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    [John Surratt] Commander William N. Jeffers, U.S. Navy, Letter Signed, three pages, 8" x 13.5", written aboard "U.S.S. 'Swatara' . . . Villa Franca" [Italy], 5 January 1867, to Rear Adm. L.M. Goldsborough, Commanding European Squadron. Jeffers reports that in obedience to Goldsborough's orders he saw American Minister Rufus King at Rome, and at his request "received on board one St. Marie a Canadian by birth, claiming to have been a soldier in the Union army - the man who denounced Surratt. He states that he feared assassination at the hands of the companions of the conspirator. Since he has been on board I find that he is a babbler - a fellow of little head, less principle, and evidently actuated in the affair by the prospect of the reward." He further reports sailing to Alexandria, Egypt, where he "found . . . John H. Surratt . . . in close confinement, in the custody of the Consul General" (Charles Hale) with "no probability of any officious interference." Remarking that he was "much exercised" to find "a suitable place of confinement on board so small a vessel" for Surratt, since he "considered it essential that no communication whatever should be had with the prisoner, or where he could overhear . . . conversations of officers & crew", Jeffers states that he finally placed Surratt in a portion of his own quarters, "in single irons", where he claims the prisoner "is more comfortably situated than any of the junior officers." Citing Surratt's promise, "'You will have no trouble with me sir'", Jeffers describes him as "somewhat dejected" and states candidly "there would be no hesitation in proceeding to extremities to prevent his escape." Consul General Hale delivered Surratt to the Swatara on 21 December 1866, and the little wooden gunboat duly landed him in Washington on 19 February 1867. A few days later, while testifying at a Congressional inquiry into the capture of Surratt, Jeffers declared his "utmost contempt" for St. Marie, who had refused to go ashore in Alexandria to identify Surratt (claiming it would "hurt his feelings") and whom Jeffers had returned to Villa Franca, declining to land him anywhere else because for fear of his indiscreet talk. Some fold wear, but fine.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2008
    20th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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