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Loreta’s Civil War: Blow them out of the water

Throughout 2016 and 2017, Stillness of Heart shared edited excerpts from the extraordinary memoir of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, who chronicled her adventures throughout the Civil War — either as herself, as a Confederate spy, or in disguise as Confederate Lt. Harry T. Buford. She fought and led men in terrible battles, fell in love, bore and lost children, and traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe, ultimately fulfilling her childhood dream of a rich and adventurous life.

You can read the entire 1876 memoir online here. Learn more about Velazquez (and the incredible documentary film Maria Agui Carter made about her) here.

Read previous chapters of her incredible story here.

Part 44: Plans form and plans fall apart, but Velazquez remains focused on her overall strategy to assist the Confederacy from her vantage point far from the war’s front lines.


As we were crossing to the town, the lieutenant again proposed that we should take a drive that afternoon. I, however, excused myself and gave him to understand that I had engagements which would prevent me from meeting him again. The young man, therefore, to my infinite relief — for his attentions were beginning to be troublesome — stated that he would return to Cincinnati by the first train, and, when I parted from him in the hotel, I sincerely hoped that he would do so for I did not wish to have him watching my movements.

I now wrote a letter to Col. Baker, in which I stated that the man I was looking for was not at Johnson’s Island and that I thought I would go on to Indianapolis and visit the prison camp there. After I had dined, not seeing the lieutenant, I inquired for him and was told that he had gone. Being, therefore, in no danger of meeting him again, I went to the telegraph office and sent dispatches to the Detroit and Buffalo agents to notify them that I had visited the prison and executed my commission there, and one to St. Louis, in accordance with the instructions under which I was acting, for the agent there to send certain parties to meet me at Indianapolis.

The next morning I was off for Indianapolis to continue the search I had begun in Sandusky, although I desired very much to remain in the last named city for the purpose of watching the progress of events, and, perhaps, of taking part in any fighting that might occur. I very well knew that by acting as a spy and as a bearer of dispatches I was performing much more valuable service than I would as a soldier, and yet, at the prospect of a battle, all my fighting blood was up, and I could scarcely restrain my desire to be an active participant in the great and exciting scenes I thought were about to take place.

I afterwards wished that I had remained, for I felt confident that had I been in Sandusky when the appointed time for striking the blow came and had been entrusted with the direction of affairs, there would have been no such miserable fizzle as actually did occur.

The general plan, as the reader has already been told, was to organize a raid along the lake shores, to release the prisoners, to gather about us all the Southern sympathizers who could be induced to join us, and to make such a diversion in the Federal rear as would compel the withdrawal of a large force from the front. We also placed great reliance on the effects of the panic which, it was hoped, would be created, and also on British intervention, which it was expected would be brought about by a border war, in which it would be impossible to prevent trespass upon British territory.

In addition to this, the Indians were to be stirred up to acts of hostility all along the frontier, from the lakes to the gulf.

The prisoners, as they effected their escape, were to act according to circumstances. Those at Sandusky and at places nearest to that point were to unite with the outsiders, and form an army to operate along the lake shores and as far into the adjacent country as they could penetrate, while others were to endeavor to effect a junction with Price and Quantrill in Missouri and to march under their orders.

The execution of this scheme was to begin at a certain time, after the prisoners had been made acquainted with such details of the general plan as were necessary to be known by them, by the capture of the Federal gunboat Michigan, and of such other steamers as the Confederates could overpower by stratagem or force. This being done, the prisoners on Johnson’s Island were to be notified by a prearranged signal and were to make a break and overpower their guards, with the assistance of the boats. The prisoners once free, the organization of both military and naval forces was to be proceeded with as rapidly as possible and all the damage done to the enemy that could be done with the means at hand.

In pursuance of this plan, the Confederates in Canada seized the lake steamers Indian Queen and Parsons, and started for Sandusky. On arriving off that place, however, their signals were unanswered, and after waiting as long as they dared they were forced to the conclusion that something unexpected had occurred to interfere with the success of the plans and had no recourse but to make their escape as rapidly as they could, well knowing that the Michigan, if she ever got her guns to bear on them, would blow them out of the water in very short order.

The scheme fell through, not because the party from Canada did not keep their engagement or were not willing and anxious to do all that they had the power to do, but because one of the men who went to Sandusky for the purpose of seizing the Michigan turned traitor. I may, perhaps, be doing this person an injustice in applying this harsh name to him but if he was not a willful traitor, he was a fool and too weak and cowardly to have been entrusted with such responsible and weighty duties as he was.

Arrangements had been made to secure the attendance of all, or nearly all, the officers of the Michigan at an entertainment, and during their absence the vessel was to have been seized. Before this entertainment could come off, however, the man to whom I have alluded was either recognized as a Confederate, or else he made some drunken utterances that excited suspicion. At all events, he was arrested, and on a search being made, papers were found in his possession which gave the Federal government full information with regard to the plot and enabled them to take means to meet it. All this might have happened, and yet no one been seriously to blame but this man, on the papers being found on him, confessed everything, and revealed, not merely the particulars of the scheme but who his associates were.

He should have permitted himself to have been torn limb from limb before doing this, as I would have done, had I been captured, sooner than I would have revealed anything to the enemy.

The failure of this raid caused much disappointment at the South, and the Confederates in Canada, by whom it had been planned and to whom its execution was entrusted were greatly censured and were accused both of treachery and lack of courage. These censures and accusations were unjust for they did all they could do, and if they were to blame for anything, it was in confiding in a person or persons who were unworthy of confidence.

The excitement which the capture of the Sandusky party and the discovery of what it was that they and the Confederates proposed to do caused at the North showed how great would have been the panic that the successful execution of the scheme would have caused. I cannot express the disgust and indignation I felt when I heard that the plot had failed, and how it failed, and it was on this account, as much as anything else, that I left the country for a time and refused to have anything more to do with my late associates and their schemes, although I was still intent upon doing all I could to advance the interests of the Confederacy.

On my arrival at Indianapolis, I found two men from St. Louis awaiting me, they having been sent there in compliance with my telegraphic dispatch from Sandusky. I had a long talk with them about the condition of affairs and delivered the dispatches I had for them. One of them — a tall Missourian — was to go to the borders, to operate with the Indians, and the other was to report to Quantrill on some business of a secret nature. I had no idea what the dispatch which I handed to this second man was about, and, as he did not seem disposed to tell me, I did not ask him.

In compliance with my orders, I was now to wait in Indianapolis until I should receive directions to proceed elsewhere and was to occupy my time in obtaining access to the prison camp for the purpose of conversing with the prisoners, informing them of the movements that were in progress and encouraging them to make an effort to escape, as no rescue could be attempted in their case.

Exactly how to get into the prison enclosure was something of a problem, as, for a number of good and sufficient reasons, I was desirous of doing this without figuring as Col. Baker’s agent, as I had done at Sandusky. Where there is a will there is a way, nearly always, and I speedily found a very easy way to accomplish my object.

