision over the others, when 
the senior member of the firm, being in Laramie, casu 
ally met a young gentleman, who happened to be 
able to do him so great a favor that the incident led 
to a close friendship and ultimate business relations, 
eventually resulting in this narrative of facts. 

It was a pleasant May evening, and Mr. Kuhn 
had decided to returned to Cheyenne in order to 
secure a proper man for the superintendency nearer 
home. He was to have left Laramie for the East at 
a late hour of the evening and, being at a loss how 
to pass the intervening time, strolled out from the 
hotel with no particular destination in view, and his 
mind fully occupied with the cares of his business, 


only occasionally noticing some peculiarity or strange 
sight -more than usually striking among the thousands 
of weired things, to which his frontier business had 
compelled him to become accustomed, when suddenly 
he found himself in front of a mammoth dance-house, 
anc yielding to a momentary impulse of curiosity, 
turned into the place with the stream of gamblers, 
adventurers, greasers, and, in fact, everybody re 
spectable or otherwise, who, so far from civilization, 
found such a place peculiarly attractive. 

The dance-house was a sort of hell s bazaar, if 
the term may be allowed and it is certainly the 
one most befitting it and was really no "house" at 
all, being merely a very large board enclosure 
covered with a gigantic tent or series of tents, be 
decked with (lags and gaudy streamers. The en 
trance fee to this elegant place of amusement was 
one dollar 1 , and you had only paid an initiatory fee 
when you had gained admission. 

On either side as you entered were immense bars, 
built of the roughest of boards, where every kind of 
liquid poison was dispensed at the moderate sum of 
twi^rs-i ive cents a drink, five-cent cigars selling at 
thr same price, and the united efforts of a half-dozen 
mu-xr,-rous looking bar- tenders at each side were re 
quired to assuage the thirst of the quite as murder- 
cms looking crowd that swayed back and forth within 
the space evedently prepared for that purpose. 

Beyond this point, and to either side, as also 


down the center for some distance, could be found 
almost every known game of chance, dealt, of course, 
"by. the house," while surrounding the lay-outs were 
every description of men crazed with drink, flushed 
with success, or deathly pale from sudden ruin ; 
while everywhere the revolver or the bowie intimated 
with what terrible swiftness and certainty any trifling 
dispute, rankling grudge, or violent insult would be 
settled, one way or the other, and to be marked by 
the mere pitching of an inanimate form into the street ! 

After these attractions came a stout partition which 
had evidently been found necessary, for beyond it 
there was the strikingly strange heaven of a mushroom 
city a vast department where there were music and 
women ; and it seemed that the " management " of 
this grand robbers roost had shrewdly calculated on 
the fact that if a poor fool had not been swindled out 
of every dollar he might have had before he reached 
this point, those two elements, all powerful for good 
or evil the world over, would wring the last penny 
from him. 

Here was another but a finer bar, where more 
time was taken to prepare a drink and drug a man 
with some show of artistic excellence, and where a 
half dollar was changed for a single measure of 
poison ; women, shrewd, devilish women who could 
shoot or cut, if occasion required, with the nicety and 
effect of a man, "steering" every person giving 
token of having money in his possession to the more 


genteelly gotten up "lay-outs," and acting in the 
same capacity, only with far more successful results, 
as the ordinary " ropers-in " of any large city ; a wild, 
discordant orchestra that would have been hooted out 
of the lowest of the " varieties " east of the Missouri ; 
but in this place, and to these ears, so long unused to 
the music of the far-away homes beyond the Missis 
sippi, producing the very perfection of enchanting 
harmonies ; but above all, and the crowning attraction 
before which every other thing paled and dwindled 
to insignificance, a score of abandoned women, 
dancing and ogling with every manner of man, rob 
bing them while embracing, cheering and drinking 
with them, and in every way bedeviling them ; the 
whole forming a scene viler than imagination or the 
pen of man can conceive or picture ; grouping of wild 
orgies and terrible debaucheries, such as would put 
Lucifer to a blush, and compel a revolution in the 
lowest depths of Hades. 

Kuhn had strolled through the place, and now, 
out of compliment to general custom, purchased a 
cigar and was just turning to depart, when he sud 
denly found himself being hustled back and forth 
among several hard-looking fellows, who, evidently 
knowing his business, and surmising that he carried 
large sums of money upon his person, had determined 
to provoke him to resistance ; when there would, ac 
cording to the social codes then in existence at Lar- 
amie, have been a just cause for either robbing and 


beating him, or murdering him outright and robbing 
him afterwards ; when a tall, finely-formed man sud 
denly stepped into the crowd, and in a very decided 
tone of voice said : 

" I say, gentlemen, that won t do. You must 
stand back !" 

Then taking the terror-stricken ammunition dealer 
by the coat collar with his left hand, but keeping his 
right hand free for quick use and certain work, if nee- 
esssary, he trotted him through the now excited 
throng and out into the open air, hastily telling him 
to " cut for the hotel," which were quite unnecessary 
instructions, as he made for that point at as lively a 
gait as his rather dumpy legs could carry him. 

The person who had thus prevented the mer 
chant s being robbed, and had also possibly saved his 
life> was a tall, comely young man of about twenty- 
eight years of age, and with a complexion as fair as 
a woman s, pleasant, though determined, blue eyes, 
and a long, reddish, luxuriant beard, all of which, with 
a decidedly military cut to his gray, woollen garments, 
and long fair hair falling upon his shoulders the 
whole crowned, or rather slouched over, by a white 
hat of extraordinary width of brim, gave him the ap 
pearance of an ex-Confederate officer, and right good 
fellow, as the term goes, perfectly capable of caring 
for himself wherever his fortune, or misfortune, might 
lead him which proved the case as he turned ancji 
confronted the desperadoes, who had immediately 


followed him in a threatening manner, and whom he 
stood ready to receive with a navy revolver half as 
long as his arm, mysteriously whipped from some 
hiding-place, in each steady hand. 

A critical examination of the man as he stood 
there, and a very casual survey of him, for that mat 
ter, would have instantly suggested the fact to an or 
dinary observer that a very cool man at the rear ends 
of two navy revolvers huge enough to have been 
mounted for light-artillery service, was something 
well calculated to check the mounting ambition on 
the part of most anybody to punish him for the char 
acter of the interference shown ; and the leader of the 
gang contented himself with remarking, " See here, 
Captain Harry, if it wasn t you, there d be a reckoning 
here ; lively, too, I m tellin ye !" 

" Well, but it is me ; and so there won t be any 
reck ning. Will there, now, eh ?" 

The ruffians made no answer, but sullenly re 
turned to the dance-house, when Captain Harry, as 
he had been called, rammed the two huge revolvers 
into his boot legs, which action displayed a smaller 
weapon of the same kind upon each hip ; after which 
he nodded a pleasant " good-night " to the bystanders, 
and walked away leisurely in the direction Mr. Kuhn 
had taken, pleasantly whistling "The Bonnie Blue 
Flag," or "The Star Spangled Banner," as best 
suited him. 

The moment that Mr. Kuhn s protector appeared 


at the hotel, the former gentleman expressed his live 
liest thanks for the opportune assistance he had been 
rendered, and introduced himself to the Captain, who 
already knew of him, and who in return gave his 
name as " Harry G. Taylor, the man from some 
where," as he himself expressed it with a pleasant 

It was easy to be seen that there was a stroke of 
business in Mr. Kuhn s *eye, which his escape from 
the dance-house had suggested, as he told Taylor 
that he had intended to return to Cheyenne that 
night ; but he further stated that as he had so unex 
pectedly been befriended, he should certainly be 
obliged to remain another day in order to secure a 
further acquaintance with the man to whem he already 
owed so much. 

Mr. Kuhn then produced some choice cigars, and 
the gentlemen secured a retired place upon the hotel- 
porch, at once entering into a general conversation, 
which, from the merchant s evident unusual curiosity, 
and Taylor s quite as evident good-humored, devil- 
may-care disposition, caused it to drift into the Cap 
tain s account of himself. 

He told Mr. Kuhn that his family resided at that 
time in Philadelphia, where they had moved after his 
father had failed in business at Raleigh, N. C., but 
had taken so honorable a name with him to the 
former city that he had been able to retrieve his for 
tunes to some extent The Captain was born at 


Raleigh, and had received his education in the South, 
and, being unable to share in his father s regard for 
the North, even as a portion of the country best 
adapted for doing business, sought out some of his 
old college friends in Louisville, Atlanta, and New 
Orleans, who had been able to secure him a fine busi 
ness position at Atlanta, where by care and economy 
in 1860, though but a mere boy yet, he had accumu 
lated property that would have satisfied many a man 
twenty years his senior. 

Being impulsive, and a warm admirer of Southern 
institutions, he was one of the first men to join the 
Confederate army at Atlanta, and fought in a Georgia 
regiment under Johnson and Hood during the entire 
war, at Jonesville and Rough-and-Ready Station 
seeing the smoke ascend above the ruins of the once 
beautiful city, and realizing that the most of his 
earthly possessions had disappeared when the flames 
died away. 

Having been promoted to a captaincy, he had 
fought as bravely as he could against the " blue- 
coats," like a man, acknowledging their bravery as 
well as that of his comrades ; and at the close of the 
war, which of course terminated disadvantageously to 
his interests, he had sold his lots at Atlanta for what 
ever he could get for them, and with thousands of 
others in like circumstances, had come West and 
taken his chances at retrieving his fortunes. 

This was told in a frank, straightforward way, 


which seemed to completely captivate Mr. Kulin, for 
he at once spoke to Taylor concerning his business in 
Laramie, and bluntly asked him, in the event of 
mutual and satisfactory references being exchanged, 
whether he would accept the engagement as superin 
tendent of his business over that portion of the road, 
and take actual charge of the store in that place, 
and the one about to be established at Benton City. 

The result of the evening s interview was the 
engagement of Taylor by the firm at a large salary ; 
his immediately taking supervision of the business 
without bonds or any security whatever ; and for a 
time his management and habits were so able and 
irreproachable that, with the gratitude for his protec 
tion of Mr. Kuhn at Lamarie still fresh and sincere, 
the firm felt that they had been most fortunate in 
their selection of an utter stranger, and were in every 
way gratified with the turn events had taken. 


DURING the early morning of a blustering Decem 
ber day of the same year, I was quite annoyed by the 
persistence of a gentleman to see me, on what he 
insisted, in the business office of my Chicago agency, 
on terming " important business." 


It was not later than half-past eight o clock ; and, 
as I have made it a life-long practice to get at 
business at an early hour, get ahead of it, and keep 
ahead of it during the day, I was elbow-deep in the 
mass of letters, telegrams, and communications of a 
different nature, which, in my business, invariably 
accymulates during the night, and felt anxious to wade 
through it before taking up any other matter. 

The gentleman, who gave the name of Kuhn, 
seemed very anxious to see me, however ; and letting 
drop the statements that he greatly desired to take 
the morning train for Cheyenne, where he resided ; 
might not be able to be in Chicago again for some 
time ; felt very desirous of seeing me personally ; and 
would require but a few moments to explain his 
business, which he agreed to make explicit ; I con 
cluded to drop everything else and see him. 

On being ushered into my private apartments, he 
at once hastily gave me an outline of the facts related 
in the previous chapter, adding a new series of 
incidents which occasioned his visit, and to the effect 
that the firm had made the necessary arrangements 
for increasing their busines under their new superin 
tendent, having added largely to their stock at Lar- 
ainie, and placed about twenty thousand dollars worth 
of goods at Benton City. 

