Missionary E Martin An Agent Of The Confederate Treasury Department Arrested His Big Tobacco Smuggling Scheme Exposed
Headquarters, Middle Department,
8th Army Corps.
Baltimore, Mch. 12, 1865.
Special Order No. 44.
Lieut. H. B. Smith, 5th N. Y. Arty., and Commanding Detective
Corps, 8th Army Corps, with one man of his force, will proceed
to New York City, arrest a certain man, and return to these
headquarters without delay, with his assistant and prisoner.
Quartermaster's Department will furnish transportation.
By command of Bvt. Brigadier General W. W. Morris.
WM. H. WIEGEL,
Major & Actg. Provost Marshal.
The cause for this trip will be explained by the following copy of a
letter, and a contract.
New York, Mch. 10, 1865.
It is said Fredericksburg and tobacco is captured. I feared
Have written to Maddox and sent him a copy of contract. I
Now it is for you to go to work at once and see that this
property is taken care of. I believe you will both do it; see
to it that no innocent parties suffer. Act promptly, for I
assured my friends that the property was safe at that point,
and I did it on your representations. Let me hear from you,
care of Burnett & Funkhouser, this city.
Yours truly, M. E. MARTIN.
Dec. 8th, 1864.
I hereby agree to deliver to Mess. Maddox & Manahan, during
the month of Feby. and March, 1865, at Fredericksburg,
Virginia, on the Rappahannock River, Four Thousand Boxes
(4,000) of good sound merchantable tobacco, to be paid for on
delivery, by my Agents at said point, in United States
currency, at the rate of Forty-seven and a half (47-1/2) Cents
Said tobacco to be of the quality known as good manufactured
Virginia Leaf. I reserve to myself the privilege of increasing
the quantity to 5,000 boxes, if I see proper.
(Signed) M. E. MARTIN.
Manahan was of the firm of J. F. Manahan & Co., No. 17 South Charles
Street, Baltimore, Md. This letter, by mistake, fell into my hands on
March 12th. It was necessary to act quickly in order to intercept
communication twixt Martin and Manahan, and for that purpose I left
Baltimore on the 12th, and had my man wire to Martin, as follows:
Baltimore, Md., Mch. 13, 1865.
M. E. Martin,
c/o Burnett & Funkhouser,
"Your letter here. Shaffer, my friend, will call to-day. Let
me know the result by telegraph immediately."
I assumed that if Martin wanted to reach Manahan, he would address him
at the Maltby House, the telegraph office there was in my possession.
I at the same time had myself wired to as follows:
Baltimore, Md., Mch. 13, 1865.
I. K. Shaffer,
"Call on Martin immediately, I have his letter of 10th."
This wire was to be my introduction to Martin. I located Martin and
Burnett & Funkhouser in Broad Street near Beaver. I did not call on him
immediately, as I wanted him to get anxious to see me first.
To keep him quiet on Maddox, I had him wired as follows:
Washington, D. C.,
Mch. 14, 1865.
M. E. Martin,
c/o Burnett & Funkhouser,
"M. leaves here to-night, you can rest fully satisfied all is
J. F. MANAHAN,
Poor Manahan was asleep to all this use of his name, of course. Martin
did get anxious. He wrote me the following note and sent it to
Dear Sir.--Have despatch from Manahan that you will call and
see me here. Will be in at half past eleven to twelve, half
past twelve to one, and at half past one.
Either wait for me or leave your address.
M. E. MARTIN.
I called but failed to find Martin, and later I received the following
I waited for you all the early part of the day, at B & F's,
and then left a note for you, requesting you to leave your
Am unwell; if it is important you should see me before
morning, please come up to my hotel, Gramercy Park House, if
not, please meet me at B & F's, nine to nine thirty, t-morrow
I met him in the morning, as appointed. He was hungry to meet me, just
as I wanted it.
I found Mr. Martin to be a man evidently well fitted for the job, in
appearance tall, rather lank, energetic and gentlemanly. We visited off
and on, nearly all day. He believed, from what I told him, that I and my
friends were financially interested through Manahan. He explained his
position as representing Mr. Trenholm, Secretary of the Confederate
Treasury. He told how he had formerly run cotton through the lines on
the Mississippi river.
Now that the tobacco had been seized, his plan was to press a claim upon
our government, representing the tobacco to belong to Union people. He
told me he had papers at his hotel which would corroborate him.
In the afternoon, nearly dark, we parted in the Howard House (then at
the corner of Maiden Lane and Broadway) with the understanding that I
was returning to Baltimore and Manahan, satisfied with his assurances.
My man (Mr. Kraft), who had been following me, to be handy if help was
needed, and who had been watching for the signal to make the arrest,
came to me hastily, thinking he might have missed the signal, but I
assured him it was all right to let Martin go. I had a further purpose,
I wanted to get the documents Martin had spoken of as being at his
Kraft and I dined at the old Lovejoy Hotel (then at the corner of
Beekman Street and Park Row) and afterwards went up to the Gramercy Park
Hotel, then quite a fashionable hostelry. We waited until Martin came
out of the dining-room. He was in his dinner suit, and was quite a dude
for such a raw-boned Southerner; he was surprised to see me again. I
told him I wanted some further talk. I asked if we could not go to his
room. After starting for up stairs I introduced my friend.
When in his room I informed him that my sole object was to obtain the
information needed by the Government. Any man's face would be a study
under such circumstances. Martin was game; his first question was:
"Well, what is your name?" "Smith," I replied. "Oh, I mean your right
name," he said. (There are some advantages in the name Smith, I really
needed no alias.)
