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of it of the utmost importance. The gress, angry speeches were made by steamer is quite a valuable acquisition border state conservative members, and to the squadron by her good machinery a resolution was passed in the House of and very light draught. I shall con- Representatives, inquiring of the Secre tinue to employ Robert as a pilot on tary of War for information on the matboard the Planter for the inland waters. ter. The Secretary responded that he with which he appears to be very famil- had no official information, and transiar. I do not know whether, in the mitted the resolution to General Hunter views of the government, the vessel will to answer for himself. The general acbe considered a prize, but if so, I recordingly replied to Secretary Stanton spectfully submit to the department the on the 23d of June, in the following reclaims of this man Robert and his asso- port, which was laid before the House : ciates.” In accordance with this sugges- Sir-I have the honor to acknowledge tion a bill was introduced into the Sen- the receipt of a communication from the ate at Washington, on the 19th of May, Adjutant-General of the Army, dated and promptly passed in that body and June 13, 1862, requesting me to furnish the House of Representatives, ordering you with the information necessary to the Planter with all the property on answer certain resolutions introduced in board of her at the time of her delivery the House of Representatives June 9, to be appraised, and one half of the sum 1862, on motion of the Hon. Mr. Wickthus awarded to be equitably apportion- | liffe, of Kentucky, their substance being ed between Small and his associates. to inquire : 1. Whether I had organTo secure to the parties the benefit of ized, or was organizing, a regiment of this grant the Secretary of the Navy fugitive slaves in this department; 2. was authorized to invest the sums thus Whether any authority had been given awarded to the several individuals, in me from the War Department for such United States securities, the interest to organization; and, 3. Whether I had be paid semi-annually until such time as been furnished by order of the War Dehe might deem it expedient to pay the partment with clothing, uniforms, arms, principal sum.* Small continued to be equipments, etc., for such a force. Only employed as a pilot, and rendered much having received the letter concerning service in the subsequent naval opera- these inquiries at a late hour on Saturtions in and about Charleston. . | day night, I urge forward my answer in
A deed like this could only have been time for the steamer sailing to-day (Monprompted by that love of freedom which day), this haste preventing me from enis the natural instinct of all men, and tering as minutely as I could wish upon the example of Robert Small doubtless many points of detail, such as the parahad its effect upon his colored brethren mount importance of the subject calls at Port Royal, to whom General Hunter for. But in view of the near terminawas now appealing to enlist to serve their tion of the present session of Congress, country; and protect themselves from and the wide spread interest which must the risk of further bondage. Various have been awakened by Mr. Wickliffe's feelings were of course excited by the resolution, I prefer sending even this imattempt to arm the negro, and it met perfect answer to waiting the period newith much prejudice and opposition on cessary for the collection of fuller and the spot as well as among the conserva- more comprehensive data. tive classes at the North. The subject “To the first question, therefore, I reof course excited the attention of Con- ply that no regiment of fugitive slaves
has been or is being organized in this * Act for the Benefit of Robert Small and others, approved May 30, 1862.
department. There is, however, a fine
ent naval much havipments, etc.
