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

General ORDERS No

General ORDERS No. 9.

Hilton Head, S.C., February 6, 1862.

The helpless condition of the blacks inhabiting the vast area in the
occupation of the forces of this command calls for immediate action on the
part of a highly-favored and philanthropic people.
The occupation of a large portion of this area of country on the 7th of
November last led to an address to the people of South Carolina, briefly
setting forth the causes which led to it, its objects and purposes, and
inviting all persons to the reoccupation in a loyal spirit of their lands
and tenements and to a continuance of their avocations under the auspices
of their legitimate Government and the protection of the Constitution of
the United States.
The conciliatory and beneficent purposes of that proclamation, except in a
few instances, have not only been disregarded, but hordes of totally
uneducated, ignorant, and improvident blacks have been abandoned by their
constitutional guardians, not only to all the future chances of anarchy and
starvation, but in such a state of abject ignorance and mental stolidity as
to preclude all possibility of self-government and self-maintenance in
their present condition.
Adequate provision for the pressing necessities of this. unfortunate and
now interesting class of people being therefore imperatively demanded even
by the dictates of humanity alone, an additional duty, next only in
importance to that of the preservation of a world revered Constitution and
Union, is now forced upon us by an unnatural and wicked rebellion. 
To relieve the Government of a burden that may hereafter become
insupportable, and to enable the blacks to support and govern themselves in
the absence and abandonment of their disloyal guardians, a suitable system
of culture and instruction must be combined with one providing for their
physical wants. therefore, until proper legislation on the subject or until
orders from higher authority, the country in occupation of the forces of
this command will be divided off into districts of convenient size for
proper superintendence. For each of these districts a suitable agent will
be appointed, to superintend the management of the plantations by the
blacks; to enroll and organize the willing blacks into working parties; to
see that they are well fed, clad, and paid a proper remuneration for their
labor; to take charge of all property on the plantation, whether found
there, provided by the Government, or raised from the soil, and to perform
all other administrative duties connected with the plantations that may be
required by the Government.
A code of regulations on this subject, as well as a proper division of
districts, will be furnished in due time. in the mean while, and until the
blacks become capable themselves of thinking and acting judiciously, the
services of competent instructors will be received, one or more for each
district, whose duties will consist in teaching them, both young and old,
the rudiments of' civilization and Christianity, their amenability to the
laws of both God and man, their relations to each other as social beings,
and all that is necessary to render them competent to sustain themselves in
social and business pursuits.

For an efficient and complete organization of this system there will be
appointed two general agents, one to have a general superintendence over
the administrative or agricultural agents and the other over the
educational department.
II. the above system is not intended in any respect to interfere with the
existing orders respecting the employment of contrabands by the staff
department of the Army and by the cotton agents.
III. As the blacks are now in great need of suitable clothing, if not other
necessaries of life, which necessity will probably continue and even
increase until the above system gets into working order, the benevolent and
philanthropic of the land are most earnestly appealed to for assistance in
relieving their immediate wants.
Never was there a nobler or more fitting opportunity for the operation of
that considerate and practical benevolence for which the Northern people
have ever been distinguished.

By order of Brig. Gen. T. W. SHERMAN:
Captain, Fifteenth Infantry, Actg. Asst. Adjt. General.

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. 

Return to Contrabands Index Page

Go to Freedom Fighters - United States Colored Troops


Category: Civil War | Subcategory: Contrabands | Tags: South Carolina , Washington
Related Topics / Keywords / Phrases: 1862, 1880, 1901, Army, Noble, Old, Oran, South Carolina, The War of the Rebellion (Book), United States War Department, War Department,