1 page, 4to., ruled paper, tape on verso." />
9 June 2004
PINKERTON, Allan (1819-1884), Chief, U.S.A. Secret Service. Autograph letter signed ("Allan Pinkerton") to S. D. Young, Washington, D. C. 9 June 1862. 1 page, 4to., ruled paper, tape on verso.
AN EXCELLENT LETTER OF THE UNION'S CHIEF SPYMASTER. Pinkerton writes: "I am in camp near Richmond but have to send A. K. Littlefield from thence to Chicago on important business. If consistent can you leave a pass for him from Harrisburg to Pittsburg and return, at the Ticket Office in Harrisburg." Pinkerton began his detective career in Chicago in 1850, and continued a private practice there, including a specialty in hiding runaway slaves. His business continued during the war, which may have drawn Littlefield back to Illinois. Pinkerton's army career rose and fell in step with McClellan's. Summoned from Illinois in April 1861 to create a secret service, Pinkerton found conditions too chaotic and gave up to join McClellan as the general's chief detective in the Department of Ohio. He returned to Washington later in 1861 and this time managed to get the Secret Service up and running (giving himself the undercover name of "Maj. E. J. Allen"). He continued in McClellan's camp, gathering intelligence about Confederate forces obtained from runaway slaves. This was one of the many sources that convinced McClellan he was outnumbered. When the general was relieved in November 1862, Pinkerton left with him, to carry on his increasingly lucrative career.
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