Military Surveillance of Judge William M. Mirrick.
Judge Merrick, assistant judge of the U. S. court in the District of Columbeia, was placed under military surveillance by order of the Secretary of State October 21, 1861, having a guard placed about his residence. He was charged with interfering with the officers of the U. S. Army while in the discharge of their duties in enforcing the rules and regulations established in Washington for the preservation of the Government. the surveillance was removed a few days after it had been established. -From Record Book, State Department, "Arrests for Disloyalty. "
COOK COUNTY, ILL., January 21, 1861.
Lieutenant General WINFIELD SCOTT, Washington, D. C.
DEAR SIR: A letter has been received in Chicago within a day or two where I do business (living only six miles from the court-house, south) from Judge Merrick, of your city, stating in effect that Washington would be in the hands of the secessionists by the 4th of March and that thousands of the Marylanders that you are arming have a plot to desert all at once and fight on the other side and that this is unknown to you. this was told in confidence to me.
The fact is, general, that messengers and letters are continually arriving here from Kentucky, tennessee, Missouri, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, &c., which establish the fact beyond a reasonable doubt that a conspiracy does actually exist which has for its object the sacking or taking of our national capital. God forbid that such a thing should happen while such experienced veterans as yourself and others are at the helm. Do not heed this information too lightly or your life and that of other valuable citizens who love their contry will pay the forfeit, for they will destroy all that oppose them if they can. Their secret force now sworn to the accomplishment of this object is said to be over 50,000 and scattered over the States I have named. There is one company in the city of Saint Louis of 300 who say they stand ready to go to South Carolina aat a moment's notice of she is coerced; but it is pretty well ascertained that Washington is their destination if an opportunity is offered.
Why, sir, you can have 1,000 or 5,000 men from Chicago by only asking for them. I implore you to be prepared of the worst as the best will take care of itself. I am ready to die if need be in defending the national flag. It is thought by our people generally that the defense of the capital ought not to be intrusted too much to citizens of Maryland, Virginia, or even of the District.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, October 21, 1861.
Brigadier General ANDREW PORTER, Provost-Marshal, Washington.
GENERAL: You are didrected to establish a strict military guard over the residence of William M. Merrick, assistant judge of the circuit court of the United States for the District of Columbia.
I am, general, your very obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.