HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF Illinois,
Springfield, November 6, 1864.
Colonel B. J. SWEET, Commanding, Chicago:
by direction of the Secretary of War you will arrest on Monday morning at 9 o'clock the following rebel agents and seize their papers: Major Maurice, Chicago, about forty-five years old, wears full whiskers, dark eyes and hair, about five feet eight inches high, has aliases as Samuel Ober, &c. ; Captain Thomas Sevia alias Oliver Ditson, Springfield, Ill., if also in Chicago. Acknowledge receipt.
HDQRS. POST, CAMP DOUGLAS, TREMONT HOUSE,
Chicago, Ill., November 6, 1864-8. 30 p. m.
Brigadier General John COOK, Springfield, Ill.:
GENERAL: I send this dispatch by messenger for two reasons: First, I am not entirely sure of the telegraph, and the messenger will arrive about as soon as would a telegram; second, though pressed for time, I can explain more fully our circumstances here, and what I propose to do. The city is filling up with suspicious characters, some of whom we know to be escaped prisoners, and others who were here from Canada during the Chicago convention, plotting to release the prisoners of war at Camp Douglas. I have every reason to believe that Colonel Marmaduke, of the rebel army, is in the city under an assumed name, and also Captain Hines, of Morgan's command; also Colonel G. St. Leger Grenfell, formerly Morgan's adjutant-general, as well as other officers of the rebel army. My force is, as you know, too weak and much overworked, only 8000 men, all told, to guard between 8,000 and 9,000 prisoners. I am certainly not justifiable in waiting to take risks, and mean to arrest these officers if possible before morning. The head gone we can manage the body. In order to make these arrests perfect, I must also arrest two or three prominent citizens who are connected with these officers, of which the proof is ample. These arrests may cause much excitement. I ought to have more force here at once. It seems to me as unwise as it is unsafe to leave a central location like Chicago with an unarmed rebel army near it insecurely guarded, especially in times of doubt like these. I have made repeated representations on this subject, and I am well assured that they have been seconded both at district and department headquarters. May I ask that you will again represent our necessities and urge by telegraph that we be re-enforced at once. I regret that I am not able to consult with you on my proposed action before acting without letting an opportunity pass which may never again occur, and which so passing would leave us open to much danger. It may happen that this action will be delayed till to-morrow night, but probably it will not. I shall telegraph in the morning if anything is done. If I do not telegraph, please give your views for my guidance to this messenger. I fear the telegraph might notify the parties interested.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, k
B. J. SWEET,
Colonel, Commanding Post.
P. S. -I have no time to copy this dispatch. Please send me copy for record.
B. J. S.