War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0451 Chapter XVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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with the established usages of military law. I speak frankly, as you see, in return for the frankness of your letter.

Being now for the first time made aware of what is expected of this department, I shall lose no time in preparing and forwarding exact estimates of the force that will be necessary for the proposed expedition; and at present may say in rough that at least 20,000 men will be necessary, in addition to those already in and ordered to the Department; and as the nearest point in Northeastern Texas is 440 miles from this point and the route through a country entirely destitute of supplies, a large transportation train will be absolutely necessary.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. HUNTER,

Major-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS FREMONT HUSSARS,

Camp Halleck, Near Rolla, Mo., December 19, 1861.

Acting Major-General ASBOTH,

Commanding Fourth Division:

GENERAL: In obedience to the order contained in your circular (Numbers 2)* received this day, I beg to report that on receipt of your Order, Numbers 23,* communicating General Orders, Numbers 3,+ from the commanding general, ordering fugitive slaves to be excluded from the lines, I caused all negroes in my camp to be examined, and it was reported to me that they all stoutly asserted that they were free. Since that time a woman employed in my own mess as cook has been claimed by one Captain Holland as the fugitive slave of his father-in-law. In compliance with your order to that end, which he produced, she was given up to him. Since the receipt of your circular of to-day I have again caused an investigation to be thoroughly made, which has resulted as in the first instance. I beg now, general, to ask for your instructions in the matter. These negroes all claim and insist that they are free. Some of them I have no question are so. Others I have as little doubt have been slaves, but no one is here to prove it, and I hesitate to take so serious a responsibility as to decide arbitrarily in the absence of any direct evidence that they are such. If I turn them away I inflict great hard-ship upon them, as they would be homeless and helpless. Further-more, such a course would occasion much personal inconvenience and sincere regret to other officers no less than to myself. These people are mainly our servants and we can get no others. They have been employed in this capacity for some time-long enough for us to like them as servants, to find them useful and trustworthy, and to feel an interest in their welfare. The commanding general, in his letter to Colonel Blair, as published in the Missouri Democrat of the 16th instant,* says, in explanation of General Orders, Numbers 3: "unauthorized persons, black or white, free or slave, must be kept out of our camps." The negroes in my camp are employed, in accordance with the Army Regulations, as officers' servants, teamsters, and hospital attendants, and, with the exception of one little child, are such as we are authorized to have in the camp. It seems to me that they are without the pale of the order and the intention of the commanding general, and I trust that I may be excused for awaiting more explicit instructions

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*Not found.

+See p. 370.

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