The Journal of Rob Rover
(William Robert Bernard)



William Bernard (left) & John Celestina (right)
Cropped from photo print in Neff-Guttridge Coll.

Introduction

Toward the end of his life, William Robert Bernard, alias Rob Rover, created a memoir journal of his activities during and for a brief period after the Civil War. The memoir is undated, and the last date mentioned in it is 1914, but based on some of his remarks, it appears that it was written some years after this date.

While Bernard indicates having been born in 1838, his identity after 1868 and the date of his death are undisclosed. Bernard faked his own death and assumed a new identity. While Andrew Potter must have known Bernard's assumed identity, particularly since his papers are housed in the Potter Collection, he did not have reveal it even after Bernard's death. This would be in character with their chosen detective profession and Bernard's spy activities, so that Potter maintained this confidence is unsurprising and, on a personal level, laudable.

The reader should find the story Bernard tells to be exciting and to reveal aspects of life and military operations during the Civil War which may not be widely known. Initially, Bernard became a contract scout for the Army of the Republic, providing military intelligence, particularly on the movements of the Confederate Army, using the alias of Rob Rover, a name taken from a character in a children's book he had liked as a child. After a several brushes with the hangman's noose or a bullet, Bernard left this line of work and sought less stressful work as a clerk in Washington. Colonel Lafayette C. Baker, whose various duties included running the National Detective Police, the precursor of the Secret Service, approached Bernard during this period and recruited him into the NDP. William Bernard, alias Rob Rover, remained in this line of endeavor for the remainder of the war.

Potter actively sought interviews with former detectives and other individuals as an employee of Lew Wallace after the War between the States had concluded, when President Grant asked Lew Wallace to investigate suspicious deaths which had occurred after Lincoln's assassination. As there is no Bernard interview and materials contained in the Bernard papers survive in Bernard's original handwriting unlike some of the other accounts, which had to transcribed from originals subject to the rigors of nature in a state of neglect on the Wallace estate, it is possible that Bernard had died by the time Potter acquired them.

Both researchers and Lincoln era aficionados are fortunate that Potter rescued these documents and that they eventually came into the possession of Ray Neff. The story of Dr. Neff's acquisition of the papers and other findings is being developed for eventual online publication on this web site. From documents found in the collection, it is clear that Potter was as motivated not only by the desire to set the record straight but to profit from a published exposé. However, Potter's long life was ended by an automobile accident and his own writing on his years a member of the NDP, some of which is available in draft form in the collection, may have been published but in a book that has never been seen by either Ray Neff or Leonard Guttridge, the collection donors.

Bernard's own statement was that the "journal will never be seen during my lifetime," and he further wondered if there would be any interest should his journal find the light of day. The answer is rather obvious: yes, the public is curious and wants to know the truth, and whatever Bernard can add, however limited his own knowledge might have been, helps make those turbulent times more understandable to the current generation.

Finally, it is fortunate that Bernard kept original letters touching on the content of the journal. In the light of his narrative, the letters are remarkable testimony to activities of a type which frequently never come to public light and never in the detail fleshed out in the letters. These letters will be mounted at a future date.

A few remarks about how the transcript of the journal has been created and presented are in order. It has been gone through many times. It was written in pencil on nearly sheer foolscap paper. Several sets of eyes have looked over the handwritten transcript, and current transcript was compared not only to the original document but a previous transcript prepared by a typist working for Potter, perhaps Susan Wade, his principal assistant. The text of each page of the manuscript appears in its own section with an indication of the manuscript page at the top. Bernard's handwriting is difficult, but every effort has been made to render the words he used. Any doubts or other issues are indicated by a note.

Similarly, in instances where Bernard makes systematic errors, this has been indicated in a note and the error silently corrected thereafter. Infrequent mistakes have been indicated by the traditional "[sic]" after the word. In a few instances missing words have been added between brackets when it is obvious that Bernard, in his haste, dropped a word. Bernard uses brackets and parentheses interchangeably, so all of his brackets have been converted to parentheses to avoid confusion with the brackets used to indicate errors and interpolations as part of the editorial process. Although no different than many examples from this period, Bernard approach to punctuation is haphazard and can be somewhat confusing to the modern reader. Whenever deemed essential to understanding, punctuation has been corrected or supplied. Otherwise, the rule of "less is more" has been adopted. For example, no effort has been made to standardize Bernard's haphazard approach to capitalization.

All individual notes are designated by numbers in superscript and may be found in a notes section l at the end of the document. Any questions should be directed to the department via its e-mail form or to individual e-mail addresses found on the departmental home page.

David Vancil


{Manuscript title page}

The Journal
of
Rob Rover
In the Recent War
1861-1865
and Other Events

By William Robert Bernard
(My Real Name)
1


{Manuscript Page 1}

My first recollections on this earth are concerned with the hamlet of Brookville, Pennsylvania in the year of 1842. I was then four years old. My father died that winter and my mother and I moved in with relatives. We had prior to that time lived in Pittsburgh, my father being an iron-worker. I recall the Christmas celebrations of that winter and the dampness of spirits due to the passing of my father. I did not know why but everyone was sad. I never really knew my father but I remember him as a big and powerful man. He is buried at the Lutheran Church at Brookville.

My mother remarried when I was twelve to a man from Philadelphia and we moved there in 1850. By the year '54 2 was working for a printer as an apprentice but I never took to the work and it was by mutual concent [sic] 3 that I left the following year to follow the business of surveying, working as a chain-puller. My pay was three dollars a month and keep such as it was. We lived in a tent and ate salt pork and dry beans in all kinds of weather. By the year 1859 I was working for the Milford Canal Company surveying the Rappahannock River in Virginia with the Drummond Brothers. By this time I was earning $50 a month and keep, still living in a tent and eating salt pork and dry beans only now the tent was bigger and the pork saltier. In 1859 everyone except the Milford Canal Company was giving up canals in favor of steam locomotives, but Milford continued to forge on in favor of canals and were planning to link the Valley of Virginia with Fredericksburg by a canal running down the Rappahannock. They had a very secret plan for either tunneling through the mountain or going around the mountain, the exact means remaining unknown to me. I recall that there were many surveys made regarding the height and width of the mountains at this point. Finally the inevitable occurred and [the] 4 company went bankrupt in 1860.


{Manuscript Page 2}

Control was then assumed by a firm of English origin and which was owned by Vincent Thiel, an Englishman. From the first the new owner made it clear that the purpose of the firm was the formation of a company of “scouts” for the coming conflict. It seemed a foregone conclusion that there would be a war. Ira Drummond objected to the idea and was soon told to either get into the activity or he would have no job. He soon did as he was told. We housed at a farm belonging to Thiel called Mara-Mere and located in Fauquier County. Our trainer was John S. Martin, a former N.Y. detective and a relative of Ira and Alexander Drummond. He was a perfectionist and allowed no mistakes in our training. By the outbreak of the war we were well trained in the art of scouting. Captain Martin, as he was called, was an excellent teacher and he provided us with usefull [sic], if somewhat unsavory associates. One such was Harvey Harris (see appendix). 5 Harris was a real [sic] intelligent man but incurably dishonest. He had an associate who was a brilliant chemist but also terribly dishonest. The name of the latter is, or rather was, Thomas Nielson, a Scandinavian.

