doing so I have always known him to possess as warm and earnest Union sentiments as may own and notwithstanding the strong appearances against him I believe him to be true to his country.
Mr. Wilder is pretty well known in this city, and others I believe would express this opinion of him as earnestly as myself. I know that Mr. Wilder is ready at the moment to subscribe to the strongest oath of allegiance to his country and its flag and I would ask the Secretary, such being the case, if he could not be relieved from his confinement upon giving proper security for his future behavior; this would give great rely of a number of interesting young children, and I should myself fell under great obligation to the Secretary would be entertain this proposition.
Most respectfully, yours,
P. S. - Since writing the foregoing I have been placed in possession of and now hold two letters from Mr. Wilder -one to his wife and one to his daughter - written from Washington the day after the battle of Bull Run (Mr. Wilder was at the battle) expressing the warmest sympathy with the Government and most patriotic feelings of regret at its results, which strongly confirms the account he gives of the reasons for his letter to his son-in-law, which he says was a ruse to save his property, &c. And certainly in these letters there is every feeling expressed for his country and none for disunion. This the Secretary may rely upon and I can but hope will justify his granting the application. I hand a note from Doctor Dodge, of Newark, covering to me the two private letters I have alluded to.
FORT LAFAYETTE, September 8, 1861
RUSSELL STURGIS, Esq.
DEAR SIR: By means of a letter written my son-in-law, N. R. Mendenhall, and which fell into the hands of the Government, I was arrested and, as the Times and Herald stte, for building a rifle battery for the South. You have known me for many years and are fully aware that I asm in every sense of the word a Union man. You are also aware that I own some property, mining and otherwise, in North Carolina. I accordingly wrote the letter in which I stated that I had built a machine and would be glad to dispose of it South, and that were it not for my family I would be Southin order to assist in driving back abolitionists, &c. I inteded it as a ruse in order to prevent the confiscation of my property, knowing that Mendenhall would make the contents known in Greensborough, N. C. and at the same time trusting to my own true and loyal feelings to shield me from suspicion, in which I erred.
Now, sir, in candor and in the presence of the Almighty I do solemnly aver that I have never built any battery for the South nor was I building or intending to build one for them. Neither have I ever in any way, shape or form furnished any drawings or information regarding the same to any parties South nor intended doing so. The battery I was building is a small 16-inch model which in accordance with my cousin's instructions would first go to Washington (perfected with self-primers) in order to exhibit it (as I did the large one now in Washington) before the President and other officers of the Government, and