HEADQUARTERS, Cairo, April 25, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
SIR: Your letter of the 21st instant is received. The instructions in it in reference to colored persons "captives of war" have and shall be faithfully carried out. It is not true that I have failed to afford them all the protection in my power "upon the ground that I have no sympathy with abolitionist" or any other ground. Personally I feet a deep sympathy with the colored refugees of the South who have escaped from slavery. I have published under my signature articles 15, 22, 23, and 33 of the code, received by me from General Hitchcock and Doctor Lieber, in the Chicago tribune which is read by all General Grant's forces, believing that article 33 was of vast importance. On taking command of this post General Tuttle took with him the adjutant - general and left very scanty records of the post. He left me no record of his being "authorized to make arrangements with humane and benevolent persons in the State of Illinois to give them (the negroes) employment for their support. " But I have understood that to be the design of the Government and have acted on it. I have given every respectable applicant of a free State permission to take any of these people under my charge to his home on condition that he support them in sickness as well as in health and [with] fair compensation. I have refused to let them be taken to Kentucky or the ports of Missouri opposite to this place.
I refused to let Mr. Trabue, of Kentucky, take any of these persons to Caseyville, Ky., because it was a slave State and they were liable to abduction, though he had General Rosecrans' recommendation. He went to Columbus and obtained permission from General Asboth to take about fifty of them. When they arrived here I telegraphed General Asboth that part of them were unwilling to go; they have since been returned here. Why I know not. I afforded them immediate protection. In answer to "whether any application for protection has been made to you and what has been your action on the subject. " I answer that a resigned officer of the Army on his way to his home in Illinois told me when he got home he was informed he would be indicted for having sent two or three colored persons to his farm and requested protection. I answered the State of Illinois was not under my military jurisdiction except Cairo and Mound City. I could do nothing in anticipation of any wrong done to him. But I advised him the Government would protect him if he obeyed its laws. I recollect no other case. General Ammen, commanding the District of Illinois, applied to me to sent a force to Anna to make arrests. I promptly complied. My force is there. Twenty - one prisoners have been arrested and sent to Columbus, Ky. General Burnside has ordered them to Cincinnati. General Asboth sent them yesterday. I have written three times to General Burnside that the thirty witnesses being citizens of Union County it would be advisable that they be tried at Anna, as the offenders, most of them, ought to be turned over to the civil authorities according to the late conscription act and that it would difficult to get the witnessed to Cincinnati. One of the prisoners, Dr. Jeptha Randolph, is accused of heading a mob who drove off the party of forty or more contrabands whom I had permitted to be taken by Benjamin Fenton to a farm in Union County to plant 400 acres of cotton. Fenton sent back the negroes to this place with no explanation except his agent's statement to me. The people had banded together not to let the remain. If he had kept them and applied to me for protection I would have rendered it