38th Congress, 1st Session.


Ex. Doc. No. 93.


LETTER FROM COLONEL JAMES A. HARDIE, IN ANSWER TO A resolution of the House of 22d of March last to the Secretary of War, in regard to the murder of Captain Theodore Reed, of Philadelphia, by the citizens of Accomack county, Virginia.

MAY 25, 1861 -- Laid on the table and ordered to be printed.

Washington City,

May 24, 1864.

Sir: In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives on the 22d of March, 1864, requesting that the Secretary of War, if not incompatible with the public interest, instruct the commanding officer of the middle department to institute inquiries into the murder of Captain Theodore Reed, of Philadelphia, on the 3d of March, by citizens of' Accomack county, I am directed by the Secretary of War to forward to you the enclosed reports.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel and Inspector General, U. S. A.
Speaker of the House of Representatives.


Office of Provost Marshal, Eastern Shore of Virginia,
Eastville, April 20, 1864.

Major: In obedience to orders received from the major general commanding, I have the honor to report the circumstances attending the shooting of Captain Theodore Reed, of Philadelphia, by citizens of Accomack county, Virginia, on the 3d of March, 1864.

Captain Reed commanded the schooner "Margaret Ann" of Philadelphia, manned by six seamen. On the 3d of March, 1864, he was engaged in dredging for oysters near Hunting Creek on the coast of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. While so engaged he was boarded by James Barnes, Sr., James Barnes, Jr., and Julius Twiford, Eastern Shore oystermen, under the command of one James H. Shreaves, acting as a coast guard, under the provisions of a statute of the State of Virginia, relating to the taking of oysters within the waters of Virginia, by which statute any citizen of Virginia having an oystering license was empowered to arrest and take before the nearest magistrate any citizen of a foreign State violating such statute by dredging for oysters within a certain prescribed depth of water; which statute is hereto annexed, marked "A."

The above-named guard, after boarding the schooner, placed Captain Reed and his crew of six men under arrest, and notified them that they would take them before a magistrate of Accomack county for the purpose of trying them upon a charge of violating the statute referred to. This arrest was quietly submitted to by Captain Reed and his crew for a time; but while the vessel, under charge of the guard, three in number, was being brought to Hunting creek, the captain seized the gun of one of the guard and attempted to overpower them, calling upon his crew to assist him to throw the guard overboard. A short struggle ensued, during which Captain Reed received a flesh wound in the right arm. He then told his crew to surrender, which they did.

The vessel was brought to the shore, and the crew and captain taken before a magistrate, fined for violating the statute prohibiting dredging for oysters within a depth of twenty feet of water, and discharged.

Captain Reed was attended by two surgeons, who did not consider the wound a dangerous one; but inflammation set in, and upon the 8th of March, five days after receiving the wound, he died. The testimony of one of the attending physicians is hereto annexed, marked "B."

A coroner's inquest was held upon the body of Captain Reed, and a verdict rendered to the effect that deceased came to his death by violence at the hands of one Julius Twiford, who, on the 3d day of March, 1864, did inflict a gunshot wound upon the deceased. A copy of which verdict is hereto annexed marked "C."

Upon the rendition of the above verdict, Julius Twiford was placed under arrest by Captain Skelly, provost marshal at Drummondstown, Accomack county, Virginia, and by him turned over to the civil authorities, to be tried before the county court, then in session, which court, under the code of the State of Virginia, had full jurisdiction in the premises.

The said Twiford being committed for the murder of Captain Theodore Reed, was tried before a court held for the county of Accomack, at Drummondstown, upon the 28th day of March, 1864, and upon the conclusion of said trial was acquitted and discharged. A record of the proceedings of the court in the matter is hereto annexed, marked "D."

Julius Twiford, James Barnes, Sr., and James Barnes, Jr., are now in the custody of the provost marshal at Drummondstown, awaiting a trial before a military commission, should such trial be deemed necessary by the major general commanding the department.

I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

Major and Provost Marshal, Eastern Shore of Virginia.
Major R. S. Davis,
Assistant Adjutant General Department of Virginia and North Carolina.


Extract from Virginia Code.

