- Again in Baltimore. -- a warning. -- the spy is arrested, and Escapes.
After the return of Timothy Webster from Richmond and Manassas, I deemed it best that he should again visit Baltimore and mingle once more with his rebel friends in that city. Since the summary collapse of the Knights of Liberty the majority of them had been remarkably quiet, and no indications were apparent that they contemplated any further proceedings of a treasonable nature. It will be remembered that on the night that the secret meeting was disturbed, Webster managed in some unaccountable manner to escape, and that he had disappeared almost immediately afterwards. As no suspicion existed as yet of his having been concerned in the affair, and as his prolonged absence might give rise to doubts of his loyalty, I concluded that it was best for him to again show himself among his old associates, and account for his escape in a manner that would appear truthful and straightforward. He accordingly took the train, and after arriving in Baltimore, he went directly to Miller's Hotel. Here he found several of his friends, and their  greetings were most cordial and hearty. In a few moments others of the party had been notified, and came thronging in to welcome him and to congratulate him upon his escape and present safety. Eager inquiries were made as to the manner in which he had so successfully eluded the soldiers, and how he had spent the time since the occurrence of that event. In reply Webster gave a satisfactory and highly interesting account of his movements, all of which was heartily enjoyed by his listening friends. Gratified beyond expression at the pleasant condition of affairs, he became quite jolly, and the balance of the evening was spent in convivial and social enjoyment. On the following morning he started out in search of his old friend Sam Sloan, for whom he had a letter from his brother, who was in the rebel army, and stationed at Centreville. Having also a number of letters for other Baltimoreans, he desired to secure Sloan's services in their proper and safe delivery. Sam looked in astonishment as Webster blandly approached him, and after an effusive greeting he remarked earnestly:
Webster, you'll have to be mighty careful now, or you will be arrested yet. We are watched night and day — the least suspicious move we make is reported at once-and if repeated, the first thing the offender knows he finds himself in the guard-house.“ Well,” replied Webster, laughingly, “I'll have to take my chances with the rest of you.”  “I know your grit, Webster,” said Sloan, “but by all means be careful. I was arrested myself since you went away.” “The deuce you were!” ejaculated Webster. “How did that occur?” “ Well, I went over to Washington to transact a little business, and while there I met some of the boys, and we had a little ‘time.’ I don't know what I did, but when I started to come home, the Provost-Marshal arrested me, and I had to take the oath of allegiance before I could get away.” “You don't tell me that you took the oath, Sam?” “ Yes, I did,” laughed Sam. “I would take twenty oaths before I would be locked up;” and then he added: “I tell you, we are all spotted here in this city, and who is doing it we can't find out.” “What makes you think that?” inquired Webster, doubtfully. “Many things. Why, only the other day I was taken before Lieutenant Watts, who has charge of the station-house, and the questions he put to me about the gang, convinced me that he knew a great deal more than was good for us.” “ Did he ask anything about me?” queried Webster. “No,” replied Sam, “and if he had I wouldn't have told him anything, you may be sure.” “ I can readily believe that,” said the detective,  “but if it is so dangerous here, how am I going to deliver these letters?” “I can help you there,” said Sloan, after a moment's consideration; “John Earl, Richardson and I will see that they are delivered, and that will keep you from incurring suspicion.” “That will do,” said Webster, “and you can tell the people you see to write their answers at once, and inclose them in two envelopes, one directed to their friend, and the other to John Hart, at Miller's Hotel.” “I understand; but who is this John Hart you mention-can we trust him?” “ I think so,” replied the detective, laughing heartily; “his other name is Timothy Webster.” “By Jove, Webster, you're a good one; I begin to think myself that there isn't so much danger of your getting caught after all.” This being satisfactorily arranged, the two men started in search of John Earl and Richardson, who both agreed to assist in the delivery of the letters which Webster had brought with him from the South, They all went to the room occupied by the detective at the hotel, and after a friendly drink, the letters were properly assorted, and each man was given his particular portion. They were instructed to request answers from those only in whose friendship they could implicitly rely, and to take in person any that were prepared at the time. In the afternoon, Webster called on Mr. Camp  bell, the father of the young man who had accompanied him on his trip from Richmond to Manassas Junction. The old gentleman was rejoiced to hear from his son, and after a few minutes' conversation Webster discovered that he was quite as bitter a secessionist as any one he had met, although he was quite aged and not very active. He informed the detective that he had once made a very handsome horse-bit for General McClellan, and that he was now making one for General Johnston, which he would