regiment of persons whose late masters these persons, of whose protection they are fugitive rebels '—men who every- have been thus suddenly bereft. where fly before the appearance of the “ To the third interrogation it is my national flag, leaving their servants be- painful duty to reply that I have never hind them to shift as best they can for received any specific authority for issues themselves. So far, indeed, are the loy- of uniforms, arms, equipments, etc., to al persons composing this regiment from the troops in question, my general inseeking to avoid the presence of their structions from Mr. Cameron to employ late owners, that they are now one and them in any manner I might find necesall working with remarkable industry to sary, and the military exigencies of the place themselves in a position to join in department and the country, being my full and effective pursuit of their fuga- only, and in my judgment, sufficient juscious and traitorous proprietors. To the tification. Neither have I had any spesecond question I have the honor to an- cific authority for supplying those perswer that the instructions given to Brig- sons with shovels, spades and pick-axes adier-General T. W. Sherman by the when employing them as laborers, nor Hon. Simon Cameron, late Secretary of with boats and oars when using them as War, and turned over to me by succes- lighter-men ; but these are not points sion for my guidance, do distinctly au- indicated in Mr. Wicliffe's resolution. thorize me to employ all loyal persons To me it seemed that liberty to employ offering their service in defence of the them in any particular capacity implied Union, and for the suppression of this with it liberty also to supply them with rebellion, in any manner I might see fit, the necessary tools; and, acting upon or that the circumstances might call for this faith, I have clothed, equipped, and There is no restriction as to the charac- armed the only loyal regiment yet raised ter or color of the persons to be em- | in South Carolina. I must say, in vindiployed, or the nature of the employ- cation of my own conduct, that, had it ment, whether civil or military, in which not been for the many other diversified their services should be used. I con- and imperative claims on my time and clude, therefore, that I have been au- attention, a much more satisfactory rethorized to enlist fugitive slaves as sol-sult might have been looked for; and diers, could any such be found in the that in place of only one, as at present, department. No such characters, how- at least five or six well-drilled, brave ever, have yet appeared within view of and thoroughly acclimated regiments our most advanced pickets, the loyal should by this time have been added to slaves everywhere remaining on their the loyal forces of the Union. The explantations to welcome us, aid us, and periment of arming the blacks, so far as supply us with good labor and informa- I have made it, has been a complete and tion. It is the masters who have in even marvelous success. They are soevery instance been the fugitives, run-ber, docile, attentive and enthusiastic, ning away from loyal slaves as well as displaying great natural capacities for loyal soldiers, and whom we have only acquiring the duties of the soldier. They partially been able to see, chiefly with are eager, beyond all things, to take the their heads over ramparts, or rifle in field and be led into action ; and it is band dodging behind trees in the ex- the unanimous opinion of the officers who treme distance. In the absence of any have had charge of them, that in the fugitive-master law, the deserted slaves peculiarities of the climate and country would be wholly without remedy, had they will prove invaluable auxiliaries, not their crime of treason given the fully equal to the similar regiments so right to pursue, capture, and bring back | long and successfully used by the Brit
is my guerrillas in a speech
of that is in con
e end of insula, lim allace
ish authorities in the West India islands. calling for a force, which presently In conclusion, I would say it is my proved its value in contests with the hope, there appearing no possibility of guerrillas of that region. General Lewis other reinforcements, owing to the exi- Wallace, in a speech at a war meeting gencies of the campaign in the Peninsula, in Cincinnati, at the end of July, demto have organized by the end of next onstrated the economical fitness of turnfall, and to be able to present the gov- ing the negro to account with a musket ernment from forty-eight thousand to in his hand, and urged his employınent fifty thousand of these hardy and de- as a relief to our overtasked armies. voted soldiers. Trusting that this letter General Turchin, in August, at Huntsmay forın part of your answer to Mr. ville, Alabama, advocated the same polWickliffe's resolution, I have the honor icy. The colored men of Cleveland to be, most respectfully, your obedient offered their services a second time to servant, D. HUNTER, Major-General Com- General Todd in Ohio, in August, and manding."
