3. I have forwarded no prisoners of war to Cairo for exchange very recently, desiring first to learn from the commander at Cairo whether under late events on the Mississippi they could be received at present there.
4. The orders of Colonel Hoffman dated 19th instant are received and as accordingly all facilities and information possible will be furnished the legislative investigating committee concerning prisons and prisoners.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDWIN L. WEBBER,
Captain, Commanding Prisons.
PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL.]
NEW YORK CITY, January 24, 1863.
Honorable W. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
SIR: The contents of this letter will explain briefly why I have presumed to trespass upon your time. For a year and a half I have been actively engaged in aiding the South in its attempt to overthrow the Government of the United States. For this I have suffered sufficiently and after mature reflection have returned to my ancient allegiance, having quietly renounced all connection with the rebels and sought repose from excitement by a residence in the North. Whilst I have thus lived in solitude the thought has often disturbed me when I reflected upon my present inactivity compared with my former life, and I have been led to ask myself it I were not wrong in not attempting some effort in behalf of the United States Government when I was capable of doing so much harm and injury to the Confederates from the knowledge which I possess of their movements in Europe and of their plans for securing the ultimate dismemberment of the Union. I know that I can better serve the Government in furnishing it with late reliable information than any man in the North. Whilst in Europe in 1861 and 1862 I was perfectly familiar with all secession movements and intrigues, having been one of the agents from the South.
I read regularly the dispatches of Messrs. Yancey, Mann and Rost, as well as those of Mr. Slidell after his arrival. I knew of the efforts of Bulloch t out the Oreto and "290," or Alabama, and I could have frustrated them had I so desired. But I was then revolutionary in my opinions. I have since become conservative and peaceful. Since my change of opinion I will engage to place myself at the disposal of the President and repair to England and France and furnish the Department of State with regular abstracts of all dispatches and arrange with the Navy Department for the capture of the Alabama. I will be able to ascertain the depot where she will coal and steamers can be dispatched for her capture. In addition I can furnish a list of all vessels engaged in the contraband trade in order that they may be overhauled and properly dealt with.
I have thus furnished you with only an outline of that which I can do. In a personal interview I could explain myself more fully and at greater length than the mere limits of a letter will allow. I have made these propositions in earnest because I desire to see the war closed and the Union restored. If desire I can give the highest references as to my antecedents before the war and of operations since its commencement from among men of the North.
I desire that you shall show this letter only to the President in the event that you notice it at all, because if I place myself at this disposal