According to the agreement, he was required to 
forward money whenever the sales had reached a 
stated sum at each point, and was given authority to 


take charge of goods or moneys on hand at any of 
the less important stations, when convinced that 
things were being run loosely, or whenever it in any 
way appeared for the interests of the firm for him to 
do so. 

It will be seen that under this arrangement, which 
was in every respect injudicious, no security having 
been given by Taylor, he immediately became 
possessed of great responsibility, as well as power ; 
but appeared to appreciate the unusual confidence 
reposed in him, and conducted the business of Kuhn 
Brothers with unusual profit to them and credit to 
himself. Matters progressed in this way for some 
time, when suddenly, about the first of October, the 
firm at Cheyenne began to receive dispatches from 
different employees along the road, inquiring when 
Taylor was to return from Cheyenne, and intimating 
that business was greatly suffering from his absence. 
The members of the firm were astonished. They 
knew nothing of Taylor s being in Cheyenne. On 
the contrary, their last advices from him were to the 
effect that he should be at their city on the tenth of 
that month, with large collections ; and the announce 
ment was accompanied with glowing accounts of the 
prosperity of their business under his careful manage 

After the startling intelligence of Taylor s unac 
countable absence, a member of the firm immediately 
left for Laramie, Benton City, and other points, to 


ascertain the true condition of affairs, still unable to 
believe that the handsome, chivalrous captain had 
wronged them, and that everything would be found 
right upon examination of matters which was imme 
diately and searchingly entered upon ; but the first 
glance at affairs showed conclusively that they had 
been swindled, and it was soon discovered that he 
had gathered together at the stores under his own 
charge, and at different points along the line, under 
various pretexts, fully fourteen thousand dollars, and 
had been given two weeks in which to escape. 

Mr. Kuhn did not desire to give the case into my 
hands on that morning ; but explained that he had re 
turned from a fruitless trip to Philadelphia in search 
of his former superintendent, and had been advised 
by a telegram from his brothers to lay the case before 
me and request my advice about the matter ; at the 
same time securing information about the probable 
pecuniary outlay necessary for further prosecution of 
the search, and such other items of information as 
would enable him to counsel with the remainder of 
the firm concerning the case, and be able to give the 
case into my hands, should they decide to do so, 
without further delay. 

This was given him ; and I, in turn, secured from 
Mr. Kuhn all the information possible concerning 
Taylor, which was scant indeed, as they had seen very 
little of him, could give but a very general descrip 
tion of the man, and here they had injudiciously given 


him over two .months start, during which time he* 
might have safely got to the other side of the world. 

Only one item of information had been developed 
by which a clue to his whereabouts could by any pos 
sibility be imagined. He had often spoken to Mr. 
Kuhn in the most glowing terms of life in both Texas 
and Mexico, as he had passed, so he had said, a por 
tion of a year in that part of America, since the close 
of the war, and in connection with the subject, he had 
stated that he should have remained there had he 
been supplied with sufficient capital to have enabled 
him to begin business. 

This was all ; and I dismissed the swindled mer 
chant with little encouragement as to the result of a 
chase for a thief who had got so much the advantage , 
or, rather, intimated to him that though I had no 
doubts of being able to eventually catch him, it would 
be rather a poor investment for the firm to expend 
the amount of money which might be necessary to 
effect his capture, unless, in looking into the matter 
further. I should be able to see opportunities for 
securing much better knowledge as to his present 
whereabouts, or clues which could be made to lead 
to them. 

With this not very cheering assurance, Mr. Kuhn 
returned to Cheyenne. 

Not hearing from the firm for several days, I 
finally dismissed the matter entirely from mind ; but 
on arriving at the agency one morning, I received in- 



structions from the Cheyenne firm to proceed in the 
matter, and with all expedition possible endeavor to 
cage the flown bird for them. 

I at once detailed William A. Pinkerton, my eldest 
son, and at present assistant superintendent of my 
Chicago agency, to proceed to Cheyenne, and look 
over the ground thoroughly there, and also, if neces 
sary, to proceed along the line of the Union Pacific, 
and, after ascertainig who were Taylor s friends and 
companions, work up a trail through them, which 
would eventually bring him down. 

The latter course was not necessary to be followed, 
however, as on arriving at Cheyenne, with some little 
information gleaned from the firm, he was able to 
ascertain that a young lawyer there named La Grange, 
also orginally from the South, had been a quite inti 
mate friend of Taylor s so much so, in fact, that La 
Grange had for the last six months regularly corre 
sponded with the Captain s sister, who had been de 
scribed to him as not only an exceedingly beautiful 
woman, but as also a lady possessed of unusual 
accomplishments and amiability. 

My son "cultivated" La Grange largely, but 
could secure but little information through him. He 
seemed to know nothing further concerning either 
Taylor or his family, save that he had incidentally 
met him along the line of the Union Pacific ; they had 
naturally taken a sort of liking to each other, and in 
that way became friends in much the same manner 


that most friendships were made in that country. He 
further recollected that he had always directed his 
letters to a certain post-office box, instead of to a 
street number ; but seemed perfectly mystified con 
cerning the action of the brother. He had just re 
turned from a three months absence in Kentucky, 
and it was the first intimation he had had of the Cap 
tain s crime. La Grange also said that as he had 
been very busy, he had not written to Miss Lizzie 
(evidently referring to the sister), nor had he received 
any communication from her during that time. He 
had had a photograph of Harry, taken in full-dress 
uniform while stationed at Atlanta, which had been 
copied in Philadelphia, but a thorough search among 
his papers failed to reveal it. 

This was all that my son could secure, as La 
Grange, evidently suspecting that, in his surprise at 
Taylor s crime, he might say something to com 
promise himself and endanger Taylor or wound his 
beautiful sister, to whom he seemed greatly attached, 
positively refused to have anything further to say 
concerning the matter ; and with what information he 
had, William returned to the hotel in a brown study, 
determined to take time to exhaust the material at 
Cheyenne before proceeding on the proposed trip 
along the Union Pacific. 

After summing up and arranging the points he had 
got hold of, he telegraphed me fully, adding his own 
impression that Taylor was in Texas, but expressing 


a doubt as to whether he had better proceed along 
the Union Pacific for more information, or go on to 
Philadelphia at once, and in some way secure informa 
tion of the family as to their son s whereabouts. 

On the receipt of this telegram, which arrived in 
Chicago about noon, I at once resolved upon a little 
strategy, being myself satisfied that Taylor had pro 
ceeded, via St. Louis and New Orleans into either 
Texas or Mexico, and was then engaged under his 
own or an assumed name, in some business agreeable 
to his taste, as formerly explained to Mr. Kuhn, and 
immediately telegraphed to my son : 

" Keep La Grange busied all day so he cannot 
write, or mail letters. Study La Grange s language 
and modes of expression. Get La Grange s and 
Taylor s handwriting, signatures, and Miss Taylor s 
address, and come next train." 

Agreeable to these instructions, he secured several 
letters from Taylor to Kuhn Brothers, concerning 
business matters, with the last one, containing the 
announcement that he would be in Cheyenne on the 
tenth of October with collections ; and immediately 
sent by a messenger a courteous note to La Grange, 
desiring an outline of Taylor s life so far as he might 
feel justified in giving it, and requesting an answer, 
which was politely but firmly given in the negative 
over Adolph La Grange s own signature, which com 
pleted a portion of his work neatly. 

The balance was more difficult. He ordered a 


sleigh, and after settling his hotel bill, but reserving 
his room for the night, at once drove to La Grange s 
office, where he in person thanked him for his court 
eous letter, even if he did not feel justified in giving 
him the information desired. A little complimentary 
conversation ensued during which time my son s quick 
eyes noticed in the lawyer s waste-basket an envelope 
evidently discarded on account of its soiled appear 
ance, addressed to " Miss Lizzie Taylor, Post-office 
Box , Philadelphia," which on the first opportu 
nity he appropriated. The next move was to prevent 
La Grange s mailing any letter, as it was evident he 
had written several, including one to Taylor s sister, 
which were only waiting to be mailed. 

Seeing that he had made a pleasant impression 
upon La Grange, who appreciated the courtesy of the 
call under the circumstances, and informing him that 
he had decided to make no further inquiries there, but 
was to proceed west on the following morning, he pre 
vailed upon him to take a ride in his company about 
the city and its environs. In leaving his office, "La 
Grange hesitated a moment as if deciding the pro 
priety of taking the letters with him, or returning for 
them after the sleigh-ride ; but evidently decided to do 
the latter, as he left them, much to my son s relief. 

The drive was prolonged as much as possible, and 
the outlying forts visited, where, having letters of in 
troduction from myself to several army-officers sta 
tic ned there, both he and his companion were so hos- 


pitably treated that the afternoon slipped away 
quickly, and the two returned to town evidently in 
high spirits. La Grange felt compelled to recipro 
cate as far as in his power, and billiards, frequent 
drinks for the lawyer and a liberal supply of water 
for the detective, were in order until within a half 
hour of the eastern bound train time, when La Grange 
succumbed to an accumulation of good-fellowship, 
and on his own suggestion, as he "wash rising y n g 
torny y know !" accepted the hospitalities of my son s 
room, at the Rawlins House, where he left him 
sweetly sleeping at a rate which would prevent the 
mailing of the letters he had left locked in his office 
for at least two days to come ; as " rising young at 
torneys," as a rule, sober off in a carefully graduated 
diminishing scale of excesses of quite similar con 
struction to the original. 

On the arrival of my son in Chicago, I immedi 
ately caused to be written a letter addressed to Miss 
Lizzie Taylor, at her post-office box in Philadelphia, 
of which the following is a copy : 

" Miss TAYLOR, 

" MY DEAR FRIEND : You know of my intended 
absence from Cheyenne in the South. During that 
trip, I really never had the time when I could write 
you so fully as I desired, and even now I am only 
able to send you a few words. I am en route to 
Washington on business, and have now to ask you 


to send the street and number of your father s house, 
even if it is not a magnificent one, as you have told 
me, to my address, at the Girard House, in your city, 
on receipt of this, as I shall be in Washington but 
one day, and would wish to see both you and your 
people without delay. I not only greatly wish to see 
you for selfish, reasons, which our long and pleasant 
correspondence will suggest to you as both reason 
able and natural, but there are other good reasons, 
which you all will readily understand when I tell you 
that I met him accidentally just before my return to 
Cheyenne, and that I have a communication of a per 
sonal nature to deliver. While not upholding him 
in the step he has taken, I cannot forget that I am 
his friend, and he your brother. 
"In great haste, 

" Your true friend, 


" P. S. I leave here for the East this morning. 
Please answer on immediate receipt. 

