Arrest For Treason
Posted By: Ken Wright (email)
Date: 2/20/2009 at 09:11:35
Dubuque Weekly Times
December 5, 1861
Arrest for Treason
Correspondence of the Dubuque Times.
Des Moines, Nov. 24, 1861
Last week U. S. Marshal Hoxie brought to this city William M. Hill of Magnolia, Harrison County, charged with the crime of Treason, and his case is before the Grand Jury of the United States District Court now in session here. The facts which were the basis for the warrant of arrest are in substance these: Hill is a native of Monroe County, Virginia. He came to this State about six years ago, settled in Harrison County, and I think was elected for two terms to the office of Treasurer and Recorder. When the war against the Union broke out, he manifested unmistakable evidences of sympathy with the Rebels, and during the last summer returned to his native county in the old Dominion. How he passed the military lines of both the Federalists and the Confederates is unknown, but he did it, and remained among his old secession friends some time. During his absence a letter he had written before his departure from this State, directed to a certain newspaper in Virginia, arrived at Magnolia from the Dead Letter Office at Washington. It expressed earnest sympathy with the cause of the Secessionists, and gave information of the then defenseless condition of the Western and South-Western Counties of Iowa. ĖThrough the treachery of some employee in the Dead Letter Office, this letter was remailed to Hill at Magnolia; but fortunately, he had not yet returned, and it was opened and read by his Deputy, and its contents made known to others. Another letter, a private one, written by him from this State, was sent to the Dead Letter Office at Washington; but this fell into better hands at the Capital, and was enclosed to the U. S. authorities in this State. Upon the evidence of these letters and other testimony, Judge Love issued a warrant for Hillís arrest, and about ten days since Marshal Hoxie started for Magnolia to execute the process. He found his man in a hotel in Magnolia, arrested him, brought him safely to this City, accompanied by several witnesses, and the Grand Jury, after a careful examination of the facts, have found sufficient grounds for an indictment against him for Treason. Of course I know nothing of the oral testimony against the accused, but the belief is that there was quite a large majority of the Juryman in favor of finding the bill.
Hill is a man about thirty-five years of age, has a family in Harrison county, and among bar-room politicians and the floodwood element of the old Pro-Slavery part of this State, has heretofore passed as rather a popular fellow. He has however the characteristic swagger of the slave-whippers, such as some of your Dubuque Chivalry were accustomed to exhibit before they were brought to grief by the irresistible Union sentiment of your locality, and as he strides around underneath the eye of the Marshal it isnít difficult to see an involuntary d-n (?) shooting out from the corner of his eyes. I guess he ought to stretch Manilla, by way of example, but it isnít for me to say positively. His peers will decide in judicial form in due time.
Meanwhile let all Secession F. F. Vís. (Fleet-Footed Virginians, as a friend of mine renders them) mind their eyes! Iowa is a hospitable State to its friends, but just at this present it is a poor asylum for its foes!
Harrison Documents maintained by Alvin C Poole.
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