MILITARY TREATMENT OF CAPTURED AND FUGITIVE SLAVES.



SUMMARY OF PRINCIPAL EVENTS.
Mar. 18, 1861.– Lieut. Adam J. Slemmer, U. S. Army, commanding at Fort Pickens, Fla., returns four fugitive slaves to
their masters.

Apr. 23, 1861.– Brig. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, U. S. Army, offers to use U. S. troops in co-operation with the Governor of
Maryland to repress an apprehended slave insurrection.

May 24, 1861.– Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, U. S. Army, from
Fort Monroe announces to the General-in-Chief his
determination to employ fugitive slaves of disloyal owners.

May 30, 1861.– Hon. Simon Cameron, Secretary of War, directs Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, U. S. Army, not to
surrender fugitive slaves to disloyal owners.

June 22, 1861.– Col. Harvey Brown, U. S. Army, commanding Fort Pickens, Fla., reports to the War Department that he
will not return fugitive slaves to their masters unless otherwise ordered.

July 9, 1861.– The House of Representatives resolves that it is not the duty of Union soldiers to capture and return
fugitive slaves.

Aug. 6, 1861 -
1st  Confiscation Act Passed by Congress

Aug. 30, 1861.– Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont, U. S. Army, proclaims martial law in Missouri and his purpose to confiscate
the property and liberate the slaves of disloyal owners.

Sept. 11, 1861.– President Lincoln issues an order modifying the proclamation of General Frémont to conform to act of
Congress.

Sept. 12, 1861.– Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont, U. S. Army, issues deeds of manumission to two slaves of a disloyal owner.

Oct. 14, 1861.– Hon. Simon Cameron, Secretary of War, authorizes Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Sherman, U. S. Army,
commanding at Port Royal, S. C.,
to organize and arm, if necessary, squads of fugitive and captured slaves.

Nov. 4, 1861.– Maj. Gen. John A. Dix, U. S. Army, directs that negroes be not allowed to come within certain military lines
in Maryland.

Nov 7, 1861.– Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, U. S. Army, in a letter of instructions counsels Brig. Gen. Don Carlos
Buell, U. S. Army, appointed to the command in Kentucky, to respect the constitutional rights of Kentuckians in their
slave property.

Nov 8, 1861.– Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Cumberland, expresses the
opinion that fugitive slaves must be delivered up on application of their masters in conformity to the laws of Kentucky.

Nov 20, 1861.– Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, U. S. Army, issues General Orders, No. 3, excluding fugitive slaves from the
military camps in the Department of the Missouri.

Dec. 25, 1861.– Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, U. S. Army, commanding District of Southeast Missouri, orders fugitive slaves to
be expelled from Fort Holt, Ky.

Feb 6, 1862 --- General T. W. Sherman's
General order #9 requesting help with the newly freed slaves

Mar. 13, 1862.– Additional Article of War approved forbidding officers and soldiers of the U. S. Army from aiding in the
capture and return of fugitive slaves to disloyal owners.

May 9, 1862.– Maj. Gen. David Hunter, U. S. Army,
proclaims martial law in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, and
declares all slaves free.

May 19, 1862.–
President Lincoln modifies Major-General Hunter’s proclamation freeing the slaves in his military
department.  

July 17, 1862 -
Second Confiscation

January 1, 1863 - Emancipation Proclamation



                                                       Assorted Documents
Resolution adopted by the House of Representatives, special session, July 9, 1861.
Resolved, That in the judgment of this House it is no part of the duty of the soldiers of the United States to capture and
return fugitive slaves.