A. L." 

This was posted on the eastern-bound train not 
an hour after my son s arrival from the West ; and 
another note was written upon the back of an en 
velope which had passed through the mail, and had 
got a very much used appearance, and ran thus : 


" Treat Adolph well, you can trust him. Give him 
one of the photos taken at Atlanta in my full-dress 
uniform ; keep one other of the same for yourselves ; 
but destroy all the rest. Have been so hurried and 


worried thc.t I don t remember whether I have said 
anything about photographs before. But this is a 
matter of imperative necessity. Adolph will explain 
how he met me. " Good-by, 

" H. " 

It was impossible to detect any difference between 
this handwriting and that of Captain Taylor s in his 
business correspondence to Kuhn Brothers ; and, 
armed with this document, with the assistance of the 
epistolary self-introduction which had preceded it, I 
directed my son to leave for Philadelphia that 
evening, secure admission to Taylor s residence and 
the family s confidence, agreeable to the appointment 
made by mail, and thus not only secure the man s 
photograph, but other information that would be 

On arrival at Philadelphia, he secured the services 
of an operative from my agency in that city, to fol 
low any member of the Taylor family who might call 
for the letter, to their residence, in the event of an 
answer not being received at his hotel in due time 
from the one assumed to have been sent from the 
hotel in Chicago from La Grange, who found Taylor s 
home, an unpretentious house on Locust street, 
while my son remained at the hotel, fully expecting 
the coveted invitation to visit the Captain s beauti 
ful sister, which arrived at his hotel only a half day 
after he did, and strongly urged him to call at his 


He was satisfied from this that our theory regard 
ing his being in Texas, or Mexico, was correct ; that 
the family had not the slightest suspicion of his iden 
tity, and that, wherever Captain Taylor might be, 
communication with his people had been very infre 
quent, and that, with what he would be able to invent 
after being received at Taylor s house, he could 
secure at least sufficient information to put him 
upon his son s trail. Not desiring to play upon their 
feelings and friendship as another person any longer 
than necessary, however, he sent word by a messen 
ger, not daring to trust his own handwriting, that he 
would call that evening, though necessarily at a late 
hour ; and, accordingly, that evening, about nine 
o clock, found him at the door of a pleasant Locust 
street cottage, ringing for admission. 

A tall, handsome young woman greeted him at 
the door, and accordingly bade him enter, saying 
pleasantly, as she ushered him into the cozy little 
parlor, that she was Miss Lizzie Taylor, and pre 
sumed he was Mr. La Grange, with whom she had 
had so long and so pleasant a correspondence ; and of 
whom " poor Harry," as she said with a shade of 
sadness and tenderness in her voice, had so often 
written, before he had made his terrible mistake, and 
become a wanderer. 

After hastily satisfying her that he was the gen 
uine La Grange, and profusely apologizing for his 
not having written for so long a time previous to his 


arrival at Chicago, from Cheyenne, he took up the 
thread she had dropped, as quickly as possible, and 
said that he felt sure that Harry would retrieve 
himself soon, and return the money, as he had 
no bad habits, and everything would be all right 

"But yet, Mr. La Grange," she continued, "it 
makes me shudder whenever I think of all my 
brothers being away off there on the Rio Grande, 
among those terrible people !" 

" But, you must remember," he replied, encourag 
ingly, " they are strong men, and can well defend 
themselves under any circumstances." 

" Harry is strong and brave, I know," answered 
Miss Taylor, rather admiringly ; " but brother Robert 
is not fit for such a life. Why, he is but a boy yet." 

"Ah, a younger brother?" he thought, making a 
mental note of it, in order to assist in shaping his 
conversation after which he said aloud : "I almost 
forgot to give you this note ;" and he took the 
piece of envelope out of his note-book, as if it had 
been sacredly guarded, and handed it to her. 

Miss Taylor read the hastily written lines with 
evident emotion ; and after studying a moment, as if 
endeavoring to reconcile matters, while her face was 
being searchingly read by an experienced detective, 
she rose, and, apologizing to him for the absence of 
her father, who was in New York, on business, and of 
her mother, who was confined to her apartment, a 


confirmed invalid, she asked to be excused so as tc 
show the note to her mother. 

The instant the door closed, my son had seized 
the album, which he had located during the preceding 
conversation ; and rapidly turned its leaves to assure 
himself that he was not treading on dangerous 
ground. He found a half-a-dozen different styles of 
pictures of the Captain, including three of the copies 
taken in Philadelphia of the original Atlanta picture, 
and felt reassured beyond measure at the lucky turn 
things had taken. He would have abstracted one of 
these, but it was impossible, and had barely time to 
return the album to the table, and himself to his seat, 
when he heard the woman s step along the hall, and 
in a moment more she entered the room. 


GIVING the door a little impulsive slam, as she 
closed it, Miss Taylor at once came to where my son 
was sitting upon the sofa, and seated herself beside 
him. She said that her mother was anxious beyond 
measure to learn how and where he had met Harry, 
how he was looking, and what he had said. 

The imagination and resources of the able detec 
tive are fully equal to those of the most brilliant 


newspaper reporters, and a pleasant and plausible 
fiction was invented, how he (as La Grange, of 
course), having taken a run from Louisville down to 
New Orleans, by boat, was just landing at the levee, 
when he suddenly came across Harry, who had hastily 
told him all ; how great had been his transgression, 
how deeply he had regretted it ; but that now he was 
situated in his business matters so that, if let alone, 
he would be able to return to Kuhn Brothers 
every dollar which he had taken, and have a fine 
business left ; how it had been necessary for him to 
come to New Orleans on imperative business, and 
that he should not come east of the Mississippi again 
under any circumstances. He further said, that 
Harry seemed hopeful ; that he had stated that his 
younger brother Robert was well and enjoying the 
frontier life ; and that, further than that, he had no 
time or disposition to talk, as he was on the very eve 
of departure for Texas, only having time to write the 
little note concerning the photographs. 

Miss Taylor excused herself for a moment to 
convey the truthful intelligence to her anxious 
mother ; and on her return suggested that they go 
through the album together at once, and attend to the 
photographs, an invitation which was accepted with 
unusual readiness. 

Every gentleman who has had the experience, 
and there are few who have not, know that looking 
over an album with a beautiful woman who has some 


interest in her companion, is a wonderfully pleasant 
diversion. In this instance it was doubly pleasant, 
for it meant success to my son, whose zeal is as 
untirihg as my own when once on the trail of a 

4< I wonder why," asked Miss Taylor, as if 
wondering as much about Mr. La Grange as about 
any other subject ; " I wonder why Harry desires those 
photographs destroyed ?" 

He was turning the leaves for her and, as La 
Grange, of course, had a perfect right to take plenty 
of time to explain the matter soothingly and sympa 

"But do those horrid detectives track a man out 
and run him down, when, if he were let alone, he 
might recover from his misfortune, and right the 
wrong he has done ?" 

Mr. La Grange remarked that he had heard that 
some of them were very much lacking in sentiment 
and sensibility, and would go right forward through 
the very fire itself to trace the whereabouts of a crimi 
nal ; and all those little things helped, he could assure 

She began to see how it was, she said ; but sud 
denly firing up, she shook her pretty fist at some im 
aginary person, exclaiming : 

" Oh, I could kill the man who would thus dog 
my brother Harry." And then, after a little April 
shower of tears, quite like any other woman s way of 



showing how very desperate they can be under 
certain circumstances, began slowly taking the Cap 
tain s pictures from the album, commenting upon 
them, and then handing them to the bogus La Grange 
to burn, who would occasionally step to the fire-place 
for that purpose, where he would quickly substitute 
miscellaneous business cards, which answered the pur 
pose excellently. 

An hour or two was passed with Miss Taylor in 
conversation upon various topics which might lead 
the really estimable young lady to divulge all she 
knew about the Captain, or concerning his where 
abouts and business, which was certainly not much. 

It appeared that, immediately after the embezzle 
ment, and while at St. Louis, Taylor had telegraphed 
to his brother Robert to meet him at New Orleans at 
a certain time, as he was going into business in that 
section, and should need his services, for which he 
would be able to pay him handsomely ; the brothers 
had met there and had proceeded to some other 
point ; the Captain claiming that \ it would be 
injudicious to make that fact known as he had also 
sent a full and complete contession to his parents 
of his embezzlement from Kuhn Brothers, which he 
had directed them to burn, and which he finished by 
requesting his family not to write to either himself 
or his brother for some time to come ; or at least 
until he should indicate to them that it would be safe 
to do so ; and under no circumstances to give any 


person an iota of information concerning himself of 
his brother. 

My son left Miss Taylor s hospitable home with 
a pang of regret for the deception which had seemed 
necessary in this case ; for whatever may be the 
opinion of the public regarding the matter, a detect 
ive has often quite as large and compassionate a 
soul as men of other and apparently more high-toned 

So long as intelligent crime is the result of a high 
standard of mental culture and a low standard of 
moral conscience conditions which now exist and 
have for some years existed intelligent minds must 
be trained to battle criminals with their own weapons ; 
and these two questions, of speedy detection of crime 
and swift punishment of criminals will be found quite 
as essential to a preservation of law and society as 
lofty arguments or high moral dissertations on the 
right or wrong of the expediencies necessary to 
bring wrong-doers to immediate and certain jus 

As soon as I had received a full telegraphic re 
port of the success of the Philadelphia experiment, I 
directed him to proceed to Louisville, where he would 
be met by operative Keating, from Chicago, who 
would bring letters of introduction from myself to 
Colonel Wood, commanding the First Infantry at 
New Orleans ; Captain White, chief of the detective 
force of that city ; General Canby, commanding the 


Department of Texas, at Austin ; Col. Hunt, Chief 
Quartermaster of the Department of Texas, and 
other army officers, requesting them to render my 
son and his assistant any aid in their power should 
the necessity for such assistance arise ; the requisition 
from Governor Foulke, of Dakotah Territory, for 
Henry G. Taylor, upon Governor Pease, of Texas, 
and general instructions concerning his conduct of the 
search for the handsome captain after he had got 
beyond mail and telegraphic communication. 

I was sending him into a country which was at 
that time in many portions utterly unsafe for the 
securing of a criminal should the pursuer s mission 
become known, so as to allow the person desired time 
to apprise his friends of his danger, or give him even 
an opportunity to rally any number of acquaintances 
for defense ; for the reason that, as Texas had become 
a sort of refuge for ruffians, they became clannish 
through the general peril of being pursued each ex 
perienced ; and would, as a rule, on the slightest prov 
ocation, assist in the rescue of any person under ar 
rest, not knowing how soon it might be their turn to 
cry for help ; but I have invariably sent my sons into 
danger with the same expectation that they would do 
their duty regardless of consequences, as I have had 
when sending other men s sons into danger. Happily 
I have never mistaken their metal ; and, in this in 
stance, felt sure that I could rely upon him to exercise 
both discretion and intrepidity in exigencies to which 


his long experience and careful training have at all 
times made him equal. 

The two detectives met in Louisville, and at once 
proceeded to New Orleans, where they arrived early 
in the morning of the 7th of January, 1868, and were 
driven to the St. Charles Hotel. No time was lost ; 
and while my son presented his letters to different 
parties, and made cautious inquiries regarding the re 
cent appearance in New Orleans of Taylor, Keating, 
in the character of a provincial merchant, investigated 
as far as possible the business houses dealing in stock, 
leather, or wool, as to whether any such person had 
made arrangement for consignments from the interior 
or seaport Texan cities. No trace of their man was 
found, however, until my son was able to get at the 
register of the St. Charles Hotel for the preceding 
three months, which was attended with some difficulty, 
on account of the crowded condition of things at that 
house ; and any detective, or other expert, will under 
stand how much time and -patience are required to 
discover one signature from among ten thousand, 
when that one may be an assumed name, and perhaps 
five hundred of the ten thousand be so similar to the 
one sought, that a disinterested person could scarcely 
be convinced it was really not the person s handwrit 
ing desired; but after a good deal of trouble and 
searching, the names of " H. G. Taylor & clerk, w 
were discovered on the last half line at the bottom of 
a page under date of November 3Oth, 1867, which, 


by constant wear and thumbing in turning pages, had 
been nearly defaced, but which, in his handwriting, 
beyond a doubt told the story of their presence. 

