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[516] they have been thus suddenly bereft.

To the third interrogatory, it is my painful duty to reply that I never have received any specific authority for issues of clothing, uniforms, arms, equipments, and so forth, to the troops in question — my general instructions from Mr. Cameron to employ them in any manner I might find necessary, and the military exigencies of the Department and the country, being my only, but, in my judgment, sufficient justification. Neither have I had any specific authority for supplying these persons with shovels, spades, and pickaxes, when employing them as laborers, nor with boats and oars when using them as lightermen: but these are not points included in Mr. Wickliffe's resolution. To me, it seemed that liberty to employ men in any particular capacity implied with it liberty also to supply them with the necessary tools; and, acting upon this faith, I have clothed, equipped and armed, the only loyal regiment yet raised in South Carolina.

I must say, in vindication of my own conduct, that, had it not been for the many other diversified and imperative claims on my time, a much more satisfactory result might have been hoped for; and that, in place of only one, as at present, at least five or six well-drilled, brave, and thoroughly Acclimated regiments, should by this time have been added to the loyal forces of the Union.

The experiment of arming the Blacks, so far as I have made it, has been a complete and even marvelous success. They are sober, docile, attentive, and enthusiastic; displaying great natural capacities for acquiring the duties of the soldier. They are eager beyond all things to take the field and be led into action; and it is the unanimous opinion of the officers who have had charge of them, that, in the peculiarities of this climate and country, they will prove invaluable auxiliaries — fully equal to the similar regiments so long and successfully used by the British authorities in the West India islands.

In conclusion, I would say it is my hope — there appearing no possibility of other reenforcements, owing to the exigencies of the campaign in the Peninsula — to have organized, by the end of next Fall, and to be able to present to the Government, from 48,000 to 50,000 of these hardy and devoted soldiers.

Trusting that this letter may form part of your answer to Mr. Wickliffe's resolutions, I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your very obedient servant,

These responses, though not particularly satisfactory to Mr. Wickliffe, appear to have been conclusive; though his colleague, Mr. Dunlap, proposed1 that it be by the House

Resolved, That the sentiments contained in the paper read to this body yesterday, approving the arming of slaves, emanating from Maj.-Gen. David Hunter, clothed in discourteous language, are an indignity to the American Congress, an insult to the American people and our brave soldiers in arms; for which sentiments, so uttered, he justly merits our condemnation and censure.

The House did not so resolve; preferring to adjourn.

Gen. Hunter's original recruiting and organizing Blacks in South Carolina having been without express authority, there was no warrant for paying them; but this defect was cured, before Congress was ready to act decisively on the subject, by a special order from the Secretary of War,2 directed to Gen. Rufus Saxton, Military Governor of the Sea Islands, which says:

3. In view of the small force under your command, and the inability of the Government, at the present time, to increase it, in order to guard the plantations and settlements occupied by the United States from invasion, and protect the inhabitants thereof from captivity and murder by the enemy, you are also authorized to arm, uniform, equip and receive into the service of the United States, such number of Volunteers of African descent as you may deem expedient, not exceeding 5,000; and may detail <*>cers to instruct them in military drill, discipline and duty, and to command them: the persons so received into service, and their officers, to be entitled to and receive the same pay and rations as are allowed by law to Volunteers in the service.

4. You will occupy, it possible, all the islands and plantations heretofore occupied by the Government, and secure and harvest the crops, and cultivate and improve the plantations.

5. The population of African descent, that cultivate the land and perform the labor of the Rebels, constitute a large share

1 July 3.

2 Aug. 25.

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