War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0936 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

He did not further correspond with me until after his return to New York, from which city on the 10th of October, 1865, he wrote me at length as follows:

NEW YORK, October 10, 1865.

Brigadier-General HOLT, Judge-Advocate-General:

SIR: It affords me pleasure to report that my efforts to find certain persons as witnesses for the Governmenthave been crowned with complete success. Campbell and Snevel and a Mr. Waddell, of whom I knew nothing whenI started on my mission, are now with me in this city. Key is in Norfolk, ready to jin us at a moment's notice; while another person named Wright, also unknown to me when I left Washington, will reprot to me at Washington on the 20th instant. I experienced much difficulty in finding Campbell andmore in inducing him to accompany me. He has no sympathy for Davis; on the contrary feels quite bitter against him; but he dreaded and still dreads the obliquy and alienation of his own friends, which he thinsk the betrayal of Davis' part in the conspiracy certain to provoke. Having determined to take the stand he is anxious that his testimny be corroborated as far and by as many as possible andthat everything proper may be done to insure Mr. Davis' conviction, because his acquittal, or even his conviction on the testimony of two or three witnesses, would afford his (Campbell's) friends and the public at large grounds for suspecting tht he, with the other witnesses, had been suborned and had sworn falsely. So sensitive and anxious is he on this point that he insisted on at once visiting New York, where he assured me that he would find a friend who "could, if he would, furnish evidence of the most positive character," and that if this friend could be induced to become a witness he himself could do so without the slightest reluctance or fear of the result. For this reason I came on to New York with him, keeping the other witnesses with me for several reasons. Who this friend is, or the nature of the evidence he is ableto furnish, Campbell declines to inform me, answseing all my importunities with the assurance that if he cannot nduce him to become a witness it woudl be us3eless for me to try to do so, and that eh could not, without an unmpardonable breach of faith, disclose anything which might possibly place his friend in an unpleasant position without his consent.

On inquiry here for this "friend" he was found to be in Canada, whence he will return on Saturday, and as Campbell is no persistent in the determination to see him before making his own deposition I think better to afford him the opportunity. I shall be prepared to ascertain who the mysterious "friend" is in case he declines tojoin Campbell in becoming a witness for the Government.

The witnesses mentioned by me include all that I have so far obtained, but my investigation have led to the discovery of another plot, approved by Davis, for the murder of the late President quite as diabolical as the one which resulted in his death. The witnesses to establish this charge--one of whom is a Miss Alice Williams, who was commissioned in the rebel army as a lieutenant under the name of Buford, the would-be Charlotte Corday, except that she proposed to employ poison instead of a dagger--being mostly females I thought better not to produce them without a conference on the subject with you. Besides, I have as many in hand as I can well manage. The particulars of this plot and the evidence to be relied on I shall not attempt to disclose till I see you. I shall leave here for Washington on Sunday evening with the three witnesses now in hand. Any instructions or suggestions you may desire in the mean time to address me by letter or telegraph may be sent to the Madison Avenue Hotel, corner Madison avenue and Twenty-seventh street.

Your obedient servant,


He did not come to Washington at the time promised in this letter, but did so later, arriving about the close of October and bringing with him two men calling themselves William Campbell and Joseph Snevel, and who under these names gave their depositions at the Bureau of Military Justice on the 4th day of November, 1865. On or soon after Conover's reaching Washington he addressed me a note bearing date November 1, 1865, as follows:

WASHINGTON, D. C., November 1, 1865.

Brigadier-General HOLT:

DEAR SIR: I reached here yesterday with Campbell and Snevel. Another witness who was to have joined us here is in Baltimore and I shall run up for him this morning. The above named prefer not to report to you in person without me but will appear at any hour you may name to-morrow. Please send me anote to the National Hotel, that I may receive it this evening, stating thehour uponwhich I shall produce the