War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0424 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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[No date.]


Willard's Hotel, Washington, D. C.:

Quillen case following return made: I beg leave to decline obeying this writ at this time. Betts ordered adjournment to Wednesday for amended return. He wants the officer to state by whose authority he delines. Advise me.


WASHINGTON, August 5,1 861.


MY DEAR SIR: Of the two prisoners at New York about whose libertaion we spoke confidentially last night one is Quillen, with whose case you are well acquainted. * * * I do not, however, in this private and confidential note enter into the merits of either case because your view was that it would be expedient rather to exercise your discretioanry power in favor of these two countrymen of mine than to discuss legal or other questions. In the same spirit in whicih we spoke of the subject last night I venture to say that I should be very glad to have the means as soon as possible of anticipation any sensation which the cases might make on the other side of the Atlantic.

Believe me to by, my dear sir, yours, sincerely.



Washington, August 5, 1861.

Lieutenant Colonel MARTIN BURKE, U. S. Army,

Commanding, &c., Fort Hamilton, N. Y.

SIR: It is deemed advisable by higher authority that Purcell M. Quillen, confined as a political prisoner in Fort L: afayette, should be at once quietly released. The General-in-Chief accordingly directs you to release him. * * *

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General.

Case of Austin E. Smith.

On the 2nd day of August, 1861, Austing E. Smith, late navy agent at San Francisco, was arrested at New York by the marshal of the southern district of New York charged with being a defealter to the Government and having the books and papers of the naval agency in his possession and with being a secessionist and rebel, and was on the 3rd day of August by order of the Department of State committed to military custody at Fort Lafayette as a political prisoner. Many persons charged Smith with disloyal and rebellions sentiments and purposes, alleging that he was a rabid and fiery rebel and that he had openly declard on board ship that had he had in his possession any considerable amount of Government funds he would have retained it for the use of the army South. He was twice tendered his release from confinement on condition of taking the oath of allegiance and giving his parole not to go to any seceded State nor correspond with any person