RICHMOND, February 15, 1862.
Maj. Gen. J. B. MAGRUDER,
SIR: The War Department finds it necessary to impress slaves and free negroes to extend and complete the fortifications in the Peninsula. You will therefore call upon the citizens of Dinwiddie County, by direction of the Secretary of War, to send forthwith one-half of their male slaves between the ages of sixteen and fifty to execute this work on the Peninsula. The negroes will be paid for at the rate of $10 per month, and will receive an ample supply of provisions, the money to be paid by the Engineer Department to their masters promptly at the places where they may work. Payment will be made personally to the free negroes or to such agents as may be legally authorized by them, the cost of transportation to be paid by the Government. The sheriffs of the counties will collect the free negroes and turn them over to the Government agent at any place in the county designated by the latter, and a fair compensation will be allowed the sheriff by the Engineer Department for his trouble, to be paid at the Engineer Office in Richmond upon the production by him of a receipt from the agent acknowledging the delivery of the free negroes. The bearer of this, Mr. Junius Lamb, is authorized to give receipts for the negroes, slave and free, and from that time the Government of the Confederate States will be responsible for the slaves according to the laws of Virginia, with the additional responsibility for their value should they escape to the enemy or be injured by him. These negroes will be sent to the nearest wharves or railroad depots, in accordance with instructions to be given by the agent. Cost of transportation will be paid at the Engineer Office upon the production of evidence signed by the agent that it has been furnished. In order to facilitate the collection of the negroes, the Government agent may appoint sub-agents, two of whose negroes will be released as a compensation for the work.
I am, sir, very respectfully, &c.,
R. H. CHILTON,
[9.] Assistant Adjutant-General.
SOURCE: United States War Department. THE WAR OF THE REBELLION: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.