previous next

Doc. 74.-the capture of the “French lady,” July 8, 1861.

Lieut. Thos. H. Carmichael, of the Middle District Police, and Mr. John Horner, of Baltimore, captured yesterday afternoon no less an important personage than Captain Thomas, of St. Mary's County, alias the “French lady,” whose exploit in seizing the steamer St. Nicholas a short time since, while in the Patuxent Piver, was so boastingly proclaimed by the Secession journals as a “brilliant exploit.” The particulars of the affair, as narrated by a passenger on board the steamer Mary Washington, were as follows: Lieutenant Carmichael, with Mr. Horner, left Baltimore on Sunday morning in a small sloop for Fair Haven, on Herring Bay, near the lower portion of Anne Arundel County, for the purpose of arresting a certain Neale Green, a noted barber doing business on Pratt street, near Frederick, who is charged with being a participant in the assault on the Massachusetts Regiment on the 19th of April, and with other offences. Owing to head winds the sloop did not reach the place of destination until about 7 o'clock yesterday morning. On landing, the officers proceeded to a house in the vicinity and arrested Green, who designed remaining there some time, but proposed sending his wife to this city by the steamer Mary Washington, which usually stops at Fair Haven.

The officers, with Green and his wife, took passage on the Mary Washington without any knowledge of those on board. Shortly after leaving, the Lieutenant entered into conversation with a number of passengers, and ascertained that Capt. Kirwan, with the engineer and another officer of the steamer St. Nicholas, as well as others who had been taken prisoners [256] when the steamer was seized by Thomas, the “French lady,” and his party, had been released by them and were returning to this city by the Mary Washington. The officers also ascertained that among the passengers on board were seven or eight of the captors, with Captain Thomas himself, who, doubtless exhilarated by the success attending their first achievement, were disposed to make another venture, probably on the steamer Columbia or some other steamer plying on the Maryland rivers.

As soon as satisfactory information on this point was obtained, and each one of the party recognized beyond doubt, Lieutenant Carmichael directed Captain Mason L. Weems, the commander of the Mary Washington, to proceed, on reaching this harbor, to land the passengers at Fort McHenry. The direction was given while the steamer was near Annapolis. Shortly after, while Lieutenant Carmichael and Mr. Horner were in the ladies' cabin they were approached by Thomas, who desired to know by what authority the order had been given for the steamer to touch at Fort McHenry. The Lieutenant informed him that it was through authority vested in him by Colonel Kenly, Provost-marshal of Baltimore. On hearing this Thomas drew his pistol, and calling his men around him, threatened to seize and throw Carmichael and Horner overboard. The latter drew their revolvers and defied the other party to proceed to execute their threats. The utmost confusion prevailed in the cabin for a short time, the female passengers running out screaming, but the other male passengers stood up with Carmichael and Horner, and compelled Thomas and his companions to remain quiet. Matters thus stood on the boat until the steamer approached the Fort wharf, when the Lieutenant went up and informed General Banks of his important capture.

The General instantly ordered out a company of infantry, who marched to the steamboat and secured all the accused excepting Thomas, for whom search was made for an hour and a half. He was then found concealed in the drawer of a bureau in the ladies' cabin, in the aft part of the boat. At first it was apprehended that Thomas would make a desperate resistance, but he disclaimed any such design, alleging that he was too weak to resist. He and the other prisoners were then marched to the fort and placed in confinement.

The witnesses, some ten or twelve in number, were also detained at the Fort during last night. Of the prisoners, Thomas was the only one who had any baggage, he having a small valise with a bundle, in which was contained a full uniform of a Zouave, including a cap, a number of letters and papers, among which was said to be a commission in the Confederate army. The names of those arrested with him could not be ascertained last evening.

Neale Green was brought up by Lieutenant Carmichael and taken to the Middle Police Station, where he was locked up for examination. He confesses that he left this city on account of having committed an assault on a soldier.

On the 4th of July certain suspected parties were seen examining the steamer Columbia, of the same line as the St. Nicholas, now lying idle at Fardy's ship-yard, near Federal Hill. They went aboard and inquired of Captain Harper what was her speed, how much coal was on board of her, and whether she could be chartered? On being told that she was not for charter, one of them, on leaving the boat, was heard to say that they “would have her anyhow.” The facts were immediately laid before Provost-marshal Kenly, who, suspecting it to be their intention to seize her quietly at night, get up steam and move out of the harbor, immediately ordered an armed guard on board, whilst part of her machinery was also removed by the officers. The return of Captain Thomas may have some connection with the movements of this party, or perhaps the seizure of the Mary Washington on her return trip.

Colonel Kenly received information on Saturday of the whereabouts of Neale Green, and immediately despatched Lieutenant Carmichael to arrest him. The expedition has proved a moss successful one, and reflects credit alike on Colonel Kenly and the efficiency and determination of Lieutenant Carmichael.

We learn from the passengers of the St. Nicholas that the schooner load of ice captured by the piratical expedition, and taken to Fredericksburg, sold for $4,000.--Baltimore American, July 9.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
L. Thomas (10)
Thomas H. Carmichael (9)
John Horner (5)
Neale Green (5)
Kenly (4)
Mason L. Weems (1)
Kirwan (1)
Harper (1)
Doc (1)
Nathaniel P. Banks (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July 8th, 1861 AD (1)
July 9th (1)
July 4th (1)
April 19th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: