War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0654 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

HEADQUARTERS,

Fort Hamilton, New York Harbor, October 24, 1861.

Lieutenant WOOD, Commanding Fort Lafayette.

SIR: Please say to Mr. Howard that I cheerfully forward his note of the 23rd instant to Colonel Townsend agreably to his request. However much the efforts of the Government have fallen short of the expectations of the prisoners to make them as comfortable as they may desire still I must say that every exertion is being made by the Government for that purpose and such exertions will certainly be continued.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

MARTIN BURKE,

Lieutenant-Colonel, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS,

Fort Hamilton, New York Harbor, October 25, 1861.

Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

SIR: Inclosed please find a letter from one of the prisoners at Fort Lafayette in which he makes what he is pleased to call charges against myself and Lieutenant Wood. The only charge against me is that I have not visited Fort Lafayette personally to inspect the condition of that fortress and its inhabitants. The cause of my absence will be fully explained by E. Delafield Smith, esq., U. S. district attorney for this district, and is one which has not only prevent me from visiting Fort Lafayette but has kept me closely within these walls to my great personal inconvenience and discomfort. I am happy to have learned from Mr. Smith within a few days that I shall probably shortly have more liberty. Independently of this, however, I would not have had much time for personal inspection inspection of Fort Lafayette as my position requires that between 100 and 200 letters to and from the prisoners should be daily inspected under my own supervision - a task which I could never complete even with the assistance of the officer General Scott was kind enough to allow me were it not for the voluntary services of several of the gentlemen of the Twelfth Infantry.

With regard to conduct of Lieutenant Wood, who has charge of Fort Lafayette, I know of no part of it which could justify Mr. Howard in his charges. What offense the commanding officer of this post can have committed against the Howard family he is utterly at a loss to say unless it be a kind and courteous remark introduced by him in his letter of instructions to Mr. Wood, a copy of which has been furnished you, and which was intended merely as a gratuitous mark of respect for a distinguished family of his native State.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

MARTIN BURKE,

Lieutenant-Colonel, U. S. Army, Commanding.

[Inclosure.]

FORT LAFAYETTE, October 23, 1861.

Honorable SIMON CAMERON,

Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.

SIR: The orderly sergeant has this morning by order of the commanding officer of this post read to me in presence of a number of persons a letter from Colonel Martin Burke to Lieutenant C. O. Wood written