they have lost, not gained, by the proclamation of the President. They are nominally free, but, in reality, the most unprotected of serfs.
I invoke, general, your most efficient intervention in this matter. I beg that the wisdom which dictated your orders, giving assured protection to the negro, may have the largest and fullest operations. Touching the cars and mules, I will merely say that as they are may property, receipted for by me, I am confident that you will order their immediate restoration.
I have the honor to remain, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. FLANDERS,
Supervising Special Agent, Treasury Department.
[Memorandum for the general.]
Unless some stringent measures are adopted, the oppression of these negro recruiting officers will become insupportable by all classes. These cases of cruelty are reported daily.
C. P. S. [STONE.]
OFFICE SUPERVISING SPECIAL AGENT, TREASURY DEPT.,
Plantation Bureau, New Orleans, September 26, 1863.
Honorable B. F. FLANDERS,
Supervising Special Agent, Treasury Department:
SIR: I desire to call your attention to the inclosed copies of letters received from the overseers on the Payne and Taylor plantations, worked by this department; nor are these acts confined to these places alone-the Le Blane, Hermitage, Ashland, Point Houmas, and other government places have suffered severely from having the able-bodied hands forced at the point of the bayonet from the plantations for conscription; mules and carts, which you receipted for, have also been taken by officers and soldiers without hesitation, notwithstanding the order issued by General Banks that property on those places should not be interfered with.
I dislike to complain, Mr. Flanders, but it will be impossible for us to take off and secure our crops if our mules, carts, and men are thus taken. The Government will thus entirely lose not only the thousands already furnished in supplies, but hundreds of thousands of dollars in prospect. If, as is the case on the Payne place, mules and carts are taken, we cannot get wood to take off our crops (as it is impossible to procure these things at any price), nor indeed can we cut the wood, as none but able-bodied hands can work in the swamps. Under these circumstances, I most respectfully ask you what I am to do.
G. W. COZZENS,
Superintendent of Plantation.
PARISH OF SAINT CHARLES, LA.,
Mayronee Plantation, September 25, 1863.
My overseer on the Payne plantation reports to me this minute that Colonel Kempsey, of the Sixteenth Regiment, of colored population, last night, about 11 o'clock, took from the said place two carts and 6 mules and 22 men, and the overseer, mr. Cozanah, did show the
47 R R-VOL XXVI, PT I