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The Harry Gilmor Sword And General Wallace's Comments

The sword of Harry Gilmor, the Confederate colonel, which General

Wallace had given me, had aroused Graham's interest so much that I

presented it to him; I had, prior to this, presented to Curtis, my

Creedmoor rifle trophies. I had become tired of telling the history of

that sword and how it came into my possession, having no other evidence

than my word for the truth of the story, since I had lost General

Wallace's let
er. However, quite unexpectedly, the story was revived in

the following manner:

Evelyn, who was but a baby in those days, remembering that I was with

General Wallace, on Christmas day, 1908, presented me with his

Autobiography (two volumes) much to my delight. A few days later Aunt

Mag, glancing through the second volume, discovered that I was

remembered by the General and the sword incident was there officially

described, so that now the sword is really vouched for in history, for

Wallace's volumes will be in every important library in the world.

I quote from General Lew Wallace's Autobiography, page 687 and on:

"From what has been said, it would seem my friend, General

Schenck, had found a disturbing element in the Secession

ladies of Baltimore, and in some way suffered from it. His

description of them, and the emphasis with which he had dwelt

upon their remarkable talent for mischief in general, I

accepted as a warning, and stood upon my guard.

"Every one into whose hands these memoirs may fall will see

almost of his own suggestion how necessary it was that, of the

inhabitants of the city, I should know who were disloyal with

more certainty even than who were loyal; of the latter there

was nothing to fear, while of the former there was at least

everything to suspect. We knew communication with the enemy

across the line was unceasing; that interchange of news

between Richmond and Baltimore was of daily occurrence; that

there were routes, invisible to us, by which traffic in

articles contraband of war was carried on with singular

success, almost as a legitimate commerce--routes by water as

well as by land. General Butler, at Norfolk, exerted himself

to discover the traders operating by way of the Chesapeake

Bay, but without success; with a like result I tried to

unearth the landward lines.

"_Captain Smith, my chief of detectives, a man of ability and

zeal_, at last brought me proof incontestable that Baltimore

was but a way-side station of the nefarious commerce, the

initial points of active transaction centering in


"As to Baltimore, this simplified our task, and shortly

General Schenck's sagacity was again vindicated--those working

in the prohibited business were ladies who moved in the upper

circles of society.

"Should I arrest the fair sympathizers? What was the use? The

simple appearance of distress was enough with the President;

and if that were so with a man in concernment, what would it

be with a woman? In sight of the hopelessness of effort on my

part, over and over, again and again, in the night often as in

the day, I took counsel of myself, 'What can be done?' At last

an answer came to me, and in a way no one could have

dreamed--the purest chance.

"A woman in high standing socially, alighted from a carriage

at the Camden station of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad,

carrying a mysterious-looking box. At the moment she was

stepping into a car my chief of detectives arrested her. The

box being opened, there, in velvet housings, lay a sword of

costly pattern inscribed for presentation to Colonel ----, a

guerilla officer of Confederate renown.

"A commission was immediately ordered for the woman's trial.

The word and the inscription upon it were irrefutable proofs

of guilt, and she was sent to a prison for females in

Massachusetts. The affair was inexcusably gross, considering

the condition of war--so much, I think, will be generally

conceded--still, seeking the moral effect of punishment alone,

I specially requested the officials of the institution not to

subject the offender to humiliation beyond the mere

imprisonment. In a few days she was released and brought home.

_The sword I presented to Captain Smith._"

General Wallace makes a slight error. I did not arrest the woman at the

station, but captured her messenger with the sword, and upon his person

were credentials to Gilmor, which I used myself, and of which I will

tell later on. Later on I arrested the woman herself.