Statements: Jeremiah Artis A Real Deserter From The Confederates
I have told you that it required experience and skill to determine who
were honest deserters, sick of the Confederate service, and seeking
homes in our lines, or who were refugees, entitled to a refuge, or who
were spies. Under the head of spies were placed those who came North to
visit friends, or gain a remount intending to return to the Confederate
lines; these latter were not being especially employed as spies, but
they were persons who might carry valuable information. But it was the
real official spy that we were after.
By a "remount" I mean those who were granted leave of absence by the
Confederates for the purpose of remounting. These were mounted men who
having lost their horses, were given a "remount pass" which was
practically authority to come within our lines and gain a horse by any
means; therefore without desire to weary you I will give you the
examinations of one of each class, to wit: Jeremiah Artis, a real
deserter; Wm. J. Bradley, a refugee; Charles E. Langley, one of the most
expert and successful official spies, who is the one I referred to in
the Emmerich case as the "pal" of the conductor on the Baltimore and
In reading these statements, you will notice jumps, or gaps, where these
occur; it indicates a question from me eliciting the statement
Statement of Jeremiah Artis (real deserter).
"I kept store in Smithville, St. Mary's County, seven or eight
miles from Point Lookout, about one and a half miles from the
Bay. I joined the 1st Va. Cav., then was transferred to the
1st Md. Cav., was then transferred to the 2nd Md. Infty.,
Com'd by Capt. Crane. Lt. Col. Herbert is the field officer. I
left Md. Sep. 1861, crossed the Potomac at night. I first
heard of the President's proclamation, saw it in a Baltimore
paper sometime early in the spring of 1864, the paper was an
old one. I was in Maryland at the battle of Antietam or
Sharpsburg, was also at Gettysburg, was transferred from
Cavalry to Infantry but wouldn't stay, rejoined the Cavalry,
was with Bradley T. Johnson at Chambersburg; had no hand in
burning it, was kept outside of the city. I had been arrested
while trying to cross the Potomac in July, was kept in
Richmond awhile, then sent to my Regiment. Got as far as
Winchester when Early came into Maryland. When I was arrested,
I was trying to get home to stay; was on the Virginia side at
the time I was arrested by the conscription officers. When I
was in Maryland I would have deserted but had no chance.
I left my Regiment this last time about Sept. 22 or 23d, in
the Shenandoah Valley, near Port Republic, crossed Brown's
Gap, then through Green County, Madison, Orange,
Spottsylvania, Stafford, King George, Westmorland Counties, to
Northumberland County to the Potomac River, crossed over to
Britton's Bay. I had no furlough or pass. The Confederate Army
was moving at the time and I had no trouble in going through
If I had been arrested I would have said I belonged to no
regiment, as my time was out. I walked from Britton's Bay
direct to the Patuxent River to Spencer's Wharf, and took
steamboat to Baltimore, arrived there at 11 at night and slept
at a hotel; next morning I reported to the Provost Marshal's
office. I had no uniform except a jacket that I threw away in
Virginia, near the river. I bought a coat from some young men
I saw there.
D. Hammell came with me all the time. I expected when I
reported to be allowed to take the oath of allegiance and to
be allowed to remain at home. I prefer soldiering to anything
else in the world, and if I was as strong a Southern man as I
was when I first went away, I would stay in the Rebel army, no
matter how much hardship I would have to endure. I think I
could be a truly loyal citizen.
When I landed at Britton's Bay I did not go home because I
wished to come to Baltimore and report. I knew there was a
Provost Marshal to report to in Baltimore. Have seen no new
recruits from Maryland in our regiment lately. We got a few
recruits while in Maryland this last time. I did not know any
of them, or where they were from; there were very few. I don't
think our Company got any of them. Captain Brown was formerly
our Captain; he was killed."