Walking out towards the prison camp, the day after my arrival, I determined to try and get in on some plea or other, and only to fall back on Baker’s letter as a last resource when all other means failed. Not very far from the enclosure I met a cake-woman, who, I surmised, was permitted to go among the prisoners for the purpose of trading with them. It occurred to me that with a little management, I could obtain admission along with her, so, going up to her, I purchased a few cakes, and said, “Why, do you go into the prison, among those dirty rebels?”

“Oh, yes,” she replied, “I go in there to sell them cakes.”

“I did not know that they let anyone in.”

“Yes, the officers all know me, and the sergeant always looks through my basket to see that I haven’t anything contraband.”

“I would like mighty well to go in there and see how the rebels look. Do you think they would let me in with you?”

“Yes, you come along with me. I’ll get you in.”

When we came to the gate, therefore, and while the sergeant was examining her basket, the old woman said, “Sergeant, this is my sister. She came with me to see how the rebels look — she never saw one.”

The sergeant laughed and passed us both in without further parley. The cake-woman went into the quarters, where she soon had a crowd of men round her, investing their cash — and precious little of it they had — in the contents of her basket. Looking around me, I spied a major belonging to Lee’s army, whom I had met in Richmond but who had never seen me in female attire, and, going up to him, I had a hurried conversation with him in a low voice.

I told him that now was the time for the prisoners to make a break, if they wanted to gain their freedom, as there were no troops at hand worth speaking of. He wanted to know whether there was not danger of being re-taken.

I replied that I did not think there was if they made a bold dash and all worked together. I then told him what was being done elsewhere, and explaining as well as I could the general plan of operations that had been arranged, suggested that they should try and reach the southern part of the state, and, after crossing the river, report either to Price or Jeff Thompson. I then gave him some money and hurriedly left him to rejoin the old cake-woman, whose basket was by this time emptied and who was prepared to leave.

This duty having been satisfactorily performed, I wrote a letter to Col. Baker, informing him that the man I was looking for was not at the Indianapolis camp but that I had information which led me to think I would find him at Alton. I, therefore, proposed to go to that place, and if he was not there, I would give the whole thing up as a bad job and return East.

I had no intention of going to Alton, but being under obligation to remain for some time … in Indianapolis, I was desirous of employing myself to the best advantage. Exactly what to get at, however, was not an easy thing to determine. After considering the subject in all its aspects, I resolved to go to Gov. Morton for the purpose of asking him whether he could not give me some employment. My idea was that perhaps through the influence of the governor, I could obtain a clerkship or some position which would afford me facilities for gaining information.

I accordingly called on the governor, to whom I represented myself as a poor widow whose husband had been killed in the war and who had no means of support. Gov. Morton treated me kindly enough, although I speedily made up my mind that he was by no means as amiable and goodnatured an individual as my rather jolly friend, Gov. Brough of Ohio.

After hearing my story, he said that there was nothing he could do for me, but that it was very possible I might be able to obtain employment at the arsenal, as there were a good many women working there.

This, it struck me, was a most capital idea, and, therefore, asking the governor to give me some kind of a note or recommendation — which request he complied with by writing a few lines — I left him to see what I could do at the place where they were manufacturing munitions of war to be used against my Confederate friends.

I do not know whether it was the governor’s note that aided me or whether they were really in want of hands, but I was told that I could have work if I desired it. The ordnance officer — a German, whose name I have forgotten — said that I was to commence work on Tuesday, the day I applied to him being Saturday.

At the appointed time, I appeared at the arsenal and was sent into the packing-room, where I was instructed in the mystery of packing cartridges. There were about eighteen girls working in the same room, most of whom were rather light-headed things, interested in very nearly everything except the business they were paid for. A good part of their time was employed in writing, reading, and discussing love-letters, which they were interchanging with the soldiers in the field, and a number of them had a good many more than one correspondent.

The society of these girls was no pleasure to me whatever, especially as I had things of much more importance to think of than their love affairs. Immediately on Gov. Morton suggesting that, perhaps, I could obtain employment at the arsenal, the idea of blowing up that establishment entered my mind. After going to work, I looked about me to see how this could be done and very soon perceived that the thing was possible and without much risk to myself, provided I took proper precautions.

I found, however, that I would not be able to blow up the arsenal without destroying a number of lives, and I shrank from doing this. It was a great temptation to me, however, especially when I reflected that I was really in the Confederate service and that it was a part of my duty to do everything in my power to injure the enemy. I could not, however, get it out of my head that there was a wide difference between killing people in a fair fight and slaughtering them in this fashion, and so, to get myself out of the way of a temptation that was constantly growing stronger and stronger, I suddenly left, after having been at work about two weeks.


Loreta’s Civil War: Say that I am a Yankee

Throughout 2016 and 2017, Stillness of Heart shared edited excerpts from the extraordinary memoir of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, who chronicled her adventures throughout the Civil War — either as herself, as a Confederate spy, or in disguise as Confederate Lt. Harry T. Buford. She fought and led men in terrible battles, fell in love, bore and lost children, and traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe, ultimately fulfilling her childhood dream of a rich and adventurous life.

You can read the entire 1876 memoir online here. Learn more about Velazquez (and the incredible documentary film Maria Agui Carter made about her) here.

Read previous chapters of her incredible story here.

Part 43: Velazquez makes contact with the Confederate prisoners of war in the Union prison and tells them to be ready to launch a massive breakout.


At Parkersburg, I met Gen. Kelley again and had a talk with him in which he laughingly suggested that I seemed to be in as much of a hurry to go West as I had been to go East the last time he saw me.

I remarked that in wartimes the enemy had a way of putting in appearances at various points of the compass, and that we had to go for him wherever he happened to be, if we didn’t want him to come to us. I also hinted, with a little maliciousness, that perhaps the reason why the war had lasted so long was because so many of our generals, instead of going after the rebels wherever they were to be found, insisted on waiting for them to come to places where it would be most convenient to fight them.

The general said there was some truth in that and that if all the generals were as smart about doing what they had to do as I seemed to be, the rebels would have been whipped long ago. It is pleasant to have commendation even from those we are fighting against, and I felt flattered at the general’s good opinion of me, although I knew that he was really not aware what good cause he had to commend my smartness. I wondered what he would say about me if he should suddenly discover what kind of an errand I was then really on. … I parted from the general, with Cincinnati as my next objective point, with a full expectation that ere long he would hear of me, or at least of my work, in a way that would astonish him.

After leaving Cincinnati en route for Sandusky, I was introduced by the conductor to a lieutenant who had in charge twenty-seven Confederate prisoners. These he was taking to Sandusky to be placed on Johnson’s Island, and I, consequently, thought that he might be an advantageous person to know, and that if I could manage to get into his good graces I might in some way advance the interests of the scheme I was engaged in. …

This officer was a rather flashy young man who evidently thought that he cut a very dashing figure in his uniform and whose mind was given rather to reflection on his own importance than to the acquisition of useful knowledge. He was not, however, without a certain amount of good sense, and he made a far from disagreeable traveling companion, for we speedily got tolerably well acquainted, and he not only was very attentive but he entertained me not a little by his conversation.

