War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0786 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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Second. They appear to be so overjoyed with the change of their condition that their minds are unsettled to any plan.

Third. Their present ease and comfort on the plantations a along as their provisions will last will inducxe most of them to remain there until compelled to seek our lines for subsistence.

Although comparatively few have thus far come in it is therefore probable that in time many will, and if they are to be received and taken care of some porivison should be made to cover them. They are a prolific race and it will be found that for every able-bodied male there will be five to six females, children and decrepit. It is really a question for the Government to decide what is to be done with the contrabands.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

P. S. -Besides those who have come in there are many still on the plantations employed in gathering cotton.

T. W. S.


Poolesville, December 15, 1861.

Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a most extraordinary letter addressed by authority of a governor of a Senate to the lieutenant-colonel commanding a regiment of U. s. volunteers serving in this division, and respectfully request that the matter may be brought to the attention of t he major-general commanding in the hope that he may be able to devise measures which shall in future prevent such unwarrantable and dangerous interference with the subordinate commands of the army. The fact that most of the soliders in the regiment referred to w ere enlisted into the service of the United States in the State of which the governor referred to is the respected chief magistrate does not I conceive give his excellency a right to assume control of the interior discipline of the regiment, nor does if give him authroity to command the punishment of a meritorious officer for any offense, either real or imaginary.

If the officer referred to has been guilty of any offense (which I am free to say I do not believe he has been) the military law prescribes the mode of preferring charges and the channel through which they shall be preferred as well as the mode of trial and the extent and manner of punishment. While I endevor to hold those under my command strictly amenable to the stern military law which they have sworn to obey it is equally my duty to protect all whom I have the honor to command against wrongs attempted to be inflicted on them in defiance of the laws of the Union-the supreme laws of the land. Thousands of brave men gathered into t he service of the Union are now serving in this division and enduring unmurmuringly cold, liardship and fatigue simply becuase ambitious State officials at the South have unconstitutionally and lawlessly used their power to wrest from the U. S. officials the trusts confided to them by the nation.

The usurpations of those ambitious State authorities commenced in much smaller matters than this of assuming authority in a national