War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0890 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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[No date.]

Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

SIR: In compliance with Mr. Kearny's wishes--whom I know to be a friend of the Government--I herewith forward his communication to your excellency, trusting it may effect his release from Fort Warren.

Very respectfully, yours,

E. B. WILDER.

[Inclosure.]

FORT LAFAYETTE, October 21, 1861.

Mr. E. B. WILDER, Newark, N. J.

DEAR SIR: After my compliments to you I would say that if you go to Washington I want you to see Mr. Seward and do what you can for my release. I was arrested in Kentucky by the Home Guards in my own neighborhood. I had never taken up arms against the Government nor did I ever anticipate doing such a thing. I am a plain farmer, and have no desire to interfere with the politics of the day. I have always been for peace, and that is the height of my offending. There were fourteen others arrested in my neighborhood, and all have been discharged by taking the usual oath, and I would be willing even to remain in the Northern States till released by the Government if it was required of me. You will please show this letter to Mr. Seward or any officer of the Department. I have a large family dependent upon me for a support, and I do not think the Government can possibly have any object in keeping me here as I have no influence, and if I had it should be exercised in behalf of the Government; and if it is not consistent with the views of the Department to release me from this fortress they will confer a favor by letting me know the nature of the charges preferred against me so that I can prepare my defense.

I remain, yours, with great respect, &c.

W. E. KEARNY.

ASHLAND, NEAR LEXINGTON, KY., October 22, 1861.

Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State, &c.

DEAR SIR: I presume it is somewhat unusual for you to receive a letter from one who has been himself accused of conspiracy and treason against the United States Government, but I believe that the slight acquaintance I have had the honor to have with you will induce you to put some faith in the truth of the statement I am about to make to you.

On the 24th of September I was arrested in an y. At the time of my arrest two men, both married, were arrested with me, both men returning to their homes where they would certainly have gone but for the arrest. With fourteen others they were sent to Louisville with me. Upon my discharge on bail fourteen of the sixteen prisoners were released on taking the prescribed oath. Of the two arrested with me one was released with the other thirteen, all taking the oath of allegiance. The other, and old man of sixty years ready and willing to take the same oath who had been arrested as I have before mentioned, married and on his way to his home, has been sent on and is I understand now confined at Fort Lafayette. The name of this man is William Grubbs. He is very poor; has left a wife and several children dependent on the charity of his neighbors. He has been no leader and is not competent to be a leader of rebels. I ask as a personal favor that this man may be discharged and sent home to his family if in your judgment the statement I have made does not entitle him to it of right.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES B. CLAY.