The Negroes at Port Royal
Report of E. L. Pierce, government agent to the
Hon. Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury

by E. L. Pierce, Government Agent

February 1862
TO THE HON. SALMON P. CHASE,
SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.

BOSTON:

PUBLISHED BY R. E WALLCUT,
No. 221 WASHINGTON STREET.
1862.

REPORT.

Port Royal, February 3, 1862.

To the Hon.
Salmon P. Chase,

Secretary of the Treasury :

Dear Sir, — My first communication to you was mailed on the third day after my, arrival. The same day, I mailed two
letters to benevolent persons in Boston, mentioned in my previous communications to you, asking for contributions of
clothing, and for a teacher or missionary to be sent, to be supported by the charity of those interested in the movement,
to both of which favorable answers have been received. The same day, I commenced a tour of the largest islands, and
ever since have been diligently engaged in anxious examinations of the modes of culture — the amount and proportions
of the products — the labor required for them — the life and disposition of the laborers upon them — their estimated
numbers — the treatment they have received from their former masters, both as to the labor required of them, the
provisions and clothing allowed to them, and the discipline imposed — their habits, capacities, and desires, with special
reference to their being fitted for useful citizenship — and generally whatever concerned the well-being, present and
future, of the territory and its people. Visits have also been made to the communities collected at Hilton Head and
Beaufort, and conferences held with the authorities, both naval and military, and other benevolent persons interested in
the welfare of these people, and the wise and speedy reorganization of society here. No one can be impressed more
than myself with the uncertainty of conclusions drawn from experiences and reflections gathered in so brief a period,
however industriously and wisely occupied. Nevertheless, they may be of some service to those who have not been
privileged with an equal opportunity.

Of the plantations visited, full notes have been taken of seventeen, with reference to number of negroes in all ; of
field hands ; amount of cotton and corn raised, and how much per acre ; time and mode of producing and distributing
manure ; listing, planting, cultivating, picking and ginning cotton ; labor required of each hand ; allowance of food and
clothing ; the capacities of the laborers ; their wishes and feelings, both as to themselves and their masters. Many of
the above points could be determined by other sources, such as persons at the North familiar with the region, and
publications. The inquiries were, however, made with the double purpose of acquiring the information and testing the
capacity of the persons inquired of. Some of the leading results of the examination will now be submitted.

Plantations on the Islands [All subtitles in black by Editor]
An estimate of the number of plantations open to cultivation, and of the persons upon 1;he territory protected by the
forces of the United States, if only approximate to the truth, may prove convenient in providing a proper system of
administration. The following islands are thus protected, and the estimated number of plantations upon each is given: —

Port Royal, 65
Ladies', 30
Parry, including Horse, 6
Cat, 1
Cane, 1
Dathaw, 4
Coosaw, 2
Morgan, 2
St. Helena, 50
Hilton Head, 16
Pinckney, 5
Bull, including Barratria, 2
Daufuskie, 5
Hutchinson and Fenwick, 6
195 Or about two hundred in all.

There are several other islands thus protected, without plantations, as Otter, Pritchard, Fripp, Hunting and Phillips.
Lemon and Daw have not been explored by the agents engaged in collecting cotton.

The populous island of North Edisto, lying in the direction of Charleston, and giving the name to the finest cotton is
still visited by the rebels. A part near Botany Bay Island is commanded by the guns of one of our war vessels, under
which a colony of one thousand negroes sought protection, where they have been temporarily subsisted from its stores.
The number has within a few days been stated to have increased to 2300. Among these, great destitution is said to
prevail.

Even to this number, as the negroes acquire confidence in us, large additions are likely every week to be made. The
whole island can be safely farmed as soon as troops can be spared for the purpose of occupation. But not counting.the
plantations of this island, the number on Port Royal, Ladies', St. Helena, Hilton Head, and the smaller islands, may be
estimated at 200 plantations.

In visiting the plantations, I endeavored to ascertain with substantial accuracy the number of persons upon them,
without, however, expecting to determine the precise number. On that of Thomas Aston Coffin, at Coffin Point, St.
Helena, there were 260, the largest found on any one visited. There were 130 on that of Dr. J. W Jenkins, 120 on that of
the Eustis estate, and the others range from 80 to 38, making an average of 81 to a plantation. These, however, may be
ranked among the best peopled plantations, and forty to each may be considered a fair average. From these estimates,
a population of 8000 negroes on the islands, now safely protected by our forces, results.

Of the 600 at the camp at Hilton Head, about one-half should be counted with the aforesaid plantations whence they
have come. Of the 600 at Beaufort, one-third should also be reckoned with the plantations. The other fraction in each
case should be added to the 8000 in computing the population now thrown on our protection.

The negroes on Ladies' and St. Helena Islands have quite generally remained on their respective plantations, or if
absent, but temporarily, visiting wives or relatives. The dispersion on Port Royal and Hilton Head Islands has been far
greater, the people of the former going to Beaufort in considerable numbers, and of the latter to the camp at Hilton
Head.

Counting the negroes who have gone to Hilton Head and Beaufort from places now protected by our forces as still
attached to the plantations, and to that extent not swelling the 8000 on plantations, but adding thereto the usual negro
population of Beaufort, as also the negroes who have fled to Beaufort and Hilton Head from places not yet occupied by
our forces, and adding also the colony at North Edisto, and we must now have thrown upon our hands, for whose
present and future we must provide, from 10,000 to 12,000 persons— probably nearer the latter than the former
number. This number is rapidly increasing. This week, forty-eight escaped from a single plantation near Grahamville, on
the main land, held by the rebels, led by the driver, and after four days of trial and peril, hidden by day and
threading the waters with their boats by night, evading the rebel pickets, joyfully entered our camp at Hilton Head.
The accessions at Edisto are in larger, number, and according to the most reasonable estimates, it would only require
small advances by our troops, not involving a general engagement or even loss of life, to double the number which
would be brought within our lines.

1860 Census
A fact derived from the Census of 1860 may serve to illustrate the responsibility now devolving on the Government.
This County of Beaufort had a population of slaves in proportion of 82^ of the whole, — a proportion only exceeded by
seven other counties in the United States, viz.: one in South Carolina, that of Georgetown ; three in Mississippi, those of
Bolivar, Washington and Issequena ; and three in Louisiana, those of Madison, Tensas and Concordia.

Mass Meeting in 1861
An impression prevails that the negroes here have been less cared for than in most other rebel districts. If this be
so, and a beneficent reform shall be achieved here, the experiment may anywhere else be hopefully attempted. The
former white population, so far as can be ascertained, are rebels, with one or two exceptions. In January, 1861, a
meeting of the planters on St. Helena Island was held, of which Thomas Aston Coffin was chairman. A vote was
passed, stating its exposed condition, and offering their slaves to the Governor of South Carolina, to aid in building
earth mounds, and calling on him for guns to place upon them. A copy of the vote, probably in his own handwriting, and
signed by Mr. Coffin, was found in his house.

It is worthy of note that the negroes now within our lines are there by the invitation of no one ; but they were on the
soil when our army began its occupation, and could not have* been excluded, except by violent transportation. A small
proportion have come- in from the main land, evading the pickets of the enemy and our own, — something easily done
in an extensive country, with whose woods and creeks they are familiar.

Sea Island Cotton
The only exportable crop of this region is the long staple Sea Island cotton, raised with more difficulty than the coarser
kind, and bringing a higher price. The agents of the Treasury Department expect to gather some 2,500,000 pounds of
ginned cotton the present year, nearly all of which had been picked and stored before the arrival of our forces.
Considerable quantities have not been picked at all, but the crop for this season was unusually good. Potatoes and corn
are raised only for consumption on the plantations, — corn being raised at the rate of only twenty-five bushels per acre.

