War of the Rebellion: Serial 104 Page 0743 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

MACON, GA., May 13, 1865 - 9.30 a. m.

(Received 12.30 a. m. 14th.)

Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

Lieutenant-Colonel Harnden, commanding the First Wisconsin Cavalry, has just arrived from Irwinville. He struck Davis' trail at Dublin, Laurens County, on the evening of the 7th, and followed him closely day and night through the pine wilderness of Alligator Creek and Gum Swamp by Abbeville to Irwinville. At Abbeville Colonel Harnden met Colonel Pritchard with 150 picked men and horses of the Fourth Michigan. Colonel Harnden followed the trail directly south, while Colonel Pritchard, having fresher horses, pushed down the Ocmulgee toward Hopewell, and thence by House Creek to Irwinville, arriving there midnight of the 9th. Davis had not arrived, but from the people Colonel Pritchard learned that his party had camped two miles north of the town. The colonel made his disposition and surrounded the camp before daylight. Harnden had camped at 9 o'clock within two miles, as he afterward learned, from the camp, the trail being too indistinct to follow. He pushed on at 3 a. m., and had gone but little more than a mile when his advance were fired upon by the men of the Fourth Michigan. A sharp fight ensued, both parties exhibiting the greatest determination. Fifteen minutes elapsed before the mistake was discovered. The firing of this skirmish was the first warning that Davis received. The captors report that he hastily put on one of Mrs. Davis' dresses and started for the woods, closely pursued by our men, who at first thought him a woman, but seeing his boots while running suspected his sex at once. The race was a short one, and the rebel President was soon brought to bay. He brandished a bowie-knife of elegant pattern, and showed signs of battle, but yielded promptly to the persuasion of the Colt revolvers without compelling our men to fire. He expressed great indignation at the energy with which he was pursued, saying that he had believed our Government more magnanimous than to hunt down women and children. Mrs. Davis remarked to Colonel Harnden, after the excitement was all over, that "the men had better not provoke the President or he might hurt some of them." Mr. Reagan behaves himself with becoming dignity and resignation.. The party were evidently making for the coast. I look for them here by 3 p. m., and shall send Davis, A. H. Stephens, and Clay forward by Savannah. A boat is now waiting at Augusta. What must I do with the women and children?

J. H. WILSON,

Brevet Major-General.

MACON, GA., May 13, 1865 - 2.30 p. m.

Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

Colonel Pritchard has arrived with Jeff. Davis and party. They will leave on a special train at 5 p. m., and reach Augusta to-morrow at 6 p. m. A steamer is there in waiting to convey them to Savannah. I shall direct Colonel Pritchard to sail thence to Fort Monroe, where he had better be met with a steamer direct for Washington. Colonel Pritchard will also take charge of Clay and Stephens. I shall permit the ladies to accompany their husbands because I cannot care for them here.

J. H. WILSON,

Brevet Major-General.