DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, December 17, 1861.
Major General JOHN E. WOOL, Fort Monroe, Va.
GENERAL: I inclose a letter for Mr. J. P. Benjamin at Richmond which I will thank you to cause to be forwarded and to send to this Department any answer which you may receive to the same.
I am, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
NEW YORK, December 16, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Richmond.
MY DEAR SIR: You are aware that my firm associated with Messrs. Lord, Brady and others acted as the counsel of the privateersmen captured on the Savannah. We have been in constant communication with these prisones The men are all wel fed and well treated. The officers have a large, well-ventilated room, with fire, books, newspapers, writing materials, &c., and have at all times been allowed to spend their own money in the purchase of luxuries. During the whole period of their confinement their friends have been permitted to [make] such addition to their table as they chose and this has constantly been done. Since their trial there has been no change in the manner of their treatment. In every respect their condition as to comfort compares most favorably with that of debtors or of witnesses in confinement.
I make this statement in order to call your attention to the condition of Colonels Gogswell, Lee and others now in strict confinement under the order of tahe 9th of November. Their treatment is I am informed very rigorous and they are allowed none of the privileges or comforts which are afforded to the prisoners here against whom they are held. Is it not proper for me to urge that for the present at least there should be an equality of condition? The genlemen held under the order referred to are friends of mine-Cogswell an old and valued one. I am sure you will not hesitate to modify your order so that their confinement shall not be unnecessarily harsh. The manner of their treatment cannot possibly affect the question which gave rise to the order. Relying upon your willingness to do all in your power to aid my friends,
I am, yours very truly,
SAM'L L. BARLOW.
In reference to the men I understand that they have no better fare or quarters than our ordinary prisoners. The officers naturally object to the prison fare which is healthful and abundant thought not luxurious. All the men are strictly confined except Harleston who is allowed to walk daily in the corridors.
FORT WARREN, Boston Harbor, December 17, 1861.
General L. THOMAS,
Adjutant-General, U. S. Army, Washington.
SIR: I have the honor to report that 9 officers and 240 men, prisoners of war, left this morning in the bark Island City for Fort Monroe. Doctor Peters' certificate will account for Lieutenant C. G. Lamb being sent. Captain J. A. de Lagnel left on the 13th to report to Major-General Wool to be exchanged for Captain Ricketts.
There may be some difference between the list heretofore forwarded and that now sent. A portion of the original list was lost. The men