War of the Rebellion: Serial 014 Page 0364 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

is expressly prohibit by the President's order, as well as by the Articles of War and the usages of all civilized nations. All commanding officers are earnestly enjoined to exercise the utmost vigilance on this subject. Straggling and trespassing are the invariable indications of a tendency to this description of crime.

Inhabitants, especially women and children, remaining peaceably at their homes must not be molested; and wherever commanding officers find families peculiarly exposed in their persons or property to marauding from this army, they will, as heretofore, so far as they can do so with safety and without detriment to the service, post guards for their protection.

In protecting private property no reference is intended to persons held to service or labor by reason of African descent. Such persons will be regarded by this army, as they heretofore have been, as occupying simply a peculiar legal status under State laws, which condition the military authorities of the United States are not required to regard at all in districts where military operations are made necessary by the rebellious action of the State governments.

Persons subject to suspicion of hostile purposes, residing or being near our forces, will be, as heretofore, subject to arrest and detention until the cause or necessity is removed. All such arrested parties will be sent, as usual, to the provost-marshal-general, with a statement of the facts in each case.

The general commanding takes this occasion to remind the officers and soldiers of this army that we are engaged in supporting the Constitution and laws of the United States and in suppressing rebellion against their authority; that we are not engaged in a war of rapine, revenge, or subjugation; that this is not a contest against populations, but against armed forces and political organizations; that it is a struggle carried on within the United States, and should be conducted by us upon the highest principles known to Christian civilization.

Since this army commenced active operations, persons of African descent, including those held to service or labor under State laws, have always been received, protected, and employed as laborers at wages. Hereafter it shall be the duty of the provost-employed in this army as laborers for military purposes, such lists being made sufficiently accurate and in detail to show from whom such persons shall have come.

Persons so subject and so employed have always understood that after being received into the military service of the United States in any capacity they could never be reclaimed by their former holders. Except upon such understanding on their part the order of the President as to this class of persons would be inoperative. The general commanding therefore feels authorized to declare to all such employes that they will receive permanent military protection against any compulsory return to a condition of servitude.

By command of Major-General McClellan:

S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, August 10, 1862.

Major General JOHN A. DIX,

Commanding Seventh Corps:

GENERAL: On the 8th instant a steamer from Fort Monroe passed