WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, February 10, 1863.
Honorable HENRY WILSON,
Chairman Committee on Military Affairs, U. S. Senate.
SIR: I have the honor to transmit in answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 28th of January last the reports of the commanding officer and surgeon at Fort Lafayette, New York Harbor, in relation to the confinement, treatment, health and mental condition of Mr. Thomas, of Maryland.
I also [inclose] the report of the Adjutant-General giving the reasons for subjecting him to close confinement after the 3rd of March last.
Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
Washington, February 10, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
SIR: In compliance with your instructions I have the honor to report that Colonel Richard Thomas alias Richard Thomas Zarvona was captured on board the steamer Mary Washington near Annapolis July 7, 1861, and confined at Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Md. He was recognized as the man who headed a party which captured the steamer Saint Nicholas plying between Baltimore and the Potomac, and was indicted by the grand jury of Maryland district for this offense and for treasonable conduct.
When search was made for him on the Mary Washington he was found dressed in female apparel and concealed in a bureau in one of the state-rooms. General Dix in his report of February 20, 1862, thinks he should have been treated as a "pirate and spy. " There are four witnesses against him as to the first crime who were at Fort McHenry the last of September. The evidence of his being a spay consist in his having been taken in disguise as a female with a commission of colonel in the active volunteer forces of Virginia upon his person at the time.
In consequence of the report made in his case he has not been placed on the list of prisoners of war but is held confined at Fort Lafayette. He was placed in close confinement for trying to make arrangements to escape and while so confined did make a desperate attempt to escape by breaking away from the guard and jumping overboard on the night of April 21, 1862.
E. D. TOWNSEND,
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
FORT HAMILTON, New York Harbor, February 2, 1863.
Brigadier General L. THOMAS,
Adjutant-General, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.
SIR: Inclosed herewith you will please receive papers marked 1 to 3, being communications made to General Canby about a resolution passed by Congress in regard to the health, situation and treatment of Mr. Thomas, of Baltimore, now a prisoner at Fort Lafayette.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant-Colonel Third Artillery.