War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1262 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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know nothing of the mails being disturbed, the arrest of Hodge or Boyle, having been prisoners in Fort Lafayette since November 27, 1861. Neither do we know the charges against us, having been held in prison nearly three months without trial or examination.

DAVID C. WATTLES.

ISAIAH BUTLER.

FORT LAFAYETTE, Tuesday, February 11, 1862.

N. H. HART, Esq.

DEAR SIR: I have long hesitated to write to any gentleman in Michigan for reasons which would occupy too much room to detail. I am nearly as you know a stranger in Lapeer County. In looking over my limited list of acquaintances I thought of you as one who would not refuse to do me a trifling favor. For some time after my imprisonment I was under the impression that few letters from prisoners got outside of the walls of Fort Lafayette. To test the matter I wrote two or three letters full of nonsense to some person far away in the woods of North Branch. I this morning received indubitable eidence that they at least had passed in the shape of a wretched scrawl from a virgin of Canada stock. It may have contained very important news but Baron Humboldt could not have deciphered its meaning. Saving this epistle I have not heard a word from Michigan since my arrest. I have requested permission to send for the Daily Free Press but have received no reply pro or con. I wish to know whether any publicity through the press has been given to the arrests in Michigan. If so you would be doing me a great kindness by sending the papers to me at Fort Lafayette.

You can understand my object when I inform you that I have been left in total ignorance of the cause of my arrest, never having received the slightest intimation of the charges against more than was embraced in the general one of disloyalty. Our country has undergone a marked change from the past when an American citizen can be held months in prison without warrant, trial or even examination. This is a display of authority for which I can fin under the widely usurping plea of necessity. Under no circumstances certainly should the innocent be punished and I cannot possibly see any danger to the country in a few obscure men receiving at least a trial.

To the few persons in Michigan whose good opinion I should be proud to possess I can only say whatever may be the pretended charges against me defer your judgment until you hear both sides. Believe me, sir, I am no traitor, unless indeed a freely acknowledged hatred of abolitionism be deemed treason. No man would more willingly give his life to see our country restored to peace and unity. Just as freely would I give my heart's blood to see crushed out that accursed insurrectionary element of Northern society called abolitionism, in which organization is embraced all the dumnable, fanatical and demoralizing isms known to our country.

I saw a paragraph in the New York papers among the Washington dispatches which staetd that Wattles, Butler, Hodges and Boyle had been arrested for destroying the mails. This of course is a mistake. Mr. Wattles and Butler knew nothing of my arrest until they found themselves enjoying the luxuries of the same boarding house. (It was stated that the destruction of the mails was in revenge for my arrest.) I further saw the Hopkins was a member of a secret traitorous organization called the Knights of the Golden Square. This is the most absurd nonsense. There is to my knowledge no such society in exist-