Missionary E Martin An Agent Of The Confederate Treasury Department Arrested His Big Tobacco Smuggling Scheme Exposed

Headquarters, Middle Department,

8th Army Corps.

Baltimore, Mch. 12, 1865.

Special Order No. 44.

Lieut. H. B. Smith, 5th N. Y. Arty., and Commanding Detective

Corps, 8th Army Corps, with one man of his force, will proceed

to New York City, arrest a certain man, and return to these

headquarters without delay, with his assistant and prisoner.

Quartermaster's Department will furnish transportation.

By command of Bvt. Brigadier General W. W. Morris.


Major & Actg. Provost Marshal.

The cause for this trip will be explained by the following copy of a

letter, and a contract.

New York, Mch. 10, 1865.

Dear Manahan:

It is said Fredericksburg and tobacco is captured. I feared


Have written to Maddox and sent him a copy of contract. I

enclose yours.

Now it is for you to go to work at once and see that this

property is taken care of. I believe you will both do it; see

to it that no innocent parties suffer. Act promptly, for I

assured my friends that the property was safe at that point,

and I did it on your representations. Let me hear from you,

care of Burnett & Funkhouser, this city.

Yours truly, M. E. MARTIN.

Baltimore, Md.,

Dec. 8th, 1864.

I hereby agree to deliver to Mess. Maddox & Manahan, during

the month of Feby. and March, 1865, at Fredericksburg,

Virginia, on the Rappahannock River, Four Thousand Boxes

(4,000) of good sound merchantable tobacco, to be paid for on

delivery, by my Agents at said point, in United States

currency, at the rate of Forty-seven and a half (47-1/2) Cents

per pound.

Said tobacco to be of the quality known as good manufactured

Virginia Leaf. I reserve to myself the privilege of increasing

the quantity to 5,000 boxes, if I see proper.

(Signed) M. E. MARTIN.

Manahan was of the firm of J. F. Manahan & Co., No. 17 South Charles

Street, Baltimore, Md. This letter, by mistake, fell into my hands on

March 12th. It was necessary to act quickly in order to intercept

communication twixt Martin and Manahan, and for that purpose I left

Baltimore on the 12th, and had my man wire to Martin, as follows:

Baltimore, Md., Mch. 13, 1865.

M. E. Martin,

c/o Burnett & Funkhouser,

New York.

"Your letter here. Shaffer, my friend, will call to-day. Let

me know the result by telegraph immediately."


Maltby House.

I assumed that if Martin wanted to reach Manahan, he would address him

at the Maltby House, the telegraph office there was in my possession.

I at the same time had myself wired to as follows:

Baltimore, Md., Mch. 13, 1865.

I. K. Shaffer,

Merchants Hotel,

New York.

"Call on Martin immediately, I have his letter of 10th."


Maltby House.

This wire was to be my introduction to Martin. I located Martin and

Burnett & Funkhouser in Broad Street near Beaver. I did not call on him

immediately, as I wanted him to get anxious to see me first.

To keep him quiet on Maddox, I had him wired as follows:

Washington, D. C.,

Mch. 14, 1865.

M. E. Martin,

c/o Burnett & Funkhouser,

New York.

"M. leaves here to-night, you can rest fully satisfied all is



Willards Hotel.

Poor Manahan was asleep to all this use of his name, of course. Martin

did get anxious. He wrote me the following note and sent it to

Merchant's Hotel:

Mr. Shaffer:

Dear Sir.--Have despatch from Manahan that you will call and

see me here. Will be in at half past eleven to twelve, half

past twelve to one, and at half past one.

Either wait for me or leave your address.

Yours, &c.,


I called but failed to find Martin, and later I received the following

from him:

Mr. Shaffer:

I waited for you all the early part of the day, at B & F's,

and then left a note for you, requesting you to leave your


Am unwell; if it is important you should see me before

morning, please come up to my hotel, Gramercy Park House, if

not, please meet me at B & F's, nine to nine thirty, t-morrow


Yours truly,


I met him in the morning, as appointed. He was hungry to meet me, just

as I wanted it.

I found Mr. Martin to be a man evidently well fitted for the job, in

appearance tall, rather lank, energetic and gentlemanly. We visited off

and on, nearly all day. He believed, from what I told him, that I and my

friends were financially interested through Manahan. He explained his

position as representing Mr. Trenholm, Secretary of the Confederate

Treasury. He told how he had formerly run cotton through the lines on

the Mississippi river.

Now that the tobacco had been seized, his plan was to press a claim upon

our government, representing the tobacco to belong to Union people. He

told me he had papers at his hotel which would corroborate him.

In the afternoon, nearly dark, we parted in the Howard House (then at

the corner of Maiden Lane and Broadway) with the understanding that I

was returning to Baltimore and Manahan, satisfied with his assurances.

My man (Mr. Kraft), who had been following me, to be handy if help was

needed, and who had been watching for the signal to make the arrest,

came to me hastily, thinking he might have missed the signal, but I

assured him it was all right to let Martin go. I had a further purpose,

I wanted to get the documents Martin had spoken of as being at his


Kraft and I dined at the old Lovejoy Hotel (then at the corner of

Beekman Street and Park Row) and afterwards went up to the Gramercy Park

Hotel, then quite a fashionable hostelry. We waited until Martin came

out of the dining-room. He was in his dinner suit, and was quite a dude

for such a raw-boned Southerner; he was surprised to see me again. I

told him I wanted some further talk. I asked if we could not go to his

room. After starting for up stairs I introduced my friend.

When in his room I informed him that my sole object was to obtain the

information needed by the Government. Any man's face would be a study

under such circumstances. Martin was game; his first question was:

"Well, what is your name?" "Smith," I replied. "Oh, I mean your right

name," he said. (There are some advantages in the name Smith, I really

needed no alias.)

