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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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[Gunn s handwriting]
Dodge at Charleston

[newspaper clipping]
     A Secessionist Officer in a Loyal Regiment.
  Considerable excitement has existed for the last
two or three days among the members of the  Pre-
sident s Life Guard,  who have their headquarters
at the corner of Nassau and Beekman streets, by
the alleged discovery that one of their officers was a 
secessionist, and supposed to be a spy.
  The facts, as they appear, are substantially as fol-
  One day last week a gentleman connected with a
leading Express Company in this city, came to 
Colonel Goodwin, of the President s Life Guard,
and asked him this question:  If you had a seces-
sionist among you, would you watch him?   The
Colonel, surprised, answered that he would, of
course.  The gentleman then told him that not only
was such a person connected with his regiment,
but that he was an officer, and explaining the facts
of the case, finally gave him the name of the indivi-
dual together with his own, and referred to Judge
Taylor, of Newburgh.
  That interview and subsequent developments,
together with a letter which appeared in the New-
burgh News of Monday, go to show that the alleged 
secessionist was born in Newburgh in this state;
that he went to the South and took up his residence
in Charleston, S. C.; that in an early stage of our
troubles he visited Newburgh, and carrying what
he called a  rifled cane,  said he had bought it to
shoot northerners with.  He returned to Charles-
ton, so the story goes, and joining the rebel army,
participated in the firing at the Star of the West,
and was in Fort Moultrie, where he helped in the 
infamous attack upon our gallant soldiers in Fort
  Subsequently he came to New York, wearing, it
is said, a lone star badge, and having in his posses-
sion a secession cockade.  It is possible that this
occurred on the occasion of his former visit to New
York, but it was not so understood this morning.
Here he volunteered, as has been state, ostensibly
to fight the battles of the Union, in the President s
Life Guard.  Colonel Goodwin gave him a lieute-
nancy, and as he was not known he was not ques-
tioned.  For some time he performed his duty in an
apparently satisfactory manner.  It is said (on what
authority it does not appear) that he has made pro-
positions to prominent men in New York to give
them, for a consideration, what information was in
his possession regarding the rebels.
  On Monday Colonel Goodwin received in a letter
envelope a copy of the Newburgh News, containing
some of the statements above given, and proceeded
at once to the barracks in Brooklyn, where he ex-
pected to find the lieutenant.  It should be re-
marked that upon the information first received,
the object of suspicion had been deprived of his 
membership in the regiment.  At the barracks he
was found with a company of men belonging to the
Scott Life Guards, whom he had induced to
recognise him as captain, and when the Colonel ap-
proached him and the men with the newspaper
referred to, for the purpose of exposing him before
them, he ordered them to  right face  and
 march,  which they did, leaving the Colonel
standing alone.  They had some other difficulty, in
which it is understood the new-made captain got
the best of it, for the time at least.
  This morning a copy of the letter in the New-
burgh paper was posted outside of the headquar-
ters of the President s Life Guard, and attracted the
attention of a large crowd.  At eleven o clock de-
tective Devoe came and took down the paper, 
amidst considerable excitement.  It was feared at
first that there would be a collision, but the Guards
offered no obstacle.  The detective had been or-
dered to remove it, and report with it to police
headquarters, Broome street.
  It is possible that some serious trouble will yet
grow out of this affair.  There are several other
stories afloat in relation to the operations of this 
dismissed member of the President s Life Guard.
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Seventeen: page twenty
Description:Newspaper clipping regarding a suspected Secessionist in the President's Life Guard.
Subject:Civil War; Devoe; Dodge, W.E.; Goodwin, Colonel; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Military; Star of the West (Ship); Taylor, Judge
Coverage (City/State):New York, [New York]; Charleston, South Carolina
Coverage (Street):Beekman Street; Broome Street; Nassau Street
Scan Date:2010-06-09


Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Seventeen
Description:Includes Gunn's descriptions of the scene in New York at the commencement of the Civil War; his visits to military camps in and around New York City as a reporter for ""The New York Evening Post;"" boarding house living; a bridal reception at the Edwards family's residence in honor of the marriage of Sally Edwards and Thomas Nast; a visit to the Heylyn and Rogers families in Rochester; and his trip to Paris, Ontario, to visit George Bolton and the Conworths.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Bohemians; Civil War; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Marriage; Military; Publishers and publishing; Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Paris, Ontario, Canada ; Rochester, New York
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2010 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.