* Introduced by Mr. Lovejoy, of Illinois, and passed by the following vote:

Yeas-Messrs. Aldrich, Alley, Arnold, Ashley, Babbitt, Goldsmith F. Bailey, Baker, Baxter, Beaman, Bingham, Francis P.
Blair, Samuel S. Blair. Blake, Buffinton, Campbell, Chamberlain, Ambrose W. Clark, Colfax, Frederick A. Conkling,
Roscoe Conkling, Conway, Covode, Cutler, Davis, Dawes, Delano, Diven, Duell, Dunn, Edgerton, Edwards, Eliot, Ely,
Fenton, Fessenden, Franchat, Frank, Gooch, Granger, Gurley, Hale, Hickman, Hutchins, Julian Kelley, Francis W.
Kellogg, Killinger, Lansing, Loomis, Lovejoy, McKean, McPherson, Mitchell, Moorhead, Anson P. Morrill, Justin S. Morrill,
Olin, Patton, Pike, Pomeroy, Porter, Potter, Alexander H. Rice, John H. Rice, Riddle, Edward H. Rollins, Sedgwick,
Shanks, Shellabarger, Sherman, Sloan, Spaulding, Stevens, Stratton, Benjamin F. Thomas, Thayer, Train, Trimble,
Trowbridge, Vandever, Van Horn, Van Valkenburgh, Van Wyck, Verree, Wall, Wallace, Charles W. Walton, E. P. Walton,
Washburne, Wheeler, Albert S. White, Windom, and Worcester-93.

Nays.-Messrs. Allen, Ancona, Joseph Baily, Burnett, Calvert, Carlile, Cobb, Cooper, Cox, Cravens, Crisfield, Crittenden,
Dunlap. English, Fisher, Fouke, Grider, Haight, Harding, Holman Horton, Jackson, Johnson, William Kellogg, Law,
Lazear, Logan, McClernand, Mallory, Menzies, Morris, Nixon, Noble, Noell, Nugen, Odell, George H. Pendleton,
Richardson, Robinson, Sheffield, Smith, John B. Steele, William G. Steele, Francis Thomas, Upton, Vallandigham,
Wadsworth, Ward, Webster, Whaley, Chilton A. White, Wickliffe, Wood, Woodruff, and Wright-55.

WASHINGTON, August 8, 1861.
Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER,
  Commanding Department of Virginia, Fortress Monroe.
GENERAL: The important question of the proper disposition to be made of fugitives from service in States in insurrection
against the Federal Government to which you have again directed my attention in your letter of July 30* has received my
most attentive consideration.

It is the desire of the President that all existing rights in all the States be fully respected and maintained. The war now
prosecuted on the part of the Federal Government is a war for the Union and for {p.762} the preservation of all
constitutional rights of States and the citizens of the States in the Union. Hence no question can arise as to fugitives
from service within the States and Territories in which the authority of the Union is fully acknowledged. The ordinary
forms of judicial proceeding which must be respected by military and civil authorities alike will suffice for the enforcement
of all legal claims. But in States wholly or partially under insurrectionary control where the laws of the United States are
so far opposed and resisted that they cannot be effectually enforced it is obvious that rights dependent on the execution
of those laws must temporarily fail; and it is equally obvious that rights dependent on the laws of the States within which
military operations are conducted must be necessarily subordinated to the military exigencies created by the
insurrection if not wholly forfeited by the treasonable conduct of parties claiming them. To this general rule rights to
services can form no exception.

The act of Congress approved August 6, 1861, declares that if persons held to service shall be employed in hostility to
the United States the right to their services shall be forfeited and such persons shall be discharged therefrom. It follows
of necessity that no claim can be recognized by the military authorities of the Union to the services of such persons
when fugitives.

A more difficult question is presented in respect to persons escaping from the service of loyal masters. It is quite
apparent that the laws of the State under which only the services of such fugitives can be claimed must needs be wholly
or almost wholly suspended as to remedies by the insurrection and the military measures necessitated by it. And it is
equally apparent that the substitution of military for judicial measures for the enforcement of such claims must be
attended by great inconveniences, embarrassments and injuries.