Further inquiry of the clerk on duty at that time, 
and with his memory refreshed by a glance at 
Taylor s photographs, developed the facts that he had 
certainly been at the St. Charles on the date shown 
by the register, and that he was accompanied by a 
young man about nineteen years of age, who was re 
cognized as Taylor s clerk. 

The peculiar register then kept at the St. Charles 
Hotel in New Orleans was also instrumental in as 
sisting the detectives. It gave the guest s name, re 
sidence, hour of arrival, and hour of departure, with 
name of conveyance at arrival and departure, in the 
following manner : 

H. G. Taylor and Clerk, \ Mobile, \ 12 m. \ Fed. 
2 Dec. | 7 a. m. 

This told anybody curious about the matter that 
H. G. Taylor and clerk, assuming to reside in Mouile, 
arrived at the St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans, at 
noon on Saturday, the thirtirth day of November, 
1867, either afoot or by some mode of conveyance 
unknown to the clerk of the house, and that they left 
the house in an omnibus at seven o clock on the 
morning of the third day following. 

Naturally the next inquiries were directed to as 
certaining to what boat or railroad lines omnibuses 


^ould be ordered at that hour of the morning ; if to 
different ones, then to discover who had driven the 
particular omnibus which conveyed Taylor and his 
brother from the hotel ; and then make an effort to 
learn to what point they had been conveyed. This, 
however, proved less difficult than had been feared ; 
for it was found that on the morning in question the 
omnibus had gone from the hotel to but one point, 
and that was to the ferry connecting with Berwick 
Bay route, by the New Orleans and Opelousas Rail 
road and the Gulf, to Galveston, although a large 
number of passengers had been booked, and it was 
impossible to ascertain whether Taylor and his brother 
had actually gone that route or not, though every 
thing was in favor of that presumption. 

The death of General Rosseau had caused quite 
a commotion in New Orleans, and it seemed a pretty 
hard matter to get anything further of a definite 
character in that place ; and I therefore instructed 
my son and detective Keating to proceed slowly to 
Galveston, stopping at Brashear City, where Taylor 
might have diverged, supposing he had taken that 
route with the other passengers from New Orleans,-- 
and to particularly search passenger lists aboard any 
lines of boats, and all hotel registers, before arriving 
at Galveston, so as to have the work done thoroughly 
nearest the base of operation ; as I knew that for any 
party to get on the wrong scent in that vast state, 
thinly settled as it was, with no means of quickly con- 


veying needful intelligence, was to enter upon both a 
needless waste of money for my patrons, and an ob 
jectless and wearying struggle against insurmountable 
obstacles for my detectives, whom, whatever may be 
said to the contrary, I have never in a single instance 
needlessly or injudiciously exposed to privation or 

In Brashear conductors of trains were applied 
to ; the hotel and omnibus men were questioned, the 
postmaster was appealed to, and even the passenger- 
lists of the boats which had been in port, and to 
which they were able to gain access for a period of 
three months, had been searched in vain. Every 
trace of the man seemed lost ; and I was appealed to 
for a decision as to whether they should proceed to 
Galveston by boat, with the presumption that Taylor 
had taken passage under an assumed name, or take a 
few days trip up along the line of the New Orleans 
and Opelousas Railroad and seek for information 
of their man at different points through Central 

I decided on the former course, and they accord 
ingly embarked from Brashear immediately after the 
receipt of my telegram of instructions, on the hand 
some steamer " Josephine," the only boat whose books 
they had had no opportunity of examining ; and, hav 
ing received my telegram but a few minutes before the 
steamer left, were obliged to do some lively running 
to reach it ; for, in anticipation of a message from me 


to take that route, my son had directed Keating to set- 
tie the hotel bill, and with both valises in hand wait at 
a convenient corner, where, should William receive 
a dispatch from me of the character expected, within 
a certain time, they might yet make the boat. 
Everything transpiring as my son had hoped, they 
were just in time, after a lively run, to be hauled up 
the gang-plank by two stalwart negroes, and were 
soon steaming down the bay and thence out to sea. 


As the two ascended to the cabin they were con 
gratulated by the officers of the boat and many of the 
passengers on their graceful and expeditious board 
ing of the steamer ; and being something of objects 
of interest on account of the little incident, they con 
cluded not to lose the opportunity to blend the good 
feeling evoked into a thoroughly pleasant impression, 
and consequently took the shortest way to accomplish 
that desired end by at once walking up to the bar 
where the assembled gentlemen, to a man, apparently 
in coripliance to general custom, seemed to under 
stand that they had been incited before a word had 
been uttered by either of the detectives, so that when 
my son asked, " Gentlemen, won t you join us ?" it 


was an entirely superfluous request; for on either 
side, behind, and extending a solid phalanx beyond 
the " gentlemen " had already joined and were de 
scribing the particular liquor that in their minds 
would do honor to the occasion in the most lively and 
familiar manner possible, and interspersing their de 
mands upon the leisurely bar-keeper with such re 
marks as " Gen lemen had narrow scape ;" "Gen le- 
men made a right smart run of it ;" " Gen lemen not 
down from Norlens (New Orleans), reckon come 
down Opelousas route," and other similar comments ; 
but invariably prefacing each and every remark with 
the stereotyped word " Gen lemen," which men were, 
without exception, assumed to be in that country at 
that time, at least in conversation ; as any neglect to 
preface a remark with the word laid one liable to be 
come immediately engaged in a discussion regarding 
the propriety of the use of the term, behind navy re 
volvers, rifles, double-barreled shot-guns, or any other 
available pointed or forcible means of argument. 

After the thirst of the crowd, which upon a Gulf- 
coasting steamer is something terrible to contemplate, 
had been in a measure assuaged, my son excused him 
self, and with Keating repaired to the office, remark 
ing to the clerk : 

"I presume you would like to transact a little 
business with us now ?" 

1 Any time to suit your convenience," returned 
the clerk hut getting at his books with an alacrity 


which showed that he would be a little more willing 
to attend to the matter of fares then than at any 
other time. 

William handed him an amount of mcney large 
enough to pay for both the fares of himself and Keat 
ing from Brashear to Galveston ; and, while the clerk 
was making change, said, by way of getting into con 
versation with him, " I m afraid we re on a fool s 
errand out here." 

The clerk counted out the change, inked his pen 
to take the names, and then elevating his eyebrows, 
although not speaking a word, plainly asked, " Ah, 
how s that ?" 

"Well, you see," replied the detective, " we re 
hunting a man that s had right good luck." 

" He can t be in these parts," replied the clerk, 
with a slightly satirical smile. " Names ?" he then 

" James A. Hicks and Patrick Mallory." 
j " Where from ?" , 

" Pittsburg." 

" Which is which ?" asked the clerk, in a business 
tone of voice. 

" I am Hicks, and that pretty smart-looking Irish 
man by the baggage-room is Mallory," was the re 

" Your age and weight ?" asked the clerk mechan 
ically, at the same time looking at my son keenly, and 
getting the rest of his description at a glance. 


These questions were pi operly answered, and as 
the clerk was noting them he asked, " Might I ask 
what was the gentleman s good luck ?" 

" Certainly ; he has fallen heir to a coal mine in 
Pennsylvania, and we are endeavoring to hunt him 
up for the executors of the estate." 

" Ah ?" said the clerk, driving away with his pen ; 
"will you be so good as to ask Mr. Mallory to step 
this way ?" 

My son stepped up to Keating and remarked 
aloud, " Mr. Mallory, Mr. Mallory, the clerk would 
like to see you ;" and then as Keating stepped to his 
side, remarked as if for his better information, " He 
knows your name is Patrick Mallory and that we are 
from Pittsburg, hunting Taylor, so he can come home 
and enjoy the property the old man left him ; but he 
wants your entire description." 

" Quite so," said the quick-witted Irishman, 

"You ve got me, now," said Keating, winking 
familiarly at the clerk, "when we came over we went 
under ; and so many of us was lost that those saved 
wasn t worth mendin as to age, ye see ; but concern 
ing heft, why I d not fear to say I d turn an honest 
scale at a hundred an sixty." 

The clerk smiled, but concluded not to ask Mr, 
Mallory from Pittsburg any more questions. 

As soon as he had made his notes, however, Wil 
liam told him that he had examined the lists of all 


other boats plying between Brashear and Galveston 
save those of the "Josephine," and requested him to 
look through them, concluding by describing Taylor, 
and stating that he might register either as H. G. 
Taylor and clerk, or under an assumed name, as he 
was somewhat erratic, and through family troubles, 
not necessary to explain, he had got into a habit of 
occasionally traveling incognito. 

The clerk readily complied with his request, scan 
ning the pages closely, and repeating the name mus 
ingly as if endeavoring to recall where he had heard 
it. By the time he had got on with the examination 
of a few pages, William had selected a photograph of 
Taylor, and on showing it to the clerk the latter 
seemed to have a certain recollection of having seen 
him, but a very uncertain recollection as to where, or 
under what circumstances. He went on repeating 
the name, however, turning back the pages with his 
right hand and tracing the names back and forth with 
the index finger of his left hand, occasionally looking 
at the photograph as if to assist in forcing a definite 
recollection, but without any result for so long a time 
that Messrs. Hill and Mallory of Pittsburg became 
satisfied that their last hope before arriving at Gal 
veston was gone, when suddenly the clerk carelessly 
placed the picture beside a certain name and in a 
manner very similar to a dry-goods clerk on securing 
a successful " match," in two pieces of cloth, quietly 
remarked : 


" Yes, can t be mistaken. There you are , I ve 
got him." 

" Then we ve got him !" exclaimed my son, in the 
excess of his gratification, shaking the hand of Mr. 
Mallory, from Pittsburg. 

" It s a joy," said the latter, beaming. 

" Think of the immense property !" continued my 

" And the surprise to his friends !" murmured 

" The surprise to himself, I should say," interrupt 
ed the clerk. 

" Quite so," said Mr. Keating. 

It appeared that Taylor and his brother had 
missed one or two boats at Brashear from some cause, 
but had finally taken passage on the "Josephine," 
November ;th ; and as the detectives had not been 
able to ascertain whether the "Josephine" had carried 
the fugitives or not, on account of her being belated 
by adverse weather, and was now returning to Gal- 
veston, after having had barely time to touch at Bra- 
shear, they had felt that perhaps they might be upon 
the wrong trail, which, with unknown adventures 
before them, had been peculiarly discouraging ; so 
that now, when they ascertained that his apprehension 
was only a question of time and careful work, they 
could not repress their gratification. 

Nothing further worthy of note transpired on the 
voyage from Brashear to Galveston, save that the 


trip was a pretty rough one, and they finally arrived 
in the latter city, hopeful and encouraged, notwith 
standing the unusually dismal weather, which seemed 
to consist of one disconnected but never-ending 
storm, the " oldest inhabitants" of the place contend 
ing with great earnestness that " it peared like s they d 
never had nothin like it befoah !" 