Plantation Life
Such features in plantation life as will throw light on the social questions now anxiously weighed deserve notice.

In this region, the master, if a man of wealth, is more likely to have his main residence at Beaufort, sometimes
having none on the plantation, but having one for the driver, who is always a negro. He may, however, have one, and an
expensive one, too, as in the case of Dr. Jenkins, at St. Helena, and yet pass most of his time at Beaufort, or at the
North. The plantation in such cases is left almost wholly under the charge of an overseer. In some cases, there is not
even a house for an overseer, the plantation being superintended by the driver, and being visited by the overseer living
on another plantation belonging to the same owner. The houses for the overseers are of an undesirable character.
Orchards of orange or fig trees are usually planted near them.

The field hands are generally quartered at some distance — eighty or one hundred rods- — from the overseer's or
master's house, and are ranged in a row, sometimes in two rows, fronting each other. They are sixteen feet by twelve,
each appropriated to a family, and in some cases divided with a partition. They numbered, on the plantations visited,
from ten to twenty, and on the Coffin plantation, they are double, numbering twenty-three double houses, intended for
forty-six families. The yards seemed to swarm with children, the negroes coupling at an early age.

Except on Sundays, these people do not take their meals at a family table, but each one takes his hominy, bread, or
potatoes, sitting on the floor or a bench, and at his own time. They say their masters never allowed them any regular
time for meals. Whoever, under our new system, is charged with their superintendence, should see that they attend
more to the cleanliness of their persons and houses, and that, as in families of white people, they take their meals
together at a table — habits to which they will be more disposed when they are provided with another change of
clothing, and when better food is furnished and a proper hour assigned for meals.

Upon each plantation visited by me, familiar conversations were had with several laborers, more or less, as time
permitted — sometimes inquiries made of them, as they collected in groups, as to what they desired us to do with and
for them, with advice as to the course of sobriety and industry which it was for their interest to pursue under the new and
strange circumstances in which they were now placed. Inquiries as to plantation economy, the culture of crops, the
implements still remaining, the number of persons in all, and of field hands, and the rations issued, were made of the
drivers, as they are called, answering as nearly as the two different systems of labor will permit to foremen on farms in
the free States. There is one on each plantation — on the* largest one visited, two. They still remained on each visited,
and their names were noted. The business of the driver was to superintend the field-hands generally, and see that their
tasks were performed fully and properly. He controlled them, subject to the master or overseer. He dealt out the rations.
Another office belonged to him. He was required by the master or overseer, whenever he saw fit, to inflict corporal
punishment upon the laborers ; nor was he relieved from this office when the subject of discipline was his wife or
children. In the absence of the master or overseer,- he succeeded to much of their authority. As indicating his position
of consequence, he was privileged with four suits of clothing a year, while only two were allowed to the laborers under
him. It is evident, from some of the duties assigned to him, that he must have been a person of considerable judgment
and knowledge of plantation economy, not differing essentially from that required of the foreman of a farm in the free
States. He may be presumed to have known, in many cases, quite as much about the matters with which he was
charged as the owner of the plantation, who often passed but a fractional part of his time upon it.

The driver, notwithstanding the dispersion of other laborers, quite generally remains on the plantation, as already
stated. He still holds the keys of the granary, dealing out the rations of food, and with the same sense of responsibility
as before. In one case, I found him in a controversy with a laborer to whom he was refusing his peck of corn, because of
absence with his wife on another plantation when the corn was gathered, — it being gathered since the arrival of our
army. The laborer protested warmly that he had helped to plant and hoe the corn, and was only absent as charged
because of sickness. The driver appealed to me, as the only white man near, and learning from other laborers that the
laborer was sick at the time of gathering, I advised the driver to give him his peck of corn, which he did accordingly.
The fact is noted as indicating the present relation of the driver to the plantation, where he still retains something of
his former authority.

This authority is, however, very essentially diminished. The main reason is, as he will assure you, that he has now no
white man to back him. Other reasons may, however, concur. A class of laborers are generally disposed to be
jealous of one of their own number promoted to be over them, and accordingly some negroes, evidently moved by this
feeling, will tell you that the drivers ought now to work as field hands, and some field hands be drivers in their place. The
driver has also been required to report delinquencies to the master or overseer, and upon their order to inflict corporal
punishment. The laborers will, in some cases, say that he has been harder than he need to have been, while he will say
that he did only what he was forced to do. The complainants who have suffered under the lash may be pardoned for
not being sufficiently charitable to him who has unwillingly inflicted it, while, on the other hand, he has been placed in a
dangerous position, where a hard nature, or self-interest, or dislike for the victim, might have tempted him to be more
cruel than his position required. The truth, in proportions impossible for us in many cases to fix, may lie with both
parties* I am, on the whole, inclined to believe that the past position of the driver and his valuable knowledge, both of
the plantations and the laborers, when properly advised and controlled, may be made available in securing the
productiveness of the plantations and the good of the laborers. It should be added that, in all cases, the drivers were
found very ready to answer inquiries and communicate all information, and seemed desirous that the work of the season
should be commenced.

There are also on the plantations other laborers, more intelligent than the average, such as the carpenter, the
plowman, the religious leader, who may be called a preacher, a watchman or a helper, — the two latter being recognized
officers in the churches of these people, and the helpers being aids to the watchman. These persons, having
recognized positions among their fellows, either by virtue of superior knowledge or devotion, when properly approached
by us, may be expected to have a beneficial influence on the more ignorant, and help to create that public opinion in
favor of good conduct which, among the humblest as among the highest, is most useful. I saw many of very low
intellectual development, but hardly any too low to be reached by civilizing influences, either coming directly from us or
mediately through their brethren. And while I saw some who were sadly degraded, I met also others who were as fine
specimens of human nature as one can ever expect to find.

Religion
Beside attendance on churches on Sundays, there are evening prayer-meetings on the plantations as often as once or
twice a week, occupied with praying, singing, and exhortations. In some cases, the leader can read a hymn, having
picked up his knowledge clandestinely, either from other negroes or from white children. Of the adults, about one-half
at least, are members of churches, generally the Baptist although other denominations have communicants among them
In the Baptist Church on St. Helena Island, which I visited on the 22d January, there were a few pews for the
proportionally small number of white attendants, and the much larger space devoted to benches for colored people. On
one plantation there is a negro chapel, well adapted for the purpose, built by the proprietor, the late Mrs. Eustis, whose
memory is cherished by the negroes, and some of whose sons are now loyal citizens of Massachusetts. I have heard
among the negroes scarcely any profane swearing — not more than twice — a striking contrast with my experience
among soldiers in the army.

