War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1018 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 30, 1861.

GEORGE D. PRENTICE, Astor House, New York.

DEAR SIR: I duly received your letters of the 26th instant. Before making up my mind in regard to the subject to which they relate I must have an interview with General Sumner which has been requested but not yet obtained.

I am, dear sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 30, 1861.

Col MARTIN BURKE, Fort Lafayette, N. Y.

COLONEL: The Honorable William M. Gwin, Calhoun Benham and J. L. Brent, esqs., of California were arrested on board the mail steamer coming from San Frnacisco to Panama by Brigadier-General Sumner and on arriving at New York were permited by him to go at large within the city on parole until the pleasure of the President should be known. On the report of General Sumner to the War Department it was thought prudent that the prisoners should be committed to Fort Lafayette. They are now understood to claim that before embarking they had assurances by Federal authority that they need not apprehend an arrest. Under these circumstances the prisoners may be released on their into or hold any correspondence with persons residing in any of the insurrectionary States and o report themselves to the State Department in Washington for explanations and remain thereaftter on parole subject to the direction of the Secretary of State. I transmit this order to Robert Murray, esq., U. S. marshal, who has been instructed by this Department to cause a police examination to be made in some cases of the persons and baggage of prisoneeers discharged from custody to the end that no correspondence or other improper papers be conveyed by them to persons outside the fort.

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

WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 30, 1861.

Colonel GEORGE D. PRENTICE, Astor House, New York:

An order goes to Colonel Burke to-day for release of Gwin, Benham and Brent on parole to come to Washington for explanations.

WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

FORT HAMILTON, New York Harbor, December 2, 1861.

I hereby give my parole of honor not to do any act hostile or injurious to the Union and not to enter into or hold any correspondence report myself to the State Department in Washington for explanation, and to remain thereafter on parole subject to the direction of the Secretary of State.

WM. M. GWIN.

Witness:

CHARLES W. CHURCH,

Justice of the Peace.

(Note. -Calhoun Benham and J. L. Brent signed a parole identically the same as the foregoing.)