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Rebels on Lake Erie Chapter X - Pursuit

reprinted with permission of the Ohio Historical Society

 

After Commander John C. Carter of the Michigan had received the first warning from Lieutenant Colonel Hill at Detroit, on Sunday, September 18, he sent Ensign C. C. Eddy to the West House in Sandusky for the night, probably with instructions to keep an eye on activities there.[i]  The next day Ensign James Hunter was to be dispatched to Detroit, but as he was leaving, Lieutenant Colonel Hill's second telegram arrived, and after a conference with Colonel Charles W. Hill, in command on the Island, it was decided to arrest Cole in Sandusky.[ii] Hunter was then sent to the West House, where he and Provost Marshal Steiner placed Cole under arrest and took him on board the Michigan between 3 and 4 o'clock.

 

Colonel Hill and Captain Carter then examined Cole, whose papers, in the meantime, had been seized by Executive Officer E. G. Martin and brought to the Michigan. They revealed that Cole had been a captain in the rebel army, had taken the oath of allegiance to the United States, had been paroled by General Stephen A. Hurlbut at Memphis, and that he nevertheless had corresponded with rebel refugees and known secessionists at Windsor, Niagara Falls, Toronto, and other points in Canada. A dispatch found on Cole read: "I am sending you today by messenger the thirty shares of Mount Hope Oil Wells purchased as you previously advised;" he insisted that it was a private business telegram.

 

When his inquisitors said they knew all about the plot and that this telegram meant that 30 conspirators were coming down on the Philo Parsons, he is reported to have confessed, and indicated that others were coming to Sandusky and that in Sandusky itself there were persons who had assisted in the enterprise. It was about 4:30 at this time, and the first train was due in Sandusky at 5:30, so Colonel Hill returned quickly to his Island headquarters, notifying the ferry boat Princess to be ready to return to Sandusky immediately. He-called five commissioned officers and 25 men and boarded the ferry.

 

A boat from the Michigan intercepted the Princess with the word that Cole had named Abraham Strain, John H. Williams, Dr. Ellwood Stanley, E. Merrick, John M. Brown, and a clothier named Louis Rosenthal, citizens of Sandusky, and also a man named Robinson, as conspirators, and Captain Carter requested that the Provost Marshal at Sandusky take these men into custody. At 7 in the evening a small sloop leaving the bay was intercepted by a crew from the Michigan to prevent any word of the happenings at Sandusky being conveyed to the islands or lake vessels.

 

The soldiers from Johnson's Island did not reach the station in time to prevent passengers from leaving the train, but all were later intercepted. One of the passengers reported that about 60 men had jumped off the train several hundred yards south of the station and scattered toward cheap lodgings in the back part of town, but all of them were quietly and promptly picked up. Their appearance gave strong indications that they were just the men who were wanted, but it turned out that they were mechanics and laborers on their way to jobs in Nashville, Tennessee, as well as substitutes and volunteers coming to be mustered in by the Provost-Marshal.

 

At 6 o'clock Colonel Hill sent a party of officers and men on the south-bound train of the Sandusky, Mansfield & Newark railroad to Monroeville, 16 miles away, to wait there for the train from Toledo and Detroit, then return to Sandusky on the train due at 8: 15. The party returned without discovering any suspicious characters.

 

Colonel Hill sought out Provost Marshal Steiner and he, with soldiers from Colonel Hill's command, arrested the Sanduskians named by Cole. The colonel also made careful inquiry to learn if there were strangers or suspicious characters or unusual circumstances in Sandusky that might be related to the plot, but he found nothing. The Cleveland train came in at 7:10 P.M., bringing no suspicious characters.

 

Colonel Hill then telegraphed Detroit to learn if the Philo Parsons had left that city in the morning because it was more than two hours past due in Sandusky. He said he did this out of an abundance of caution, because he did not believe that her officers would be permitted to commence the trip from Detroit unwarned if there were the slightest prospect of her seizure. The non-arrival, and the fact that there was no news of her, caused him to conclude that the Parsons had been warned and so had not made the trip. The reply from Detroit did not come until after 9, and as soon as it was received, Colonel Hill and his party returned to the Island, taking with them on the Princess the co-conspirators named by Cole.