Under these circumstances it seems quite clear that the substantial rights of loyal masters will be best protected by
receiving such fugitives as well as fugitives from disloyal masters into the service of the United States, and employing
them under such organizations and in such occupations as circumstances may suggest or require. Of course a record
should be kept showing the name and description of the fugitives, the name and the character as loyal or disloyal of the
master, and such facts as may be necessary to a correct understanding of the circumstances of each case after
tranquility shall have been restored. Upon the return of peace Congress will doubtless properly provide for all the
persons thus received into the service of the Union and for just compensation to loyal masters. In this way only it would
seem can the duty and safety of the Government and the just rights of all be fully reconciled and harmonized.

You will therefore consider yourself as instructed to govern your future action in respect to fugitives from service by the
principles herein stated, and will report from time to time-and at least twice in each month-your action in the premises to
this Department. You will, however, neither authorize nor permit any interference by the troops under your command
with the servants of peaceful citizens in house or field, nor will you in any way encourage such servants to leave the
lawful service of their masters, nor will you except in cases where the public safety may seem to require prevent the
voluntary return of any fugitive to the service from which he may have escaped.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

SIMON CAMERON,
  Secretary of War.

PROCLAMATION.
HDQRS. WESTERN DEPARTMENT OF THE U. S. ARMY,
  Saint Louis, September 12, 1861.
The major-general commanding the Western-Department having satisfactory evidence that Thomas L. Snead, of the
city and county of Saint Louis and State of Missouri, has been taking active part with the enemies of the United States in
the present insurrectionary movement against its Government, and the military commission now in session at the
arsenal in this city having reported the fact to these headquarters as the result of its deliberations, the major-general
commanding has executed and ordered to be published the following deeds of manumission:

DEED OF MANUMISSION.
Whereas, Thomas L. Snead, of the city and county of Saint Louis, State of Missouri, has been taking part with the
enemies of the United States in the present insurrectionary movement against the Government of the United States:
Now, therefore, I, John Charles Frémont, major-general commanding the Western Department of the Army of the United
States, by authority of law and the power vested in me as such commanding general declare Frank Lewis heretofore
held to service or labor by said Thomas L. Snead to be free and forever discharged from the bonds of servitude, giving
him full right and authority to have, use and control his own labor or service as to him may seem proper without any
accountability whatever to said Thomas L. Snead or anyone to claim by, through or under him.

And this deed of manumission shall be respected and treated by all persons and in all courts of justice as the full and
complete evidence of the freedom of said Frank Lewis.

In testimony whereof this act is done at the headquarters of the Western Department of the Army of the United States in
the city of Saint Louis, State of Missouri, on this 12th day of September, A. D. 1861, as is evidenced by the
departmental seal hereto affixed by my order.

J. C. FRÉMONT,
  Major-General, Commanding.

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 72.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA,
  Fort Monroe, October 14, 1861
.
All colored persons called contrabands employed as-servants by officers and others residing within Fort Monroe or
outside of the fort at Camp Hamilton and Camp Butler will be furnished with their subsistence and at least $8 per month
for males and $4 per month for females by the officers and others employing them.

So much of the above-named sums as may be necessary to furnish clothing to be decided by the chief quartermaster of
the department will be applied to that purpose, and the remainder will be paid into his hands to create a fund for the
support of those contrabands who are unable to work for their own support.

All able-bodied colored persons who are under the protection of the troops of this department and who are not
employed as servants will be immediately put to work in either the engineer’s or quartermaster’s department.

By command of Major-General Wool:

WM. D. WHIPPLE,
  Assistant Adjutant-General.

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 34.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA,
  Fort Monroe, November 1, 1861.
The following pay and allowances will constitute the valuation of the labor of the contrabands at work in the engineer,
ordnance, quartermaster, commissary and medical departments at this post to be paid as hereinafter mentioned:

Class 1. Negro men over eighteen years of age and able-bodied $10 per month, one ration and the necessary amount
of clothing.

