Lest We Forget - African American Military History by Researcher, 
					Author and Veteran Bennie McRae, Jr.

HEADQUARTERS OF the ARMY

CONTRABANDS

Report 6

LETTERS and REPORTS 
(Complete)
 

SOURCE: United States War Department. THE WAR OF THE REBELLION: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 128 Volumes. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901. 


HEADQUARTERS OF the ARMY, A. G. O.,
Washington, February 12, 1862.



Brig. Gen. THOMAS W. SHERMAN, U.S. A.,
Commanding, &c., Port Royal, S. C.:

SIR: the General-in-chief directs that you send about 300 or 400
contrabands to Key West, to be employed on the public works there.
I am, &c.,

L. THOMAS,
Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, EXPED'Y CORPS,

Fernandina, Fla., March 10, 1862.


Capt. Louis H. PELOUZE,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:
CAPTAIN: The inhabitants left behind in the evacuation of this place by the
rebels are mainly of the poorer classes of whites and free blacks, with a
few slaves, many of whom represent themselves as destitute of  the
means of living, and generally as without money, except the worthless paper
in circulation before our occupation. Thus far it has not been necessary to
assist them to any considerable extent, but it probably soon will be,
unless some means can be devised to aid them in procuring their subsistence.
The army departments here need little, if any, hired labor, and there is no
private business carried on to afford them employment. The question
therefore presents itself, what is to be done with these people, who cannot
be permitted to starve if they are ready to earn their subsistence, and
only ask employment to take care of themselves? Instructions in regard to
the course to be pursued in this matter are respectfully requested.
The contraband question also presents itself, and will soon require to be
decided by the military authority, as regards their support. Some of these
people were left behind, and others are presenting themselves daily, coming
in from different directions. At Saint Mary's, where I was to-day on a
reconnaissance in company with Captain Drayton, commanding the naval forces
here, there are a great many negroes still remaining, some of whom have
already followed us to Fernandina. As before remarked, we do not need their
services at present, and I cannot conceive we shall, unless it be in
building up Fort Clinch. At this work most of the men might be employed if
there was any fund for the payment for their services, but unless the
Quartermaster's Department can supply the money there is none available for
the purpose. In this matter, too, I would request instructions. The
suggestion just made for the employment of the contrabands might be
extended to the free blacks and to the whites. None other presents itself
to me in regard to either of the classes thrown upon our hands.
The Ben DeFord arrived this morning, bringing quartermasters' and
commissary stores. She will be discharged and sent back without delay.

The five days' supply on hand, with that now received, will provide
provisions for the present force for the next forty days, not including,
however, what it may be necessary to issue to citizens and contrabands to
keep them from starvation.
I have directed that the Boston be sent back to Hilton Head to report to
the chief quartermaster. This will leave here, in the way of transports,
the Empire City, the Belvidere, and the George's Creek, all of which will
be needed for the return to Hilton Head of the force which I have proposed
soon to send back.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. G. WRIGHT,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.



HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, EXPED'Y 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.


HEADQUARTERS U.S. FORCES,
North Edisto, S. C., April 9, 1862.



Lieut. A. B. ELY,
A. A. A. G., Hdqrs. Northern Dist., Dept. of the South:

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the
8th instant. I will make every endeavor, through spies, intelligent
contrabands, &c., to get the required information as regards the best
approaches to Charleston, and will forward immediately to the commanding
general whatever information I may get.
I visited the outposts of my command yesterday and find everything in an
admirable condition; the pickets are well posted, and the whole force,
consisting of two regiments of infantry and four pieces of artillery, can
be quickly concentrated at any point. I do not think the rebels 
are in large force on Jehossee Island; their pickets are stationed and can
be seen at Watt's Cut.
I do not think it advisable to make any advance on Jehossee Island at
present with the force I have, as it could only be held with the assistance
of a gunboat.
A field officer of the day was seen visiting the rebel pickets on the 7th
instant, which indicates that there is more than one regiment in the
vicinity. I am making every effort to ascertain the strength of the enemy's
forces in that vicinity, and will report when I get the desired information.
I shall make a reconnaissance on the Pocahontas soon towards White Point
and on the Dawho River. I would request, if it can be conveniently spared,
a gunboat drawing not over 7 feet of water. The sloop-of-war Dale has not
yet arrived at this port. The Pocahontas draws too much water to run in the
South Edisto River. The contrabands will be forwarded immediately by the
Mayflower.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


E. Q. FELLOWS,
Colonel Third New Hampshire Infantry.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF FLORIDA,
Fort Pickens, December 2, 1861.



