Schoolcraft, Michigan, October 29th, 1877.Dear Sir :--Yours of the 20th, asking for a statement of my participation in the capture of Davir, is at hand. I have had a great many calls for a statement from almost every State in the Union. I just received one from the Tribune office last week. I thought I would not say anything about it. There has been a great deal said by different ones regarding the capture of Davis. They all seem to differ more or less. If I should make a statement it would not correspond with all. Colonel Pritchard's statement is as near right as any I have seen as regards Davis' disguise. Davis had on a lady's waterproof cloak or dress, and a red and black (or black and white) shawl, thrown over his head and shoulders over a suit of gray clothes, and a pair of cavalry boots. I don't know if Dickinson ordered Bee to let the woman pass or not, only what I heard the morning of the capture. I believe Bee was on guard at the tent. I did not see Dickinson until after Davis was taken back to the tent and had taken off his disguise. Dickinson might have halted Davis, but not in my hearing; he certainly did not stop. He was about four rods from the tent when I first saw him. Bullard and I were changing horses, as we used to do sometimes when we found better ones. Bullard had just thrown his saddle on his horse. I was just buckling my girth when I saw the three women, as I supposed them to be, who afterward proved to be Davis, Mrs. Davis, and Miss Howell. I said to Bullard, “Those women ought not to be allowed to go out of camp; you go and stop them.” Bullard said, “You go; you have your saddle on.” I mounted my horse, rode around in front of the party, and said to them, “Where are you going?” Mrs. Davis said, “With my old mother after some water.” [Mrs. Davis had a pail on her arm.] I said, “What is she doing with those boots on? ” When I saw his boots I cocked my gun and laid it across my saddle. Mrs. Davis put her hand over Davis' face and said, “Don't shoot; you may not admire Mr. Davis' principles, but he is a reverend man.” That is all that was said there. As soon as Bullard buckled his saddle he rode up to where we were. He heard the most of this conversation. We went back to the tent with them. There Davis. took off his disguise and said he thought our government more magnanimous than to be chasing up women and children. This is as near right as I could see it at the time.
The following letter from Colonel Burns explains itself:
Kalamazoo, October 21st, 1877.My Dear General:--Inclosed you will find some further memoranda in regard to the Davis disguise question. On Friday evening Bee came to my house and made and signed the statement, a copy of which I inclose. He had received a letter from the editor of the Detroit Tribune on the same subject, requesting that he should put his recollections of the matter into shape and send to him. Bee is a Norwegian, of very little or no education, and his accent and “patois” are so strong that it is hard work to understand him. There was no shaking him in any of the statements he made, but he insisted that each one was literally true. He was very positive as to the exact words used by Dickinson. Dickinson's English, undoubtedly, was better than Bee's memory. They agree in substance with my memoranda of the circumstances, and go to show that Dickinson was deceived in supposing they were all women. As to the “morning gown” Mr. Davis had on, Bee says it was a long black gown, such as he has seen gentlemen wear in the South, with a belt on, and very long.