War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0572 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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the capital renders all interference in her behalf with the regulations established by the military authorities for the prisoner's safety improper.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servnat,


DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, December 31, 1861.

Brigadier General ANDREW PORTER.

Provost-Marshal, Washington, D. C.

GENERAL: I will thank you to examine the case of Aaron Van Camp, a prisoner in your custody, and report to this Department.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servnat,


Assistant Secretary.


Washington, D. C., January 9, 1862.

Brigadier General A. PORTER, Provost-Marshal, Washington City.

GENERAL: In accordance with the request of the Honorable W. H. Seward, Secretary of State, directed to you requesting you to report on the case of Dr. Aaron Van Camp, I have the honor to report that Van Camp was arrested and confined in the Old Capitol under the following circumstances, to wit:

On the arrest of Mrs. O'Neal Greenhow August 26, 1861, a letter in cipher was found in her possession addressed to Thomas J. Rayford*, another noted rebel emissary in forwarding and carrying information to the rebel government, from which letter the following is extracted:

Your three last dispatches I never got. Those by Applegated were betrayed by him to the War Department; also the one sent by out other channel ewas destroyed by Van Camp.

Acting on information thus secured I instructed my operatives to ascertain further particulers regarding the person named Van Camp and watch his proceedings. The result of their inquiries left no doubt as to the indentity of the person thus ender surveillance with the Van Camp mentioned in the letter above quoted from Mrs. Greenhow to Thomas J. Rayford or as to his intimacy and complicy with leading rebel emissaries in the city, particularly Michal Thompson, Mrs. Greenhow, Mrs. Phelps, William T. Smithson, alias Charles R. Cables, G. Donellan and others.

On November 26 two of my operatives left his city by stage for Leonardtown, Md. Mear T. B. a person hailed the stage and traveled with them to the end of their journey. Having obtained the confidence of the stranger they ascertained him to be Dr. J. C. Herndon, U. S. Army, who had just deserted his post and was on his way to the rebels in Virginia with as he said important letters sewed up in his vest. My operatives also discovered that as he could not have left the city in a public conveyance without being suspected and probably arrested by the guards at the Eastern Branch bridge he was under the necessity of obtaining a private conveyance, which was furnished him


* Rayford was in fact Colonel Thomas Jordan, assistant adjutant-general to General Beauregard, of the Confederate Army, then occupying Centerville. See Jordan to Benjamin, p. 564.