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GENERAL SHERMAN'S PROCLAMATION.
compact, to live under and faithfully qualities, was thus well gilded. Would support. In doing this you are not only the Proclamation be received, and with undermining and preparing the way for what result? The first experiment, certotally ignoring your own political and tainly, was not very encouraging. There social existence, but you are threatening had been, it seems, at Beaufort a certain the civilized world with the odious sen- Rev. Mr. Wilson, who had taken his detiment that self-government is impossible parture with his fellow-townsmen, but with civilized men.
who left a letter, asking protection as a “Fellow-Citizens : I implore you to British subject. Taking advantage of pause and reflect upon the tenor and this as an entrance for opening interconsequences of your acts. If the awful course with the rebels, General Sherman sacrifices made by the devastation of our addressed a courteous letter to the diproperty, the shedding of fraternal blood vine, enclosing his Proclamation, which in battle, the mourning and wailing of he desired also, at the same time to comwidows and orphans throughout our municate to the refractory South Caroland, are insufficient to deter you from linians, there being no proper persons further pursuing this unholy war, then in the vicinity to receive it unless it ponder, I beseech you, upon the ultimate, were discharged from the mouth of a but not the less certain, result which its cannon. On the 14th of the month, six further progress must necessarily and days after the date of the document, two naturally entail upon your once happy chosen messengers, Lieutenant Wagner and prosperous State. Indeed, can you of the General's staff, and Dr. Francis pursue this fratricidal war, and continue Bacon, Surgeon of the 7th Connecticut to imbrue your hands in the loyal blood Volunteers, were landed at Beaufort for of your countrymen, your friends, your the purpose of proceeding with the peacekinsmen, for no other object than to un- inviting missive into the interior. They lawfully disrupt the confederacy of a were further fortified with a circular let. great people, a confederacy established ter, stating the character of their jourby your own hands, in order to set up, ney, and earnestly inviting all loyal citiwere it possible, an independent govern- zens to return and protect their properment, under which you can never live in ty from the ravages of the negroes, with peace, prosperity, or quietness.
the assurance that they should “receive “Carolinians : We have come among the benefits of all constitutional enactyou as loyal men, fully impressed with ments in their behalf.” Thus peacefully our constitutional obligations to the citi- commissioned, without any weapons of zens of your State ; those obligations war, the heralds were rather indifferentshall be performed as far as in our pow- ly mounted-a circumstance which deer, but be not deceived ; the obligation of tracted nothing from their civic characsuppressing armed combinations against ter-on a pair of mules, borrowed for the constitutional authorities, is para the occasion from the stray property at mount to all others. If, in the perform- Beaufort. Thus equipped, and guided ance of this duty, other minor but impor- by some of the negroes who had not actant obligations should be in any way neg. companied their masters in their retreat, lected, it must be attributed to the neces- they made their way onward, bearing a sities of the case, because rights depend prominent flag of truce. After proceedent on the laws of the State must be in some eight miles or more, and finding necessarily subordinate to military ex- all deserted, they at length alighted upigencies, created by insurrection and re- on a gentleman who proved to be a secbellion."
