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Stevens's proposition prevailed : so that Blacks, whether free or enslaved, were directed to be enrolled and drafted into the National service precisely like Whites. The bill was ultimately sent to a Conference Committee of three members of either House; by whom the 27th section was so amended as to read as follows: “That all able-bodied male colored persons, between the ages of 20 and 45 years, whether citizens or not, resident in the United States, shall be enrolled according to the provisions of this act, and of the act to which this is an amendment, and forum part of the National forces; and, when a slave of a loyal master shall be drafted and mustered into the service of the United States, his master shall have a certificate thereof; and thereupon such slave shall be free; and the bounty of a hundred dollars, now payable by law for each drafted man, shall be paid to the person to whom such drafted person was owing service or labor at the time of his muster into the service of the United States. The Secretary of War shall appoint a commission in each of the slave States represented in Congress, charged to award to each loyal person to whom a colored volunteer may owe service, a just compensation, not exceeding $300, for each such colored volunteer, payable out of the fund derived from commutations; and every such colored volunteer, on being mustered into the service, shall be free.”
The report of the Conference Committee was agreed to by the two Houses respectively, and the bill, thus amended, became the law of the land. By a section of the Act of 1862, aforesaid, the said “persons of African descent” were to be paid $10 per month, $3 of it in clothing; while the pay of the White soldiers was $13 per month, beside clothing. Gov. Andrew, of Mass., on his solicitation, was authorized “by Secretary Stanton to raise of three years’ men “volunteer companies of artillery for duty in the forts of Massachusetts
and elsewhere, and such companies of infantry for the volunteer military service as he may find convenient, and may include persons of African descent, organized into separate corps.” Under this order, Gov. A. proceeded to raise two full regiments of Blacks, known as the 54th and 55th Massachusetts; which in due time were mustered without objection into the service of the Union, and there won honorable distinction. When, at length, the paymaster made his usually welcome appearance at their camp, and offered them $10 per month, they refused to accept that or anything less than the regular pay of soldiers of the United States; and a tender of the State to make good the difference between what they were offered and what they demanded, they declined; going wholly without pay for more than a year in order to establish their right to be regarded, not especially as negroes, but as men. Those who, being meantime hopelessly disabled by wounds or by disease, received honorable discharges from the service, did accept what was offered them by the Federal paymaster, and the residue of their full pay from Maj. Sturgis, agent of the State. At last, after repeated and most urgent representations to the War Department by Gov. Andrew, and upon the opinion of Attorney-General Bates that they were legally as well as equitably entitled to it, they received from the United States the full pay they had persistently claimed. And Rev. Samuel Harrison, the Black chaplain of the 54th, being refused by the U. S. paymaster the regular pay of a chaplain be-,
“Jan. 26, 1863.
When the 54th Massachusetts were ready, in May, 1863, to proceed to the seat of war in South Carolina, application was made in their behalf to the Chief of Police of New York for advice as to the propriety of taking that city in their route, and marching down Broadway. Ise responded that they could not be protected from insult and probable assault if they did so. They thereupon proceeded wholly by water to their destination. Within seven or eight months thereafter, two New York regiments of Blacks, raised by voluntary efforts mainly of the Loyal League, though discountenanced by Gov. Seymour, marched proudly down Broadway and embarked for the seat of War, amid the cheers of enthusiastic thousands, and without eliciting one discordant hiss.
The use of negroes, both free and slave, for belligerent purposes, on the side of the Rebellion, dates from a period anterior to the outbreak of actual hostilities. So early as Jan. 1st, 1861, a dispatch from Mr. R. R. Riordan, at Charleston, to IIon. Per
cy Walker, at Mobile, exultingly
proclaimed that— “Large gangs of negroes from planta
tions are at work on the redoubts, which
are substantially made of sand-bags and coated with sheet-iron.”
A Washington dispatch to The Evening Post (New York), about this time, set forth that—
“A gentleman from Charleston says that everything there betokens active preparations for fight. The thousand negroes busy in building batteries, so far from inclining to insurrection, were grinning from ear to ear at the prospect of shooting the Yankees.”
The Charleston Mercury of Jan. 3d, said:
“We learn that 150 able-bodied free colored men, of Charleston, yesterday of— fered their services gratuitously to the Governor, to hasten forward the important work of throwing up redoubts wherever needed along our coast.”
The Legislature of Tennessee, that negotiated that State out of the Union, by secret treaty with the Confederate Executive, passed” an act authorizing the Governor (Isham G. IIarris) —
“to receive into the military service of the State all male free persons of color, between the ages of 15 and 50.” These Black soldiers were to receive $8 per month, with clothing and rations. The sheriff of each county was required, under the penalties of misdemeanor, to collect and report the names of all such persons; and it was further enacted—
“That, in the event a sufficient number of free persons of color to meet the wants of the State shall not tender their services, the Governor is empowered, through the sheriffs of the different counties, to press such persons until the requisite number is obtained.”
