went about his work systematically and skilfully.
He established himself at Sandusky
under the guise of a wealthy oil speculator of Titusville, Pa.
, and organized the Mount Hope Oil Company
. Judge Filmore
, of Buffalo
, being elected president, and Cole
The day the Major
reported to Jake Thompson
he received $60,000 in gold, part of which was deposited in a bank at Sandusky
, to Cole
Accounts were also kept in Philadelphia
& Co., in the name of John Bell
, and at Belmont, N. Y.
The Confederacy had ample means in its secret service, one authority placing the amount at $86,000,000.
With such comfortable bank accounts to his credit, Major Cole
at once took rank as a substantial business man. He became noted for his good dinners, his fine brands of cigars, and the excellent quality of his wines.
He assiduously courted the friendship of the officers of the man-of-war Michigan
. In Sandusky
he was known as a jolly good fellow.
He managed to have two Confederates enlisted as seamen on board the Michigan
, and ten were enlisted as soldiers and stationed for duty on Johnson's Island
By this means he kept thoroughly posted as to what was going on inside the lines of the enemy's stronghold.
Associated with Cole
was John Yates Beall
, a native of West Virginia
, and a college-bred man. When the war broke out Beall
was the owner of a large plantation in Jefferson county, W. Va.
, and was estimated to be worth nearly $2,000,000. He organized Company G, Second West Virginia Infantry, which was afterwards a part of the ‘Stonewall Brigade.’
was a man of unquestioned bravery.
Another character who played an important part was Annie Davis
, an English woman, who acted as a messenger between Cole
and Jake Thompson
On the morning of September 19, Cole
had his plans for striking the final blow all complete.
He left Detroit
, where he had arranged to dine with the officers of the Michigan
on board the ship that evening.
The wine was to be drugged, and Beall
, at a given signal, was to attack the man-of-war from a steamer which was to be seized that same day. Just before he left Detroit
, Major Cole
sent the following telegram to Major Hinds
' assistant, Charlie Walsh
, of Chicago