lond clergyman of Beaufort, the Rev. Mr. The pill, whatever might be its active Walker. An effort was promptly made to
ta... The interview South Carolina ness to thei
serve a copy of the Proclamation upon stored. This was a necessity which had him, but it was unsuccessful. He declin- been foreseen in fitting out the expedied to receive it, and with reluctance i tion, and large supplies of lumber and consented to bear the note addressed to other materials, with a force of mechanthe Rev. Mr. Wilson. A short distance ics capable of using them, were brought beyond brought the travellers to the out in the transports. These trained neighborhood of the Port Royal Ferry, artisans enlisted in New York under the separating the island from the main land, command of Colonel Serrell, set to work where a boat, with a flag of truce, bear- with a good will, and in the course of a ing a party of two officers and a private, fortnight four vast storehouses and a came over to receive them. The offi- stable, extending, in their united lengths, cers proved to be Captain Thomas 0. thirteen hundred and fifty feet, bore witBarnwell, and Lieutenant H. McKee, of ness to their exertions. Others were the 12th Regiment of South Carolina employed in constructing a huge wharf Militia. The interview which followed which, extending beyond the shallow wawas civil on the part of the Confede- ter of the shore, might receive the burrates under the circumstances, but quite dens of vessels of the deepest draught. unsatisfactory, considering the particular The plantations of pine on the island afobject of the expedition. The Procla- forded ample materials for this purpose. mation, the messengers were told, was Logs of large size were cut and hauled idle, for there were no “ loyal” citizens or floated to the destined point. in South Carolina to receive it. The An important question immediately single copy, however, enclosed to the arose at Port Royal, as to the dispoRev. Mr. Wilson, was permitted to be sition which should be made of the crops forwarded, and thus far at least the mis- and other property of the rebels left sion was successful. After a further abandoned in the neighborhood. A vast adventure with another party of the quantity of valuable cotton of the Sea enemy—a group of cavalry-of no in- Island variety, to which this peculiar terest except in the exhibition of a little | region gave name, lay ripe for picking, official importance by a Lieutenant, the ungathered in the fields or was stored in bearers of the Proclamation returned in barns. It was desirable, of course, to safety to their camp.*
possess this. Indeed, it had been urged The attention of General Sherman as one of the objects of the expedition to had been at once engrossed in the work acquire it. Some thought that a port beof fortifying his position on Hilton Head. ing opened, there would be loyal plantOutposts were thrown out, entrench-ers found who would avail themselves of ments made, and the whole island, some the opportunity to get a good price for twelve miles in length by seven in their commodity, which had now tripled breadth, was occupied. There was also in value in the markets of New York much to be done on the instant by the and Liverpool. If this expectation was men, in receiving the huge quantities of entertained it was soon felt to be idle in supplies from the transports, an employ-face of the fanaticism of the rebel ownment of peculiar difficulty in consequence ers, or the stringent government which of the shallow water on the shore, and constrained them. Not a bale, they had the absence of any pier or accommoda- determined, should be offered for sale ; tion for landing. When brought ashore and accordingly the order went forth for by men unloading the boats in the wa- its destruction by fire. Night after night ter, the provisions and various articles the sky was lightened by the glare, or required warehouses in which to be obscured by the smoke, of the burning * Correspondence of the N. Y. Tribune, Dec. 12, 1861. plantations.
" At eleven o'clock last night," says tion of the crop gathered or ripe for the the Charleston Mercury of November market-would be an excess of scrupu30," the heavens to the southwest were losity calculated to excite the wonder of brilliantly illuminated with the patriotic both the North and the South. To spare flames ascending from burning cotton. or abandon the valuable commodity would As the spectators witnessed it they in- be an idle exercise of liberality which voluntarily burst forth with cheer after could hardly be expected by the enemy. cheer, and each heart was warıned as An order accordingly was presently iswith a new pulse. Such a people can sued from Washington by the Secretary never be subjugated. Let the holy of the Treasury, to whom the work of flames continue to ascend, and let the rescuing the products of the South from demons of hell, who come here on their destruction was temporarily assigned as diabolical errand, learn a lesson and a portion of an original duty to regulate tremble. Let the torch be applied wher-commerce with the revolted States. The ever the invader pollutes our soil, and order was dated November 30, and prelet him find, as is meet, that our people scribed the appointment of agents at the will welcome him only with devastation ports or places occupied by the forces of and ruin. Our people are in earnest, the United States, who should secure men, women and children-and their and prepare for market the cotton and sacrifice will ascend as a sacred holo- the products and property which might caust to God, crying aloud for vengeance be found or brought within the lines of the against the fiends in human shape who army or under the control of the Federal are disgracing humanity, trampling down authority. To enable the agents to percivilization, and would blot out Chris- forin this duty, the military and naval tianity. Patriotic planters on the sea- i authorities, it was stated, would be diboard are hourly applying the torch to rected to render the requisite “military their crops of cotton and rice. Some protection and aid.” The slaves or neare authorized by military authorities to groes on the spot, or, as the State paper destroy their crops to prevent ravages in the customary euphemistic language by the enemy. Plantations on North of the nation styled them, “ persons held Edisto and in the neighborhood and else- to service for life under State laws," where on the coast of South Carolina, were to be enlisted and systematically are one sheet of flames and smoke. The organized to secure and prepare the varicommanding officers of all the exposed ous crops for market, in compensation points on our coast, have received posi- for which they were to receive stipulated tive instructions to burn or destroy all pay as laborers. The cotton when thus property which cannot be conveniently gathered, it was directed, should be shiptaken away, and is likely to be seized by ped to New York and there sold by the enemy."
