War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0210 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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Secretary of War instructions as to the line of conduct to be pursued by the military authorities in Missouri in reference to the population of African descent found in that State, which, being loyal, was not embraced in the President's proclamation of the 1st of January, 1863. The points to which the inquiries and suggestions of General Schofield are mainly directed may be resolved into three, viz: The status, first, of the persons held to service or labor in Missouri, as growing out of the fourth section of the "act to confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes," approved 6th of August, 1861; second, of those enumerated in the ninth section of the "act to suppress insurrection, to punish treason and rebellion," &c., approved 17th of July, 1862; and, thirdly, those referred to in the tenth section of the last-mentioned act, together with the rights and duties of the military authorities in regard to persons belonging to each of these classes. The emancipation of the persons held to service or labor named in the first class, viz, such as have been required or permitted by those to whom such labor or service is due to take up arms against the United States or to work or be employed in or upon any fort, navy-yard, dock, armory, ship, intrenchment, or in any naval or military service whatsoever against the Government of the United States, results, ipso facto, from the performance of the acts mentioned, and, should thereafter any attempt be made to enforce such claim to labor or service against the person thus manumitted, it is declared by the act of Congress that "it shall be a full and sufficient answer to such claim that the person whose service or labor is claimed had been employed in hostile service against the Government of the United States. " The statute evidently contemplates that this defense or assertion of a right to freedom shall be made before the courts, and I am not aware of any ground on which the military authorities in the State of Missouri, where the courts are open, can intervene in the settlement of any questions arising under this act. Should the party claimed to be held to service be seized for the purpose of enforcing the claim he would only have to sue out a writ of habeas corpus and make proof of the facts to secure his discharge. The persons described in the second class stand upon an entirely different footing. The language of the act in reference to them is as follows:

And let it be further enacted, that all slaves of persons who shall hereafter be engaged in rebellion against the Government of the United States or who shall in any way give aid or comfort thereto, escaping from such persons and taking refuge within the lines of the army, and all slaves captured from such persons or deserted by them and coming under the control of the Government of the United States, and all slaves of such persons found or being within places occupied by rebel forces and afterward occupied by the forces of the United States, shall be deemed captives of war and shall be forever free of their servitude and not again held as slaves.

The slaves thus enumerated, being made and declared to be captives of war as well as freedmen, are necessarily under the military control of the Government of s. This protection should, in good faith, be fully extended to them against all efforts made to re-en-slave them or to deprive them of the freedom which this act bestows upon them. That their condition and the rights belonging to it may be known and respected, it is recommended that, through the departmental or other military commanders, certificates shall, upon a proper ascertainment of the facts, be issued to these persons, defining distinctly their status and declaring them to be, as captives of war, under the military protection of the Government. These certificates should state, briefly but distinctly, the facts on which the party's right to freedom rests, in order that it may appear the legal conclusion reached is