It seemed a part of my duty to attend some of their religious meetings, and learn further about these people what
could be derived from such a source. Their exhortations to personal piety were fervent, and, though their language was
many times confused, at least to my ear, occasionally an important instruction or a felicitous expression could be
recognized. In one case, a preacher of their own, commenting on the text, " Blessed are the meek," exhorted his
brethren not to be " stout-minded." On one plantation on Ladies' Island, where some thirty negroes were gathered in the
evening, I read passages of Scripture, and pressed on them their practical duties at the present time with reference to
the good of themselves, their children, and their people. The passages read were the 1st and 23d Psalms; the 61st
chapter of Isaiah, verses 1-4 ; the Beatitudes in the 5th chapter of Matthew ; the 14th chapter of John's Gospel, and the
5th chapter of the Epistle of James. In substance, I told them that their masters had rebelled against the Government,
and we had come, to put down the rebellion ;' that we had now met them, and wanted to see what was best to do for
them; that Mr. Lincoln, the President or Great Man at Washington, had the whole matter in charge, and was thinking
what he could do for them ; that the great trouble about doing anything for them was that their masters had always told
us, and had made many people believe, that they were lazy, and would not work unless whipped to it ; that Mr. Lincoln
had sent us down here to see if it was so ; that what they did was reported to him, or to men who would tell him ; that
where I came from all were free, both white and black ; that we did not sell children or separate man and wife, but all
had to work ; that if they were to be free, they would have to work, and would be shut up or deprived of privileges if
they did not; that this was a critical hour with them, and if they did not behave well now and respect our agents and
appear willing to work, Mr. Lincoln would give up trying to do anything for them, and they must give up all hope for
anything better, and their children and grand-children a hundred years hence would be worse off than they had been. I
told them they must stick to their plantations and not run about and get scattered, and assured them that what their
masters had told them of our intentions to carry them off to Cuba and sell them was a lie, and their masters knew it to
be so, and we wanted them to stay on the plantations and raise cotton, and if they behaved well, they should have
wages — small, perhaps, at first; that they should have better food, and not have their wives and children sold off; that
their children should be taught to read and write, for which they might be willing to pay something ; that by-and-by they
would be as well off as the white people, and we would stand by them against their masters ever coming back to take
them. The importance of exerting a good influence on each other, particularly on the younger men, who were rather
careless and roving, was urged, as all would suffer in good repute from the bad deeds of a few. At Hilton Head, where I
spoke to a meeting of two hundred, and there were facts calling for the counsel, the women were urged to keep away
from the bad white men, who would ruin them. Remarks of a like character were made familiarly on the plantations to
such groups as gathered about. At the Hilton Head meeting, a good-looking man', who had escaped from the southern
part of Barnwell District, rose and said, with much feeling, that he and many others should do all they could by good
conduct to prove what their masters said against them to be false, and to make Mr. Lincoln think better things of them.
After the meeting closed, he desired to know if Mr. Lincoln was coming down here to see them, and he wanted me to
give Mr. Lincoln his compliments, with his name, assuring the President that he would do all he could for him. The
message was a little amusing, but it testified to the earnestness of the simple-hearted man. He had known Dr. Brisbane,
who had been compelled some years since to leave the South because of his sympathy for slaves. The name of Mr.
Lincoln was used in addressing them, as more likely to impress them than the abstract idea of government.

It is important to add that in no case have I attempted to excite them by insurrectionary appeals against their former
masters, feeling that such a course might increase the trouble qf organizing them into a peaceful and improving system,
under a just and healthful temporary discipline ; and besides that, it is a dangerous experiment to attempt the
improvement of a class of men by appealing to their coarser nature. The better course toward making them our faithful
allies, and therefore the constant enemies of the rebels, seemed to be to place before them the good things to be done
for them and their children, and sometimes reading passages of Scripture appropriate to their lot, without, however, note
or comment, never heard before by them, or heard only when wrested from their just interpretation ; such, for instance,
as the last chapter of St. James' Epistle, and the Glad Tidings of Isaiah : " I have come to preach deliverance to the
captive." Thus treated and thus educated, they may be hoped to become useful coadjutors, and the unconquerable
foes of the fugitive rebels.

There are some vices charged upon these people which deserve examination. Notwithstanding their religious
professions, in some cases more emotional than practical, the marriage relation, or what answers for it, is not, in many
instances, held very sacred by them. The men, it is said, sometimes leave one wife and take another, — something
likely to happen in any society where it is permitted or not forbidden by a stern public opinion, and far more likely to
happen under laws which do -not recognize marriage, and dissolve what answers for it by forced separations, dictated
by the mere pecuniary interest of others. The women, it is said, are easily persuaded by white men, — a facility readily
accounted for by the power of the master over them, whose solicitation was equivalent to a command, and against which
the husband or father was powerless to protect, and increased also by the degraded condition in which they have been
placed, where they have' been apt to regard what ought to be a disgrace as a compliment, when they were approached
by a paramour of superior condition and race. Yet often the dishonor is felt, and the woman, on whose several children
her master's features are impressed, and through whose veins his blood flows, has sadly confessed it with an instinctive
blush. The grounds of this charge, so far as they may exist, will be removed, as much as in communities of our own
race, by a system which shall recognize and enforce the marriage relation among them, protect them against the
solicitations of white men as much as law can, still more by putting them in relations were they will be inspired with self-
respect and a consciousness of their rights, and taught by a pure and plainspoken Christianity.

Telling the truth
In relation to the veracity of these people, so far as my relations with them have extended, they have appeared, as a
class, to intend to tell the truth. Their manner, as much as among white men, bore instinctive evidence of this intention.
Their answers to inquiries relative to the management of the plantations have a general concurrence. They make no
universal charges of cruelty against their masters. They will say, in some cases, that their own was a very kind one, but
another one in that neighborhood was cruel. On St. Helena Island they spoke kindly of " the good William Fripp," as
they called him, and of Dr. Clarence Fripp; but they all denounced the cruelty of Alvira Fripp, recounting his inhuman
treatment of both men and women. Another concurrence is worthy of note. On the plantations visited, it appeared from
the statements of the laborers themselves, that there were, on an average, about 133 pounds of cotton produced to the
acre, and five acres of cotton and corn cultivated to a h,and, the culture of potatoes not being noted. An article of the
American Agriculturist, published in Turner's Cotton Manual, pp. 132, 133, relative to the culture of Sea Island Cotton,
on the plantation of John H. Townsend, states that the land is cultivated in the proportion of 7-12th cotton, 3-12ths corn,
and 2-12ths potatoes — in all, less than six acres to a hand — and the average yield of cotton per acre is 135 pounds. I
did not take the statistics of the culture of potatoes, but about five acres are planted with them on the smaller
plantations, and twenty, or even thirty, on the larger and the average amount of land to each hand, planted with
potatoes, should be added to the five acres of cotton and corn and thus results not differing substantially are reached in
both cases. Thus the standard publications attest the veracity and accuracy of these laborers.

Again, there can be no more delicate and responsible position, involving honesty and skill, than that of pilot. For
this purpose, these people are every day employed to aid our military and naval operations in navigating these sinuous
channels. They were used in the recent reconnaissance in the direction of Savannah; and the success of the affair at
Port Royal Ferry depended on the fidelity of a pilot, William, without the aid of whom, or of one like him, it could not
have been undertaken. Further information on this point may be obtained of the proper authorities here. These
services are not, it is true, in all respects, illustrative of the quality of veracity, but they involve kindred virtues not
likely to exist without it.

It is proper, however, to state that expressions are sometimes heard from persons who have not considered these
people thoughtfully, to the effect that their word is not to be trusted, and these persons, nevertheless, do trust, them,
and act upon their statements. There may, however, be some color for such expressions. These laborers, like all
ignorant people, have an ill-regulated reason, too much under the control of the imagination. Therefore, where they
report the number of soldiers, or relate facts where there is room for conjecture, they are likely to be extravagant, and
you must scrutinize their reports. Still, except among the thoroughly dishonest, — no more numerous among them than
in other races, — there will be found a colorable basis for their statements, enough to show their honest intention to
speak truly.

