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General Wallace Assumes Command Of The Middle Department





General Wallace assumed command of the Middle Department, 8th Army
Corps, March 22d, 1864. The Department headquarters were located in a
large mansion on the northwest corner of Calvert and Fayette Streets,
just opposite Battle Monument. I can give no better description of the
Department than to quote General Schenck, who formerly commanded there,
in his words to General Wallace:

"Your trouble will have origin in Baltimore. Baltimore viewed socially
is peculiar. There is more culture to the square block there than in
Boston; actual culture. The question of the war divided the old
families, but I was never able to discover the dividing line. Did I put
a heavy hand on one of the Secessionists, a delegation of influential
Unionists at once hurried to the President and begged the culprit off.
The most unfortunate thing in connection with the Department and its
management is that it is only a pleasant morning's jaunt by rail from
Baltimore to Washington. There is another thing you should know, without
being left to find it out experimentally, Baltimore is headquarters for
a traffic in supplies for the Rebel armies the extent of which is simply
incredible. It is an industry the men have nothing to do with. They know
better, and leave it entirely to the women, who are cunning beyond
belief, and bold on account of their sex. They invent underground lines,
too many and too subtly chosen to be picked up by the shrewdest
detectives."

General Wallace exactly "fitted the niche," a soldier, lawyer,
statesman, and an even tempered man. He so ably administered the
Department as to overcome all obstacles. One permanent order was that
every prisoner should have a hearing at once. If evidence would stand
law, the prisoner was to be held; if not, to be at once released. The
Paine case is an apt illustration. I felt sure I could get evidence that
he was a spy, but had it not at hand and so had to let him go (I will
tell about this later on). There was never a suit for false arrest
during General Wallace's administration.

One of my duties was to collate the evidence in cases for trial. I
learned what was evidence. I was a witness almost constantly before
courts martial and military commissions. It was good experience for me
and it has served me ever after in civil life. I am proud to say (but
perhaps ought not to) that General Wallace gave me credit for aiding in
his able administration of the Department.

No better man could have been found for Provost Marshal General than
Colonel Woolley. He was a soldier and a thorough business man.

The Provost Marshal General's Department was located on the southwest
corner of Camden and Eutaw Streets. It was in a handsome three-story
brick building and had a massive marble entrance. Adjoining it was what
had formerly been a slave pen. Between the corner building and the slave
pen there was an open court which had been used for the slave mart. The
slave pen we used for our prison purposes. The first floor of the main
house was used as our public offices. The second floor was General
Woolley's headquarters. The third floor was my headquarters. In the rear
of the main front corner building was a three-story brick extension,
running back about a hundred feet (to an alley) in which were quartered
the troops (our guards). The buildings were admirably constructed and
centrally located for our purposes.

From now on I was Assistant Provost Marshal General and Chief of the
Secret Service. I had a corps of about forty (men and women) under my
direction. To illustrate my general lines of work I will give copies of
some memoranda which I have. To give all would take more room than I can
spare. In looking these memoranda over the greatest gratification I
feel comes from the evident fact that I was not a drone, but tried to do
my duty. And fifty years further along in our nation's history it may be
a satisfaction to my then living relatives to know it.





Next: Here Begins My Service As An Assistant Provost Marshal Of The Department

Previous: Initial Trip Down Chesapeake Bay After Blockade Runners And Contraband Dealers And Goods



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