sympathy, as may be, has arranged a special train of cars to take such of the party as can go there to-morrow. Mr. Slidell and his family and I will go for a few days.
At Havana we shall endeavor to gather such information as may be useful to the Government as regards the disposition of the authorities and the people, and transmit it thence by such opportunity as may be presented.
We think that our successful departure from Charleston, leaving the Nashville still there, will best vindicate the course we adopted in recommending to the Government the charter of the smaller steamer From our experience in the matter and knowing how closely the port was watched we have every reason to congratulate ourselves on the result. The steamer that brought us under her new name of Theodora after replenishing her coal here proceeded on her way to Havana, and I shall send this dispatch to meet her there, and I hope to be safely taken by her to you.
We sent you from Charleston the charter-party with her owners, and with it the engagement of the house of Frazer & Co. to pay $5,000 for the privilege of freighting her home from Havana, all which we hope will be acceptable to the Government. Writing you thus fully Mr. Slidell requests me to say that he has considered it unnecessary to write separately, but that he will do so from Havana. I am gratified to add that nothwithstanding the excessive heat all of our large party remain in good health. Thermometer from 96^ to 98^.
With great respect, and very truly, yours,
J. M. MASON.
P. S. - Pardon the defaced condition of this sheet. It is the remaining one of the stock I brought with me.
J. M. M.
U. S. SHIP SAN JACINTO,
Off the Capes of Virginia, November 15, 1861.
MY VERY DEAR WIFE: The date of this will now you that we have been captured, and on the way to New York the ship will put in for coal into Hampton Roads. Captain Wilkes has been good enough to say that he would give this to the officer at Fort Monroe to take its chance of being sent to Norfolk by any flag of truce that may offer. We left Havana on the 7th instant on board a British mail steamer bound for England, and on the next day this ship fell in with us at sea and Captain Wilkes, the commander, it seems felt himself authorized to demand us from the English captain and here we are.
As to all questions arising from the circumstances attending the capture it would not become me to discuss them here as my letter will of course pass under inspection. Messrs. Eustis, Slidell, Macfarland and myself were taken. The ladies proceeded on the voyage to England. Of course there will be all sorts of speculations in the newspapers concerning our capture and its consequences but I have only to say, my dear wife, that you should not permit your mind to be affected by them, and draw no other inference from my silence concerning them except that I of necessity write under constraint. In the meantime I assure you and our dear ones at home that I was never in better health in my life and in no manner depressed, as I beg you will not be. We have been treated with every possible courtesy and respect by Captain Wilkes and his officers and are guests in the cabin.