of the Sickles Brigade and brought into camp were brought here on telegraphic dispatch from Colonel R. B. Marcy and confined in the Thirteenth Street Prison. Acton stated to me in prison that he was direct from Richmond and was going to Anne Arundel County to see his family. When arrested he was found hid in the bushes with Jones. One of my operatives who was in Richmond, Va., about the 1st of October informed me that during a conversation he had with the Honorable J. P. Benjamin, Acting Secretary of War, the latter remarked to him that he had heard that a man by the name of Acton had been arrested by the Federal troops in Maryland. He said that one Acton had been charged with important business at the North for the Confederate States and wished my operative (who had gained the confidence of the powers at Richmond) to inquire into the matter when he came North and let him know about it when he returned to Richmond.
It will be remembered that Thomas A. Jones, the man that Acton was found concealed with, had long been actively engaged with the notorious George Dent in forwarding men and contraband goods and correspondence from Maryland into Virginia in co-operation with James and Benjamin R. Grymes on the Virginia side, Dent at least being an authorized agent of the rebel army. There is no doubt but that Acton at the time of his arrest was a spy of the most dangerous kind and ought to be kept in secure confinement until the war is over. His intimate association with Jones, the associate in active treason of George Dent, shows that he belonged to that dangerous nest of traitors, and that like them he should not be allowed to go at large while thee is any opportunity for him to operate against the Federal cause. I know of no mitigating circumstances in his case. I inclose herewith the letter of Thomas E. Hambleton to the Attorney-General, required to be returned to the State Department.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. J. ALLEN.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, January 15, 1862.
THOMAS E. HAMBLETON, Esq., Baltimore, Md.
SIR: Your letter of the 19th ultimo to the Attorney-General has been received. In reply I have to state that it is deemed inexpedient at the present time to direct to release of Samuel G. Acton.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. W. SEWARD,
OFFICE OF THE MARYLAND FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY,
Baltimore, January 16, 1862.
F. W. SEWARD, Esq., Assistant Secretary of State.
SIR: Your kind note of yesterday was duly received. The inclosed letter of General Dix I was about to present in person to your distinguished father, but I now inclose it merely to acquaint your father and yourself of the writer, with the request that you will please return it to me. Suffer me to say in reference to Samuel G. Acton that I have only acted in the spirit of humanity in asking either his trial or release. I know nothing of his offense. His wife comes to me in tears; her children are suffering and if he were out upon my recommendation I would require him to report tome once a week or report him to the Department.