Richmond Enquirer, 3/4/62b

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From the Richmond Enquirer, 3/4/1862

MARTIAL LAW OVER RICHMOND. - ARREST OF HON. JOHN MINOR BOTTS AND OTHER SUSPECTED UNIONIST. - The Honorable John Minor Botts was arrested at his residence on Broad street near the city limits on yesterday (Sunday) at the early hour of 6 A. M., by a detachment under command of Captain Godwin, assisted by detective Cashmeyer. Mr. Botts was very indignant, when, after his house had been surrounded, he found himself called upon by the officers to accompany them to prison. The household of the prisoner appeared very much alarmed at the "intrusion," and his son became so much excited that he lost all consciousness and fainted. Immediately after his capture, Mr. Botts was carried in a buggy to the private jail of McDaniel's on Franklin street, near Sixteenth, where he now remains.

The arrest of this person, did not become generally known in the city until about ten o'clock in the forenoon. The fact that it had been made, and that one who was considered a dangerous enemy was safely housed at the expense of the Confederate Government, gave universal satisfaction.

Frank Stearns, a wealthy distiller of Northern birth, was arrested at about three o'clock A. M., on Sunday, at "Tree Hill" his country residence, on the banks of the James River, some three miles distant from the city. The house of this prisoner has been suspected to be a rendezvous for Lincoln sympathizers during the past one or two months. Its occupant is believed to have been in communication with the enemy and is known to have expressed sympathy for their cause. When captured he remarked "I suppose you take me because I am a Union man." The officers replied that that was the reason, and added that they intended to arrest all of the same stripe in the city of Richmond, to which Mr. Stearns responded, "well, you'll have your hands full."

The distillery owned by the prisoner is located on Fifteenth between Main and Cary streets. It, together with all its appertenances, have been seized by order of the Government, and placed under guard.

The arrest of Stearns was accomplished through the instrumentality of a detachment under Captain Porter, assisted by detectives Maccubbin and Clackner.

In addition to the parties above-named, the following well-known residents of Richmond were also arrested: Valentine Heckler, a butcher; John M. Higgins, grocer; Burnham Wardwell, dealer in ice; Lewis Dove and Charles J. Mueller. These, too, were arrested at their residences, and confined with those first named, in McDaniels' private jail in the rear of Dickinson & Hill's auction store, on Franklin street below Sixteenth. The prisoners were taken into custody upon an order from Gen. Winder. The nature of the charges against them were not specified, but it is generally understood that they include the holding of treasonable correspondence with the enemy, and abetting the organization of a party having for its object the overthrow of the existing government.

The arrests created considerable excitement throughout the community, and were the absorbing topic of street conversation yesterday, but the propriety of the proceeding was cordially acquiesced in by the great mass of our people, who seem to hail with delight this decided manifestation of vigor on the part of the government.

The fact that the city would be placed under martial law to-day, though extensively rumored, was not positively announced until afternoon, when it was officially confirmed to the general gratification of our citizens.

Page last updated on 01/15/2008