Not knowing what use I might have for him, I tried to be as cordial as possible, and long before we reached Sandusky we were on the best of terms. I did not find out a great deal from him that was worth knowing, for the reason, perhaps, that he did not know anything. He, however, permitted me to have a talk with the prisoners, whom I questioned as to what commands they belonged to, when they were captured, and other matters, and gave them each a dollar apiece out of Col. Baker’s money. Beyond asking them questions, I did not say a great deal to them, for I could not know how far they were to be trusted but I looked much more than I said, and several of the more intelligent among them exchanged significant glances with me, which intimated that they understood that I had a purpose in view in cultivating the acquaintance of the lieutenant so assiduously and was disposed to befriend them by any means in my power.

As to the lieutenant, he took such a decided fancy to me and was so excessively gallant that he insisted upon paying all my incidental expenses along the road. To this I could not, under the circumstances, permit myself to make any objections, but I was unable to avoid wondering whether it was his own cash or that of Uncle Sam’s he was so very free with. That, however, was no concern of mine, and it would have been even more impolite for me to have asked him the question than to have declined to permit him to pay my bills.

It was midnight when we reached Sandusky. The lieutenant, attentive to the last, put me in the hotel coach and, requesting me to keep an eye on his satchel, he excused himself for a few minutes until he could dispose of his prisoners. I do not know what he did with them but while I was waiting for him, I was also wishing heartily that they would manage to give him the slip and escape. Before a great while, however, he made his appearance again and jumped in the coach. We then drove to the hotel, where he registered my name and procured me a room. After seeing me safely installed in my quarters he said goodnight and expressed a hope that he would have the pleasure of escorting me to breakfast in the morning.

When I awoke the next morning I went to the window, and, drawing the blinds, looked out upon the lake, seeing in the distance what I supposed to be Johnson’s Island. This little piece of ground, rising off there so serenely and beautifully from the bosom of the lake, was to be the scene of my next great effort in behalf of the Confederacy — an effort that, if crowned with success, would bring me more credit and renown and would do more to promote the success of the cause than all the fighting and campaigning I had done.

On it were thousands of brave Confederates, who were sighing for their homes in the sunny South, sighing to be once more on the battlefield fighting for Southern independence, and, all unconscious that the moment was approaching when one good blow rightly struck would not only put an end to their irksome captivity but would go far to secure all that they had taken up arms for, all that they had suffered for on the battlefield and in the prisons of the enemy. It was a great responsibility that rested upon me, this preparing the way for the grand attack which was to transfer the seat of war to these beautiful lake shores, that was to effect the release of these prisoners, and that was, perhaps, to end the war, and I trembled to think that, perchance by some trifling slip or mistake, the whole scheme might miscarry and come to nothing.

When I was dressed, I rang the bell for the chambermaid to take my card to the lieutenant to let him know that I was ready for breakfast. When the woman came, I asked her if that was Johnson’s Island, where the rebel prisoners were kept. She replied that it was, and that she wished they were away from there. I asked her why, and she said she was afraid they would break loose some time and burn the town. I told her I guessed there was no danger of anything of that kind happening, as there ought to be soldiers enough to guard them. She did not appear to be at all sure upon this point but seemed to think that a general stampede of the prisoners was a very likely thing to happen. I was of about the same opinion, although I did not tell her so, but followed her downstairs to the drawing room, where I found my lieutenant waiting to take me in to breakfast.

During the progress of the meal the lieutenant said that he would have to go over to the island with his prisoners, but that he would be back about eleven o’clock, when, if I would permit him, he would get a team and we would take a drive. I thanked him but declined on the plea that my engagements would not permit of my accepting his kind invitation, although I might be able to do so at some future time. He said he was sorry but that he was afraid he would not be able to permit himself the enjoyment of my company much longer, as it would be necessary for him to return the next day, at the latest. I professed to be sorry but was not very much so, for I wanted to get rid of him, having come to the conclusion that he was not likely to be of much more use to me, while if he pursued me with his attentions he might prove a serious impediment to the proper execution of my plans.

So soon as he was well out of sight, I went to the telegraph office and sent dispatches to the Confederate agents at Detroit and Buffalo, announcing my arrival, and received their responses. This duty performed, I started for the boat that was to carry me over to the island.

While crossing to the prison camp, where so many of my comrades were confined, my mind was filled with a thousand suppositions as to what might happen. The least accident might bring the whole great scheme to nothing, and I felt a nervousness and a dread of consequences at the idea of undertaking the task before me that I had never experienced when facing the enemy on the battlefield. So far as any personal danger was concerned, I was no more sensible of fear than I was when the bullets were flying thick and fast around me but it was a terrible sensation, that of feeling that the fate of a magnificent campaign was in my hands and that upon my good management would depend whether it could ever be inaugurated or not. The sensation was such as a general might feel when making the first movement in a great battle upon which the fate of a nation depended. I did not lose anything of my coolness or my resolution but I could not help being oppressed, in some degree, with the weight of my responsibility and could not help wondering whether I would succeed in doing, in good style, what I had been assigned to do, or if, after I had finished my part of the work, my associates would have the skill and courage to do theirs.

On arriving at the island, I showed my letter from Baker to the commanding officer and explained to him that I was searching for a rebel spy who was supposed to be engaged, or to have been engaged, in some plots which the authorities at Washington were desirous to learn the particulars of. My credentials were recognized as correct, and I was accordingly admitted … into the enclosure and permitted to speak freely to the prisoners.

My greatest fear now was that some of the Confederates would recognize me and would say or do something incautiously that would lead to my detection. I was known to a good many in the Confederate service, both officers and men, as a woman, and to a great many more as a man, and there was no telling but that someone among the prisoners might be heedless enough to claim acquaintance with me and thus spoil everything.

Glancing around the enclosure, however, I could see no signs of recognition on any of the faces of the prisoners, although a number of them were gazing curiously at me, and after a bit I began to breathe a little freer and to be able to inspect the men rather more closely, with a view of picking out a suitable one to communicate with.

At length, I spied a young officer whom I had known slightly when I was figuring as Lt. Harry T. Buford, and who I knew to be a particularly bright, intelligent fellow. I concluded, therefore, to speak to him, and calling him to me, asked him a few immaterial questions until we had walked away out of earshot of the others.

When we were where no one could overhear us, I said, “I am a Confederate and have got in here under false colors. I have something important to say to you.”

“I hope you have some good news for us.”

“Yes, it is good news, at least I hope you will think it is, for it concerns your liberation.”

“Well, that is good, if it can be done, for we are mighty tired of this, I can tell you.”

“It will depend a great deal on yourselves whether anything can be done but if the prisoners will only co-operate in the right spirit, at the right moment, with our friends outside, not only will they secure their release, but they will be able to hit the Yankees a staggering blow.”