Class 2. Negro boys from twelve to eighteen years of age and sickly and infirm negro men $5 per month, one ration and
the necessary amount of clothing.

The quartermaster will furnish all the clothing. The department employing these men will furnish the subsistence
specified above, and as an incentive to good behavior (to be withheld at the discretion of the chiefs of the departments
respectively) each individual of the first class will receive $2 per month and each individual of the second class $1 per
month for their own use. The remainder of the money valuation of their labor will be turned over to the quartermaster
who will deduct from it the cost of the clothing issued to them; the balance will constitute a fund to be expended by the
quartermaster under the direction of the commanding officer of the department of Virginia for the support of the women
and children and those that are unable to work.

For any unusual amount of labor performed they may receive extra pay varying in amount from 50 cents to $1, this to be
paid by the department employing them to the men themselves and to be for their own use.

Should any man be prevented from working on account of sickness for six consecutive days or ten days in any one
month one-half of the money value will be paid. For being prevented from laboring for a longer period than ten days in
any one month all pay and allowance cease.

By command of Major-General Wool:

WM. D. WHIPPLE,
  Assistant Adjutant-General.
–––

Extract from President Lincoln’s annual message December 3, 1861.
FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
...

Under and by virtue of the act of Congress entitled “An act to confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes,”
approved August 6, 1861, the legal claims of certain persons to the labor and service of certain other persons have
become forfeited; and numbers of the latter thus liberated are already dependent on the United States and must be
provided for in some way. Besides this it is not impossible that some of the States will pass similar enactments for their
own benefit respectively and by operation of which persons of the same class will be thrown upon them for disposal. In
such case I recommend that Congress provide for accepting such persons from such States according to some mode of
valuation in lieu pro tanto of direct taxes or upon some other plan to be agreed on with such States respectively; that
such persons on such acceptance by the General Government be at once deemed free, and that in any event steps-be
taken for colonizing both classes (or the one first mentioned if the other shall not be brought into existence) at some
place or places in a climate congenial to them. It might be well to consider too whether the free colored people already in
the United States could not so far as individuals may desire be included in such colonization.

To carry out the plan of colonization may involve the acquiring of territory and also the appropriation of money beyond
that to be expended in the territorial acquisition. Having practiced the acquisition of territory for nearly sixty years the
question of constitutional power to do so is no longer an open one with us. The power was questioned at first by Mr.
Jefferson who, however, in the purchase of Louisiana yielded his scruples on the plea of great expediency. If it be said
that the only legitimate object of acquiring territory is to furnish homes for white men this measure effects that object; for
the emigration of colored men leaves additional room for white men remaining or coming here. Mr. Jefferson, however,
placed the importance of procuring Louisiana more on political and commercial grounds than on providing room for
population.

On this whole proposition including the appropriation of money with the acquisition of territory does not the expediency
amount to absolute necessity-that without which the Government itself cannot be perpetuated?
...

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

* * *

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
  Washington City, December 4, 1861.
Maj. Gen. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Washington.
GENERAL: I am directed by the President to call your attention to the following subject:

Persons claimed to be held in service or labor under the laws of the State of Virginia and actually employed in hostile
service against the Government of the United States frequently escape from the lines of the enemy’s forces and are
received within the lines of the Army of the Potomac. This Department understands that such persons afterward coming
into the city of Washington are liable to be arrested by the city police upon presumption arising from color that they are
fugitives from service or labor.

By the fourth section of the act of Congress approved August 6, 1861, entitled “An act to confiscate property used for
insurrectionary purposes,” such hostile employment is made a full and sufficient answer to any further claim to service or
labor. Persons thus employed and escaping are received into the military protection of the United States and their arrest
as fugitives from service or labor should be immediately followed by the military arrest of the parties making the seizure.

Copies of this communication will be sent to the mayor of the city of Washington and to the marshal of the District of
Columbia that any collision between the civil and military authorities may be avoided.