 

Captain Carter met Colonel Hill upon his arrival. Between them, they concluded that, although it would be in violation of instructions for Captain Carter to leave his station without orders from Washington, the Michigan would weigh anchor at daylight. To go earlier might involve grounding the ship in attempting to leave the harbor, and it might endanger the safety of the Island, at that time not too heavily garrisoned, while the chance of finding any piratical craft at night was slim. The captain maintained close watch over the harbor and out upon the lake, and kept up his fires at all times after Cole's arrest.

 

John Brown, Jr., son of the abolitionist of Harpers Ferry fame, had a vineyard at Put-in-Bay, on South Bass. He was one of those who were puzzled by the activity across the strait at Middle Bass. The moonlight was so bright that the towing-away of the Island Queen could be plainly seen from the neighboring island. John Brown got three of his neighbors together and set sail for Ottawa City, a small settlement at the tip of Catawba Island -- an island in name only which is actually the northern end of Marblehead Peninsula. The wind was against them, the going was rough, and the passage took much longer than usual. Brown then, in the darkness of night, walked across the peninsula to a point opposite Johnson's Island and rowed across. At 7 in the morning he reported what he had observed to Colonel Hill. This was the first news of the seizure of the two steamers to reach anyone in authority.[iii]

 

Colonel Hill, commending John Brown highly, then telegraphed the first word of the piracy:

 

Johnson's Island,

September 20, 1864

 

Major-General Heintzelman, Columbus, Ohio (and provost-marshals and military commanders at Detroit, Monroe, Toledo, Cleveland, Painesville, Ashtabula, Conneaut, Erie, Dunkirk, and Buffalo):

 

Rebels from Canada captured the steamers Parsons and Island Queen near the Bass Islands yesterday afternoon and have gone down or across the lake; disappeared from the islands between 10 and 11 o'clock last night; probably gone for re-enforcements, guns, and ammunition.

 

The capturing party were about thirty, with abundance of revolvers and bowie knives. No other weapons noticed. At Middle Bass Island captors took wood enough to last two days. Warn all vessels and steamers and send all important information here. We have one of the principal conspirators in arrest.

 

Hill,

Colonel, Commanding

 

 

Johnson's Island,

September 20, 1864.

 

Capt. C. H. Potter

Assistant Adjutant-General, Columbus, Ohio.

 

Late yesterday, on suspicion, with my advice, Captain Carter, of the U.S.S. Michigan, arrested Cole at Sandusky. He was the principal agent of the rebels on this side. Disclosed the whole plot, showing that the men were to come in on different trains at Sandusky last evening, and with boats capture the Michigan and attack this post. I placed men at Sandusky and searched each train on arrival. Cole implicated Stanley, Brown, Williams, Merrick, Strain, and Rosenthal, citizens of Sandusky to some extent, I can't say how far. On the direction of the commander of the Michigan I handed their names to Captain Steiner, provost- marshal. He arrested them and I now have them in charge. The Michigan left on a cruise outside at daylight this morning; will probably be back soon unless she gets fairly in chase. If the scoundrels come this way, even in the absence of the Michigan, I will give a good account of them, but I wish I had all my detachments back.

 

Hill,

Colonel, Commanding.[iv]

 

As the telegrams indicate, Colonel Hill thought that the pirates had moved off down the lake or across to Canada to receive re-enforcements of men and ammunitions, and that, perhaps with enough captured boats to remove the prisoners from Johnson's Island, they might come in upon him at any moment. He moved four 20-pounder Parrott guns, manned with his infantry, and placed them to command the entrance to Sandusky harbor.[v] Target practice was resumed. Not expecting the Michigan to return as long as Captain Carter might have reason to believe he could reach a pirate on the lake, Colonel Hill ordered his quartermaster to take into service the small steamer, General Grant[vi], which plied the waters of Sandusky Bay, intending to place on board one or two 20-pound Parrotts and a 12-pound howitzer, with a small infantry force. The deck of the Grant, was shored up to guard against damage from the guns, and she was lying at the dock ready to take them on board when the Michigan steamed into the harbor, keeping course to Sandusky. There Colonel Hill, crossing on the General Grant, learned from Captain Carter what had happened out on the lake.