It is true also that you will find them too willing to express feelings which will please you. This is most natural. All races, as
well as all animals, have their appropriate means of self-defence, and where the power to use physical force to defend
one's self is taken away, the weaker animal, or man, or race, resorts to cunning and duplicity. Whatever habits of this
kind may appear in these people are directly traceable to the well-known features of their past condition, without
involving any, essential proneness to deception in the race, further than may be ascribed to human nature. Upon
this point, special inquiries have been made of the Superintendent at Hilton Head, who is brought in direct daily
association with them, and whose testimony, truthful as he is, is worth far more than that of those who have had less
nice opportunities of observation, and Mr. Lee certifies to the results here presented. Upon the question of the
disposition of these people to work, there are different reports, varied somewhat by the impression an idle or an
industrious laborer, brought into immediate relation with the witness, may have made on the mind. In conversations with
them, they uniformly answered to assurances that if free they must work, " Yes, massa, we must work to live ; that's the
law " ; and expressing an anxiety that the work of the plantations was not going on. At Hilton Head, they are ready to do
for Mr. Lee, the judicious Superintendent, whatever is desired. Hard words and epithets are, however, of no use in
managing them, and other parties for whose service they are specially detailed, who do not understand or treat them
properly, find some trouble in making their labor available, as might naturally be expected. In collecting cotton, it is
sometimes, as I am told, difficult to get them together, when wanted for work. There may be something in this,
particularly among the young men. I have observed them a good deal ; and though they often do not work to much
advantage, — a dozen doing sometimes what one or two stout and well-trained Northern laborers would do, and though
less must always be expected of persons native to this soil than those bred in Northern latitudes, and under more
bracing air, — I have not been at all impressed with their general indolence. As servants, oarsmen, and carpenters, I
have seen them working faithfully and with a will. There are some peculiar circumstances in their condition, which no one
who assumes to sit in judgment upon them must overlook. They are now, for the first time, freed from the restraint of a
master, and like children whose guardian or teacher is absent for the day, they may quite naturally enjoy an interval of
idleness. No system of labor for them, outside of the camps, has been begun, and they have bad nothing to do except
to bale the cotton when bagging was furnished, and we all know that men partially employed are, if anything, less
disposed to do the little assigned them than they are to perform the full measure which belongs to them in regular life,
the virtue of the latter case being supported by habit. At the camps, they are away from their accustomed places of
labor, and have not been so promptly paid as could be desired, and are exposed to the same circumstances which often
dispose soldiers to make as little exertion as possible. In the general chaos which prevails, and before the inspirations of
labor have been set before them by proper superintendents and teachers who understand their disposition, and show
by their conduct an interest in their welfare, no humane or reasonable man would subject them to austere criticism, or
make the race responsible for the delinquencies of an idle person, who happened to be brought particularly under his
own observation. Not thus would we have ourselves or our own race 'judged; and the judgment which we would not have
meted to us, let us not measure to others.

Upon the best examination of these people, and a comparison of the evidence of trustworthy persons, I believe that
when properly organized, and with proper motives set before them, they will, as freemen, be as industrious" as any race
of men are likely to be in this climate.

The notions of the sacredness of property as held by these people have sometimes been the subject of discussion
here. It is reported they have taken things left in their masters' houses. It was wise to prevent this, and even where it had
been done to compel a restoration, at least of expensive articles, lest they should be injured by speedily acquiring, with-
out purchase, articles above their condition. But a moment's reflection will show that it was the most natural thing for
them to do. They had been occupants of the estates ; had had these things more or less in charge, and when the
former owners had left, it was easy for them to regard their title to the abandoned property as better than that of
strangers. Still., it is not true that they have, except as to very simple articles, as soap or dishes, generally availed
themselves of such property. It is also stated that in camps where they have been destitute of clothing, they have stolen
from each other, but the Superintendents are of opinion that they would not have done this if already well provided.
Besides, those familiar with large bodies collected together, like soldiers in camp life, also know how often these charges
of mutual pilfering are made among them, often with great injustice. It should be added, to complete the statement, that
the agents who have been entrusted with the collection of cotton have reposed confidence in the trustworthiness of the
laborers, committing property to their charge — a confidence not found to have been misplaced.

Freedom
To what extent these laborers desire to be free, and to serve us still further in putting down the rebellion, has been
a subject of examination. The desire to be free has been strongly expressed, particularly among the more intelligent
and adventurous. Every day, almost, adds a fresh tale of escapes, both solitary and in numbers, conducted with a
courage^ a forecast, and a skill, worthy of heroes. But there are other apparent features in their disposition which it
would be untruthful to conceal. On the plantations, I often found a disposition to evade the inquiry whether they wished
to be free or slaves ; and though a preference for freedom was expressed, it was rarely in the passionate phrases which
would come from an Italian peasant. The secluded and monotonous life of a plantation, with strict discipline and
ignorance enforced by law and custom, is not favorable to the development of the richer sentiments, though even there
they find at least a stunted growth, irrepressible as they are. The inquiry was often answered in this way : " The white
man do what he pleases with us ; we are yours now, massa." One, if I understood his broken words rightly, said that he
did not care about being free, if he only had a good master. Others said they would like to be free, but they wanted a
white man for a " protector." All of proper age, when inquired of, expressed a desire to have their children taught to read
and write, and to learn themselves. On this point, they showed more earnestness than on any other. When asked if they
were willing to fight, in case we needed them, to keep their masters from coming back, they would seem to shrink from
that, saying that " black men have been kept down so like dogs that they would run before white men." At the close
of the first week's observation, I almost concluded that on the plantation there was but little earnest desire for freedom
and scarcely any willingness for its sake to encounter white men. But as showing the importance of not attempting to
reach general conclusions too hastily, another class of facts came to my notice the second week. I met then some more
"intelligent, who spoke with profound earnestness of their desire to be free, and how they had longed to see this day.
Other facts, connected with the military and naval operations' were noted. At the recent reconnoisance toward Pulaski'
pilots of this class stood well under the fire, and were not reluctant to the service. When a district of Ladies' Island
was left exposed, they voluntarily took such guns as they could procure, and stood sentries. Also at North Edisto
where the colony is collected under the protection of 'our gunboats, they armed themselves and drove back the rebel
cavalry. An officer here high in command reported to me some of these facts, which had been officially communicated
to him. The suggestion may be pertinent that the persons in question are divisible into two classes. Those who, by
their occupation, have been accustomed to independent labor, and schooled in some sort of self-reliance, are more
developed in this direction ; while others, who have been bound to the routine of plantation life, and kept more strictly
under surveillance, are but little awakened. But even among these last there has been, under the quickening inspiration
of present events, a rapid development, indicating that the same feeling is only latent.

There is another consideration which must not be omitted. Many of these people have still but little confidence in us,
anxiously looking to see what is to be our disposition of them, It is a mistake to suppose that, separated from the world,
never having read a Northern book or newspaper relative to them, or talked with a Northern man expressing the
sentiments prevalent in his region, they are universally and with entire confidence welcoming us as their deliverers.
Here, as everywhere else, where our army has met them, they have been assured by their masters that we were going
to carry them off to Cuba. There is probably not a rebel master, from the Potomac to the Gulf, who has not repeatedly
made this assurance to his slaves. No matter what his religious vows may have been, "-no matter what his professed
honor as a gentleman, he has not shrunk from the reiteration of this falsehood. Never was there a people, as all who
know them will testify, more attached to familiar places than they. Be their home a cabin, and not even that cabin
their own, they still cling to it. The reiteration could not fail to have had some effect on a point on which they were so
sensitive. Often it must have been met with unbelief or great suspicion of its truth. It was also balanced by the
consideration that their masters would remove them into the interior, and perhaps to a remote region, and separate their
families, about as bad as being taken to Cuba, and they felt more inclined to remain on the plantations, and take their
chances with us. They have told me that they reasoned in this way. But in many cases they fled at the approach of
our army. Then one or two bolder returning, the rest were reassured and came back. Recently, the laborers at Parry
Island, seeing some schooners approaching suspiciously, commenced gathering their little effects rapidly together, and
were about to run, when they were quieted by some of our teachers coming, in whom they had confidence. In some
cases, their distrust has been increased by the bad conduct of some irresponsible white men, of which, for the honor of
human nature, it is not best to speak more particularly. On the whole, their confidence in us has been greatly increased
by the treatment they have received, which, in spite of many individual cases of injury less likely to occur under the
stringent orders recently issued from the naval and military authorities, has been generally kind and humane. But the
distrust Which to a greater or less extent may have existed on our arrival, renders necessary, if we would keep them
faithful allies, and not informers to the enemy, the immediate adoption of a system which shall be a pledge of our
protection and of our permanent interest in their welfare.

