War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0454 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

You are also aware that on the breakiing out of this attempted revolution the President of the United States having issued his proclamation declaring the existence of the insurrection assumed the extraordianry powers vested in him by the Constitution for such emergencies and proceeded to suppress it by progibiting commeercial intercourse and treasonable correspondence between the then insurrectionary portion of the country and the other parts of the Unitted States, and arresting and detaining temporarily when necessary without judicial process parties who were found or suspected on probable grounds to be engaged in contraband trade or treasonabel combination and consperacies against the government.

On the 17th of August, 1861, the United States collector for the port of Newport, in the State of Rhode island, by telegraph informed this government that he had found in the possession of a French passenger letters from O. G. Parsly & Co., of Wilmington, N. C., to Brown, Shipley & Co., of Liverpool, directing this passenger to purchase 5,000 to 10,000 army blankets, 1,000 bags of coffee and---tons of iron of various sizes, the whole amounting to $40,000 in value and to vbe shipped in a French or British vessel with segnals how to avoid the blockade at Wilmington, N. C., on arrival, and upon this information the collector inquired whether he should detain the passenger. A second dispatch informed the government that the passenger thus described was L. de Bebian, of Wilmington, N. c. Upon this information dierections were given by the government that De Bebian should be conveyed to Fort Lafayete for safe-keeping and that the papers found in his possession should be sent to the State Department.

Upon inquiring into the case it was found that De Bebian was a native of the Island of guadeloupe and that ha had been residing within the United States and domiciled several years at Wilmington apparently without any intention of ever removing from that palce. He was a teacher of the French language, without capital or credit, and was taken into some kind of partmenrship or agency by the mercantile was taken into some kiind of partnership or agency by the mercantile firm of O. g. Parsly & Co. established in that city. The political character of this firm was revealed by a letter signed by them and addressed to Messrs. J. C. Burnham & Co., Havana. this letter bore the treasonable date of Wilmington, N. S., C. S. A., and closed with the words: "As soon as wee whip out our Yankee enemies which will not we think be long we shall again we hope have the pleasure of your correspondence. " Another letter of the 5th of August addressed by the same O. G. Parsly & Co. to Baron C. Wattson, Liverpool, closed with the words: "Old Abe has not whipped us yet and we hardly tthink he wil. " The fact that De Bebian Was thus found in the act of carrying treasonable correspondence tendcing to endanger the public safety at a critical period justified the government in detaining him until that period shall have passed by.

Subsequent inquiries resulted in the facts described by De Bebian himself, that the junior partner of the firm of O. G. Parsly & Cop. was a major in the insurrectionary service and that a son of the senior partner was a captain in the same seervice and that the father was with the son. Such being the political relation of O. G. Parsly & Co. in whose servide or connection De Bebian was attention was next directed to the nature to the business which he was transacting for them. this was learned in part form the circumstances of his arrest and in part from the letters and instructions he carried. He was fe shcooner Adelso, a vessel of ninety-eight tons, which had been built at Eastport, in the State of Maine, and was the owned by John Kay of that place and was called the O. L. Hyde. Kay as is under-