regularly appointed agents, and the proFor the Union forces to leave the cot-ceeds paid to the United States Governton untouched, not to gather the precious ment. A careful register and account product for the want of which the world were to be kept of the negroes employed was suffering, and the loss of which, as and the particular products of the variit affected the policy of foreign nations, ous plantations. On receipt of these ormight endanger the National cause itself, ders at Port Royal, General Sherman to say nothing of the opportunity of se- distributed his forces to give the required curing a partial remuneration from the aid to preserve what the torch of the rebels of the expenses of the war which rebels—which was every night of imputhry had recklessly brought upon the nity employed with greater vigor-had country-to witness the wanton destruc- I left of the crops in the vicinity. Otter Island, which, with other islands on St. several thousand refugees and others Helena Sound to the north in the direc- about the encampments at Beaufort and tion of Charleston, had been visited by Hilton Head, there was an aggregate a reconnoitering party under Captain negro population of about eight thonDrayton, and found abandoned, was oc- sand-a sufficient number to test the cupied, and possession was at length for- capacity and disposition of the race for mally taken, by an adequate force, of the improvement of the opportunities of Beaufort Island, one month after the first advancement suddenly thrown in its way. arrival of the fleet. The organization of the plan proposed for the treatment of the negroes abandoned by their masters, the negroes had two objects in view,--or thronging in numbers to the Union their industrial employment and their lines, was a matter of no little difficulty. improvement by education. By the forFortunately the Government was assist- mer their immediate wants would be ed in the enterprise thus thrown upon supplied, the plantations saved from its hands, by a band of cultivated and ruin by cultivation, and various crops devoted officers either specially appoint- secured, while missionaries and teachers ed or already attached to the military would instruct the young, and by cultiservice, who gave to the subject their vating the intellectual and moral capamost earnest attention. The general city of those under their care, prepare superintendence and direction of the them gradually for the real responsibiliplantations with a view to their preser- ties and duties to which they were subvation as far as possible and the care jected. After a cautious review of the aud regulation of the negro cultivators, condition of this people, Mr. Pierce found was assigned by Secretary Chase to Mr. many favorable elements for the solution Edward L. Pierce as the special agent of of the problem before him. He came to the Treasury Department. We have al- the conclusion that they were “naturrealy called the reader's attention to the ally religious and simple-hearted-atservices of this gentleman in a similar tached to the places where they have employment in the charge of the contra- lived, still adhering to them both from a bands in the department of General But-feeling of local attachment and self-inler at Fortress Monroe.* The ability terest in securing the means of subsistwhich he exhibited and the experience ance—that they have the knowledge and gained in that duty, pointed him out for experience requisite to do all the labor the larger and more responsible sphere from the preparation of the ground for in South Carolina. From the two re-planting until the cotton is baled, ready ports which he presented to the Treas- to be exported ; that they, the great ury Department, reports distinguished mass of them, are disposed to labor for their philosophical candor and sys- with proper inducements thereto—that tematic accuracy of statement, we are they lean upon white men and desire enabled to present an intelligent account their protection, and could, therefore, of some of the more important results under a wise system, be easily brought of this novel and exceedingly embarrass- under subordination—that they are susing undertaking.
