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Memoranda on arrest of Fielding Magruder, Occouquan Bay, Virginia. 1862

Fielding Magruder.-Prisoner says he was born in Charles County, Md. Removed to the city of Washington in the year 1830. Was engaged there in keeping a wood and lumber yard. Twelve years ago he purchased land in Virginia on Occoquan Bay. Three years ago he started a steam saw-mill on this land and fixed his own residence there, going up to Washington every three or four weeks on Saturday night and returning on Monday. His wife and his son reside in Washington. His son keeps a wood yard there. Prisoner considers himself now a citizen of Virginia. His place was within the Federal lines when he was taken. Says he went to Washington a day or two after Alexandria was taken. The Federal provost-marshal gave him a general pass to go up and return at pleasure. Went up to Washington once or twice after Alexandria was taken and before his last trip. Prisoner says he was taken sick at his residence at Occoquan and called in Doctor Whitehead. The doctor remained with him several days and advised him to go to Washington where he could have the attention of his wife and be better nursed. He went to Washington, where he was sick three weeks, and after his recovery remained some weeks. He says he found the state of things in Washington so much worse and distasteful to him than it had formerly been that he did not apply for a passport, but determined to make his escape. He applied to several longboatmen to bring him down, but they told him they had been required to give bond and security in $500 not to touch on the Virginia shore and would not take him. He met William Weston (mentioned above),who had been sick in Washington, who agreed to escape with him. He purchased a skiff and in the night went down the river on the Maryland side until after they passed Alexandria, when they went over to the Virginia side. On the Monday after his return he went to the picket at Mrs. Wiley's and reported himself and was permitted to return home. Subsequently he was arrested with others, taken to Dumfrees where he lay several weeks in jail and thence was sent here. Is a slave-owner. I knew Mr. Magruder in Washington before he started his steam mill in Virginia. His general character for veracity was good. He was considered an honest man. I was satisfied from his general character and from conversation with him he was a Southern man in his political feelings and opinions. I recommend his discharge on taking the oath of allegiance. (NOTE: On the statement he makes of Weston's sickness and desire to escape from Washington I recommend the discharge of Weston.)

SOURCE: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 2, pg. 1446

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