. 15.--This morning it was rumored that the female prisoners confined in the Sixteenth-Street Prison were to be removed to the Old Capitol Prison
, where, in consequence of their rebellious proclivities, quarters have been prepared for them.
Accordingly, we visited Lieut. N. E. Sheldon
, a native of New-York
, and an officer of the Sturgess Rifles
, the body-guard of General McClellan
during his campaign in Western Virginia
, who, for some time past, has been detailed as the guard of these prisoners, and were admitted, after some delay, into his quarters.
It is well known that since the attempt made to rescue the prisoners at this house on the first of the year, the utmost vigilance has been displayed in the approach of visitors to this point.
And hence it was that when we applied for admission at the quarters of Lieut. Sheldon
, we were obliged to halt
for a few moments, until our character and the object of our visit were ascertained.
The call for the corporal was made by the guard, and our communication subsequently conveyed to the Lieutenant
, by whom, as we have said before, we were admitted.
As we entered the building we must confess that the emotions of our mind were sad rather than otherwise.
We were perfectly cognizant of the fact that, instead of approaching the place of confinement of those who were the male enemies of the Government
, we were being admitted to the presence of the female
enemies of the law and the Constitution
; and thus it was that our feelings were of the nature that we have described.
That woman should, in the hour of our struggle, desert us, and side with our enemies, was more than we expected.
And when the first traitoress was arrested in this city and confined in the Sixteenth-Street Prison, we not only pitied, but in the longings of our hearts forgave her the offence that she had committed.
Such has been the history of the war, however, that not only men have been convicted of the charge arraigned against them, but women have also been as instrumental in interfering with the plans of our warfare, by giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and aiding them to escape the judgment that would have been visited upon them by the Government
When we visited the establishment referred to, we were admitted to the parlor of the house, formerly occupied by Mrs. Greenhow
, fronting on Sixteenth street. Passing through the door on the left, and
we stood in the apartment alluded to. There were others who had stood here before us — we have no doubt of that — men and women of intelligence and refinement.
There was a bright fire glowing on the hearth, and a tete-à--tete
was drawn up in front.
The two parlors were divided by a red gauze, and in the back room stood a handsome rosewood piano, with pearl keys, upon which the prisoner of the house, Mrs.
G., and her friends, had often performed.
The walls of the room were hung with portraits of friends and others — some on earth and some in heaven--one of them representing a former daughter of Mrs. Greenhow
, a girl of seventeen or eighteen summers, with auburn hair and light-blue eyes, who died some time since.
In the picture a smile of beauty plays around the lips, and the eyes are lighted with a strange fancy — such as is often seen in the eyes of a girl just budding into womanhood.
On the east wall hangs the picture of Mrs. Fanny Moore
, whose husband is now in our army, while the walls of the back room are adorned with different pictures of the men and women of our time.
Just now, as we are examining pictures, there is a noise heard overhead — hardly a noise, for it is the voice of a child, soft and musical.
“That is Rose Greenhow
, the daughter of Mrs. Greenhow
, playing with the guard,” says the Lieutenant
, who has noticed our distractment.
“It is a strange sound here: you don't often hear it, for it is generally very quiet.”
And the handsome face of the Lieutenant
is relaxed into a shade of sadness.
There are prisoners above there — no doubt of that — and may be the tones of this young child have dropped like the rains of spring upon the leaves of the drooping flowers!
A moment more, and all is quiet, and, save the stepping of the guard above, there is nothing heard.
The Sixteenth-Street Jail has been an object of considerable interest for months past, to citizens as well as visitors.
Before the windows of the upper stories were “blinded,” the prisoners often appeared at these points, and were viewed by pedestrians on the other side of the way; but since the “cake affair” of New-Year's Day the prisoners have been forbidden to appear at the windows, and the excitement, instead of being allayed, has been still further increased.
The first person incarcerated at the prison was Mrs. Rose O. H. Greenhow
, as she signs herself.
She was arrested on the eleventh of August of the last year, and has been confined in the prison ever since.
Her husband was formerly employed in the State Department in this city.
