As to the servant referred to in your letter, it is proper that I should say that I am unwilling to discuss any question of right or courtesy growing out of the case beyond the unquestionable privilege of a slave owner to permit or not, at his own pleasure, the return of his slave to a hostile fort; but, as you have put a different interpretation on the language employed by me in my letters on the subject than I designed, I desire to state what I did mean: "The very improper correspondence" between the slaves to which I alluded had reference ot the slaves alone, as information was given by the woman to the boy of operations in this city which were not proper to be communicated to any one in your garrison, and the reply of the boy clearly showed that his temper and principles had not been improved by a residence in Fort Sumter. The other words of mine, which you quote-"nothing more than what might have been expected between silly persons in their situation"-were meant as kind expressions on my part, to disabuse the minds of Dr. Crawford and other officers at the fort of any unfavorable impression upon me of a complicity on their part with the improper correspondence of idle negroes.
I am, sir, respectfully, yours,
D. F. JAMISON.
[Inclosure Numbers 3.]
FORT SUMTER, S. C., March 17, 1861.
Honorable D. F. JAMISON, Executive Office, Department of War:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 15th instant in reply to mine of the 13th to his excellency the governor.
I hasten to ask you to refer to my letter to his excellency, and you will see that I did not solicit any modification of his original permission about receiving supplies of fresh meat and vegetables. I am satisfied with the existing arrangement, and only called attention to a reported interference of it. I thank you for your promise in reference to the property of Captain Foster.
Lieutenant-Colonel Ripley did kindly offer to attend to collecting any "private property" left on the island by the officers, and I thanked him for having done so.
The property alluded to in my note is not, strictly speaking, private, but belongs to the regiment or post, and therefore was not, in my opinion, embraced in his offer. My object in mentioning this matter was to call attention to it, in order that such directions might be given regarding it as might be deemed proper.
I beg leave to assure you that I had no desire to discuss the question of right or of courtesy in reference to the treatment my officers received in the failure to return the hired boy, and my remarks were intended to apply to the professed owner of the boy, who, neglecting his duty as owner or master for months, had permitted the boy to hire himself out, every one supposing him to be free, and now, at a time when the exercise of his "undoubted right" puts gentlemen here to a serious inconvenience, for the first time asserts his rights of ownership.
His excellency mentions in his letter to me, received yesterday, that the boy is a slave, and, of course, that ends the matter. In justice to myself I must state that I did not intentionally place a forced construction on your words. The day your first letter was received about the boy a gentlemen came down to see me about the "improper correspondence," which he was told had reference to the negroes joining us in the event