Martin thought a treat was "on him," and he paid it. I then invited him

to show me the documents he had described when down town. I took

possession of all. They gave a very good history of his doings on the

Mississippi river, and his connection with the Confederate Treasury


In answer to his question, I told him that I did not know what the

government would do with him, but I was sure his proposed claim against

the government would not be collectible, and perhaps he would be

detained until the end of the war, to prevent a recurrence.

Pending my first call on Martin, I visited General Dix, commanding the

Department of the East. He declined to endorse my order to make the

arrest of Martin, unless I explained fully the case. Rather than do so,

just at that time, I concluded to disregard courtesy and take my man

away without his endorsement, which I did.

The "Gold Room" which was then more important than the Stock Exchange,

was in Twenty-fourth Street, back of the Fifth Avenue Hotel; it was open

evenings. I permitted Martin to send there for money, and to advise his

friends that he would be away for a few days.

During the evening Mr. Martin said to me, "Last evening, when I was

expecting you, waiting for you, I lay here reading Colonel Baker's book

on the Secret Service. He had no case as slick as this. Smith, you were

so frank and open, I would have told you anything you wanted to know."

I presume he was reading Baker's book to see how such cases as his were

treated, not dreaming of an ocular demonstration so near at hand. At

midnight we started for Baltimore.

The following from the Richmond "Whig" explains better, perhaps, than I

can, just what Martin and the case meant, from the Confederate


(From the Richmond "Whig")

The Tobacco Transaction--A Prominent New York House Concerned.

"We have obtained the main facts of the great tobacco

speculation, in reference to which there were so many rumors

last week. It appears that an agent of a New York mercantile

house, whose name it is deemed inexpedient to publish at this

time, proposed to certain parties in this city to contract

with them for the delivery of a specific quantity of

manufactured tobacco at Fredericksburg, he undertaking for his

principals to remove the tobacco from that point, with the

implied consent of the United States authorities, provided

the Confederate authorities would indicate their consent, in

writing, to the proposed transaction. The tobacco was to be

paid for on its delivery at Fredericksburg. The New York house

was vouched for by an influential member of Congress, who had

intimate business relations with the concern.

One of the Confederate bureaus became identified with the

scheme, by reason of the representations which had been made

to its officers, and by the prospect of advantageous results

from the fulfillment of the proposed agreement by the parties

on the other side.

The contract was accordingly entered into, "sealed, signed and

delivered," with a satisfactory endorsement from the

predecessor of the present Secretary of War, who was no doubt

induced to believe that it was "all right." Nothing was said

in the contract about bacon. The quid pro quo was money.

In execution of the contract on this side, about four thousand

boxes of fine to extra manufactured tobacco were purchased

here, at rates ranging from four dollars to seven dollars per

pound, Confederate currency. Of this amount one thousand two

hundred and seventy-three boxes, weighing one hundred and

thirty-two thousand five hundred and seventy-eight pounds, and

valued at seven hundred thousand dollars, were forwarded to

Fredericksburg in charge of Dr. Rose, who was induced by

assurances from Richmond, which he could not discredit, to act

as consignee and custodian of the tobacco until delivered

according to agreement. He was not in any sense, as we

understand, a party to the contract. What became of the

tobacco is known to our readers. Dr. Rose was carried off by

the Yankees for engaging in contraband traffic.

The name of General Singleton has been connected with this

transaction. We state on the authority of an officer of the

bureau referred to that he has no lot nor part in it, directly

or indirectly. The loss of the tobacco will fall upon the

contractors here unless the New York parties to the contract

will fulfill their obligations by indemnifying the bureau with

which they contracted."

After action by Congress, President Lincoln endeavored to extend some

relief to persons within the Confederacy who were Unionists at heart;

they were to be encouraged by allowing them to work their products up to

and through the lines. What was intended as a great beneficent

proposition was seized upon by the Confederate government to help itself


The following order will explain the experiences with cotton on the

Mississippi river. I presume these orders drove Martin to turn his

attention to tobacco in the east:

Headquarters, Major General Washburn,

District West Tennessee.

Memphis, May 10, 1864.

"The practical operation of commercial intercourse from this

city with the States in rebellion, has been to help largely to

feed, clothe, arm and equip our enemies."

* * * * *

"To take cotton, belonging to the Rebel Government to Memphis,

and convert it into supplies and greenbacks, and return to the

lines of the enemy, or place the proceeds to the credit of the

Rebel Government, in Europe, is safe and easy.

"I have undoubted evidence that large amounts of cotton have

been and are being brought here to be sold, belonging to the

Rebel Government."

* * * * *

"It is therefore ordered, that on and after the 15th of May,

1864, the lines of the Army at Memphis be closed and no person

be permitted to leave the city, except by river, without a

special pass."

"By order of

Major General C. C. WASHBURN."

A similar order was issued by Colonel Farrar, at Natchez, Miss., and by

General Sherman at Vicksburg, in which they said:

"The amount of trade through the lines at all these points,

with the isolated localities, where trade stores were

situated, was estimated at not less than a half million

dollars, daily."

On the 6th of March, 1864, General Roberts, with one thousand five

hundred men, and with naval help, left Fortress Monroe for

Fredericksburg. He captured and destroyed three hundred and eighty

thousand dollars worth of tobacco.

Martin was the representative of the Confederate Treasury Department. I

recovered his correspondence with Secretary Trenholm. It was understood

that the proceeds of the sale of this tobacco was to go to Paris to help

pay Confederate debts incurred there.

Introducing Christian Emmerich And Incidentally Charles E Langley A Noted Confederate Spy Mrs Key Howard A Lineal Descendant Of The Author Of The Star Spangled Banner facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail