War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0802 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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We, the undersigned, do hereby engage to serve the United States at Key West, Fla., for three years after arriving there or nutil such time before or after the end of this period as the offiacer under whom we shall serve may give us severally a regular discharg; and we bind ourselves to the fiathfull observance of such rules and discipline as may be regularly established for our govnment under such penalties as the officer under whom we shall serve shall duly impose. This service is to be rendered under the Engineer Deaprtment which is to take the expense of transporting us to Key West, to provide for us quarters and rations if desired and to apy us such amounts for our services as the Engineer Deapartment or the local engineers shall fix as righ and proper.

SAINT LOUIS, January 14, 1862.

Colonel L. F. ROSS,

Commanding, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

COLONEL: If General W[atkins] should decide to take the oath all stock taken from him should be returned.

With regard to his slaves if any are in your camp as fugitives they are so held in positive violation of General Orders, Numbers 3, of 1861, unless such slaves were taken in virtue of the act of COngress. Except in the case provided for by Congress troops should be permitted neither to steal slaves nor to catch and return them to their owners or pretended owners. The militry are neither slave- stealers nor slave- catchers. To avoid all difficulties about this matter keep fugitives out of camp and let the question of ownership be decided by the civil tribunals.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,




Port Royal, S. C., January 15, 1862.


Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor toa sk the attention of the War Deaprtmetn to a subject upon which Ihave before hinted but which is of so much importance that I cannot refrain from again intruding it upon its notice. Of the large numbers of negroes on the islands in our possession some have come intot he camps and bobtained work, bringing withthem their families. These are therfore cared for, and the work of the able- bodied men- numbering probably one out of ive or six of a family- will be sufficient with the rations issued to support them. Those still remaining on theplantations are now living on the corn and paotatoes left there, andwhn these are all consumed the negroes will be in a suffering condition or thrown upon the commissariat of the army for support.

For the future maintenance of these people some system must be established, andone which will permit them to sustain thmselves; but before they can be left entirely to their own government they must be tained and instructed into a knowlddge of persoanl and moral responsibility-