War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0440 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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this subject the Commission herewith submit a separate report, to which they pray reference.

If, as the Commission recommend, colored troops to the number of 200,000 be brought into the field, and negroes be employed in our armies in operations other than actual warfare to the extent of 100,000 more, we shall require the military services of 300,000 blacks. This number of able-bodied men represents a population of about a million and a half, being one-half of all the colored people in the insurrectionary States. To reach this number there is needed, besides military successes, a strict enforcement of the orders issued by the Government that all colored refugees be treated with justice and humanity. By such treatment alone can their confidence be won and strong inducements held out to others to join us. Upon such treatment depends, in a great measure, how large shall be the re-enforcements to be obtained by our armies at the expense of the enemy. Until a million and a half of slaves shall have forsaken their masters we shall not have the full military advantage which we ought to derive from this source. It is evident that it behooves us to hasten such a result and otherwise to promote the disintegration of the slave-labor system of the South by every means in our power.

If the placing in the field during the war of 200,000 efficient black troops, a measure demanded by the exigencies of the contest, which was commenced by the South, should ultimately prove to be one of the chief agencies to prevent the restoration of slavery in the insurrectionary States, such a condition of things would supply evidence that the very effort to perpetuate an abuse has been the means under Providence of effecting its eradication. The slave States will have been doomed themselves to forge a weapon to destroy that system, for the existence and extension of which, taking up arms, they have deluged a continent with blood.

In connection with the probabilities of our obtaining the above number of colored troops, it is the duty of the Commission to report the fact that in too many cases, not injustice only, but robbery and other crimes have been committed against futigives on first entering our lines. As an example, the assistant superintendent at Suffolk, Va., informed the Commission that instances had come to his knowledge of pickets who sometimes kept refugees until their masters came for them, and sometimes sent them back, pocketing the reward. The examples, however, of this offense were not numerous. He stated further that "in hundreds of cases" the refugees had been robbed by the pickets, chiefly of money, but occasionally of other articles. Valuable horses, too, and other property were taken from them by the quartermaster without remuneration to the refugees who brought them in.

The robbery and kidnaping by pickets occurred in the above cases, as doubtless in others it does, in spite of the efforts of the provost-marshal to prevent it.

The practical effect of such crimes, of which the report soon penetrates into rebeldom, is, as regards the military service, the same as if white Union soldiers were habitually robbed by these pickets or were from time to time seized by them and delivered over as prisoners to the enemy. Until such outrages are effectually suppressed it is unreasonable to expect that disaffected slaves should desert their masters in numbers to incur the double risk of running the gauntlet, first through the enemy's pickets and then through our own. And this the rather, inasmuch as, from the relations they have hitherto