The manner of the laborers toward us has been kind and deferential, doing for us such good offices as were in their
power, as guides, pilots, or in more personal service, inviting us on the plantations to lunch of hominy and milk, or
potatoes, touching the hat in courtesy, and answering politely such questions as were addressed to them. If there have
been exceptions to this rule, it was in the case of those whose bearing did not entitle them to the civility.

Passing from general phases of character or present disposition, the leading facts in relation to the plantations and
the mode of rendering them useful and determining what is best to be done, come next in order.

The laborers on St. Helena and Ladies' Islands very generally remain on their respective plantations. This fact,
arising partially from local attachment and partially because they can thus secure their allowance of corn, is important,
as it will facilitate their reorganization. Some are absent, temporarily visiting a wife, or relative, on another plantation,
and returning periodically for their rations. The disposition to roam, so far as it exists, mainly belongs to the younger
people. On Port Royal and Hilton Head Islands, there is a much greater dispersion, due in part to their having been
the scene of more active military movements, and in part to the taking in greater measure on these islands of the means
of subsistence from the plantations. When the work recommences, however, there is not likely to be any indisposition to
return to them. The statistics with regard to the number of laborers, field hands, acres planted to cotton and corn, are
not presented as accurate statements, but only as reasonable approximations, which may be of service.

The highest number of people on any plantation visited was on Coffin's, where there are 260. Those on the
plantation of Dr. Jenkins number 130; on that of the Eustis estate, 120 ; and the others, from 80 to 38. The average
number on each is 81. The field hands range generally from one-third to one-half of the number, the rest being house
servants, old persons, and children. About five acres of cotton and corn are planted to a hand ; "and to potatoes, about
five acres in all were devoted on the smaller plantations, and from twenty to thirty on the larger.

The number of pounds in a bale of ginned cotton- ranges from 300 to 400 — the average number being not far from
345 pounds per bale. The average yield per acre on fifteen plantations was about 133 pounds.

The material for compost is gathered in the periods of most leisure — often in July and August, after the cultivation of
the cotton plant is ended, and before the picking has commenced. Various materials are used, but quite generally mud
and the coarse marsh grass, which abounds on the creeks near the plantations, are employed. The manure is carted
upon the land in January and February, and left in heaps, two or three cart-loads on each task, to be spread at the time
of listing. The land, by prevailing custom, lies fallow a year. The cotton and corn are planted in elevated rows or beds.
The next step is the listing, done with the hoe, and making the bed where the alleys were at the previous raising of the
crop, and the alleys being made where the beds were before. In this process, half the old bed is hauled into the alley on
the one side, and the other half into the alley on the other. This work is done mainly in February, being commenced
sometimes the last of January. A "task" is 105 feet square, and contains twenty-one or twenty-two beds or rows,. Each
laborer is required to list a task and a half, or if the land is moist and heavy, a task and five or seven beds, say one-
fourth or three-eighths of an acre.

Cotton
The planting of cotton commences about the 20th or last of March, and of corn about the same time or earlier. It is
continued through April, and by some planters it is not begun till April. The seeds are deposited in the beds, a foot or a
foot and a half apart on light land, and two feet apart on heavy land, and five or ten seeds left in a place. After the
plant is growing, the stalks are thinned so as to leave* together two on high land and one on low or rich land. The
hoeing of the early cotton begins about the time that the planting of the late has ended. The plant is cultivated with the
hoe and plow during May, June and July, keeping the weeds down and thinning the stalks. The picking commences the
last of August. The cotton being properly dried in the sun, is then stored in houses, ready to be ginned. The ginning, or
cleaning the fibre from the seed, is done either by gins operated by steam, or by the well-known foot-gins — the
latter turning out about 30 pounds of ginned cotton per day, and worked by one person, assisted by another, who picks
out the specked and yellow cotton. The steam-engine carries one or more gins, each turning out 800 pounds per day,
and requiring eight or ten hands to tend the engine and gins, more or less, according to the number of the gins. The foot
gins are still more used than the gins operated by steam, — the latter being used mainly on the largest plantations, on
which both kinds are sometimes employed. I have preserved notes of the kind and number of gins used on the
plantations visited, but it is unnecessary to give them here. Both kinds can be run entirely by the laborers, and after this
year, the ginning should be done entirely here — among other reasons, to avoid transportation of the seed, which
makes nearly three-fourths of the weight of the unginned cotton, and to preserve in better condition the seed required
for planting.

Clothing and other goods
The allowance of clothing to the field hands in this district has been two suits per year, one for summer and another
for winter. That of food has been mainly vegetable — a peck of corn a week to each hand, with meat only in June,
when the work is hardest, and at -Christmas. No meat was allowed in June, on some plantations, while on a few, more
liberal, it was dealt out occasionally — as once a fortnight, or once a month. On a few, molasses was given at intervals.
Children, varying with their ages, were allowed from two to six quarts of corn per' week. The diet is more exclusively
vegetable here than almost anywhere in the rebellious regions, and in this respect should be changed. It should be
added, that there are a large quantity of oysters available for food in proper seasons.

Besides the above rations, the laborers were, allowed each to cultivate a small patch of ground, about a quarter of an
acre, for themselves, when their work for their master was done. On this, corn and potatoes, chiefly the former, were
planted. The corn was partly eaten by themselves, thus supplying in part the deficiency in rations ; but it was, to a
great extent, fed to a pig, or chickens, each hand being allowed to keep a pig and chickens or ducks, but not geese or
turkeys. With the proceeds of the pig and chickens, generally sold to the masters, and at pretty low rates, extra
clothing, coffee, sugar, and that necessary of life with these people, as they think, tobacco, were bought. In the report
thus far, such facts in the condition of the territory now occupied by the forces of the United States have been noted as
seemed to throw light on what could be done to reorganize the laborers, prepare them to become sober and self-
supporting citizens, and secure the successful culture of a cotton-crop, now so necessary to be contributed to the
markets of the world. It will appear from them that these people are naturally religious and simple-hearted —
attached to the places where they have lived, still adhering to them both from a feeling of local attachment and self-
interest in securing the means of subsistence; that they have the knowledge and experience requisite to do all the labor,
from the preparation of the ground for planting until the cotton is baled, ready to be exported ; that they, or the great
mass of them, are disposed to labor, with proper inducements thereto; that they lean upon white men, and desire their
protection, 'and could, therefore, under a wise system, be easily brought under subordination ; that they are susceptible
to the higher considerations, as duty, and the love of offspring, and are not in any way inherently vicious, their defects
coming from their peculiar condition in the past or present, and not from constitutional proneness to evil beyond what
may be attributed to human nature ; that they have among them natural chiefs, either by virtue of religious leadership or
superior intelligence, who, being first addressed, may exert a healthful influence on the rest. In a word, that, in spite of
their condition, reputed to be worse here than in many other parts of the rebellious region, there are such features in
their life and character, that the opportunity is now offered to us to make of them, partially in this generation, and fully in
the next, a happy, industrious, law-abiding, free and Christian people, if we have but the courage and patience to accept
it. If this be the better view of them and their possibilities, I will say that I have come to it after anxious study of all peculiar
circumstances in their lot and character, and after anxious conference with reflecting minds here, who are prosecuting
like inquiries, not overlooking what, to a casual spectator, might appear otherwise, and granting what is likely enough,
that there are those among them whose characters, by reason of bad nature or treatment, are set, and not admitting of
much improvement. And I will submit further, that, in common fairness and common charity, when, by the order of
Providence, an individual or a race is committed to our care, the better view is entitled to be first practically applied. If
this one shall be accepted and crowned with success, history will have the glad privilege of recording that this wicked
and unprovoked rebellion was not without compensations most welcome to our race.