Martin thought a treat was "on him," and he paid it. I then invited him
to show me the documents he had described when down town. I took
possession of all. They gave a very good history of his doings on the
Mississippi river, and his connection with the Confederate Treasury
In answer to his question, I told him that I did not know what the
government would do with him, but I was sure his proposed claim against
the government would not be collectible, and perhaps he would be
detained until the end of the war, to prevent a recurrence.
Pending my first call on Martin, I visited General Dix, commanding the
Department of the East. He declined to endorse my order to make the
arrest of Martin, unless I explained fully the case. Rather than do so,
just at that time, I concluded to disregard courtesy and take my man
away without his endorsement, which I did.
The "Gold Room" which was then more important than the Stock Exchange,
was in Twenty-fourth Street, back of the Fifth Avenue Hotel; it was open
evenings. I permitted Martin to send there for money, and to advise his
friends that he would be away for a few days.
During the evening Mr. Martin said to me, "Last evening, when I was
expecting you, waiting for you, I lay here reading Colonel Baker's book
on the Secret Service. He had no case as slick as this. Smith, you were
so frank and open, I would have told you anything you wanted to know."
I presume he was reading Baker's book to see how such cases as his were
treated, not dreaming of an ocular demonstration so near at hand. At
midnight we started for Baltimore.
The following from the Richmond "Whig" explains better, perhaps, than I
can, just what Martin and the case meant, from the Confederate
(From the Richmond "Whig")
The Tobacco Transaction--A Prominent New York House Concerned.
"We have obtained the main facts of the great tobacco
speculation, in reference to which there were so many rumors
last week. It appears that an agent of a New York mercantile
house, whose name it is deemed inexpedient to publish at this
time, proposed to certain parties in this city to contract
with them for the delivery of a specific quantity of
manufactured tobacco at Fredericksburg, he undertaking for his
principals to remove the tobacco from that point, with the
implied consent of the United States authorities, provided
the Confederate authorities would indicate their consent, in
writing, to the proposed transaction. The tobacco was to be
paid for on its delivery at Fredericksburg. The New York house
was vouched for by an influential member of Congress, who had
intimate business relations with the concern.
One of the Confederate bureaus became identified with the
scheme, by reason of the representations which had been made
to its officers, and by the prospect of advantageous results
from the fulfillment of the proposed agreement by the parties
on the other side.
The contract was accordingly entered into, "sealed, signed and
delivered," with a satisfactory endorsement from the
predecessor of the present Secretary of War, who was no doubt
induced to believe that it was "all right." Nothing was said
in the contract about bacon. The quid pro quo was money.
In execution of the contract on this side, about four thousand
boxes of fine to extra manufactured tobacco were purchased
here, at rates ranging from four dollars to seven dollars per
pound, Confederate currency. Of this amount one thousand two
hundred and seventy-three boxes, weighing one hundred and
thirty-two thousand five hundred and seventy-eight pounds, and
valued at seven hundred thousand dollars, were forwarded to
Fredericksburg in charge of Dr. Rose, who was induced by
assurances from Richmond, which he could not discredit, to act
as consignee and custodian of the tobacco until delivered
according to agreement. He was not in any sense, as we
understand, a party to the contract. What became of the
tobacco is known to our readers. Dr. Rose was carried off by
the Yankees for engaging in contraband traffic.
The name of General Singleton has been connected with this
transaction. We state on the authority of an officer of the
bureau referred to that he has no lot nor part in it, directly
or indirectly. The loss of the tobacco will fall upon the
contractors here unless the New York parties to the contract
will fulfill their obligations by indemnifying the bureau with
which they contracted."
After action by Congress, President Lincoln endeavored to extend some
relief to persons within the Confederacy who were Unionists at heart;
they were to be encouraged by allowing them to work their products up to
and through the lines. What was intended as a great beneficent
proposition was seized upon by the Confederate government to help itself
The following order will explain the experiences with cotton on the
Mississippi river. I presume these orders drove Martin to turn his
attention to tobacco in the east:
Headquarters, Major General Washburn,
District West Tennessee.
Memphis, May 10, 1864.
"The practical operation of commercial intercourse from this
city with the States in rebellion, has been to help largely to
feed, clothe, arm and equip our enemies."
* * * * *
"To take cotton, belonging to the Rebel Government to Memphis,
and convert it into supplies and greenbacks, and return to the
lines of the enemy, or place the proceeds to the credit of the
Rebel Government, in Europe, is safe and easy.
"I have undoubted evidence that large amounts of cotton have
been and are being brought here to be sold, belonging to the
* * * * *
"It is therefore ordered, that on and after the 15th of May,
1864, the lines of the Army at Memphis be closed and no person
be permitted to leave the city, except by river, without a
"By order of
Major General C. C. WASHBURN."
A similar order was issued by Colonel Farrar, at Natchez, Miss., and by
General Sherman at Vicksburg, in which they said:
"The amount of trade through the lines at all these points,
with the isolated localities, where trade stores were
situated, was estimated at not less than a half million
On the 6th of March, 1864, General Roberts, with one thousand five
hundred men, and with naval help, left Fortress Monroe for
Fredericksburg. He captured and destroyed three hundred and eighty
thousand dollars worth of tobacco.
Martin was the representative of the Confederate Treasury Department. I
recovered his correspondence with Secretary Trenholm. It was understood
that the proceeds of the sale of this tobacco was to go to Paris to help
pay Confederate debts incurred there.