were for the time refused. Governor General Hunter's 1st South Carolina Sprague, of Rhode Island, had no scruregiment, as the new organization was ples in the matter, and Governor Ancalled, though commenced with every drew, on the new call for 300,000 milifair prospect of success, was suffered to tia, ordered the colored population of languish for want of necessary support Massachusetts to be included in the enfrom the proper officials. Clothing and rollment. Though Congress before its supplies were detained, and no authority adjournment had authorized the Presito pay the men being given, after being dent to receive “persons of African dekept together for four months the regi- scent for any military or naval service ment was disbanded-in due time to be for which they may be found comperevived, and, with others in the depart- tent,” there was, nevertheless, an undement, to perform efficient service. Pub- fined impression of hostility to their emlic opinion, or rather the policy of the ployment; there were doubts of the miligovernment, advanced slowly towards tary availability of the negro mingled measures which, in a few months-as the with social prejudices, especially with a war was prolonged—came to be accept- portion of the soldiers in the service, ed as a matter of course. It was gen- and a general disinclination, while any erally perceived that the necessities of hope of peace remained, to precipitate a the war would require the employment step which, though it might promote the of the negro. Much was written in fa- certainties, would at the same time invor of the matter. The annals of the crease the horrors of war. War of the Revolution, and of the War Military movements in the Southern of 1812, were ransacked for examples, department were limited by the smalland satisfactory precedents were readily ness of the force at General Hunter's found in the emancipation of slaves who command mostly to defensive operations. fought in the battle of Rhode Island in An attempt was made, however, in June 1778, and in the New Orleans campaign in the direction of Charleston. Gradual of General Jackson. The physical ca- approaches in this quarter along the pacity of the negro was duly estimated, coast had been made by various naval and calculations were made of his prob- reconnoissances, and by the occupation able courage in the field. Practical of Edisto Island under General Shercommanders were eager for his services. man's command. In May, circumstances General Phelps was drilling him at New appeared favorable for an attack upon Orleans as General Butler did after- Charleston. The information brought by wards ; General Lane, in Kansas, was the pilot Small, of the state of the fortifications, the troops, and means of de- tion by water, and a portion of the force, fence in and around the harbor, encour- under General Wright and Colonel Wil. aged the attempt. The confederate force liams, was compelled to march from Edunder General Pemberton was believed isto across John's Island, to be ferried not to be large, and an approach to the thence to the place of rendezvous. Owcity seemed practicable from below by ing to severe storms and inadequate the Stono river. Accordingly, on the means of crossing the river, a week was 20th of May, several gunboats were sent occupied by these troops on the way, a by flag-officer Dupont to that river, at delay which gave ample time to the enewhose appearance in the harbor, the my to bring up reinforcements and prerebel works on Cole's and Battery isl- pare for the attack on the works in the ands were destroyed and abandoned by interior of the island. General Stevens the enemy. Occupation was taken of meanwhile had some skirmishing with the inlet by the squadron, and prepara- the enemy and captured a battery of tions rapidly made by General Benham, iron cannonades, losing, however, about in command of the northern department twenty prisoners. The troops of Genat Hilton Head, under the direction of erals Wright and Williams were landed General Hunter, to lodge a force on on the 9th. “On the 10th," to pursue James Island with a view of gaining the narrative in the words of a correspossession of its supposed inadequately pondent," it was found that the rebels manned batteries, and, in case these were erecting a fort at a place called were successfully overcome, pushing to Secessionville, from which they could the Ashby river, where Charleston might reach and command General Wright's be assailed out of reach of the powerful and part of General Stevens' camps, and forts in the harbor. An attempt by an could even reach the gunboats in the expedition from Beaufort, under Colonel Stono. A reconnoissance in force of Christ, of the 50th Pennsylvania volun- several thousand men was therefore teers, on the 29th, to destroy the enemy's ordered for the early morning of the line of communication by the Charleston 11th, for the purpose of ascertaining and Savannah railroad at Pocataligo, in the enemy's strength and position, and which, from the difficulties of the ap- by a rush, if possible, of taking their proach and the prompt supports brought fort and guns. On the afternoon of the up by the confederates, nothing