I am, general, your very obedient servant,

WM. H. SEWARD.

Extract from report of the Secretary of War December 6, 1861.
It is already a grave question what shall be done with those slaves who were abandoned by their owners on the advance
of our troops into Southern territory, as at Beaufort district in South Carolina. The number left within our control at that
point is very considerable and similar cases will probably occur. What shall be done with them? Can we afford to send
them forward to their masters to be by them armed against us or used in producing supplies to sustain the rebellion?
Their labor may be useful to us. Withheld from the enemy it lessens his military resources and withholding them has no
tendency to induce the horrors of insurrection even in the rebel communities. They constitute a military resource, and
being such that they should not be turned over to the enemy is too plain to discuss. Why deprive him of supplies by a
blockade and voluntarily give him men to produce them?

The disposition to be made of the slaves of rebels after the close of the war can be safely left to the wisdom and
patriotism of Congress. The Representatives of the people will unquestionably secure to the loyal slaveholders every
right to which they are entitled under the Constitution of the country.

...

SIMON CAMERON,
  Secretary of War.

–––

Resolution introduced in the House of Representatives December 9, 1861.*
Whereas, Major-General Halleck of the Western Department has issued an order prohibiting negroes from coming within
the lines of our army and excluding those already under the protection of our troops; and whereas, a different policy and
practice prevails in other departments by the direct sanction of the administration; and whereas, said order is cruel and
inhuman and in the judgment of this House based upon no military necessity: Therefore,

Resolved, That the President be respectfully requested to direct General Halleck to recall said order or cause it to
conform with the practice of the other departments of the army.

* December 11, 1861, this resolution was laid on the table by a vote of 78 to 64.

–––
* * *
Maj. Gen. NATHANIEL P. BANKS, Frederick, Md.
SIR: I have to call your attention to the accompanying copy of a letter from the Governor of Massachusetts with its
enclosure and to suggest that such directions may be given through the proper channel to the officers of your division
as may prevent similar complaint for the future of injustice and oppression to negroes visiting the camps in the exercise
of lawful occupations.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

SIMON CAMERON,
  Secretary of War. [Enclosure.]

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS,
  EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
          Boston, December 7, 1861.
Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.
DEAR SIR: I wish to call your attention to the enclosed copy of a recent letter from a reliable source in relation to the use
to which Massachusetts soldiers are being put (as is alleged) by Brigadier-General Stone. I cannot for a moment believe
that the War Department will countenance such proceedings, and I invoke your interposition not only now but for the
future for the issue of such orders as will secure the soldiers of this Commonwealth from being participators in such dirty
and despotic work. Massachusetts does not send her citizens forth to become the hunters of men or to engage in the
seizure and return to captivity of persons claimed to be fugitive slaves without any recognition or even the forms of law;
and I trust you will save our soldiers and our State from such dishonor by the exercise of your official authority in such
manner as will insure the protection of our men from such outrages in future and humanity itself from such infractions
under color of military law and duty.

I remain, with great respect, your obedient servant,

JOHN A. ANDREW.
[Sub-enclosure.]

CAMP BENTON, Poolesville, Md., November 28, 1861.
On Saturday last an order came down from General Stone giving a description of two fugitive slaves and directing their
return (in case they should enter our camp) to their owners whoever they might be. This order it appears was handed by
Lieutenant-Colonel Palfrey to the officer of the day, Mr. Macy, of Company I. On Sunday morning several negroes came
into camp as usual for the purpose of selling cakes, pies, &c., to the soldiers. Although having eatables for sale some of
these negroes were themselves almost famished and were treated to breakfast by the men of one of our German
companies. About the time of guard-mounting the vigilant eyes of Lieutenant Macy espied the negroes as they were
disposing of their wares through the company streets and leaving the new guard to be mounted as it might he beckoned
two of the negroes to the guard-house when he ordered them into arrest, and then immediately detailed a file of soldiers
under a sergeant with loaded muskets to escort them to their supposed owners and deliver them up. The procedure was
therefore unknown to all save the officers who were parties to it, and the parties who composed the escort had no
knowledge that their prisoners were suspected fugitives.

