War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0884 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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I could see a reasonable prospect of success I would go in with him, but that I could not afford to spend much money in so uncertain a business. He said of course the necessary funds would be furnished us by the proper authorities. He then proposed that we should go at once to General Winder, which we did. After the usual formalities General Winder said, in answer to a question by me, that the President fully approved Lamar's project, and furthermore his plans as far as they had been set forth in his (Lamar's) communication. I then asked Winder if the Secretary of War, Mr. Seddon, was in favor of it. Winder answered that the Secretary of War was an old fogy and was not worth talking to on such a subject. Winder then proposed that, in order that we might be satisfied that the project was fully approved by the President, we should call on the President at once. We did so and Winder introduced the subject to the President, saying that these men, referring to Lamar and myself, wanted to hear from his (the President's) own lips what protection we would receive in the event of our being captured in executing our undertaking. The President replied that we should receive all the protection the Government could afford, and that if captured he would hold as hostages two for one until we should be released. The President then said, addressing Lamar, that the undertaking he was about to engage in was a dangerous one and required a great deal of skill, caution, and courage, and that the salvation of the Confederacy possibly depended on his success; that he should take date to engage none but men of sobriety and courage to assist him; that he should know them well, and should not disclose his plans until all was ready. President Davis further said that he did not wish that the life of Lincoln should be taken unless absolutely necessary; that if he could be brought a prisoner alive it would serve the country equally as well and perhaps better than to kill him, but that if it was necessary for our own safety, or we could do no better, that we should mete out to him the deserts that the greatest tyrant the world ever saw deserves, which is death. Lamar then spoke about the necessary funds to carry out his plans. Davis said we should be furnished through General winder with all the funds necessary. After a few words of caution from Mr. Davis we left his office. The next day Lamar received from General Winder some funds, consisting of greenbacks and Confederate notes. I received from Lamar $259 in greenbacks and $500 in Confederate notes. We then went to work to engage men for the project and sent them North, some to Baltimore, some to Washington, and some to Georgetown, to await orders. I engaged and forwarded three myself, and Lamar and other parties engaged and forward about twenty others. The next conversation I had with Mr. Davis took place about a fortnight later than the one hereinbefore referred to, and after the assistance engaged had been sent North. A man named McCulloch, who had been engaged by Lamar to aid in the enterprise, had been arrested for disclosing the plot and sent to Castle Thunder. As soon as Lamar heard of the arrest he called on me, and we went together to the office of General Winder to learn the particulars. We were there informed by Captain Winder, son of the general, that his farther had gone to see the President in regard to McCulloch's case, and Lamar and I forthwith started for the President's office. We there found the President, General Winder, and Mr. Wright, a Government detective, in conversation. As soon as we were admitted General Winder said to Lamar, "One of your drunken scoundrels has been raising hell, and unless you strike at once your scheme will be thwarted." Mr. Davis then said, "Yes, gentlemen, you must proceed to the execution of your project immediately or failure will be certain. These blockade-runners, such as McCulloch has been boasting to, are half of them Yankee spies and may lose no time in communicating what they heard to their Government, and thus place their President on his guard, and thus render your efforts futile." Winder then repeated with an oath, "Yes; strike at once and bring the monkey here, body and soul, as soon as possible; and if you can't bring his whole carcass, fetch his damned scalp." Mr. Davis then said, "Gentlemen, you will not misunderstand your instructions; it is my wish that you capture and bring Mr. Lincoln within our lines without harming a hair of his head, if possible; but if after making the capture you find there is danger of his being retaken, you will take care that he does not return to Washington alive. If you find it impossible to effect his capture at all, remembered that he is your enemy and Commander-in-Chief of the Northern Armies, and that you have the right, and that it is your duty, to cut him down the same as any other officer or soldier belonging to those armies." Lamar then said, we had already sent enough men North to do the work, and that we were prepared to follow at once, but have we required more funds for the execution of our plans when we should get North. Mr. Davis then said,"General

Winder will see that you receive all that you require." Some instructions were then given by the President and General Winder to Wright in regard to detaining the persons who had heard McCulloch's disclosures. After a little more conversation with the President, in which he assured us of the great importance, in view of the operations of Grant about Vicksburg, and of Meade, who was forcing Lee back upon the capital, of our proceeding in all haste to the execution of our project, we left. General Winder supplied us with some money and gave Lamar a letter of credit to a form in Baltimore to enable us to drawn what funds we