How to Administer
What, then, should be the true system of administration here? It has been proposed to lease the plantations and the
people upon them. To this plan there are two objections — each conclusive. In the first place, the leading object of the
parties bidding for leases would be to obtain a large immediate revenue — perhaps to make a fortune in a year or two.
The solicitations of doubtful men, offering the highest price, would impose on the leasing power a stern duty of refusal,
to which it ought not unnecessarily to be subjected. Far better a system which shall not invite such men to harass the
leasing power, or excite expectations of a speedy fortune, to be derived from the labor of this people. Secondly : No man
not even the best of men, charged with the duties which ought to belong to the guardians of these people, should be
put in a position where there would be such a conflict between his humanity and his self-interest — his desire, on the
one hand, to benefit the laborer, and, on the other, the too often stronger desire to reap a large revenue — perhaps to
restore broken fortunes in a year or two. Such a system is beset with many of the worst vices of the slave system, with
one advantage in favor of the latter, that it is for the interest of the planter to look to permanent results. Let the history
of British East India, and of all communities where a superior race has attempted to build up speedy fortunes on the
labor of an inferior race occupying another region, be remembered, and no just man will listen to the proposition of
leasing, fraught as it is with such dangerous consequences. Personal confidence forbids me to report the language of
intense indignation which has been expressed against it here by some occupying high places of command, as also by
others who have come here for the special purpose of promoting the welfare of these laborers. Perhaps it might yield to
the treasury a larger immediate revenue, but it would be sure to spoil the country and its people in the end. The
Government should be satisfied if the products of the territory may be made sufficient for a year or two to pay the
expenses of administration and superintendence, and the inauguration of a beneficent system which will settle a great
social question, ensure the sympathies of foreign nations, now wielded against us, and advance the civilization of the
age.

The better course would be to appoint superintendents for each large plantation, and one for two or three smaller
combined, compensated with a good salary, say $1,000 per year, selected with reference to peculiar qualifications, and
as carefully as one would choose a guardian for his children, clothed with an adequate power to enforce a paternal
discipline, to require a proper amount of labor, cleanliness, sobriety, and better habits of life, and generally to promote
the moral and intellectual culture of the wards, with such other inducements, if there be any, placed before the
superintendent as shall inspire him to constant efforts to prepare them for useful and worthy citizenship. To quicken and
ensure the fidelity of the superintendents, there should a director-general or governor, who shall visit the plantations,
and see that they are discharging these duties, and, if necessary, he should be aided by others in the duty of visitation.
This officer should be invested with liberal powers over all persons within his jurisdiction, so as to protect the blacks from
each other and from white men, being required in most important cases to confer with the military authorities in
punishing offences. His proposed duties indicate that he should be a man of the best ability and character : better if he
have already, by virtue of public services, a hold on the public confidence. Such an arrangement is submitted as
preferable for the present to any cumbersome territorial government.

The laborers themselves, no longer slaves of their former masters, or of the Government, but as yet in large numbers
unprepared for the full privileges of citizens, are to be treated with sole reference to such preparation. No effort is to be
spared to work upon their better nature and the motives which come from it — the love of wages, of offspring, and
family, the desire of happiness, and the obligations of religion. And when these fail, — and fail they will, in some
cases, — we must not hesitate to resort, not to the lash, for as from the department of war so also from the department
of labor, it must be banished, but to the milder and more effective punishments of deprivation of privileges, isolation
from family and society, the workhouse, or even the prison. The laborers are to be assured at the outset that parental
and conjugal relations among them are to be protected and enforced; that children, and all others desiring, are to be
taught ; that they will receive wages ; and that a certain just measure of work, with reference to the ability to perform it,
if not willingly rendered, is to be required of all. The work, so far as the case admits, shall be assigned in proper
tasks, the standard being what a healthy person of average capacity can do, for which a definite sum is to be paid. The
remark may perhaps be pertinent, that, whatever may have been the case with women or partially disabled persons, my
observations, not yet sufficient to decide the point, have not impressed me with the conviction that healthy, persons, if
they had been provided with an adequate amount of food, and that animal in clue proportion, could be said to have
been overworked heretofore on these islands, the main trouble having it that they have not been so Provided, and have
not had the motives which smooth labor. Notwithstanding the frequent and severe chastisements which have been
employed they have failed, and naturally enough, of their intended effects. Human beings are made up of so much more
of spirit than of muscle, that compulsory labor, enforced by physical pain, will not exceed or equal, in the long run,
voluntary labor with just inspirations; and the same law in less degree may be seen in the difference between the value
of a whipped and jaded beast, and one well disciplined and kindly treated.

"What should be the standard of wages where none have, heretofore been paid, is less easy to determine. It should be
graduated with reference to the wants of the laborer and the ability of the employer or Government; and this ability
being determined by the value of the products of the labor, and the most that should be expected being, that for a year
or two the system should not be a burden on the Treasury. Taking into consideration the cost of food and clothing,
medical attendance and extras, supposing that the laborer would require rations of pork or -beef, meal, coffee, sugar,
molasses and tobacco, and that he would work 300 days in the year, he should receive about forty cents a day in order
to enable him to lay up $30 a year ; and each healthy woman could do about equally well. Three hundred days in a year
is, perhaps, too high an estimate of working days, when we consider the chances of sickness and days when, by reason
of storms and other causes, there would be no work. It is assumed that the laborer is not to pay rent for the small
house tenanted by him. This sum, when the average number of acres cultivated by a hand, and the average yield per
acre are considered with reference to market prices, or when the expense of each laborer to his former master, the
interest on his assumed value and on the value of the land worked by him, — these being the elements of what it has
cost the master before making a profit, — are computed, the Government could afford to pay, leaving an ample margin
to meet the cost of the necessary implements, as well as of superintendence and administration. The figures on which
this estimate is based are at the service of the Department if desired. It must also be borne in mind that the plantations
will in the end be carried on more scientifically and cheaply than before, the plough taking very much the place of the
hoe, and other implements being introduced to facilitate industry and increase the productive power of the soil.

It being important to preserve all former habits which are not objectionable, the laborer should have his patch of ground
on which to raise corn or vegetables for consumption or sale.

As a part of the plan proposed, missionaries will be needed to address the religious element of a race so emotional in
their nature, exhorting to all practical virtues, and inspiring the laborers with a religious zeal for faithful labor, the good
nurture of their children, and for clean and healthful habits. The benevolence of the Free States, now being directed
hither, will gladly provide these. The Government should, however, provide some teachers specially devoted to teaching
reading, writing and arithmetic, say some twenty-five, for the territory now occupied by our forces, and private
benevolence might even be relied on for these. The plan proposed is, of course, not presented as an ultimate result :
far from it. It contemplates a paternal discipline for the time being, intended' for present use only, with the prospect of
better things in the future. As fast as the laborers show themselves fitted for all the privileges of citizens, they should be
dismissed from the system and allowed to follow any employment they please, and where they please. They should have
the power to acquire the fee simple of land, either with the proceeds of their labor or as a reward of special merit ; and it
would be well to quicken their zeal for good behavior by proper recognitions. I shall not follow these suggestions, as to
the future, further, contenting myself with indicating what is best to be done at once with a class of fellow-beings now
thrown on our protection, entitled to be recognized as freemen, but for whose new condition the former occupants of the
territory have diligently labored to unfit them.