The Memphis Avalanche joyously
* June 15, 1864.
“June 28, 1861.
“A procession of several hundred stout negro men, members of the “domestic in
* Sept. 3, 1861.
stitution,” marched through our streets yesterday in military order, under command of Confederate officers. They were all armed and equipped with shovels, axes, blankets, &c. A merrier set were never seen... They were brimful of patriotism, shoutiño; for Jeff. Davis and singing warSongs.”
And again, four days later:
“Upward of 1,000 negroes, armed with spades and pickaxes, have passed through the city within the past few days. Their destination is unknown; but it is supposed that they are on their way to the ‘other side of Jordan.’”
The drafting of Blacks, and especially of slaves, by thousands, to work on Rebel fortifications, was, in general, rather ostentatiously paraded throughout the earlier stages of the War. The Confederate Congress was finally constrained to regulate by law the impressment of property for military service; and its general “Act to regulate Impressments”“ provides—
“Sec. 9. Where slaves are impressed by the Confederate Government, to labor on fortifications, or other public works, the impressment shall be made by said Government according to the rules and regulations provided in the laws of the State wherein they are impressed; and, in the absence of such law, in accordance with such rules and regulations, not inconsistent with the provisions of this act, as the Secretary of War shall from time to time prescribe: Provided, That no impressment of slaves shall be made when they can be hired or procured by the consent of the owner or agent.
“Sec. 10. That, previous to the 1st day of December next, no slave laboring on a farm or plantation, exclusively devoted to the production of grain and provisions, shall be taken for the public use, without the consent of the owner, except in case of urgent necessity.”
The Lynchburg Republican (Va.) had, so early as April, chronicled the volunteered enrollment of 70 of the free negroes of that place, to fight in defense of their State; closing with—
“Three cheers for the patriotic free negroes of Lynchburg!”
The next recorded organization of negroes, especially as Rebel soldiers, was at Mobile, toward Autumn; and, two or three months later, the following telegram was flashed over the length and breadth of the rejoicing
“New ORLEANs, Nov. 23, 1861. “Over 28,000 troops were reviewed today by Gov. Moore, Maj. Gen. Lovell, and Brig.-Gen. Ruggles. The line was over seven miles long. One regiment comprised 1,400 free colored men.”
The (Rebel) Legislature of Virginia was engaged, so early as Feb. 4, 1862, on a bill to enroll all the free negroes in the State, for service in the Rebel forces; which was favored by all who discussed it; when it passed to its engrossment, and probably became a law.
All these, and many kindred movements in the same direction, preceded Mr. Lincoln's first or premonitory Proclamation of Freedom,” and long preceded any organization of negro troops to fight for the Union. The credit of having first conquered their prejudices against the employment of Blacks, even as soldiers, is fairly due to the Rebels. Had the negroes with equal facility overcome their repugnance to fighting for their own enslavement, the Black contingent in the Rebel armies might soon have been very little inferior to the White, either in numbers or in efficiency.
Yet Mr. Lincoln's initial Proclamation aforesaid had hardly been diffused throughout the Confederacy, when measures of deadly retaliation and vengeance were loudly pressed on every hand. That a Government struggling against a Rebellion founded on Slavery, should threaten to
*Approved, March 26, 1863.
*Sept. 22, 1862.
