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

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI

CONTRABANDS

Report #3

LETTERS, REPORTS AND ORDERS
(Complete and Excerpts)
 

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 DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, February--, 1862.

Brigadier-General CULLUM, Cairo, Ill.:

Find contrabands, and put them at work to pay for food and clothing. I can
get no communication with Buell.

H. W. HALLECK,
Major-General.

-----------------------------

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE SOUTHWEST,
March 27, 1862.

Capt. N. H. McLEAN,
Assistant Adjutant-General:

CAPTAIN: A reliable friend from Huntsville says Price's army is losing and
gaining. Van Dorn goes East, leaving Price in command. He must attack me
soon or the Missouri troops will leave him. Expects fifteen regiments from
Texas. Four contrabands just arrived. Left Van Buren Sunday last. They
think most of the troops are ordered to Little Rock and Memphis, and were
about going. They say the troops were badly whipped and swear they won't
fight us again; that all who won't join the Confederates are breaking for
home.

SAML. R. CURTIS,
Major-General.

 

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U.S. STEAMER MONTICELLO,
Off Wilmington, N. C., January 5, 1862.


Commander OLIVER S. GLISSON,
Senior Officer of Wilmington & Blockade,
U. S. S. Mount Vernon:

SIR: On December 30, 1861, two contrabands came off from the batteries at New Inlet and they gave me the following information as regards the state of affairs here and up at Wilmington, N. C.:
At New Inlet in and about the fortifications (which consist of one battery
of twelve guns, one earth casemate of six guns, one small battery of three
guns, and one battery on Zeeke's Island of four guns) there are stationed
about one regiment and a half (1,400 men) also four field pieces, horse
artillery. All the guns in these batteries are short 32-pounders. One of
these contrabands, named Kent Newton? has worked for several years on the
ferry-boats that cross the river at Wilmington. He says that on Friday, the
27th day of December, 1861, the steamer Gordon or Theodore arrived at
Wilmington from Cuba with a cargo of coffee and fruit, and that she was
partially disabled, having been struck by a shot, passing through the
wheel-house.
The crew of the Gordon or Theodore left on the 28th instant for Charleston,
S.C., by land; he. Kent Newton, ferried them across the river. While
crossing they told him that they left their guns at Charleston, S.C.,
before going to the West Indies, and that they sailed under the English flag.
There are very few soldiers at Wilmington. About the 25th of December,
1861, three regiments arrived from Manassas Junction per railroad. He also
states about the middle of December the rebels towed down by steamer Uncle
Ben four large heavy wooden cribs, diamond shape, about 40 or 50 feet wide
and 12 feet deep, which they moved on the shoal and in the channel-way
close together at the northwestern end of Zeeke's Island, and filling three
of them, as he saw, with rocks, sunk them, and completely blocked the
channel of New Inlet at that point, and the fourth one they said was to be
sunk alongside.
This man's statement appears to be very correct. I have questioned him
closely, given him the map to look at, and had him mark exactly where these
cribs were sunk, and admitting his statement is true (and he appears to be
a very intelligent, active "nigger"), New Inlet is at least for the present
effectively blockaded, as you will see by referring to a harbor chart of
that place. During the month of November that we blockaded this place we
frequently saw a small steam-tug come past Zeeke's Island out in the
channel-way to the [eastward] toward the outer bar, where she would lay
under the cover of the batteries.
During this period of our blockade in the months of December and January,
covering a period of over three weeks, although we have seen the same
steamer repeatedly in Wilmington River and on the western side of Zeeke's
Island, she has never come to the eastward of Zeeke's Island or in the
outer channel-way, as she did during the month of November. This fact has
been the subject of comment among the officers, and now that we are aware
of the fact that these cribs have been sunk in the channel at Zeeke's
Island, I know that it is an impossibility for her to pass or any other
vessel drawing 9 feet of water. I make this statement for your information.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. L. BRAINE,
Lieutenant, Commanding U. S. S. Monticello.

-----------------------------------

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 E. SHEPARD,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

-------------------------------------

FORT MONROE, June 28, 1862.

ECKERT:

The following was sent to Burnside on the 25th. If it decides the President
not to send his of this date telegraph me to Norfolk. I will be there in an
hour and half:
HEADQUARTERS, June 25, ----.

Maj. Gen. AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE:

Reports from contrabands and deserters to-day make it probable that
Jackson's forces are coming to Richmond, and that a part of Beauregard's
force have arrived at Richmond. You will please advance on Goldsborough
with all your available forces at the earliest practicable moment. I wish
you to understand that every minute in this crisis is of great importance.
You will therefore reach Goldsborough as soon as possible, destroying all
the railroad communications in the direction of Richmond in your power.
If possible, destroy some of the bridges on the Raleigh and Gaston
Railroads and threaten Raleigh.

GEO. B. McCLELLAN
SHELDON.

-------------------------------------------

MARCH 25, 1862--12.45

Colonel Harland has just reported to me that it is out of the question to
get our boats up from Morehead owing to the interference of our old friends
the wind, tide, and shoals. I have therefore postponed my trip to the
Banks, and it must be all for the best.
Now I will wait for the boat howitzers and their crews and make a lodgment
by daylight. Please send them forthwith by rail.
In addition to the schooner I can raise four large boats, but only nine
oars. Send some extra ones.
Pell will tell you the condition of the bridge, &c.

As I have not taken steps toward seizing these ships, let Commodore Rowan
send an officer down at once to act in the matter. I will furnish him men,
and let the howitzers follow as soon as possible.
Let Flagler and Morris have a lot of contrabands, with some teams to carry
their ordnance to the railroad, so that it can be run down here on the
completion of the bridge.
The people here are all frightened. What shall I do about the oath of
allegiance and neutrality? Please send me the forms and instructions about
administering them. I have administered but two oaths of neutrality. Please
send some blank passes.
There are some rabid secessionists about here, but they don't make their
appearance.
My command is in good health and spirits, excepting the two companies in
Morehead; they are bivouacking, but have good shelter.
We expect to supply ourselves with fish, &c.

Very faithfully, yours,

JNO. G. PARKE.
[General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE.]

P. S.--I send the prisoner by Pell, together with the papers found on him.

--------------------------------
Excerpt

HDQRS. TWENTY-FOURTH REGIMENT MASS. VOLS.,
Washington, N. C., June 6, 1862.

[As the four companies under Captain Maker did not arrive until 6 a.m.
Thursday the expedition was not able to take up the line of march until 9.15 a.m. I got information from contrabands as we proceeded that the enemy was posted at two bridges which crossed Tranter's Creek, one being on the road which we were pursuing and the other about half a mile distant from the first to the right of the course we were following. I further learned that the first had been rendered impassable, but that the second, though only a slight bridge, running through a mill, was probably in order or could easily be made so. I therefore turned off to the right a mile this side of Tranter's Creek, and after marching 2 miles came in sight of the mill. There were three buildings, about 30 feet apart, open in the lower story, through which the bridge ran.]

F. A. OSBORN,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Twenty-fourth Regt. Mass. Vols.

Capt. WILLIAM PRATT,
Act. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Second Brig., First Div., Dept. of N. C.


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Category: Civil War | Subcategory: Contrabands | Tags: Texas , Washington , Missouri
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