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Colonel Robert Tansill

FORT LAFAYETTE, N. Y., October 3, 1861.

His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States.

SIR: I deem it a duty to myself to bring to the notice of the Presi- dent the circumstances of my confinement and treatment here. 1 arrived at Boston in the U. S. frigate Congress on August 23 after an absence from the United States of two years, and resigned my commission as a captain in the U. S. Marine Corps (my only support) rather than join in an unnatural war against my blood relations, kindred and. friends. My conscience, the dictates of which I cannot safely disre- gard, compelled me to this course. On the 27th of August I received a communication from the honorable Secretary of the Navy informing me that my resignation had been received and my name stricken from the rolls of the Marine Corps. Of this I complain not. I was then by an order of the Secretary of the Navy arrested and brought under a guard like a common felon to this fort where I am now incarcerated without even being informed of the charges against me. I have written to the Navy Department in regard to this unjust and unlawful treatment, to which I have received no answer. As to the particulars and details of my treatment here in prison I deem it unnecessary to trouble Your Excellency. Complaints of this nature have been made by others and forwarded to the Department without having elicited the slightest consideration; besides there are circumstances which decency forbids mentioning to the head of a civilized people. Letters to and from my wife are subjected to the inspection of the commanding officer of this fort, and my dearest friends are denied permission to visit me on the most important business. Under such extraordinary circumstances I feel justified in appealing and indeed I have no other resource but to appeal directly to the President which I now do, and respectfully ask that I may be brought to trial as soon as possible on the charges against me whatever they may be, or released from this imprisonment which can find no sanction in the laws of war nor in the Constitution or laws of the country which the President has solemnly sworn to support. Should, however, this just request be disregarded I then ask that I may be sent to Washing- ton, D. C., where my wife and children reside that I may be permitted to see them from whom I have been absent in the service of the United States more than two years.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,



Colonel Robert Tansill, USMC, CSMC, CSA; a decorated veteran of the Mexican-American War who accompanied Perry to Japan lies forgotten in a tiny orphan cemetery. Captain United States Marine Corps. Served in the Florida War of 1842. Was Military Governor of San Francisco, California in 1847. Served in the Mexican War in 1847.

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