War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0799 CAPTURED AND FUGITIVE SLAVES.

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the General Government, and stating that all who conduct themselves properly will as far as possible be protected in their persons and property.

You will please report your operations as often as an opportunity offers itself.

With my best wishes for your success, I am, &c.,

GEO. B. MCCLELLAN,

Major-General, Commanding-in-Chief.

P. S. -Any prisoners you take should be sent to the most convenient Northern post. You can, however, exchange any of them for any of your own men who may be taken.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,

Saint Louis, January 9, 1862.

Colonel CARLIN, Commanding, Ironton.

COLONEL: Governor Gamble has referred to me a letter from you to Colonel Murphy, Eighth Iowa [Wisconsin] Infantry, in realtion to the delivery of a fugitive slave to his master which order was evaded by Colonel Murphy's command. I think you mistook your duty as a military officer in this matter. I do not consider it any part of the duty of the military to decide upon the rights of master and slave. It is our duty to leave that question for the action of the loyal civil authorities of the State. This is accomplished by keeping all such fugitives out of our camps. This is the object of Orders, Numbers 3. Those orders should in all cases be enforced and we shall then be free from these vexatious questions.

I inclose a copy of a letter* to General Asboth in which this view is more fully set forth. I hope you will not permit difficulties of this kind to occur again in your command, for the action of the military in regad to fugitives if once admitted into camp is so liable to be misrepresented and msunderstood.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. HALLECK,

Major-General.

FORT TAYLOR, Key West, January 12, 1862.

General J. G. TOTTEN, Chief Engineer, Washington, D. C.

SIR: After full consideration of the subject in all its bearings I now take the responsibility of proposing that from 100 to 200 able-bodied contrabands or confiscated negros should be sent here to labor on the fort and towers and for such other public labor as may require them. As I understand the case there are now some thousands of confiscated and derelict negroes being supported by the Government at fort Mnroe and elsewhere without serious need of their services. Here more labor is needed, and as the season advnaces my white force will dwindle. It is sae to assume that some two or three years of full labor for 250 negroes can be supplied by these works of which about fifty desirable hands can be hired here (slave or free black) at the average rate of $1. 40 per diem. To complete an effective force it is necessary to bring from

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*For Halleck to Asboth, December 26, 1861, see p. 796.

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