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Doc. 116.

Slaves in Baltimore, Md.

Colonel Birney's official report.

Baltimore, July 24.
To Lieutenant-Colonel Wm. H. Cheesebrough, Assistant Adjutant-General:
sir: I have the honor to report that immediately on the receipt of Special Order No. 202, of this date, I proceeded to Camlin's slave-pen, in Pratt street, accompanied by Lieutenant Sykes and Sergeant Southworth. I considered any guard unnecessary. The part of the prison in which slaves are confined incloses a brick paved yard, twenty-five feet in width by forty in length. The front wall is a high brick one; the other sides are occupied by the cells of prisons. In this yard no tree or shrub grows — no flower or blade of grass can be seen. Here the mid-day sun pours down its scorching rays, and no breeze comes to temper the summer heat. A few benches, a hydrant, numerous wash-tubs and clothes-lines, covered with drying clothes, were all it contained.

In this place I found twenty-six men, one boy, twenty-nine woman, and three infants. Sixteen of the men were shackled together by couples, at the ankles, by heavy irons, and one had his legs chained together by ingeniously contrived locks connected by chains suspended to his waist. I sent for a blacksmith and had the shackles and chains removed.

[The report then gives the names of the male prisoners, which we omit.] [395]

These all expressed their desire to enlist in the service of the United States, and were conducted to the recruiting office on Camden street, to be examined by the surgeons. The women are in number thirty-three.

These unfortunates were all liberated in accordance with your orders. It appears from their statements that this slave-pen has been used chiefly for the purpose of holding persons, in evasion of the law of Congress, entitled to their freedom in the District of Columbia, and persons claimed as slaves by rebels or rebel sympathizers.

Respectfully submitted.

Wm. Birney, Colonel Second United States Colored Troops, Inspector and Mustering Officer.

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