like Webster to take with him when he next went to Richmond, and deliver it to the General in person. “ Have everything ready,” said the detective, “and I will see that it reaches its destination in safety.” Returning to the hotel, he went in to supper, and after a hearty repast seated himself in the reading-room to await the return of his mail-carriers. While carelessly glancing over the columns of a daily paper, he was approached by a gentleman, who stepped in front of him, exclaiming heartily: “Why, Mr. Webster, how do you do? I am glad to see you; when did you get back to Baltimore?” Looking up hastily from his paper, Webster recognized the speaker as Mr. Price, the blockade runner whom he had met in Richmond, and with whom he had traveled some distance through the rebel country. Their greeting was most cordial, and the return of John Earl and Sam Sloan found the two men engaged  in animated conversation. From Price, Webster learned that a large amount of goods had been purchased by several wealthy gentlemen of Baltimore, who had adopted a very novel manner of transporting them into rebeldom, without danger from Federal pickets or gunboats. Their plan was to ship the goods upon a vessel bound for Europe and ostensibly the goods were intended for the same destination. In addition to this a small boat was purchased, which was to be taken in tow by the steamer. By an arrangement with the captain the vessel was to stand in as close as possible to the mouth of York river, when the small boat was to be brought alongside, then the goods were to be transferred to it, and the owners were to pull up the river to Yorktown, effect a safe landing, and the rest would be an easy task. Webster complimented his companion on the shrewdness displayed in this suggestion, and that evening he wrote to me, conveying full particulars of the proposed blockade-running. It is needless to say that this little plan, shrewd as it was, failed of execution. Men were at once placed upon the track of these merchants, and a more surprised coterie never existed than were these gentlemen, when their goods, carefully labeled for a foreign port, were seized by the government, and their conveyance to the South effectually stopped. An examination of the goods fully confirmed the correctness of Webster's information, and this venture, at  least, was a losing speculation to those who had engaged in it. After Mr. Price had taken his departure, John Earl called Webster aside, and informed him that a gentleman desired to send a draft for a large amount of money to Richmond, and that he had insisted on placing it in the hands of John Hart himself. “ Do you know this man, and that he is all right?” asked Webster. “ No,” replied Earl, “I know nothing about him except that he is vouched for by three parties who are true, and they say he is all right.” “I don't like this idea,” said Webster, doubtfully; “I guess you had better tell this man that you will deliver it safely for him, and then you can hand it to me.” “ I did suggest that, but he said his orders were to intrust it to no one but John Hart himself.” After considering for some time, Webster finally concluded to see the individual in person. He was satisfied that no harm could come to him if the man was a Federal detective, as, by application to the authorities or to me he could readily extricate himself from any difficulty, and if he was a rebel, he would incur no risk whatever. “ Very well,” he said, after he had fully deliberated the question, “you can bring him to my room and then we will see what is to be done. Meanwhile I will take a short walk and smoke a cigar.”  On his return he found John Earl awaiting him. “The gentleman is up-stairs in my room,” said Earl; “will you go up now and see him?” Webster signified his willingness, and the two men ascended the stairs. As they entered the room the stranger arose to greet them, and Webster scrutinized him carefully. The result of his scrutiny was decidedly unsatisfactory. The new-comer was a tall, well-formed man, of about forty years of age. His hair was dark, and he wore long side-whiskers of the same color. In appearance he was what would be ordinarily considered a handsome man, but there was a look of quiet curiosity about the eyes, and a peculiar curl about the mouth, which struck Webster very unpleasantly, and caused him to instinctively regret having accorded him the interview which he desired. “Mr. Hart,” said the stranger, pleasantly, after they had been formally introduced to each other, “I have a letter here, inclosing a draft, which I am desirous of having safely delivered to my sister-in-law in Richmond. You will find the address upon the envelope inside. Can you attend to this?” “ I guess so,” replied Webster. “I can try, at all events.” Webster could not overcome a feeling of unrest and suspicion, as he conversed with the man, and he felt considerably relieved when, after expressing his thanks, he took his departure.  The next morning Webster was astir early, and after partaking of a hearty breakfast, he thought he would pay another visit to Mr. Bowen. Leaving the hotel, he walked rapidly down the street in the direction of the old man's residence. He had not proceeded far when, on turning around, he noticed that his friend of the night before was walking upon the opposite side of the street, and but a short distance behind him. Finding that he was observed, the man crossed the street, and after bidding Webster a very cordial good-morning, said:
Mr. Hart, as we are walking in the same direction, if you have no objection, we will walk together.Webster assented, and for a short distance they journeyed along, indulging in a very constrained conversation. Webster felt assured that the man had been following him, and that his apparent friendliness was assumed. Desiring to rid himself of his unwelcome and uncomfortable companion, he was upon the point of expressing himself very forcibly, when he was startled by the stranger grasping him firmly by the arm, and ejaculating :
John Hart, you are my prisoner!Had a thunderbolt fallen at his feet he could not have been more surprised, but recovering himself quickly, he wrenched himself from the grasp of the man. “ What do you mean, sir?” he asked.  “ Just what I have said,” replied the other, coolly; “there is no occasion for any controversy upon the question, and as you are directly in front of the station-house, resistance would be worse than useless.” The cool manner in which these words were spoken exasperated Webster beyond control, but he saw that there were two soldiers standing guard in the doorway, and he realized at once that any attempt at escape would be foolhardy in the extreme. He therefore submitted quietly, and suffered himself to be led into the building, where an officer was seated at a table, examining the reports of the previous day. The recognition between the Lieutenant and Webster's captor appeared to be mutual, and, indeed, the presence of my operative did not seem to be an unlooked — for event. “Lieutenant, this is Mr. Hart,” said the stranger. “All right,” replied that officer, “we will take good care of him.” After a short consultation, held in a tone too low for Webster to hear, the stranger took his leave, and the officer turned to the detective:
Come with me, sir; your case will be attended to in the course of the-day.“ Lieutenant, I would like to speak to you a moment, now that we are alone,” said Webster, desirous of ending the matter, and of enabling the Lieutenant to ascertain his true character.  “I have no time to talk with rebels,” said the officer, shortly, and then calling to the turnkey, he directed him to place Webster in a cell. Deeply resenting the treatment of the officer, but feeling that opposition would only aggravate his annoyance, Webster followed the man, internally vowing vengeance against the fellow who had instigated his arrest. He was anxious to express himself forcibly to the officer in charge, but he considered that he would probably do the same thing under the same circumstances. The Lieutenant believed him to be a rebel, and as such his treatment was harsh and impolite, and after debating the matter in his mind he came to the conclusion that he was not much to blame after all. He was desirous, however, of communicating with some one who could intercede for him, and by that means secure his release, and he resolved to make friends with his jailer as the best possible way of obtaining what he wanted. Shortly after he had been incarcerated, he heard the voices of Sam Sloan and John Earl, who had been informed of his arrest and had come to see him. Their request was denied, however, and they expressed themselves in very loud tones against the injustice they were compelled to submit to. All to no avail, however, and they reluctantly took their leave. The turnkey coming along the corridor at this time, Webster called to him, and requested his attention for a few moments. The man was about  sixty years of age, and had a very benignant countenance, which Webster argued was a good omen for the work of propitiation which he had in hand. “ Will you tell the Lieutenant that I would like to speak with him,” asked Webster. “ It's no use,” said the old man, with a shake of the head; “the Lieutenant says he won't have anything to say to you, until your case is reported to headquarters this evening.” “ Well, then,” smiled Webster, “I suppose I will have to wait his pleasure; but can't a fellow get — a little whisky and cigar? I'll make it worth your while if you can help me in that particular.” The old man laughed, and said he would see what could be done, as Webster slipped a bill into his hand. He disappeared, and after about a half hour, he returned and slipped a small bundle through the grated door, admonishing Webster to be careful about exposing himself to the other prisoners within view. “ All right,” said Webster, “you keep the change, old man, for your trouble.” In the afternoon another officer, accompanied by four men, came to his cell, and requested his appearance at the office. Here he was carefully searched, and upon his person were found some letters addressed to himself; a pass from Col. Cramp, and about seventy dollars in money. They were about to take these from him, when Webster inquired:  “Who was the man who arrested me this morning?” “ His name is McPhail, and he belongs to the secret service,” was the reply. At the mention of the name, Webster started in surprise. He had heard of him as connected with my force, and knew that everything would soon be all right. “Well,” said Webster, “will you be kind enough to send for Mr. McPhail, and ask him to telegraph to Major Allen, and inquire if Tim is all right?” “ What Major Allen is that?” asked the officer. “Of the secret service,” replied Webster. “McPhail will know all about him; and you will learn that I am no rebel, in a very short time.” “ We will do what you request,” said the officer, “and if you are all right, we will be glad to find it out.” Thanking the officer for his kindness, Webster was conducted back to his cell to await developments. About ten o'clock that night, the officer again made his appearance. “John Hart, come here.” Webster presented himself before the iron grating of his cell. “Is your name John Hart?” “No, sir, my name is Timothy Webster.” “Well, my orders are for a man named Hart, who is to be taken to Fort McHenry.”  Something in the tone of the man's voice, and in the twinkle of his eye, told Webster that everything was understood, so he answered at once:
Very well, I am the man!“ Come with me, then.” They conducted him to the street, where he saw a covered wagon in waiting. They all got in and then in a loud voice the officer gave the order:
Drive direct to Fort McHenry pier!After they had started, the officer explained to Webster that it had been arranged, in order to prevent suspicion, that he should be allowed to jump from the wagon as it was driven along, and after a pretended pursuit, he would make his escape to his rebel friends with whom he should remain quietly for a few days, and then return to Washington and report to me. These directions he implicitly followed; and seizing a favorable opportunity, he leaped from the wagon and rapidly made his way in the direction of the city. Going directly to Sam Sloan's, he knocked loudly at the door. After a few minutes a window was raised and a voice inquired angrily:
Who are you, and what do you want?“ It is I-Webster-Sam, come down and open the door.” The window was shut, with an oath of joyful surprise, and in a twinkling, the door was opened, and  Sloan pulled Webster into the room, closing and locking the door behind him. “ Great G-d, Webster, how did you manage to get away from the Yanks?” “Let me get warm, and I'll tell you,” replied Webster, with a laugh. “ Come up stairs,” said Sloan heartily, “and we'll have something to drink.” After refreshing themselves, Webster related the manner of his escape, carefully concealing the action of the officer, and the fact that he had been peaceably permitted to leave the vehicle-and when he had concluded, Sloan's admiration was unbounded. Promising to secrete him until he could safely get away, they all went to bed, and slept soundly. Early the next morning Sloan left the house, and after an absence of an hour or two returned, bringing with him several of Webster's trusty friends, among whom was John Earl, who was decidedly crestfallen at the thought of having been instrumental in leading Webster into such danger by introducing the strange man to him, without learning more about his character for loyalty to the cause. They were all overjoyed at his escape, and spent the afternoon in a jollification over his safe return. The newspapers contained full particulars of the affair, and when they were brought before him Webster could not restrain his laughter at their contents, as he read: 
It was rumored yesterday that the man Webster, who was arrested, stopping at the hotel of Messrs. McGee, upon the charge of being concerned in the regular transportation of letters between Baltimore and the seceded States, had succeeded in making his escape. It is learned upon the best authority that during a late hour of the night he was removed from the western police station and placed in a carriage under the charge of a special detective officer. The wagon was driven towards Fort McHenry, he having been previously ordered to that post, but while the vehicle was in motion, and when within a short distance of their destination, he gave a sudden bound from his seat, and before the officer could seize him, he was beyond his grasp. It is not known which direction he took, but he will scarcely be able to escape from the city. He is a citizen of Kentucky, but left there in the early part of April, and since that time has been residing in Baltimore. The Baltimore American of November 22, 1861.In another paper he read:
We have learned from an entirely reliable source that Mr. Webster was arrested in endeavoring to procure replies to a number of letters which he had delivered from Marylanders now residing in Virginia to friends at home. A fact which, in view of the hazards of such an attempt, should content the unfortunate exiles from Maryland with the gratification of communication with their friends there and without  the reciprocal joy of hearing from the latter in return. We have reason to believe that Webster is beyond the reach of the Yankees. The Gazette of November 22, 1861.Remaining with his friends until after midnight on the second day, he made his way to the train, and at 4.30 in the morning started for Washington, where he arrived about seven o'clock, and reported at my headquarters. It may seem strange that Webster was arrested by one of my men, and that my intervention was necessary to effect his release, but a few words will serve as an explanation. McPhail, the operative who had caused Webster's arrest, had never seen that gentleman, and was entirely ignorant of his true character. Under such circumstances he very naturally was led to suspect him as a rebel spy, and to lay the trap for his capture. The delicate and important duties which had been assigned to Webster were such, that I deemed it advisable to inform but very few of my men of his immediate connection with me, hence the arrest, as far as McPhail was concerned, was a bona fide revelation of what he believed to be a dangerous crime. As it was, the arrest did no harm, but rather enabled Webster to cement more closely the bonds of friendship which existed between himself and those with whom he had previously associated.