During the early months of the War we mostly listened to the pompous Mr. Thiel tell how he was going to furnish the information that would break up the “Farmers Army” as he called it, and thereby become the hero of the War, 6 which so many people felt would be a singular skirmish with the Union Army sweeping on to Richmond in one sweep. Then came the time when the rebels were congregating at Manassas 7 junction. We moved along and did our job well. We knew the units at Manassas and their strengths. We passed the information along and for a period of more than three weeks we passed back and forth from Manassas j'ct 8 to Washington City


{Manuscript Page 3}

with information.

The rebel army was such an odd assortment that it was quite difficult to evaluate. They were brightly colored well drilled and disciplined with modern arms. But the bulk of the troops were farmers with flintlock muskets of smooth bore or shotguns. They were certainly an unimpressive lot. It was probably this point which had much to do with [the] Union defeat at Bull Run.

To describe the battle is unnecessary since many books have been written by more brilliant men than I, giving full details on the subject. The battle as I saw it was a most discordant affair with the spoils going to the troops that committed the least blunders, for the day was one of confusion. I must say, however, that the “farmers” fought the best of all [the] troops on the field. In their homespun and slouch hats they fought like deamons [sic].

After the battle we were left in a most precarious position for most of the men had joined up with rebel units in order to gain information and then had deserted the day of the battle. The Union retreat left them behind enemy lines as rebel deserters. Out of our group of twenty-three, eleven were captured and shot. This created much apprehension in our ranks. I was able to return to Mara-Mere without difficulty and there I awaited the return of the others.
Major Thiel returned in August and much to his disappointment had been assigned to work under Allan Pinkerton (Major Allen). Major Thiel detested Pinkerton as did we all. He was a collossal [sic] and unmitigated, incurable liar. He boasted of his value and the way he had saved the Chief Executive. He kept his mistress with him most of the time and the two of them strutted like peacocks while others died.


{Manuscript Page 4}

We soon stepped up our operations with headquarters at Brandy Station. The rebels had primarily abandoned Manassas Jct. with its almost complete destruction. We each selected Nom-de-plum's [sic] and I chose one which I had carried since childhood. It was taken from a child's toy book about an arther [sic] who lived in England. There were drawings in the book and some of my playmates thought there was a resemblance to me, so my name and hence Bernard became Rover and since my middle name was Robert I became “Rob Rover.” As a boy I never appreciated it but now it provided a link with my childhood that was a great solace to me on many occasions.

Harris, Neilson, Davis and Yarrick had set up operations at the Davis farm, which was located in Orange County, for the purpose of turning out bogus rebel bonds, money, passports, etc. Yarrick was an excellent engraver and he had with him a half-wit named Brody who was an excellent printer. They established an excellent printing installation in the cellar of the Davis home.

The Drummond brothers, Ernest Dooley and I were making almost weekly trips behind rebel lines and emerging with information. The Drummond brothers were good friends of the MacWades and this helped to continue their illusions of their being rebel agents. You are referred to the appendix for the story of the MacWades. Suffice it here to say that it was due to the blundering of a Pinkerton man that J. S. MacWade was turned to the rebel cause. The Union defeat at Bull Run seemed to awaken the politicians of the North to the fact that they had indeed bent the tail of a tiger and that the war was going to be longer than they had planned.


{Manuscript page 5}

Abraham Lincoln had depended on politicians 9 , mostly of West Point origin, to advise him, mainly because he had no real military background or experience himself. The political militarists were more political than military in that they still lived in the “brick and ball” days and understood nothing of the then advanced ideas of warfare. The advice they gave Lincoln led him to make the three most dangerous underestimates which led to the great war.

First – there was a very wide-spread idea that Southern politicians were leading the South toward secession and that if the South indeed seceded she could never raise an army because only the aristocrats wanted the South out of the Union and an army of aristocrats was no army at all.

Second – the Union army could sweep on to and through the South in ninety-days since the Union army, although small in numbers, when reinforced with the magnificent militia of the North, would be invincible.
Third – the South had no manufacturing and with a naval blockade could not bring in supplies and would therefore be forced back into the Union.

This was the thinking which led Lincoln to reinforce Fort Sumter and soon thereafter call for ninety-day volunteers. Of course General McDowell was about as much politician as general and was thereby stampeded into making the movement against Manassas which led to the Union defeat at Bull Run. After Bull Run the politicians as well as the people of the north began to awaken to the fact that it was not as they had thought and that it was going to be a long and hard war. The army that faced the Union at Bull Run was not an aristocrat's army but an army of farmers, mostly not slave owners. They also fought much like the men of the revolution, as though


{Manuscript page 6}

they were, or at least thought they were fighting for their liberty. The men who fought the hardest were the ones in homespuns, and they fought and died for what they believed. To the Union soldier it was either a picnic or just a job to do so that he could get back home. Bull Run also showed that far from being invincible the Union army was an inexperienced mob led by officers who, for the most part, were antiquated in their approach to war. General Scott was old and dying of dropsy. Union thinking was very conservative to say the very least. As for the naval blockade, it was never really effective. I traveled through the South during all periods of the war and the fact was always apparent to me that the South did not run out of imports, they ran out of men. At the beginning of the war, the greatest majority of Southern men volunteered. This left a shortage of non-slave manpower at home. This gap was filled by Southern women in most instances.

The fourth great mistake in Northern thinking was regarding the slaves. This idea began with the beginning of the abolitionist movement. It was the basis of thinking of those Northern abolitionists who raised the one hundred thousand dollars for John Brown for his raid on Harpers Ferry. That idea was that the slaves would revolt if given the opportunity. This idea was quickly shown to be false when slaves refused to leave their masters in Union occupied territory in Maryland and Virginia.

It is difficult in this day and age to imagine how the Slave must have felt. The master could buy and sell them at will and he held complete control over them but in most cases they loved him and his family.


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There are few cases on record or brought to mind where the slave did harm to their masters or their family, certainly no more than would be expected to occur in any society. The slave was in most instances happy in his life of no responsibility and complete social welfare. That his medical needs were ignored is doubtful since what businessman would pay $1500 for a possession and then neglect it. Most farmers are quick to call the veterinarian for their horses and slower to call the doctor for their wife. So it was with the slaves owners. I do not wish to imply that I consider slavery to be right but I feel that it was extremely cruel to the slave to force him from the secure completely managed life which he led prior to freedom into a life of having to shift for himself in a highly competitive capitalistic world where he was and is exploited by every politician who is seeking something.

If I have strayed from thoughts military to too great an extent you must bear with me since straying is a perogative [sic] of old age.

In April of '62 part of the group was moved by way of Washington City to McClellan's headquarters on the “peninsula.” I remained at Mara-Mere and suffered the egotism of Maj. Thiel. We made scouting trips to the South often and kept the military well informed on the movements of the enemy.

