Jefferson Davis to Nelson A. Miles
Fort Monroe Va. 30 June 65
I desire to obtain from you or through you certain relaxations of the orders now in force in regard to myself.
I wish permission to correspond with my Wife, under such limitations and provisions as may be deemed necessary. You are aware of the sudden and unexpected separation which occurred at this place, and of /the official/ directions given in regard to my family, no recital therefore is required. It may be proper however to inform you that the events of the War have left my Wife & four young children homeless. Their condition has been to me a source of deepest anxiety and they need my advice. Under supervision, it does not appear to me that harm to any public good could result from compliance with this request, to correspond.
You will I think agree with me that the Sentinels who are posted in the room with me are not requisite to the security of my confinement, and I am sure a description of the casemate, particularily the the exposure through the grated doors of every part of the room occupied by me to the view of the Sentinels and the Commissioned Officer who are posted in the front room will satisfy any one that the two Sentinels in the back room are superfluous as Guards. I have heretofore explained to you and I believe the Medical Directory has called your attention to the bad effects on my health produced by the disturbance created by their walk and by entrance every two hours of the relief, as well by night as by day. I would therefore request the withdrawal of these sentinels.
The circuitous mode of communication and the number of persons involved, have caused very great delay and inconvenience in obtaining clean clothes. If I were
be allowed to keep a prescribed amount of clothing which being inspected when it comes in and when any part of it is sent out would not I submit diminish the security of my confinement, while it would /however by enabling me to change my clothes at will probably/ contribute to my ability to bear the trial to which my constitution is subjected by close incarceration in an unhealthy season. On this point I would also refer to the Surgeon who attends me.
I desire under such regulations as may be deemed needful and proper, that the Chaplain of the troops serving here be allowed to visit me; when I lately requested
the Officer the day the Officer of the day to notify the Chaplain of my wish to see him I did not know that such visits were interdicted.
Books and periodicals would afford me relief and under such restrictions as may be deemed prudent I request permission to receive them, or either of them.
From time to time certain articles will be necessary to me and I would be glad
if within such limitations and modes as may be prescribed to be permitted to obtain them. I have the honor to be very respectfully &c &c &c
From The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 12, pp 6-8. Transcribed from the original in the U.S. Army Military History Institute, Miles Collection.