War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0976 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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U. S. MARSHAL'S OFFICE, New York, February 3, 1862.

Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State, Washington.

SIR: In obedience to the instructions contained in your order of the 29th ultimo I proceeded on Saturday, the 1st instant, to Forts Hamilton, Columbus and Lafayette where I discharged the following persons, viz: Captain Francisco Menendez, Spanish subject; Seaman Peter Fernandez, Spanish subject; Seaman Frederick Louis, French subject; Cook Hunter Semple, British subject, all of the British steamer M. S. Perry, who were the only remaining witnesses in prize cases not citizens of the United States. These men have already given their evidence in the prize court at Philadelphia and their retention would have been an unnecessary expense to the Government.

I beg to return as requested the letter of Menendez, who states that the same was written by a fellow-prisoner (being himself imperfectly acquainted with our language) and the assertion made therein that he is a British subject is erroneous and was made without his authority. They youth (McKay) alluded to in the same writing is a citizen of the United States and a native of North Carolina. I have also the honor to inclose you a note received from one of these men so released who demands compensation for his imprisonment and a free passage to Havana or the British West Indies and I would respectfully ask your decision in the premises.

I am, sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBT. MURRAY,

U. S. Marshal.

[Inclosure.]

NEW YORK, February 3, 1862.

Mr. ROBERT MURRAY, U. S. Marshal.

DEAR SIR: Having been released on the 17th of this month at your office I write to you this statement of my case. Sir, I signed articles in Havana on the M. S. Perry, a screw propeller, bound for Nassau, New Providence, via Key West. On the 10th of October I signed articles; on the 12th we sailed from Havana and we were captured the same night by the U. S. gun-boat Keystone State. We were thirty-five miles from Sand Key Light-House when we were captured. Since that time I have been in close confinement on board the Keystone State; then in Philadelphia on the guard-ship Princeton and at Fort Lafayette, having been three months and seventeen days in close confinement. Now, sir, I am left adrift here without wages and very little winter clothing, never having been here before. I have been living in the British West Indies and South America the last fifteen years and I feel this weather very severe. Now, sir, I wish to get to a warm climate as soon as possible, to work my passage or any other manner whatever. I believe that a schooner is going to Havana soon. If you would help me to get a passage or inform me if I am not entitled to some remuneration for the ill health and loss of time I have received at the hands of the U. S. authorities.

I remain, your honor's servant,

HUNTER SEMPLE.

P. S. - I hope you will ovelook this miserable scrawl as I am not in practice and I feel very nervous.

H. S.