Hoping that your noble efforts to cut off all this clandestine communication now so generally carried on from lower Maryland across and by secessionists all along the lien may be successful, I am, very truly, yours, &c.,
On the 1st of September the following memorandum was received at my office:
Rev. J. H. RYLAND, Sixteenth and K, Washington:
Information from Rev. Mr. Wilmer, of Port Tobacco, in constant communication by boats with Virginia (Mitchells, Stones and Brent, Posey and Middleton, chief agents, Port Tobacco; George Dent and Tom Stone, Pope's Creek).
On the 1st of September also John Atwell, of this city, stated at my office that his brother-in-law at Pope's Creek informed him while on a visit to his wife's family there a while before that there were and had been a great many persons going over into Virginia at that place to Persimmon Point, directly opposite, it being the place where the sailors from the Pawnee were shot about ten days before in going ashore there to see about a small boat then loaded lying at the shore. That he (Atwell) had the day before received a letter from his wife at Pope's Creek, which he produced, stating that the Union troops had come there the week before and taken possession of Tom Jones' boat, which he carried men across to Virginia, but that he had bought another on Monday and was waking passengers over night and day, keeping the boat on the Virginia side to keep the Northerners from getting it. This letter was dated August 27, which was about ten days after Atwell was at Pope's Creek himself and received the above information from his brother-in-law.
On the 14th of September a colored prisoner was brought to my office for examination who made in substance the following statement: That his name was William Hill; his age about twenty-six years; that he had been a slave to James Grymes at Mathias Point on the Potomac River all his life; that he had left Mathias Point on
the Saturday night previous; that he had come away in a boat with some colored boys who had been sent from the Maryland side by their master, Mr. Thomas Jones, with some passengers to the Virginia shore; that he (Hill) left Mathias Point for good, he hoped; that James Grymes' farm was about a mile below the batteries at Mathias Point; that Jones' on the Maryland side was below Grymes' on the Virginia side, while George Dent lived right opposite Grymes; that Jones and Dent both kept row-boats to take people across the river; that they landed at Grymes' house; that the U. S. officers had taken Jones' boats away from him; that he (Jones) did the principal part of the ferrying, thought Dent did considerable that they never crossed horses of wagons, only footmen; that the crossing was mostly from the Maryland side, very few crossing over from Virginia; that passengers crossed from the Maryland side nearly every day or night; that they always found conveyances waiting at Grymes' to take them out into the county; that when Jones had passengers to bring over in the night he gave a signal by placing a light in his upper windows and then the wagons came down out of the country to Grymes; that when persons on the Virginia side wanted the boat to come over they gave a signal by a light at Grymes' at night and by hoisting a while flag in the daytime; that Jones kept his boat up a gut on the Maryland side; that his boat has been taken away from him twice by the U. S. officers but had been replaced by him each time, and that he was then using Dent's boat which had once been taken from him but restored; that Grymes interested himself both in military matters and his farming business and called himself a 'shore guard. "