She is a woman of letters, and was born in the South
, although brought up in Washington
She is confined in her own house, in one of the upper stories, and has the attendance of a servant, beside the company of her own daughter, an interesting child of some twelve years. Beside these confined here were Mrs. Phillips
, her sister, Mrs. Levy
, and her two daughters, Misses Fannie and Lena
is a Jewess, and her husband married her at Savannah, Ga. Mrs. Levy
was a widow, and her husband, who was formerly in the army, died.
Her two daughters are finely educated.
These latter were, after being confined six weeks, sent to Fortress Monroe
Next in turn comes Mrs. Betty A. Hassler
, who was born and reared in Washington
She possessed the least education of any woman ever confined in this prison.
Her husband is a Southern man. She is fascinating in appearance, but has not much decision of character.
She was released on parole by order of the Secretary of War
, the mother of the assassin of Ellsworth
, has also been confined at this point.
She came here with nothing but a flannel gown on, and wearing slave shoes.
She was incarcerated but two days and nights.
She has now gone South, to Richmond
, where she has been endeavoring, with but little success, to obtain funds for the support of her family.
It is rumored that she is not able to collect enough funds to support her from day to day.
Miss Lilly Mackle
, a daughter of Mackle
, a clerk in one of the departments, and belonging to one of the most respectable families of Washington
, was also confined here for two months.
Mrs. M. A. Onderdonk
, who sometimes represents herself to be a widow and sometimes a wife, was arrested in Chicago
some months since, and after being confined here six weeks, was released on parole.
Forty dollars were given her to pay her expenses back to Chicago
, but instead of going there, she went to New-York
She was last heard of at St. Louis
An English lady, Mrs. Elena Lowe
, who was arrested at Boston
, and whose son was with her, having come with a commission in the rebel army, has also been confined in this institution.
The son was afterward sent to Fort Warren
, and she returned to England
Beside the above, there were some eight or ten persons arrested at Alexandria
and in this city, whose names are not remembered, and who, after being confined at this prison, were shortly afterwards liberated on taking the oath of allegiance.
Miss Ellie M. Poole
, alias Stewart
, was arrested an brought to the prison on the 11th of August, 1861 She came from Wheeling
, where, after having been confined for some time in the prison there, she made her escape by tying the sheets together and letting herself down from the prison window.
She has been in communication with the rebel leaders in Kentucky
, advising them to make certain changes in their plan of operations.
When arrested the second time, within ten miles of the enemy's lines in Kentucky
, $7500 of unexpended money, furnished by the rebels, was found upon her person.
She has been a correspondent of the Richmond Enquirer
and the Baltimore Exchange
. Miss Poole
is yet in confinement in the Sixteenth-Street Jail.
Among the number yet confined here is Mrs. Baxley
, formerly a resident of Baltimore
She was arrested on the 23d of December.
She had just come from Richmond
, and had been in conversation with Jeff. Davis
, from whom she had obtained a commission in the rebel army for her lover, Dr. Brown
She is, as she represents herself, a very “explosive” woman, and it was from this fact that her arrest took place on board the boat, while approaching Baltimore
This woman has refused to sleep under a blanket marked “U. S.”
ever since her confinement here.
The above is a hurried sketch of the prisoners liberated and now confined in the Sixteenth-Street Jail.
Their quarters are of the most comfortable character, and under the care of Lieutenant Sheldon
, they are furnished with everything that, saving their “Secesh” principle, can make them happy.
The report that the cake sent to Mrs. Greenhow
on New-Year's came from Mrs. Douglas
, to whom Mrs.
G. sustains the relationship of aunt, is a mistake.
cake was sent by a party well known to the Government
, upon whom a strict watch is kept.
To-day the three last-named persons will probably be sent to the jail on old Capitol Hill
— an escort of the Sturgess Rifles
, under command of Lieutenant Sheldon
, being prepared to accompany them.
There was the same patter of nimble feet overhead when we left the prison.
At the windows, from the outside, we saw the face of Mrs. Greenhow
, standing within the room above.
Our voices had been heard in the room beneath, we know, and even the musical tones of the piano, that had been performed upon during our presence.
There may have been a memory of other days recalled by these signs of festivity, and the hearts of some above may have beat with a quicker pulsation at the thought of the circumstances that now surrounded them.
Who knows but what then and there there were heart-strings that were almost snapped asunder, and that there were consciences that sunk beneath the weight of ignominy imposed upon them?