the name of law, justice and humanity to give me my discharge from this horrid place. I claim to be loyalty to the Government having at no time said or done anything against the Constitution. True my residence has been in Virginia for twenty years. I have not been in Virginia for nearly six years up to the time of my arrest. My residence has been ever since I left Virginia South and West; my business that of steam-boat officer and merchant. I never have given nor will I ever give any aid to the enemy or the Southern rebels. My situation is truly unpleasant and I am compelled from sickness and indisposition to request your favor in my case.
J. S. EMERSON.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, October 11, 1861.
Brigadier General ANDREW PORTER,
Provost-Marshal, Washington, D. C.
GENERAL: Herewith I inclose to you a communication from J. S. Emerson, a prisoner confined in this city. Will you have the goodness to examine his case and return to me with this inclosure your opinion thereon?
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM S. SEWARD.
WASHINGTON, D. C., JAIL, October 8, 1861.
SIR: Permit me with all due respect to call your attention to my imprisonment in this jail by order of General Mansfield under the suspicion of being a spy or political prisoner. I have been confined here some three months, have never had any examination and do not know what is to be my lot. General Mansfiel promised me nearly three months since to look into my case and throught it more than possible I would soon be released. The papers and matters of my arrest were laid before General Mansfield by Lieutenant Shepard, provost-marshal of Alexandria, by whom I was arrested, and up to this time nothing has been done in my case. I would be under many obligations if I can prevail on you to take my case into consideration and give me at least my doom.
Satisfied I am that I am no secessionists or disloyalist. I never have during this criss said or done anything against this present administration. I am no politican, having at no time in my life ever took sides with either party. I never voted at a Presidential, or municipal election in my life. I was born in the town of Alexandria, Va., my parents and relatives reside there; I have not been a resident of Virginia for twenty years; have not been in Virginia for six years or thereabouts until last June; my residence has been South and West ever since I left Virginia; my business has been that of steam-boat officer and merchant.
I would respectfully ask you in the name of justice and humanity to look or cause to be looked into my case, for this place where I am now confined is horrible; the food of the jail is more than miserable; the stench of the place is horrible; the quarters where myself and eight other political prisoners are confined are upon the same floor and in