War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0790 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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them I have no question are so; others I have as little doubt have been slaves but no one is here to prove it and I hesitate to take so serious a responsibility as to decide arbitrarily in the absence of any direct evidence that they are such. If I turn them away I inflict great hardship upon them as they would be homeless and helpless; further-more such a course would occasion much personal inconvenience and sincere regret to other officers no less than to myself. These people are mainly our servants and we can get no others. They have been employed in this capacity for some time-long enough for us to like them as servants, to find them useful and trustworthy and to feel an interest in their welfare. The commanding general in his letter to Colonel blair as published in the Missouri Democrat of the 16th instant says in explanation of General Orders, Numbers 3, "Unauthroized persons, balck or white, free or slave, must be kept out of our camps. " the negroes in my camp are employed in accordance with the Army Regulations as officers' servants, teamsters and hospital attendatns and with the exception of one little child are such as we are authorized to have in t he camp. It seems to me that they are without the pale of the order and the intention of the commanding general, and I trust that I may be excused for awaiting more explicit instructions before doing what may be an extra-official act at which my private feeliings revolt.

I recognize the fact that obedience to General Orders, Numbers 3, is a part of my military duty and I shall unflinchingly comply with it in the consciousness that I am in no way responsible therefor; but I am personally responsbile for my decision when it is to affect the happiness and security of others.

May I ask you, general, to relieve me of this responsibility by giving me your formal decision at your earliest convenience?

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major, Commanding Fremont Hussars.

Resolution adopted by the House of Representatives December 20, 1861.

Resolved, That the Judiciary Committee be instructed to report a bill s o amending the fugitive slave law enacted in 1850 as to forbid the recapture or return of any fugitive from labor without satisfactory proof first made that the claimant of such fugitive is loyal to the Government.


Washington, December 20, 1861.

His Excellency JOHN A. ANDREW,

Governor of Massachusetts.

SIR: A letter addressed to Lieutenant-Colonel Palfrey, commanding Twentieth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, signed by Thomas Drew, assistant military secretary, and purporting to have beenw ritten by your excellency's authority has just been brought to my notice. In this letter Lieutenant-Colonel Palfrey is directed to convey censure and reprimand to an officer of his regiment for acts performed in the line of his military duty. If the officer referred to had been guilty of any infaction of military law or regulation the law itself points out the method and manner for its own vindication and the channel through