to require to be taken by me, and especially property that was designed, adapted, and about to be used against the United States.
As this is but an individual instance in a course of policy which may be required to be pursued with regard to this species of property, I have detailed to the Lieutenant-General this case, and ask his direction. I am credibly informed that the negroes in this neighborhood are now being employed in the erection of batteries and other works by the rebels, which it would be nearly or quite impossible to construct without their labor. Shall they be allowed the use of this property against the United States, and we not be allowed its use in aid of the United States?
Major Cary, upon my interview with him, which took place between thos fort and Hampton, desired information upon several questions: First. Whether I would permit the removal through the blockade of the families of all persons who desired to pass southward or northward. In reply to this, I informed him that I could not permit such removal, for the reasons, first, that presence of the families of belligerent in a country was always the best hostage for the good behavior of the citizens; and, secondly, that one object of our blockade being to prevent the passage of supplies of provisions into Virginia so long as she remained in a hostile attitude, the reduction of the number of consumers would in so far tend to neutralize that effect.
He also desired to know if the transit of persons and families northward from Virginia would be permitted. I answered him that with the exception of an interruption at Baltimore there was no interruption of the travel of peaceable persons north of the Potomac, and that all the internal lines of travel through Virginia were at present in the hands of his friends, and that it depended upon them whether that line of travel was interrupted, and that the authorities at Washington could better judge of this question than myself, as necessary travel could go by way of Washington; that the passage through our blockading squadron would require an amount of labor and surveillance to prevent abuse which I did not conceive I ought to be called upon to perform.
Major Cary demanded to know with regard to the negroes what course I intended to pursue. I answered him substantially as I have written above, when he desired to know if I did not fell myself bound by my constitutional obligations to deliver up fugitives under the fugitive-slave act. To this I replied that the fugitive-slave act did not affect a foreign country, which Virginia claimed to be, and that she must reckon it one of the infelicitous of her position that in so far at least she was taken at her word; that in Maryland, a loyal State, fugitives from service had been returned, and that even now, although so much pressed by my necessities for the use of these men of Colonel Mallory's, yet if their master would come to the fort and take the oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States I would deliver the men up to him and endeavor to hire their services of him if he desired to part with them. To this Major Cary responded that Colonel Mallory was absent.
This morning the steamer Alabama arrived, having on board Colonel Duryea's regiment of New York, 850 strong, fully equipped. I have caused them to be landed and encamped with the First Vermont. The steamer Pembroke, from Massachusetts, has arrived, having two unattached companies-one of rifles and the other of infantry, 101 men each, and without equipage-so that now the actual number of men ready for service may be set down at 4,400, but not very efficient, some being quite new recruits and others not fully equipped, two regiments being wholly without tents.