War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0600 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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FORT LAFAYETTE, N. Y., October 3, 1861.


President of the United States.

SIR: I deem it a duty to myself to bring to the notice of the President the circumstances of my confinement and treatment here. I arrived at Boston in the U. S. frigate Congress on August 23 after an absence from the United States of two years, and resigned my commission as a captain in the U. S. Marine Corps (my only support) rather that join in an unnatural was against my blood relations, kindred and friends. My conscience, the distates of which I cannot safely disregard, compelled me to this course. On the 27th of August I received a communication from the honorable Secretary of the Navy informing me that my resignation had been received and my name stricken from the rolls of the Marin Corps. Of this I complain not. I was then by an order of the Secretary of the Navy arrested and brought under a guard like a common felon to this fort where I am now incarecerated without even being informed of the charges against me. I have written to the Navy Department* in regard to this unjust and unlwful treatment, to which I have received no answer. As to the particulars and details of my treatment here in prison I deem it unnecessary to trouble Your Excellency. Complaints of this nature have been made by others and forwarded to the Department without having elecited the slighest consideration; besides there are circumstances which decency frobids mentioning to the hed of a civilized people. Letters to and form my wife are subjected to the inspection of the commanding officer of this fort, and my dearst friends are denied permission to visit me on the most important business.

Uner such extraordinary circumstances I feel justified in appealing and indeed I have no other resouruce but to appeal directly to the President which I now do, and respectfully ask that I may be brought to trial as soon as possible on the charges against me whatever they may be, or released from this imprisonment which can find no sanction in the laws of war nortion or laws of the country which the President has solemnly sowrn to support. Shoud, however, this just request be disregarded I then ask that I may be sent to Washington, D. C., where my wife and children reside that I may be permitted to see them from whom I have been absent in the service of the United States more than two years.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


NAVY DEPARTMENT, [Washington,] October 10, 1861.

Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

SIR: I received yours of the 7th instant, with a communictin of Robert Tansill addressed to the President in which you do me the honor to ask me "to decive whether it is prover to be transmitted to Hies Excellency". I have respectfully to state that I am aware of no impropriety in the transmission. Robert Tansill was a captain of marines and has passed most of his life in the service and pay of the Government. When the present difficulties commenced he was with Flag Officer Sands on the Brazillian Station. As soon as he heard of the conspiracy against the Government he addressed the Department


* Not found.