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Doc. 28.-how Smuggling was carried on.

Report of Captain Dunham.

headquarters Defences of Washington.
Sir: Agreeably to instructions received from Captain Richard B. Irwin, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General [246] to Major-General Banks, to visit the lower part of Maryland as far as Leonardtown, St. Mary's county, and arrest all parties suspected of smuggling articles into Virginia, or of selling goods to individuals who purposed conveying them across the Potomac, also to examine the post-offices at the many villages in that section of country, I have the honor to report that I started on November first, 1862, on the above expedition, accompanied by a squadron of the First Ohio cavalry, numbering seventy men, commanded by Captain N. D. Menken; reached the village of Piscataway at three P. M.; found nothing here to excite my suspicions, but I learned from the inhabitants that a large contraband trade was carried on in the neighborhood of Pamunkey Landing, some ten miles below Piscataway, and that drafted men and men belonging to the rebel army (the former to avoid serving, and the latter to visit their families in Maryland) were constantly crossing the Potomac at night, frequently in squads of ten to twenty.

Immediately upon receipt of this information I started for Pamunkey Landing, which is situated on the Potomac River, near the mouth of Pamunkey River. Upon arriving within a mile and a half of the river, I ordered fifty men to dismount, and marched them down to a place called Fishtown, situated upon the Potomac. Left Lieutenant Hartwell, Eleventh infantry, of General Banks's staff, at this point, with a portion of the force, and took the remainder down the river about two miles, stationing men at various intermediate points. Remained here several hours, but accomplished nothing. At two P. M. collected the men and started for camp.

About two miles from the river met a wagon containing six men. Two remained in the wagon and four attempted to escape into the woods, two of whom were recaptured. They acknowledged that they were bound for Richmond, and were returning from an unsuccessful attempt to cross the river. They were all armed but one, and two of the party belonged to the rebel army. Their names were as follows: Theodore Dent, J. R. Bateman, J. I. Turner, B. Montgomery. Next day sent them under guard to Washington, accompanied by a Dr. Hardie, whom I arrested upon suspicion of harboring these men previous to crossing. They are all now comfortably situated at the Capitol Prison. Arrived at Port Tobacco the evening of the second, where we encamped for the night. Discovered nothing at this place of a suspicious character.

The morning of the third visited Captain Kenyon, commanding squadron of Scott's Legion, at Chapel Point, about four miles below Port Tobacco. His whole force is stationed at this point, and he sends out parties into the surrounding country only upon receiving information that something of a treasonable nature is going on. He had lately made several captures of contraband goods, also some prisoners. Reached the village of Chaptico the same day about eleven P. M., and arrested a Mr. C. C. Spaulding, merchant, who for some time has been engaged in violating the blockade. Found in his money drawer letters implicating him. Also found in his storehouse several boxes mysteriously directed in large letters to “O. K.,” of which he could give no account whatever.

At two A. M., of the fourth instant, started for Leonardtown, fourteen miles distant. On the way searched the house of a Mr. Maddox, situate on the banks of the Wicomico River. Discovered nothing. Reached Leonardtown about daylight, and arrested a Mr. E. Lee Spaulding, brother to C. C. Spaulding. Found in his safe nineteen hundred dollars in Southern money, taken in payment for bill of goods sold to a party of whom he knew nothing, not even so far as his name. He had made no entry of this, nor of many similar sales, upon the book, and gave the man no receipt. He had packed the goods in small bundles, at the request of the purchaser. The only account of the sale he could produce was a bill without name or date.

Left Leonardtown afternoon of same day, with Mr. E. L. Spaulding, and reached Chaptico at seven P. M., where we encamped for the night. Left Chaptico on the fifth with Mr. C. C. Spaulding and E. Lee Spaulding, in arrest; arrived at Pamunkey Landing at seven P. M., where we were rejoined by Lieutenant Hartwell, whom I had sent back from Newport on the afternoon of the third, in command of twenty men, with orders to make a more thorough search of the neighborhood of Pamunkey; also to arrest certain individuals suspected of entertaining parties who belonged to the opposite shore. I released them, however, because of insufficient proof against them. Left Pamunkey the sixth instant, at eight A. M., and arrived in Washington at three P. M.

The cases of Mr. C. C. Spaulding and Mr. E. Lee Spaulding were investigated by General Wadsworth. The former was pronounced guilty of having violated the blockade, fined three hundred dollars, and released; the latter was pronounced innocent. Mr. C. C. Spaulding paid the fine with great willingness, and, I have no doubt, considers it but a small percentage upon the thousands he has amassed in this illegal traffic. This contraband trade can be followed with impunity anywhere between about four miles below Fort Washington to the mouth of the Potomac. The blockade cannot be effectual, for thousands of dollars worth of goods are monthly smuggled into Virginia. I would respectfully suggest--

1. That the force stationed at Chapel Point, on the Potomac, numbering sixty men, be increased to several hundred, as the number now there is wholly inadequate to the amount of labor to be performed.

2. That this force be so disposed as to patrol the country and river shore daily, from Fort Washington to the river mouth.

3. That the commanding officer be required to forward weekly reports of captures, &c., to the Military Governor of the District of Columbia.

4. That all boats found upon the river, not in government service, be seized by the commanding [247] officer, and used only for such purposes as he may deem proper.

5. That the post offices be inspected frequently; for, although I found nothing treasonable about them in my investigation, still I have no doubt that much illegal matter passes through them.

From the information I could glean from various sources I am convinced that almost every merchant in those lower counties has, to some extent, either been directly smuggling goods into Virginia, or has sold to irresponsible parties.

In conclusion, I desire to express my indebtedness to Lieutenant C. Hartwell, of General Banks's staff, for many valuable suggestions during this expedition, as also to Captain Menken, commanding squadron First Ohio cavalry, for his promptness in the execution of orders. Two days of the six we travelled fifty miles a day, because of my anxiety to surprise certain parties. Notwithstanding this, not a complaint was heard from a single man. The material of this squadron is excellent.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

Your most obedient servant,

Robert T. Dunham, Captain and A. D. C. To C. Mckeever, Lieutenant Colonel and A. A. G.

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