Today in History:

53 Series III Volume I- Serial 122 - Union Letters, Orders, Reports


This morning I called personally on Mr. Roosevelt, the district attorney, and informed him of my procedure, and requested him to take such action as under the charge of Judge Smalley seemed proper. He, however, declined to direct me in the premises, but kindly suggested to me to confer with you. Having received information of a much larger number of arms being in a similar situation with those I now hold, I deemed it proper for me to write to Mr. Roosevelt, repeating to him the substance of the information I had given him orally and the further information I had received. A copy of that letter is herewith inclosed. After writing the above, I learned that several large cases of cartridges were being placed on board of the Charleston steamer at Pier Numbers 4, North River, a notice of which I immediately transmitted to the district attorney. You will very much oblige by making such suggestions as it would be proper for a local officer to comply with who is anxious to lend the aid of his force in s up port of the Government and the preservation of the Union.

I do not desire to interfere in the least with the duties of the U. S. officers in this city; but when arms and other munitions of war are being passed through it, in the face of day, to be used for the subjugation of the constituted authorities of the country, and it was in my power to stay their progress, I felt it my duty to do so. It is for you, sir, to determine whether I shall continue this course, or to deliver up the arms I already hold into the hands of traitors.

Your early reply will very much oblige your obedient servant,






U. S. District Attoney:

DEAR SIR: I beg leave to inform you that I have caused to be seized thirty-eight cases, containing about 900 stand of arms, which were about to be shipped on board of the steamer Monticello, for Savannah, Ga., thence to be forwarded to Montgomery, Ala., to be treasonably used by parties who are making war upon, and armed resistance to the laws and authority of, the United States. I am prepared to furnish you with evidence that these arms are furnished and were being transported with the design and for the purpose stated. I have information of other large quantities of arms and munitions of war which are about to be forwarded with the same design.

I desire your advice in relation to the proceedings to be taken in such cases, and especially whether parties who furnish and forward arms and munitions of war, with a knowledge that they are for the purpose of breaking up the Federal Government, are not liable to the penalties of treason. I may be able to furnish you from time to time information of the movement of other lots of similar property for the same treasonable purpose. I shall be happy to give you this information, and any aid in my power to enable you to perform your duty as law officer of the United States in preventing the accomplishment of treasonable acts and in punishing traitors against the Government.

Very respectfully, I am, yours, &c.,