War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1102 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, November 27, 1861.

Honorable GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith for your information a copy of dispatch* received from the U. S. consul-general at Havana respecting the visit of the San Jacinto to that place and the favorable impression made upon the authorities of the island by the gallant bearing of Captain Wilkes and the other officers attached to the vessel.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,



Washington, November 27, 1861.


SIR: Your very confidential letter of the 4th instant+ was duly received. * * *

I forbear from speaking of the capture of Messrs. Mason and Slidell. The act was done by Commander Wilkes without instructions and even without the knowledge of the Government.

Lord Lyons has judiciously refrained from all communication with me on the subject and I thought it equally wise to reserve ourselves until we hear what the British Government may have to say on the subject.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


ADMIRALTY, [London.] November 27, 1861.


SIR: I am commanded by my lords commissioners of the admiralty to send you herewith for the information of Earl Russell a copy of a letter dated the 9th instant from Commander Williams, the agent for mails on board the contract steamer Trent, detailing the circumstances under which Messrs. Mason and Slidell, commmissioners from the so-styled Confederate States of America to this country and France, and their secretaries were forcibly taken out of the Trent by an armed party of officers and men from the U. S. ship of war San Jacinto on the 8th instant in the Bahama Channel.

I am, &c.,


Secretary to the Admiralty.


TRENT, At Sea, November 9, 1861.

Captain PATEY.

SIR: There devolves on me the painful duty of reporting to you a wanton act of aggression on this by the U. S. war screw-steamer San Jacinto, carrying a broadside of seven guns and a shell pivot gun of heavy caliber on the fore-castle, which took place on the 8th instant in the Bahama Channel abreast of the Paredon Light-House. The Trent left Havana at 8 a. m. on the 7th instant with Her Majesty's mails for England, having on board a large freight of specie as well as numerous passengers, amongst whom were Messrs. Mason and Slidell, the former accredited with a special mission from the Confederate States



+Not found.