The Yankee army Police System--Gen. Morgan's plans Betrayed.Among the new institutions characteristic of that nation which has been introduced by the Yankees is an "Army Detective System." The Cincinnati Commercial contains a detailed and circumstantial account of a successful attempt by a Kentucky traitor to install himself as a spy for Gen. Morgan in February last, while he was the chosen instrument of the Federal detectives, under the notorious Truesdale. The party now assumes the name of Johnson; but Morgan and his officers at least know his real name. The treachery was entirely successful, and the spy both carried and brought letters for Morgan and his family, which letters were duly read at Nashville by the detectives before they were delivered; and thus, and in other ways, Morgan's plans were communicated to the foe. This revelation should furnish a warning to our officers not to take any but the most tried and faithful men into their confidence. In this instance, the spy saved Nashville when it was weak by false reports to Morgan of its strength; caused the capture of Capt. Chariton Morgan at Lexington; exposed Gen. M.'s plans, and possibly led to the later disasters which befell his command. The following is the spy's narrative, un blushingly furnished by himself:
Nashville, Feb. 8, 1863.I am a personal acquaintance of Gen. John H. Morgan; he is acquainted with my family in--,Kentucky. I saw him at Lexington. I met him with about one hundred men about three miles from Stewart's Ferry, on the Wilson Pike, on Tuesday, one week ago. He was pleased to see me, and after due conversation I agreed to scout for him. We left and went to near Lebanon that night, next day to Liberty, and the next day (Thursday) to McMinnville, where I stayed four days, when I came to Liberty on Tuesday, where I was arrested by some of Morgan's men and taken to Woodbury, where I was released by Col. Clark, and then went to Readyville. From there I went to Gen. Crittenden's headquarters, and thence to Gen Rosecrans's headquarters, and there I was ordered to report to Col. Truesdale, at Nashville. My Instruction from Gen. Morgan was to go to Nashville, deliver letters to his (Morgan's) friends in Nashville, and then to learn whether there were any commissary stores at the Chattanooga and Nashville depot; to see Mrs. Hagy, and if she knows of such commissary stores, and also ascertain where the commissary stores in Nashville are, particularly, and how all the steamers lie in the river, how many gunboats, and how they lie in the river. For this information, promptly delivered, he would give me five hundred dollars in greenbacks. He very pointedly charged me to beware of Truesdale's detective police, &c. I saw Mrs. Hagy to night, after advising with Mrs. Cheatham, who advised me to put on a United States uniform, which I got of Col. Truesdale, and went and saw Mrs. Hagy and others, and to visit all parts of the city to obtain the information the General directed. A shoemaker--first house on the left-hand side of Church street after you leave the penitentiary — is making boots for me with false bottoms, for carrying dispatches. I have nor his name; it begins with H.
Truesdale, whom the Yankees denounce as an infamous swindler and scoundrel, takes the matter in hand:
Note from Chief of Police to Gen. Rosecrans.General: I have sent Johnson back with information not very inviting to Gen. Morgan; yet I am of opinion the latter will make a raid upon some point in your command within ten days. He has a chain of scouts this morning extending from Stone's river perhaps into the city, all the way through to Lebanon, Greenville, Smithville, and McMinnville, his general headquarters. One hundred of his men were at Stone's river last night, I am informed.
Chief of Army Police.
Chief of Army Police.
