I hope there may be some mistake respecting the objections used by the lieutenant-colonel to uninterrupted passage of boats. I see no objection to the regulations referred to, and should certainly have ordered respect for them, had the subject been named to me. I have also inculcated the most entire courtesy toward the flotilla, and expressed to Lieutenant Commander McCrea my desire for a hearty co-operations in a field where there is abundant room for the display of the energies of all.
As to the proper treatment of rebellious and disloyal citizens, whether north or south of the Potomac, the commodore will permit me to use my own judgment, under the orders of military superiors, as also as to the quality and disposition of the troops committed to me with orders to break up the very large contraband trade passing through this region between the Patuxent and Potomac, and thence across the latter river, despite the flotilla on duty there. I, too, have had some experience in this business, and, with all due deference for the commodore, must differ as to whether the troops, as now disposed, will or will not be of service.
I now have infantry pickets within sight of each other, along the entire north bank, with patrols connecting them, whilst five companies of cavalry scour the roads lying between the rivers.
I have already captured some 700 letters and some goods, and except large results from my efforts.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY H. LOCKWOOD,
March 19, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel W. H. CHESEBROUGH,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Eighth Army Corps:
COLONEL: The communication from the War Department, dated March 7, forwarding the letter of Commodore Harwood of the 2nd, states that numerous complaints have been made of the inefficiency and bad conduct of the troops stationed at Piney Point. I have referred to this letter in general terms in the accompanying letter of this date, but for the special information of the commanding general, I feel it my privilege to say more.
In January last, a communication was referred to me from Mr. [Charles B.] Calvert, M. C., to General Schenck, covering a letter from a Union citizen near Piney Point, stating that the present proprietor of the hotel at that place had for months been engaged in the contraband trade; indeed, had moved to the place for that purpose, and that efforts on the part of the provost-marshal and board of trade to suppress it had resulted in a reign of terror in the neighborhood; that there were but five Union men in Saint Mary's County, and that the lives and property of these Union men, and the so-called provost-guard, were greatly imperiled; that having called on the commandant (McCrea) of the flotilla, the Union men had arrived at the conviction that he was indifferent to stopping the trade; that he affiliated with the "Secesh," and spent every evening taking suppers, &c., with those known to be in the trade and enemies to the Government. Afterward, in an interview with Governor Bradford, the same statement was made by him, with the declaration by the Governor that the efforts of the flotilla were a nullity. Particular reference was made to Piney Point. For these and other reasons, I placed troops there, with directions to occupy the vacant houses, but by no means to annoy the family. Visiting the place after