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Mrs Key Howard A Lineal Descendant Of The Author Of The Star Spangled Banner

Headquarters, Middle Department,
8th Army Corps,
Baltimore, Apl. 28, 1864.

Special Order No. 48.

Lieut. H. B. Smith, Chief Officer, Secret Service Bureau, 8th
Army Corps, will proceed to Washington, D. C., in charge of
prisoners, Miss Martha Dungan and Mrs. Key Howard.

On arrival you will deliver prisoners to Mr. Wm. P. Wood, in
charge of Old Capitol Prison and receive receipt for same,
after which you will report to Hon. C. A. Dana, Asst. Secy. of
War, deliver all papers in prisoners' cases and return to
these headquarters without delay.

Quartermasters will furnish transportation.

By command of Major General Lew Wallace.

Lt. Col. and Provost Marshal.

Here is a sad incident illustrating what Hamlet meant when he said: "To
what base uses may we return, Horatio!" Mrs. Key Howard, a lineal
descendant of Francis Scott Key, author of the "Star Spangled Banner,"
having obtained a personal pass direct from Mr. Lincoln, permitting her
to pass our lines, had actually gathered a Confederate mail, to carry
through, under its protection. Honor of a truly "Blue Blood?"--it was

The pass was written on a plain card, and read:

Pass Mrs. Key Howard through the lines.

I might have retained the card, but turned it in with the case. Mrs.
Howard, in discussing with me the lack of honor in so abusing a great
favor, became very angry; she said: "Lincoln was vulgar, not a polished
man; he sat with legs crossed while talking to me." Young and
inexperienced as I was, I was so forcibly struck with the shallowness of
_pretended culture_ that I have many times told the story to illustrate.

I have no doubt that Mrs. Howard traded upon her family name with
President Lincoln. He undoubtedly trusted her, believing that she had
honor in her composition.

Blockade running schemes were without limit as to variety or manner of
evasion. Vessels were loaded in Baltimore, clearing for any port.
Trading schooners were loaded, taking shipments for various stores on
the rivers and bays of the Chesapeake Bay; some of the shipments would
be honest transactions, but others would be especially designed for
Confederate consumption.

In April, 1864, the schooner "Wm. H. Travers" (Captain Rice) had been
under surveillance. She was loaded at Baltimore with a mixed cargo, part
of which was of honest shipments. I learned that it was intended to
swamp the vessel within reach of the Confederates, thus permitting them
to take the entire cargo regardless of ownership. I allowed its loading
and permitted the captain to leave port with her, but after she got well
down the stream I overhauled her with the steam tug "Ella," and brought
her back to Baltimore. Her cargo was worth about six thousand dollars.
Mr. Blackstone, of St. Mary's County, was the guilty party.

Depot, Quartermaster's Office,
Baltimore, Md., April 30, 1864.

Steam Tug Ella:

You will proceed with your tug under the orders of Lt. H. B.
Smith, and render such service as he may require; after
performing those duties you will return to Boston wharf and
report to me.

Chief Quartermaster.

Headquarters, Middle Department,
8th Army Corps,
Baltimore, May 4, 1864.

H. B. Smith,
Lt. Comdg. Detective Corps.

Lieutenant.--You will please order the guard in charge of the
schooner "W. H. Travers" to remove and put her in such
position at Boston Wharf as will not interfere with the
vessels in the government service at the wharf, and not to
interfere in any way with or be in the way of the vessels in
public service.

I have addressed a note to the Quartermaster asking to be
allowed the privilege of unloading the vessel at the wharf.

Very respy,
Your obdt. servt,
Lt. Col. and Provost Marshal.

Headquarters, Middle Department,
8th Army Corps,
Baltimore, May 11, 1864.

Lieut. Col. Woolley,
Provost Marshal.

Colonel.--I have the honor to report that I have completed the
discharge of the goods on board the schooner "W. H. Travers"
to the shippers, excepting those named on the enclosed list.

I enclose herewith all the papers in connection with the case,
two lists, one of goods not on the manifest, and one of goods
not permitted, but on the manifest. I also enclose a note from
Mr. McJilton, clerk of the Custom House, showing that some
transactions there in this case are not all right.

Mr. McJilton, the Surveyor of the Port, stated that he would
not grant a permit for percussion caps, unless by permission
of the military authorities. The impression at the Custom
House is that the whole transaction of shipping these goods is
a fraud, and they do not know what to think of their books and

I have a package of gold leaf in my possession, also two
Confederate uniforms. Some of the cotton cards I found stored
away in the cabin, and some away under the stairs. The second
box on the manifest, shipped by Bolton to R. P. Blackstone,
contained one box soap, and one box of glass. I have a
certificate from Bolton to that effect. Mr. Passano, who
shipped the box containing the glass, denies any knowledge of
the contents of the box, as it was a cash bill and he had no
record of it.

I am, Colonel,
Very respy your obdt. servt.,
Lieut Com'd'g, D. C.

We subsequently returned to the innocent shippers their goods, but
confiscated the balance, and also the vessel. I afterwards used the
"Travers" to capture other blockade runners, and quite successfully. A
sailor will recognize a vessel as far as the eye can reach, as surely as
a man can recognize any familiar object. She was known as a
blockade-runner to the fraternity; we used her to crawl upon others.

Any citizen or soldier from the Confederacy found within our lines was
considered a spy; some were executed. To escape such treatment it was
necessary to report to the nearest officer and take the oath of
allegiance. Even then we were not protected, but had to carefully
examine the purported refugee, or deserter, to ascertain their possible
honesty. We captured a great many spies.

An official spy, sent out by the Confederates to perform a specific
duty, had no conscience to answer to, that would prevent his taking our

Headquarters, Middle Department,
8th Army Corps,
Baltimore May 3, 1864.

Lieut. Col. Woolley,
Provost Marshal.

Colonel.--I have the honor to report that this evening we
arrested James A. Winn, a member of Co. E. 1st Md. Rebel
Cavalry, in a house, No. 42 Saratoga street. He was dressed as
a citizen; under his coat, with the flaps rolled back, was his
uniform jacket. His coat was buttoned, thus hiding his
uniform. He wore a black slouch hat.

I placed the inmates of the house, Mrs. Hall and Miss McAlden
in arrest, and searched the premises.

Both of these ladies admitted they were aware of Winn's
character, and that their sympathies were with the South. I
found nothing contraband in the house. They live neatly, but
are evidently poor. Miss McAlden remarked that they were too
poor to aid the South even if they were so disposed.

I have a guard in charge of the house awaiting your
disposition of the case.

Messrs. Allen and Sampson, clerks at Department Headquarters,
are, I am informed, boarding at this house.

I am Colonel,
Very respy, your obdt. servant,
Lt. Com'd'g D. C.

The papers and pocketbook that I handed you were found on his

Any incautious information dropped by Allen or Sampson was likely to be
immediately reported to the Confederate authorities. The Department was
honeycombed with just such points of insecurity, leaks which it was my
duty to stop.

Headquarters, Middle Department,
8th Army Corps,
Baltimore, May 4, 1864.

Col. Woolley,
Provost Marshal.

Send a good detective to Frederick, Md. He may possibly get
track there of some of the 1st (Rebel) Maryland Spies. Send
him on the first train.

Major General Commanding.

The above order is in General Wallace's handwriting. Winn, whom we had
arrested, was of that regiment and we were searching for others.

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