RICHMOND, December 1, 1861.
Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.
Sir: I beg to call your attention to the inclosed letter from Mr. E. W. McGinnis, of Mobile. I know nothing of the case of Mr. Horatio Eagle to which it refers. Mr. McGinnis is a respectable merchant of Mobile of many years standing. I hope the case will receive early consideration.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
R. H. SMITH.
MOBILE, ALA., November 27, 1861.
Hon. ROBT. H. SMITH, Richmond, Va.
DEAR SIR: Will you do me the favor to call Mr. Benjamins (Secretary of War) attention to the case of Horatio Eagle, who is now a prisoner in the county jail at Richmond. Mr. Eagle has had his examination before the commissioner, and from what the commissioner told Mr. Eagle I have no doubt Mr. Benjamin would order his release at once if his attention was called to the case by yourself. Mr. Eagle was taken prisoner some two months ago while attending to some business connected with the coal oil company. If he had been taken in arms against us or aided in any way our enemies I would be the last man to raise my voice for his release. But I have known this man for ten years, and know that he has spent his money and used his influence at all times against the Black Republican party of New York; that he voted against them last fall, and has always done so. Marmaduke Johnson, esq., was his counsel at his examination before the commissioner, and Dr. Barney, formerly of Mobile now living in Richmond, has been assisting in his case. But I learn the order for his release must come from the Secretary of War or President Davis.
As Mr. Eagles health is being seriously affected by his long confinement in jail you will very much oblige me by bringing his case at once to the notice of Mr. Benjamin; and as the examiiiation has been taken and the evidence all before him it would not probably take fifteen minutes for the Secretary of War to satisfy himself and order his (Eagles) discharge. Please attend to this, as an innocent man ought not to be confined one moment longer than possible. * * *
Again asking your attention to Mr. Eagles [case] before the Secretary of War for which I shall feel greatly obliged, I remain, yours, very truly,
E. W. MCGINNIS.
SOURCE: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 2, pg. 1400
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