WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, April 3, 1863.
The SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, Washington, D. C.
SIR: Your letter of the 2nd was received on the 14th ultimo. The petition of citizens of Kanawha praying the release of certain men named and which you said you would send did not accompany your letter and has not been received. The men named are not within the limits of my department but I have applied to the proper officer to ascertain where they are and what charges are alleged against them, and I shall act in the matter just as I would have done had the petition been received.
Whether or not the proper authorities will release those men I can't say. The instructions which as I am informed General Halleck has recently given General Rosecrans concerning citizens of Tennessee and the fact that your Government has now its prisons hundreds perhaps thousands of our citizens with no other charge against them than that of loyalty to their Government is not calculated to induce a favorable consideration of the petition in behalf of the men you name.
Your letter conveyed to me the first information I have of the shooting of Mr. Richmond, at Rich'd [Richmond] Ferry, by Confederate soldiers last autumn. I have inquired into the case and ascertain that if that crime was committed-and I have no doubt the it was-it was in direct violation of the orders of the major-general then commanding this department. He was greatly incensed and caused the officers by whose order Mr. Richmond was said to have been shot to be arrested and brought to trial by court-martial.
Before the case was concluded the exigencies of the service in an active campaign required that the members of the court should rejoin their respective commands and before they could assemble again to conclude the case the members were scattered; one has been killed in battle and others are now in distant departments.
You are in error supposing that "no offense was charged against him (Richmond) save that of unswerving loyalty to the United States. " The president of the court from whom I derive this information informs me that testimony was adduced which proved that Richmond not only guided the invaders but instigated them to the commission of many outrages on inoffensive citizens and committed himself all manner of outrages and crimes, including theft, arson, murder and rape.
The last-named crime was committed on the person of a daughter of a most estimable citizens of Western Virginia and the wife of an officer in the C. S. Army. If these statements are true, and they were generally believed to be true, you will I think admit that Mr. Richmond had little