War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0894 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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of Kentucky going out of the Union of her own accord, but thought she would be conquered. He is of no account at home or elsewhere, except for a soldier. Will take the oath.

These men were all arrested by the Home Guard of Kentucky when it was under general orders to arrest; most of them by Home Guards who did not know who they were. All were probably arrested upon the supposition that they were disloyal and were going South, and it may be that they were disloyal. I do not think that now there would be any danger in setting them at liberty. They are very inferior men. They are not conspirators and have no influence in society. I think we can fill all our forts and prisons with much better men who are much more dangerous than they. They are of no use as hostages on whom to execute the lex talionis, for if they were hanged few would know it and fewer still would care. Unless they can be made available in an exchange of prisoners where the rate was man for man they should be set at liberty.

I am, very respectfully, yours,


P. S. --I should include William E. Kearny, arrested in Clark County, Ky., in the above list but I am embarrassed by the circumstance that Honorable William H. Ludlow* has contrived to make himself the solicitor of Mr. Kearny (and several others) upon conditions that he (Ludlow) is to receive pecuniary compensation for getting them their liberty. This would look so much like selling the clemency of the Government that I am not disposed to forward the speculation. Yet to exclude him for that reason may not be just. What should be done in such a case?

S. C. H.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 25, 1861.

SETH C. HAWLEY, Esq., New York:

Where are the Kentucky prisoners mentioned in your report of the 24th?


DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 26, 1861.

SETH C. HAWLEY, Esq., New York.

SIR: I have received your report in the cases of Grubbs, Thurber, Crow, Griffith, McDowell, Robards, Wooldridge, McFeal, Back, and Holsclaw, together with your remarks in the case of W. E. Kearny. In reply I have to state that I have directed the release of all but Kearny upon condition that they take the oath of allegiance and engage not to enter any of the insurrectionary States nor hold any correspondence with persons residing therein and that they will not do any act hostile or injurious to the Government of the United States. I have also directed the release of Kearny with the additional condition that he will not pay to any person whomsoever any sum of money as a fee or otherwise for procuring his discharge or for interceding in his behalf. These orders I have forwarded to John S. Keyes, esq., the U. S.


*For Seward to Dimick and Burke and Loomis, November 26, revoking Ludlow's permit to visit prisoners, see p. 151; also see letter of Seward, November 27, to same officers, p. 153.