UNION AND CONFEDERATE CORRESPONDENCE,
ORDERS, ETC., RELATING TO PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE FROM JANUARY 1,
1865, TO THE END.--#33
Deposition of Farnum B. Wright, taken at the office of the
Judge-Advocate-General on the 23d of November, 1865.
The deponent being duly sworn, deposes as follows:
Question. What is your age and of what country are you a native?
Answer. I am thirty-two years of age and am a native
of Glasgow, Nova Scotia.
Question. How long have you been in the United States?
Answer. I came into the United States in 1862; went
South and engaged there in speculations.
Question. Were you at any time in the service of the so-called
Confederate States; if so, how long and in what capacity?
Answer. I was from the early part of 1863 until August
of that year in the service of the rebel General Winder at Richmond. My
duties were to arrest deserters, spies, and other characters deemed
dangerous to the so-called Confederate Government. <ar121_816>
Question. What knowledge, if any, have you of an arrangement or
conspiracy entered into in 1863 for the kidnaping and, if necessary, the
killing of the President of the United States? State fully all the
knowledge and information you have on the subject.
Answer. I first learned from General Winder himself
that a plot had been formed for kidnaping the President of the United
States. I think this was in the summer of 1863. Afterward, while walking
down one of the streets of Richmond, I heard loud talking in a drinking
saloon, which I entered, and found a man named McCulloh talking to a
crowd of persons, and saying that there was a plot laid to kidnap or
kill the Yankee President, and that they would have him at Richmond
inside of a month to split the wood, to cook the Yankee officers' grub
in Libby Prison. I felt it my duty to arrest him, which I did and took
him to Castle Thunder. When Mr. Davis, the President of the so-called
Confederate States, heard of this he sent to General Winder to know why
this arrest had been made. This I learned from General Winder, who told
me that I had better go to Mr. Davis' office and explain the matter. I
told him I did not care to do so, but he insisted, saying that
McCulloh's father was a particular friend of Mr. Davis. I then went and
saw Mr. Davis in his office, General Winder accompanying me. General
Winder said to Mr. Davis that I was the man who had made the arrest and
would explain to him all about it. In reply to Mr. Davis' questions I
then related to him what McCulloh had said and that I had felt it my
duty to arrest him. Davis seemed much excited about it, and General
Winder said that their plans and schemes would be let out by such damned
drunken characters as McCulloh and that he ought to be hung. By this
time several other gentlemen, Patten, Lamar, and Powell, had come in,
having heard what was going on. General Winder continued talking and
said that they must now strike immediately before the Yankee Government
heard of their plans. He said they must bring "the monkey," meaning
President Lincoln, soul and body to Richmond, but that if they could not
bring him alive, they must bring his scalp. Mr. Davis then spoke up,
saying, "Gentlemen, you must capture him and bring him, if possible, to
Richmond, without hurting a hair of his head, but if an attempt is made
to recapture him you must see that he never reaches Washington alive"
Mr. Patten observed that they would require more means than they had to
carry out their purposes, to which Mr. Davis answered by saying to
General Winder that he must furnish all necessary means to carry the
plan into execution at once. All the gentlemen present were understood
to be engaged in it. I then left Mr. Davis' office, the other persons
remaining. Before I did so, however, Mr. Davis said I must arrest
certain persons present in the drinking saloon, supposed to be blockade
runners, who had heard McCulloh's declarations. I made an attempt to
find them, but failed to do so.
Question. Do you know why this scheme for kidnaping or killing
the President was not carried out at the time
Answer. I do not. I left General Winder's service soon
afterward, and was not again in a position to be informed of what was
going on in connection with the proposed capture of the President. I
have since seen one of the men engaged in it--John Patten--who was
present at our interview with Mr. Davis. He told me he had been promised
complete indemnification by Davis' friends for all he had lost from his
connection with the enterprise, and that if these promises to him were
not fulfilled he would expose all the papers in relation to the matter
which he then had in his possession. He resides in Saint Louis.
F. B. WRIGHT.
Sworn and acknowledged at Washington, D.C., this 23d of
November, 1865, before me.