War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0822 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

instructions from Mr. Cameron to employ them in anymanner I might find necessary, and the military exigencies of the department and the country being my only but in my judgment sufficient justification. Neither have Ihad may specific authority for supplying these persons with showels, spades and pickaxes when empoying them as laborers, nor with baots and oars when using them as lightermen; but these are not points included in Mr. Wickliffe's resolution. To me it seemed that liberty to employ men in any particular capacity implied with it liberty also to supply them witht henecessary tools and acting upon this faith I have clothed, equipped and armed the only loyal regiment yet raised in South Carolina.

I must say, in vindication of my own conduct, that had it not been for the many otehr diversified and imperative claims on my time and attention a muchmore satisfactory result might have been hoped for, and that in place of only one, as at present, at least five or six well- drilled, brave and thoroughlly- acclimated regiments should be this time have been added to the loyal forces of the Union. The experriment of arming the blacks, so far as I have made it, ahas been a complete and even marvelous success. Thy are sober, docile, attentive and enthusiastic, displayiomg grtet nautural capabilities for acquiring the duties of the soldier. Theyare eager beyond all things to take the fild and be led into action and it is the unanimous opiniojn of the officers who have had cahrge of them that in the peculiarities of this climate and country they will prove invaluable auxiliaries, fully equal to the similar regiments so long and successfully used by the Brigish authorities in the West India Islands.

in coclusion I would say it is may hope- there appearing no possiblity of other re- enforcements, owing to the exiegencies of the campaign in the Peninsula- to have organized byt he ened of next fall, and to be able to present to the Government, from 48,000 to 50,000 of these hardy and devoted soldiers.

Trusting that this letter lmay form part of your answer to Mr. Wickliffe's resolutins,

I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.