His eyes sparkled at this, and I saw that he was willing and eager to engage in almost any enterprise that promised to secure his liberation, and I was only fearful that in his excitement he would do something incautious that would interfere with the successful prosecution of our scheme.

I therefore said, “You must be very careful, keep cool, and, above all things, don’t give a hint as to who I am. Say that I am a Yankee, if anybody asks you, and pretend that this conversation was only about how you are treated and whether you do not wish that the war was over, whether you expect to be exchanged soon, and matters of that kind.”

“I will fix that all right. What is it that the boys outside are going to do for us?”

“I have a dispatch here which will tell you what are the arrangements, what the signals outside will be, and what you are to do when you see them. Give it to the party it is addressed to, and consider yourselves under his orders until your liberation is effected. When you are once outside of the prison you will find plenty to help you and will be able to effect some kind of an organization.”

“Well, don’t you want to see the party that the dispatch is for?”

“No, it won’t do for me to talk to too many, and it is better for a number of reasons, in order to avoid any suspicion, that I should not be seen in conversation with him.”

“Well, I’ll give the dispatch to him in any verbal message you may send.”

I then dropped on the ground a package containing eight hundred dollars and said, “There is some money — conceal it as quick as you can, and distribute it among the men as far as it will go.”

He thereupon sat down on a block of wood in front of me and commenced whittling a stick, while I stood close to him with my back to the guard, and with my skirts covering the package. Watching a favorable opportunity, when the guard was looking another way, he seized the package and slipped it into his boot and then went on whittling in as unconcerned a manner as possible.

I then told him that I would leave Sandusky the next day at the latest, and that with the delivery of the dispatch I held in my hand, which contained full and minute directions, my part of the business would be finished, and that the consummation of the scheme would depend upon himself and the others. I cautioned him to be exceedingly wary, and to take none of the prisoners into his confidence unless he was perfectly sure of their thorough reliability.

He promised to be discreet, and then wishing him goodbye and success, I shook hands with him, passing the dispatch as I did so.

The precious paper once in his possession, he started off, whistling and whittling as he went, while I hurriedly returned to the office, when I told the commander that I was unable to find the man I was looking for and thought that I would have to visit some of the other prison camps.

He said he was sorry and hoped that I would have better luck next time. “We then walked together towards the boat, conversing in general terms about the prisoners and the war. At the landing, we met the lieutenant, who seemed to be rather surprised to see me there. He exclaimed, “Why, have you been visiting the prisoners? If I had known that you wanted to see them, I would have escorted you over to the Island.”

I did not care to tell the young man that, under the circumstances, I preferred to dispense with his escort and so only said, “Oh, yes. I thought I would like to take a look at them, and I can tell you, some of those rebels are sharp, if they are backwoodsmen. If you don’t look out, they will be getting away from you someday.”

The officers both laughed, and the lieutenant said, “I guess not — they are always talking about doing that, but they never do it, we have them too fast.”

This was a point which I did not care to argue with him just then, so saying adieu to the commander of the prison, the lieutenant and I stepped aboard the boat and were soon on our way back to Sandusky.

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The Mexican War returns / Trump-era patriarchy / A writer’s advice for life / Bob Dylan’s thoughts / Marilyn Monroe and WWII ‘drones’

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Will Mexico Get Half of Its Territory Back?
By Enrique Krauze | The New York Times | April 6
“The United States invasion of Mexico in 1846 inflicted a painful wound that, in the 170 years that followed, turned into a scar. Donald Trump has torn it open again. Among the many lies that he has constructed, none is more ridiculous than his attempt to contradict history by presenting the United States as a victim of Mexico. …”

2. Hillary Clinton: misogyny ‘certainly’ played a role in 2016 election loss
By Amber Jamieson | The Guardian | April 6
“In first post-election interview, former Democratic presidential candidate calls for US intervention in Syria and a ‘patriotic’ investigation into Russia”

3. Trump’s Patriarchal Counter-Revolution
By Jeet Heer | The New Republic | April 3
“Sexism is making a comeback under the president and his heavily male administration, sparking a renewed war over gender equality.”

4. Life Advice From Adrienne Rich
By Emily Temple | LitHub | March 2017
“Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work. It means that you do not treat your body as a commodity with which to purchase superficial intimacy or economic security; for our bodies to be treated as objects, our minds are in mortal danger. It means insisting that those to whom you give your friendship and love are able to respect your mind. ”

5. Q&A with Bill Flanagan
By Bob Dylan and Bill Flanagan | | March 2017
“These songs are some of the most heartbreaking stuff ever put on record and I wanted to do them justice. Now that I have lived them and lived through them I understand them better. They take you out of that mainstream grind where you’re trapped between differences which might seem different but are essentially the same. Modern music and songs are so institutionalized that you don’t realize it. These songs are cold and clear-sighted, there is a direct realism in them, faith in ordinary life just like in early rock and roll.”

6. These sex addicts can’t stop swiping right on Tinder
By Melkorka Licea | The New York Post | April 2
“Unsurprisingly, many of these hook-ups feel more like cold business transactions than meaningful connections with fellow humans. … But it’s the dependence on one-night-stands that can lead to obsessive behavior, depression, and issues maintaining real connections, therapists believe.”

7. Save All
By Jaeah Lee | The California Sunday Magazine | March 2017
“Archiving the Internet in the Trump Era”

8. The power thinker
By Colin Koopman | Aeon | March 15
“Original, painstaking, sometimes frustrating and often dazzling. Foucault’s work on power matters now more than ever.”

9. There is no such thing as western civilisation
By Kwame Anthony Appiah | The Guardian | November 2016
“The values of liberty, tolerance and rational inquiry are not the birthright of a single culture. In fact, the very notion of something called ‘western culture’ is a modern invention”

10. Marilyn Monroe’s World War II Drone Program
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | June 2014
“Working 10 hours a day for $20 a week in a World War II defense plant 70 years ago was 18-year-old Norma Jeane Dougherty, wife of a young United States merchant seaman assigned overseas.”

Loreta’s Civil War: Wild thoughts that filled my mind

Throughout 2016 and 2017, Stillness of Heart shared edited excerpts from the extraordinary memoir of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, who chronicled her adventures throughout the Civil War — either as herself, as a Confederate spy, or in disguise as Confederate Lt. Harry T. Buford. She fought and led men in terrible battles, fell in love, bore and lost children, and traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe, ultimately fulfilling her childhood dream of a rich and adventurous life.

You can read the entire 1876 memoir online here. Learn more about Velazquez (and the incredible documentary film Maria Agui Carter made about her) here.

Read previous chapters of her incredible story here.

Part 42: Velazquez has a new assignment: Track down a spy and help suppress a massive Union prison raid. She intends to do the exact opposite.