GENERAL: I herewith forward you the report of Maj. Lewis G. Arnold of the
bombardment on the 22d and 23d ultimo, with the sub-reports of the officers
commanding batteries, and which could not be prepared so as to be forwarded
with my own. The bombardment having discovered to us the position and
number of the enemy's batteries and of the number and caliber of the guns,
and which we find to be more and heavier than we supposed, and one or two
of them so placed as to take us in rear in case of a night attack in front,
I have, by the unanimous opinion of my officers, though, I acknowledge, not
entirely in accordance with my own, in consideration of the reduced number
and our receiving no re-enforcements, decided very considerably to contract
my lines of defense. The safety of the fort being paramount to every other
consideration, I have brought the Sixth Regiment near the fort, partially
abandoned Batteries Lincoln, Cameron, and Totten, and greatly strengthened
the fort and Battery Scott. When the proposed change now being made is
effected, the fort will be entirely secure under any and every contingency.
I must, however, repeat that my present force is entirely inadequate to the
defense of the island, and that I cannot prevent a landing of the enemy at
some distance and his erecting batteries against the ships, and, doing so,
with one rifled gun he could drive them all away.
The enemy have two regiments at Deer (City) Point and are erecting
batteries there, which, in case of our taking the offensive and occupying
the harbor, will give us great annoyance. Two contrabands came in this
morning. They state the loss of the enemy in killed at 40; wounded not
known. Colonel Villepigue severely wounded by a splinter at Fort McRee.
About two-thirds of Warrington and of Woolsey are burned and the navy-yard
buildings with a great many holes in them If I had had carcasses and
rock-fire, which I have been vainly trying to get ever since my first
arrival here, I think I could have destroyed many, if not the most, of the
buildings. I tried them with hot shot and with shells having pieces of
port-fire in them, but could not succeed in firing them.
I forward a list of the casualties on the 22d and 23d November.(*) Two of
the men wounded by the unfortunate accident of the 25th have died, and I
fear one more will die.
I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

HARVEY BROWN,
Colonel, Commanding.

Brig. Gen. LORENZO THMOAS,
Adjutant-General U. S. Army.


HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, EXPED'Y CORPS,
Fernandina, Fla., March 13, 1862.



GENERAL: Your letters of the 10th and 12th instant were received this
evening, through Mr. Boutelle, U.S. Coast Survey, and I hasten to reply by
the steamer Ben De ford, which leaves early to-morrow morning. The Saint
John's expedition is still absent, and I have received no official
information in regard to it since the 11th, at which time the vessels had
not succeeded in passing the bar of that river. I learn, however, through
contrabands and others who have come in, that the enemy has deserted
everything as high up as Jacksonville, and has burned a portion of that
town; that there are no troops nearer than Baldwin, and but few there, the
Mississippi regiment having been sent to Tennessee and most of the Florida
troops to Tallahassee. I infer, therefore, that the capture of Saint
Augustine will not require a formidable demonstration, but that the place
will surrender on the approach of the gunboats. Should there be any
indications of resistance there, which I do not expect, I will add to the
land force already sent. As you will have learned by one of my late
letters, it is doubtful whether the place is garrisoned even. The ordnance
captured here amounts to sixteen pieces in all, two having been found in a
battery beyond the railroad bridge, which had not, however, been mounted.
The battery was nearly completed. No powder of any moment was left behind.
Three large sling.carts were left in good condition and a fourth partly
burned. We shall need the ammunition and other stores estimated for by
Lieutenant Tardy. I shall retain the whole force now here until the result
or the expedition now absent is accomplished, or until I hear further from
you. I believe, from present information, that at least  one
regiment and the battery may be sent back soon, if you desire it, still
retaining an adequate garrison at this point.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


H. G. WRIGHT,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General THOMAS W. SHERMAN,
Commanding Exped'y Corps, Hdqrs. Hilton Head, S.C.



[Indorsement. ]



General Wright will be instructed to put the place in as good a state of
defense as his means will permit, so that it can be held by a regiment or
less. He is also instructed to have a detailed estimate made for the
thorough completion of fort Clinch, and submit the same at as early a day
as practicable.
T. W. SHERMAN.

 


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Category: Civil War | Subcategory: Contrabands | Tags: Mississippi , Tennessee , Florida , Washington
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