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Two Of My Officers Captured By Union Pickets

To save delay in getting out of the harbor the following request was

Headquarters, Middle Department,
8th Army Corps,
Baltimore, June 9, 1864.

Capt. Cornell,
Commanding Revenue Cutter,
Baltimore Harbor.

Captain.--I have the honor to request that you permit the
schooner "W. H. Travers" under command of Lieut. Smith, to
pass your vessel without Custom Clearance. She is employed in
the Secret Service Bureau, 8th A.C.

Respy, your most obdt. servt.,
Lt. Col. and Provost Marshal.

Headquarters, Middle Department,
8th Army Corps.
Baltimore, June 9, 1864.

Special Order No. 76.

Lieut. H. B. Smith with detachment of Secret Service Corps,
will proceed on schooner "W. H. Travers" to such points on
Eastern and Western shore of Maryland, Eastern and Western
shore of Virginia, and Southern and Northern shore of the
Potomac river, as he deems proper and necessary to further the
instructions of the Government.

By command of Major General Wallace,
Lt. Col. and Provost Marshal.

The chain of war vessels extending along the Potomac under the command
of Commodore Foxhall A. Parker, he having jurisdiction of the waters,
was known as the Potomac flotilla.

When I attempted to approach the Commodore on his flag ship I was, in my
raiment, a sight. The marines viewed me with curiosity. Upon introducing
myself to the Commodore, he laughed. His wife being present, also
enjoyed a laugh at my appearance. No "Johnny" ever looked more
dilapidated. I presented my orders for the Commodore's endorsement.

Headquarters, Cavalry Detachment,
District of St. Mary's.
Leonardtown, Md., June 16, 1864.

Lieut. H. B. Smith,
Chief Detective on board
schooner "W. H. Travers."

Some of my scouts last night arrested two men in a boat at the
head of Britton's Bay, who claim to be Government detectives,
and under your charge. If such is the case I desire that you
will in some manner identify them, as they have nothing with
them which would lead me to suppose them to be such.

These men give their names as John Gillock, and J. W. Lewis.

I shall hold these men in confinement until I am fully
satisfied of the truth of their statements.

I am, Sir, very respy, yours, &c.,
Lt. Comdg.

These were our boys and they were set at liberty of course. The
Lieutenant was doing perfectly right, as our appearance and conduct was
suspicious. Our plans always were to appear to be blockade-runners, so
we never carried on our persons any evidence of our true character. We
carried forged Confederate documents when we were going where it was
desirable. We could imitate General Winder's signature to passes,
defying detection, and we had the same kind of paper, a light brown.
The Confederate Government had poor stationery.

Headquarters, Middle Department,
8th Army Corps.
Baltimore, June 23, 1864.

Col. Woolley,
Provost Marshal.

Colonel.--I have the honor to report the following on the trip
on the schooner "W. H. Travers" down the Bay, and on the
Potomac river. I seized about three boxes tobacco (three
hundred dollars) on the farm of Mr. Evans, Smith's Creek, St.
Mary's County, Md, which he said was placed in his hay stack
by some blockade runners.

I got from the Provost Marshal at Leonardtown, St. Mary's
County, the canoe which was seized by Detective White sometime

In the Wicomico river, near its mouth, we seized a small yawl
containing five men and one woman, who were on their way to
Virginia. Wm. H. Hayden owned the boat and was to receive
fifty dollars each for conveying the passengers over; he is
engaged in this business constantly. About one week since he
carried over two persons, one a Doctor; they were in the woods
a day or so before they started.

Hayden has been carrying a mail to and fro. A small package
of letters with a stone attached was found in the boat and I
presume they were in Mr. Hayden's charge, as in the letters
Mr. Hayden is mentioned as "carrying letters."

Wm. R. Horton, a passenger, was formerly in the Confederate
army; said he was going to return; says he applied in this
office for a position a short time since.

Wm. Gellatly and wife, passengers, were making their way to
Columbia, S. C., Mr. Gellatly says he came within our lines
early in April last, but did not report to any Provost
Marshal, as he did not wish to bind himself not to return. He
claims to be a British subject. They had a small trunk and
some other baggage. Both Gellatly and Horton say that they
made arrangements with Hayden in Chaptico, St. Mary's County.

I found in the trunk a small revolver. This arrest was made by
Detectives Horner and Stern, who were posted as a picket near
the mouth of the Wicomico.

There were two more men in the boat who succeeded in making
their escape in the dark, and whom all the other passengers
state were Confederate officers who had escaped from Point
Lookout, named Bruce and Howell. I am informed that one of
these parties left his horse with a Mr. Dent in Chaptico.

The yawl boat in which they were was very poor, worth about
five or six dollars, and I did not bring it to Baltimore as it
was not worth towing.

I took from Mr. Hayden a small gold watch. I also arrested Mr.
J. B. McWilliams on the charge of aiding Rebels, contraband
traders, &c., and of defrauding the Government. All of which I
will state in a separate report.

On the trip we have labored under many disadvantages. The
vessel is in no way fit for the business, being too large and
a miserable sailer. We could not get about as we ought, we had
but one day's fair wind during the whole trip. We started from
Wicomico river on Sunday at 3 P. M., and arrived in Baltimore
this P. M.

