themselves disaffected or turbulent, and been productive in our cities of serious disorders and crimes. Efforts have been made at different points to arrange workshops, in which they could be employed on wages, but if near cities disorderly proceedings have resulted, and if at distant points the people of the vicinity have become seriously alarmed, and have remonstrated against the effect produced upon the slaves. In some instances in which they have been sent to the owners of mining and manufacturing establishments, the owners of slaves engaged in the same works have withdrawn them, or threatened to do so, and the people of the vicinity have insisted on the removal or confinement of the deserters. In several instances some of these very deserters who, after remaining a short time, have disappeared, have been recognized in raiding parties of the enemy acting as guides. In consequence we have been for the most part obliged to consider deserters as prisoners of war until opportunity offered to allow them to pass across the boarders, when that privilege has been accorded them. I cannot, therefore, think that it would be judicious for the Government to come under any pledge to subsist and permit them to go where they might please. The utmost that could be done would be an assurance that they would not be injured; that horses or equipments brought by them would be taken at fair valuation, and that when suitable opportunity offered they would be allowed to pass the lines. As far as practicable the Department has tried to induce among our people living behind the enemy's armies, the sentiment which their own safety likewise inculcates, that they should favor the rapid transit of deserters and facilitate their passage of the lines on their way to the United States. As far as it may be in your power it might be well to promote such feeling and action on the part of the people in the vicinity of General Grant's army.
JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, Va., July 30, 1864.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:
GENERAL: Recommendations from influential quarters have of late been made to the President advising a proclamation of amnesty to all deserters with a view to encourage their return to the army. On consideration it is feared lest the repetition of such amnesty might have more effect in inducing desertions with the hope of future pardous than of repressing the offense and inducing the return of deserters. It is believed to be now generally understood that any deserter voluntarily returning is leniently dealt with, and those not moved by that conviction will not be apt to yield to more positive assurance. Still difficulties are often interposed by the fear of arrest or the apprehension of punishment in many cases to the return of men who are penitent and would be willing upon encouragement to relieve themselves from the show of desertion. The President, therefore, while concluding not to issue a proclamation, desires me to suggest that "it might be well for the generals commanding the two great armies each to issue an order
52 R R-VOL XL, PT III