As the commander responsible for enforcing the Union blockade in the Potomac, Thomas Tingey Craven needed reliable information to identify persons who supported the rebellion and actively engaged in what he termed “traitorous acts.” Fortunately, Craven had an African American steward with him on board the side-wheel tug USS Yankee off Piney Point. When Craven questioned the man, the informant told him about an Irishman named Maddox who had been active at Herring Creek in procuring volunteers for the Confederate Army, as well as munitions of war and clothing for the rebels, which he sent by boat across the river to Virginia. Maddox carried out his activities in cooperation with a Dr. Combe, the black informant told Craven. They employed their “negroes, horses, and wagons in transporting recruits to the various landings, at night, watching their opportunity when our cruisers are out of sight.”
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