Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BURLEY, Bennett O., Confederate naval officer. On 19 September, 1864, assisted by Capt. Bell and others, he captured the steamer "Philo Parsons," plying between Detroit and Sandusky, when about two miles from Kelly's island, off the Ohio coast. Subsequently another American steamer, the "Ishmd Queen." was captured by Burley and his party, and after her passengers, including twenty-five United States soldiers, had been made prisoners and transferred to the " Philo Parsons," the "Island Queen" was sent adrift. The "Philo Parsons" was afterward taken to Sandwich, on the Canadian shore, and left there. Burley was arrested, and the evidence produced at the extradition trial at Toronto in his case rendered it manifest that he was acting under the authority of the southern confederacy in the capture of the steamers; that the immediate object was the capture of the United States war-vessel "Michigan," guarding Johnson's island: and the ultimate object, the taking of Johnson's island and the liberation of the 3,000 Confederate soldiers imprisoned there. That Burley and his comrades did not attempt all this was probably owing to the fact of his discovery of the hazardous and seemingly impossible character of the undertaking, after he had captured the "Philo Parsons" and the "Island Queen." After some diplomatic correspondence between the British government and that of the United States, Burley was surrendered to the authorities of the latter, under the provisions of the extradition treaty, the plea of " belligerent rights" in his behalf by Jefferson Davis not being regarded by the court as sufficient to free him from the crime of robbery charged against him in the indictment.
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