The next morning, just as I was sitting down to breakfast, the waiter brought me a note from Col. Baker, in which he stated that he would call to see me at the hotel about half past ten o’clock and requested me to await him at that hour. Still being uncertain whether Baker’s intentions towards me were amicable or not, it was not without some trepidation that I looked forward to this interview. … At the appointed time, Col. Baker made his appearance, and said “Good morning” with a pleasant smile, in which there was apparently not a shade of malice or unfriendliness. After asking me how I had liked the play and making a few other unimportant remarks, he said, “Well, my little woman, I have made up my mind to let you try your skill as a detective once more, if you are in the same mind you were yesterday.”

“Yes,” I replied, “I am just as anxious now as I was then, and I think I can not only find that spy for you, but that I can discover whether there really is any intention among the rebel prisoners to make a break.”

“That is just what I want you to do. I think that a woman can manage a job of this kind better than a man anyhow, and I believe that you are just the woman to manage it in first-rate style.”

“Thank you, colonel, I can at least try.”

“Yes, that’s it, try and find out all you can. I want you to pick out this man for me if he is at Johnson’s Island, as you seem to think he is, and if you succeed in finding him, telegraph to me immediately. If he is not at Johnson’s Island, you had better try and find out if any of the prisoners know anything about him — it is possible, you know, that he may be in some other prison, or, indeed, that he may have escaped. At all events, make every effort to find him.”

“You know, colonel, I am acquainted with a good many people down South, and I may come across somebody I know or somebody that knows somebody I know, and by representing myself as a disguised Confederate, I may be able to get the prisoners to talk plainer than they would to a stranger or a new visitor.”

“Well, I will leave it to you to manage the thing the best way you can think of. It would not be a bad idea, however, if you were to pass yourself off as a Confederate secret service agent, and if you were to intimate that something was likely to be done soon to procure the release of the prisoners, you might be able to induce them to say whether they have any plans of their own, or whether they are in communication with any one outside.”

“That is about my idea of working but the only difficulty will be in getting a chance to talk to any of the men privately.”

“Oh, I’ll arrange that for you by giving you a confidential letter, which, however, you must be careful not to let any one see except the commanding officer. If those fellows are up to any tricks, I want to know all about it at once. There has been a good deal of talk at different times about the prisoners attempting to stampede, but it has been pretty much all newspaper sensation with nothing in it.”

“But, you know, colonel, something of the kind might be attempted, and if a stampede or an insurrection should take place, it would create a good deal of excitement just now.”

“Yes, yes, that’s so. If there is anything on foot I want to discover it, and I want you to find out all you possibly can, and let me know immediately.”

“Well, you can rely upon me, and I think you will find me as shrewd as most of your detectives are.”

“If you will only keep your eyes and ears well open and open your mouth only when you have business to talk about, I will most likely find you a good deal shrewder.”

“Why, colonel, you don’t appear to have the best opinion in the world of some of your detectives.”

“Oh, yes, they do pretty well, some of them are really first-rate men, but they are not as smart as they ought to be for the kind of service they are in.”

“I suppose some of those rebel spies give you a good of trouble in keeping the run of them.”

“Oh, you haven’t any idea of it. Half the people of Washington and its immediate vicinity are rebel sympathizers and would be spies if they dared and knew how. And then they are at work all through the North and in Canada. Some of my people are after a spy now who has been traveling between Richmond and Canada, but they don’t seem to be able to lay their hands on her. If they don’t catch her soon, I have half a mind to let you try what you can do, if you succeed well with your present trip.”

The conversation at this point, I concluded, was getting to be rather too personal, and I thought it best to change the subject, although I could not help smiling at the idea of Baker employing me to catch myself. That, I thought, would be entirely too arduous a task for me to undertake in my then rather feeble state of health, although there might be both amusement and profit in it. Forbearing, however, to enter upon this interesting theme, I asked the colonel when he desired me to start. He said by the first train, if I could get ready, and handing me my confidential letter and two hundred dollars, he asked whether there was anything more he could do for me.

I said that I could think of nothing but would proceed to get ready for my journey immediately. He then shook hands and left, after wishing me a pleasant trip and expressing a hope that he would soon receive a good report from me.

When the colonel was gone, I went up to my room to pack my traveling satchel and, feeling perfectly satisfied from my late conversation with him that I was safe for the present so far as he was concerned, I laughed heartily at the absurdity of the situation and wondered with myself whether I would have dared to attempt anything of this kind at Richmond with old Gen. Winder. I had no difficulty in concluding that if fate had compelled me to play tricks with Winder, as I was doing with Baker, I would have been forced to proceed in a less open and free and easy style about it, and congratulated myself most heartily that I had so easy a customer to deal with under existing circumstances.

Calling a carriage, I was soon at the Baltimore depot and on board the train. Having to stop at the Relay House for the western-bound train, I made an effort to see the Confederate agent who was stationed there, as I had a number of things I wanted to say to him. He was an old Southern acquaintance of mine, and there were a variety of little matters that I could have whispered in his ear that would have been useful. … There is a good deal in knowing who one’s friends really are in transacting such delicate business as that I was then engaged in. Unfortunately, my friend was away, and as I was in too much of a hurry to wait for his return, I was forced to forego the pleasure of seeing him.

Once on board the western train, I had a long journey before me and had plenty of time to think over affairs generally. I planned and schemed until my brain fairly whirled, and I was glad to chat a little with some of my neighbors or to gaze through the car windows at the gorgeous scenery that met my eyes at every turn in the road, and to try and think for a while only of its beauties as a rest from the wild thoughts that filled my mind.

Try as I might, however, I could not avoid thinking of the situation, the prospects of the Confederacy, and the chances of success for the grand scheme, the execution of which I was endeavoring to assist. What if we failed or, if we succeeded in our first effort, would we be able to accomplish all we intended and expected? These were questions I could not answer. What I dreaded most was the possible effect of a raid by way of the Lakes on the Confederate sympathizers and the anti-war party. Would it stimulate them to make greater exertions than ever to bring the conflict to a close, or would this bringing the war to the doors of themselves and their neighbors turn them against us? I confess that I had fears of the latter result, for I had a not ill-founded distrust of these people, who are neither one thing nor the other, and I believed that had the Copperheads wielded their influence as they might have done, they could either have prevented the war in the beginning or could have forced a conclusion long ago.

What power the opponents of the war were able to exert would, however, be determined very shortly. A presidential election was coming off in a few weeks, and the greatest excitement with regard to the political battle that was being waged prevailed. Nearly everybody admitted that the defeat of Mr. Lincoln for a second term would mean that a majority of the people of the North were ready and anxious to abandon the contest and to let the seceding Southern states go in peace. The fact that the Democratic candidate was a Federal general, who had been commander-in-chief of the armies, and who professed to be willing and anxious to carry on the war did not please me very well, for it indicated to my mind, very plainly, that the anti-war people were afraid to oppose Mr. Lincoln and the war party on a square issue.

