OFFICE PROVOST- MARSHAL- GENERAL,
DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Feburary 4, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Commanding the Deaprtment of the Missouri.
GENERAL: There are a number of negroes at the military prison at McDowell's Colege who were captured with the rebels taken at Blckwater. They have frequently applied to me to be relased fromteh prison. They were employed in hostile service against the Government of the IUnited States contrary to the provisins of the act of Congress of 6th of July, 1861. Before preferri g their request to be discharged I asked the opinion of the U. S. district attoney as to the rights of such slaves. Inclosed is his reply.
Very resepctfully, your obedient servant,
BERNARD G. FARRAR,
Priovost- Marshal- General.
HDQRS. EXPEDITIONARY CORPS, Numbers 9.
Hilton Head, S. C., February 6, 1862.
I. The helpless condition of the blacks ingabiting the vast arear in the occupation of the forces of this command calls for immediate action on the part of a highly favored and philanthropic people.
The occupation of a large portion of this area of country on the 7th of November last led to an address to the people of South Carolina briefly setting forth the causes which led to it, its objects and purposes, and iviting all persons to the reoccupation in a louyal spirit of their lands and tenenments and to a continuance of their avocations under the auspices of their legitimate Government and the protection of the Constitution of the United States.
The conciliatory and beneficent purposes of that proclamation except in a few instnces have not only been disregarded buyt hordes of totally uneducated, ignorant and improvident blacks have been abandoned by their constitutional guardians not only to all the future chances of ananrchy and of starvation buyt in such a state of abject ingnornce and mental stolidity as to preclude all possiblility of slef- government and slelf- maintenance in their present condition.
Adequate provision for the pressing necessities of this unfortunate and now interesting calss of people being therefore imperatively demanded even byt he dictates of humanity alone an additional duty next only in importance to that of the preservation of a world- revered Constitution and Union is now forced upon us by an unnatutal and wicked rebellion.
To relieve the Government of a burden that may hereafter become insupportable and to enable the balcks to support and govenr themselves in the absence and abandonment of their disloyal guardians a suitable system of culture and instruction must be combined with one providing for their physical wants.
Therfore until proper legislation on the subject or until orders from higher authority the country in occupation of the forces of this command will be divided off into districts of convenient size for proper superintendence. For each of these districts a suitable agent will be appointed to superintend the management of the plantations by the