In May there was an incident which affected me greatly. There was a young lad in our group named Fred Dissic. Fred usually attended our horses and made the journey to the extent of the Federal lines let during Jackson's campaign on Fort Royal we found ourselves short of scouts. Fred made the trip all the way into the rebel lines. He was returning


{Manuscript page 8}

in the early hours of the morning and had already passed out of the rebel lines when he was observed by a cavalry officer who was afoot in the area tending to the call of nature. There was a search of his person and a map was found in his boot. He was quickly tried and hanged. I was only a short distance away where the officer first came into the woods, I saw Fred coming and tried to signal to him but could not do so without being observed. I saw the officer at the moment that he captured my friend but could do nothing. I left the woods some three hours later after they had hanged my friend. I could not move sooner without being observed. The officer called to a sentry and the sentry took him into custody. The officer there ordered a search of the area in case there were more of us and I was several times almost observed. They then convened the court, presented the evidence, which no one can deny was conclusive, pronounced the sentence and carried it out in about forty-five minutes. A guard was then posted to see if anyone else came by. The guard remained for two and one-half hours during which time I could not move but could only watch my friend's body sway from that tree in the wind. This was a very hard part of the life of a scout. They lived together, worked together but they had to die alone. The whole objective of the work was to get information for the military. There was no such thing as comaradere [sic] when in the field. Each man had to look out for himself and the mission came first. Everyone understood this. It is still hard to watch one's friend be hanged when with one pistol shot he might be saved.


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In June Genl. John Pope assumed command of the army in Northern Virginia. Genl. Pope was a man who believed nothing he was told and only those things which he saw which were to his liking. Military intelligence is of little value to a man that has no common intelligence. One has only to read his first message to his new commander to realize that he was an igotist [sic] and lacked good judgment. His actions at [the] Second Bull Run confirmed this.

Major Thiel was again on his own. He had been assigned directly to the field in complete charge of all our operations in Northern Virginia. We had not seen Pinkerton for several months and he was not missed, to say the very least. We had lost only three men in four months and this was better than before.

I was at Orange Court House on August 5 th when I heard a report that the command of T. J. Jackson was about to move on Culpepper Court House. I at once began to recon[n]oiter and found that the entire command was on the move. I was posing as a seller of identification tags and I was busily recording names and unit numbers. Printed in the form of my order book was a map cypher system which proved quite effective. When I had found that it was a definite movement I began my journey north to the Union lines. I reported my findings to the Military and I was quickly taken into the presence of Genl. Pope. I repeated my observations. He then said, “Thank you, sir, for your troubles but I am already in possession of information which assures me that this is just a reconnaissance and not an attack.” I left quickly for I was quite angry. I knew what was coming but


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he would not believe me so let him take the consequences. It is now history how wrong Genl. Pope was and how a loss could have been turned into a victory.

When the Union Army retreated behind the Rapidan River all the scouts were left behind in order to supply information of enemy movements. The Davis farm was located near the Rapidan River in the “Y” formed by the junction of the Rapidan and Rappahannock Rivers. We had bases of operations south of the Rappahannock River, also at Bruckner's 10 Tavern. We would on occasion use pigeons for the transfer of messages and with a great deal of success. Prior to Cedar Mountain we had an unfortunate experience with pigeons. We had a scout who had enlisted in the rebel army early in the war for the sole purpose of spying. He was a brother of the two Drummond boys and was named Paul Drummond. He had attained the rank of Sgt. and was assigned as an orderly in the cartography command. He was constantly able to pass information out by various means to one of the other scouts who would transport it through the lines. After Cedar Mountain's Battle (called Slaughter Mt. by some) we knew that a rebel attempt on our lines was eminent [sic]. It was very important that we inform the Military of all anticipated actions as soon as they were decided by rebel hqtrs. Genl. Pope was now believing our information and with our "rebel," was able to know their movements before they occurred.

It was learned that Stuart's Cavalry was moving to join up with Lee on the (I believe) 17 th of August. A Union Cavalry patrol was dispatched but no action occurred. They did, however, capture a dispatch book which told of orders


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to trap the Union Army below the Rapidan River. A general retreat was at once begun. As I have already stated, we stayed behind to collect information.

Paul Drummond, our “rebel,” had been using a situation to advantage for the sending of information. Jonathan S. McWade was employed as a civilian surveyor by the C. S. Army. His daughter Alice was with him at this time. McWade was imbibing heavily and was unable to proceed without his brandy. Each day Miss McWade would take their buckboard down to Bruckner's Tavern for her father's daily supply of spirits. It was carried in a leather-bound decanter. Paul Drummond would secret information in a slit in the leather binding. Our man at the tavern would ship the information out while he filled the decanter and within the hour information would be winging its way north by pigeon. In early August one of our pigeons was shot by a foraging rebel and the information was returned to the headquarters from where it had just come. Since the information was based upon facts just decided mere hours before, it was immediately known that there was a spy in the camp. Paul Drummond most foolishly used the same method again the next day with the result that Miss McWade, her father, and everyone at Bruckner's Tavern were [sic] arrested. The pigeons were destroyed. Paul was not arrested but he could do nothing without being discovered. He was never to be of real service again. When Jackson's Army raided Manassas Jct. Paul Drummond was shot by a Union sharpshooter and before he died he confessed his spying activities, completely clearing the MacWades. His diary later revealed that he had fallen in love with Alice McWade. The MacWades were later released and J. S. McWade quit his job with the Army and


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went South.

After the retreat to the line of the Rappahannock River it became increasingly difficult for us to get information. Paul Drummond was of no use since he could not transmit information without being discovered. The security of our operatives was further endangered by the fact that a detective of the rebel scout service was sent into the area. His name was Horace Turner. He was an excellent detective, most thorough and cunning. It is not known when he first began to suspect that the Drummond brothers were not loyal rebels but his suspicions finally led to the virtual elimination of the effectiveness of our group.

From about the 20 th of August we were in a condition of virtual confusion. Major Thiel was acting strangely and was making himself especially obnoxious to everyone. In an [sic] matter of three days through the efficiency of Turner, we had lost five men. In only two weeks we had lost eighteen men and the only organization which had proved effective. By the 22 nd Gen'l Pope was in an almost hysterical state. The men that he had been promised had not arrived and he was certain that he was faced by a greatly superior army. We were ordered to greatly increase our operations.

