DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, January 11, 1862.
Brigadier General ANDREW PORTER, Provost-Marshal, Washington.
GENERAL: I inclose herewith a letter* from George F. Harbin, a prisoner confined at the prison in this city. Will you please examine the case and return to this Department with your report this inclosure.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. W. SEWARD,
OFFICE OF THE PROVOST-MARSHAL,
Washington, January 11, 1862.
Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of an order from you directing the release of George Dent, sr., George Dent, Jr., Thomas A. Jones, Rudolph Watkins, George S. Watkins and George F. Harbin, prisoners confined in the Old Capitol. I would respectfully represent that the above-named prisoners are of the most dangerous character and have been actively engaged in furnishing information to the rebels and in transporting men to Virginia for the purpose of joining the rebel army, as also in the nightly transportation of contraband goods to the enemy; that the prisoners Dent and Jones were duly a credited agents of the rebel government for the purposes above set forth, and in the house of Dent was found a copy of the signals arranged for signaling between the Maryland and Virginia shores as appointed by the officer commanding the rebel forces at that time at Mathias acquire information of the numbers, arms, positions, &c., of our army in Virginia and forwarding the same to Dent to be transmitted to the rebels. They (the Watkinses) were also engaged in sending forward to Dent contraband goods and persons for transportation to Virginia.
Knowing the extremely dangerous character of these men and the probability that untruthful representations connected with these case had ben made to you I submitted the subject of their release to Major-General McClellan, who directs that it is a military necessity that these persons should be held in custody, and I have the honor to herewith inclose to you the order for the release of the within-named parties with the indorsement thereon+ of Major-General McClellan for such further action as may be deemed necessary thereon.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General and Provost-Marshal.
HDQRS. CITY GUARD, PROVOST-MARSHAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, D. C., January 13, 1862.
Brigadier General A. PORTER, Provost-Marshal.
DEAR SIR: In the cause of Samuel G. Acton, a prisoner confined in the Old Capitol Building, I have the honor to report as follows: On the 4th of October last (as I had the honor to report to you on the 26th of that month in connection with other matters) Thomas A. Jones, of Pope's Creek, and one S. G. Acton having been arrested by a detachment
*Omitted here. See Harbin to Seward, December 22 and December 30, 1861.
+See p. 858 for McClellan's indorsement.