HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTHEAST VIRGINIA,
Arlington, June 26, 1861.
Brigadier-General Schenck will please have this matter investigated and return the negro to his owner.
By order of General McDowell:
JAMES B. FRY,
[Inclosure Numbers 4.]
CAMP UPTON, VA., July 5, 1861.
Captain DONN PIATT,
Asst. Adjt. General, Schenck's Brigade, Camp Upton, Va.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of the letters from the Headquarters of the Army relative to a runaway negro from Montgomery County, Md., purporting to belong to Mrs. Caroline Noland, of said county. Mrs. Noland says "by the intereference of soldiers which seemed without control they (my sons) were not permitted to reclaim my negro. " This piece of information as she was not here herself of course she obtained from her sons. It is absolutely nand unqualifiedly false. The officer of the day was sent through camp with the Messrs. Noland. No violence was offered them nor threats uttered save by myself which will be explained further on. The Messrs. Noland were especially taken t hrough the company quarters where one of them thought he had seen the negro in question the day before and then were returned to headquarters and expressed themselves satisfied that their negro was not in my camp. I then sent them with the officer of the day to the camp of the Second Ohio when alike protection was given them.
Mr. Noland or a man named Sergeant Noland, a messenger in the War Department, handed me a letter from Colonel E. D. Townsend, assistant adjutant-general, U. S. Army, in which Colonel Townsend states "from Mr. Noland's account the Ohio troops have been practicing a little of the abolition system in protecting runaways. " I was very much surprised to hear such sentiments expressed by the chief of staff about my brave men. I then told the Messrs. Noland that the man who gave Colonel T. such information stated what was false and that if he was the person I would have no hesitancy in marching him out of camp. Sergeant Noland denied in the presence of my entire staff that he had ever given Colonel Townsend any such inforamtion; that he, Colonel T., was in no manner authorized to make such a statement; and more than that had he known what the contents of the letter was he would not hve delivered it. I then told Sergeant Noland that he might have been mistaken about having seen his negro in my camp; that even if he had the negro might have been in the camp temporarily. I then told him to go to the Connectituct camps but he did not go.
The same day Major Bartholomew, of the District militia, accompanied by a friend came into my camp on a similar errand. I extended to him the same protection. He saw the negro that was represented to be the property of his friend but said he was mistaken and acknowledged that he had been misinformed and thanked me for my attention and left the camp. I do not believe Mrs. Noland has anegro in this camp and from the lying propensities of her sons I am