This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 have been expected under the circumstances. Agents were despatched by the Secretary of the Treasury to take charge of this new business, and to administer the plantations abandoned by their owners, on which the slaves lingered without control and without means. The rights of the owners were held in reservation, and none of the abuses we have noticed in connection with the administration of General Butler in Louisiana were committed in this district. A large number of well-disposed persons, Protestant clergymen, schoolmasters, and women, volunteered to assist these agents; about one hundred of them offered their services during the first three months of 1862; and although not a few visionaries and fanatics were found among them, their efforts, under the wise direction of Mr. Pierce, the government commissioner, were of great service to the colored people, whom the chances of war had made the wards of the Federal authorities. This population was deeply attached to the land of their birth; the proprietors, therefore, to make them mistrustful of the Unionists, had incessantly represented to them that it was the intention of the latter to transport the slaves to Cuba in order to accomplish their abolition projects. When these proprietors took to flight, the negroes refused to follow them, and remained on the plantations, desisting from all work, without, however, committing any excesses. In many cases the overseers were also slaves, and remained with them. All applications for reorganizing the work on the plantations were addressed to the latter, for most of them, although deprived of their power, had retained their moral authority, over the simple-minded laborers. The first thing to be done was to prevent starvation. In fact, the culture of the Sea Islands was so managed as to produce the quantity of corn, potatoes and pork strictly necessary for the support of laborers, to whom provisions were distributed weekly at the storehouses of the plantation. Nearly all these storehouses had been put under requisition to supply the wants of the fleet and army; the animals had all been carried off or purchased. It soon became necessary to resort to the quartermaster in order to provide for the daily wants of the negroes. The rates of wages and the price of manual labor were things unknown in that promised land of slavery. In order to cover the expenses of the government, a certain price had to be fixed
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.