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Doc. 38.-organization of the contrabands.

General Sherman's order.

Headquarters, E. C., Hilton head, S. C., February 6, 1862.
the helpless condition of the blacks inhabiting the vast area in the occupation of the forces of this command, calls for immediate action on the part of a highly-favored and philanthropic people.

The occupation of a large portion of this area of country, on the seventh of November last, led to an address to the people of South-Carolina, briefly setting forth the causes which led to it; its objects and purposes; and inviting all persons to the reoccupation, in a loyal spirit, of their lands and tenements, and to a continuance of their avocations, under the auspices of their legitimate Government, and the protection of the Constitution of the United States.

The conciliatory and beneficent purposes of that proclamation, except in a few instances, have not only been disregarded, but hordes of totally uneducated, ignorant and improvident, blacks have been abandoned by their constitutional guardians, not only to all the future chances of anarchy and of starvation, but in such a state of abject ignorance and mental stolidity, as to preclude all possibility of self-government and self-maintenance in their present condition.

Adequate provision for the pressing necessities of this unfortunate and now interesting class of people being therefore imperatively demanded, even by the dictates of humanity alone, an additional duty, next only in importance to that of the preservation of a world-revered Constitution and Union, is now forced upon us by an unnatural and wicked rebellion.

To review the Government of a burden that may hereafter become insupportable, and to enable the blacks to support and govern themselves in the absence and abandonment of their disloyal guardians, a suitable system of culture and instruction must be combined with one providing for their physical wants.

Therefore, until proper legislation on the subject, or until orders from higher authority, the country in occupation of the forces of this command will be divided off into districts of convenient size for proper superintendence. For each of these districts a suitable agent will be appointed to superintend the management of the plantations by the blacks, to enroll and organize the willing blacks into working parties, to see that they are well fed, clad, and paid a proper remuneration for their labor, to take charge of all property on the plantations, whether found there, provided by the Government, or raised from the soil, and to perform all other administrative duties connected with the plantations, that may be required by the Government. A code of regulations on this subject, as well as a proper division of districts, will be furnished in due time.

In the mean while, and until the blacks become capable of themselves of thinking and acting judiciously, the services of competent instructors will be received--one or more for each district — whose duties will consist in teaching them, both young and old, the rudiments of civilisation and Christianity; their amenability to the laws of both God and man; their relations to each other as social beings, and all that is necessary to render them competent to sustain themselves in social and business pursuits.

For an efficient and complete organization of this system, there will be appointed two general agents, one to have a general superintendence over the administrative or agricultural agents, and the other over the educational department.

2. The above system is not intended, in any respect, to interfere with the existing orders respecting the employment of contrabands by the staff department of the army, and by the cotton agents.

3. As the blacks are now in great need of suitable clothing, if not other necessaries of life, which necessity will probably continue, and even increase, until the above system gets into working order, the benevolent and philanthropic of the land are most earnestly appealed to for assistance in relieving their immediate wants. Never was there a nobler or more fitting opportunity for the operation of that considerate and practical benevolence for which the Northern people have ever been distinguished.

By order of

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