Disloyalty durng the Civil War


D. H. Overton to Abraham Lincoln, October 31, 1861 (Disloyal clerk in Missouri; attested by W. T. Snell)

October 31, 1861

Fulton Callaway Co Mo

October 31st 1861

Dear Sir

Nothing but a sense of duty to my country would induce me to become a reporter, but the rumor that has reached us of the treachery of the private Secretary of Com Dupont, impresses me with the importance of having none but those who are above suspicion employed in any of the departments of State; and knowing a Clerk in one of the departments, from this county, who is playing into the hands of the Rebels, I feel it to be my duty; that my Country demands that I shall inform on him.

His name is John. S. Kidwell;1 and my information is derived from a letter written by him (July 25th 1861,) to John Berry one of the Assistant Martials, who is a rank Secessionist, and has been in command of a company in Price,s Army. I, by accident, came in possession of the letter, after it was torn into shreds; and from it, I make the following extract, which I shall proceed to give you in his own language.

After giving an account of the Bull-Run disaster, he wound up the letter thus, --

"I have not time to speak more, now, about our difficulties, but must speak a little about your money. When I wrote you last, I expected in a few days to draw the amount; Since that time the Secretary has given instructions not to pay any of the Asst Martials in Missouri. I asked him about it to day. His reply was, "If they are Loyal Men, they can draw their money as soon as the Government obtains it, as they have it not now on hand", I shall do my best to draw it, if representing you as a Loyal man will accomplish my purpose. I may have some trouble, but I hope not as I know you want pay for your work I send you a receipt for Mr Nesbit to sign and send to me. Tell him to sign it as you did and send to me forward it immediately, for there is no telling when the money will be received; but when it is, I want to be ready to do you both a service perform a favor for both of you. If the prospect of serving you in this particular grows darker, or more uncertain, I will let you know immediately, Write soon, Yours Truly J. S. K".

The Mr Nesbit spoken of is also a secessionist but has never taken up arms

I gave a coppy, complete, of the letter to Col John McNeil a few weeks since, at St Louis to forward to Washington, but I fear he has failed to do so, as the young man is now here on a visit to his Parents and, I learn is going soon to return to Washington City

I have seen him since his return, and he seems to be in correspondence with the secesh-party here. Will you do me the honor to acknowledge the receipt of this? as I am anxious to know the information has been received; and you will please not let my name be known in connection with it, for the few Union men who are here have been threatened a great deal, and I know my life would not be safe if it were known I had written this letter. I still have the original (torn to pieces) and if desirable can send them to you If you desire it in his own hand writing.

Very Respectfully Yours--

D. H. Overton

State of Missouri

County of Callaway } ss

Be it known Doct. D H Overton who is personally known to the undersigned a Notary Public within and forsaid county and state personally appeared before me and makes oath that the information therein contained and the extract from the letter named is correct

Given under my hand and notarial seal this 31st day of October 1861

W T Snell

Notary Public

[Note 1 Neither the 1859 Official Register or the 1861 Official Register lists John S. Kidwell as a Federal employee.]