War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0076 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

here by several days of the intended transfer of the U. S. prisoners from Richmond to Castle Pinckney. It is not certain as to the medium of such correspondence, but a charge of custodian might work a remedy. I do intend to be understood as alluding to Colonel Burke.

I believe him to be as strict as it is possible of a man to be and exercise any of the kindness that a humane man in prompted to do. But the lieutenant in charge of the fort has his family with him, and women are famous for sympathizing with those they regard oppressed in any way, and it may be that ladies of his family (not the officer himself) furnish such aid as to make communication free between the inmates and their friends. Without making any direct charge against any person I would suggest that an officer without family be substituted for Lieutenant Wood as custodian of the prisoners.

There has been a want of care manifested at the time of discharging prisoners. They are allowed to go out unsearched; and although their signature to their oath has not had time to dry do not in any case hesitate to violate the spirit of it by bearing out communications from the inmates of any character that may be delivered to them. A copy of the inclosed letter* of Ellis B. Schnabel was thus taken out by young Harold whom I suggested should be discharged. The copy I send you was delivered to me by one who was requested to have it published in the New York Day Book and a Hartford paper of the same stripe. I received it with the understanding that I could use as it might appear best to me. Not knowing whether you had received from Schnabel the original I send the copy to you instead of to the pr

Very truly, yours,



NEW YORK, September 23, 1861.

Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State, &c.

DEAR SIR: There is confined at Fort Lafayette Captain Robert Tansill, now or late of he U. S. Marine Corps and a native of Virginia. he married a daughter of Major Bender, formerly of the Army and now residing at Washington, and another daughter is the wife of Mr. Charles B. Fisk, and engineer, who is the uncle of Mrs. Stoughton. It was owing to this connection that I became acquainted with Captain Tansill when he was in New York several years since on duty. I was this morning informed by a person recently discharged from imprisonment at the for that he had been requested by the captain to see me and ask me to call upon him there saying that I was the one know to him in this city to whom he left at liberty so to apply. I have not otherwise heard from him and do not know in what way I can be of the least service to him. He has I believe been absent from his family for more than two years past upon a cruise and may have reason to suppose an interview with me may be useful to him and I therefore feel bound to make an effort to see him, and with that view take this liberty of requesting from you permission to go to for that purpose. I ought perhaps to write to the Secretary of War on the subject, but as I am no doubt quite unknown to him and as your knowledge of me is at least sufficient to impress you with the certainty that I am incapable of abusing the privilege I seek I address you.


* See case of Schnabe, post.