Statement of William J. Bradley (a refugee), a Californian:
(Dec. 31, 1864.) "I left Richmond, Virginia, on Dec. 11th. I
was given the following directions and a pass by order of the
Rebel Secretary of War, to come North; the directions were
given by the Chief Signal Officer, viz: get off the cars at
Milford, see Boles at Bowling Green, Gibbs at Port Royal,
Rollins at Port Conway. I went to Oak Grove one and a half
miles from the Signal Camp. The Signal Camp is on Bridge
Creek, five miles from its mouth. At a point on the creek
where there was an old bridge which was burned, is where you
strike the road that leads to camp, which camp is about three
hundred yards from the creek, and on the site of the birth
place of Washington. They have a boat there in which they
cross the Potomac; it is about twenty-six feet long, and
capable of carrying about sixteen persons; they keep it about
three-quarters of a mile above, on the creek.
At the Signal Camp I saw about twelve men, commanded by
Sergeant Harry Brogden; they were armed with revolvers. They
collect passes that are granted in Richmond, run the mail and
Rebel agents North, and back again. They told me they were
expecting some twelve or fifteen parties back from Maryland
again, very soon.
When I came over in the boat it was manned by four oarsmen and
one steersman, and as passengers, Norris, an Englishman and
myself, and brought over a mail. We landed at Cobb Neck.
Morris said he would start back from the other side of the
The following are additional names of members of the Signal
---- Reed, formerly a boatman on the Potomac.
These men said they were daily expecting members of Mosby's
command on the Neck."
The route Bradley came was the exact route of the regular spies; but the
information he gave me was of a character to prove that although he came
by the official route, he was being honest with me. Some of the
information was new, and all of it was true and valuable. I drew out the
detailed information about the signal camp to guide me. I was determined
to capture it, and in April following my expedition was planned to
start, but was prevented by the assassination of the President.
Baltimore City Jail,
Dec. 23, 1864.
Statement of Charles E. Langley (official Confederate spy).
"I was born and raised in Winchester, Virginia. I resided in
Baltimore some time previous to the breaking out of the war. I
was in Washington at the Inauguration of President Lincoln;
was keeping a butter store in Baltimore.
In the summer of 1861, or perhaps early in the fall, I went to
Winchester; my parents resided there. The cars ran through to
Winchester. I went on the cars, no passes were required from
me on the road. The Confederate troops occupied Winchester at
the time. I went to work on the Winchester Railroad after I
arrived; worked a short time. I remained at Winchester all
that winter; was not in the army.
The next spring (1862), I went to Richmond. Went to work
driving an express wagon. Worked at that until the next fall.
I worked for the Southern Express Co.; a man named Holbrook,
from Baltimore, was at work for the Express Co. at the same
time. The draft came off that fall and I left for Winchester
to escape it. I tried to pretend I was from Maryland, and
therefore exempt, but as I was too well known it would not
work. I did nothing after I returned to Winchester, and staid
there till Christmas. The town was then occupied by Union
troops. About the last of Jan. 1863, I visited Baltimore and
tried to get a situation; I remained in Baltimore about two
months, doing nothing. I stopped at Mann's Hotel, that is, I
got my meals there, as I wanted them. I stopped part of the
time with "Bonis," a tinner, out Fayette street; I used to
board with them before the war.
I went back to Winchester about the first of March, but could
get nothing to do. I staid about a couple of weeks and then
came back to Baltimore. I tried again to get work here, tried
to get on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. I worked on that road
before the war, about three or four years. I offered my
services to Mr. Smith, Master of Transportation, as a kind of
scout for them, to ascertain when the road was injured, and
where, and other information relative to the safety of the
road. I did go up the road for him on several occasions in
1863 and gave him satisfaction.
I went up the road for Mr. Smith at the time Lee was crossing
into Maryland; could not get back, and went home to
Winchester; the Rebels occupied the town. I was arrested for
being in Maryland, as a Yankee spy, was kept about a week and
then discharged, as they had no proof and my friends in
Winchester got me off.
