Capture Of Confederate Bonds And Scrip
I will now tell you of the Confederate bond matter. Special Order No.
172 enabled me to make my arrangements at Willard's Hotel:
Headquarters, Middle Department,
8th Army Corps.
Baltimore, Nov. 20, 1864.
Special Order No. 172.
Lieut. H. B. Smith, 5th N. Y., and one man will proceed to
Washington, D. C., on secret service.
On completion of his
duties he will report with his guard at these headquarters.
By command of Major General Wallace.
Lt. Col. & Pro. Marshal.
Office Provost Marshal,
Baltimore, Nov. 24, 1864.
Lt. Col. Woolley,
Colonel.--I have the honor to report the arrest of J. S.
Pittman, Dr. D. R. Brewer and T. S. Fowler.
I herewith hand you a carpet sack, containing Confederate
Bonds and Scrip amounting to $82,575, which was collected in
different ways from these parties. Also $22 from Dr. Brewer
and $280 from Pittman, in currency, and a trunk said to
contain 23 dozen cards (cotton and woolen cards) from Brewer's
Herewith I hand you several statements in reference to the
I would respectfully call your attention to Mr. Fowler's
statement, viz.: that "that they sell this stuff to Jews, &c.,
that run the blockade," and that "it is all done for the
benefit of the U. S. Service," and then to Pittman's statement
that he did not know the New York man who was to buy of him in
Washington, and then to my statement, i. e., that I told him
that I was from New York, and gave him my name and address in
writing, and also told him how I intended to use the funds
with blockade runners. Putting all these statements together I
should conclude that if he is doing all this "for the benefit
of the service," that he would have informed the authorities
of my intentions.
Pittman's and Brewer's statements were made under oath. Brewer
stated to me that the cards were bought to send to Dixie. In
his sworn statement, after arrest, he declined giving the
history of them, as it might injure his friends.
I am, Colonel,
Very respy. your obdt. servt.,
H. B. SMITH,
Lt. & Chief.
This story is quite complicated. During the progress of this case, I was
known to the parties as "Comings," "Shaffer" and Lieutenant Smith, and
to show how complex it was, although Pittman and Brewer were together in
prison, until trial came they had not been able to understand that the
three names were for one person.
When I was about to go on the stand in their trial, their counsel asked
me if Comings and Shaffer would be present? I answered yes; but when on
the stand I began and told the story, their counsel claimed the
Government had taken an advantage of them in concealing the facts.
Captain Hassing was my medium for getting into the case. It was a
Baltimore gang, but either from suspicion of Hassing, or for other
reasons, they would not meet the New York party (me) in Baltimore, so I
arranged for a meeting in Washington, at Willard's Hotel. I went over
and engaged a room there and registered; the following wire came:
Nov. 20, 1864.
I. K. Shaffer,
Have seen the parties arrangements are made for to-morrow be
In reply, I wired:
Washington, D. C.,
Nov. 20, 1864.
German St. Green House, Baltimore.
Telegram recd will meet you to-morrow evening at place
appointed cannot close up my business with my friend here
I. K. SHAFFER,
The above telegram and the one following were for Hassing to exhibit to
the gang, to show my earnestness:
Washington, Nov 21 1864
I. K. Shaffer
Disposed of documents as you desired will see you in New York
on 26. Your telegram recd.
G. B. LYMAN.
I "fixed up" and went over to Washington on the same train with Pittman.
I entered a forward car and Hassing saw to it that Pittman took one in
the rear. At Washington I took a cab and landed in Willard's Hotel ahead
of Pittman. Willard's, as you know, is in the shadow of the Treasury
I was a sight to look upon; I wore a beaver, had my hair curled, had a
birth mark on one cheek, and carried a cane; I was a New York swell in
appearance surely. It almost made me sick to look in the mirror.
We introduced ourselves, each to the other, and then we went to my room.
Pittman was very cautious; he said every other person in Washington was
a detective. I assured him of my sympathy and told him that in New York
we did not suffer from such surveillance. He said he was happy to become
acquainted. He said he was so timid that he did not dare bring his bonds
and scrip along, until after meeting me, when his confidence came to
him, and said he would go over to Alexandria and return in the morning
ready to do business.
We went down stairs; my two officers (Babcock and Horner), who were
following me to make the arrest when I indicated the propitious moment,
were there. Pittman passed out the side entrance, and then Babcock and
Horner invited him into their carriage. He protested, of course, but to
no use; in the carriage they searched him and then hurried him on to
Baltimore. They could not get out of him who had been with him up stairs
in the hotel.
I then went into the barber shop, had my curls straightened, washed the
birth mark off, and went to bed. In the morning I wired myself, using
Pittman's name. The telegram I used as an introduction to Dr. Brewer, as
Washington, D. C.,
Nov 22 1864
Go to see Dr. Brewer yourself. I will come on as soon as I see
my mother in Alexandria. Telegraph me the result of your
J. T. PITTMAN.
Dr. Brewer resided at the corner of Sharp and Conway Streets, not far
from our office. I rang his bell and he responded. I unceremoniously
rubbed my telegram under his nose as an introduction, giving him no
chance to survey me. After considerable talk, explaining the necessity
for my early return to New York, he said he would go and get the bonds
and scrip. Having previously engaged a room at the Maltby House, I
offered to walk with him, hoping thus to learn where the bonds were
deposited, but that did not work. He later met me at the Maltby House,
and we went up stairs to count over and settle; the two officers
following to make the arrest when signalled, remained in the rotunda.
It took until dark came on to finish our business. We packed it all into
a carpet sack. I gave Brewer $1,300 in currency, and then we went down
stairs. The arrangement had been for my men to arrest him after he got
far enough away from me, but so much time had elapsed, I presume my men
had become careless, at any rate they were not in sight. I did not dare
let Brewer get out of my reach, so I proposed to walk with him, to get
some fresh air. When near his home, and when I had about made up my mind
that I would have to make the arrest, to recover my $1,300, my men
appeared; I skipped, and they made the arrest. Brewer was obstinate, but
finally assumed a more reasonable attitude.
In their defence they tried to lighten the case by claiming the paper
was forged, but when the Government demanded to know where they got the
paper, they failed to inform.