But whatever is thought best to be done, should - be done at once. A system ought to have been commenced with thp
opening of the year. Beside that, demoralization increase; with delay. The months of January and February are the
months for preparing the ground by manuring and listing, and the months of March and April are for planting. Already,
important time has passed, and in a very few weeks it will be too late to prepare for a crop, and too late to assign useful
work to the laborers for a year to come. I implore the immediate intervention of your Department to avert the calamities
which must ensue from a further postponement.

There is another precaution most necessary to be taken. As much as possible, persons enlisted in the army and navy
should be kept separate from these people. The association produces an unhealthy excitement in the latter, and there
are other injurious results to both parties which it is unnecessary to particularize. In relation to this matter, I had an
interview with the Flag-Officer, Com. Dupont, which resulted in an order that " no boats from any of the ships of the
squadron can be permitted to land anywhere but at Bay Point and Hilton Head, without a pass from the Fleet Captain,"
and requiring the commanding officers of the vessels to give special attention to all intercourse between the men under
their command and the Various plantations in their vicinity. Whatever can be accomplished to that end by this humane
and gallant officer, who superadds to skill and courage in his profession the liberal views of a statesman, will no't be left
undone. The suggestion should also be made that, when employment is given to this people, some means should be
taken to enable them to obtain suitable goods at fair rates, and precautions taken to prevent the introduction of ardent
spirits among them.

Frederick A. Eustis
A loyal citizen of Massachusetts,
Mr. Frederick A. Eustis, has recently arrived here. He is the devisee in a considerable
amount under the will of the. late Mrs. Eustis, who owned the large estate on Ladies' Island, and also another at
Pocotaligo, the latter not yet in possession of our forces. The executors are rebels, and reside at Charleston. Mr. Eustis
has as yet received no funds by reason of the devise. There are two other loyal devisees and some other devisees
resident in rebellious districts, and the latter are understood to have received dividends. Mr. Eustis is a gentleman of
humane and liberal views, and, accepting the present condition of things, desires that the people on these plantations
should not be distinguished from their brethren on others, but equally admitted to their better fortunes. The
circumstances of this case, though of a personal character, may furnish a useful precedent. With great pleasure and
confidence, I recommend that this loyal citizen be placed in charge of the plantation on Ladies' Island, which he is willing
to accept — the questions of property and rights under the" will being reserved for subsequent determination.

A brief statement in relation to the laborers collected at the camps at Hilton Head and Beaufort may be desirable.
At both places, they are under the charge of the Quartermaster's Department. At Hilton Head, Mr. Barnard K. Lee, Jr., of
Boston, is the Superintendent, assisted by Mr. J. D. McMath of Alleghany City, Penn., both civilians. The appointment of
Mr. Lee is derived from
Captain R. Saxton, Chief Quartermaster of the Expeditionary Corps, a humane
officer, who is deeply interested in this matter. The number at this camp are about 600, the registered number under Mr.
Lee being 472, of which 137 are on the pay-roll. Of these 472, 279 are fugitives from the main land, or other points, still
held by the rebels ; 77 are from Hilton Head Island; 62 from the adjacent island of Pinckney; 38 from St. Helena ; 8 from
Port Royal ; 7 from Spring, and one from Daufuskie. Of the 472, the much larger number, it will be seen, have sought
refuge from the places now held by rebels ; while the greater proportion of the remainder came in at an early period,
before they considered themselves safe elsewhere. Since the above figures were given, forty-eight more, all from one
plantation, and under the lead of the driver, came in together from the main land. Mr. Lee was appointed November 10th
last, with instructions to assure the laborers that they would be paid a reasonable sum for their services, not yet fixed.
They were contented with the assurance, and a quantity of blankets and clothing captured of the rebels was issued to
them without charge. About December 1st, an order was given that carpenters should be paid $8 per month, and other
laborers $5 per month. "Women and children were fed without charge, the women obtaining washing and receiving the
pay, in some cases in considerable sums, not, however, heretofore, very available, as there was no clothing for women
for sale here. It will be seen that, under the order, laborers, particularly those with families, have been paid with sufficient
liberality. There were 63 laborers on the pay-roll on December 1st, and $101.50 were paid to them for the preceding
month. On January 1st, there were for the preceding month 127 on the pay-roll, entitled to $468.59. On February 1st,
there were for the preceding month 137 on the pay-roll, entitled to something more than for the month of January ;
making in all due them not far from $1000. This delay of payment, due, it is stated, to a deficiency of small currency, has
made the laborers uneasy, and affected the disposition to work.

Rate of Wages
On January 18th, a formal order was issued by General Sherman, regulating the rate of wages, varying from $12 to
$8 per month for mechanics, and from $8 to $4 for other laborers. Under it, each laborer is to have, in addition, a
ration of food. But from the monthly pay are to be deducted rations for his family, if here, and clothing both for
himself and family. Commodious barracks have been erected for these people, and a guard protects their quarters.

I have been greatly impressed by the kindness and good sense of Mr. Lee and his assistant, in their discipline of these
people. The lash, let us give thanks, is banished at last. No coarse words or profanity are used toward them. There
has been less than a case of discipline a week, and the delinquent, if a male, is sometimes' made to stand on a barrel,
or, if a woman, is put in a dark room, and such discipline has proved successful. The only exception, if any, is in the
case of one woman, and the difficulty there was conjugal jealousy, she protesting that she was compelled by her master,
against her will, to live with the man.

There is scarcely any profanity among them, more than one-half of the adults being members of churches. Their
meetings are held twice or three times on Sundays, also on the evenings of Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. They are
conducted with fervent devotion by themselves alone or in presence of a white clergyman, when the services of one are
procurable. They close with what is called " a glory shout," one joining hands with another, together in couples singing a
verse and beating time with the foot. A fastidious religionist might object to this exercise ; but being in accordance with
usage, and innocent enough in itself, it is not open to exception.' As an evidence of the effects of the new system in
inspiring self-reliance, it should be noted that the other evening they called a meeting of their own accord, and voted,
the motion being regularly made and put, that it was now but just that they should provide the candles for their meetings,
hitherto provided by the Government. A collection was taken at a subsequent meeting, and $2.48 was the result.
The incident may be trivial, but it justifies a pleasing inference. No school, it is to be regretted, has yet been started,
except one on Sundays, but the call for reading books is daily made by the laborers. The suggestion of Mr. Lee, in
which I most heartily concur, should not be omitted — that with the commencement of the work on the plantations, the
laborers should be distributed upon them, having regard to the family relations and the places whence they come.

Of the number and condition of the laborers at Beaufort, less accurate information was attainable, and fewer statistics
than could be desired. They have not, till within a few days, had a General Superintendent, but have been under the
charge of persons detailed for the purpose from the army. I saw one whose manner and language toward them was, to
say the least, not elevating. A new Quartermaster of the post has recently commenced his duties, and a better order of
things is expected. He has appointed as Superintendent Mr. Wm. Harding, a citizen of Daufuskie Island. An enrollment
has commenced, but is not yet finished. There are supposed to be about six hundred at Beaufort. The number has
been larger, but some have already returned to the plantations in our possession from which they came. At this point,
the
Rev. Solomon Peck, of Roxbury, Mass., has done great good in preaching to them and protecting them from the
depredations of white men. He has established a school for the children, in which are sixty pupils, ranging in age from six
to fifteen years. They are rapidly learning their letters and simple reading. The teachers are of the same race with
the taught, of ages respectively of twenty, thirty, and fifty years. The name of one is John Milton. A visit to the school
leaves a remarkable impression. One sees there those of pure African blood, and others ranging through the lighter
shades, and among them brunettes of the fairest features. I taught several of the children their letters for an hour or
two, and during the recess heard the three teachers, at their own request, recite their spelling-lessons of words of one
syllable, and read two chapters of Matthew. It seemed to be a morning well spent. Nor have the efforts of
Dr. Peck been
confined to this point. He has preached at Cat, Cane and Ladies' Island, anticipating all other white clergymen, and
on Sunday, February 2d, at the Baptist Church on St. Helena to a large congregation, where his ministrations have
been attended with excellent effects. On my visits to St. Helena, I found that no white clergyman had been there since
our military occupation began, that the laborers were waiting for one, and there was a demoralization at some points
which timely words might arrest. I may be permitted to state, that it was at my own suggestion that he made the
appointment on this island. I cannot forbear to give a moment's testimony to the nobility of character displayed by this
venerable man. Of mild and genial temperament, equally earnest and sensible, enjoying the fruits of culture, and yet not
dissuaded by them from the humblest toil, having reached an age when most others would have declined the duty, and
left it to be discharged by younger men; of narrow means, and yet in the main defraying his own expenses, this man of
apostolic faith and life, to whose labors both hemispheres bear witness, left his home to guide and comfort this poor and
shepherdless flock ; and to him belongs, and ever will belong, the distinguished honor of being the first minister of Christ
to enter the field which our arms had opened.