 

When the Philo Parsons, with the Island Queen in tow, left Middle Bass, those who had been marooned attempted to report the news of the piracy. Two parties of eight obtained boats and pulled out for Put-in-Bay where they went to the West Dock and arranged with a man named Stone to take them by sail to Ottawa City. He found rough seas and a direct head wind in which progress was difficult, so, not as persistent as John Brown, Jr., he returned to the dock with his frustrated passengers. The group then went to the east end of the island and procured two skiffs, one of which, after a tedious row of eight or nine miles, arrived at Kelleys Island at daybreak, its crew of four wet, cold, and tired.[vii]

 

Also at daybreak, the Michigan had weighed anchor and started up the lake. At sunrise as she approached the dock at Kelleys Island, the islanders were not sure that she was in friendly hands until they saw the familiar figures of Pilot William Hinton and Captain Carter at their stations. It was then that the men on the Michigan first learned of the fate of the Parsons and the Istand Queen, from the "captives" who had rowed all night from Put-in-Bay, and who were now taken aboard the Michigan as she left in search of the captured boats. About half way to Middle Bass they overhauled a sailboat taking Clerk Ashley of the Parsons and a number of the passengers and crew to Sandusky. From these informants Captain Carter learned that the Parsons had been seen at about 2 in the morning headed for the Detroit River. As the Michigan passed Middle Bass she was loudly cheered by those who had spent the night there. She arrived in the Detroit River at about 10 o'clock and learned from the captain of the schooner J. W. Bolt of Buffalo that neither the Parsons or the Queen had been sighted in the river, so the Michigan changed her course for Pelee Island.[viii] The tug W. B. Castle, which had left the river a short time before, also reported no sight of either of the captured boats.

 

Course was then changed for Put-in-Bay, and the Michigan stopped at Middle Bass shortly before 1 o'clock to take on board seven of the stranded passengers, the rest of them having been removed by the steamer Gazelle. Three-quarters of an hour later they sighted the Island Queen grounded on Chicanolee Reef, but shallow water kept them at a distance. They then shaped the course of the Michigan for Sandusky, arriving in the Bay at 3 o'clock. Acting Gunner John Murray, Sergeant Stevenson, and a file of marines were sent to arrest John Robinson, one of Cole's underlings, who was brought aboard, and at 5 o'clock the Michigan returned to her usual berth off Johnson's Island.

 

One can well imagine the excitement in Sandusky over the events of these two days. It pervades a letter to Allie Stem, a Sanduskian who was visiting in Tiffin that September 20, 1864:

 

Again the tocsin of war has sounded in the usually quiet streets of Sandusky, everything is excitement, everyone you see tells you something new and every report contradicts the one preceding. I send you an extra, I don't know whether it is worthwhile, for I presume you know more about it than we do. The Michigan has just returned from a partially unsuccessful search after the missing I. Queen and Parsons, saw or heard nothing of the Parsons but saw the Queen ashore on N. Bass Island, neither Capt. Orr or Mr. Hamilton have been heard from, probably prisoners.

 

Another rumor is that the Queen went down with all on board and another that Capt. Orr is in Toledo, no idea how he got there.

 

There was a quite a number of Copperheads arrested last night, among them Strain, Williams, J. M. Brown, Merrick and it is said here they are still prisoners over at the island. The Queen, Parsons, then in command of the rebels, and two small boats appeared at the mouth of the bay last night, were halted by the Michigan, when they made off toward Canada.

