War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0962 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

FORT LAFAYETTE, November 12, 1861.

JAMES McNABB, Esq., Numbers 16 John Street, New York.

DEAR BROTHER: Having arrived at our destination in the fort here ad having drawn up a petition to send to the English consul I beg that you will do us the favor to take it to him, as none of us know the directions, and oblige. We arrived last night and are much more comfortable here than on board the Princeton.

From your affectionate brother,



FORT LAFAYETTE, November 12, 1861.


SIR: Being confined in Fort Lafayette without just cause, and not having any opportunity to appear before you personally I hope, sir, you will excuse the writer of these lines for the inconvenience they might create you. I, the master of the British steamer M. S. Perry, in behalf of the officers and crew of said vessel, now confined in Fort Lafayette, petition you to look into our case the particulars of which are as follows:

The British steamer M. S. Perry (formerly called Salvor), owned by Mr. John McLenan, British subject in Havana, left Havana on the 13th of October last with a cargo of assorted merchandise consisting principally of coffee and cigars and eight passengers (owners of the cargo) on borad, bound for Nassau, New Providence, via Key West. Two of said passengers were destined for Key West, the other six for Nassau; the cargo likewise was shipped and cleared for Nassau, New Providence. The said steamer was properly cleared in Havana as an English vessel through the custom-house and English consul. We passed the Moro Castle at 7. 30 a. m. on the 13th of October last shaping our course for Key West to land the two passengers specified. The engine being in bad condition were obliged to stop engine every two hours or so for then or fifteen minutes at a time to repair the engine. For that reason we kept a well westerly course (as the current sets strong to the eastward in the Gulf Stream) so as not to come to leeward (eastward) of Key West. The steamer didn't average more than three miles and a half per hour.

About 10 p. m. same day fell in with the U. S. steamer Keystone State, steering to the westward. We were then according to my reckoning about thirty-five miles to the southward and westward from Sand Key light, which is in the vicinity of Key West, steering northeast. I was ordered by the commander of said war steamer to heave to which I immediately did. We were boarded and taken as a prize to Key West, where the ship's papers were taken ashore by the U. S. marshal and three passengers tranferred to Fort Taylor, Key West. After remaining in Key West for two days the steamer Keystone State took the M. S. Perry in tow and started for Philadelphia vwher we arrived the 25th of October. We were examined before the prize commissioners and sent on board the Princeton, U. S. receiving ship in Philadelphia.

All communication with the shore being prohibited I had no opportunity to emloy a legal adviser. I sent one letter to the British consul in Philadelphia but if said letter arrived at the point of destination I do not know as I did not receive any answer. Yesterday afternoon we