Adventure of Commissary Patton
.--On Sunday night, the 21st of April, Commissary Patton
, of the New York Seventh Regiment, with important despatches from Lieut.-Gen. Scott
to Brigadier-General Butler
, left Washington
in company with Major Welsh
, Col. Lander
, and Mr. Van Valkenburgh
They took separate seats in the cars, and held no communication with each other.
They arrived safely at the Junction
, but had no sooner stepped upon the platform, than some merchant, with whom Mr. Patton
had done business, stepped up and said, “Hallo, Patton
, what are you, a National Guard, doing here?”
endeavored to silence him, but not until too late, as a spy, who had followed the party, overheard the salutation.
walked over the fields to the Annapolis
train, but, being unable to ascertain when the train would leave, he went to the hotel, in front of which a militia company was drilling.
In a few moments thereafter, he saw, to his astonishment, the train start off without a passenger on board.
While smoking a cigar upon the stoop, a lawyer of the place took him by the arm, and asked him what his business was, at the same time telling him that he was suspected of being a spy. Mr. Patton
replied boldly, “I am no spy, sir, but a messenger from the War Department at Washington
to the troops at Annapolis
The lawyer then gave a signal, upon which the militia company marched over to the House
The captain of the company also demanded to know his business, when he replied as before, and further said: “I will not be taken prisoner by any civilian.
I am not aware that this State has seceded; and if you arrest me, I demand that you hold me as a prisoner of war, for I am a Government officer.”
He further told the captain that he had better be cautious, and set forth the responsibility of such an act. This set the doughty captain to thinking, and he went off to consult with his comrades.
At the termination of the council, the captain told Mr. Patton
that he must go back to Washington
, and that they would send him in a wagon.
To this he assented in apparent good faith, and said be would walk along the road until the wagon was ready.
A short distance from the village he stopped to chat with some people at a farm-house, and was agreeably surprised to find that they were related to one of the captains of his regiment.
Soon the wagon came up, and conveyed him to the outposts at Washington
, where he alighted, but the vehicle was scarcely out of sight before he
“faced about” and started again for Annapolis
Falling in with a countryman, he offered the man $1 for a lift, which was accepted.
Being worn out with fatigue, he fell asleep in the bottom of the wagon, and thus reposed until the man arrived at his destination.
Starting onward again, he overtook a boy plodding along, and after some conversation engaged him as a pilot.
Thus they kept on until reaching the main road, when a drunken fellow, armed to the teeth, ordered Mr. Patton
to “hold on.”
said his name was “Moore
,” and that he was going to Annapolis
to collect some money which was owing him; but the fellow came to the conclusion that he was a “d----d Yankee spy,” and must return to the tavern near by. Here were several other rebels armed to the teeth, and very drunk.
They took Mr. Patton
inside, and held a “Court martial,” but were diversified in their decision as to how they should dispose of him. Some wanted to shoot him, others to hang him, and others to lock him up. Meantime drinks were called for, in which all joined.
It was finally decided to hang the “God damned spy,” and Mr. Patton
was marched out to the yard, where he saw a rope dangling from the limb of a tree.
Pending the preparations for the “execution of the spy,” a gentleman on horseback came up, and, ordering the men to fall back, took Mr. Patton
one side, at the same time saying, “I know you, sir; you belong to the National Guard, and I drank with you in Baltimore
Some further conversation ensued, when the gentleman, who represented himself as the commander of that district, said he would release him if he, Mr.
P., would pledge his word and honor to return to Washington
This pledge he readily gave, glad to escape from the hands of a drunken rabble, and forthwith took the road for Washington
About a mile away from this scene, he met his boy, who had watched the proceedings from a distance, and paying him handsomely, discharged him. After several stoppages upon the road by the rebel patrols, he arrived in Washington
, and made report to Gen. Scott
Here be found his companions, who had also been arrested, and sent back.
Determining to start again for Annapolis
, he disguised himself completely, and in company with a friend, who had a fast team, set out on the journey--in search of a stolen horse
. Every person whom they met upon the road was asked about a “stray horse,” but no one had seen the animal.
This ruse took well, and they got along without much interruption.
Reaching a tavern at night, they took supper, and apparently went to bed. Mr. Patton
, however, slipped out of the back door, and started off on foot.
Presently he came to a piece of woods, but had not proceeded far before he heard the tramp of horses and the voices of men. He had barely time to conceal himself in a heap of underbrush, before they came up and halted near him. From their conversation he learned that the Seventh Regiment had moved toward Washington
— a fact which he was most desirous of knowing.
The horsemen directly moved away after hunting about the woods, when Mr.
P. left his retreat, and safely reached his hotel again, where he overheard a conversation relative to the destruction of a bridge, over which the train containing the Seventh had to pass.
The nuts had been taken off the bolts in the bridge, and had the train passed over it, all on board would have been killed.
P. and his companions again got under way, and taking measures to prevent such a calamity, returned to Washington
Mr. Patton drove eighty miles, and walked thirty miles within thirty hours, in order to accomplish all this.--Cor.
N. Y. Tribune, May 4