 

The battery has been at the foot of Columbus Avenue all afternoon waiting to go to the Island or Cedar Point and the battery over at the Island is down on the shore firing to get the range. Imagine Grandma's consternation when they commenced firing. Sara has just come in saying that Mr. Cotton says that two small boys said they saw Capt. Orr this morning and that Capt. Orr said that he was on the Parsons when it was sunk.

 

The telegraph wires were busy. Following Colonel Hill's initial telegram to Captain Potter, and his telegraphic warnings to Major General Heintzelman at Columbus and the provost-marshals and military commanders at all American ports on Lake Erie, the wires began buzzing between Washington, New York, Detroit, and Sandusky. (General John A. Dix was in command of the Army's Department of the East.)

 

 

War Department

Washington, September 20, 1864.

 

CONFIDENTIAL.

 

Major-General DIX, New York:

 

The following telegram has just been received In relation to the recent piracy on Lake Erie. You will not probably need any troops, but will proceed to Buffalo and make an official examination, and report of the facts to be ascertained there and at Detroit, or any other point on the Lake coast.

 

Edwin M. Stanton,

Secretary of War

 

 

 

Detroit, Mich.,

September 20, 1864. (Received 2 p.m.)

 

Brig. Gen. J. B. Fry, Provost-Marshal-General:

 

The American steamer Philo Parsons, running from this place to Sandusky, was seized yesterday by rebel refugees who embarked at Malden, Canada. They captured and sunk the steamer Island Queen. The steamer Philo Parsons was brought this morning to Sandwich, Canada, where, after plundering and cutting her pipes to scuttle, was abandoned. The seizure of the Philo Parsons, and the capture and sinking of Island Queen, occurred in American waters. The plundering and scuttling of Philo Parsons in British waters. Have seen district attorney in relation to proper legal steps to take.

 

B. H. Hill,

Lieutenant-Colonel, U. S. Army

 

War Department,

Washington,

September 20, 1864 -1.15 p. m.

 

Major-General Dix, New York:

 

This Department has just received information that rebels from Canada have captured two steamers at Bass Island, on Lake Erie. You will proceed immediately to Buffalo and take such measures of defense and for the recapture of the steamers as you find proper and practicable, reporting to this Department. If you need any forces, there is a regiment at Albany of the Veteran Reserve Corps, which is placed under your orders. You will also issue a requisition upon the Ordnance Department for arms and accoutrements that may be required by the Governor of New York, and that you deem necessary for coast defense. Acknowledge this telegram.

 

Edwin M. Stanton,

Secretary of War

 

 

New York,

September 20, 1864.

 

Hon E. M. Stanton:

 

Your dispatch in regard to capture of steamers on Lake Erie is received. I shall leave by first express train for Buffalo. Will you request the Secretary of the Treasury to direct Captain Ottinger, of the revenue service, to finish the new revenue cutter at Buffalo by working on her night and day. I am advised that she can be finished in a few days.

 

John A. Dix,

Major-General

 

 

 

War Department, Washington,

September 20, 1864

 

Col. Anson Stager,

New York:

 

Please give me all the particulars you have respecting the steamers captured at Bass Island. When was the provost-marshal of Buffalo's telegram received? Who was it addressed to? Where were the steamers captured? How did he get his information?

 

Edwin M. Stanton,

Secretary of War

 

 

 

New York,

September 20,1864.

Hon. E. M. Stanton,

Secretary of War:

 

Colonel Hill, commanding at Johnson's Island, telegraphs the provost-marshal at Buffalo at 8 a.m. as follows:

 

"Rebels from Canada captured the steamers Parsons and Island Queen near the Bass Islands yesterday afternoon, and having gone down or across the lake. Disappeared from the islands between 10 and 11 o'clock last night. Probably gone for re-enforcements, guns, and ammunition. The capturing party were about thirty, with abundance of revolvers and bowie knives; no other arms noticed. At Middle Bass Island captors took wood enough to last two days. Warn all vessels and steamers, and send all important information here. We have one of the principal conspirators under arrest. The last telegram from Detroit says rebels returned to Detroit River early this morning. Have been foiled in design, which is supposed to have been the capture of the U. S. steamer Michigan and to release prisoners on Johnson's Island. Crew of steamer Parsons were put ashore on Fighting Island this morning after being robbed of everything valuable. Furniture of boat destroyed and feed-pipe cut, leaving her in a sinking condition. Vessel seized by Canadian authorities. Two of rebel crew arrested and now in jail at Sandwich."

