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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. Trav
rs" 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.