OR, Ser. II, Vol. VIII, pp. 815-816

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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.


Sworn and acknowledged at Washington, D.C., this 23d of November, 1865, before me.

Notary Public.



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