 

The following telegram received here this p.m.:

 

"Headquarters, Buffalo,

(September) 20.

 

General J. A. Dix:

 

The rebels are capturing our steamers on the lakes and burning them, to destroy our commerce. Captain Ottinger, revenue-cutter service, is building here a steam revenue cutter, nearly finished. By an additional expense and working night and day, she can be ready for service in a few days -- say ten days. The Treasury Department would so order at your request. I could arm two or three strong propellers for temporary service as gun-boats, if you see proper to so order.

 

E. C. Wilson, Assistant Quartermaster."

 

I have asked for further information from Detroit, Sandusky, and Buffalo. When received will forward to you.

 

Anson Stager

 

 

War Department, Washington,

September 20, 1864 -- 1.15 p. m.

 

Major-General Heintzelman,

Columbus, Ohio:

 

This Department has just received information of the capture of two steamers by rebels from Canada, at Bass Island, Lake Erie. You will proceed immediately to Johnson's Island, and take such measures as may be necessary for the security of the prisoners at Johnson's Island, and call on the Governor of Ohio for such assistance as you may need. Acknowledge the receipt of this order, and report your arrival at Johnson's Island and Sandusky.

 

Edwin M. Stanton,

Secretary of War

 

 

 

Columbus, Ohio,

September 20, 1864. (Received 6 p. m.)

 

Hon. E. M. Stanton:

 

Measures have been taken for the security of the prisoners at Johnson's Island. Since then have telegrams from Detroit that the steamer Island Queen has been sunk and the Philo Parsons plundered and sunk; the latter in British waters. It is not necessary for me now to go to Johnson's Island.

 

S. P. Heintzelman,

Major-General

 

 

War Department, Washington,

September 20, 1864 -1.15 p. m.

 

Governor Brough,

Columbus, Ohio:

 

This Department has just received information of the capture of two steamers by rebels from Canada, at Bass Island, Lake Erie. The object will probably be to release the prisoners there. Please render such aid as General Heintzelman may require for the security of the prisoners there.

 

Edwin M. Stanton,

Secretary of War

 

 

 

 

War Department, Washington City,

September 20, 1864 -1.20 p.m.

 

Col. William S. Pierson,

(Or the officer commanding at Johnson's Island, Sandusky Bay, Ohio):

 

This Department has just been informed that rebels from Canada have captured two steamers at Bass Island. The effort will probably be made to release the prisoners under your charge. You will use every exertion to guard against any surprise and to prevent the rescue. Acknowledge the receipt of this telegram, and give any information you have on the subject; also report your state of defense and what precautions you are taking.

 

Edwin M. Stanton,

Secretary of War

 

 

Johnson's Island,

September 20, 1864. (Via Sandusky. Received 1.50 a. m. 21 st.)

 

Hon. E. M. Stanton:

 

Your telegram of today to Colonel Pierson, relating to rebel raid from Canada, is received. The rebels abandoned and set the Island Queen adrift this morning at 3 o'clock, then with the other, the Parsons, steered for Detroit River. Lieutenant-Colonel Hill telegraphs that they abandoned her, and went ashore in Canada, near Sandwich, on Detroit River. The Michigan went out at daylight this morning, and cruised along the islands and to the mouth of the Detroit River. Returned here about 3 this afternoon. I approved of her departure. I have one 30 and six 20 pounder Parrotts and three 12-pounder howitzers on the island, and a six-gun light battery, New York, at Sandusky, and by calling in my fatigue parties, extra duty men, and recruits, could have a force of near 900 available men on the island, as infantry and heavy artillery. Nearly all my available men for guard duty ordinarily go on guard every other day. Granting the petition of my officers to the adjutant-general, dated 5th of August, would place us just right and be force enough. We are always ready for the rebels, inside and out. Yesterday afternoon I united with captain of the Michigan in arrest of Cole, and today Robinson, certainly conspirators in this raid last night. Six citizens of Sandusky to some extent implicated by Cole. This morning I reported these arrests to district attorney and marshal at Cleveland. I think this raid is over.

