January 23, 1863
Yesterday seventeen revel prisoners arrived in the city and were placed in charge of the Provost Marshall, Major Darr. Besides these there came with the seven gang United States soldiers convicted of various offences at a recent Court Martial held at Charleston and sentenced to be confined in Camp Chase. Among the rebel prisoners is a preacher named Granville S. M’Cuthcheon, a brother of Senator M’Cutcheon of Nicholas, who was taken recently while on a visit to his family in Greenbrier County, and is now on parole.
There also arrived on the boat another female cavalry soldier who was sent to the county jail for safe keeping. Major Darr had an interview with the woman yesterday afternoon when she gave him something like the following account of herself. Her name is Mary Jane Prater and she is only seventeen years of age. She was born in Tennessee, but came to Cincinnati when she was “a little bit of a chap” and has since been residing with her aunt, a Miss Prater, who keeps a Millinery establishment at the corner of Smith and Fifth streets, Cincinnati. She left Cincinnati about three months ago and went to Gallipolis, where she met a couple of soldiers belonging to the 2nd Virginia Cavalry, named Emerson Sears and Benj. Fortney, who persuaded her to put on Soldier’s clothes and enlist in their company. She took the advice of the soldiers and went with the company up to Charleston where she was arrested and has since been confined in jails and guard houses. Upon being asked something in relation to the streets of Cincinnati she hesitated to answer, saying that she had lost all her senses in guard houses and jails. Maj. Darr asked her if she would wear female apparel without hoops. (This question was asked in view of the late mutiny upon this account among the female prisoners) Miss Prater said she didn’t know. She would see how she looked first. She was inclined to be sportive in her manner, and considering all things was very much unconcerned. She is evidently well versed in the wickedness of the world for one so young. She will probably be sent to a house of refuge.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: January 1863