throughout the State that these negroes are not sufficiently or judiciously cared for, especially in cases of sickness," is an erroneous one; for I have every reason to believe they are, with a few exceptional cases, humanely treated while at work as well fed as our soldiers, and as carefully attended when sick as the limited means at our disposal will admit.
In confirmation of this opinion, I beg to refer to the accompanying reports of Mr. J. J. Ryan and Mr. Thomas B. Bennet, assistant superintended of negro labor, on the subject.
With reference to the suggestion to employ soldiers in the construction of works for the coast defense, and allow them the same compensation paid for the hire of negroes, I beg to state that this department has not the authority to make such an arrangement. The only compensation allowed soldiers for extra duty is too small to elicit much exertion from them. Even had this department the authority to pay such wages as suggested, its exercise would not, in my judgment, be practicable to any extent, as the military duties of this command are sufficiently arduous without the additional one of constructing fortifications; and, moreover, at a time when labor might be most necessary, it might be impossible to obtain if from that source.
Yours, very respectfully,
D. B. HARRIS,
Colonel, and Chief Engineers of Department.
OFFICE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF LABOR,
Charleston, December 5, 1863.
Colonel D. B. HARRIS,
SIR: I have the honor to call your attention to the accompanying reports of Colonel J. J. Ryan and Mr. Thomas B. Bennett. I will forward that of Mr. Lewis, on the same subject, as soon as received.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. L. SINGLETARY,
General Superintendent of Labor.
December 5, 1863.
R. L. SINGLETARY,
General Superintendent of Labor:
SIR: Yours of the 4th instant is received, inclosing copy of a letter to you from Colonel Harris of the same date, in which he says, "I am informed that there is a general conviction throughout the State that the negroes impressed for labor on the defenses are not sufficiently and judiciously cared for." A plain statement of facts will show that there is no just cause for this impression.
The hands employed in this division receive 1 1/4 pounds of meal, one-half pound rice, 1 pound beef or one-third pound of bacon per day; and 4 1/2 pounds salt and 4 pounds soap are allowed to 100 hands per week; and when they are at work in mud or water, two rations of whisky per day.
In my division I have three camps, two on the Mount Pleasant side, in which are encamped all the hands working in Christ Church