War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0782 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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despotic power which has trampled my rights and the laws and cnostitution of my State under foot; neither will I accept the intervention in my behalf of any man in Maryland who can regard the tryanny to which I am subjected as other than a brutal, unjustifiable and infamous exercise of arbitrary power. Let it be your consolation as it is mine to know that I am suffering in behalf of constitutional liberty, and this country will yet regret the day when it undertook to intimidate or punish without the form of law the Southern men who have dared to vinidicate Southern rights. There are those whom a banded world cannot coerce into submission, and some such spirits are in Fort Lafayette. * * *

Affectionately, yours,


FORT LAFAYETTE, New York Harbor, October 22, 1861.

Lieutenant Colonel M. BURKE,

Commanding Forts Hamilton and Lafayette.

COLONEL: On looking over the letters written by the prisoners confined at this post I found one from F. Key Howard, of Baltimore, in which speaking of the President of the United States he made use of the expression "vulgar dicator. " I returned the letter to him with notice that if he was not more respectful in his letters it would be my duty to stop his correspondence.

Hoping you will approve my action, I remain, with respect, your obedient servant,


Second Lieutenant, Ninth Infantry, CommandRT HAMILTON, New York Harbor, October 22, 1861.

Lieutenant CHARLES O. WOOD, Commanding Fort Lafayette.

SIR: I have received yours of the 22nd instant. You have devoted your entire time to the comfort of the prisoners at Fort Lafayette, and the Government under the circumstances has not been remiss in making them comfortable as far as practicable. I wish you again to call the attention of the prisoners to the rules made by me to regulate their correspondence which prohibit any invidious or personal remarks against the Government or its agents either civil or military. I may add that I am surprised that a member of the Howard family, which from the time of the Revolution to the commencement of our present troubles were gentlemanly and patriotic, should now by infringing these rules endeavor to embarrass his custodians from whom he has received every kindness consistent with public duty, and I wish to call Mr. Howard's attention to the indelicacy (to use the mildest term) of his course in applying unbecoming epithets to our Commander-in-Chief and attempting to make yourself me the instruments through which he would forward the letters containing them.

You will please inform the prisoners that a copy of this communication* and other letter to which it is a reply will be forwarded to the Adjutant-General.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.


*See Vol. I, this series, p. 654-656, for Charles Howard to Secreteaery Cameron, October 23, filing charges against Burke and Wood "derogatory to their official positions as officers of the Army. "