HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,
San Francisco, February 2, 1865.
REDICK McKEE, Esq., San Francisco, Cal.:
SIR: I am, directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 1st instant to Major-General McDowell concerning the propeller Colon, requesting his interposition to have her released, and stating you have a letter from the district attorney to Mr. Larco, in which the former expresses the opinion, based on a full examination of the case by a grand jury that there is no ground for her detention. I am instructed by the general to say, in reply, that the Colon was seized about six months ago at the request of the collector of the port. It was claimed she was bought or fitted out by the Government of Peru. It was also stated there were suspicious circumstances connected with her. The seizure was reported to the War Department, and has been approved and the vessel ordered to be held. The disavowal by the representative of Peru to the United States of the national character attributed here to the Colon, and the length of time that she has been suffered to remain seized by the U. S. authorities at this place, are among the principal facts which have given color to the charge that she was to be used in some way in some unlawful service. Of her character the general does not pretend to judge. The circumstances attending her outfut attracted the attention of our vigilant collector, and warranted, in the judgment of the general, the course taken, which was to throw on the parties claiming her to be lawful craft to be used in the service of Peru the onus of proving such to be her character. In the meantime, the case having been referred to Washington, it is proper the representations which it seem would be so easy for the Government of Peru to make if she is truly porchased, as stated, for its service, should also be made at Washington; and this really is all that now seems to be necessary to establish the character of the vessel. There is a recent order prohibiting all material for building war marine of every descritption being pruchased or taken from the United States, especially on the Pacific Coast. (See order Numbers 2, herewith. *) So, even if the character of the Colon so be as claimed, she still could not, under the order, be suffered to pass into the possession of the Government of Peru. The general bears willing testimony of the favorable impresion made on him by Mr. Larco, and asquits him fully, in his own mind, of being a party to any illegal or disloyal conduct. The general, under all the circumstances, does not feel warranted in taking any steps to interfere in the case, further that to submit any representations to Washington which may coma to his notice affencting the case.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC, Numbers 26.
San Francisco, Cal., February 2, 1865.
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2. Company A, Eighth Infantry California Volunteers, will proceed to and take post at Cape Disappointment. The quartermaster's department will furnish the necessary transportation, and arrange if possible to have the company landed at the post to which it is assigned.
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By command of Major-General McDowell:
R. C. DRUM,
* Of January 21, p. 1123.