Henry A. Wise to General Charles C. Egerton Jr., 24 October 1859.
Octr 24th 1859
To Charles C. Egerton Jr.
Genl. Comdg. etc etc
In reply to yours of the 21st. inst., I say at the
earliest moment, that I do not consider the arms captured on
Maryland or any other soil, by Maryland or any other troops, as
belonging to the troops which captured them. I deem them the
property of the criminals charged with using these arms unlawfully until
they are convicted, and then these arms will be subject to forfeiture
according to the judgment of the court which tries the persons accused.
The arms will then become, I presume, the property of the U. States or
of the State of Virginia whose jurisdiction and territory have been
invaded by these persons. And if these persons are acquitted the
arms captured belonging to them must be restored. They were placed
in the arsenal at Harper's Ferry, and Col. Lee in command of the US.
Marines, informed me that after they were there placed for safe keeping
some forty or fifty of rifles, and how many pistols he could not say,
were taken without leave or authority by some of the Maryland troops.
These, thus taken, I beg leave respectfully to say should be restored to
Henry A. Wise
Governor's Office, Letters Received, Henry A. Wise, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia.