BALTIMORE, MD., March 10, 1862.
P. H. WATSON, Assistant Secretary of War:
There is not room at Fort McHenry for any more political prisoners. There are only two rooms of moderate size and both are occupied.
JOHN A. DIX,
HEADQUARTERS, Baltimore, March 11, 1862.
P. H. WATSON, Esq., Assistant Secretary of War.
SIR: The whole number of political prisoners ever confined within the walls of Fort McHenry is seventeen. This was only for a few days, when a room now occupied by the garrison was used for their custody. Twelve prisoners can be conveniently accommodated, but six of these must use officers' quarters. Whenever the number of political prisoners has risen to twelve or fourteen I have always asked for their removal. It is still more necessary now, as we have been compelled to take one of the rooms usually occupied for the close custody of particular prisoners for ordnance stores. At present there are eight political prisoners in custody, all that can now be conveniently accommodated, and this number may be increased any day by arrests here as there is no place within the city for the confinement of political prisoners.
I inclose an extract from a letter written by me* on the 5th of September last to Major-General McClellan on this subject. Since then our facilities for the custody of prisoners have been diminished by the necessities of the garrison.
I am, very respectfully, yours,
JOHN A. DIX,
WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, D. C., March 11, 1862.
Judge EDWARDS PIERREPONT, New York.
SIR: The Secretary of war directs me to inquire how soon the commission consisting of General Dix and yourself, appointed under the President's Executive Orders, Numbers 2, in relation to state prisoners will be ready to hear and determine cases and at what place it is proposed to sit first? This inquiry is made to enable this Department to satisfy the numerous applicants for information on these points. For a while they were quieted by receiving a copy of the circular inclosed, but that no longer satisfies them.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. H. WATSON,
Assistant Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Washington, D. C., March 11, 1862.
Brigadier General A. PORTER, Provost-Marshal-General.
DEAR SIR: In the case of John F. C. Offutt, a prisoner confined in the Old Capitol Building, whose application to the honorable Secretary
*Omitted here. See Vol. I, this Series, p. 592.