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Department of Annapolis, Headquarters, Annapolis, May 9, 1861.
to His Excellency, John A. Andrew, Governor and Commander-in-Chief.
Sir: I have delayed replying to your Excellency's despatch of the 25th April, in my other despatches, because as it involved disapprobation of an act done, couched in the kindest language, I supposed the interest of the country could not suffer in the delay; and incessant labor up to the present moment, has prevented me giving full consideration to the topic. Temporary illness, which forbids bodily activity, gives me now a moment's pause.

The telegraph, with more than usual accuracy, had rightly informed your Excellency that I had offered the services of the Massachusetts troops under my command to aid the authorities of Maryland in suppressing a threatened slave insurrection. fortunately for us all, the rumor of such an outbreak was without substantial foundation. Assuming, as your Excellency does in your despatch, that I was carrying on military operations in an enemy's country, when a war à l'entrance was be waged, my act might be a matter of discussion. And in that view, acting in the light of the Baltimore murders, and the apparent hostile position of Maryland, your Excellency might, without mature reflection, have come to the conclusion of disapprobation expressed in your despatch. But the facts, especially as now aided by their results, will entirely justify my act, and reinstate me in your Excellency's good opinion.

True, I landed on the soil of Maryland against the formal protest of its Governor and of the corporate authorities of Annapolis, but without any armed opposition on their part, and expecting opposition only from insurgents assembled in riotous contempt of the laws of the State. Before, by letter, and at the time of landing, by personal interview, I had informed Gov. Hicks that soldiers of the Union, under my command, were armed only against the insurgents and disturbers of the peace of Maryland and of the United States. I received from Gov. Hicks assurances of the loyalty of the State to the Union--assurances which subsequent events have fully justified. The Mayor of Annapolis also informed me that the city authorities would in nowise oppose me, but that I was in great danger from the excited and riotous mobs of Baltimore pouring down upon me, and in numbers beyond the control of the police. I assured both the Governor and the Mayor that I had no fear of a Baltimore or other mob, and that, supported by the authorities of the State and City, I should repress all hostile demonstrations against the laws of Maryland and the United States, and that I would protect both myself and the City of Annapolis from any disorderly persons whatsoever. On the morning following my landing I was informed that the City of Annapolis and environs were in danger from an insurrection of the slave population, in defiance of the laws of the State. What was I to do? I had promised to put down a white mob and to preserve and enforce the laws against that. Ought I to allow a black one any preference in a breach of the laws? I understood that I was armed against all infractions of the laws, whether by white or black, and upon that understanding I acted, certainly with promptness and efficiency. And your Excellency's shadow of disapprobation, arising from a misunderstanding of the facts, has caused all the regret I have for that action. The question seemed to me to be neither military nor political, and was not to be so treated. It was simply a question of good faith and honesty of purpose. The benign effect of my course was instantly seen. The good but timid people of Annapolis who had fled from their houses at our approach, immediately returned; business resumed its accustomed channels; quiet and order prevailed in the city; confidence took the place of distrust, friendship of enmity, brotherly kindness of sectional hate, and I believe to-day there is no city in the Union more loyal than the City of Annapolis. I think, therefore, I may safely point to the results for my justification. The vote of the neighboring County of Washington, a few days since, for its delegate to the Legislature, wherein 4,000 out of 5,000 votes were thrown for a delegate favorable to the Union, is among the many happy fruits of firmness of purpose, efficiency of action, and integrity of mission. I believe, indeed, that it will not require a personal interchange of views, as suggested in your despatch, to bring our minds in accordance; a simple statement of the facts will suffice.

But I am to act hereafter, it may be, in an enemy's country, among a servile population, when the question may arise, as it has not yet arisen, as well in a moral and Christian, as in a political and military point of view. What shall I do? Will your Excellency bear with me a moment while this question is discussed?

I appreciate fully your Excellency's suggestion as to the inherent weakness of the rebels, arising from the preponderance of their servile population. The question, then, is — In what manner shall we take advantage of that weakness? By allowing, and of course arming, that population to rise upon the defenceless women and children of the country, carrying rapine, arson, and murder — all the horrors of San Domingo, a million times magnified, among those whom we hope to reunite with us as brethren, many of whom are already so, and all who are worth preserving, will be, when this horrible madness shall have passed away or be threshed out of them? Would your Excellency advise the troops under my command to make war in person upon the defenceless women and children of any part of the Union, accompanied with brutalities too horrible to be named? You will say, “God forbid!” If we may not do so in person, shall we arm others so to do over whom we can have no restraint, exercise no control, and who, when once they have tasted blood,

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Thomas Halliday Hicks (2)
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