and as early as the responsibilities of the Government shall render possible." These land-holders may be needed in the future to defend the soil they own, as well as tax-payers and producers.
The moral and intellectual promise of the freedmen is no less encouraging than the industrial.
I had the honor to report October, 1863, an arrangement that had been made with the freedmen's relief associations of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia for the instruction of the children of the freedmen. Under the auspices of these associations a large number of competent teachers, at present nearly sufficient for the wants of the department, has been provided without expense to the Government, except for transportation and subsistence-the army ration.
The position of the teachers, especially in the earlier periods of the occupation of the sea islands, was most undesirable. It had not the attraction of moderately compensated labor for persons fitted to occupy it worthily and successfully. It necessarily involved much sacrifice of personal comfort and social enjoyment. Most of the teachers were women, many of them refined and intellectual. It is impossible to doubt that they were moved to engage in this work by the highest and noblest motives, and not without a feeling that they were aiding to work out a great national atonement. Their names and memories will be cherished as the household divinities of a regenerated race. The number of teachers in the department is over 100. The results of the earnest and devoted labors of these teachers are in accordance with the reports that come from all places where the teacher has penetrated.
Though the negroes of Port Royal are reputed as below the average intelligence of the race in other localities, they exhibit the same desire of improvement as everywhere else. The children are eager to be taught, and their progress is favorable.
The race undoubtedly has all human capacities and possibilities. By your instructions of August 25, 1862, I was authorized and instructed by organize and receive into the service of the United States as soldiers "volunteers of African descent" not exceeding 5,000, and to detail officers to command them.
The special duty of this force was to guard the plantations and settlements in the department and to make incursions into the rebel territory for the purpose of bringing away the negroes, the only laboring force of the rebels, and thus reducing their military strength. I invited the people to embrace the opportunity and privilege of aiding to achieve their permanent freedom. They were assured that their enlistment would be entirely voluntary; that no force would be used to compel them to enlist. The First Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers was mustered into the service of the United States in October, 1862, and placed under the command of Colonel T. W. Higginson, an able and accomplished officer. The career of this pioneer regiment, the first colored regiment ever mustered into the U. S. Army, its perfect discipline and efficiency are matters of history.
The claim of this regiment is that by its earlier strugglers, its drill and discipline, its expeditions along the southern coast, it made Port Hudson and Fort Wagner possible, because it opened for colored soldiers an opportunity.
Subsequently I was relieved from the duty of recruiting by the major-general commanding, General Gillmore.
The whole number of colored troops recruited in the department, both by myself and others, falls much short of the number contemplated in your instructions.