War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 1140 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

To deal with these several aspects of this subject so that as few of the negroes as possible shall become chargeable either upon the bounty of Government or the charities of the benevolent, and at the same time to do justice to those who shall enlist, to encourage enlistment, and to cause all capable of working to employ themselves for their support and that of their families, either in arms or other service, and that the rights of negroes and the Government may both be protected, it is ordered;

I. In this department after the 1st day of December, instant, and until otherwise ordered, every able-bodied colored man who shall enlist and be mustered into the service of the United States for three years or during the war shall be paid as bounty, to supply his immediate wants, the sum of $10. And it shall be the duty of each mustering officer to return to these headquarters duplicate rolls of recruits so enlisted and mustered into the service on the 10th, 20th, and last days of each month, so that the bounty may be promptly paid and accounted for.

II. To the family of each colored soldier so enlisted and mustered, so long as he shall remain in the service and behave well, shall be furnished suitable subsistence, under the direction of the superintendents of negro affairs or their assistants; and each soldier shall be furnished with a certificate of subsistence for his family as soon as he is mustered; and any soldier deserting, or whose pay and allowances are forfeited by court-martial, shall be reported by his captain to the superintendent of the district where his family lives, and the subsistence, may be stopped, provided that such subsistence shall be continued for at least six months to the family of any colored soldier who shall die in the service by disease, wounds, or battle.

III. Every enlisted colored man shall have the same uniform, clothing, arms, equipments, camp equipage, rations, medical and hospital treatment as are furnished to the U. S. soldiers of a like arm of the service, unless, upon request, some modification thereof shall be granted from these headquarters.

IV. The pay of the colored soldiers shall be $10 per month, $3 of which may be retained for clothing. But the non-commissioned officers, whether colored or white, shall have the same addition to their pay as other non-commissioned officers. It is, however, hoped and believed by the commanding general that Congress, as an act of justice, will increase the pay of the colored troops to a uniform rate with other troops of the United States. He can see no reason why a colored soldier should be asked to fight upon less pay than any other. The colored man fills an equal space in ranks while he lives, and an equal grave when he falls.

V. It appears by returns from the several recruiting officers that enlistments are discouraged, and the Government is competing against itself, because of the payment of sums larger than the pay of the colored soldiers to the colored employes in the several staff departments, and that, too, while the charities of the Government and individuals are supporting the families of the laborer. It is further ordered, That no officer or other person on behalf of the Government, or to be paid by the Government, on land in this department, shall employ or hire any colored man for a greater rate of wages than $10 per mont, or the pay of a colored soldier and rations, or $15 per month without rations, except that mechanics and skilled laborers may be employed at other rates, regard being had, however, to the pay of the soldier in fixing such rates.