On the 16th of September in accordance with your orders Lieutenant W. M. Wilson, of the Fourth Cavalry, with a mounted company and accompanied by one of my operatives and Mr. John Atwell, before mentioned in this report, as guide started for Pope's Creek for the purpose of arresting Thomas Jones, George Dent and James Grymes. Lieutenant wilson reported to me on the 21st of September that he arrived at his destination at about 2 o'clock on the morning of the 17th and after surrounding the house of Jones entered it and made a thorough examination of it and the premises but did not succeed in finding Jones; that he seized and brought away al the correspondence he could find in the house and smashed up a und lying at the landing near the house; that he then proceeded to the house of George Dent, arriving there about daylight; that he surrounded the house and demanded admittance which after some little delay was given; that he then proceeded to search the premises amid the loud remonstrances of the family; that Mr. Dent was gone; that he afterward ascertained from the servants and from interrogating those in the house that he had left for Virginia by boat accompanied by his son and some twenty or twenty-five others about 11 o'clock that night; that place he was certain from information he had gathered there was and had been the grand depot for the arrival and departure of goods and men for the rebel army; that he took from Dent's house all the correspondence he could find, together with the following articles which he considered contraband, to wit: Two shotguns, about three pounds of powder, about thirty pounds of shot, one uniform coat, one pair of epaulettes and three boxes percussion-caps.
My operative who accompanied the expedition reported in addition to the above that while at Jones' Lieutenant Wilson took a colored man aside and questioned him as to the whereabouts of Jones and was told that he went away that night about 11 o'clock. The negro said that Jones had some signals whereby he knew when any one wanted to go over the river; that when Jones who was then on the Virginia side would see those signals he would come over with his boat. On going to Dent's the operative ascertained from the servants that Dent and Jones had been in the habit of carrying over the river all persons that wanted to go as well as goods, provisions, &c. ; that Dent and Jones with about twenty-three others had just gone over; that a man had come there that night and informed Dent and Jones that the soldiers were coming to arrest them; that they had left at about 11 p. m. ; that they had told the women folks to raise a white cloth to let them know when it was safe to come over; that they had some other signals which the servants did not understand; that they did not make any signals in the night but in the daytime, and that the boats came over about 8 p. m. to take over whatever was to go.
On the 17th of September I dispatched one of my operatives to Mathias Point, Va., to make some observations for the Government in that vicinity. In his report to me on the 20th of the month he says:
At Port Tobacco I found a troop of U. S. cavalry (Lieutenant Wilson's above mentioned) and the people all in a state of the most intense excitement. As soon as the cavalry left the inhabitants held meetings at the taverns and stores and throwing off all restraint talked over their opinions so freely that I could easily see that Union men were almost unknown in that locality. Our party of three, Turner, Cole (two secessionists he had fallen in with) and myself made known our design of crossing the river into Virginia and all that were present seemed willing to do all in their power to aid us. It appeared that Mr. George Dent who had previously done the ferrying had just been compelled to fly for safety to Virginia and that circumstance had broken up the regular way of crossing. He was accompanied by a Mr. Jones and a Mr. Wilson whom I understand our cavalry were after.