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The next morning, after the most fiendish insults, they were started under guard for Des Moines. A few miles on the way, they were overtaken by an order to “have Naylor, Morgan, Gobel, the two Shippys, and Evans shot, and the others released, as there is fighting to do at another place." This order was countermanded before the bloodthirsty cow ards had time to execute it.
The prisoners were taken to Indianola, and after Evans had been beaten over the head with a musket, and the others badly abused, (amid the applause of the bystanders, political scorpions,) the commandant ordered them to be put in a dun geon over night; and in a damp underground cell, on a wet stone floor, with a murderer and a horse-thief overhead, without bedding, and with the offensive atmosphere from the room occupied by the malefactors, the prisoners spent a night, worse than death.
Next morning everything was changed. The prisoners were well treated, hurried into wagons, after a good break. fast, driven within ten miles of Osceola, and released.
The malignant captors had heard that the roads, on tho way to Des Moines, showed evident signs of lurking thunder, and being informed that the arrest itself was a crime, they were glad to get out of the scrape. Several unsuccessful attempts to murder Mr. Naylor were afterward made.
Being pecuniarily reduced by outrage and the suspension of his business for almost five years, he is now struggling to support his family. Firm, however, in his principles, and a bold, able denunciator of lawless tyranny, he hopes to live to see fanaticism and usurpation swept from the land.
ON. PHINEAS C. WRIGHT, now a resident of the city
of New York, is a native of Rome, Oneida County, State of New York, and was forty-four years of age at the time of his arrest. He removed from New York to New Orleans, thence to St. Louis, about a year prior to the beginning of the war, and when arrested, was a citizen of Missouri. He was incarcerated fifteen months — one day in Fort Wayne, eleven months in Fort Lafayette, and four months in Fort Warren, and was never permitted to know of what he was accused, nor who was his accuser.
On the morning of the 27th of April, 1864, he was at Grand Rapids, Michigan, on business, and was arrested at the “Rathbun House,” by Captain Wilson, of the 20th Infantry, United States Army, commanding Fort Wayne.
The order for his arrest ran thus :
“ You will proceed to the Russell House, in the city of Detroit, or wherever else be may be found, and arrest P. C. Wright, formerly a New Orleans lawyer, whose plantation and slaves now confiscated, who is now staying at said house. You will take him to Fort Wayne in a carriage; treat him with courtesy as a gentleman. You will confine him in a room by himself, and make him comfortable. You will allow no one to communicate with him. You will be careful to secure any papers he may bave with him. (Signed)
J. RANDOLPH SMITH,
Colonel U. S. A.,
This order was placed in the hands of Captain Wilson a tew days after Mr. Wright had started from Detroit, for Grand Rapids. Learning of his absence from Detroit, the
Captain followed him, stopping at all ihe important towns along the line, until he found Mr. W. at the Rathbun House. He was courteous in the performance of his duty. He had been in the “Old Army” twenty years, and had been promoted from the ranks as a guerdon of merit. On making the arrest, he stated his business to Mr. Wright in a few words, and handed him the order for his arrest, remarking, “I am charged especially to treat you as a gentleman, and was assured that I would have no occasion to do otherwise." Mr. Wright replied, “I shall give you no trouble, sir.” The Captain then said, “I shall take an apartment in the sleeping car to Detroit, to-night, and no one shall know of your arrest from my words or actions." Then stepping to the door, Captain Wilson called in a man whom he introduced to Mr. Wright as “ Mr. Cutcher, a detective." The party then proceeded to the prisoner's room, to “secure any papers he had with him.” This being done, Captain Wilson left the prisoner in charge of Detective Cutcher, and did not again appear until 4 o'clock P.M., when he met them at the depot, and all took seats in the cars.
They arrived in Detroit at 7 o'clock the following morning. As they were emerging from the cars the Captain perceived the provost guard drawn up in line in the depot. He became much excited, and requesting Mr. W. to take his seat, he stepped up to the guard and ordered them to their quarters. He then came back to the cars, and, accompanied by Mr. Wright and the detective, walked to the “Biddle House,”: near by, for breakfast.
