War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0784 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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Resolution introudced in the House of Representatives December 9, 1861. *

Whereas, Major-General Halleck of the Western Department has issued an order prohibiting negroes from coming within the lines of our army and excluding those already under the protection of our troops; and whereas, a different policy and practice prevails in other departments by the direct sanction of the administration; and whereas, said order is cruel and inhuman and in the judgment of this House based upon no military necessity: Therefore,

Resolved, That the President be respectfully requested to direct General Halleck to recall said order or cause it to conform with the practice of the other departments of the army.

WAR DEPARTMENT, December 12, 1861.

Major General NATHANIEL P. BANKS, Frederick, Md.

SIR: I have to call your attention to the accompanying copy of a letter from the Governor of Massachusetts with its inclosure and to suggest that such directions may be given through the proper channel to the officers of your division as may prevent similar complaint for the future of injustice and oppression to negroes visiting the camps in the exercise of lawful occupations.

With great respect, your obedient servant,


Secretary of War.



Boston, December 7, 1861.

Honorable SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.

DEAR SIR: I wish to call your attention to the inclosed ocpy of a recent letter from a reliable source in relation to the use to which Massachusetts soldiers are being put (as is alleged) by Brigadier-General Stone. I cannot for a moment believe that the War Department will countenance such proceedings, and I invoke your interposition not only now but for the future for the issue of such orders as will secure the soldiers of this Commonwealth from being participators in such dirty and despotic work. Massachusetts does not send her citizens forth to become the hunters of men or to engage in the seizure and return to captivity of persons claimed to be fugitive slaves without any recognition or even the forms of law; and I trust you will save our soldiers and our State from such dishonor by the exercise of your official authority in such manner as will insure the protection of our men from such outrages in future and humanity itself from such infractions under color of military law and duty.

I remain, with great respect, your obedient servant,



CAMP BENTON, Poolesville, Md., November 28, 1861.

On Saturday last an order came down from General Stone giving a description of two fugitive slaves and directing their return (in case


*December 11, 1861, this resolution was laid on the table by a vote of 78 to 64.