They impose upon your credulity by telling you of wicked and even diabolical intentions on our part; of our desire to destroy your freedom, demolish your property, liberate your slaves, injure your women, and such like enormities, all of which, we assure you, is not only ridiculous, but utterly and willfully false.
We are Christians as well as yourselves, and we profess to know full well and to feel profoundly the sacred obligations of the character.
No apprehensions need be entertained that the demands of humanity or justice will be disregarded.
We shall inflict no injury unless forced to do so by your own acts, and upon this you may confidently rely.
Those men are your worst enemies. They in truth have drawn you into your present condition, and are the real disturbers of your peace and the happiness of your firesides.
We invite you in the name of the Constitution and in that of virtuous loyalty and civilization to separate yourselves at once from their malign influence, to return to your allegiance, and not compel us to resort further to the force under our control.
The Government asks only that its authority may be recognized, and, we repeat, in no manner or way does it desire to interfere with your laws constitutionally established, your institutions of any kind whatever, your property of any sort, or your usages in any respect.*
A. E. BURNSIDE,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Department N. C.
S. C. ROWAN,
Commanding Naval Forces in Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.
WASHINGTON, February 20, 1862.
General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE:
GENERAL: I have only time to write a few hasty words. Everything from the West is thus far satisfactory, and your victory has created a profound impression. I still hope that you will be able to seize Goldsborough, though, in the uncertainty that exists in regard to the force of the enemy in front of you, I do not feel able to give you definite instructions. I fee sure that you will gain Beaufort. We have from rebel sources a rumor, yet unconfirmed, to the effect that [T. W.] Shipman has taken Savannah.
In great haste, very truly, yours,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General, Commanding U. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT NORTH CAROLINA,
Roanoke Island, February 20, 1862.
GENERAL: I have the honor to present the following statement of events that have transpired in my department since my last dispatch on the 12th instant:+
After the occupation of this island by our troops a few irregularities occurred in the way of destruction of property, such as burning of
*Other copies of this proclamation appear to have been signed by Flag-Officer L. M. Goldsborough and Brigadier-General Burnside.
+Not found. Reference is probably to his report of February 14, see p. 75.