Arriving there, the Captain stepped to the office, and addressing the clerk, said: “I want a private room with a fire, and breakfast for three. I have a prisoner of state, and I don't want to expose him to unpleasant curiosity.” This was said in an undertone, and was plainly not intended for. the ear of Mr. Wright. But having beard it, he protested against the “private room.” The large dining-room, being open, looked warm and cheerful in that frosty morning, and no guests being astir at that early hour, he induced Captain
Wilson to take breakfast in the dining-room; after which, lighting their cigars, they took seats in a close carriage, and were driven toward Fort Wayne, three miles distant.
The party had proceeded about three squares when the carriage was stopped, and a long, lean, lathy, and cadaverous individual thrust his countenance into the open door of the car- . riage, and squeaked forth in a cracked voice, “Good morning, Capt'n! We made a big arrest yesterday; we got a great lecturer --" The fellow did not finish what he had evidently intended to say, for Captain Wilson, flushed with anger cried out sternly, “ Drive on, and don't stop again until I tell you.” He proved to be, as Mr. W. afterward learned, an itinerant preacher, then a chaplain with some volunteers, and had been subsequently promoted to a post on the provost guard. The prisoner felt thankful to the fellow, for he had unwittingly given him the only clue to the cause of his arrest he ever received. About two weeks previously he had read a lecture to a large and interested audience of citizens, of every shade of political sentiment and opinion, at the beautiful town of St. Clair, near Detroit.
Arriving at Fort Wayne, Mr. Wright was passed througŁ the office and its routine, and conducted to a small but cheer. ful room in the third story of the long line of barracks, which were used as the officers' quarters. A small boy brought an armful of wood and kindled a cheerful fire. A sentry was placed on the landing at the foot of the half flight of iron stairs which led to the door of his room. Mr Wright was instructed to call him by a rap on the inside of the door, if he wanted anything.
Presently, Captain Wilson made his appearance, accompanied by Lieutenant Jones, a polite, cultivated young gentleman, in whose charge he left his prisoner for the day, as he himself was going to the city to report to Colonel Smith. Mr. Wright immediately asked for books and writing materials. Lieutenant Jones presently brought him both, of books an armful, and from them the prisoner was assured, that he was a genleman of fine taste and culture. Availing himself of the kindness of Captain Wilson, Mr. Wright ad. dressed the fol.owing letter to “Colonel J. Randolph Smith, commanding Department of Michigan:”
“Sir: I am your prisoner. May I be permitted to know why I am here, and what are the specific charges against me?”
Mr. Wright says: “I then gave myself to musing upon the scene from my window, which, in the glorious sunlight of that lovely spring mo ning, was beautiful beyond description. The view embraced the entire city of Detroit, with a large section of the surrounding plain dotted with neat suburban cottages and a few beautiful mansions, with finely improved grounds; and on the opposite side of the river, a large portion of Windsor, the neat, pretty hamlet of Sandwich, with a long stretch of beautiful shore and a wide expanse of back country, all glorious in the freshness of young verdure. Further upward, ‘Belle Isle' seemed to float like a beautiful emerald on the silvery bosom of the waters; and still beyond, the eye could take in the vast marshes known as the St. Clair Flats.' The broad, green river was literally covered with vessels, sailing and in tow, that seemed rushing in flocks like migratory fowls to the Upper Lakes.' Indeed, a more entrancing scene than that which greeted my first gaze from a prison-room is rarely enjoyed by mortals, even in freedom. I was in a spell, real, palpable. I mused of liberty, and for the first time began to estimate and appreciate its priceless worth. Then my gaze would linger and fix itself upon the Canada shore. There nature seemed to glow and bloom in quiet loveliness, as if conscious of the genial sway of peace. There the genius of liberty seemed to have found sure refuge from the madness which had rudely driven and scourged her from the land where our sires erst enshrined her; and I thought she seemed weeping in sorrow for the shameful degradation of their sons !
“I turned to look upon the noble city, when my eyes instinctively seemed to fall upon the dome of the City Hall,' which, as it glistened with the silver light, seemed in playful