tion of all railroad bridges, &c., in the South. I inclose you a copy of the letter, giving all the minutia of the damnable scheme. You can of course make such use of it as you may think best. The necessity for increased diligence in guarding our bridges, &c., is apparent.
The letter has not yet been made public.
Very respectfully, &c.,
Z. B. VANCE.
WASHINGTON, D. C., May 12, 1863.
Commanding Department of North Carolina, Beaufort, N. C.:
GENERAL: A plan has been formed for a simultaneous movement to severe the rebel communications throughout the whole South, which has been sent to some general in each military department in the seceded States, in order that they may act in concert and thus secure success. The plan is to induce the blacks to make a concerted and simultaneous movement or rising, on the night of the 1st of August next, over the entire States in rebellion; to arm themselves with any and every kind of weapon that may come to hand and commence operations by burning all railroad and country bridges and tearing up railroad tracks and destroying telegraph lines, &c., and then take to the woods, the swamps, or the mountains, whence they may emerge, as occasion may offer, for provisions and for further depredations. No blood is to be shed except in self-defense. The corn will be in roasting-ears about the 1st of August, and with this and hogs running in the woods, and by foraging upon the plantations by night, they can subsist. This is the plan, in substance, and if we can obtain a concerted movement at the time named it will doubtless be successful. The main object of this letter is to state the time for the rising, that it may be simultaneous over the whole South. To carry the plan into effect in the department in which you have a command, you are requested to select one or more intelligent contrabands, and after telling them the plan and the time (night of the 1st of August) you will send them into the interior of the country, within the enemy's lines, and where slaves are numerous with instructions to communicate the plan and the time to as many intelligent slaves as possible, and requesting of each to circulate it far and wide over the country, so that we may be able to make the rising understood by several hundred thousand slaves by the time names.
When you have made these arrangements please inclose this letter to some other general commanding in the same department with yourself-some one whom you know or believe to be favorable to such movement-and he in turn is requested to send it to another, and so on until it has traveled the entire rounds of the department, and each command and post will in this way be acting together in the employment of negro slaves to carry the plan into effect.
In this way the plan will be adopted at the same time and in concert over the whole South, and yet no one of all engaged in it will learn the names of his associates and will only know the number of generals acting together in the movement. To give this last information, and before inclosing this letter to some other general, put the numeral I after the word "Approved" at the bottom of this sheet, and when it has gone the rounds of the department the person last receiving it will please reinclose it to my address, that I may thus know and communicate the fact that the plan is being carried out at the same time.