I shall never forget the night of August 22, 1862. I was south of the Rappahannock and had picked up news of a nature which led me to believe that a cavalry raid on the railroad in back of the Union Army was eminent [sic]. I began my trek to the north. When I reached the River I found that it was heavily guarded. I went down stream to a point where I had crossed many times


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and found to my chagrin that there were cavalrymen on guard there. I went down still further and found a place where the guards were few. As I started out of the woods toward the river, I was fired upon and narrowly missed by a Union sharpshooter on the north side of the river. I was forced to wait for night. I moved up the river to where the cavalry were guarding and finding a pine thicket about a hundred yards from the river, I laid [sic] down on the thick pine needles and went to sleep. I was nearly exhausted and I went quickly to sleep. I awoke sometime later and found that a most violent storm was in progress. I covered myself securely with my raincoat and went back to sleep. The next that I knew, I felt a heavy boot kick me in the back. I came to a sitting position with my cocked pistol in my hand from instinct. I fully expected to look into the muzzle of a musket. Instead I found that the cavalry unit had moved into the cover of the pine grove to get away from the storm. There were now mounds of raincoat covered troopers laying [sic] everywhere. The horses were picketted [sic] about a hundred yards away. I then looked behind me and realized that one of the restless troopers had straightened his leg out and had kicked me in the back. I also realized that it was beginning to get light and that I had to get out of that camp before the others roused. I got up and moved up the hill toward a grove of oaks as though I was attending to nature. I grumbled as I passed the lone sentry who appeared more asleep than awake and who didn't answer. I then continued down stream for a few yards and crossed without incident. I later found the information


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I carried to be accurate but too late. It was on the night of the 22 nd that Stuart's cavalry raided Catlet's Station and captured Gen'l Pope's baggage. They failed in this attempt to burn the Railroad bridge but they still succeeded in scaring Hell out of Pope. I reached Military headquarters about ten o'clock on the morning of the 23 rd and reported immediately to Major Thiel. He was in a terrible state and I found that there was planned a mass crossing of the river that night to collect information and return maps showing positions and strengths of rebel fortifications. We were to cross at about eleven o'clock. Ernest Dooley and I were to work together. Five maps were being prepared and each team of two men were to bring one map back. The five maps covered the entire front of the rebel army. We were on the north side of the river by the hour of ten. There were a number of sentry's [sic] around so we waited. The plan was that Dooley should cross first and carry a rope. Then one by one we would be pulled across, thereby eliminating the need for paddling for swimming. As each man landed on the other side of the river he immediately would move up the hill and on about his business. In this way we were not in a bunch and even though one were captured the rest would not be.

This crossing was without incident and Dooley and I made our way to the designated spot. We were due back in about one day. We passed all the observation towers without incident and arrived at the Frazier farm. There we met Henry Deeks who supplied us with the needed information on strengths and locations. By four o'clock in the afternoon we were ready to proceed


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north again. We were planning to go to within a mile or so of the river and there wait for dark so that we could cross unobserved. We arrived at an oak grove and entered wither a feeling of relief only to find a man standing there with two rebel soldiers as though he was waiting for us. He said “Hello, Messrs. Rover and Dooley. We've been waiting for you.”

They led us to nearby horses and we were taken to Slate Mills which had been turned into a prison. We were questioned by none other than Detective Turner himself. We found ourselves giving information we did not intend to give under his shrewd interrogation. To try to mislead him with lies did no good so he knew enough so that he could easily trip one up on his own lies. We were next placed in detention and we found that Tom Nielson and Alex Drummond were also there, having been captured several hours before us. Within an hour Martin Dix was placed in the same room. We were all to be court martialed that evening. There were two more of our members put into our cell before the court martial. They were Higgins and Deeks.

The court martial was short. We were found guilty and sentenced to hang the next morning. We would have been hanged that evening except that it was already dark and a thunderstorm was in progress. I've always thought that it was damned decent of those rebels not to hang us in the rain.

We were placed in a large grain storage room with no windows. We had been there about an hour when Drummond began to dig away at the grain on the floor and finally uncovered a door in the floor which was directly


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over the wagon shed and which had been used for loading wagons. Drummond had been surveying in the area some year or so before and had seen wagons loaded there. We dug the grain away and one by one dropped to the ground. We had decided to go South along the river to a point where the river bank had been undercut by high water and where we could hide. Nielson and Dix were against the plan and wanted to head for the river. The rest felt that it would be impossible to get across the river now and that our best alternative would be to hide for at least a day. In the rainy darkness we tried to find the undercut. Dooley and I could not find it. We went on up the river to a quarry which had been long abandoned. There was an overhang in the rocks and here we hid. Three times the cavalry came close enough to spit on but they did not see us. Nielson and Dix headed for the river, were captured, and hung. All the rest made it back to union lines. Dooley and I were back only 24 hours later. We did not have the map, though, and in our state of physical and mental exhaustion could not recall enough details to be of value. We requested and was [sic] granted permission to catch the Warrenton train into Alexandria Jct so that we might get some badly needed provisions and some rest in a bed. We boarded the train and were soon fast asleep. When the train arrived and Manassas Jct we found that it would be delayed for some time. We got off and went to the sutler's store there. We then located a most excellent boarding house there where we purchased accommodations for the night and after a most delicious dinner


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retired quite early. I fell into a deep and peaceful slumber. At some later hour, I could not tell how long, I thought I was dreaming of battle sounds. I heard explosions, shouts, and other noises. I then realized that I was not dreaming but that there was something going on. I saw the light of fire shining on the wall opposite my bed. I arose and went to the window. I could see that the sutler's stores, the railroad cars and, in fact, all of Manassas Jct was on fire. I shook Dooley awake and the two of us dressed and then discussed what to do. We decided to go into the jct and see what was happening.

When we arrived at the jct we saw several groups of men busy at work setting torches to everything in sight. They were rebel grey as we had suspected. It was very surprising to us to find them there. We had just the night before left them south of the Rappahannock. We followed as close[ly] as we dared, which was not very close, for neither of us had any desires to keep that date with the hangman.

It is difficult for anyone who did not view the scene to realize that complete desolation which the rebels could bring to a place in a very short time. They were masters at destruction. If Manassas Jct. had been destroyed by Union troops they would have torn up the rails, piled the ties up for a few hundred yards, set them afire, heated the rails into circles, set the cars afire, and left. The rebels did all this and more. They could think of more things to do. They would spend hours at hand labor, voluntarily just to bring consternation to the Yankees. While Dooley and I were watching, a thin emaciated rebel in a torn


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and tattered uniform of homespun, loaded blasting powder onto a mule and proceeded south on the railroad toward Bristoe station[;] he was gone but a few minutes when he was back for more. Again he was gone but a short time when he was back again. Dooley and I followed at a distance and observed him. He went down the railroad to a point where a group of rebels were digging. They were mining the roadbed. After they had placed a great amount of powder under the railroad they covered it, smoothed down the gravel and left. The object of this action is to this day unknown for sure. The railroad was destroyed to the south of Bristoe and at Broad Run. The railroad was completely torn up at Manassas Jct. and for a good distance to the north. It can only be surmised that they were planting the powder with the intent of coming back after the railroad was placed back in action and then setting off the explosives. Dooley thought that they planned for some local resident to set it off. In any event, such was not the case. It was dug up about a week later by Union troops after we reported the incident to headquarters. Dooley and I found a rebel sergeant 11 who was completely drunk in a grove of trees a short distance from the railroad. We got him to his feet and between us began to carry him towards Brentsville, the county seat. We knew that there would be Union troops there. We had gone but a few miles when we met a troop of cavalry. We identified ourselves but the captain in charge would not accept our story. He did, however, accept our prisoner. He likewise accepted us as prisoners. He took us to the county seat and lodged us in their jail. There was nothing


