War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1342 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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RICHMOND, October 21, 1861

Mr. SAMUEL HUNTER.

DEAR SIR: Yours of the 14th was received a day or two ago and I have seen the attorney-general and herewith inclose the law in regard to the collection of debts due Maryland. Your letter to Hopkins, Hull & Co. I will send so soon as an opportunity occurs, which is rare now. I have been able to hear but little from Baltimore for some time, and that little of very unsatisfactory character. Your first letter was received while I was out and so long after the time you wished me to write you to a certain point that I did not write you. Hope you may have success in your business operations. Write me when I can be of use to you.

Very respectfully,

E. N. SPILLER.

Besides these letters there were found among the papers of Hunter sundry business letters from citizens of the South (mostly in reference to accounts in his hands for collection) and also a few social letters from citizens of the South to their friends in the North which Hunter was bringing within our lines of rthe purose of mailing or delivering inperson. It is perhaps due to Hunter to say that there were no papers found in his possession of a treasonable character any further than those above mentioned may come under that definition. Upon Hunter's person also was found $4,240 in Virginia bank bills which I have given up to Mr. Robert Hull on Hunter's order, taking the former's receipt thereof.

On the 1st of January the following document was received by mail at this office, post-marked Baltimore, Md.:

The undersigned doing business in the city of Baltimore desire to state that the debts due them being almost entirely in the South, and their only dependence either for living or paying their debts being the debts due them, and feeling it due to themselves as well as to their creditors to do all in their power to collect and secure their debts, sent their clerk, Samuel Hunter, who has been living wwth them several years and whom they know to be a man of the strictest integrity, to Virginia in August, 1861, with instrructions to tak with him no letters or correspondence, and to bring none with him on his return. The object of his trip was only to secure and collect the debts due us and to bring the money home with him so that wemight be able to pay those to whom we were indebted here and in the North, who were then as now very urgent and pressing. Since his departure we have not written to him except on business, nor has he to us. he has been since his departure diligently engaged in attending to our business, and as we are satisfied to that only. On his arrival at Frederick, Md., a few days since he was arrested and taken to Washington and is now held a prisoner there.

As the trip on which we sent him was only on business as stated before we respectfully ask that he be discharged.

HOPKINS, HULL & ATKINSON.

BALTIMORE, December 31, 1861.

The above firm are highly respectable, and I have no doubt that their statements may be implicitly relied on.

GEO. R. DODGE,

Provost-Marshal.

It isd of course unnecessary for me to say that the whole mission of Hunter if not the agency of his employers in the matter was in direct contravention of the President's proclamation in regard to communicating with the rebel States, while it is for others also to define the penalty due such an offense. But the written intimation of Hunter in the South that his employers were known to be loyal to the Confederate States is a very serious aggravation of the matter. Here we have a case of a mercantile firm living and flourishing under the protection of the Federal Government confessing themselves through an authorized agent traitor to that Government and openly bidding defiance to the ordinances of the executive officers by communicating with its enemies in arms through an agent alike faithful to their pecuniary interests and their traitorous designs.