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[721] laborer, a quarterman joiner, two quartermen plumbers, four receivers of stolen property, six contractors, and one purser's steward. A pretty lot of patriots and Republicans, indeed!

A few days of confinement in military prison brought on a contagion of repentance, confession and supplication. My time was taken up in hearing revelations of their rascalities from the cowardly culprits, whose friends, ignorant of what was going on, were besieging my offices with petitions for their release, and making my feelings cheerful with threats of personal violence conveyed by anonymous letters. The press overran with sensational articles, which I was too busy to read, and Congressmen became interested to a degree in the affairs of my commission. But it is only fair to say that not one newspaper thundered against the “arbitrary arrests” of the government; all united in expressing the hope that offenders might be brought to punishment. Nor did the Congressmen intercede or throw any impediments in my way.

Large recoveries of stolen copper, pitch, rosin, and other public property were made. Some fifteen hundred barrels of naval stores had been carted out of the yard by Hale in broad daylight, and, to say nothing of copper bath-tubs, brass filings, and other smaller things, the thieves had removed a steam engine bodily, and sold it to a junk dealer. Some sixty thousand and odd dollars in money and property were placed in my hands as restitutions, and by me turned over to the commandant of the yard. As usual, there were trials, convictions, and pardons, and the several cases presented features of comedy, tragedy, or farce, as it happened. There lies before me now, in a file of old documents, the certified memorandum of property given up by a poor young clerk who had been ruined by the richest of the New York gang of contractors-one Charles W. Scofield. This young man had a wife lying dangerously ill; she needed delicacies which his poverty denied her, when the contractor came, as the victim said to me, “like an angel out of heaven,” and presented him with fifty dollars as an act of “pure friendship.” No favors were asked at the time except that he would look after the contractor's goods, and see that they were duly inspected. But soon afterward something was asked — that short deliveries of goods might not be noticed, nor too close an inspection of them made. In return for which service (which he was assured was rendered at every other yard) the clerk should receive half the contractor's profits on the overcharges. The sick wife's needs settled the matter, and the clerk turned up at last in prison. His contrition being sincere, the Secretary permitted him to make restitution, and be released from

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Charles W. Scofield (1)
Anthony Hale (1)
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