{Manuscript page 19}

to do but make the best of it. We both slept for a good many hours and caught up on much needed rest. The food was terrible. Each day we hoped to be released but when we asked we were told that they had not yet had any word from anyone about us. It was late in the evening. We had been hearing the sounds of distant cannonading for several days. Suddenly a dispatch rider came riding in an in a few minutes confusion reigned. The army packed up and got out in a very few minutes. They left us locked up in the jail. In the next cell was the rebel sergeant that we had brought in. He had been interrogated but between his being drunk and later sick I don't believe it amounted to much. The provost was a typical one, a pompous civilian in a captain's uniform with little or no qualifications for an officer and none whatsoever for a detective. Soon after the army left the civilian constable came to the jail. He was a man in his late fifties and had a huge moustache. He was armed with a fowling piece. Dooley and I began to talk with him and made him believe we were rebel detectives and that the sergeant was a deserter. We convinced him and even succeeded in borrowing his buckboard to make the trip to Fredericksburg. He had his wife pack[ed] us a basket of food and we started off. We had a great deal of trouble keeping the old man from going with us. He was sure mad at the Yankees.

Each time that poor sick sergeant would protest that he was not a deserter and that we were Union spies, Dooley would cuff him in the mouth and order him to be quiet. I really believe that on several occasions


{Manuscript page 20}

the constable began to believe him. The constable's name was Winsor Keys and he was a very likable chap. Finally we made a start telling the old man that we would have his rig returned by the end of the next week. We went south only long enough to get out of sight and make sure we were not being followed and then we turned north by passing both Brentsville and Manassas Jct. When we got to Fairfax Court House we found complete confusion and we were arrested again. This time we were taken to old Capital Prison in Washington and places in a cell. In a few days I was brought into a large room with only two chairs and a table in it. I was told to sit in a straight position and not to move. I sat for what seemed like many hours and no one came back. I finally became convinced that they had forgotten me and I got up from the chair and stretched. Immediately the door flew open and a man came in. He grabbed me by the shoulders and forced me down into the chair. At the same time he cuffed me between the shoulders in a most brutal fashion. He then said, “You were told to sit there and not to move, rebel.” When I disclaimed being a rebel he cuffed me in the mouth, bringing blood. I instinctively turned in a fit of indignant anger and with a rain of blows sent the surprised man sprawling. I then began to swear at him and suddenly all the fatigue, apprehension, fear and frustration turned into indignant anger and I fell upon my tormentor and began to choke him, and at the same time beating his head on the floor. In the next instant


{Manuscript page 21}

a group of guards entered and one of them clubbed me into unconsciousness with some object, most likely the butt of his musket.

When I awoke I was on a couch and there was a group of men in the room. One of them sat in a chair about two yards from the couch. When I awoke he said to me, “Who are you?” It took me some time to become oriented and then I told him my real name. There were many questions about who I was, etc. and then I was asked if there was anyone who could identify me. I immediately thought of Calvin Craig who came from Clarion Co. Pa and who was an officer with the 105 th Pa. Vols. I was told that the 105 th was no longer in the Washington area. I then thought of Kate Scott who was an old friend from Brookville and she was with the Women's Relief Corp. I was returned to my cell in the bowles [sic] of that hideous prison. My head throbbed. I finally fell asleep but only fitfully. I was angry and confused. The enemy had treated [me] far better than my own kind. I had not eaten since I arrived and I was quite ill from the blow to my head.

I don't know how long it was but finally a guard with a lantern came and opened the door. I was taken to an upstairs office. When I got there I found a man and a woman. The man pushed a paper across a desk and said, “write your full and correct name.” I did as I was told. The woman then handed the man a letter. The man compared the handwriting. Then he told me the date of the letter and asked me if I had written it to Kate Scott. I recalled I had. He


{Manuscript page 22}

then proceeded to ask me details of the letter. In my state of fatigue and despair I could not recall. I soon found myself back in my cell. I do now know how long I was there but it was somewhere near two weeks for I did not get out until October 2. On that date Dooley was identified by a Union officer who had known him in Pittsburg[h]. By the time I was released I weighed only 105 pounds. I felt that I had had enough spying for a while. I decided not to continue as a scout. After a long farewell Dooley left to find the group of scouts and I started looking for a job.

I engaged a room on tenth street and had decided to find a job as a clerk of some kind. As I was leaving my room one evening a man approached me and called me by name. He told me that he would like to talk to me and asked me to dine with him. I agreed and was soon dining with the chief Detective of the National Detective Police, Col. Lafayette C. Baker. As of that evening in October 1862, I became one of his detectives. I continued in this capacity until the end of the war.

In November Col. Baker sent me to Warrenton to do a special task. While there I was photographed by the famous and most talented Alexander Gardiner. The photograph appears in Gardiner's Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War and is presented as plate number 27 entitled “What do I want John Henry?” The next plate, number 28, is a photograph of the remaining members of the unit in October. As they appear here they are (left to right) Yerricks; Captain


{Manuscript page 23}

William Rogers; Nolan (on ground); Alexander Drummond; John Martin, Vincent Thiel, Dooley, Hobson, and Jacob Yancey. If one looks they can notice Alex Drummond's left arm to be shorter than his right. This often made him easier to identify. Vincent Thiel had a severe nervous breakdown soon after this photograph was made. He began calling for men who had been dead more than a year. He especially insisted on sending Ira Drummond on a mission. Ira was killed in August while trying to take one of the five maps across the Rappahannock River.

It will be of interest to disclose that true to their Stripe, Harvey Harris and Ed Davis, in their venture of making counterfeit Confederate Bonds, were also making counterfeit U. S. Bank notes. They were discovered by rebel detective Turner and although Harris escaped, Davis was hanged.

I was instructed to return to Washington City as soon as possible after my business was completed at Warrenton. I spent about a week at that fine Southern Hotel, the Warren Greene, enjoying their most sumptious [sic] meals and wonderful service. Gen'l Ambrose Burnside had replaced McClellan as the new commander of the Union Army. For anyone who had ever seen General Burnside in the field it was difficult to see any logic in the choice. I had the general feeling of the capital that Lincoln had again given into the radical members of the Republican Party. The replacement had a terribly depressing effect on the fighting men. To them “Little Mac” was their idol. They would follow him into the gates of Hell but they did not care for “Big Brose.”

The army moved to Fredericksburg and I moved to Washington.


{Manuscript page 24}

I was made civilian adjutant to the First District Cavalry, a position I was to hold for many months. I received information and relayed it to Col. Baker. In many instances he would then send his instructions through me. I knew the names and locations of most of his detectives all of the time, except when I was sent into he field for one reason or another.

