DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, January 8, 1862.
Major General JOHN E. WOOL, Fortress Monroe, Va.
GENERAL: I have received and thank you for your communication of the 7th instant relative to the Rev. Mr. Wilmer. His loyalty was vouched for by the Honorable Eli Thayer, late Member of Congress from Massachusetts. The loyalty of Mr. Thayer himself it is believed cannot be questioned. As it would appear from your letter, however, that he may have been mistaken I have sent for him to ask for explanations on the subject. Meanwhile you may retain the articles, a list of which you send, until the result shall be made known to you. The unusual form of the pass to Mr. Wilmer was occasioned by the illness of General McClellan.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
PHILADELPHIA, February 27, 1862.
Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON.
MY DEAR SIR: I trust you will excuse my troubling you with this letter, which I regret to do knowing you to be much pressed at this time with important matters. Some time since my brother, Rev. Dr. Wilmer, obtained from Mr. Seward a pass for himself and family to go into Virginia. On his arrival at Fort Monroe he was permitted to take but a very small portion of his baggage. Among the packages detained was a box of sermons which he is very anxious to have forwarded to him. If not inconsistent with your duty would you be kind enough to authorize the provost-marshal to forward the same to him with so much of the clothing as you may think proper to let him have. Should such a course not meet your approval I should esteem it a personal favor if you would authorize him to deliver to me such of his effects as may be detained at Fort Monroe that I may take charge of them until such time as free communication may take place with the State of Virginia. If you will send me such an order on the provost-marshal authorizing the delivery to me such of his effects detained at the fort I shall feel that you have conferred a special obligation on,
Very respectfully, your friend,
JNO W. WILMER.
Case of the Messrs. Day, Colemans, De Bell, Carper and others, concerned in the murder of Union soldiers.
William B. Day was arrested about the 27th day of November, 1861, by a cavalry company in General McCall's division at Dranesville, Va., and having been brought to Washington was committed to the Old Capitol Prison. He was charged with having been an open and unrelenting secessionist, and that he with others in August last awaited in ambush the coming of some Federal pickets near Dranesville and murdered two of them, wounding another. Brigadier-general Porter informs the Secretary of State in a letter dated the 17th of January, 1862, that an order was made by Major-General McClellan, commanding, that all the prisoners in custody suspected of having participated in the murder in August last of the U. S. pickets near Dranesville, Va., be held until a trial could be had in their cases and that the evidence in each case found be reported to him. * The said William B. Day remained in custody at
*Extract from Porter's letter here omitted. See p. 1292 for letter entire.