The
Rev. Mansfield French, whose mission was authenticated and approved by the Government, prompted by
benevolent purposes of his own, and in conference with others in the city of New York, has been here two weeks, during
which time he has been industriously occupied in examining the state of the islands and their population, in conferring
with the authorities, and laying the foundation of beneficent appliances with reference to their moral, educational, and
material wants. These, having received the sanction of officers in command, he now returns to commend to the public,
and the Government will derive important information from his report. Beside other things, he proposes, with the
approval of the authorities here, to secure authority to introduce women of suitable experience and ability, who shall
give industrial instruction to those of their own sex among these people, and who, visiting from dwelling to dwelling,
shall strive to improve their household life, and give such counsels as women can best communicate to women. All
civilizing influences like these should be welcomed here, and it cannot be doubted that many noble hearts among the
women of the land will volunteer for the service.

Needs caused by the Army and Navy
There are some material wants of this territory requiring immediate attention. The means of subsistence have been
pretty well preserved on the plantations on St. Helena; so also on that part of Ladies' adjacent to St. Helena. But on
Port Royal Island, and that part of Ladies' near to it, destitution has commenced, and will, unless provision is made, be-
come very great. Large amounts of corn for forage, in quantities from fifty to four or five hundred bushels from a
plantation, have been taken to Beaufort. On scarcely any within this district is there enough to last beyond April,
whereas it is needed till August. On others, it will last only two or three weeks, and on some it is entirely exhausted. It
is stated that the forage was taken because no adequate supply was at hand, and requisitions for it were not
seasonably answered. The farther taking of the corn in this way has now been forbidden ; but the Government must be
prepared to meet the exigency which it has itself created. It should be remembered that this is not a grain-exporting
region, corn being produced in moderate crops only for consumption. Similar destitution will take place on other islands,
from the same cause, unless provision is made.

The horses, mules and oxen, in large numbers, have been taken to Beaufort and Hilton Head as means of
transportation. It is presumed that they, or most of them, are no longer needed for that purpose, and that they will be re-
turned to those who shall have charge of the plantations. Cattle to the number of a hundred, and in some cases less,
have been taken from a plantation and slaughtered, to furnish fresh beef for the army. Often cattle have been killed by
irresponsible foraging parties, acting without competent authority. There can be no doubt that the army and navy have
been in great want of the variation of the rations of salt beef or pork; but it also deserves much consideration, if the
plantations are to be permanently worked, how much of a draught they can sustain.

The garden seeds have been pretty well used up, and I enclose a desirable list furnished me by a gentleman whose
experience enables him to designate those adapted to the south, and useful too for army supplies. The general
cultivation of the islands also requires the sending of a quantity of ploughs and hoes.

It did not seem a part of my duty to look specially after matters which had been safely entrusted to others ; but it is
pleasing, from such observation as was casually made, to testify that Lieutenant-Colonel William H. Reynolds, who was
charged with the preservation of the cotton and other confiscated property, notwithstanding many difficulties in his
way, has fulfilled his duties with singular fidelity and success.

Since the writing of this report was commenced, some action has been taken which will largely increase the numbers of
persons thrown on the protection of the Government. Today, February 10th, the 47th Regiment New York Volunteers
has been ordered to take military occupation of North Edisto Island, which is stated to have had formerly a population of
5000 or 6000, and a large number of plantations, a movement which involves great additional responsibility. Agents for
the collection of cotton are to accompany it.

Herewith is communicated a copy of an order by General Sherman, dated February 6th, 1862, relative to the disposi-
tion of the plantations and of their occupants. It is an evidence of the deep interest which the Commanding General
takes in this subject, and of his conviction that the exigency requires prompt and immediate action from the Government.

I leave for Washington, to add any oral explanations which may be desired, expecting to return at once, and, with the
permission of the Department, to organize the laborers on some one plantation, and superintend them during the
planting season, and upon its close, business engagements require that I should be relieved of this appointment.

I am, with great respect,

Your friend and servant,

EDWARD L. PIERCE.

EDUCATIONAL COMMISSION.

The Committee on Teachers and on Finance would call the attention of the friends of the Commission to the importance
of additional subscription to its funds.

There are at Port Royal and other places, many thousands of colored persons, lately slaves, who are now under the
protection of the U. S. Government. They are a well-disposed people, ready to work, and eager to learn. With a
moderate amount of well-directed, systematic labor, they would very soon be able to raise crops more than sufficient for
their own support. But they need aid and guidance in their first steps towards the condition of self-supporting,
independent laborers.

It is the object of the Commission to give them this aid, by sending out, as agents, intelligent and benevolent persons,
who shall instruct and care for them. These agents are called teachers, but their teaching will by no means be confined
to intellectual instruction. It will include all the more important and fundamental lessons of civilization, — voluntary
industry, self-reliance, frugality* forethought, honesty and truthfulness, cleanliness and order. With these will be
combined intellectual, moral and religious instruction.

The plan is approved by the U. S. Government, and Mr. Edward L. Pierce, the Special Agent of the Treasury
Department, is authorized to accept the services of the agents of this Commission, and to provide for them
transportation, quarters and subsistence. Their salaries are paid by the Commission.

More than one hundred and fifty applications have been received by the Committee on Teachers, and thirty-five able
and efficient persons have been selected. Twenty-nine of these sailed for Port Royal in the Atlantic, on the 3d instant.
Three were already actively employed at that place, and the others are to follow by the next steamer. Some of these are
volunteers, who gratuitously devote their time and labor to this cause. Others receive a monthly salary
from the Commission.

The funds in the treasury, derived from voluntary and almost unsolicited contributions, are sufficient to support those
now in service for two or three months. But the Commission is as yet only on the threshold of its undertaking. It is stated
by Mr. Pierce that at least one hundred and fifty teachers could be advantageously employed in the vicinity of Port
Royal alone.

Subscriptions may be sent to Mr. William Endicott, Jr., Treasurer, No. 33 Summer street, or to either of the Committee
on Finance.

George B. Emerson, Edward Atkinson, EE Baron Russell, Martin Brimmer,
LORING LOTHROP, WlLLIAM ENDICOTT, Jr.,

Charles F. Barnard, James T. Fisher, I. F. Stevenson, William I. Bowditch,

Committee on Teachers. Committee on Finance.

Boston, March 14, 1802.
Edward L Pierce
Salmon Chase
Secretary of the Treasury
Commander Dupont
General Rufus Saxton
General Thomas Sherman
Rev. and Mrs. Mansfield French
Col. William H. Reynolds
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