 

Chas. W. Hill,

Colonel, Commanding

 

 

Sandusky,

September 20, 1864

 

Capt. C. H. Potter ,

Assistant Adjutant-General

 

The Michigan has been to Detroit River and returned. The Island Queen was plundered and set adrift about 3 o'clock this morning. The rebels, with the Parsons, turned up the lake from the islands, ran into Detroit River, and there disabled and abandoned her. I think the raid is over, but we shall be ready for anything.

 

Chas. W. Hill, Colonel,

Colonel Commanding[ix]

 

While the Philo Parsons was moored to the dock at Sandwich, two men, seen staving a hole in her cabin and taking out a piano and other furniture, were arrested by the Canadian customs officer for importing goods without a permit.[x] The furniture was guarded with scrupulous fidelity, but the pirates, arraigned before a justice of the peace, were released without delay, regardless of the evidence against them. When Simon Fox, one of the owners of the Parsons, came to Sandwich to claim his ship, which the authorities promptly released, the customs officer, returning some of the items, said that he saw among the goods a market basket containing revolvers which he seized but subsequently released to the men who laid claim to them.[xi] Engineer Denison said he saw most of the men walk away, some going up to Windsor with Campbell and him, each with a bundle of plunder -- this corroborated by Campbell.[xii]

 

The Crown Attorney of the county said he had instruction from the Government at Quebec to spare no pains in bringing to justice the parties implicated in the seizures; that there was reason to believe that the parties had fled; and that identification was a problem; but that they would dispatch a constable with warrants to arrest the parties at Toronto or elsewhere, if members of the Parsons crew would be sent along.[xiii] This was done, but without result.

 

The attention of Crown Attorney MacDonell was called by Major-General Dix to the fact that Mr. Jacob Thompson had been in the vicinity of Sandwich, staying with a Southerner named Colonel Steele, as late as Saturday, September 17, and that it could be made to appear that Thompson, an authorized agent of the insurgent authorities at Richmond, was residing in Canada under British protection, engaged in at least one instance in setting on foot military enterprises against the United States, and in another instance, in organizing a piratical expedition. It was manifest that he could not be in Canada, and especially on the Detroit River, where the water boundary between the countries was less than a mile wide, for purposes other than mischief.

 

Major-General Dix, in the report of his investigation, explored the problem of extradition of the participants from Canada under the Ashburton Treaty of August 9, 1842, between the United States and Great Britain. He assumed that the offence would be treated as an act of piracy, or as a robbery, or as an assault with intent to commit murder. There might be a technical difficulty in establishing the crime of piracy under Federal jurisdiction, because it must be committed outside the jurisdiction of any particular state; whereas the boundary of the State of Ohio was defined by Congress under the Act of June 15, 1836, Section I, as the boundary line with Canada, running north of the Bass Islands and Kelleys Island, leaving them within the State of Ohio. Under the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States (12th Howard 453) the lakes and Sandusky Bay are declared to be inland seas, subject to admiralty jurisdiction.

 

The British courts were understood to take a different view. Crimes on the high seas would be triable by the courts of both countries and not subject to extradition under the treaty. If committed within the borders of a state, the act would not constitute the crime of piracy under the federal law. The act must be an offence or crime under the laws of Great Britain, Major General Dix concluded; and if extradition under the charge of piracy was doubtful, he expected no hesitation on the part of the British authorities to surrender them on a charge of robbery or assault with intent to murder, both of these crimes being specified by the treaty, and both being crimes under the laws of both countries. He also anticipated that the ablest counsel money could procure would be employed in defense of the extradition proceedings, and that it was more than probable that the defense would attempt to show that the expedition was organized and executed under the direction of the Confederate authorities and therefore was an act of war.[xiv]

