Wednesday, February 24, 2016
1865-An interview with Sam Winchester of "The Posse" from "Harper's Weekly"!
To: Archives Director, West Point Academy
Fm: The National Archives
Re: Archival evidence of Clandestine Operative Group code name, “The Posse.”
Attached is a recently discovered excerpt from a lost copy of a Harper’s Weekly anonymous interview with a Sam Winchester, 37 years old at the time and third member of the clandestine vigilante group known only as “The Posse.” They were indeed, according to this interview, to have had the tacit approval of the top brass at West Point and in the War Department, these men were given free rein to seek out enemies to the Union and dispense Justice at will, without a writ of habeas corpus and without oversight from the local Federal Marshalls. This brief excerpt was taken from an interview conducted by Harper’s long time political commentator Cornelius Whitman in the aftermath of the War Between the States. The Interview took place on a private rail car between New York City and Washington D.C. sometime in late December of 1865. As far as I can tell, the interview was never published by the magazine. I am including the portions pertinent only to your research:
“As an agent for the Union, Sir, my first question to you is how you became part of this organization for whom you render your special services for our the benefit of our great Union, the reporter inquired.
“First I want to say thank you to you and Harper’s Weekly for keeping my identity a secret and not asking for photographs. The kind of work that I do is secret by nature. I can’t really tell you anything other than I am a graduate of West Point. I am an also an engineer,” Sam replied
“Can you tell us what your mission is and who you work for?” The Reported asked.
“That would violate my oath of secrecy, Mr. Whitman. I can only say that the new frontier is wide open to the criminal element. With the expansion of the railroad the challenges are becoming even greater. The movement of settlers West is bringing with it profiteers of the worst kind from back East.
(Portion of hand-written text is illegible, so text skips to bottom of current page.)
“So this is your mission to eradicate these elements and maintain justice on the Frontier, by any means necessary?” the reporter asked.
“By any means necessary.”
“How does your family feel about your particular line of work?” the reporter press on.
“My family is not part of this discussion, next question.”
“Sorry, you just make the frontier safer for decent families to settle, I just thought I might.”
“You thought wrong.”
“Am I safe in assuming you have the approval of the highest levels of our government for the work you are doing?” The reporter asked hesitantly.
“Of that you can be certain.”
I hope this piece of information is the smoking gun that you were looking for in regards to establishing authenticity of the group known only as “The Posse and the dispensing vigilante justice in the American Frontier with the full approval of the Government. Let me know if I can be of further assistance to you.
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