In the fall of 1863, when the Rebels left, I came back to
Baltimore. I went to see Mr. Smith, but could not get any work
from him. I remained in Baltimore until about Nov. 1st, when I
went on to New York to make arrangements with Mr. Sydney H.
Gay, to obtain Richmond papers for him. Mr. Gay is connected
with the Tribune; I went to work for him, used to go down the
valley to Winchester and obtain papers from parties down the
valley, further south than Winchester. I was successful in
obtaining papers but could have done better if I had had an
assistant. I don't think I gave my employer justice, but I
remained there to do the best I could. I continued in this
business until April 1st, 1864. I was stopped part of the time
on account of want of means; my pay was not sufficient to
enable me to make proper arrangements.
I remained in Winchester about two weeks trying to make
arrangements. I would not tell who I obtained the papers from
in the valley. I used to bring the papers as far as
Kearneysville. I always reported to the Provost Marshal at
Kearneysville when I arrived there, of any information I had
obtained of the (Rebel) enemy.
I went down the valley to a friend, near Strausburg, to see
about getting the papers more regularly. I got inside the
Rebel lines and could not get out. I remained inside their
lines at New Market, with some friends, about six weeks. I
staid there until the fight with Sigel. That very day
Breckenridge had me arrested for holding communication with
the Federal troops. I was kept in confinement two months, and
afterwards in arrest under three thousand dollars bail for
About Sept. 1st, I came up to Winchester to my home, and was
ordered back again. I went back and staid until about October,
the last of the month. I then crossed the Ridge and made my
way to Harper's Ferry. I got on the cars at Van Kleeve's
Station, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and came on to
Baltimore. I arrived here about the last of October. I stopped
at Mr. Perigoy's, No. 34 George street; his wife is a distant
relative of mine. I was not doing anything in particular,
intended to go to New York to see Mr. Gay. I was also trying
to find out who caused me to be arrested by Breckenridge, as I
was confident some Rebels in Baltimore were the cause of it.
I also heard that Breckenridge said a citizen of Kearneysville
had reported me as having given information to the A. Adjutant
General at Harper's Ferry.
I was arrested Sunday night on the street on my way home, by
Government detectives. I gave them a false name. I never was
in the Rebel army. Have never taken the oath of allegiance;
have never been asked to take it; think my arrest was not
(Signed) CHAS. E. LANGLEY.
I followed this man a year. After I arrested him very powerful interests
tried to frighten me; tried to make me believe the prisoner was such an
important person that his name must be whispered only. That, in fact, he
was Mr. Lincoln's personal man, and reporting only to Mr. Lincoln. They
threatened to have my commission taken from me. Finally the prisoner
himself offered to give up the "hotel burners" of New York, if I would
let up. I answered that I thought "a bird in hand worth two in the
bush," and I held him.
Upon his person I found his authority from the New York "Tribune" to
collect news at the front. This authority had been his open sesame
through our lines. I came to New York and saw Mr. Sidney B. Gay, of the
"Tribune"; he informed me that he remembered such a person, that he came
to him highly recommended; that he gave him the authority but had never
heard from him. I learned later that the powerful interests that were
working on me to compel his release were the same that had highly
recommended him to the "Tribune." He was a very successful and dangerous
spy until I interfered.
I will not tell you who the powerful interests were; suffice it to say
they were Confederates, doing good work for the Confederacy all the
while. Yet they had the entree of the departments at Washington, having
very powerful influence there. There were no other parties in the United
States so strongly allied. Through their medium many strange things were
manipulated. I will not mention their names, for they are all dead now.
I consider Langley's arrest one of the most important.
Of all the newspapers the "Tribune" was the very best to conjure with.
Any person who could show credentials from that paper would undoubtedly
be welcome anywhere on our lines.
Langley knew that I would visit the "Tribune," hence his efforts in his
statement to account for why he had not served them.
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