War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0640 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

assure you he has neither the intellect nor the influence to harm the Government even if so disposed. He has a wife and four children dependent upon his daily exertions for their support and they are at this moment in most indigent circumstances. His wife is in very delicate health and the misfortune that has now fallen upon her has aggravated her disease to such a degree that she cannot last long. For the sake of a common humanity, by the mercy that you hope for from the Great Searcher of Hearts in the final day of accounts, do give immediate attention to this poor man's case. If he has been imprudent, and that is the extent of his offenses as far as I can learn, he has suffered enough. By a word you can open his prison doors and let him go free and the blessings of those who are ready to perish will reward you.

Yours, respectfully,


DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, October 4, 1861.

Lieutenant Colonel MARTIN BURKE, Fort Lafayette, N. Y.

SIR: Let B. F. Grove, a prisoner held in custody in Fort Lafayette, be discharged on taking the oath of allegiance stipulating that he will do no act hostile or injurious to the Government of the United States; that he will not hold any correspondence or communication whatever with anybody in the seceded States during the present insurrection without permission of the Secretary of State.

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


Assistant Secretary.

FORT LAFAYETTE, October 4, 1861.

Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State, Washington.

SIR: I feel constrained to make this communication and I entertain a good hope that justice and the public safety will admit of a favorable response. More than a month has elapsed since I was conveyed to this fortress. I was taken from my usual calling and my family left in destitute circumstances in a strange city and among strangers. My wife had been in delicate health for some time past and now in consequence of the sudden and severe trials and privations pressing upon her mind and heart so heavily she is completely prostrated and for most of the time is confined to her bed and without assistance, except the relief occasionally afforded by kind-hearted neighbors. I think I can say for her that she is one of the best women that ever was made and that her life is one of innocency. Tenderly devoted to her family she deserves all the kindness and lenity that can be manifested toward her and her household. We have four small children utterly helpless and entirely dependent upon their mother and she in the painful situation I have represented, and even if my wife had the physical strength for needlework or something of the kind she could not now get anything to do. I have not got a dollar in money to depend upon or to relieve the present wants of my family. The approaching winter must necessarily bring greatly increased privations and disasters to myself and my precious ones. I am restrained of my liberty and of course cannot render my family the least aid in any way. I can only comprehend their alarm and distress but cannot alleviate their painful circumstances. Just now it is a difficult matter to earn a support in any branch of