War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0966 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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FORT TAYLOR, Key West, Fla., December 7, 1861.

L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

SIR: I have the honor to request instructions in regard to Captain James McKay who I found a prisoner at this post when I assumed command. The case has been already reported to you by Major French. The grand jury in its November term had the case of Captain McKay before it, but the steamer Salvor, of which he was the reputed master and owner, was taken North for trial by Captain Scott, U. S. Navy, her captor, contrary to the wishes of the judicial authorities here, and on examination of the case before the grand jury there was really no evidence before it to criminate McKay and the bill of indictment was returned "not a true bill. " I inclose the certificate of the U. S. clerk. I have, however, still detained Captain McKay and he is still a prisoner in this fort and I request instructions in relation to him. I presume that on examination of the cargo of the Salvor which was taken to Philadelphia, as I see by the newspapers, the measure of Captain McKay's guilt or innocence can be determined. He informs me that he has written to General Thomas, Adjutant-General. He has been confined in this fort since 14th of October and expresses his willingness to take the oath of allegiance.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major, Second Artillery, Commanding.



Southern District of Fla.:

I, George D. Allen, clerk of the district court of the United States for the southern district of Florida, do hereby certify that the regular November term of said court has this 7th day of November, 1861, adjourned sine die and that the grand jury returned an indictment for treason against James McKay "not a true bill," and an indictment for treason against Charles Tifft "not a true bill. "

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and the seal of said court at Key West, this 7th day of November, in the year 1861.



FORT TAYLOR, Key West, December 7, 1861.

General L. THOMAS, Washington City.

DEAR SIR: Since my confinement here now two very long months I have taken the liberty of addressing yout twice* in which I tried to give you a brief sketch of how I got here. Up to this time I have heard nothing of my case other than a number of misstatements in relation to me from here which I observed in the public prints. By this time, however, I hope the steamer is discharged of her cargo and contents known, the owners of which are with the steamer and cargo, or the representatives of it, with the exception of 3 bags of coffee, 5,000 cigars and 4 cases of gin which belonged to myself. I was exceedingly glad to find that my negroes arrived out here some ten days since on a Government schooner with instructions to the captain to report with them to Commodore [Mc] Kean. This is charitable in their behalf to send them to


* Previous letters omitted because their substance is restated in this.