Arriving in Galveston early Sunday morning, 
they went to the Exchange Hotel, and after break 
fast set about examining the hotel registers of the 
place, ascertaining that Taylor and brother had been 
in the city, stopped a day or two, and then, so far as 
could be learned, had gone on to Houston. They 
were satisfied he had made no special efforts to cover 
his tracks, although he had not made himself at all 
conspicuous, as the difficulty encountered in getting 
those who would be most likely to recollect him, to 
recollect him at all, clearly showed ; and it was quite 
evident that he had not anticipated pursuit, at least 
of any nature which he could not easily compromise, 
and intended going into some legitimate business 
under his own name, and with his brother s assist 

Before he could be arrested in Texas, however, it 
would be necessary to secure Governor Pease s war 
rant, which obliged a long, tedious trip to Austin, the 
capital of the State ; nearly the whole distance having 
to be done by stage, which at that time seemed a for 
bidding piece of work, as it had rained every day ol 


the year, so far ; and it might be a question of helping 
the stage through rather than being helped through 
by it. Besides this, according to my son s reports 
which gave a true description of things in Texas at 
that time, everything beyond Houston had to be paid 
for in gold, as sectional sentiment and counterfeiting 
had pronounced a ban upon greenbacks, and not only 
in gold, but at exorbitant prices ; hotel rates being 
five dollars per day ; single meals from one to two 
dollars ; railroad fares eight cents per mile, and stage 
rates nearly double that amount ; with no assurance 
that you would ever reach a destination you had paid 
to be conveyed to ; all attended by various kinds of 
danger, among which was the pleasant reflection that 
you might be called upon at any time to contribute 
to the benefit of that noble relic of chivalry, the Ku 
Klux Klan, who at that day were particularly busy in 

All of these pleasant considerations made the 
departure from Galveston for Austin, in a Pickwickian 
sense, unusually agreeable. 

At Houston they discovered from different 
persons, including the postmaster, that Taylor had 
been there, but had made inqu : ~ies about points 
further up country ; and the general impression was 
that he had gone on, though at Brenham, the 
terminus of the railroad, where they arrived Monday 
evening, they could find no trace of him. 

The next morning, when my son arose and looked 


on the vast sea of mud, a filthy, black earth below ; 
a dirty, black sky above ; with nothing but driving 
rain and wintry gusts between , while the lackadaisical 
Texans slouched about with their hands in their 
pockets, with only energy enough to procure tobacco 
or " licker ;" their sallow faces, down-at-the-heels, 
snuff-dipping wives desolately appearing at the doors 
and windows, only to retire again with a woe-begone 
expression of suspended animation in their leathery 
faces, he fully realized the force of the remark 
attributed to General Sheridan, and more expressive 
than polite : " If I owned Texas and hell, I would live 
in hell and sell Texas !" 

The stage was crowded, however, and the dreary 
conveyance splashed and crunched on until noon, 
when dinner was taken at Wilson s Ranche, a long, 
low, rambling, tumbledown structure, which, like its 
owner, who had at one time been a "General" of 
something, and now retained the thriving title out of 
compliment to his departed glory, had gone to a 
genteel decay with a lazy ease worthy of its master s 
copy. The dinner was one long to be remembered 
by the detectives, as it was their first genuine Texan 
dinner, and consisted merely of fat boiled pork, and 
hot bread of the consistence of putty cakes of the 
same dimensions, which, when broken open after 
a mighty effort, disclosed various articles of 
household furniture, such as clay pipes, old knife 
handles, and various other invoices, probably playfully 


dumped into the flour barrel by some one of the half- 
score of tow-headed, half-clad children, which the 
" General " and his buxom helpmeet had seen fit to 
provide for torturing another generation with rare 
Texan dinners at a dollar a plate. 

It was an all-day s labor getting to La Grange, 
but thirty-five miles from Brenham, where they 
arrived at ten o clock, tired and exhausted from the 
day s banging about in the stage and out of it, for 
they were obliged to walk many times in order to rest 
the jaded horses so that they could get through to 
La Grange at all ; but before retiring made all the 
inquiries necessary to develop the fact that their man 
had not been at that point. 

The next day, Wednesday, was rather more try 
ing than the previous one. Two miles out of town 
the stage got "bogged," and the entire load of pas 
sengers were obliged to get out and walk through 
three miles of swamps, the stage finally sticking fast, 
necessitating prying it out with rails. After this 
Slough of Despond was passed, the Colorado river 
had to be forded three times, and then came a " dry 
run," which now, with every other ravine or depres 
sion, had became a " wet run," and was " a booming " 
as the drunken driver termed it between oaths. There 
was at least four feet of water in the dry run, and 
the horses balking, the buckskin argument was 
applied to them so forcibly that they gave a sud 
den start, and broke the pole off short, which further 


complicated matters. My son, being on the box, 
sprang to the assistance of the driver, and stepping 
down upon the stub of the pole, quickly unhitched 
the wheel horses, so that the stage could not be 
overturned, and then disengaged the head team, 
finally appropriating a heavy wheel horse, with which 
he rode back to Keating, who was perched upon a 
rear wheel to keep out of the water, which was rush 
ing and seething below, sweeping through the bottom 
of the stage, and at every moment seeming to have 
lifted the vehicle preparatory to sweeping it away like 
feathers, and also holding on to the baggage, which 
he had got safely upon the roof of the stage ; and, 
taking him aboard his improvised ferry, after securing 
the valises, rode to the muddy shore, forming with 
his companions about as fine a picture of despairing 
" carpet-baggers " as the South has ever on any occa 
sion been able to produce. The bedraggled passen 
gers ascertained that the next town, Webberville, was 
several miles distant, and that there was no house 
nearer, save on the other side of the rapidly rising 
stream ; and as night had come on, the best thing 
that could be done was to penetrate the woods, build 
a rousing fire, and shiver and shiver through as long, 
wet and weary a night as was ever experienced. 

There was never a more longed-for morning than 
the next one, and the moment that the sickly light 
came feebly through the mist and rain, and straggled 
into the dense cotton-wood trees, where the discour- 


aged passengers had a sort of fervent out-doors 
prayer-meeting, they started forward for Webberville, 
hungry, drenched, and so benumbed as to be scarcely 
able to walk. It was five miles into town, but one 
mile of that distance stretched over a quagmire known 
and described in that section as " Hell s half-acre ;" 
and the truthful inhabitants of Webberville related 
of this delectable ground that during the rainy season 
its powers of absorption were so great that it would 
even retain the gigantic Texan mosquito, should it 
happen to take a seat there. 

This bog was impassable to the travelers, who 
finally bartered with the owner of a hog wagon to be 
carried over the marsh for a silver half dollar each. 
This was far better than remaining on the other side, 
and they finally trudged into the town more dead 
than alive. 

Fortunately for the detectives, the brother of 
ex-Governor Lubbock, of Texas, was one of the party, 
and as they had all become so thoroughly acquainted, 
as common misery will quickly make travelers, he 
took my son and Keating to the residence of Colonel 
Banks, a merchant of Webberville, whose good wife 
never rested until she had provided the party with a 
splendid meal, something with which to wash it down, 
and beds which seemed to them all to have been com 
posed of down. 

After they had a good rest, the passengers foi 
Austin were got together, and explained the situation 


of things. The creek the other side of Webberville 
was a mighty river. The driver thought he could 
possibly get the stage across, but was certain he 
could not do so with any passengers or baggage to 
make it drag more heavily ; but he thought that if 
once on the other side, they might get to Austin the 
same day. William was anxious to push ahead, and 
looking about town discovered a rather venturesome 
negro who owned a monstrous mule, and at once 
entered into negotations with him for the transfer of 
the party and baggage, sink or swim. So when the 
stage arrived at the creek, the baggage was unloaded, 
and the stage successfully forded the stream. But as 
the waiter covered so broad an expanse, was so deep 
and rapid, and altogether presented such a forbidding 
appearance, the passengers refused to try the mule ex 
periment unless William, who had proposed the mode 
of transfer, and had secured the novel ferry, which 
stood with the grinning negro upon its back ready for 
passengers, would first cross the Rubicon to demon 
strate the convenience and safety of the passage. So, 
handing the captain one of the valises, he mounted the 
mule, which after a few whirls, a little " bucking," 
several suspicious sidewise movements, and a shouted 
" Ya-a-oop, da, Dani-el ! done quit dis heyah foolish 
ness !" plunged into the current without further 

The passengers saw that Dani-el and his master 
were up to a thing or two in that section of the 



country ; and after seeing Keating cross the stream 
in safety also, they one by one ventured upon the 
transfer, which was finished without accident, but with 
a good deal of merriment; and the colored clown 
paid even beyond his contract price, the stage was 
enabled to go lumbering on to Austin, where it ar 
rived at a late hour of the same day. 


RAIN, drizzle and mist; mist, drizzle and rain. 
It seemed all that the country was capable of produc 
ing ; and the same preface to the befogged condition 
of the English chancery courts used by Dickens, in 
his introduction to " Bleak House," with a few of the 
localisms expunged, would have fitly applied to the 
condition of things in Texas, which afterward culmi 
nated in a flood which swept everything before it. 

In Austin though the seat of the State govern 
ment and the headquarters of the military depart 
ment of Texas, full of legislators, lobbyists, officers 
and soldiers, everything had the appearance of having 
been through a washing that had lasted an age, and 
had been prematurely wrung out to dry, but had been 
caught on the lines by an eternal rain day. Involun 
tarily, with the spatters and dashes of rain and the 


morning wind, Longfellow s " Rainy Day " came drift 
ing into the mind, and the lines : 

"The day is cold and dark and dreary ; 
It rains, and the wind is never weary ; 
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall, 
While at very gust the dead leaves fall. 
And the day is dark and dreary !" 

were never more appropriate than when applied to 
any portion of Texas during the months of January 
and February, 1868. 

The very first man my son met in the office of the 
hotel, the next morning, was a member of the Legis 
lature from Besar county, who, hearing his inquiries 
of the clerk concerning Taylor, informed him that he 
had been introduced to him in San Antonio a few 
weeks previous ; that he was in company with a much 
younger man whom he represented as his brother, 
and that he had ostensibly come to San Antonio to 
make some inquiries concerning the hide and wool 
trade ; but whether with an idea of settling at that 
point, or whether he could yet be found in San An 
tonio, he was unable to state. 

In any event this was cheering news ; for it as 
sured my detectives that their long and weary search 
would not prove unavailing ; and William directed 
Keating to make himself useful about the different 
hotels and hide and stock dealers, as it is a detec 
tive s business to work all the time, and the slightest 
cessation of vigilance after the beginning of an opera- 


tion might at the most unexpected moment cause the 
beginning of a series of circumstances eventually per 
mitting a criminal s escape, while he himself sought 
out General Potter, who escorted him to General 
Canby s headquarters, where he was most cordially 
received, and not only given an order for military aid, 
should it be required, but General Canby himself 
went with him to the capitol and introduced him to 
Governor Pease, vouching for the reliability of any 
statement made in connection with the business which 
had brought him so far from home ; as, while I had 
charge of the secret service of the Government, 
during the war, with myself and sons had had an in 
timate acquaintance with, and personal friendship for 

Governor Pease frankly stated to William that 
the affidavits were rather weak, and that should some 
of the "shysters" of that state, who did a thriving 
business in habeas corpus releases, get an inkling of 
his business and the nature of the papers, they might 
give him a deal of trouble, even if they did not get 
his man away from him eventually. He said he 
would make the requisition as strong as possible, 
however, and expressed his hope that the reputation 
for ingenuity in devising and executing expedients 
possessed by Pinkerton s men would be more than 
sustained in this instance ; and General Canby termi 
nated the interview by giving the document approval 
over his own signature. 


