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Albion Witham Transcripts
Baltimore Augt 17 1861
To His Excellency I. Washburn Jr Governor, State of Maine
I write you to acquaint you with the particulars of a transaction, which I would conceal from your notice. In June last I sold two horses to Officers of the 1 st Maine Regiment of U.S. Volunteers, then in Washington, with whom I was entirely unacquainted, and at whose request, backed by the Quartermaster of the Regiment, I took their several notes in settlement at thirty days. These notes were forwarded to Washington for collection and I regret to say that one of them drawn by Capt Albion Witham (I believe the title is correct) and endorsed by W S Dodge, Quartermaster was suffered to go to protest and still remains unpaid, although one month has elapsed since its maturity.
The protest was duly sent to Quartermaster Dodge and Capt A Nathan was duly notified by mail of the fact, but to this time, no notice of the receipt of the same by either of the parties beforementioned has been received by me, no any proposition for a settlement of the note
Amt of to say $ 150.00
Protest $ 2.00
A letter was recd about the time of the maturity of the note stating that the Horse for which this dishonored note was given had proven to be unsound at the time the letter was sent to Quartermaster Dodge (containing protest), a reply was made that at the time of sale the Horse was inquestionably sound which fact can be substantiated by more than a dozen of persons, inclusive of the best Veterinary Surgeon resident in Washington, whose opinion was had upon the various Horses offered for Sale, and whose choice of a good sound horse rested particularly upon the horse in question.
Apart from the above testimony, could it be reasonable to suppose that I would sell a guaranteed horse as time payment, when the purchaser unquestionably had it in his power to protect himself by non-payment of the note at maturity.
If I had sold the Horse knowing him to be unsound at the time of sale, I should have certainly demanded cash , but weighing the honor and responsibility of the parties to this transaction, I had no hesitancy in making the sale in the proposed terms, satisfied then as at this time, that the horse was sound .
I wish to this matter will receive attention at your earliest convenience, as I deem the honor of the State which you represent, involved in this matter.
I would be pleased if you would favor me with the address of Quartermaster Dodge, and also of Capt A Witham, as I desire to write them also.
Your obd Sevt,
John Stewart No. 111 Lexington Street
Box 35, Folder 6
Portland Aug 29 1861
Hon I Washburn
Dear Sir or Madam: Yours of the 28 th inst is before me, it is due to myself to briefly state to you the facts referd to in John Stewarts letter. I purchased the horse giving my note trueley [sic] upon the warranty of the sender being the father of the owner. He proved unsound being sprained in two legs, when this fact was ascertained Mr Dodge at my request immediately notified the vendor before the note matured. Subsequently Stewart son was in Washington, and after the note matured; notice was then sent to him from me by Mr Dodge to come to our Camp and have the matter adjusted as we were about to leave for home but he did not come, we learned that the man was so intoxicated the most of the time he was in Washington as to unfit him to attend to his business my inclination was to leave the horse in Washington subject to his order but falling the suggestion of Mr Dodge that the horse might eat up his value and I be compelled to pay the note I brought him home with me, and still hold him to await Mr Stewarts orders, or I am ready to settle the note equitably at any moment, I am not willing to pay the full value of a sound animal for one unsound I did all in my power to surrender the horse and reclaim my note except stopping in Baltimore on my return which it was impracticable for me to do. All which I have thus briefly stated is true as Mr. Dodge and others he'll know, and I am as I have ever been ready to adjust the matter equitably, but am unwilling to be swindled by any one if I can help it, my own honor I hold dear as well the states honor and do not intend ever to sacrifice either, all I claim of Mr Stewart or the son who was the owner of the horse is an equitable settlement, and that I believe all honorable we will admit I am entitled to,
Your obt Servant
Box 35, Folder 7
Portland Sept 4 th 1861
I have just heard by way of Col Jackson, that Mr J. Stewart of Baltimore had written you in relation to a note signed by Col Witham and end End by myself. In order that you may not have any wrong impressions in relation to the matter I have thought it proper to make an explanation to you in relation to my connexion with this matter. Mr Stewart sold Col W. the Horse through his agent Mr Bunch and gave a written warrant of his Soundness. The next day Col W ascertained that the Horse was unsound and at once, notified me to write Mr Stewart the holder of the note of the fact and that he should not pay the note for that reason. But would keep the Horse subject to the order of Mr S to be given up to him when the note was veted ( ß ???) and cancelled. I did so notify Mr Stewart he never replied to the letter. When the note became due Col W again offered to give up the Horse for the note, which was offered Mr S agent Burch is willing and will at any time testify to the fact of the Warrant as to the soundness of the Horse. Also that Col W offered to give up the Horse for the note. I have not been duly notified as Endorser. I thought that inasmuch as Mr Stewart had notified you of the fact of the non payment of the note that I was in duly bound to give you a statement of the facts as they are.
I understand the First Maine Reg't will in a few days be ordered into Camp and I presume that in accordance with the Army Regulations, that it will devolve upon me as Regiment at Qr Master to select a ground for the Encampment. I understand that the ground occupied by the 5 th and 6 th can not be obtained. I have therefore looked at two other desirable fields in a good locality in Westbrook about 1 ½ miles from the city. Either of which can be obtained whnever the necessary orders are given by you for the Encampment of the Regt at a very reasonable rate.
I may be allowed to add that if we are to go into Camp soon we should have tents and cooking utensils &c at once. I suppose that Capt Radford still acts as Commissary of Subsistance and will provide for us upon my requisitions although I confess that I believe his salary could be saved to the state I think myself after the experience I have had to be compelled to attend to his department and would prefer to do so, if agreeable to you, awaiting instructions from you.
I remain yours
Wm S. Dodge
1 st ME Regt
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