By January's end Gen'l Hooker had replaced “Big Brose” as commander. “Brose” had been a big disappointment to “Uncle Abraham.” He had been the exact opposite of Pope who had become hysterical and retreated while “Big Brose” had attacked and then become hysterical; but both had one thing in common--they had gotten hell beat[en] out of them. It is difficult today for anyone to realize just what happened. But to those of us who were in Washington City one day and on the front lines several days later, it was quite clear. It was purely a political war and must be fought along political lines. Lincoln who in 1862 was conducting a war to “suppress rebellion” had, just before the Mexican War, said that any section or area had an “inherent right to rebel and indeed a duty to rebel when their rights were threatened even by a majority.” He had also said that he would not threaten the institution of slavery but he had then issued his emancipation proclamation, which, at least in theory, destroyed slavery in the South, where he had no control but allowed it to continue in the north where he had control.

But more than that, Lincoln did not have control of even his administration. He was a man who swung from moods of complete despondency and despair to moods of unrealistic joy.


{Manuscript page 25}

At one time he would peruse a report of our action and immediately see some “divine sign” indicating his future actions, at another time he would see a “divine sign” of impending doom. All around him those ambitious rascals that constant Washington City and pervade its agencies used his superstitions to great advantage and “divine signs” were constantly being provided. One “divine sign” eventually sent him to Ford's Theater for his date with his executioner.

It is strange how his death saved him from mediocrity. If he had not been killed by the assassin he would [not] have [been] associated with Washington (the man) in history as he is today. Thousands and thousands died because he by miscalculation led the country into war, a war which neither north nor south really wanted, a war which was unnecessary except to preserve that nebulous thing known as “honor,” a war in which both contenders were fighting for “freedom.”

At the time that the Union forces were across the River from Fredericksburg we had a very effective system of communications working. An African by the name of Dabney Hawkins had been trained by Major Thiel in signaling methods and he often went behind rebel lines with our men. Dabney had been going from Mara-Mere across the River to a plantation belonging to a family who had gone South to avoid the war, leaving a negro “mammy” behind to tend the house. The house had been occupied by rebel officers and (Amanda) Mandy had cooked and repaired uniforms and washed for the officers. Dabney took her as his mate. Dabney was gotten from Jamaica by Major Thiel and he was black as night with the typical bulbous nose and lips and Mandy was a perfect match for him. When Hooker commanded in front


{Manuscript page 26}

of Fredericksburg and even before, Dabney always knew just when a movement was about to take place and just what it would be. I was sent to find out how. I talked to Dabney and the answer was quite simple. Mandy was across the river and was doing washing for rebel officers. She also cooked for them and in the course of her chores she knew exactly what the coming movements would be. She would then place clothes on the line in a certain prescribed manner and in full view of Dabney across the river. They had their own cipher. Since Dabney was on the north side of the river and Mandy on the south side, the information flowed freely. Dabney disclosed to me that when a blanket which Mandy slept on was on the line it indicated that her mating instincts were aroused. There were few times that I viewed the line that Dabney was in camp that Mandy's blanket was not on that line. The system worked perfectly for many months, not only at Fredericksburg but elsewhere until the rebs became suspicious. Dabney was taken prisoner on one of his jaunts south. Mandy, being a slave and a woman, was merely sent south to her owner. Dabney was neither a women nor a slave and was therefore hanged.

In the early part of '63 the Coppherheads were creating much trouble and anxiety in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and a number of other middle western states. We knew of the work of Captain Thomas H. Hines in connection with the movement from reports that had come from various sources. I was sent to Illinois and Indiana to find out what I could. As a Secret Service Operative in that area I did many things in the name of the Union which I have always regretted. There is one incident


{Manuscript page 27}

above all others which still infests my dreams after all these years.

A telegram had been sent to St. Louis from a Missouri cattle dealer in St. Joseph. The dealer was notified that they were arriving with 100 cattle and would need horses in Hannibal when they arrived. It was known that the cattle were actually cavalrymen trained in Kansas for an invasion of Illinois and Indiana to coincide with what later proved to be the Morgan raid into Ohio. I was ordered to take a group of deputies and intercept them. I was to interrogate them and then court martial them in a legal manner and condemn them to death. That was, unless they resisted. Then we were to see that none escaped. We intercepted them and in the encounter one of the copperheads shot and killed a close friend and associate of mine. I ordered then that all should die. We opened fire and killed about forty of their number. They then threw out their guns and came out into the open. I ordered that the hands of each should be tied behind them with cord. They were then led into the woods and shot. In the group was [sic] two boys of about fifteen. They plead [sic] for their lives but while they plead [sic] two cavalrymen, a sergeant and a corporal calmly walked up behind them and at a signal from me shot them in the back of the head with their pistols. To this very day I awaken to the sounds of pistol shots and I can see the faces of those two lads.

In the course of my duties as a scout it was necessary for me to kill many men, mostly in cold blood. It never came easy and always bothered me to a great extent


{Manuscript page 28}

but the killing of those two lads has always plagued me. I didn't even know their names so why should I deprive them of living without any sort of trial. I have many times since wondered, could they not have been a part of the conspiracy, perhaps just traveling with the group? I really don't know, I wish I did.

There are other memories too painful for me to recollect and would serve no real purpose at this late date. I can merely say with certainty that there were just as many atrocious acts perpetrated on the Union side as the other, the difference was that we won. The loser always carries the blame for the crime.

In April Col. Carrington of the Indiana Militia in a very unusual manner, received unimpeachable information that the Copperheads were about to take over the states of Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio in a series of raids from Kentucky and Kansas. He had made a report for the Military in Washington City and they had completely discounted the story. Col. Baker did not think it so preposterous and he dispatched me and two other loyal agents to Indiana. We were to assist Col. Carrington in any way that we could. The other two men were William Carter and Andrew Tyler. Both were exceptionally good agents. Tyler was to give his life in this word only two months later. His code name was “Cris Coffin” and he had managed to work into the Copperhead movement as a contact for an agent of Col.


{Manuscript page 29}

Carrington's by the name of Felix Stidger 12 . Then alias Coffin was murdered on June 10 and his body was never found. Stidger had not been in contact with Coffin since before the first of June, and after the murder of Coffin, Carter and I were sent out of Indiana since we knew of Stidger, and Carrington was afraid that we might in some way divulge his identity and position. By this time he was high in the Copperhead Conspiracy and his life could not [i.e., must not] be jeopardized. Carter and I went to Washington.

In October we went to Illinois but were cautioned to ever be alert lest we in some moment mention Felix Stidger. We remained in Illinois until Spring when we were recalled to Washington and then were sent to Montreal, Canada. In May of '64 Carter contracted typhoid and returned to his home in Philadelphia to recuperate. I remained in Montreal.

