War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0038 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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confinement and whipping, and then return them to the plantations, will not abate the evil, for the disaffected will not thereby be reformed, but will remain a leaven of corruption in the mass and stand ready to make any other attempts that may promise success. It is, indeed, a monstrous evil that we suffer. Our negroes are property, the agricultural class of the Confederacy, upon whose uance so much depends-may go off (inflicting a great pecuniary loss, both private and public) to the enemy, convey any amount of valuable information, and aid him by building his fortifications, by raising supplies for his armies, by enlisting as soldiers, by acting as spies and as guides and pilots to his expeditions on land and water, and bringing in the foe upon us to kill and devastate; and yet, if we catch them in the act of going to the enemy we are powerless for the infliction of any punishment adequate to their crime and adequate to fill them with salutary fear of this commission. Surely some remedy should be applied, and that speedily, for the protection of the country aside from all other considerations. A few executions of leading transgressors among them by hanging or shooting would dissipate the ignorance which may be supposed to possess their minds, and which may be pleaded in arrest of judgment.

We do not pray the general in command to issue any order for the government of the citizens in the matter, which, of course, is no part of his duty, but the promulgation of an order to the military for the execution of ringleaders who are detected in stirring up the people to escape, for the execution of all who return, having once escaped, and for the execution of all who are caught in the act of escaping, will speedily be known and understood by the entire slave population, and will do away with all excuses of ignorance, and go very far act efficiently in their own sphere whenever circumstances require them to act at all. In an adjoining county, which has lost some 200, since the shooting of two detected in the act of escaping not another attempt has been made, and it has been several weeks since the two were shot.

As law-abiding men we do not desire committees of vigilance clothed with plenary powers, nor meetings of the body of our citizens to take the law into their own hands, however justifiable it may be under the peculiar circumstances, and therefore, in the failure of the civil courts to meet the emergency, we refer the subject to the general in command, believing that he has the power to issue the necessary order to the forces under him covering the whole ground, and knowing that by so doing he will receive the commendation and cordial support of the intelligent and law-abiding citizens inhabiting the military department over which he presides.

All which is respectfully submitted by your friends and fellow-citizens.




Committee of Citizens of the 15th Dist., Liberty County, Ga.

[AUGUST 5, 1862. -For Milton to Randolph, in relation to certain Florida organizations, &c., see Series I, VOL. LII, Part II, p. 336.]