My son thanked them both for their kindness, 
and withdrew, only too anxious to get to where his 
man was before any information that he was being 
sought for should reach him, and either scare him 
beyond the Rio Grande, or enable him to act on the 
defensive, as only a man can act who has plenty of 
money, plenty of friends, and, as we already knew, a 
great plenty of bravery on his own account. 

Soon after he had returned to the hotel, Keating 
came in with undoubted information that Taylor had 
a permanent residence at or near Corpus Christi ; 
that either he or his brother owned a sheep ranche 
near the coast, not far from that city, while the 
other dealt in hides and wool there ; and that one or 
the other penetrated into the interior as far as San 
Antonio, soliciting consignments. 

My son at once concluded that it was the Captain 
who had done the dealing, as well as stealing, and 
whose money and business ability had been brought 
to bear upon the trading at Corpus Christi, and upon 
the ranche in the country near it ; the brother, though 
probably entirely innocent of complicity in the rob 
bery, or even a knowledge of the source from whence 
the money had come, only being used for a con 
venient repository for his ill-gotten funds in case of 
Kuhn Brothers following him before he was ready 
to meet them. 

He therefore decided to get through to Corpus 
Christi in the very shortest time in which the trip 


could be made vid New Braunfels, San Antonio, Vic 
toria, and Port Lavaca, hoping that he might be able 
to pick him up along seme portion of that route, as 
it was quite evident he made frequent trips in that 
direction ; and, at whatever point he might be started, 
should he seem to be going much farther into the 
interior, which would be improbable, as San An 
tonio at that time was quite a frontier city, arrest 
him at once, and hurry him back to Galveston along 
the route he was already familiar with ; but, should 
he be going toward the coast, to let him take his own 
course, keeping him well in hand until he had 
reached Corpus Christi or some other seaport city,* 
and, waiting a favorable opportunity, arrest him and 
get him aboard a boat before he could recover from 
the surprise. 

Not a half hour before they left Austin, he fortu 
nately met Judge Davis of Corpus Christi, who was 
there attending some political convention, and who 
gave him a letter to his law partner at home, should 
his services in any way be needed, as I had been of 
some service to him on a previous occasion ; so that 
when my two detectives left Austin on the seven 
tecnth of January, they felt perfectly satisfied of 
ultimate success, though the same terrible experi 
ences as to staging were again encountered. 

It required the entire day to traverse the few 
miles between Austin and Blanco Creek, where they 
secured a sort of a supper ; the Onion Creek and its 


branches having been waded and forded numberless 
times. At Manchell Springs, the stage pole being 
again broken, they were only able to proceed after 
improvising a tongue out of a sapling, chopped from 
the roadside with a very dull hatchet. At Blanco 
Springs a good rest was taken, and the driver, having 
the day s experience in his mind, objected to going 
further that night ; but the detectives insisted that 
they had paid their money to be taken to a certain 
destination, and, as they had shown a disposition to 
more than earn their passage besides, no excuse for 
their detention should be offered. 

After a good deal of grumbling, fresh horses were 
got out, a new pole put in the stage, and the proces 
sion again took up its weary march over the then 
most horrible of roads, crossing the innumerable 
brooks and runs which now pushed torrents into 
York s Creek. All night long they slushed and 
splashed, and tramped and cursed ; though the rain 
had ceased for a time, there was but little light from 
the sky, which seemed full of black heavy clouds 
ready to burst asunder, to again drench them and 
swell the torrents afresh. My son, Keating, and a 
man sent along from Blanco Creek, "took turns," 
trudging along ahead of the lead-team, and, with lan 
terns, picked out the way. Often they would be mis 
led where the ground was so bad as to almost defy a 
passage over it, when the patient animals behind 
them, steaming from the toil of straining along with 


nothing but an empty coach, would stop, as if guided 
by a keener instinct, where they would quietly remain 
until the united search of the three men had discov 
ered the road, when the intelligent creatures docilely 
plodded along again. 

And so, through seemingly bottomless quagmires ; 
over corduroys, where the shaky ends of timbers, 
struck by a horse s hoof, would mercilessly splash 
those walking beside the useless vehicle, or, suddenly 
relieved from the weight of the ponderous wheel, 
would fly upwards to heave gallons of slime upon the 
coach ; laboring around the bases of far-extending 
mounds of sandy loam ; descending into unexpected 
and sometimes dangerous depressions, along creeks, 
and plunging into streams, where drift and changing, 
sandy bottoms always made it a question whether the 
coach could ever be got across ; they marched only as 
Sherman taught soldiers to march, or as honest 
detectives will crowd all obstacles between them 
selves and their duty, and came with the gray of the 
morning to the beautiful, forest-shaded Guadaloupe. 

Fording this river without nearly the trouble 
presented at some of the petty runs and creeks 
which had been passed, they came to New Braunfels 
with the sun, which had shown itself for the first time 
since their arrival in Texas, and which also shone up 
on the first city which had shown any of that wide 
awake " go-aheaditiveness " and thrift so common to 
nearly all northerr cities. 


The reason that New Braunfels differed so materi 
ally from the ordinary Texan towns lay in the fact 
that it was almost exclusively settled by Germans ; and 
it was a welcome sight to the detectives to be able to 
enter a place where, from suburb to center, up and 
down long, finely-shaded avenues, it was plain to be 
seen that the most had been made of everything. 

From the pleasantest cottage of the extreme 
suburb, and past the more pretentious residences, 
every home being provided with an exterior bake- 
oven, the same as in Germany, Pennsylvania, or por 
tions of Wisconsin and Minnesota, to the shops, 
stores, hotels and public buildings, every yard, in 
many instances, fenced with stone gleaned and cleaned 
from the soil, and, for that matter, every spot upon 
whioli the eye rested showed that thrift and not 
whisky-drinking ruled that place ; and that fact alone 
entitles the little German city to respectable ele 
vation from the obscurity which has heretofore sur 
rounded it. 

As nothing at this point could be learned regard 
ing Taylor, though leaving the town and its extra 
ordinary attractions with some reluctance, they im 
mediately proceeded to San Antonio, the roads to 
which place were quite passable, and arrived at that 
city Friday afternoon. I had telegraphed to Colonel 
Lee, of San Antonio, to hold himself in readiness to 
assist my son and Keating, on the score of personal 
friendship, whenever they might arrive there, not 


knowing, from the terrible condition of the roads, at 
what time it would be possible for them to reach that 
point, and he, being ignorant from what direction 
they might come, where they might stay, or undej 
what name they might register, had caused an adver 
tisement to be inserted in the San Antonio Herald, 
of which the following is a copy : 

Chicago, may arrive in San Antonio, he will learn of 
something to his advantage by calling upon Lieut- 
Col. Lee, at the Mengler House. 

Keating s sharp eyes first saw the item at the sup 
per table of the Mengler House, where they were 
stopping, and they both learned, by listening to the 
conversation about them, that the Colonel was sitting 
at the same table. 

After supper William made himself known to 
Colonel Lee without attracting attention, the latter 
kindly offering him any help needed, after which in 
quiries of a guarded character were instituted for the 
object of their search. The landlord of the Mengler 
House stated that Taylor had called upon him about 
three weeks before to inquire for letters, but as he 
was stopping elsewhere but little attention had been 
paid to him or his questions ; all of which William 
had reason to believe absolutely true, on account of 
the strong corroborative testimony which would lie 
in the statement of any landlord that no civility was 


shown to a man who quartered at any hostelry save 
his own. 

The next morning he called upon Chief of Police, 
H. D. Bonnet, who extended every imaginable cour 
tesy, went with him to the offices of the different 
stage-lines, and assisted in examining their lists for 
some time previous with a view to ascertaining what 
direction Taylor had taken when he left San An 
tonio ; introduced him to the Mayor and Chief Mar 
shal, and even went with him on an extended tour 
through the old Mexican quarter of the town ; but 
no other information was secured save through the 
German landlady of a hotel, who was as positive as 
her limited knowledge of the English language would 
allow her to be, that Taylor had stopped at her house 
without registering at all, and had gone directly from 
San Antonio to Port Lavaca or Corpus Christi on 
horseback, which, after all, in the exceptional condi 
tion of the weather that year in Texas, seemed quite 

It was evident nothing was to be gained by re 
maining any longer at San Antonio, and was quite as 
plain that all possible expedition should be used in 
getting on to the coast. 

As if the fates were ordained perverse, the 
moment the two left San Antonio a steady drenching 
rain again began to fall, and as the stage was crowd 
ed, the discomfort of those within could not very well 
be increased. About twelve miles from San Antonio 


the driver succeeded in tipping over the stage, and 
giving the occupants "an elegant mud varnish all 
over," as operative Keating aptly expressed it. The 
driver remarked that he was "going up the new 
road," but some of the more profane passengers swore 
that, if so, he was hunting it three feet under the 
old one. On arriving at Lavernia station the dismal 
announcement was made by the lean, long stage 
agent, who seemed to have never done anything from 
time immemorial save sit in the door of his tumble 
down hovel to make dismal announcement that "the 
Cibolo (prounced there Cuillou ) is just a scootin 
and a rippin up its banks like a mad buffler 
bull ! ye ll all be back to stay at my tavern all 

It was the contemplation of this man s pure 
cussedness, as he sat there doting on the big bills he 
would charge when the Cibolo should drive back a 
stage load of hungry travelers, that nerved them to 
push on at all hazards and attempt a crossing at some 
point where the Cibolo " scooted and ripped up its 
banks " with less ardor than across the regular route 
to Victoria; but on reaching Southerland Springs, 
seven miles distant, it was found that it would be 
necessary to wait until Thursday morning, when they 
might possibly make a passage, as the stream was 
running down to within something like ordinary 
bounds very fast. 

Thursday afternoon came before an attempt to 


foid the stream was made, when the driver agreed to 
land the passengers in the middle of the stream on 
an immense fallen tree, from which point they could 
reach the other side, when they might be able to get 
the empty stage across also. 

The trial was made, and was successful so far as 
landing the passengers was concerned, but while this 
was being done the wheels of the coach sank deeper 
and deeper into the mucky bed of the stream, and 
though but a few minutes had elapsed, the strange 
action of the water had caused deposits to form about 
the coach so rapidly that it became firmly imbedded, 
and could not be moved by the four horses attached. 
At this juncture an old farmer came along, who 
carried the evidences of some of his propensities 
strongly marked in his face, which was a thin one, 
like his conscience, but with bright tips on his cheek 
bones and as red a nose as ever the devil-artist in 
alcohol tipped with crimson. No importunities or 
amount of money could prevail on him to assist the 
discouraged travelers with his fine mule train ; but a 
pint of good whiskey, to be delivered the moment 
the stage had been drawn from its peril, with a small 
drink by way of retainer, accomplished what would 
not have been done in any other manner, and set the 
travelers joyfully on their way again. They jour 
neyed on at a snail s pace until one o clock Friday 
morning, when they arrived at Kelly s ranche, kept by 
Bill Kelly, uncle of the " Taylor boys," notorious for 


their connection with the Ku Klux and various other 
gangs of villainous desperadoes. 