The spy Johnson was sent back to Morgan with proper instructions, made his trip successfully, returned and reported as follows: I left Nashville February 9, and stayed at Stewart's Ferry that night; next morning went four miles beyond Beard's Mill; next day went five miles beyond Liberty. On the 12th went to McMinnville, to Gen. Morgan's headquarters. When I went into his office the General was not there, but his brother, Charlton Morgan, was in. He said to me, "Is it possible that you have got through." He then called one of the boys and sent word to the General that a man wanted to see him on important business. The General came over, and as he came in said to me: "Mr.--,I am very glad to see you." He then turned to his brother and said: ‘"I told you he would go through, Chariton. I am hardly ever deceived in a man."’ I told him I had some things for his wife from Mrs. Dr. Cheatham. He then invited me over to Dr. Armstrong's, where he was boarding. We went in and he introduced me to his lady, saying, ‘"Here, my dear, is the gentleman I told you of; he is just from Nashville."’--She asked me to be seated, and the General then asked me for information about Nashville. I told him that they were receiving heavy reinforcements there — that there were fifty-seven transports lying at the leves, loaded with troops and provisions.--He asked me if they had not been burned yet. I told him they had not. He says, ‘"Well, they will be."’ He asked me when I would be ready to go to Nashville again; and I told him that I was ready at any time. He asked me if I did not want some money; I told him I did, and he gave me one hundred dollars--part in Confederate, and part in greenbacks and Tennessee money. He then said be wanted me to leave on Sunday or Monday for Nashville. On Monday I started for McMinnville. He told me to find out how many-troops there were here, where they were going to, and how many transports there were here and their location.--Also, how many gunboats there were here, and whether they lay above or below the railroad bridge. He said for me to get all the information I could of the movements, location and number of the army. Monday night I stayed at Mr. Bradford's, five miles the other side of Liberty; next night stayed at widow Buchan's, five miles beyond Lebanon; next stayed two miles this side of Green Hill; and the next day, (Thursday,) came to Nashville. While I was in the General's office at McMinnville, Colonel Clerk, commanding Duke's brigade, came in and asked the General if the troops could be paid off before going into Kentucky. Morgan said they could be paid. He asked the Colonel if he wanted any money. The Colonel said yes, that he wanted commutation for fifty days. In marching they do not issue rations. Heard Major Steel say that the command would be at Sparts in the morning.--Learned from officers at McMinnville that there were near 25,000 troops at Tullabours, that they were fortifying there, and at Manchester and Shelbyville, and that Breckinridge was at Manchester. While at McMinnville I saw the telegraph operator, who invited me to his office. He was just sending to Bragg the news I had brought. While in his office he received a dispatch from either Richmond or Charleston, saying that France had interfered, and that commissioners were to meet in Central Mexico.
Then follows, in the original, a letter from Mrs. Gen. Morgan to her sister, and other letters, and the spy proceeds with his statement: Not only were the ladies thus wickedly deceived by "our man," but Gen. John Morgan was so completely sold by this — his own — spy that we suppose he has had his ears measured repeatedly of late to ascertain their increased length. The following facts will show how Morgan's brother lost his liberty, and "our man" came within view of a halter. Coming into Nashville on his second trip, he brought a letter from Capt. Clarence Morgan, the General's brother, addressed to their mother in Kentucky, to be mailed at Nashville. This letter advised the mother that its writer would be at Lexington, Ky., upon a certain day, and desired her to meet him there. This letter contained the following note from the devoted Chariton Morgan to his lady love, as it would seem:
"McMinnville, Feb. 14, 1863.--Meet me at Lexington. I will be there in four or five days." Directed to "Miss Mollie Williams, care of Mrs. Mary Atkinson, Russellville, Ky." Of course this letter came to the hands of the inevitable Col. Truesdale, and he forthwith advises Gen. Boyle, commandant at Louisville. The latter sends a force and arrests Capt. Morgan, and he was sent to Camp Chase as a prisoner of war or a spy — we are not positive which. Returning on his third trip to Morgan's headquarters at McMinnville, "our man" found himself in trouble at once, and under arrest as a traitor to the South. Gen. John Morgan had received the day before a copy of the Nashville Union, containing an account of the arrest and imprisonment of his brother in Ohio. He well remembered that Johnson had that letter in charge, and he could not imagine any other cause for the calamity than Johnson's betrayal of the trust. But "our man" was equal above, that he had faithfully carried the letter and placed it in the Nashville post office--which was true. "You know full well, General," said he, ‘"that old Truesdale and his gang have complete run of affairs at Nashville; and if Capt. Morgan was captured because of that letter, they must have read it while in that office. That the letter went to your mother is plain; for it seems she got it, and met your brother; and it was by watching her that they caught him."’ What could Gen. Morgan say? Johnson was discharged from arrest; but matters were not easy, as before. Morgan was cloudy and ill at ease.--Finally Johnson was sent to Tullahoma and court martials, was tried, and discharged for want of convincing evidence. "Our man" was now satisfied that his role was about ended, however. Suspicion once attaching to a spy, his work is done and his neck is spanned by the halter. It is only the blind, generous confidence that suspects nothing, that serves the ends of the successful scout.--Johnson returned to Nashville speedily and secretly. While at Tullahoma, however, he made the acquaintance of the rebel General, Forrest, who wished to employ him as a scout, with apparently full confidence in his loyalty to the South; but one trial by court-martial was enough for Johnson. Arrived at Nashville he reported at midnight to the chief of police. The next day he was publicly arrested on the streets as a spy of John Morgan and thrown into the penitentiary, where had just been contained a large number of Nashville rebels, preparatory to being sent to the North and to the South. He obtained their confidence and sympathies, and "dug us" some items of much interest to the Union cause. The Yankee papers publish the letters of Mrs Morgan ordering "black stick pomatum" for the General, No. 4½ slippers for herself, and laughingly observing, upon the receipt of a new dress, that she "was a belle, and could rival the evening dresses of Mrs. McK--," ordering a "No. 21 corset," and so forth.