under his charge, and it happened on the occasion of your sending a flag to which you refer that the regiment on duty was the First South Carolina Regiment of loyal volunteers. No change of the regular practice was thought necessary in the case, nor can any change of the practice, invidious to any portion of the soldiers of the United States, be allowed. The flag of the United States covers all its defenders with equal honor and protection, irrespective of any accidents of color. This is now the avowed and settled policy of my Government and of all other governments under whose flags colored soldiers, whether African or East Indian, have been or are employed. No principle of international military usage is better settled or more universally recognized amongst civilized nations. The flag of truce sent to you by my order was, as is also usual, instructed to a staff officer of the post through which it was sent, and in so sending it no regard was had to the fact whether he was or was not commissioned to serve with colored troops.
I have the honor to be, general, your very obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, S. C., June 9, 1863.
Colonel JAMES MONTGOMERY,
Commanding Second S. C. Regiment, Saint Simon's Island:
COLONEL: I have the honor of transmitting herewith a copy of General Orders, No. 100, of the War Department, current series, promulgating a system of "Instructions for the government of armies of the United States in the field," prepared by an eminent international and military jurist, Dr. Francis Lieber, revised by a board of high officers, and approved and established by the President of the United States.*
To sections I, II, III of these instructions I beg to call your particular attention; not that in any manner I doubt the justice or generosity of your judgment, but for the reason that it is peculiarly important, in view of the questions which have heretofore surrounded the employment of colored troops in the armies of the United States, to give our enemies (foreign and domestic) as little ground as possible for alleging any violation of the laws and usages of civilized warfare as a palliation for these atrocities which are threatened against the men and officers of commands similar to your own. If, as is threatened by the rebel Congress, this war has eventually to degenerate into a barbarous and savage conflict, softened by none of the amenities and rights established by the wisdom and civilization of the world through successive centuries of struggle, it is of the first moment that the infamy of this deterioration should rest exclusively and without excuse upon the rebel Government. It will therefore be necessary for you to exercise the utmost strictness in insisting upon compliance with the instructions herewith sent, and you will avoid any devastation which does not strike immediately at the resources or material of the armed insurrection which we are now engaged in the task of suppressing.
All fugitives who come within our lines you will receive, welcome, and protect. Such of them as are able-bodied men you will at once enroll and arm as soldiers. You will take all horses and mules available for transportation to the enemy; also all cattle and other food
* To appear in Series III.