"It shall be lawful for any citizen of this State to take oysters with any other instrument than common oyster tongs, in the waters of Tangier and Pocomoke sounds, or any of the waters adjacent thereto, in the county of Accomack; but this privilege shall not extend to the taking of oysters as aforesaid within the mouth of any river or creek in said county, or to the taking of the same in any waters of a less depth than twenty feet; nor to the taking of the same at any time after the l0th day of May, and before the 1st day of September. Any citizen of this State may take oysters as aforesaid upon obtaining from the clerk of the county court of said county a license for so doing for the space of one year, and paying therefor the sum of one dollar as a fee to said clerk; which said license shall be renewed, and which said fee shall be paid yearly; and such citizen shall, before obtaining such license, enter into bond with sufficient security, to be approved of by said clerk, payable to the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the penalty of five hundred dollars, conditioned that he shall not be concerned, nor interested with any other citizen or citizens of any other State, in taking or planting oysters within the waters of this State, and that he shall not, within the limits of said county, violate this act or any law of this State in respect to the taking or planting of oysters; and that he will endeavor to prevent all violations of this act by citizens of other States, by arresting them and taking them before the proper tribunals. which he shall have power to do without warrant, for such violation committed within his vision." -- Chapter 61, Code of Virginia, Section 25, page 503.

The foregoing is a correct copy of the law of Virginia in relation to taking oysters in the waters of Tangier and Pocomoke sounds, or any of the waters adjacent thereto.

Clerk of Accomack County.


Drummondstown, Virginia, April 11, 1864.

The deposition of Dr. Edward R. Leatherbury, this day taken, after having been duly sworn.

Question. Were you the attending physician upon Theodore Reed in his last illness?

Answer. Yes sir.

Question. What do you think was the cause of his death?

Answer. It resulted from a gunshot wound in the right arm.

Question. Do you know how be received that wound?

Answer. I do not.

Question. When you were first called to see Captain Reed, did you consider the wound a dangerous one?

Answer. I did, but I thought the probability was he might be saved.

Question. How long did he live after he received the wound?

Answer. He received the wound on Thursday afternoon, and died the next Tuesday morning.

Question. How long after the wound was inflicted before you saw him?

Answer. I suppose about 18 hours.

Question. Did you consider he had proper medical attendance?

Answer. I did not see him as soon or as often as I wished, he being down the creek some distance from me, and inconvenient. His wound was properly dressed.

Question. Describe the nature of the wound as well as you can, and state whether or not you made a post-mortem examination of Captain Reed.

Answer. I did make a post-mortem examination. His right arm, below the elbow, was very much mangled, and proved to be a gunshot wound, severing the superficial muscles of the ulnar side of the fore-arm to the extent of three by five inches, Some part of the wound, I suppose, was an inch deep. The wound extended three and a half inches from the wrist to within one and a half inch of the bend of the arm. We found one shot within the sheath of the vessels, an inch above the division of the brachial into the radial and ulnar arteries, and about two inches above the edge of the wound. We saw no wound on the skin over this shot that it could have entered, supposing that it entered with the rest of the load. Another shot was found resting on the median barilic vein at the bend of the arm, an inch and a half from the wound; five other shot nearer the wound. The ulnar artery was severed after it had given off three of its branches, viz: anterior and posterior, ulnar, recurrent and interosions arteries, about half way down the arm. Pus was found three inches above the wound, deep seated near the brachial artery. The bones of the arm not exposed.

Question. Did any other physician aid you in the post-mortem examination?

Answer. Yes, sir; Doctor Ewell.

Question. Did the patient bleed freely during the dressing of the wound?

Answer. The hemorrhage had ceased before I saw him, and he bled scarcely any while 1 was dressing the wound.

Question. Did Captain Reed make any statement to you in relation to the difficulty?

Answer. He told me it was his intention to get hold of the guns and put the guard in the yawl boat and set them adrift.



An inquisition taken at Hunting Creek, in the county of Accomack, on the 9th day of March, 1864, before Michael H. Higgins, deputy coroner of said county, upon the view of the body of Theodore Reed, then lying dead. The jury sworn to inquire when, how, and by what means the said Theodore Reed came to his death, upon their oath do say, that the said Theodore Reed came to his death by violence at the hands of one Julius Twiford, who, on the 3d day of March, A. D. 1864, did inflict a gunshot wound upon the right arm with a gun in the hands of him, the said Julius Twiford, of which said wound the said Theodore Reed, on the 8th of March, 1864, died. In testimony whereof. the said deputy coroner hereto set their hands.

For T. H.. KELLAM, Coroner.



At a court held for the county of Accomack, at the court-house thereof, on Monday, the 28th day of March, 1864. Present, Thomas Lilliston, p. justice, and John Nock, Edward Nock, William R. Coard, and Samuel W. Powell, gentlemen, justices.

The COMMONWEALTH, Plaintiff, vs.
On a charge of felony.

