Answer. A large number have gone as soldier to Port Royal to be drilled and put in the service, and I think there is thousands of the young men that will enlist; there is something about them that, perhaps, is wrong; they have suffered so long from the rebels that they want to meet and have a chance with them in the field. Some of them want to shoulder the musket, others want to go into the quartermaster or the commissary's service.
Tenth. Do you understand the mode of enlistment of colored persons in the rebel States, by State agents, under the act of Congress? If yea, state what your understanding is.
Answer. My understanding is that colored persons enlisted by State agents are enlisted as substitutes, and give credit to the States, and do not swell the Army, because every black man enlisted by a State agent leaves a white man at home; and also, that larger bounties are given or promised by the State agents than are given by the States. The great object should be to push through this rebellion the shortest way, and there seems to be something wanting in the enlistment by State agents, for in don't strengthen the Army, but takes one away for every colored man enlisted.
Eleventh. State what, in your opinion, is the best way to enlist colored men for soldiers.
Answer. I think, sir, that all compulsory operations should be put a stop to. The ministers would talk to them, and the young men would enlist. It is my opinion that it would be far better for the State agents to stay at home, and the enlistments to be made for the United States under the direction of General Sherman.
In the absence of General Sherman the following question was asked: Twelfth. State what is the feeling of the colored people in regard to General Sherman,* and how far do they regard his sentiments and actions as friendly to their rights and interests, or otherwise.
Answer. We looked upon General Sherman, prior to his arrival, as a man, in the providence of God, specially set apart to accomplish t unanimously felt inexpressible gratitude to him, looking upon him as a man that should be honored for the faithful performance of his duty. Some of us called upon him immediately upon his arrival, and it is probable he did not meet the Secretary with more courtesy than he met us. His conduct and deportment toward us characterized him as a friend and a gentleman. We have confidence in General Sherman, and think that what concerns us could not be under better hands. This is our opinion now from the short acquaintance and intercourse we have had.
(Mr. Lynch states that, with his limited acquaintance with General Sherman, he is unwilling to express an opinion. All others present declare their agreement with Mr. Frazier about General Sherman.)
Some conversation upon general subjects relating to General Sherman's march then ensued, of which no note was taken.
WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, February 1, 1865.
I do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and faithful report of the questions and answers made by the colored ministers and church members of Savannah in my presence and hearing at the chambers of Major-General Sherman on the evening of Thursday, the 12th day of War were reduced to writing and read to the persons present. The answers were made by the reverend Garrison Frazier, who was selected by the other ministers and church members to answer for them. The answers were written down in his exact words, and read over to the others, who, one by one, expressed his concurrence or dissent, as above set forth.
E. D. TOWNSEND,