previous next
[404] certain comments and criticisms regarding the treatment of the colored prisoners. This drew from General Beauregard, through his chief of staff, the following letter, which sets forth important information:—

headquarters Department of South Carolina. Charleston, S. C., August 12, 1863.
Colonel R. B. Rhett, Jr., Editor of Mercury.
In the ‘Mercury’ of this date, you appear to have written under a misapprehension of the facts connected with the present status of the negroes captured in arms on Morris and James Islands, which permit me to state as follows:—

The proclamation of the president, dated December 24, 1862, directed that all negro slaves captured in arms should be at once delivered over to the executive authorities of the respective States to which they belong, to be dealt with according to the laws of said States.

An informal application was made by the State authorities for the negroes captured in this vicinity; but as none of them, it appeared, had been slaves of citizens of South Carolina, they were not turned over to the civil authorities, for, at the moment, there was no official information at these headquarters of the act of Congress by which ‘all negroes and mulattoes who shall be engaged in war, or be taken in arms against the Confederate States, or shall give aid or comfort to the enemies of the Confederate States,’ were directed to be turned over to the authorities of ‘State or States in which they shall be captured, to be dealt with according to the present or future laws of such State or States.’

On the 21st day of July, however, the commanding-general telegraphed to the Secretary of War for instructions as to the disposal to be made of the negroes captured on Morris and James Islands, and on the 22d received a reply, that they must be turned over to the State authorities, by virtue of the joint resolutions of Congress in question.

Accordingly, on the 29th of July, as soon as a copy of the resolution or act was received, his Excellency, Governor Bonham, was informed that the negroes captured were held subject to his orders, to be dealt with according to the laws of South Carolina.

On the same day (29th of July) Governor Bonham requested that they should be retained in military custody until he could make arrangements to dispose of them; and in that custody they still remain, awaiting the orders of the State authorities.

Respectfully your obedient servant,

Thomas Jordan, Chief of Staff.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (2)
South Carolina (South Carolina, United States) (2)
Morris Island (South Carolina, United States) (2)
Charleston (South Carolina, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
M. L. Bonham (2)
R. B. Rhett (1)
Thomas Jordan (1)
G. T. Beauregard (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July 29th (2)
August 12th, 1863 AD (1)
December 24th, 1862 AD (1)
July 21st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: