Fort Hamilton, August 10, 1861.
Letters will be forwarded for the prisoners to the heads of departments of the General Government, Washington, and also to the general-in-chief when written in respectful language. In those letters if the prisoners are so disposed they can describe their quarters, subsistence, &c. They may if they deem fit make a statement of their case in respectful language to the persons thus addressed. All other letters should be confined to family and domestic affairs, any wants for himself, or any instructions the prisoner may wish to communicate with regard to his private affairs at home, or familiar letters with relations or friends. Letters containing invidious reflections on the Government or its agents, either civil or military, will not be mailed but will be returned to the writer. It must be understood that the publication of any letter mailed and forwarded for the prisoners in any newspaper no matter what may be the contents will be taken for granted tat it is done to create ill-feeling toward the General Government and can be of no service to the writer.
It is desired that in all private letters forwarded by the prisoners the following note will be added in a postscript or otherwise by the writer:
It is my express desire that the contents of this letter or any pat of it will not be put in such a situation as to be published in any newspaper.
Gentlemen with funds will pay their own postage; for those without funds the postage will be paid at Fort Hamilton.
FORT LAFAYETTE, NEW YORK HARBOR,
August 12, 1861.
Honorable SIMON CAMERON,
Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.
SIR: I laid before you a statement of the condition in which I am kept in two former communications--the one on the 1st instant and the other a few days subsequently to which I beg leave to refer--and I should not again trouble you had I not since my last learned on the direct authority of Lieutenant-General Scott that an order has been given by the Department of State that the political prisoners confined at Fort Lafayette shall be "decently lodged and subsisted unless they prefer to provide for themselves. "
The decent lodging furnished us consists in putting seven gentlemen to sleep in the one room of which I have before given you a description. Within this or at the door of it we are required to remain except during two hours in the day or whilst taking our meals.
The decent subsistence offered us in the alternative of our declining or not having the means to provide for ourselves is much inferior in many respects to that furnished to convicted felons in the Baltimore penitentiary and jail, and so far as I am informed in any well-regulated prison in the country. The officers here advise us that this is the only fare which under the instructions given and the means allowed to them by the Government they can offer.