By careful inquiry I learned that John Shackleford, a deputy sheriff of Charles County, who had hidden a trunk full of carbines, was down at Chapel Point and designed crossing that night. His baggage was to be sent him from Port Tobacco, and I engaged to take it to him and cross in his company. Our party united in hiring a suitable conveyance and went together to Chapel Point, . On arriving there we learned that a small party together with John Shackleford had gone in a boat along shore about a half an hour previous for the purpose of intercepting the regular ferry-boat near George Dent's house. We waited at the store of a Mr. Dilahae for the boat to return. It did so about 12 o'clock, with Shackleford still aboard, they not having been in time to catch the other boat. I learned at this place that sixty had crossed at George Dent's the night previous, and just ahead of our troops who were sent there to arrest some of them. We found it very difficult to get this boat to take us over, as the parties who owned it had not been in the habit of crossing and were afraid. By paying an exorbitant price, however, we succeeded in getting a very inefficient number to manage the boat to undertake crossing with us. It is called eight miles from this point to Mathias Point, and in one hour and a half we landed safely on the opposite shore near the latter point. Mr. Cole and myself went up the [road] and discovered a house near by which we approached boldly making considerable noise in order to attract the attention of the pickets. We found the house vacant and no pickets within hailing distance. We learned from a negro woman near by that this house belonged to a Mr. Grymes, and that another Mr. Grymes owned a house half a mile below where the nearest pickets were stationed, and that the nearest pickets above were directly at the point about the same distance away. We returned to our boat and went down to the house of the other Mr. Grymes where the pickets were stationed. We were very near landing before they discovered us, and they were considerably surprised at our coming under the circumstances. * * * This place is the principal landing for Marylanders, and two boats are kept here for crossing the river. They are hidden by being drawn up the beach within the spiles driven across the mouth of a ravine. * * * I was permitted to return Wednesday night and was ferried over by George Dent, Jr. * * * Captain Quincy gave me a letter to his wife and one to his brother-in-law, of Baltimore. From reading them I learn that may Baltimoreans have been going to Mathias Point by way of the Patuxent boat and Benedict and thence across the country to the Potomac. * * * Some ladies, wives of officers, have reached Virginia via Benedict and Mathias Point within the past week.
During the latter part of September and the first of October I had three other operatives in Southern Maryland in the secret service of the Government. One of them reported that on the 1st of October while at Plowden's Wharf, about sixteen miles northwest of Leonardtown, old man Wible told them that the soldiers had arrested Doctor Dent and that at the camp Dent told the officer who had him in charge that he wished to go out in the field a few minutes. The officer went out with him and Dent got over the fence into a field of corn while the officer sat on the fence waiting for him. Dent started off on a full run, the officer after him but the latter could not overtake him. He then went back to camp and had the corn-field surrounded but Dent got away. The operatives were informed on the same day in the same neighborhood by Mr. Joseph Herbert, who kept a contraband ferry, that he (Herbert) was to take Doctor Dent over the river on the morrow night. While they were at Newport near Port Tobacco Mr. George Lancaster, a secessionist, speaking of Doctor Dent said that he (Lancaster) would rather lose what little property he had there than to hear of his friend being taken prisoner; that he (Dent) had done more for the "good cause" than any other man in the country. While at Piscataway October 3 the operatives were informed that the soldiers had taken Mr. Jones, of Pope's Creek, and another man through there on the Sunday before on their way to Washington.
On the 4th of October Thomas Jones, of Pope's Creek, and Samuel G. Acton having been arrested by the Sickles Brigade and brought into camp were brought here on telegraph dispatch from Colonel R. B. Marcy and confined in the Thirteenth Street Prison. Acton stated to me in prison that he was direct from Richmond and was going to Anne Arundel County to see his family. When arrested he was found hid