War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0751 CAPTURED AND FUGITIVE SLAVES.

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SAINT LOUIS, MO., May 14, 1861.

Brigadier General W. S. HARNEY,

Commanding Military Department of the West.

SIR: * * * Last evening a gentleman of the highest respectability and intelligence from Greene County, Mo., asked me whether I supposed it was the intention of the United States Government to interfere with the institution of negro slavery in Missouri or any slave State or impair the security of that description of property. Of course my answer was most inqualifiedly and almost indignantly in the negative. I told him that I had no means of forming an opinion which was not open to every other private citizen but that I felt certain that the force of the United States would if necessary be diverted for the protection of this as well as any other kind of property. Will you be good enough to spare from your engorssing military duties so much time as may be required to say whether I answered correctly?

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, your most obedient servant,

THOMAS T. GANTT.

SAINT LOUIS, MO., May 14, 1861.

THOMAS T. GANTT, Esq., Saint Louis, Mo.

SIR: I have just received your note of this date inquiring whether in my opinion you were correct in replying to a citizen of Southwestern Missouri as to the purpose of the United States Government respecting the protection of negro property. I must premise by saying that I have no special instructions on this head from the War Department but I should as soon expect to hear that the orders of the Government but I should as soon expect to hear that the orders of the Government were directed toward the overthrow of any other kind of property as of this in negro slaves.

I entertain no doubt whaterver that you answered the question you mentioned correctly. I should certainly have answered it in the same manner, and I think with the very feelings you describe. I am not a little astonished that such a question could be seriously put. Already since the commencement of these unhappy disturbances slaves have escaped from their owners and have sought refuge in the camps of U. S. troops from Northern States and commanded by a Northern general. They were carefully sent back to their owners. An insurrection of slaves was reported to have taken place in Maryland. A Northern general offered to the executive of that State the aid of Northern general offered to the executive of that State the aid of Northern troops under his own command to suppress it. Incendiaries have asked of the President permission to invade the Southern States and have been warned that any attempt to do this will be punished as a crime I repeat it I have no special means of knowledg eon this subject but what I have cited, and my general acquiantance with the statesmanlike views of the President makes me confident in expressing the opinion above given.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. S. HARNEY,

Brigadier General, Commanding Military Department of the West.