WASHINGTON, October 24, 1861.
I have know Mr. George F. Harbin, who is now held as a political prisoner, for several years. I have during this time been the medical attendant of the family. He is very young and may have been indiscreet, but I should be loath to think he has done any disloyal act will-fully. His sisters are most excellent ladies, and while I have never exchanged a word on the political questions of the day with the young man I have with his sisters, and that too early in the spring, and I have never heard a disloyal sentiment or word from them.
S. A. H. McKIM.
CORNER 13TH STREET AND PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE,
Washington, D. C., October 25, 1861.
Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
DEAR SIR: I understand my case is before you for investigation. Not having a chance to defend my case I have thought it would be well to adopt the following, viz:
The charges against me as I understand are as follows: That I have been engaged in ferrying persons to and from Virginia, carrying arms and ammunition to Virginia: that I kept a horse and carriage to convey persons to and from my place; that I had been to Virginia myself and when arrested I had a double-barrel gun was left with me until the owner called for it. I knew nothing of its charge until it was discharged in my presence after my arrest. I understood that troops were scouring the counties and making arrests, and I as well as many others went to Virginia to escape arrest. Hearing the troops had left I returned home. I had never taken up arms and never intended so to do. The horse and carriage was left with me by a man by the name of McKenny who said he belonged in Washington. He brought with him in said carriage five runaway negroes which belonged in Virginia to a man--I forget his name. Said negroes were released from prison in Washington by order of, as McKenny said, General Mansfield or General Scott, which of the two I have forgotten. The horse and carriage were to remain with me until he (McKenny) returned from Virginia. If there were arms or ammunition carried to Virginia I have no knowledge of the same.
I do not deny but I have carried some persons across the river to Virginia. I carried several families of mothers and children to Virginia whom they said had husbands living there. Some of them said they had passes but I did not see them. I carried men also. I never inquired their business. I had not carried any person to Virginia for some two or three weeks before I went there myself.
I further understand that I am charged with carrying horses across the river which is certainly as false a charge as any man ever was charged with. After losing two very valuable boats by the Government I repaired a small-bottom boat for my express use; that is to say fishing and crabbing. Persons frequently came to me after said boat was repaired to get me to carry them to Virginia. I positively refused upon the ground that I had her repaired for my own purpose and if I attempted it I would lose her. A great part of the work was done by free negroes which is known to be a fact; and furthermore every man on the Potomac River that had a boat has been guilty of the same offense charged against me. Where there was a boat there was no use