Adverse winds and want of coal compelled me to put in this port, and shall leave as soon as I have taken in sufficient coal to carry me to Boston.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
NEWPORT, R. I., November 20, 1861.
Honorable GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy:
I have been obliged to put in here for coal, being unable to reach Boston owing to the severe winds we encountered. I shall coal and leave the earliest moment for my destination. I forward you the contents of a note received from the prisoners on board my ship at their request, and ask for an early reply to its cotents. It is as follows, viz:
U. S. STEAMER SAN JACINTO, At Sea, November 20, 1861.
Captain CHARLES WILKES.
SIR: You have informed us in consequence of adverse winds and a short supply of coal it is your intention to put into Newport, R. I. We have seen in the newspapers that the Government of the United States has decided that we shall be placed in custody of the commanding officer at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor. The voyage from Newport to Boston by sea at this season of the year will probably be tempestuons and disagreable; still we should with the exception of one of the signers of this letter who is much indisposed prefer that mode of conveyance to Fort Warren to that by land. Still we would much prefer to be placed in custody at Newport on account of comparative mildness of climate and the delicate health of the undersigned, and we are willing to pledge ourselves not to make any attempt to escape nor to communicate with any person while there unless permitted so to do. We will esteem it a favor if you will by telegraph make our wishes known to your Government.
We have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. MASON.
J. E. MACFARLAND.
I have forwarded you a dispatch relative to my reasons for making the capture of these commissioners by this day's mail.
NAVY DEPARTMENT, Washington, November 21, 1861.
Captain CHARLES WILKES,
Commanding U. S. Steamer San Jacinton, Newport, R. I.:
The Government has prepared no place for confinement of prisoners at Newport. The Department cannot charge the destination of the prisoners.
Secretary of the Navy.
BOSTON, November 22, 1861.
Honorable G. WELLES, Secretary of the Navy:
Telegram relative to search on board San Jacinto received. Orders sent to Colonel Dimick for Captain Wilkes, who has not yet arrived.
WM. L. HUDSON.