I, however, was nothing of a politician and did not profess to understand the ways of politicians, they being a class of men for whom I had no special admiration. But I could not help thinking that the Confederate government and the people of the South were basing too many hopes on what the Democrats would be able to do at this election. I knew that they in many ways were doing what they could to secure a Democratic victory, but, for my part, I relied far more on bullets than on ballots to give the South the victory, and I expected more from the great raid, for which I was now working, than I did from the election of Gen. McClellan. …

Loreta’s Civil War: Playing a desperate game

Throughout 2016 and 2017, Stillness of Heart shared edited excerpts from the extraordinary memoir of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, who chronicled her adventures throughout the Civil War — either as herself, as a Confederate spy, or in disguise as Confederate Lt. Harry T. Buford. She fought and led men in terrible battles, fell in love, bore and lost children, and traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe, ultimately fulfilling her childhood dream of a rich and adventurous life.

You can read the entire 1876 memoir online here. Learn more about Velazquez (and the incredible documentary film Maria Agui Carter made about her) here.

Read previous chapters of her incredible story here.

Part 41: Her mission accomplished, Velazquez returns to Washington to check in with her Union supervisor. He is impressed with her, while she worries that he may find out how she is manipulating him.


On my return from Canada, I went first to New York, where I delivered such matters as had been committed to my care for my associates there, and after a conference with them, hurried on to Washington for the purpose of seeing Col. Baker.

It was not without many apprehensions that I concluded to face the colonel again, for I did not know how much information he might have about me by this time, and it really seemed like walking into the lion’s den. That his officers were aware of some of my movements, as they were following me up rather too closely for comfort, was certain but whether they had yet succeeded in identifying the rebel spy and secret-service agent with the woman whom Baker had employed to go on a confidential mission to Richmond was not so clear. Taking all things into consideration, I concluded that Baker and his men must be rather in a mist about me, for the detective, whom I had met on the cars, was evidently working somewhat in the dark, which could hardly have been the case had his chief suspected me of playing a double game with him. If Baker, however, had the least suspicion with regard to me, the fact of my very prolonged absence would, I knew, be liable to increase it, although under ordinary circumstances there would have been no difficulty in explaining this to his satisfaction, for he well knew that the errand he had sent me on was a difficult as well as a perilous one and that it was not to be accomplished quite as easily as a trip between Washington and New York.

Making all allowances for the probabilities in my own favor, however, I confess that I experienced some trepidation at the idea of facing the colonel, and I wondered not a little what he would do with me in case he did happen to know who I really was. It was of such great importance, however, that I should gain immediate admittance to the military prisons, and I knew that such admittance could be gained by going there as one of Baker’s corps, whereas it might otherwise be impossible, that I determined to take all the risks, so far as my own safety was concerned, and to try and have the colonel my ally in making the preparations for what … would be one of the most brilliant episodes of the war, so far as the Confederates were concerned, and that would not unlikely have the effect of bringing the contest to a speedy termination.

The idea of being able to use the chief of the Federal detectives for the advancement of the Confederate cause was one that gave me enormous satisfaction, and I more than once fancied what a capital good joke it would be for me, after I succeeded in getting beyond Col. Baker’s reach, to inform him how badly he had been taken in and to ask him what he thought of me and of my performances from a professional point of view.

While on my way to Washington for the purpose of meeting him and of making a report of my Richmond trip, my prospective interview was anything but a joking matter. The thing had to be done, though, so, stifling my fears, I, on my arrival in Washington, walked boldly into the colonel’s presence and announced myself as having just got back from Richmond.

Baker received me with proper cordiality and congratulated me on my safe return. There was nothing whatever in his manner to indicate that he had the slightest suspicion of me. This was reassuring, still I could not be quite certain but that, having once got me into his power, he intended to find out what I had to say for myself before beginning a less agreeable conversation.

I, however, did not propose to commence saying disagreeable things if he did not, and so, presuming that he imagined me to have just returned from the Confederate capital, I proceeded to make such a report of my doings as I thought would suit him.

I told him that I had obtained the name of the spy whom he was anxious to discover, and such a description of him as would enable me to identify him without any difficulty, if I could get to see him. The information I had obtained with regard to him induced me to believe that he was at Johnson’s Island, but of this I could not be certain.

I then went on to say that it was understood in Richmond that arrangements were being made for a grand stampede of the rebel prisoners, and that this spy, in some way, found means to communicate with the Copperheads and the rebel secret service agents. This was the story which it had been arranged between my confederate and myself I should tell Baker, for several reasons. There was the least bit of truth in it, and, in endeavoring to throw a detective like Baker off the scent, a little truth mingled with the fiction would be likely to accomplish the object better than a story which was all fiction.

As there had been rumors more than once of attempted stampedes of the prisoners, it was concluded that Baker would not be likely to regard this one as of any very great importance, especially if he had no inkling of the grand raid which was to take place in connection with the release of the prisoners, while at the same time he would be anxious to find out whether a stampede was really to be attempted, and if I managed right, would most likely employ me to make the investigations for him.

This explanation is worth making, for its own sake, as it will give the reader an idea of my method of working, and at the same time will serve to show that I was not revealing to the colonel any secrets which it was my duty to keep from him.

Baker fell into the trap just as innocently as if he had been a young man from the country instead of the chief detective officer of a great government which was engaged in a gigantic contest. On my suggesting my willingness to follow the thing up by visiting the prisons for the purpose of finding the spy, and if possible discovering the facts with regard to any conspiracy that might be on foot, he did not give me any definite answer at once but said he would think about it — but I saw plainly that he considered the idea as rather a good one and did not doubt that he would speedily make up his mind to send me.

When we had finished talking over this matter, I proceeded to give him a detailed account of what I saw and heard in Richmond. I said that the rebels were very strict and very suspicious and would not allow anyone to go to the front or to visit the prisons or the public buildings. I was, however, able to pick up quite a number of facts that might be useful and then went on to tell him a well-connected story, partly true and partly false, about the way things looked, and the way people talked, what the forces in the field and their locations were, how the blockade-runners managed to get in and out of port, what I had seen and heard on the road as I was going to and fro, and so on. None of the real facts that I gave the colonel were of any importance, although I magnified them as much as I could, but they served to give an air of plausibility to my narrative and to convince him that I was quite an expert spy. …

Baker asked me numerous questions, which I answered to the best of my ability, so far as was consistent with the good of the Confederate cause, and when we had concluded our conversation he praised me very warmly, said that I was a plucky little woman, that he had thought I had vim enough to go through if anyone could, that I had done a good service to the country, and a variety of other nice things, which had the effect of making me feel quite pleasant and quite at my ease with him again. … Baker also remarked [that] he had been getting somewhat uneasy about me, to which I replied, by telling him how and why I had been detained, and the explanation appeared to be entirely satisfactory, for he said no more on that point.

I was curious to know exactly how well he was informed with regard to my real movements and had half a dozen questions on the end of my tongue which I wanted to ask him. I concluded, however, that this would be going rather too far, and would do no good, while it might have the effect of exciting suspicions where none at present existed. I did, however, venture to inquire whether he had told anyone that I was attached to the corps.

