War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1516 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

circumstances under which Mr. Harris me are not believed to constitute his case an exception. He came with another person (having the same object) to our lines in open day, along the common highway and without arms. He presented a letter for the commanding officer disclosing the object for which he came, one of kindness and humanity, rendered to the tears and supplications of a grief stricken woman to find the body of her husband. Their coming was not at the instance of the Government or any of its officers. It was their individual act, presuming for safety and indulgence on the nature of their mission and the well understood proclivities of one of them to shield them from suspicion.

Mr. Magraw frankly avows that he with others has a transportation contract with the Government of the United States, entered into in 1859 and which was extended and modified the past evening by the then Quartermaster-General Joseph E. Johnston. For the execution of this contract his bond is outstanding and he has no power to release himself from its performance. Beyond this he has not other connection with this Government and has sought none from the present administration.

Mr. Harris through me has requested the honorable Secretary of War to call for a report from Colonel Stuart, who was in command at Fairfax, of the manner in which he approached our lines and all the circumstances attending his arrest. Upon this he feels that he may safely rely to prove what has been herein stated concerning it. It is the desire of many friends of Mr. Harris, they too true Southern men, that you would exercise your merciful and just prerogative both in his behalf and in that of Mr. Magraw. They are willing to waive all forms and place their case before any tribunal, civil or military, to which you may think it proper to remit them so that they may be able to relieve themselves from these painful personal discomforts and from what is far more bitter, the reproach of having come as spies.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. P. BREWSTER.

P. S. - I hope to have the honor of having your conclusion communicated to me in such was as you may think proper.

[H. P. B.]

RICHMOND, VA., August 29, 1861.

His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,

President of the Confederate States.

SIR: Your generous treatment of Nelson, * of Tennessee, which has and will make for you and the Confederate States many friends, induces me to hope that in the same noble spirit will release Arnold Harris from prison and permit him to return with me to his wife and friends in Kentucky. From a full examination of his case and from my own knowledge of Mr. Harris, in Kentucky, I am perfectly satisfied that he ought to be released. If a spy he ought to be tried. Every circumstances, however, shows that he did not come in that capacity, and the time when he left Washington taken in connection with the time of Cameron's flag of truce demonstrates that he (Harris) had no connection with the insulting communication of Lincoln's official.

Very respectfully and truly, your obedient servant,

GEORGE W. JOHNSON.

P. S. - I have to-morrow morning for Louisville.

G. W. J.

---------------

*See Vol. I, this series, p. 824, for arrest of T. A. R. Nelson.

---------------