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Dentz Mason

Memoranda on arrest of Samuel Dentz, Fairfax County, Virginia. 1862.

Samuel Dentz.-Born in Fairfax County, Va. Prisoner says when he was arrested he was told it was for furnishing the enemy with wood. Denies he did so. Says he is a farmer and sold wood to the long-boatmen. Says he did not own a boat, and did not sell wood after the boats ceased to run to Washington when the governors proclamation issued. Says he did not hold communication with the enemy in any way. Says he is thoroughly Southern; voted for and supported the secession movement. Says his son, Silas Dentz, twenty-nine years of age and who is independent of him, owned a boat for which he (Silas) paid about $1,500. To prevent this boat being destroyed Silas took it to Washington. Prisoner says he remonstrated with him and urged on him it was better to lose the boat, but Silas would not regard his remonstrances. Does not know what became of Silas after he went to Washington. Mr. Huntt proves prisoner to be a man of good character, a man of honesty and veracity. He owns land and slaves; has always been on the Southern side and voted for secession. Witness thinks the boat belonged to Silas Dentz and not to the prisoner. Colonel Brawner and Mr. Thomas prove the prisoner is a man of good character. Dr. Richard C. Mason (who was for some time a practicing physician in this neighborhood and has been for many years a justice of the peace) proves prisoner was a man of excellent character, a Southern man and a secessionist. He proves that in February or March last prisoner was present in a meeting held to expel from the country a man who was suspected to entertain incendiary opinions. Dentz is sent here by an order of the provost-marshal at Manassas on the 19th of November, 1861, which states he is represented as an unsafe man to go at large. Colonel Robertson, commanding the Fourth Virginia Cavalry, represents him as a notorious traitor, he having recently taken license to furnish the Federal Government with wood. The evidence satisfies me that up to the ratification of the secession ordinance by Virginia Dentz was a true Southern man, voting for sustaining the secession movement. Since then I have no evidence of his conduct except such as is afforded by his examination. On what evidence Colonel Robertson believed he had taken license to furnish the Federal Government with wood I do not know. I think it probable the offense of the son was charged on the parent. But the charge if there be evidence to support it ought to be tried in a criminal court instead of sending him here. He ought to have been sent to a justice of the peace to institute a prosecution against him. I have no evidence to justify the institution of a prosecution against him. If such evidence should exist a discharge now will be no bar to a legal prosecution. I recommend his discharge.

SOURCE: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 2, pgs. 1451-1452

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