Mrs. Gellatly states that she tried to persuade her husband to
remain North but he would not and she was compelled to
accompany him. She came to this country about six months

I could not get permission from Commodore Parker to enter
Virginia on account of the raid then being carried on, but he
said under any other circumstances he would give permission
and let a gunboat accompany me.

Hoping that my action in these matters will meet with your

I am, Colonel,
Very respy. your obdt. servt.,
Lt. and Chief.

Office Provost Marshal,
Baltimore, June 24, 1864.

Col. Woolley,
Provost Marshal.

Colonel.--I have the honor to make the following report in the
case of J. B. McWilliams of Charles County, Md., whom I
arrested and brought to this prison.

While anchored in the Wicomico river on the trip down on the
schooner "W. H. Travers," W. H. Seward and myself took a small
yawl which we had captured from Wm. H. Hayden in attempting to
go South, and rowed up the Potomac river as far as Cobb creek.
We were hailed by McWilliams as we neared the shore at this
point, he saying, "I used to own that boat," asked us where we
were from. I refused to answer, but he said, "I am all right,
you need not fear me." We landed and went up into the bushes.
He advised us to remove the mufflers from the oars as they
could be seen from the gunboats and they would know
immediately that we were from Virginia. He informed us where
the soldiers were posted and how to avoid them, and advised us
to leave our boat on his shore as it was known and would not
be suspected, informed us of Grant's move on Fort Darling,
&c.; called our attention to an article in the Baltimore
Gazette which he said "done him good," and would do any
Southerner good.

He said he wanted to send some copies to Virginia as he knew
they would be so highly appreciated; wanted to write by us to
his son who was in the Confederate army; said he traded yawl
boat with Hayden about one week previous, when Hayden was on
his way to Virginia with two men, one of them a Doctor; said
he talked with these two men nearly all one day, and sent a
letter to his son by Hayden. He had sent his son a large
revolver and wanted to sell me a double barrelled gun to take
back with me to Virginia; said he had a full set of cavalry
accoutrements that he had been keeping, awaiting a chance to
saddle up and fight the Yankees.

He said he saddled his horse and started for Frederick to
assist when Jackson made his first raid but he could not get
through the lines. He said many times that the people of
Maryland only wanted a chance to turn on the Yankees. He said
Dr. Coon of Washington had a yacht in which he carried over as
many as three hundred to join the Confederates, from near his
place; he said he was much afraid of his negroes as they would
go and tell the Yanks all that was going on; he advised me to
watch the negroes especially on Sunday and advised us to
scatter about the woods.

He brought us three meals in the woods. He whipped one of his
negroes because he threatened to inform the Provost Marshal
that we were there; he suggested to me the idea to lash one of
his negroes down and carry him to Virginia; he said there were
but four or five loyal men in the County.

Said he was caught once by the Yankee gunboats and they found
seventeen thousand dollars worth of contraband goods in his
cellar, but that he had a frolic at his house, invited all the
ladies about there and the Officers of the gunboats and thus
this was all hushed up; said he could bribe any Yankee.

He said at one time he stored $25,000 worth of contraband
goods in his buildings and aided in getting them away but was
not caught.

He said that about three weeks since, two Confederate
soldiers, came across the river and secreted themselves in the
woods; he went to see them; one of his slaves reported the
case to the Provost Marshal, who sent a guard to make the
arrest. He saw the guard approach. The Confederates were
scared; he told them to keep cool and when the guards came
near to say they wanted to know where the Provost Marshal was,
to say they were refugees and wanted to take the oath; said he
came near being caught but the Yanks were not smart enough;
said he thought these men had returned to Dixie by this time.

He said the Government had attempted to confiscate his son
Frank's one-third interest in some property there which was
worth about ten thousand dollars, so he got Mr. Higgs, Post
Master at Newport, Charles County, to make out an account
against Frank amounting to about ten thousand dollars and sue
the estate; he went security to pay the amount in five years
and thus got the property in his hands.

I seized from his house the double barrelled gun and the horse

I arrested Mr. McWilliams and brought him to this city as I
thought him too dangerous a man to occupy the position he does
on the Maryland shore. His remarks were made voluntarily
without my making much effort, apparently, to ascertain his

I am, Colonel,
Very respy. your obdt. servt.,
Lt. & Chief.

I remember the following incident which occurred on this trip: I tried
to qualify as a deck hand. Leaning over the vessel's waist, I tried the
difficult trick of scooping up a pail of water while the boat was in
motion, and while so engaged my watch slipped out of my pocket, and into
the water. We were then just below Fort Carroll, mid-stream. The watch
is there yet, unless some mermaid has carried it off. I would not have
lost it had I not divested it of the chain, to help appearances. On
these trips one could not discover that we were not ordinary helpers
"before the mast."

Many of the crews on such vessels were of the class called by the
negroes "poor white trash," and they were ignorant beyond belief; to
test which I once pointed out land to the east as being Ireland, to
which they assented. The captains and mates, of course, were not so

A strange picture presented itself to me one moonlight night. We were
laying in St. Mary's river when a cunna (canoe) came along side, and
three or four black men crawled upon our deck and hid themselves down
behind the boat's waist. They wanted to go away with us, telling a
pitiful tale of oppression, but slavery was yet in vogue there, and so
we forced them to go away home.

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