Julius Twiford, who stands charged with a felony by him committed in this county, and within the jurisdiction of this court, in this, that he did, on the 3d day of March, in the year 1864, in said county, feloniously, and of his malice, kill and murder one Theodore Reed, this day appeared before the court in obedience to his recognizance. And the court, having heard the evidence, are of opinion that the prisoner is not guilty of the offence wherewith he stands charged. Therefore it is ordered that he be discharged of the offence aforesaid and go thereof without day.

James Barnes, Sr., a witness for the Commonwealth, being first duly sworn, deposes and says:

Question by the court. Were you present when Julius Twiford shot Theodore Reed? and state all you know in relation to the matter.

Answer. I was present. I and Julius Twiford and my son took charge of the Margaret Ann, of which Theodore Reed was the master. She had been violating the oyster laws, and after we got on board we were coming up the sound. After we got on Watts Island bar the sloop began to leave us; the captain said he wanted some water to wash up. Says I "You can have all you want." He began then to be troubled and dissatisfied, and he got his pipe and tried to light it; then he went forward and talked to two of his men, and he came back to the cabin and tried to light his pipe again. It appeared like he could not content himself any way. Then he goes forward to those two men again, and one of them came and sat down by my son and began to talk with him; then he grabbed two of our guns; about the same time I grabbed the guns and held on to them. The captain then picked up a stone and said, "I have gone as far up this sound as I want to go." I sung out for help; says I, "Shoot the captain." Julius Twiford jumped on the trunk and fired at him, but the cap burst; then the captain fell down aside of the trunk, with his arm above the trunk then Julius shot him in the arm above the trunk. He then said to his men, "Surrender, and stop this blood," and they kept clinging or trying to get the guns. Says I to Julius, "'Try the breach,' and he struck him across the shoulder with it and broke it, and a part of it went down the cabin. Thomas Smith sung out, "Do you intend to kill all?" I told him "No; if he did not resist he should not be hurt;" and when coming up the sound I asked the captain who he blamed for what we had done. He said "I blame nobody but myself'," and asked me if there was any physician near. I told him there was one no great ways off. He asked me to get him one when I got ashore. I told him I would, and sent Dr. Leatherbury; but, says I, "You would not, have done it for me."

Question. Were the parties on board of Captain Reed's vessel trying to throw you overboard? And what number were on board?

Answer. They were trying to throw my son overboard, and the captain sung out "'Throw them overboard." They had seven men in number, but only three resisted. My son was about half overboard when I gave the order to Julius Twiford to shoot. I forgot to say that the captain thew a stone about the size of my fist, or a little bigger, at Twiford.

And this deponent further saith not.


James Barnes, Jr., a second witness for the Commonwealth, after being duly sworn, deposes and says:

Question. State what you know of this affair.

Answer. When we went down the sound we told the captain to heave to, some three or four times and he said he would not heave to, and the wind commenced dying out, and got pretty calm. We then took our yawl-boat and went on board of him, and when fetching her up over Watts's island bar, the sloop got three or four miles ahead of us. The captain kept walking and talking to two of his men; he got his pipe and seemed very discontented. He tried to light his pipe three or four times and he could not do it. He went forward again to talk to two of his men, and then one of the men came back and took a seat by me. He said, "Bub, these are bad hands to carry to Drummondstown," and then he grabbed the guns. As he grabbed, my father grabbed and got possession of the guns and then they tried to throw me overboard. The captain seeing them trying to throw me overboard, sung out "'Throw them overboard." Then papa hallooed to Julius Twiford for help. The captain then picked up a stone; he looked at papa and I suppose intended to throw it at him; Julius Twiford about this time came under the main boom, and then the captain threw the stone at Julius Twiford, and Julius Twiford then cracked away at him, but the gun did not go off, and then the captain fell down by the side of the trunk, with his arm lying above the trunk. Julius Twiford then shot him in the arm, and the captain then said, "Surrender, men and stop this blood, for I am shot." And these men would not surrender, but held on to the guns. Papa says, "Now use the breach." He then struck the man over the shoulder and broke the gun, and a part of it went down the cabin. Thomas Smith then says, "Do you mean to kill us all?" Julius Twiford then says, "I don't intend to hurt any of you if you surrender." Then the captain says, "I want some water to wash my arm." We told him to go down the cabin and we would give him water. As we were going up the sound papa says, "Who do you blame for all this here?" He says, "I can't blame nobody but myself." He says, " It is just as these passions come on that makes me do so." He then talked to my father about sending him a doctor.

And this deponent further says not.


Accomack County, to wit:

I, John B. Ailsworth, clerk of the court of said county, in the State aforesaid, certify that the foregoing are true transcripts from the records of said court.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 18th day of April, A. D. 1864.


Washington, DC
May 25, 1864