otherwise we should have been compelled to lie on the bare floor, the officers here stating to us that they had no supplies whatever and could not furnish us even with blankets of the most ordinary kind.
We are distinctly notified that the orders under which the commanding officer of the post is acting require him to impose upon us the following among other restrictions, viz:
We are allowed to receive or forward no letters from or to even our own families unless they are submitted to inspection and perusal by some military officer; no friend can visit us without the express permission of Colonel Burke whose quarters are not at this fort, and no intimation has been given that such permission will be readily granted; we are to receive no newspapers from any quarter; for one hour in the morning and one in the evening only we are to be allowed to take exercise by walking about in a small square not larger than some sixty or seventy fee teach way, surrounded on the four sides by the massive buildings of the fort three stories in height.
We were on our arrival here required to surrender all the money we had and all writing-papers and envelopes, our baggage being all searched for these and the articles that might be shown to be considered as contraband. It is unnecessary to give any further details to satisfy you that our condition as to physical comfort is no better than that of the worst felons in any common jail of the country.
Having been arrested and already imprisoned for a month without a charge of any legal offense having been as yet preferred against me or those arrested at eh same time with me it is useless to make any further protest to you against the continuance of our confinement. But we do insist as a matter of common right as well as in fulfillment of your won declarations to me that if the Government chooses to exercise its power by restraining us of our liberty it is bound in ordinary decency to make such provision for our comfort and health as gentlemen against whom if charges have been preferred they have not been made known (and all opportunity for an investigation has been denied) are recognized in every civilized community to be entitled to.
It is but just to Colonel Burke and Lieutenant Wood who commands the garrison here that I should add that both of those officers have professed their desire to extend to us all comforts that their instructions will allow and the means at their command will enable them to do. They have, however, each stated that the orders under which they act are imperative and that their supplies of even
the most common articles are at present very limited.
I have written this letter on my bed sitting on the floor upon a carpet-bag, there being neither table, chairs, stool nor bench in
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
NEW YORK, August 2, 1861.
Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND.
SIR: I have reason to believe that a writ of habeas corpus will be taken out for the Baltimore commissioners and I wish by telegraph an answer to my letter* of July 31 immediately.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant-Colonel, U. S. Army, Commanding, Numbers 6 State Street.
*See p. 632.