Information could be had for merely listening in Montreal and rebel conspiracy was everywhere. There were rebel agents at all the hostelries and they received as much valuable information as we did, much of it from Canadian newspapers. We had one major advantage. We could send a dispatch to Washington by train in a short time overnight, but the trip to Richmond was much slower, in most cases more than a month. There is one case I know of, however, in which a message was sent from Montreal to Richmond and an answer received in nine days. Col. Baker finally found how it was


{Manuscript page 30}

done. It went by train to Washington City and from there by express rider down through Southern Maryland to Richmond and then back y the same route. It must be assumed that more than one message went that way.

I would like at this point to present some appropriate comments about the late Lafayette C. Baker. I knew him well for the War years after Second Bull Run and after the War until his death. I have always felt that he, like the much martyred Lincoln, was murdered by very powerful and most ambitious political foes. That Baker was murdered there can be no doubt in my mind. That others of which we know not were likewise disposed of cannot be doubted. I would have died by an assassin's hand had I not in 1868 feigned suicide, changed my name and gone elsewhere. To do this cost me my chance at happy married life with the only love of my life, the late Kate Scott. She never married nor did I. She has long ago preceded me in death and went to her grave thinking that I had drowned myself in the ocean off Cape May, New Jersey.

Col. Baker was a most remarkable man in many ways. He could be at times most ruthless. He believed without reservation that the means justified the end. He had learned his detective abilities as a vigilante in California. He had a most retentive memory. The downfall of any agent was, and is, the written word or maps. Col.


{Manuscript page 31}

Baker had a system devised which eliminated the need for written words and maps. He memorized them. He could but others couldn't. He would divide a map into four segments of equal size and then determine the important segments. He would then concentrate on the important segments. He would draw mental lines diagonally cross the segments and then refer everything to these lines and their point of intersection, referring to everything in kilometers and degrees of [a] compass. He would then remember the two sets of numbers. He could retain up to fifty sets of numbers and transpose them back onto a map of different scale some two to five days later with no error. Once he met someone he could always call them by name on the next meeting. He was, without doubt, a genius.

All through the summer of '64 I sent daily dispatches to Col. Baker concerning rebel situations in Canada. I then had about ten agents reporting to me and I would evaluate the information and send it on to Col. Baker at the War Department in Washington City. Each dispatch would bear our official seal imprinted with ink. We had early in the war used wax seals but had stopped this due to the fact that they could not be made flat and could be felt with the hand if concealed in a coat lining and other like places. We began using ink instead. The use of black ink meant that it was a seal for general use. Red ink meant that it should be read and destroyed. Many of the red seals survived, however.


{Manuscript page 32}

In June of '64 we found that rebel cavalry was being moved through Illinois and Indiana into Canada. For what purpose we did not know. There were also blockade runners which brought men up the coast and deposited them in dark coves late at night.

On July 16 there was an attempted raid on the Calais National Bank at Calais, Maine. I had previously received reports of a planned raid and had informed the town marshal who had a posse in the back office of the bank. Three men were captured and two more escaped. Of the three which [sic] were captured one was Frank Jones. Jones had a mother and sweetheart who were loyal Unionists and they had been begging Jones to take an oath of allegiance and give up the Confederacy. When he was captured he knew that he might hang. The marshal 13 and I questioned him at length and wrung from him a most incredible tale of grandiose plus to pillage and burn the State of Maine. The Marshal was inclined to discount the story, but I had received reports which made me view the story with alarm. We called in the town's solicitor and he too talked with Jones. We decided we dare not risk its being true and I forwarded the story in a report to the National Detective Police at the War Department in Washington City. The Solicitor also sent a dispatch to Secretary of State Seward

We quickly began to follow up on our advantage.


{Manuscript page 33}

More detectives were assigned by Col. Baker. We quickly discovered that an uprising had been planned for all of Maine but with the capture of three of the ringleaders, the plan was called off. By this time two of our detectives, Clinton Bonner and Thomas Keefe were on the trail of Captain T. H. Hines of the Confederate Secret Service. Hines was a most brilliant spy and had organized much of the organization which was behind the Calais raid as well as other Confederate activity. It was very important that Hines be caught. It was important that he also be held since when he had previously been captured in Ohio he had managed to escape with J. H. Morgan, the rebel raider.

In September many Copperhead leaders were arrested in Indiana, among them Harrison Dodd, William Bowles, and L. Milligan. I was notified that my testimony might be needed in the prosecution of the government's case against them since I had worked with Stidger and it was not the desire of Col. Carrington to disclose Stidger's identity. I knew that if I testified I would be of no more use as a detective but if it was necessary I would gladly do it. At the last minute, however, Stidger was called to testify. Government attorneys had decided that only by the use of his testimony could they be sure of conviction. It is my personal opinion that with that military commission they could have convicted Martha Washington of treason. I


{Manuscript page 34}

have never agreed with the way the rights of Americans were ignored during this period of our history. They could have convicted these traitors just as easily before a jury. They were so obviously guilty.

During the trial Dodd was allowed to escape in order that he wouldn't name associates in high places, and although Bowles and Milligan were sentenced to hang they eventually went free.

On October 18 about the ninth hour PM, I had returned to my Hotel and found a dispatch bearer with a message for me. It told of a raid on the town of St. Albans, Vermont earlier in the afternoon. It had been the work of rebel cavalry working from Montreal. I was ordered to investigate and find the identity of the raiders and the location of their base of operations. I had several good men with me and in a short time we found where a man answering the description of Captain Thomas Hines of the C. S. A. He had registered at the St. Lawrence Hall at 9:30 P.M. on October 18 and gave his address as Baltimore. The strange part of the whole thing was the he was identified by several of the operatives who had followed Captain Hines and had seen him dozens of times at close range. Within a few days it became evident that this man had not been at St. Albans but also by this time we had found him to be engaged in seditious activities. He was trying to interest the rebels in a plan to kidnap the president.


{Manuscript page 35}

It is to this day not decided whether he was successful but we now know that he was not just talking. The man registered there was John Wilkes Booth.

Col. Baker was notified immediately of all the facts and he detailed us to keep him under survey. This we did and turned up ample evidence to arrest him on one or more of any number of charges. We knew his associates and almost all their plans. Always the same answers came back, “follow him but do not interfere with him or arouse his suspicions.” Then suddenly, I was ordered to Washington City. I talked with Colonel Baker and he told me that Secretary of War Stanton considered the man insane and not worthy of our attentions. We were called off of the investigation. I have thought much of this and I know that Colonel Baker said that it was Secretary Stanton. I was questioned at length on this point at a later date but I am sure.

Col. Baker then detailed me to search out the express route through Southern Maryland by which rebel couriers traveled. He gave me my choice of helpers and since Ernest Dooley was in the Hospital in Washington, I took him with me. By the end of March we had the complete route down on a map (See Appendix) 14 . This route was to figure heavily in the capture of Booth at a later date.


{Manuscript page 36}

It is now history how this rogue struck down President Lincoln at Ford's Theater. There has been much written about the matter and many wonder why Gen. Grant declined to go at the last minute. I have no new knowledge in the matter but I am sure that [he] was not in on the plot. I do believe that someone made sure that he was not there since this would have increased the guard and Booth would never [have] escaped.

