War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0772 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

able teachers, has ample funds, and will do, I trust, very much good. I have endeavored to aid it as well as all other similar organizations, though there are about this Pennsylvania association elements of moneyed security and of practicability which in my judgment render it superior to others. One of the teachers whom they have sent here, by the way, is the widow of the late Colonel Fribley, U. S. colored troops.

PUBLIC OPINION.

I have stated that when Major Stearns first began his work here he encountered opposition from prominent loyal Tennesseans. Major Stearns, however, received assistance and encouragement from some citizens of standing, and with the assistance of these he endeavored to influence public opinion in the State.

By personal appeals, by public meetings, by publications in the papers, he presented this subject to the people of this city and State. Major Stearns" office was full of slave-owners, representing some $ 200,000 worth of slave property that requested the President to decree full, immediate, and uncompensated emancipation in Tennessee. Two of Major Stearns" agents were chiefly employed in influencing public opinion. I know these are slight causes, but I cannot but think they had an effect, and were to some extent instrumental in causing the great revolution in public opinion, patent in the last year. Whereas some then opposed, I know of no prominent loyal Tennesseean who does not now believe in, advocate, and encourage the raising of colored troops.

A few days since a State convention was held here by persons supposed (as Governor Johnson says in an official proclamation) to reflect the will of the Union men in their respective counties. This convention called on the Governor to enroll and call out the black militia of the State.

The Governor has ordered their enrollment, and recently has ordered that in all cases coming before the courts the blacks shall be held to be free, a most sweeping and thorough edict of emancipation, for any slave has only to get before a court to be pronounced judicially free, and so go upon the records.

LABOR.

Indicentally to the operations of this office it may be mentioned that last fall impressment of negroes to labor on fortifications, & c., was frequent. Major Stearns procured volunteer laborers, and from these and from rejected recruits prior to the formation of labor regiments we furnished the Government about 10,000 days" labor, besides procuring several volunteers for the gun-boats.

RECRUITS FROM THE NORTH.

In the last two months I have received from Ohio some 700 recruits to fill up regiments in service here. These have been assigned to the Ninth U. S. Colored Artillery, as before stated, and to the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Regiments U. S. Colored Infantry.

HOSPITAL.

When we came here there was a contraband hospital in this place under the charge of Doctor Ronayne, in which, despite the doctor's exertions, and he worked faithfully, the rate or mortality was large. Into