The friends of Mr. Blackburn here aver that he is innocent of the charge made against and that he has never had any trial.
I know nothing myself of the circumstances of Mr. Blackburn's arrest, and, in fact, knew not of his arrest until after I was arrested myself, when his son-in-law, Mr. Thomas A. Cass, who had me arrested, informed me of it and made his statement to me of the circumstances under which Mr. Blackburn was arrested. His statement is that John Dunn, esq., an agent of the Confederate States, came to the dwelling of Mr. Blackburn to impress some hogs belonging to said Blackburn and Cass, when an altercation took place between him, Cass, and Dunn about the authority of Dunn, and when Dunn determined to take the hogs he, Cass, without the knowledge of Blackburn, went off, collected some friends, intercepted Dunn and his party, fired into them, and rescued the hogs.
If these are the facts, surely Mr. Blackburn ought not to have been arrested or molested in any way. I trust, therefore, you will have this matter inquired into, so that justice may be done to all parties, and Messrs. Bridges, Swafford, and myself be discharged from the custody of the Federal authorities.
As I never had but one short interview with you, and that more than two years ago, you may not remember who I am. I therefore refer you to the members of Congress from this State.
T. NIXON VAN DYKE.
FEBRUARY 12, 1864.
I respectfully recommend that this letter be forwarded to General Butler, to be sent by flag-of-truce boat through the lines according to its address.
E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Major-General of Volunteers.
WAR DEPARTMENT, February 20, 1864.
Respectfully referred to Major-General Butler, commanding Department of Virginia and North Carolina, for action as above suggested.
By order of the Secretary of War:
ED. R. S. CANBY,
Brigadier-General and Assistant Adjutant-General.
OFFICE COMMISSIONER FOR EXCHANGE,
Fort Monroe, February 29, 1864.
Respectfully referred to Honorable Robert Ould, Confederate agent for exchange.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
Major-General, &c., Commissioner for Exchange.
MARCH 8, 1864.
Respectfully referred to His Excellency the President.
Agent of Exchange.