War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0445 Chapter XVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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sumption that these men are slaves, and if not called for within three months of the date of the advertisement of the sherif they are to be sold as slaves.

It would seem that the act of Congress approved August 6, 1861, if constitutional, overrules this statute so far as this presumption is concerned.

This act of Congress cannot be regarded as uncostitutional until decided to be so by the United States Supreme Court.

It results, then, as it seems to me, that these negroes are held in custody without the authority of law and contrary to General Orders, Numbers 3, and you are hereby directed to release them from prison. It appears, however, that they have received from the quartermaster's department certain articles of clothing required for their immediate and pressing necesities, with the promise that they would pay for the clothing so delivered to them with their labor. They will therefore be turned over to the chief of the quartermaster in this city for labor till they have paid the United States for the clothing and other articles so issued to them at the expense of the Government.

This order will in no way debar any one from enforcing his legal rights to the service of these negroes. Such rights, if any exist, can be enforced through the loyal civil tribunals of this State, whose mandates will always be duly respected by the military authorities of this department.

Military officers cannot decide upon rights of property or claims to service except so far as may be authorized by the laws of war or the acts of Congress. When not so authorized they will avoid all interference with such questions.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.

SAINT LOUIS, December 18, 1861.

Brigadier General W. T. SHERMAN, Lancaster, Ohio.:

MY DEAR GENERAL: Yours of the 12th * was received a day or two ago, but was mislaid for the moment among private papers, or I should have enswered sooner. The newspaper attacks are certainly shameless and scandalous, but I cannot agree with you they have us in their power " to destroy us as they please." I certainly get my share of abuse, but it will not disturb me.

Your movement of the troops was not countermanded by me because I thought it an unwise one in itself, but because I was not then ready for it. I had better information of Price's movements than you had, and I had no apprehension of an attack. I intended to concertate the forces on that line, but I wished the movement delayed until I could determine on a better position. After receiving Lieutenant-Colonel McPherson's report I made precisely the location you had ordered. I was desirous at the time not to prevent the advance of Price by any movement on our part, hoping that he would move on Lexington, but finding that he had determined to remain at Osceola for some time at least, I made the movement you proposed. As you could not know my plans, you and others may have misconstrued the reason of my countermanding your orders.


* See Appendix, p. 819.