the means of living, and generally as without money, except the worthless paper in circulation before our occupation. Thus far it has not been necessary to assist them to any considerable extent, but it probably soon will be, unless some means can be devised to aid them in procuring their subsistence.
The army departments here need little, if any, hired labor, and there is no private business carried on to afford them employment. The question therefore presents itself, what is to be done with these people, who cannot be permitted to starve is they are ready to earn their subsistence, and only employment to take care of themselves? Instructions in regard to the course to be pursued in this matter are respectfully requested.
The contraband question also present itself, and will soon require to be decided by the military authority, as regards their support. Some of these people were left behind, and others are presenting themselves daily, coming in from differed directions. At Saint Mary's, where I was to-day on a reconnaissance in company with Captain Drayton, commanding the naval forces here, there are a great many negroes still remaining, some of whom have already followed us to Fernandina. As before remarked, we do not need their services at present, and I cannot conceive we shall, unless it be in building up Ford Clinch. At this works most of the men might be employed if there was any fund for the payment for their services, but unless the Quartermaster's Department can supply the money there is none available for the purpose. In this matter, too, I would request instructions. The suggestion just made for the employment of the contrabands might be extended to the free blacks and to the whites. None other presents itself to me in regard to either of the closes thrown upon our hands.
The ben DeFord arrived this morning, bringing quartermasters' and commissary stores. She will be discharged and sent back without delay.
The five days' supply on hand, with that now received, will provide provision for the present force for the next forty days, not including, however, what it may be necessary to issue to citizens and contrabands to keep them front starvation.
I have directed that the Boston be sent back to Hilton Head to report to the chief quartermaster. This will leave here, in the way of transports, the Empire City, the Belvedere, and the George's Creek, all of which will be needed for the return to Hilton Head of the force which I have proposed soon to send back.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. G. WRIGHT,
HEADQUARTERS THIRD, EXPED'Y CORPS,
Fernandina, Fla., March 13, 1862.
Captain LOUIS H. PELOUZE,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:
CAPTAIN: I have to report, in regard to the slates found here and those who have since come in, that I have not attempted to interfere with the rights of the owner so long as he remained with our lines and conduct himself in a quiet and orderly manner, but that I have refused permission to remove any slave from the limits of the command on any plea whatever.
I have conceived that the property of citizens in slaves should be