was ac- 10th, however, the rebels attacked our complished beyond trying the courage lines near the camp of General Wright, and power of endurance of the assail- and after a sharp skirmish were repulsants, was undertaken as a part of the ed, with a loss of some two hundred general movement which occupied most killed and wounded, as admitted by of the troops in the department. It was themselves, including one colonel-our intended that the main expedition should loss being only four killed and about a arrive at Stono Island immediately after, dozen wounded. Upon the representaand efforts were made to bring the dis- tions of General Wright that his men posable regiments together at that place were too exhausted to take part in the by the morning of the 3d of June, when reconnoissance of the next day, it was Generals Hunter and Benham with a countermanded for the time; and at part of the troops under General Ste- General Stevens' suggestion, a battery vens arrived ; but owing to a number of Parrot and James guns was comof steamboats having been withdrawn menced in advance of his camps, with from the department or the service of the intent of trying to reduce the sort the army of the Potomac, there was a or silence its guns. General Hunter, deficiency of the means of transporta- / who had waited at the Stono until this
time, to hear the result of the reconnois- during a slight shower. General Stesance, and who was cognizant of the vens' column moved swiftly and enthubattery project, left on the morning of siastically against the enemy's right, acthe 12th, leaving orders, fully acquiesced companied by Rockwell's battery. Genin by General Benham, that no ad- eral Stevens, with his usual intrepidity, vance should be made on Charleston, nor pushed vigorously on, capturing the eneany attack on Fort Johnson, unless rein- my's pickets, and charging up to the forced or ordered from headquarters, but guns of the forts, some of his men actuthat the camps should be made secure ally getting inside. In accomplishing and intrenched.' These camps, of course, this our troops were obliged to charge could not be made secure so long as the through a narrow pass, flanked by earthfire from this fort of the enemy reached works and pits, and through a ditch in and commanded them, and here the pro- front of the fort, itself protected by vision of the order contemplated what abattis, etc. was intended by the reconnoissance or- “The Michigan 8th, New York 79th, dered for the 11th, and the battery be- and Connecticut 7th, comprised the adgun on that day. On the 14th it was vance, and there is, as usual, some disfound that one battery produced no im- pute as to the precedence; but it is genpression upon the rebel fort, and it was erally conceded that the gallant but untherefore deemed necessary and within fortunate Michigan 8th were the first in his discretion to reduce it by actual as- the melée. Charging up to the guns sault if possible. Deserters from the under a most deadly fire, they were enemy's lines gave us information, since swept down like grain before the sickle, fully confirmed, that the rebel force in Colonel Fenton leading them in person, garrison of the fort amounted to only with heroic bravery, and the men fighttwo battalions of four hundred men each ; ing like heroes, as they are, and have that they had six guns mounted and that ever shown themselves to be. All their seven more were on the wharf awaiting valor and heroism were, however, made use, while the whole force of the enemy of no avail, by the failure of the other on the island was only fourteen regi- troops to get up in time to support them. ments and two battalions, being about Here was the great cause of the defeat, twelve thousand men, all of whom we for repulse and defeat it was. The ought to have been able to whip in a fair storming party, instead of being precipifight. General Benham, therefore, de- tated upon the enemy's works in a body, termined to carry out the project of the came up straggling and divided. The first reconnoissance, except that he re- 7th Connecticut, coming up after the 8th duced the area and increased the num- with decimated ranks, was obliged to ber of men. General Stevens was to fall back ; and the 79th, in turn, after advance with four thousand men with repeating the tragedy of bloody heroism, guns loaded but not capped, and Rock- being obliged to give way before the well's battery of four pieces, at the ear- 17th Connecticut could come to their aid. liest dawn, to be in position before the A brief explanation of the nature of the enemy could distinctly see them, and to approach will explain the cause of this. make a rush upon the rebel works, wbile About half a mile from the fort, in the General Wright and Colonel Williams, direct line in which the attack was newith three thousand more, with Hamil- cessarily made, was a transverse hedge, ton's and Ransom's batteries, were to with only a narrow opening througlı move up at right angles ready to sup- which our men could pass, not more port him if necessary. Our troops were than half a dozen at a time, causing put in motion at four A. M., on the 16th, great delay, and forcing the soldiers to