“No, no,” he replied, “certainly not, and I don’t want you to tell any one either. If I employ you for anything, it will be for strictly confidential business, which must be between ourselves. I would rather that even my own people should not know anything about you as a secret-service agent.”

Having finished our business talk, I asked for my friends Gen. A. and Capt. B., and was informed that the captain was in the field but that the general was in the city and would doubtless be glad to see me.

On reaching the Kirkwood House, where I had taken a room, I sent my card to the general at Willard’s Hotel, and he came immediately to see me. While we were chatting, in came Baker, who, I judged by his manner, had something which he wanted to say to me and surmised that it was a consent that I should visit the prisoners.

“Ah, general,” said he, “I see that you are bound to continue your attentions to our little friend here. She hasn’t been in Washington many hours and you have found her out already. I guess, however, that she likes me better than she does you, for she came to see me as soon as she arrived.”

The general looked a trifle surprised at this, and said, “Why, Baker, you must be getting to be a lady’s man! I didn’t know that you were particularly inclined that way.”

Baker laughed at this, and said, “She is a first-rate little woman, and I wish there were more like her. She has just made a very successful trip to Richmond and has brought me some important items.”

“Is that so?” said the general. “Why, I did not know that she belonged to your corps.”

“Neither does she in a regular way but as she knew a good deal about Richmond and was acquainted with a number of people there, I thought I would let her make a trip, especially as she was extremely anxious to try her luck.”

The general congratulated me on my success and then proposed that we should all three go that evening to Ford’s Theater. Baker assented, and I was quite willing, as I thought an evening’s entertainment in witnessing a good play would brighten me up a little. Besides, I was anxious to cultivate the acquaintance of these two men and was especially solicitous to have all possible opportunities of conversing with the colonel, with a view of inducing him to accede to my proposition for a visit to the military prisons. Baker and the general then said goodbye … and went away together.

About seven o’clock in the evening the general returned alone, and as he was escorting me to the carriage I asked where Baker was. The general replied that he had been compelled to go unexpectedly to the Executive Mansion on some business but would probably join us in the theater.

This aroused all my apprehensions of danger again, and I became fearfully uneasy lest all the colonel’s fine words should merely have been intended to draw me out and conceal some sinister designs towards me. I stifled my fears, however, as well as I could, and after we got to the theater tried to converse with the general in an agreeable and natural manner. I was startled by the least sound, however, and was unable to avoid turning around to look every time anyone came in, almost expecting every moment that Baker or one of his officers would appear for the purpose of arresting me.

My fears proved to be groundless. Baker did come in soon after the play commenced, and, taking a seat beside me, made an apology for not joining the party sooner, but [begged] to be excused, as he had been compelled to go up to the White House for the purpose of having a talk with the president and the secretary of war. There was nothing in his manner then or afterwards to indicate that he was suspicious of me, and both he and the general … were apparently greatly absorbed in what was occurring on the stage.

As for myself, I found it impossible to get interested. I was uneasy for my own safety, knowing that I was playing a desperate game, and was even more anxious lest the grand scheme which I was endeavoring to promote should fail through any fault or misdirection of mine. My thoughts, too, wandered to our brave men in the field and to the sufferings of the poor prisoners. I almost reproached myself for even making an appearance of indulging in an evening’s recreation in company with two Federal officers while so many thousand Confederates were enduring so much but consoled myself with the reflection that I was not doing this for mere pleasure but was engaged in the performance of an important task, which might be greatly promoted through my acquaintance with these men. Finally, to my great relief and satisfaction, the play came to an end and the curtain dropped for the last time.

As we passed out, the general proposed that we should go to the Grand Hotel and have some supper. I did not care to do this, but thought it best to accept the invitation.

We had a really superb repast — one of the finest I had ever sat down to, and, as I was hungry, I ate quite heartily. In the way of drinkables, I confined myself to lemonade but the gentlemen took wine. The general, who was quite fond of his toddy, drank rather more than was good for him and soon became very talkative and a trifle noisy. He was one of those men, however, who never forget to be gentlemen, and he neither said nor did anything offensive. Finally, he began spinning some long yarn, during which Baker took an opportunity to whisper to me that he would probably want to see me in the morning. I nodded assent, although my fears began to rise a little but I hoped that instead of demanding a different account of my doings from that which I had already given him, the colonel would give me my commission for a trip to the West.

After we had finished our supper, we returned to the Kirkwood, where I bade them good night, at about a quarter before twelve, at the drawing-room door, and as soon as they were gone hastened to my own room to obtain the rest of which I stood in so much need, for I was tired out with the fatigues of travel and the excitement and anxieties of the day.

TED Ideas: Should emotions be taught in schools?

Our unresolved, unacknowledged feelings can lead us into anxiety, arguments and worse. Some educators believe it’s time to give our kids emotional instruction along with their ABCs. Who taught you how to identify and manage your emotions, how to recognize them when they arose and navigate your way through them? For many adults, the answer…

via Should emotions be taught in schools? —

Loreta’s Civil War: Excite terror in the hearts

Throughout 2016 and 2017, Stillness of Heart shared edited excerpts from the extraordinary memoir of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, who chronicled her adventures throughout the Civil War — either as herself, as a Confederate spy, or in disguise as Confederate Lt. Harry T. Buford. She fought and led men in terrible battles, fell in love, bore and lost children, and traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe, ultimately fulfilling her childhood dream of a rich and adventurous life.

You can read the entire 1876 memoir online here. Learn more about Velazquez (and the incredible documentary film Maria Agui Carter made about her) here.

Read previous chapters of her incredible story here.

Part 40: Velazquez confronts her fear of capture by speaking directly to the Union detective hunting her.


He was a short, thick-set man, with a dull, heavy expression of countenance, deep-set eyes, thick eyebrows, and a coarse and rather scrubby mustache. He did not have the appearance of being a very brilliant genius, but then, as I well knew, it did not do to place too much reliance upon mere outward appearances, especially with members of the detective force.

After passing the compliments of the day we launched into a general conversation, I attempting to speak with a touch of the Irish brogue, thinking that it would induce him to believe me to be a foreigner. I would have addressed him with a Spanish accent but was fearful that it would help to betray me … Baker as well as others having been told that I was of Spanish extraction, while I did not know as yet how much real information the secret-service chief might have with regard to me or whether this fellow was one of his officers or not. I was playing a rather desperate game but I felt tolerably sure of being able to deal with the gentleman. I confess, however, to having felt considerable anxiety, although I strove to conceal it from my companion.

“You are going to Canada, are you not?” inquired my new-made friend.

“Yes, sir.”

“Do you live there?”

“Oh, no, sir. I live in England. I am only going to Canada to visit some friends.”

“Have you been in America long?”

“Only about eight months.”

“How do you like this country? Don’t you think it is a finer country than England?”