 

The capture of Cole was made known to Jacob Thompson in Toronto by Annie Davis, who was with Cole at the time of his arrest at the West House. Her baggage, like Cole's, was packed, and ready for a trip to Toronto. Cole's baggage was taken for inspection, and Annie Davis's bags were impounded, but she made the trip to Toronto, and, as we shall see later, returned to Sandusky. The following report to President Davis of the Confederacy was sent by Thompson and Clay:

 

 

Toronto, Canada, West,

September 22, 1864.

 

His Excellency, Jefferson Davis:

 

Sir:

 

Some time since Charles H. Cole, captain, C. S. Army, and also a lieutenant in the Navy, was sent to reconnoiter the position of the war steamer Michigan and ascertain whether it was possible to capture her. He found her lying opposite Sandusky, guarding Johnson's Island. He conceived and perfected a plan for her capture. The scheme was admirably laid, and promised success and the gravest consequences --the release of the prisoners and their return to the Confederate States.

 

A few hours before the consummation of his plan, by some treachery, he became suspected and was arrested, which defeated the execution of his design. He is now held as a prisoner, and we are informed that he is charged with being a spy, and a trial has been awarded him by a court-martial.

 

Captain Cole is an escaped prisoner, and having never returned to his own country since his escape, he was legitimately within the enemy's lines.

 

Whatever may have been his designs, he has violated no law or regulation of the enemy. On the contrary, he was popular with the officers of the boat and of the island. We think the Government should interpose for his release. On the principle by which he would be considered a spy every soldier or officer of the Federal Army within our territory can be so considered. He is a brave, true man, a good officer, and every way worthy the special protection of the Government.

 

We hope you will do all that can be done for his protection, either in the way of exchange, or, if need be, by way of retaliation. On this subject you are a better judge than ourselves. He has been acting in the line of duty with a courage and discretion that deserves the highest commendation.

 

With great respect, your obedient servants,

J. Thompson. C. C. Clay, Jr.

 

(First endorsement)

 

October 12, 1864

Secretary of War for attention

 

Through the commissioner of exchange or otherwise, as may be indicated, let all practicable effor1s be made in behalf of Mr. Cole.

 

Jeffn Davis.

 

(Second endorsement)

 

October 14, 1864

Colonel Ould:*

 

It seems clear that this officer is not liable as a spy, but is entitled to the protection of his Government. The enterprise was a legitimate one, and the release of our prisoners could not be looked upon as other than a laudable object for a Confederate officer to essay. A magnanimous foe would respect and admire him. Make proper representations in the case.

 

J. A. S.**

 

*Colonel Robert Ould was Confederate Agent of Exchange.

**James A. Seddon was Secretary of War in the Confederate cabinet.

 

October 12. 1864.

 

October 14. 1864.

 

*General Grant, launched in May, 1864, in Sandusky; 115' overall length, 37' beam, 6'9" draft; 135 tons.

 

 

 

 


[i] The register of the West House verifies the presence of C. C. Eddy.

[ii] Register, September 21, 22, 23, 1864; for this sequence of events see also Colonel Charles W. Hillís report, October 1, 1864, to Major General E.A. Hitchcock, O.R., 2, VI, 901-906.

[iii] Register, September 22, 1864.

[iv] O.R., 2, VII, 850-851.

[v] Colonel Hillís report, O.R., 2, VI, note 2.

[vi] Register, May 20, 1864.

[vii] Ibid., September 21, 22, 1864.

[viii] O.R., 1, XLIII, Part 2, 128-129.

[ix] Ibid., 247.

[x] Simon Fox Deposition, O.R., 1, XLIII, Part 2, 246.

[xi]Denison Deposition, ibid., 242; Campbell Deposition, ibid., 238.

[xii] Ibid., 245.

[xiii]Ibid., 225-233.

[xiv] Ibid., 2, VII, 864-864.

 

 

     

 

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