War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0860 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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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.


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