This I can now say with all certainty. Abraham Lincoln was murdered by the passive action of his own cabinet. There was money raised among northerners for the purpose and the opportunity was established for Booth to do the job, all the time thinking that he was undetected.

By the time I had made my reports from Montreal there was more evidence against J. W. Booth than was ever needed for conviction by a military commission. Many other men have been hung for much less during the Lincoln Administration.
When Lincoln was assassinated Col. Baker was in New York but he quickly returned to Washington. I met him at the Willard Hotel and Dooley was with me. The search for the assassin was completely confused and everyone was trying for the reward. False information was being passed at every hand. Col. Baker asked me to


{Manuscript page 37}

go with Dooley on the next boat down the river [to] Mathias Point and to wait at the river crossing, which was part of the express route to Richmond through Southern Maryland. This we did. Booth did not come this way due to his injury. If he had, Dooley and I would have had a share of the reward money, for we would have captured him alive. This no doubt would have proved most embarrassing to many persons in high places.

It would gain me nor anyone anything to divulge the many infamous secrets which are lodged within my memory, for the souls of those responsible are in the hands of the all powerful Judge who is neither deceived nor distracted from his Justice.

I saw Col. (then General) Baker in Washington during the congressional hearings. He was pale and distraught. He talked with me for but a short time and then bid me a fond farewell forever. I never saw him again. He told me that he was constantly being followed and that there had been many attempts on his life. He died on July 3, 1868 and I have always thought that he was murdered. I tried to visit him in June before his death but I did not see him. His lovely wife met me in the parlor and we talked for a short while. She was pathetic to see. She was distraught with fright. I promised to return when the General was better, but such was


{Manuscript page 38}

never to be. Jane Baker remarried in later years and became the mother of a fine son who later became a general in the Marine Corp. From the day that I talked with Mrs. Baker I was followed no matter where I went. I don't know what they were after but someone was anxious to see me dead. There were several open attempts on my life. I suppose I knew too much of many things which had gone on. I realized that I had to take drastic action to avert being murdered.

I was then engaged to marry Miss Kate Scott of Brookville, Pa., a grand lady known to me since childhood. I fully realized however that she was marrying me now for convenience than anything else since she had never forgotten her first love, Calvin Craig. Col. Craig had been her lifelong friend and they had been in the war together, her as a nurse and he as a Captain of Volunteers with the 105 Pennsylvania Militia. He had unexpectedly married someone else but she never forgot him. He was later killed leading his men in a glorious charge.

I went to see Kate and managed with little difficulty to break the engagement during a purposeful quarrel. I also terminated my business and converted all my assets to cash. I caught the steamer to Cape May, New Jersey. I registered at a small hotel and spent several days lying in the sun. I left my room at night and took one small valise in which I had most of my money, some


{Manuscript page 39}

few clothes and a razor. These I secreted under a Bayberry bush a short way up the beach. I then returned to my room and my presence had never been missed. The next morning being a Sunday, I went to church. I returned from church and went immediately to the bush. I quickly disrobed and walked into the surf. There were many persons on the Hotel porches as I knew there would be. The ladies began to scream and point. I plunged into the surf and began to swim. Whale boats were launched but I was far enough out to be able to move up the beach without them being able to see me. I had picked an incoming tide and I was swept up to and easily swam into a small inlet which was fed by a creek. I emerged out of sight of my would-be rescuers and proceeded to where my valise was hidden. I dressed and then moved further from the beach. I stopped only long enough to shave off my beard and moustache. I went straight into Cape May Court House and acquired lodging at a boarding House. Later in the day I heard of the suicide of a man at Cape Island City. Robert Bernard was dead.

I had assumed a new name and had left my past behind, for I was followed no more.


{Manuscript page 40}

I went West, made new investments and a fortune. I did not marry until 1914 after hearing of the death of Kate Scott, a woman I dearly loved. There was one thing that made me fake a suicide. I had seen the mortal fear in the eyes of Jane Baker. I did not want Kate to know that fear.

This journal will never been seen during my lifetime. If it will ever be of interest after my death, I do not know but there is much which will die with me and that is for the best.


          William Robert Bernard


{Manuscript page 41, or Appendix}

The MacWade Family Tragedy –

The MacWades were a happy family prior to the outbreak of the war. There was Johnathan Sanbridge McWade who was a surveyor. “Sandy” as he was known was an officer in the Mexican War and felt that he should remain neutral in any new war between North and South. He had a lovely wife Sara and three daughters, Alice, Jennifer, and Susan. They lived on a farm between Manassas Jct and Brentsville Court House. “Sandy” did all types of surveying but did a lot of work for the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. The mother of Sarah, Mrs. Gracie Southerland, lived with them. She was exactly one century old the week the war broke out.

When Allen Pinkerton became the chief detective for Gen. McClellan he brought his detectives into the area with him. Sandy MacWade was suspect since he had the qualifications which he did. They plagued him day by day. A Pinkerton detective came one day with several cavalrymen and was being rude with Sarah M. He accused her of harboring rebel spies. He threw a bomb into their house and set it on fire. Mrs. Southerland was burned to death. Sarah MacWade picked up a shotgun and killed the detective. Sandy packed his family into the buckboard and onto their horses and went South. He then went to work for the Confederacy.

{End of Manuscript}


Notes

1 Bernard uses brackets only a few occasions but in the same way as he uses parentheses; all brackets employed by Bernard have been changed to parentheses to avoid confusion with the transcript editor's use of parentheses to indicate errors or interpolations.
2 Bernard occasionally fails to use the apostrophe to indicate decade-inclusive dates or the possessive. These have been supplied without remark.
3 Words misspelled infrequently and usage errors are indicated by a "[sic]" placed after the term.
4 The bottom wedge of the page is lacking, The interpolation of "the," makes sense in the context of the remainder of the sentence. All interpolations of letters or words are indicated in the same manner, i.e., between brackets.
5 The cited appendix is lacking.
6 Bernard is inconsistent and a minimalist with respect to punctuation. Bernard's style has been respected, but to promote understanding, it has been deemed necessary to supply punctuation for clarity in some instances. Such emendations have been made without indication in the transcript as have corrections to capitalization, another aspect of Bernard's writing which is inconsistent. These normalizations promote readability and in no way alter meaning.
7 "Manassas," is misspelled throughout, usually as "Manassa's," while "Bull Run" nearly always appears as "Bull's Run." These place names appear from this point forward according to their accepted forms from this point forward.
8 Numerous variants of abbreviations for "Junction" appear in this memoir. These are easy to understand and appear as written.
9 "Politician" and its variations are generally misspelled as "polititian," "polititical," etc. These common spelling errors are corrected hereafter without note.
10 "Bruckner's Tavern" could as easily be "Bruchner's Tavern."
11 "Sargent," repeatedly misspelled, is hereafter corrected without notice to "sergeant."
12 "Stidgar" appears throughout, but research indicates "Stidger" is the correct form.
13 Occasionally Bernard adds a second "l" to "Marshall."
14 This cited appendix is lacking.

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