The family were unceremoniously awakened, and 
at once good-humoredly proceeded to provide the 
ravenous passengers with something to eat ; after 
which they made a " shake-down " on the floor, into 
which substitute for a bed everybody turned, and slept 
late into the morning, awakening stiff in every joint 
and scarcely able for that day s journey, which, with 
its complement of accidents and delays, took them 
safely over Esteto creek and into Yorktown early in 
the evening, where the detectives secured certain in 
formation that Taylor had been in Corpus Christi 
the week previous, and was undoubtedly there at that 
time, as Texas by this time had become a net-work of 
resistless streams, almost impassible quagmires and 
far-reaching lagoons. 


LATE the next morning they left Yorktown, hav 
ing taken on a passenger of no less importance than 
ex-Confederate Governor Owens, of Arizona. He 
was a pleasant, voluble old fellow, and my son at once 
fell in with his ways, and treated him so courteously 


that it perhaps averted a greater disaster than had at 
any previous time occurred. 

Governor Owens was largely engaged in the Rio 
Grande trade of supplying frontier points with pro 
visions and merchandise, and was just on his way to 
Indianola, on the coast, where he was to meet his 
Mexican freighters, comprising thirty wagons and 
carts, of all characters and descriptions, driven by the 
inevitable lazy Greaser. Even as late as the same 
period, 1867-8, a vast amount of freighting was done 
between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Fort Garry, Mani 
toba, in the famed Red River carts, driven by the 
inevitable, lazy half-breed. 

William, knowing the position held by Governor 
Owens during a portion of the war, and realizing that 
an ex-office-holder will never lose his tenderness for 
the political regime which made him titled, assumed 
to be a Mississippian, from Vicksburg, with an Irish 
acquaintance, on a trip of inspection through Texas, 
and, so far, terribly disappointed with the State. 

During those periods when, owing to the depth of 
the mud, the passengers were obliged to walk, they 
would fall behind or walk ahead of the stage, when 
they would chat pleasantly upon general subjects. 
On one of these occasions Governor Owens eyed his 
companion sharply a moment, and then asked : 

" Can I trust you, sir ?" 

" Certainly." 

" On the word and honor of a gentleman T 


" Yes, and an honest man, too," William answered 

" I believe you ; thank you. You know stages 
are robbed out this way ?" 

"I do." 

" Did you ever see it done ?" 

" No ; nor have I any desire to be around on such 
an occasion," he replied, laughing. 

"I reckon you hadn t better, either," said the 
Governor earnestly. "It wouldn t make so much 
difference if they would do the work a trifle genteelly, 
in a gentlemanly way ; but the fact is, we have low 
fellows along our Texas stage-lines. They have no 
regard for a man s family. Why," he continued, 
warmly, "they ll just pop out from behind the trees, 
or up through some clumps of bushes, ram a double 
barreled shot-gun, loaded to the muzzle with slugs 
and things, into the coach from both sides at once, 
and just blaze away all that are not killed outright 
are scared to death. There s nothing fair about it !" 

William expressed his curiosity to know if the 
drivers were ever killed. 

"Drivers? Never, sir, never. Why. those ruf 
fians are too smart for that. Let it be known that 
they have begun killing drivers, and there isn t a 
stage company in Texas that could send a coach 
past the first timber. They couldn t afford to kill 
stage-drivers, for the moment they began it, that 
would be the end of staging." 

My son expressed his thanks at learning so much 


of the business principles of these land pirates, and 
the old gentleman continued : 

" You see, it takes a peculiar kind of a driver for 
a Texas coach. You want one, first, that can dilnk 
right smart of whiskey, for the water isn t good along 
some of these branches. You want one that can 
swear a hoss s head square off, too. He s got to be a 
coward, or he would help put this robbing down ; 
and yet, he has got to be rather brave to drive right 
along up to a spot where he knows he is to see his 
passengers butchered ! and that," continued the Gov- 
enor, earnestly, " is just what I want to talk to you 
about, as I feel sure that I can trust you." 

The Governor then explained to him that a cer 
tain member of the Ku Klux, whom he was sorry to 
say was too intimate with those roadside plunderers, 
had informed him that morning, just as he was leav 
ing Yorktown, that preparations had been mad6 to 
rob their stage at a point between Clinton and Mis 
sion Valley ; and that he very much desired some 
organization among the passengers for defense, as he 
himself had upwards of thirty thousand dollars, to be 
paid out at Indianola, for goods, and to his freighters 
for wages. 

On the receipt of this alarming intelligence, my 
son took the responsibility of informing the rest of 
the passengers what might possibly be expected ; and, 
as Governor Owens had six fine carbines, which he was 
also taking down to Indianola for the protection of 



his freighters on the Rio Grand, preparatory to any 
attack that might be made. 

About six miles from Mission Valley the stage 
route traversed a low piece of bottom-lands covered 
with timber, and a considerable growth of underbrush. 
A corduroy road had been built through the place, 
and as the coach was obliged to be driven slowly 
across it, the locality offered particularly fine induce 
ments for a robbery of the character described by the 
Governor ; so that the precaution was taken of 
walking along with the coach, three on either side, 
with carbines ready for instant use. 

Just before entering the timber, two men were 
seen prowling about, and, evidently fearing their 
actions might cause suspicion and frustrate the plan 
they had in view, made a great effort to appear to be 
two respectable hunters in search of only wild game ; 
and, before leaving the timber at the other side, two 
more persons were seen, who, evidently, not having 
been given any signal, had come as near to the stage 
as they dared, to ascertain for themselves why their 
comrades had failed in their calculations; but skulked 
away after seeing the force which grimly trudged 
alon^, guarding the empty vehicle, into which the 
passengers were glad enough to climb when the dan 
ger was gone by, and be carried with sound bodies 
and whole pockets to the supper which had been 
some time n waiting when they reached Mission 


Dinner the next day was taken at Victoria, from 
which city William and Keating expected to be able 
to go by railroad to Port Lavaca, only twenty-eight 
miles distant. They were doomed to disappoint 
ment in this, as the railroad had been abandoned 
since the war, eiv^er the Union or Confederate 
soldiers having taken it up bodily and turned it up 
side down, like a gigantic furrow, from Victoria to 
the sea. 

After many years somebody had come along and 
turned it back ; but to this day the steam-engine has 
never thundered over it again ; the most that has ever 
been done having been to drag an occasional freight 
car over the road by the not peculiarly thrilling appli 
cation of mule power ; and so it was said a hand-car, 
worked by a gang of negroes, was used for trans 
porting passengers, the trips being made back and 
forth whenever a load could be got, and not before. 

As they were obliged to remain for this new mode 
of conveyance, their time was entirely unoccupied, 
and they could not but have leisure to make some 
thing of a study of Texan life, as it then existed ; and 
on Sunday afternoon were witnesses to one of those 
little episodes which sometimes make extremely lively 
certain periods that would otherwise remain hum 
drum and ordinary. 

The bar-room of the hotel had been crowded all 
day, and a good deal of liquor had been drunk, while 
there had also been a large amount of money lost and 


won over cards, so that there was that feverish, ex 
plosive condition of things which always follows large 
winnings or losses at games of chance, although there 
had as yet been no disturbance of a serious character. 

At one of the little gaming tables, John Foster, 
county clerk of Victoria County, and another 
person, named Lew Phillips, who had been one of 
the Andersonville prison-keepers during the war, but 
had drifted out to Victoria and had secured charge of 
a large livery-stable there, were engaged at a game of 
poker, when Foster was heard to quietly say : 

" See here, Lew Phillips, you stole that card !" 

" You re a liar !" was retorted, with an oath. 

The two men were up over the card-table in a 
twinkling, looking at each other, and both very 

" Apologize !" demanded Foster, still quiet, but 
with a terrible earnestness in his voice. 

" I don t do that sort of business, you white-livered 
coward !" shouted Phillips. 

Without another look or word, the two parted, 
one passing out one door and the other out of 
another, while the crowd in the hotel canvassed the 
matter as coolly as though there had been no diffi 
culty worth mentioning, while a few quietly laid 
wagers on who would get the first shot. 

In about fifteen minutes more, Foster was seen 
returning with a double-barreled shot-gun, and 
Phillips, who had a wooden leg, came stumping up 


another street, with an immense navy revolver in his 
hand. It was noticeable that the space between the 
advancing men was made very clear, so that nothing 
should interfere with their sociability. In a moment 
more. Phillips had fired at Foster, and evidently hit 
him ; for, as he was bringing his gun to his shoulder, 
his aim had been badly disturbed, and before he had 
time to fire, Phillips had fired again and wounded his 
man the second time. Foster now leaned against a 
porch column, desperately resolved to get a good 
aim, his antagonist, all the while advancing, 
attempted to fire again, but missed this time, the cap 
refusing to communicate the deadly flash to the 
chamber of the revolver, then there was a blinding 
flash from Foster s gun, accompanied by a thunderous 
report, and the two men fell almost instantaneously. 

Foster had discharged both barrels of his weapon, 
heavily loaded with buck-shot, at Phillips, the entire 
charge having entered his wooden leg, and sent him 
spinning to the ground, like the sudden jerk and 
whirl of a nearly spent top, the recoil of the gun also 
"kicking" Foster flat as a Tennessee "poor white s" 
corn pone. 

The " gentlemen " who had been looking on and 
quietly criticising the little by-play, now rushed for 
ward and surrounded the combatants, the anxiety of 
each of whom was to be assured of the other s death ; 
or, in case of his being alive, to have some one to be 
the immediate bearer of tender regards and profuse 


expressions of friendship ; thus terminating satis 
factorily to all parties what the chivalrous inhabitants 
of Victoria informed my detectives was called a " stag 
duel," the most common and effective method known 
for settling the little difficulties liable at any time to 
occur among gentlemen, the only conditions imposed 
by custom being that neither party shall offer to 
shoot in a crowded room, or be allowed to fire at his 
opponent unless he is also prepared, when other citi 
zens who may be using the streets at those times 
withdraw from them as rapidly as consistent with the 
proprieties, when the occasion is immediately made 
interesting to the participants, who advance and fire 
upon each other as rapidly as a liberal practice in 
this and other "codes" of taking human life will 

As the next sensation to a " stag duel" in Victoria 
was the arrival of the " train " from Lavaca, in the 
shape of the hand-car manned by four burly negroes, 
who with the original superintendent of the road had 
formed a soulless corporation with which nothing 
could compete, it was not long before the detectives 
had secured seats with four other passengers, making 
ten persons in all, to be conveyed twenty-eight miles 
on a broken-down hand-car over probably the most 
villainous excuse for a railroad ever known. 

The fare was six dollars in gold for each passen 
ger, which might seem to have a shade of exorbitance 
about it when it was considered that the accommoda* 


tions consisted of two very insecure seats, constructed 
over the wheels, upon each of which three persons 
might cling with a constant expectation of being 
joilted off by the unevenness of the road, or of falling 
off from sheer fatigue in endeavor to cling to the 
ramshackle boards beneath them. 

