War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0112 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records


Washington, October 19, 1861.


Numbers 142 Broadway, New York.

SIR: Your letter of the 15th of October in relation to visiting the prisoners of war on Governor's Island, N. Y., has been submitted to the Department of State and the following is the reply thereto:

No objection is entertained to the sending of contributions of any kind toward the comfort of prisoners, but visits to them by any persons for supposed philanthropic objects cannot be approved.

I am sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General.

FORT LAFAYETTE, N. Y., October 19, 1861.

Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Washington, D. C.:

I beg leave respectfully to bring my case to your notice, my long confinement proving very disastrous to my family. Late in June my vessel was chartered by McConkey & Co. to go down to the Patuxent River to get off a vessel wrecked or ashore there. The charter party was a written one and with parties with whom I had no previous acquaintance, and it is still in my possession and Mr. McConkey has a counterpart. The vessel ashore was the schooner Robert L. Seth, on the Patuxent at the mouth of Town Creek.

A few hours before my starting a Mr. Tute, who was a partner with me in the job, told me that about eight persons going to within a mile or two of my destination would like to avail themselves of the opposunity to go down if I would give them passage, they finding themselves with provisions. I understood they were laboring men and mechanics looking for employment. I had never seen them nor heard of them until then. I landed them within three miles of the vessel ashore.

A aquall came up and blew my vessel (the Alverda) ashore, and the water continued so low with constant blows that although part of the time I had lighters I was unable to get her off. My men left and Mr. Tyte went to Baltimore to get assistance. Previous to this the steamer Chester arrived with Massachusetts volunteers on board inquiring for the chooner Georgiana; and sent U. S. deputy marshals on board to examine my vessel and left me. I was alone on board. Subsequently the steam tug Vigilant and sloop William Byrne came down and sent a canoe with deputy marshals demanding my papers. I showed my papers, which they proposed to retain, and said I must go with them to General Banks, and was carried on board the cloop Willia Byrne and delivered up to Lieutenant Pickett. Some of the men went on board my vessel, opened my cabin and lockers, took papers, clothing, &c.

The Vigilant went out cruising in the bay while the sloop remained at anchor, and meeting with the gun-boat Yankee, Commander Craven, came back followed by the Yankee, who suspected these vessels and demanded their papers, and finding they were out upon an unauthorized expedition threatened to take them prisoners to Annapolis or Baltimore. I was ordered on board the Yankee. Commander Craven made inquiry of me as to the party I had carried down, all of which I told him. When learning that my vessel was nearly afloat he said he could tow her off in a few minutes and would do so. This was on saturday even-