“Oh, I like living in England much better than I do here, and expect to go back as soon as I get through with my Canada visit. There is too much fighting going on here to suit me.”

“Oh, you need not mind that, besides, the war will soon be over now.”

“Do you think so?” I queried — I am afraid just with the least touch of sarcasm — and for fear he might have noticed something unpleasant in my tone, added, “I will be glad when the fighting is over. It is terrible to hear every day of so many men being killed.”

“Oh, that is nothing, we get used to it.”

“Yes,” I mentally said, “it may be nothing to such a shirk as you, for you will take precious good care to keep your carcass out of danger.”

The detective now took out of his pocket the photograph which my associate in New York had given him and which I was anxious to see, and, handing it to me, [he] said, “Did you ever see anybody resembling this? I am after the lady and would like very much to find her.”

“She is very handsome,” I replied. “Is she your wife?” — looking him straight in the eyes as I said this.

“Wife! No,” said he, apparently disgusted at the suggestion that he was in pursuit of a faithless spouse. “She is a rebel spy, and I am trying to catch her.”

“Why, what has she been doing? She looks like a very nice lady, and I hardly could think she would do anything wrong.”

“Well, she has been doing a good deal that our government would like to pay her off for. She is one of the smartest of the whole gang.” This I thought was rather complimentary than otherwise. “I am on her track now, however, sure.” — “Yes, the back track,” I thought – “and I am bound to catch her.”

“Well, if she has been doing anything against the law, I suppose she ought to be punished but I hope you won’t treat her unkindly if you do succeed in catching her.”

“She will have to look out for that. It don’t do to show any mercy to these she-devils — they give us more trouble than all the men together.”

“But perhaps this lady is not a spy, after all. She looks too pretty and nice for anything of that kind. How do you know about her?”

“Oh, some of our force have been on the track of her for a long time. She has been working for these Copperheads and rebel agents here at the North and has been running through the lines with dispatches and goods. She came through from Richmond only a short time ago, and she is now on her way to Canada with a lot of dispatches and a big sum of money, which I would like to capture.”

“Doubtless you would,” I thought and then said aloud, “I wonder how you can find out so much when there must be a great many people coming and going all the time. Supposing that this lady is a spy, as you say, how do you know that she has not already reached Canada?”

“Maybe she has,” he replied, “but I don’t think so. I have got her down pretty fine and feel tolerably certain of taking her before she gets over the line.”

This was a highly edifying and entertaining conversation to me, and I would willingly have prolonged it indefinitely, for the purpose of trying to get some points from my companion which might prove useful. As he, however, seemed inclined to change the subject, I was afraid to seem too inquisitive, and we consequently dropped into a general conversation of no interest to the reader.

The detective seemed determined to be as polite to me as he could, and on leaving the cars he carried my satchel, containing eighty-two thousand dollars belonging to the Confederate government and a variety of other matters which he would have taken possession of with the utmost pleasure, could he have known what they were. When we passed on board the boat I took the satchel from him, and, thanking him for his attention, proceeded to get out of his sight as expeditiously as I could.

When the custom-house officer examined my luggage, I gave him a wink and whispered the password I had been instructed to use, and he merely turned up the shawl which was on my arm and went through the form of looking into my satchel.

On reaching the Canada shore I was met by Mr. L., who gave me a very hearty greeting but I cautioned him to say as little as possible just then, as we might be watched. Glancing back, I saw my friend the detective, anxiously surveying the passing crowd, and, calling Mr. L.’s attention to him, I said, “Do you see that heavy man with the black eyebrows and scrubby mustache, who looks as though he had lost something?”

“Yes. What of him?”

“He has been traveling on the train with me all day and has been exceedingly polite and attentive. He is a detective, and I am the individual he is after, but he isn’t half smart enough to catch me.”

I then, as we moved off, related my adventure with the detective to my Canadian friend. He thought it a capital good joke and said that I seemed to be tolerably well able to take care of myself.

On my arrival in Canada I was welcomed with great cordiality by the Confederates there, who were eager to know all about my trip, how things were looking at Richmond, whether I had letters for so and so and anything else that I was able to tell them. I distributed my letters and dispatches according to instructions, mailed packages for the commanders of the cruisers Shenandoah and Florida, which I had received with special injunctions to be particularly careful of, as they were very important, and then proceeded to the transaction of such other business, commercial as well as political, as I had on hand.

As this was my first visit to Canada, there was much for me to do and much to learn. I therefore became acquainted with as many people as I could, and found out all I could about the methods of transacting commercial and financial business, who the proper parties to deal with were, and everything else worth knowing that I could think of.

There were a good many matters of more importance than trade and finance, however, which demanded my immediate consideration, and many and long were the conferences held with regard to the proposed grand movement on the enemy’s rear. There were a number of points about this grand scheme that I would have liked to have been informed of but those who were making the arrangements for the raid were so fearful of their plans in some way getting to the ears of the Federal authorities that they were unwilling to tell me and other special agents, more than was absolutely necessary for the fulfillment of the duties entrusted to us. This excessive caution was, perhaps, demanded by the peculiarities of the situation but it is certain, in my opinion, that could there have been a more definite understanding between the various co-workers, the chances of success would have been very largely increased. I, for one, could have performed my part with far more efficiency — although I did all that it was arranged that I should do — had I been trusted more largely with the details of the proposed movement.

As it was, I was merely furnished with a general idea of the contemplated attack and was assigned to special duties in connection with it. These duties were to visit Johnson’s Island in Lake Erie, and, if possible, other military prisons for the purpose of informing the Confederates confined in them of what was being done towards effecting their release, and what was expected of them when they were released. I was then to telegraph to certain agents that the prisoners were warned and such other information as I might deem it important for them to be possessed of, in accordance with an arranged system of signals. This being done, I was to proceed to the execution of other tasks, the exact details of which, however, were made dependent upon circumstances, and upon directions I might receive from the agents in the States, under whose orders I was to act.

This plan for a grand raid by way of the lakes excited my enthusiasm greatly, and I had very strong hopes of its success. I knew how desperate the situation at the South was getting to be and felt that a diversion of this kind, which would excite terror in the hearts of the people of the North, and which would probably cause a considerable force to to withdrawn from the front, would help the Confederate cause at this particular juncture more, even, than a series of brilliant victories on the well-trodden battlegrounds of the South. A large number of the people of the North were, I knew, getting heartily sick of the war, and I thought that it would only need a brilliant movement for transferring some of the fighting and some of the desolation to Northern ground to cause the anti-war policy to demand that peace should be had at any price.

Whether the proposed raid would have accomplished all that was expected of it can, of course, never be determined. It is probable, however, that I, as well as others interested, underrated the difficulties of executing such a complicated scheme. Be that as it may, something could have been done, more than was done, had everybody been as enthusiastic and as determined as myself and had there been no traitors with us. The scheme failed when it should have been, at least, partly successful but it need not have failed so utterly as it did, had it been managed with wisdom, backed up by true daring.

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