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[288] your despatch came, they owned up as being a rebel Colonel and Lieutenant in the rebel army. Colonel Auton by name, but in fact Williams, was once on General Scott's staff, and belonged to the Second cavalry of the regular army. Their ruse was nearly successful on me, as I did not know the handwriting of any commanding officer. I am much indebted to Colonel Watkins, Sixth Kentucky cavalry, for their detection, and to Lieutenant Wharton, of General Granger's staff, for the detection of the forgery of the papers. As these men don't deny their guilt, what shall I do with them? I communicate with you because I can get an answer sooner than by signal, but I will keep General Granger posted. I will telegraph you in a short time, as we are trying to find out, and believe there is an attack contemplated in the morning. If Watkins can get any thing out of Auton I will let you know. I am, General, your obedient servant,

J. P. Baird, Colonel Commanding.

Upon the receipt of this, General Garfield sent an order to Colonel Baird to take the confessions of the two men in writing and then to hang them forthwith.

No. 6.

Franklin, June 9, 8.25 A. M.
To General Garfield, Chief of Staff:
Colonel Watkins says that Colonel Williams is a first cousin of General Robert Lee, and he has been Chief of Artillery on Bragg's staff. We are consulting. Must I hang him? If you can direct me to send him to be hung somewhere else I would like it; but if not, or I do not hear from you, they will be executed. This despatch is written at the request of Colonel Watkins, who detained the prisoners. We are prepared for a fight.

J. P. Baird, Colonel Commanding.

The confession of the men having placed their guilt beyond doubt, this delay appears to have somewhat fretted General Rosecrans, who appears, from the date of his next despatch, to be losing sleep over the matter. General Garfield having also retired, the next despatch is signed by Major Bond, the senior Aid-de-Camp of General Rosecrans, a most discreet and careful gentleman. The despatch is as follows, and is an important one in the official history of this most important case. Does it not sound like the style of one Israel Putnam? It is certainly positive enough, even for Colonel Baird, who had no disposition to do the hanging:

No. 7.

headquarters Department of the Cumberland, Murfreesbboro, June 9, 4.40 A. M.
Colonel J. P. Baird, Franklin:
The General Commanding directs that the two spies, if found guilty, be hung at once, thus placing it beyond the possibility of Forrest's profiting by the information they have gained.

Frank S. Bond, Major and A. D. C.

Upon being informed that they were to be hung, the two men protested against it, asserting that they were not spies in the ordinary sense of the term. This was in despite of the fact that they were found in our lines, in our uniform, and bearing forged papers, purporting to be signed by Assistant Adjutant-General E. D. Townsend and Major-General Rosecrans. They did not explain upon what grounds they made the plea of not being spies under these circumstances. It is to be regretted that they did not, as it might have explained their reasons for coming into our lines. No such unimportant matter as a proposed attack on Franklin could have induced two officers of their rank and character to undertake so hazardous an enterprise.

Upon finding themselves about to be executed, Williams or Auton made the. following request, which was transmitted by telegraph to General Rosecrans:

No. 8.

“Will you have any clemency for the son of Captain Williams, who fell at Monterey, Mexico? As my dying speech, I protest our innocence as spies.” (What follows is rather inexplicable. The document appears to be signed “Lawrence W. Auton, formerly L. Auton Williams.” )1 Williams then adds: “I send this as a dying request.” Colonel Baird concludes the despatch:

The men are condemned and we are preparing for their execution. They prefer to be shot. If you can answer before I get ready, do.

J. P. Baird, Colonel Commanding Post.

No. 9.

Franklin, June 9, 10.30 A. M.
To General Garfield, Chief of Staff:
The men have been tried, found guilty, and executed, in compliance with your order.

I am ever yours, J. P. Baird, Colonel Commanding Post.

Doc. 62.-fight at Brandy Station, Va.

The doings of the First Maryland cavalry.

cavalry camp, near Rappahannock Station, Va., June 10, 1863.
yesterday introduced and ended the most terrific and desperate cavalry fight that ever occurred on this continent — a fight which commenced at sunrise and closed at the setting of the same.

We had learned that Stuart, with a heavy force of cavalry and artillery, was encamped at Brandy Station. It was determined to give him fight for two reasons: to find out the whereabouts of the enemy, and to disturb his plan of a contemplated raid into Pennsylvania. Our success was complete.


to the Editor of the New-York herald.
Tuesday, June 16, 1863.
I notice in the issue of the Herald of this date that the rebel spy “Williams,” who was hanged, is stated to be Lawrence A. Williams by your Murfreesboro correspondent, the military his. tory of L. A. W. being given editorially.

This is an error; and would it not be well to correct it? The spy was W. Orton Williams, formerly of the Second United States cavalry, who resigned his commission of first lieutenant on the tenth of June, 1861.

Lawrence A. Williams (a graduate of West-Point, which W. O. Williams was not) is now a resident of this city, and has not been South during the war, except as an officer of our army.

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