requesting me to furnish you with the information necessary to answer certin relolutin introduced in the House of Representatives June 9, 1862, on motion of the Honorable Mr. Wickliffe, of Kentucky, their sugstance being to inquire:
1. Whether I had organized or was organizing a regiment of "fugitive slaves" in this department!
2. Whether any authority had been given to nme from the War Deaprtment for such organization; and
3. Whether Ihad been furnished by the War Deaprtment with clothing, uniforms, arms, equipments, etc., for such a force!
Only having received the letter covering these inquiries at a late hour on Staurday night I urge forward my answer in time for the steamer sailing to- day (Monday), this haste preventing me from entering as minutely as Icould wish upon many points of detail such as the paramount importance of the subject calls for. But in view of the near temination of the present session of COngress and the widespread interst which must have been awakened by Mr. Wickliffe's resoluntins I prefer sending even this imprfect answer to waiting the period necessary for the collection of fuller and more comprehensive date.
To the first question therfore I reply that no regiment of "fugitive slaves" has been or is being orgainzed in this department. There is however a fine regiment of persons whose late maseters are "fugitive flag, leaving their servants behind them to shift as best they can for themselves. So far indeed are the loyal persons composing thies regiment from seeking to avoid the presence of their late owners thathtey are now one and all working with remarkable industruy to place themselves in a position to go in full and effective prusuit of their fugacious and traitours properietors.
To the seceond question I have thehonor toanswer that the insturcitons given to Brigadier General T. W. Sherman by the Honorable Simon Cameron, late Secretary of War, and turned over to me by succession for my guidance do distinctly authorize me to emppliy all loyal persons offering their services in defense of the Union and for the suppression of this rebellion in any manner I might see fit or that the circumstances might call for. There is no restriction as to the cahracter or color of the persons to be employed or thenature of the employment- whether civil or military- in which their services should be used. I conclude therfore that I have been authorized to enlist "fugitive slaves" as soldiers could may such be found in this deaprtmertn. No such cahrctershowever have yet appeared within view of our most advanced pickets- the loyal slaves everywhere remaining on their plantations to welcome us, aod us ansupply is with food, albor and information. L It is the masters who have in every instance been the "fugitives,"
running away from loyal slaves and loyal soldiers and whom we have only partially been able to see- chiefly their heads over remparts or rifle in hand dodging behind rtrees inteh extreme distance. In the absence of any "fugitive- master law" the deserted slaves would be wholly without remedy had not the crime of treason given them the right to pursue, capture and bring back those persons of whose protection they have been thsu suddenly bereft.
To the third interrrogatory it is my painful duty to reply that I never have received any specific authority for issues of clothing uniforms, arms, ewuqpmetns and so forth to thetroops in question. My general
For Cameron's instructions to T. W. Sherman, see p. 773. See also Cameron to Butler, May 30, 1861, p. 754, and Cameron to Butler, August 8, 1861, p. 761.