War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0698 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

NEWARK, September 30, 1861.

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Esq.

DEAR SIR: I hope you will pardon the liberty I take in thus addressing you. I do not fell an entire stranger to you as I had an introduction to you last winter in Washington by my friend Mrs. John A. Gilmer, and I trust in the kindness of your heart you will grant me a patient hearing as I am in great trouble.

A letter of my husband was intercepted and he was arrested some few weeks ago. That letter was written to prevent the confiscation of our property South which I will explain presently. At the time of his arrest some gentlemen here of the highest rspectability went before Mr. Keasbey, U. S. district attorney, and testified to mr. Wilder's loyalty. Of course our local paper came out with a great sensational piece such as mentioning the family, number of house, &c. Some of the statements were entirely untrue. For a letter they had letters and also stated that we had a kind of sign writing for communication. I called to see Mr. Keasbey the next day and requested him kindly to correct the misstatements. He asked me in rather a sarcastic manner if he should have the letter published. I told him no as I did not wish to make any explanations through the papers. I also told himthat I had been too good a Republican to be treated unfairly by my Republican brethern. He did publish the letter that day. I also asked mr. Keasbey if I sent to him gentlemen that he knew and that were acquainted with Mr. W[ilder]'s feelings and principaes if he would report their testimony at Washington. He promised to do she belief that he would do what he could favorably under the circumstances. He may have donw so but I have reason to think otherwise, having been informed within the last few days that he has been using his influence against instead of for us. You will know better than I whether he has merely done his duty or exceeded it. Perhaps he has been influenced by unprincipled enemies, which of course I must have as I have been subject since Mr. Wilder's arrest to a kind of loaferly persecution such as receiving anonymous, insulting letters.

I think it is very hard situated as I am here, almost a stranger, with not a relative excepting my children within 800 miles. We left the southa little more than a year ago with considerable sacrifice, fearing these troubled times and also wishing to bring up our children under Northern influence, and since our residence here our conduct has been perfectly loyal. You are aware that Newark is a manufacturing city. When the trouble between the North and South first commenced most of our factories here stopped. Consequently at the beginning of last winter our laboring poor were without work or bread. I devoted my entire time from the beginning of January till the middle of April, with the exception of two weeks spent at Washington, in relieving their necessities and providing them with work. I also used my means freely for their relief. In the month of May another call was made upon the ladies to provide comforts and hospital stores for our soldiers I again contributed with money, time and comforts. My husband also contributed liberally toward a large flag that was raised on our church.

Now if this is disloyalty I would like to know what loyaltgy is. We are accused of receiving letters from the South, which has prejudiced our case here. I admit that; but they were from a Mrs. Gilmer, whom you well know is loyal to our Union if any one is South. Another correspondent is Mrs. McConnel, a friend of Mrs. Gilmer and a Massachusetts lady who is residing South, and frowife of a gentleman in the Southern army. In these terrible times a person feels doubly anxious to hear from friends South.