[It is well to give place in our records to the following clear and conclusive refutation of a canard which has been recently taking the rounds of the newspapers.
General Early's letter was originally addressed to the Lynchburg Virginian.]
To the Editor of the Virginian,--During my absence in the South, what purports to be “A story of the war,” was published in your paper of the 17th inst., and it met my eye for the first time on yesterday.
I am informed that it was copied from the Philadelphia Press, and it begins as follows:
The history of a conspiracy that failed.
“Colonel T. A. Burr, a well known Confederate officer, tells the story of an attempt to release 20,000 Confederate prisoners at Chicago, Columbus and Sandusky in 1864, and to form a northwestern confederacy.
Major C. H. Cole, of the Fifth Tennessee regiment, was the leading spirit of the plot.
He narrowly escaped hanging, and is now a prominent railroad man in Texas.
He received his instructions from Jacob Thompson, who was then in Canada, and was put in command of the department of Ohio, with headquarters at Sandusky.
With the force of the 20,000 Rebels whom the conspirators intended to release, and with the active aid of the Northern sympathizers, it was thought that a northwestern confederacy was not impossible; and the time fixed for the assault on the camps where the prisoners were confined was gauged by General Early's attack on Washington, which was to engage the great force of our army, and make it impossible to reinforce the small body of Union soldiers in the Northwest, where there was almost open rebellion against conscription, and people were weary of war. It was first intended to strike the blow while the National Democratic Convention was in session at Chicago, and more than 4,000 Confederate soldiers and sympathizers were there ready for action.
But, Early's delay in striking Washington caused a postponement.”
Then follow some very remarkable statements about the efforts of Major Cole to carry out the projected scheme.
As this story is re-published in a paper printed at the place of my residence, and to which I am a regular subscriber, silence on my part
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