* * *

Resolution adopted by the House of Representatives December 20, 1861.

Resolved, That the Judiciary Committee be instructed to report a bill so amending the fugitive slave law enacted in 1850
as to forbid the recapture or return of any fugitive from labor without satisfactory proof first made that the claimant of
such fugitive is loyal to the Government.

* * *

–––

Resolution adopted by the Rouse of Representatives December 23, 1861.

Resolved, That the Committee on Military Affairs be instructed to report to this House a bill for the enactment of an
additional article of war for the government of the Army whereby the officers in the military service of the United States
shall be prohibited from using any portion of the forces under their respective commands for the purpose of returning
fugitives from service or labor, and providing for the punishment of such officers as may violate said article by dismissal
from the service.

* * *
GENERAL ORDERS, No. 5.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA, &C.,
  Fort Monroe, January 30, 1862.
I. Col. T. J. Cram, inspector-general, and Maj. Le Grand B. Cannon, aide-de-camp, are hereby appointed and
constituted a commission for the purpose of making a critical examination of the condition of the persons known as
vagrants or contrabands who are employed in this department under Department General Orders, No. 34, of 1861, in
reference to their pay, clothing, subsistence, medical attendance, shelter and treatment, physical and moral.

II. Chiefs of the several departments, their subordinates and employees will furnish to the commission such reports and
information as the commission may require to enable it to perform the [duty] imposed, the object being to do justice to
the claims of humanity in the proper discharge of the grave responsibility thrust upon the military authorities of the
department in consequence of numerous persons (men, women and children) already congregated and daily
increasing, being abandoned by their masters or having fled to this military command for protection and support.

III. The commission will also examine into the condition of such of the foregoing specified class of persons as have been
or are employed under Department Special Orders, No. 72, of 1861, and will further examine whether the several chiefs
of departments have a sufficiency or excess of employees or laborers to enable them to discharge with the proper
economy, efficiency and dispatch their respective duties and if a greater or less number than are now employed can be
economically employed for these duties. It having been reported that the said class of persons known as vagrants or
contrabands have not been properly treated in all cases by those having them in charge the commission cannot be too
rigid in its examination in order that justice may be done to them as well as to the public service.

IV. The result of the investigations will be reported by the commission to these headquarters as early as practicable with
such suggestions as the commission may deem proper for the improvement of the treatment and management of these
persons; and the commission is authorized to employ such clerical assistance as it may need to be detailed from this
command.

By command of Major-General Wool:

WM. D. WHIPPLE,
  Assistant Adjutant-General.

* * *
–––

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 2.
HDQRS. ROANOKE ISLAND, N. C.,
  March 12, 1862.
The contrabands at this post will hereafter be placed in the employ of the Government upon the following terms, viz:

1. Men will receive $10 per month, one ration and soldier’s allowance of clothing.

2. Women will receive $4 per month, one ration and allowance in money equal to and in lieu of soldier’s allowance of
clothing.

3. Boys between the ages of twelve and sixteen will receive $4 per month, one ration and soldier’s allowance of clothing.

4. All children under the age of twelve will receive one ration and remain with their parents.

5. The above regulations apply only to contrabands in the public service. When in the employ of officers or any other
persons as servants or in any other capacity they will be paid by the person in whose employ they are an amount in
money equal to the sum total of the clothing allowance, rations and money expressed in the above regulations.

All persons at this post having contrabands in their employ or under their control will report in writing to these
headquarters their names, ages, sex, where they come from, the names of their owners and how long and by whom they
have been employed.

In all cases they will be treated with great care and humanity. It is to be hoped that their helpless and dependent
condition will protect them against injustice and imposition.

