Josiah Drummand Transcript (Robert Elliot article)
State of Maine
Attorney General’s office
Portland Aug. 30, 1861
My Dear Sir,
On my return home from the East, I was prostrated with a very severe attack of the dysentery and was not fit to go Paris – still as I had rallied. I went Tuesday, but that night was attacked again and confined to my bed till Saturday when I succeeded in getting home – but did not sit up any till Monday, and this is the first day I have been able to write, and am yet very feeble – I say so much to explain my silence.
I found that there did pass through Belfast from 100 to 150 old guns – for the use of those fellows in Freedom. I became satisfied that the whole thing so far as the leaders are concerned is a political and pecuniary dodge – but that the rank and file, for the most part very ignorant, disreputable men are, so to speak honest in their treason. The Elliots do it to get Bob into the Legislature, and to make money off of it – but the talk has been that they would resist a draft – direct taxes – or the taking of deserters. The rank and file talk so now – tho they have recently changed their tone. Their more recent tone is that they are Union men – but apposed to the War and in favor of peace. They carried the Stars & Stripes – Robert Elliott standard bearer – etc.
I sent divers trusty men there that Saturday – and sent for Mr. Harmon to send more – some of them have reported. They met in front of Elliott]s store in the afternoon – were armed – marched to Elliott’s field and drilled – 78 in number – were very cautious what they said - Afterwards the Albion Co. came, about as many men – unarmed – in citizens dress save the officers – and went through the same performances as the other Company. Towards night Elliott gave out word that he had prepared a supper for all hands and they adjourned. After supper they hung round Elliott’s Store in large numbers – drinking “rog gut” +c until it was pretty late –
I took all necessary measures to get all the evidence possible. I am satisfied that we cannot get enough to show treason, but can prove conspiracy. They are to “train” again at Freedom tomorrow and I expect accounts early next week –
I have been in consultation with Talbot Ass’t Dist Att’y, and he has shown me an Act of Congress which will reach those guns and he proposes unless we think a different course best to send & seize them next week unless they are scattered.
I think, at a very early day, arrests should be made, perhaps of Elliott, perhaps of others.
Talbot will have a Grand Jury drawn for the Circuit Court for Sept. 23.
I cannot advise anything further until I get further reports from my agents.
Josiah H. Drummond