MORRIS ISLAND, August 17, 1863-10.50 p.m.
If the enemy expect to save Sumter, they will try a sortie from Wagner in the morning. Can you get any monitors in quite early for general operations? I propose the same programme for to-morrow that we had to-day.
HDQRS. DEPT. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA,
Charleston, S. C., August 18, 1863.
General Q. A. GILLMORE,
Commanding U. S. Forces, Morris Island:
SIR: Your letter of the 5th was not received at these headquarters until the 8th instant.
I cannot bandy allegations with you, and much less shall I emulate the temper and spirit in which your communication was conceived, but will simply confine myself to showing how groundless is your imputation of bad faith on my part in connection with the return of wounded prisoners of war.
You knew that there existed an order of the President of my Government, and possibly were aware of an act of the Congress of the Confederate States, which expressly exclude armed negroes from recognition by Confederate States officers as legitimate means of war. You know, moreover, that is accordance with this position of the constituted authorities of my people, as in duty bound, I had uniformly refused to receive or communicate in this department with flags of truce borne by officers or escorted by men of negro regiments in your service.
You had thus due notice of my views and of my practice, and could have no right to expect me to deviate from either on such an occasion. Indeed, you must have felt assured of the fact that I could not assent to any course which, in effect, placed negroes taken in arms in the State of South Carolina on the same footing with recognized soldiers. Therefore, if not prepared to yield your consent, or obliged to exact an acquiescence on our side in the pretension of the United States, but recently set up after two years of war, to employ negro soldiers, you were surely bound to demand definitively that negroes should be included in the proposed arrangement, but you did not demand it.
The fact is, you were well satisfied of what would be my course had you attempted to make such conditions, and, bearing in mind that I had many more of your wounded than you had of mine, you chose, sir, to ignore your negro ally after having given him the right or head of your storming column on the 18th of July. This, sir, will be the record of history, I dare to say, even as made up by your own countrymen.
Certain papers herewith, I trust, will satisfy you that I had no idea of leading you to expect me to disregard the orders of my Government and my usage in respect to armed negroes. Brigadier-General Hagood's report (marked B) shows, I submit, the understanding of the officer who bore the flag from you, to wit, Brigadier-General Vogdes, of your service.
While I may not descend to recriminations, I must submit for your