LOUISVILLE, May 17, 1863.
His Excellency A. LINCOLN:
Samuel B. Churchill, of Saint Louis, was arrested in this city by order of General Curtis and taken to Saint Louis. We understand that he with his family a wife and seven children, are ordered to leave for the south on Wednesday. We know Churchill well, being on old schoolmate and intimate friend to both of us. His father was a prominent citizen here and a warm Union man. He did a few months ago leaving a large estate and the prisoner one of his executors, with important and indispensable duties to discharge in which many of our and your friends are deeply interested, none of which can be discharged without his direction. In view of all the circumstances we ask a revocation of the order, and we will hold ourselves bound for the faithful performance of any obligation which may be imposed on him. In justice to ourselves and to you we must say that we approve of the order sending active rebel sympathizers South, but we do not believe that Mr. Churchill is one who should be embraced in the order. From our intimate acquaintance with him we fear that some private enemy is abusing the power of the Government to wreak personnel vengeance which we desire avoided on your account and on account of the cause. The duties alluded to in connection with his father's estate are here. If his presence is hurtful in Saint louis can he be allowed to remain here? If this is granted we will hold ourselves in honor bound to inform on him and arrest him should he do anything wrong. If this cannot be done can a respite be granted till one of us can see you or the Secretary of War?
JOSHUA F. SPEED.
LOUISVILLE, May 17, 1863.
I am assured Colonel Churchill will take the oath of allegiance and pledge myself he will be of good behavior, and feel greatly obliged by your decision. *
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA,
Fort Monroe, May 17, 1863.
Colonel W. HOFFMAN, Commissary-General of Prisoners:
COLONEL; I inclose to you a copy of letter just received from Mr. Ould. Please give especial orders that the men named in the letter are sent on the State of Maine.
The statement made by Mr. Ould removes these men from the charge of being bushwhackers and guerrillas. There are many Confederate officers and men who have been declared exchanged held in our prisons. The best interests of our own officers and men who have been or who may be captured demand their delivery. If there are clear, apparently well-founded charges a prompt trial should be given. If not they should be promptly released and delivered. In taking this view I am influenced by considerations for our own people.
I am persistent in my demands upon Mr. Ould for them all, and insist upon knowing why any one is retained in confinement when
*See Lincoln to Guthrie, May 16, p. 627.