ceptible to the higher considerations, as On the 3d of February, 1862, Mr. duty, and the love of offspring, and are Pierce reported to the Department about not in any way inherently vicious, their two hundred plantations on some fifteen defects coming from that peculiar condiof the South Carolina Coast islands oc- tion in the past or present, and not from cupied or under the control of the Union constitutional proneness to' evil beyond forces. On these islands, exclusive of what may be attributed to human nature * Ante vol. i. p. 266-7.
1 —that they have among them natural SUPERINTENDENCE OF THE NEGROES.
chiefs, either by virtue of religious lead- This proposed organization of labor for ership or superior intelligence, who, be- the plantations was quite (listinct from ing first addressed, may exert a health- the method pursued with the negroes at sul influence on the rest. In a word, the camps at Hilton Head and Beaufort. that, in spite of their condition, reported There they fell under the charge of the to be worse here than in many other Quartermaster's Department, the Chief parts of the rebellious region, there are Quartermaster of the Expeditionary such features in their life and character, Corps, Captain R. Saxton, "a humane that the opportunity is now offered to officer, deeply interested in the matter," make of them, partially in this genera- having appointed, in November, Mr. Bartion and fully in the next, a happy, in- nard K. Lee, Jr., of Boston, the Superdustrious, law-abiding, free and Chris- intendent at Hilton Head. The rate of tian people, if we have but the patience wages was fixed from eight to twelve dol. and courage to accept it." *
lars a month for mechanics, and from four To maintain and improve these con- to eight for other laborers. Of the 472 ditions was the work before the Govern- registered at Hilton Head at the beginment. Mr. Pierce, as its special agent, ning of February, 1862, 137 were on the recommended the appointment of Super- pay roll. Mr. Lee appears to have had intendents for the plantations, clothed little difficulty in maintaining the neceswith sufficient power to regulate the con- sary order and discipline. At Beauduct and promote the welfare of the fort, where the negroes were some six negroes, by a kind of paternal control. hundred in number, a school was opened A Director General or Governor, it was with considerable success by the Rev. advised, sliould preside over the whole | William Peck of Roxbury, Mass. and maintain a proper police authority, ! Such were the plans and prospects bein important cases conferring with the fore the Government at the end of two military authorities in punishing offences. months from the first occupation of the Wages were to be given for labor, a islands. Four months later, when the proper amount of work required from supervision of these affairs was transferall, and should there be any failure to red from the Treasury to the War Deperform this duty, the lash was in no partment, Mr. Pierce made a final report case to be resorted to, but a trial was to to the former of his agency. The means be made of “the milder and more effec- for the plan of superintendence and intive punishments of deprivation of privi-struction which he had proposed, and leges, isolation from family and society, which had been accepted by the Governthe work-house or even the prison.” ment, in the absence of authority in the Forty cents a day was named as a rate Treasury Department to pay the requiof remuneration sufficient to supply the site salaries, had been supplied by volunwants of the laborer, no rent being paid tary charitable associations at the North, for the small house which he occupied. I as the Educational Commission of BosIn accordance with former habits, he was ton, the National Freedman's Relief Asto possess his patch of ground to raise sociation of New York, and the Port corn or vegetables, for consumption or Royal Relief Committee of Philadelphia. sale. Missionaries and teachers were to On the 9th of March, forty-one men and be employed in churches and schools. twelve women, accepted for the duties The system, of course, was to be only a of superintendents and teachers, landed temporary one-to meet in the best pos- with Mr. Pierce at Beaufort. All were sible way a difficulty of the times. cultivated, intelligent people, the men
being of various occupations, farmers, * Mr. Pierce's Report to the Secretary of the Treasury, Port Royal, February 3, 1862.
| mechanics, tradesmen. 'teachers, physi