By order of Col. R. C. Hawkins, commanding the post:

JOHN B. SHEPARD,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

* * *
Additional article of war approved March 13, 1862.

ARTICLE 102. All officers or persons in the military or naval service of the United States are prohibited from employing
any of the forces under their respective commands for the purpose of returning fugitives from service or labor who may
have escaped from any persons to whom such service or labor is claimed to be due; and any officer who shall be found
guilty by a court-martial of violating this article shall be dismissed from the service.

SECTION 2. That this act shall take effect from and after its passage.

–––

* * *

HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, EXPEDITIONARY CORPS,
  Fernandina, Fla., March 13, 1862.
Capt. LOUIS H. PELOUZE,
  Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
CAPTAIN: I have to report in regard to the slaves found here and those who have since come in that I have not
attempted to interfere with the rights of the owner so long as he remained within our lines and conducted himself in a
quiet and orderly manner but that I have refused permission to remove any slave from the limits of the command on any
plea whatever.

I have conceived that the property of citizens in slaves should be protected to the extent referred to and shall continue
the same policy in regard to them unless I receive instructions to the contrary.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT,
  Brigadier General, Commanding.
[Indorsement.]

Approved.

By order of Brigadier-General Sherman:

L. H. PELOUZE,
  Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
MARCH 15, 1862.
–––

* * *

Resolution adopted by the House of Representatives March 17, 1862.

Resolved, That the Committee for the District of Columbia be instructed to inquire into the facts and ascertain and report
to this House by what authority of law Mrs. Biscoe, living on Dumbarton street in Georgetown, seized or caused to be
seized two men, namely, Lewis Ayers and Washington Watts; and also by what authority of law or legal process these
men have been sent to Baltimore and immured in jail, and whether the arrest and imprisonment is not a direct violation
of that provision of the Constitution (the fifth article of amendments) which says that no person shall be deprived of his
life or liberty without due process of law.


* * *
–––

Resolution adopted by the House of Representatives June 9, 1862.

Resolved, That the Secretary of War be directed to inform this House if General Hunter of the Department of South
Carolina has organized a regiment of South Carolina volunteers for the defense of the Union composed of black men
(fugitive slaves) and appointed the colonel and other officers to command them.

Second. Was he authorized by the Department to organize and muster into the Army of the United States as soldiers the
fugitive or captive slaves?

Third. Has he been furnished with clothing, uniforms, &c., for such force?

Fourth. Has he been furnished by order of the Department of War with arms to be placed in the hands of these slaves?

Fifth. To report any orders given said Hunter and correspondence between him and the Department.

–––

WAR DEPARTMENT,
  Washington, June 14, 1862.
Hon. GALUSHA A. GROW,
  Speaker of the House of Representatives.
SIR: ... I have the honor to inform the House-

1. That this Department has no official information whether General Hunter, of the Department of the South, has or has
not organized a regiment of South Carolina Volunteers for the defense of the Union composed of black men-fugitive
slaves-and appointed the colonel and other officers to command them. In order to ascertain whether he has done so or
not a copy of the House resolution has been transmitted to General Hunter with instructions to make immediate report
thereon.

2. General Hunter was not authorized by the Department to organize and muster into the Army of the United States the
fugitive or captive slaves.

3. General Hunter upon his requisition as commander of the [Department of the] South has been furnished with clothing
and arms for the force under his command without instructions as to how they should be used.

4. He has not been furnished by order of the Department of War with arms to be placed in the hands of “these slaves.”

5. In respect to so much of said resolution as directs the Secretary “to report, to the House any orders given said
Hunter, and correspondence between him and the Department,” the President instructs me to answer that the report at
this time of the orders given to and correspondence between General Hunter and this Department would, in his opinion,
be improper and incompatible with the public welfare.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

EDWIN M. STANTON,
  Secretary of War.
–––
Military Treatment of Captured
and Fugitive Slaves
1861- 1862
War of the Rebellion Records
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