" All abo d !" shouted the negro conductor, with 
all the style and unction of the diamond-pinned aristo 
crat of a New York Central train ; and then, as the 
" train " started out of Victoria the passengers and 
the admiring lookers-on were greeted with the follow 
ing song, tuned to the " Ra-ta-tat " of the wheels 
upon the rails, and sturdily sung, or chanted rather, 
by the jolly but powerful crew : 

" Heave ho ! 
Away we go 

Winds may wait, or de winds may blow ! 
Heave ho ! 
Away we go 

For to cotch de gals at Lavac o [ * 

In the sense that this mode of traveling had the* 
charm of novelty and the thrilling attraction of dan 
ger combined, it was a success. There was freshness 
and variety about it, too ; for, whenever one of the 
negroes had " done gin out," the conductor would 
call for volunteers from among the passengers, and 
give the demand a peculiar emphasis by the remark, 
" Takes brawn n sinyew to pump dis hy r train into 
Vacca ; n de Lo d never did make no men out Q* 
cl ar iron n steel !" 


The argument was so forcible that some one 
would work with the negroes while the " clean done 
gone " man and brother rested and meditated upon 
" catchin the gals of vacca !" which the song brought 
out so feelingly. 

Besides this, new interest would be added to the 
excursion whenever the wind was favorable ; for, 
stopping the car, a mast, to which a sort of " mutton- 
leg sail," as they termed it, would be attached ; the 
conductor would brace himself and would lengthen or 
shorten the sail as was most judicious, and then the 
hand-car ship would speed along the billowy tract 
like a majestic thing of life for a mile or two, when 
the party were again forced into a realizing sense 
of the plodding nature of the means of transit, which, 
after all, at times became monotonous. 

On one of these occasions of momentary fair sail 
ing and enthusiasm, they were also favored with a 
down grade of quite a stretch ; and, as everybody was 
happy at the wonderful rate of speed acquired, while 
the negroes were singing snatches of songs in the 
gayest manner possible, a "spread" of the track let 
the car upon the ties, from which it leaped at one 
bound into the swamp, completely immersing several 
of its occupants in the muddy slime. 

No damage was done, however, as the spot where 
everything and everybody alighted was too soft 
to cause anything to be broken ; and after righting 
the car, and repairing the disaster as much as possible, 


William and Keating safely arrived in Lavaca early 
in the afternoon, were at once driven to Indianola, 
where they cleaned up, including a most welcome 
bathing and shaving, at the Magnolia House ; em 
barked on a little schooner carrying the government 
mail down the coast ; were becalmed in Aranzas Bay, 
and late during the night of the twenty-seventh of 
January the light from a quaint seaport city danced 
along the waves of its beautiful harbor, and welcomed 
the worn-out but indefatigable detectives to Corpus 


GOING ashore, the two proceeded to a sort of 
hotel or boarding-house on the beach, where they 
found Judge Carpenter, formerly of Chicago, who 
had become district judge there, and who, on learn 
ing my son s name, inquired if he were not a relative 
of Allan Pinkerton the detective. 

He replied that he was very distantly related, 
which was a literal truth at that time, when the Judge, 
claiming an acquaintance, proffered any assistance 
which might be desired, whatever his business. The 
courtesy was courteously accepted, but no questions 
were asked concerning Taylor. 

After breakfast the next morning, they strolled 


up-town with Judge Carpenter, when passing a Mr. 
Buckley s store, Keating, while catching step, took 
occasion to nudge my son, who carelessly looked into 
the place, as any stranger might, and there saw the 
object of his long search pleasantly chatting with one 
of the clerks ; but they walked on quietly with the 
Judge as far as the post-office, when he kindly intro 
duced them to another Mr. Taylor, the postmaster. 

After a few moments pleasant conversation, Wil 
liam asked the postmaster if he could direct him to 
ex-Sheriff John McLane s residence. It proved to be 
but a block distant, but on inquiring there, it was 
ascertained that he was absent at his store, farther 
down-town. He was the only person in that city, be 
sides Keating, whom my son felt that he could trust, 
as I had not only previously rendered him service, 
but also held him in the light of a friend ; and he had 
already been requested by me to render him any ser 
vice in his power, should William pass that way, so 
that he knew the first thing he should do was to go 
to him, explain his business fully and secure his im 
mediate advice and assistance. 

Finding him, he told him that he did not feel jus 
tified in arresting Taylor unless the mail-boat in 
which he had arrived was, in some way, detained for 
an hour. McLane said he would attend to that, and 
brought Captain Reinhart to the store, but not telling 
him why the delay was desired, arranged for the same, 
and at once hunted up Sheriff Benson, to wfeom my 


son delivered the warrant and demanded the pris 

Benson at first hesitated, expressing the utmost 
surprise, as Taylor was a fellow-boarder, and he could 
not realize, so he said, that he was other than a brave 
and chivalrous gentleman, and began to question the 
validity of the requisition, but William told him that 
there was the order of Governor Pease approved by 
General Canby, and that he did not propose to be 
dallied with or imposed upon in any manner. 

Seeing that my son had come too far and under 
gone too many hardships to be trifled with, he went 
with him to Buckley s stoie, where they found Tay 
lor, who was given into the detectives hands, though 
utterly astounded and completely unnerved at the 
idea that the strong hand of ihe law was upon him. 

In this condition, and before he could collect his 
scattered senses and decide to make a legal resistance, 
which would have caused my son a vast amount of 
trouble, if indeed it had not resulted in the liberation 
of the elegant swindler, he was placed on board the 

After they had left Corpus Cbristi behind, Wil 
liam began a system of soothing argument, with the 
end in view of convincing Taylor, who was now be 
coming nervous and restless, and evidently ashamed 
of being carried away so ingloriously, that it would 
be the best thing for himself, his brother, and even 
his people in Philadelphia, to go along quietly, with- 


out creating any disturbance, as, should he do so, he 
would treat him like a gentleman in every instance ; 
but should he give him any trouble whatever he 
would be obliged to put him in irons, and not only 
treat him like a criminal, but would serve him roughly 
in every particular. 

Taylor saw that he was in my power, and that I 
had put two men after him who would have gone to 
Cape Horn for him, and that his only chance of 
escape lay in strategy. 

He had the periect freedom of the boat, and, 
when he desired, chatted with the captain and the 
crew, who were not apprised by my son of the char 
acter of his new companion, and everything was done 
to make him comfortable. 

At first he kept entirely to himself, but of a sud 
den his manner changed entirely, and he became par 
ticularly pleasant, especially to the captain of the 
boat ; and as they were nearing the little barren 
Saluria Island, at the entrance to Matagorda Bay, 
William accidentally overheard the captain say to 
Taylor, "The tide is high enough, and I will be able 
to run close to the island." This caused him to have 
no particular suspicion of Taylor, as the remark might 
equally apply to a hundred other subjects besides the 
one to which it did ; but in a few moments after, he 
noticed the schooner, which had hugged the island 
pretty closely, now suddenly take a still closer tack, 
and rapidly neared the barren coast. Feeling alarmed 


lest the iielmsman was not attending to his duty, my 
son yelled : 

" Captain, what under heaven do you mean ? 
Don t you see that in another moment you ll have us 
beached ?" 

He had scarcely uttered the words when Taylor 
was seen to spring into the waves, and then disappear, 
and the boat at the same moment stood off from the 
island, as if in obedience to the warning my son had 

The truth flashed into his mind in an instant : 
Here, after this hard, unremitting toil, the discom 
forts, the annoyances, the dangers, everything 
through which they had been obliged to pass, after 
their hopes for success, and after they had earned 
it if two men ever had earned success just when 
they were beginning to feel the pleasure of work well 
done, and be able to experience the genuine satisfac 
tion it is to any man who is honest enough to ac 
knowledge it, in securing the regard of the public for 
assisting in its protection, the commendation of one s 
employer for good sturdy care for his interests, and 
the self-respect one gains in doing one s duty, even if 
it has led him a hard life of it, they were to be 
cheated and outwitted. Half crazed, my son, with 
anger and indignation, and a perfect flood of humiliat 
ing thoughts filled his brain in the first great ques 
tion, " What was to be done ?" 

His first impulse was to plunge in after him, and 


in pursuance of that impulse he had freed himself of 
his boots and coat, when, seeing Taylor rise to the 
surface and make but little headway against the tide, 
which was ebbing strongly, he call to the captain to 
round to, and began firing with considerable rapidity, 
so as to strike the water within a few feet of the man 
who was so unsuccessfully struggling against the tide, 
but whom he could not blame for making so brave 
and desperate an effort to free himself. 

He was provided with two magnificent English 
Trenter revolvers, which will carry a half-ounce ball 
a fourth of a mile with absolute accuracy ; and as he 
could use it with great precision he could easily have 
killed the man in the water. Both the captain and 
Taylor were terribly scared, and as Taylor held up 
his hand, and yelled " I surrender !" the balls were 
cutting into the water all about him savagely, and the 
captain shouted, " For God s sake, don t kill the man ! 
Don t you see I m rounding to ?" 

Keating, who had been almost worn out from the 
Texas trip, had been sleeping in a bunk below, and 
who had been roused by William s firing and the 
strange motion of the schooner, now came on deck 
rather thinly clad, and the two detectives covered 
Taylor with their revolvers ; while the captain, him 
self at the wheel, handled the schooner so that it was 
only necessary for him to keep himself above water 
in order to float with the tide against the side of the 
boat, when my son, rather too indignant to be partic- 


ularly tender, grabbed him by the hair and his luxu 
riant whiskers, drew him aboard, and soundly kicked 
him into the cabin, where he began crying frorn ex 
citement and fright, even going to such depths of dis 
couragement that he begged for a revolver with 
which to kill himself, which being handed him by my 
son for that purpose, he very properly refused, and 
was put to bed for the purpose of drying his clothes 
like a truant school-boy. 

It was my son s intention to take the steamer at 
Indianola for Galveston immediately upon arriving 
at the former place ; but on account of a heavy 
" Norther," which had blown all day Friday, the 
steamer had been obliged to put out to sea, and 
the party were consequently compelled to put up at 
the Magnolia House, and wait there until the follow 
ing Monday; and it required all the detective s 
shrewdness to keep Taylor quiet, as he had learned 
from some source that the creation of Wyoming 
Territory, which occurred a short time before his 
capture, had caused Cheyenne to be a city of quite a 
different Territory than when the requisition was 
issued, which would have amounted to so grave a 
technical flaw that the requisition would not have held 
against a habeas corpus. 

Court had just set at the place, and Indianola was 
full of lawyers, hungry as vultures for just such a 
rich case; but by constant persuasions, partial 
promises, leading to a hope, at least, that a 


promise might be effected at New Orleans, and dark 
hints of irons, and that, should his brother come on 
there and create any disturbance he would be imme 
diately arrested as accessory both before and after 
the crime ; with constant drives out into the country, 
rambles down the sea-shore, and every pretext known 
to the mind of the ingenious detective, everything 
was managed successfully ; a receipt for nearly two 
thousand dollars in specie secured ; the turning 
over of the money to Taylor s brother stopped ; and 
Taylor himself taken to New Orleans without an 
attempt at rescue ; and receiving a dispatch there 
from me to the effect that a compromise could not be 
for a moment considered, the party left that city 
Thursday, February 4th, arriving in Cheyenne six 
days later, my son accounting for his prisoner to the 
authorities into whose hands the case then passed ; 
the last being seen of " Harry G. Taylor, the Man 
from Somewhere," being behind the bars of the 
guard-house at Fort Russell, where he had been 
placed for safe-keeping previous to his trial ; and I 
have related these facts, not so much to show any 
startling phase of crime, as to give the public a single 
illustration, out of thousands upon my records, of how 
men must overcome every known obstacle while 
leading the hard life of the detective, 


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