War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1258 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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nected with a secret league or with any league the object of which was or is the overthrow of the Government of my country. Surprise, however, only increases as I pass from your note to the extract to which you refer as a sufficient basis for an official communication. Incoherent and meaningless as this extract from the vagaries of an anonymous correspondent seems to me to be it is not a little singular that it should have been sent for explanation to one who during his whole life has never belonged to any secret league, society or association. My name does not appear in the extract, and as there is not the slightest ground for any reference to me in the connection indicated I take it for granted that your inference is wholly erroneous and that neither I nor anything which I ever said or did was in the mind of the writer.

Nothing but the gravity of the insinuation, the high official source whence it emanates and the distracted condition of our recently united, prosperous and happy country could possibly lift this matter above ridicule and contempt. Not therefore because explanations would be acceptable but because this correspondence is to hold a place upon the files of the Department of State long beyond the duration of your life or mine, and because I would leave so far as I am concerned no ambiguity upon the record, it is proper-perhaps it is my duty-to add that my loyalty will never be successfully impugned so long as I enjoy the constitutional rights which pertain to every citizen of the Republic, and especially the inestimable right to be informed of the nature and cause of accusation and to be confronted face to face with my accusers.

Love for our whole country, respect for the reserved for the reserved rights of the States, reverence for the Constitutionand devotion to the noble Union which for so many years reposed securely upon that sacred instrument, have been interwoven with my best hopes for civil liberty, my deepest emotions, and my sternest purposes from youth to age. If I have failed to illustrate this in official station, in private life and under all circumstances where it became me to speak or act I have labored under a singular delusion, consciousness of which would embitter more than anything else the present hour and such remaining hours or years as may be in reserve for me.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

FRANKLIN PIERCE.

FORT HAMILTON, New York Harbor, December 25, 1861.

Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND,

Asst. Adjt. General, Hdqrs. of the Army, Washington, D. C.

SIR: Inclosed you will please find a letter written by a prisoner in Fort Lafayette to John M. Wattles which I think proper to pass through your hands.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

MARTIN BURKE,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.

[Inclosure.]

FORT LAFAYETTE, December 24, 1861.

DEAR BROTHER: I wrote you under date of the 5th instant which I suppose you have received ere this writing. I did not give you the particulars of my arrest presupposing that you had got them from home. I also refrained from giving you a detail of the treatment to