would come to see them. I obtained a permit from the provost-marshal and was admitted to their prison. There they told me that their trial had not been a fair one. They had no notice; no means of preparing a defense. One or two witnesses were examined by the military commission. They were asked if they had any rebutting evidence to produce, and in the face of their earnest protest were found guilty and condemned.
They were denounced by one of the traitors who had gone over to the enemy and it was chiefly on his testimony that they were condemned. They solemnly declared to me that the whole charge was a malicious fabrication; that they had never been concerned in any attempt to raise a company; that they had never in any way violated their parole. A few days ago Doctor Bradbury, who as you will remember volunteered his professional services and was with us at the fort during the bombardment, came out from New Orleans on the boat, the Cartel, which recently brought up the exchanged prisoners. He met with a gentleman who had just been released from Ship Island. While there this gentleman had frequently met our men and had brought with his a memorandum of their names to see if something could not be done for them. He stated that men were never more faithful to a cause than they are to ours. They have frequently been offered their release on the sole condition of taking the oath of allegiance to the Federal Government; and this, although with the exception of Smith they are foreigners without ties of family or interest to bind them to the Confederacy, they have steadily refused.
As to the former good character of the men from my regiment (the First Louisiana) I can bear strong testimony. Stanley was employed in the magazine on ordnance duty. Sergeant Kane was gunner on the 8-inch columbiad in the upper river bastion of Fort Jackson. Corporal Smith was stationed with Captain Robertson in the Water Battery. Doyle was head carpenter in the quartermaster's department. No men could have done their duty better, either during the long period for which we garrisoned the forts or during the fatiguing length of the bombardment. They were brave, active, willing and in the mutiny faithful among traitors.
They well deserve that efforts should be made to procure their release. This imprisonment is plainly a violation of the articles of capitulation under which we surrendered, heir trial and condemnation a flagrant instance of the many similar hollow mockers which helped disgrace General Butler's rule in New Orleans. In regard to the men belonging to the Allen Guards it will be easy to obtain from Captain S. Jones, who is at present in command of the Twenty-third Regiment Louisiana Volunteers, a statement of their character and of the points which bear upon their case.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
BEVERLY [C.] KENNEDY,
Lieutenant and Ordnance Officer, River Batteries.
VICKSBURG, March 18, 1863.
Respectfully transmitted with the recommendation that the agent for exchange of prisoners be directed to demand their exchange or a new trial with counsel.
M. L. SMITH,
54 R R-SERIES II, VOL V