THE CONFEDERATES ON B L A C K UNION SOLDIERs. 523 Congress, the commissioned officers of the enemy ought not to be delivered to the authorities of the respective States, as suggested in the said message, but all captives taken by the Confederate forces ought to be dealt with and disposed of by the Confederate Government. “SEC. 2. That, in the judgment of Congress, the proclamations of the President of the United States, dated respectively September 22d, 1862, and January 1st, 1863, and the other measures of the Government of the United States and of its authorities, commanders, and forces, designed or tending to emancipate slaves in the Confederate States, or to abduct such slaves, or to incite them to insurrection, or to employ negroes in war against the Confederate States, or to overthrow the institution of African Slavery, and bring on a servile war in these States, would, if successful, produce atrocious consequences, and they are inconsistent with the spirit of those usages which, in modern warfare, prevail among civilized nations; they may, therefore, be properly and lawfully repressed by retaliation. “SEC. 3. That in every case wherein, during the present war, any violation of the laws or usages of war among civilized nations shall be, or has been, done and perpetrated by those acting under the authority of the Government of the United States, on the persons or property of citizens of the Confederate States, or of those under the protection or in the land or naval service of the Confederate States, or of any State of the Confederacy, the President of the Confederate States is hereby authorized to cause full and ample retaliation to be made for every such violation, in such manner and to such extent as he may think proper. “SEC. 4. That every White person, being a commissioned officer, or acting as such, who, during the present war, shall command negroes or mulattoes in arms against the Confederate States, or who shall arm, train, organize, or prepare negroes or mulattoes for military service against the Confederate States, or who shall voluntarily aid negroes or mulattoes in any military enterprise, attack, or conflict, in such service, shall be deemed as inciting servile insurrection, and shall, if captured, be put to death, or be otherwise punished at the discretion of the court. “SEC. 5. Every person, being a commissioned officer, or acting as such in the service of the enemy, who shall, during the present war, excite, attempt to excite, or cause to be excited, a servile insurrection, or who shall incite, or cause to be incited, a slave to rebel, shall, if captured, be put c
fight the consequence through the cause, was esteemed an immeasurable stretch of presumption. The following dispatch aptly embodies the prevailing sentiment: —
“CHARLEston, S. C., Oct. 13, 1862. “HoN. W.M. P. MILES, Richmond, Va.; “IIas the bill for the execution of Abolition prisonerse after January next, been passed ? Do it; and England will be stirred into action. It is high time to proclaim the black flag after that period. Let the execution be with the garrote. (Signed) “G. T. BEAUREGARD.”
Prior to the issue" of President Lincoln's later, unconditional edict of emancipation, Jefferson Davis had, in proclaiming “ the outlawry of Gen. Butler and his officers,” decreed that all slaves captured in arms be turned over to the Executives of their several States, to be dealt with according to law, and that a similar disposition be made of their White officers. So, in his third Annual Message,” he dealt, of course, very harshly with President Lincoln's final Proclamation of Freedom, then recently promulgated, which he stigmatized as a violation of a solemn assurance embodied in the author's Inaugural Address, and in the resolve of the Chicago Convention therein quoted.” Mr. Davis hailed the proclamation as an admission that the Union could never be restored, and as a guaranty that such restoration was impossible. Says the Confederate chief:
which can no longer find any justification in withholding our just claims to formal recognition. It is also, in effect, an intimation to the people of the North that they must prepare to submit to a separation, now become inevitable; for that people are too acute not to understand that a restitution of the Union has been rendered forever im– possible by the adoption of a measure which, from its very nature, neither admits of retraction nor can cóexist with union.”
But the passage which more es
pecially concerns Negro Soldiership is the following:
“We may well leave it to the instincts of that common humanity which a beneficent Creator has implanted in the breasts of our fellow-men of all countries to pass judgment on a measure by which several millions of human beings of an inferior race —peaceful and contented laborers in their sphere—are doomed to extermination, while at the same time they are encouraged to a general assassination of their masters by the insidious recommendation to abstain from violence unless in necessary self-defense. Our own detestation of those who have attempted the most execrable measures recorded in the history of guilty man is tempered by profound contempt for the impotent rage which it discloses. So far as regards the action of this Government on such criminals as may attempt its execution, I confine myself to informing you that I shall—unless in your wisdom you deem some other course more expedient—deliver to the several State authorities all commissioned officers of the United States that may hereafter be captured by our forces in any of the States embraced in the proclamation, that they may be dealt with in accordance with the laws of those States providing for the punishment of criminals engaged in exciting servile insurrection. The enlisted soldiers I shall continue to treat as unwilling instruments in the commission of these crimes, and shall direct their discharge and return to their homes on the proper and usual parole.”
The Confederate Congress took up the subject soon afterward, and, after protracted consideration, ultimately disposed of it bypassing the following:
“Resolved, by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, In response to the message of the President, transmitted
“It has established a state of things which can lead to but one of three possible consequences—the extermination of the slaves, the exile of the whole White population of the Confederacy, or absolute and total separation of these States from the United States. This proclamation is also an authentic statement by the Government of the United States of its inability to subjugate the South by force of arms, and, as such, must be accepted by neutral nations,
* Jan. 1, 1863. * Dec. 23, 1862.
*See p. 106.
to Congress at the commencement of the present session, That, in the opinion of
* Jan. 12, 1863. “See Vol. I, p. 422. .
to death, or be otherwise punished at the
The connection between the premises here alleged and the action based thereon is by no means obvious. For more than two years, negroes had been extensively employed in belligerent operations by the Confederacy. They had been embodied and drilled as Rebel soldiers, and had paraded with “White troops at a time when this would not have been tolerated in the armies of the Union. Yet, in the face of these notorious facts, it is here provided that “every White person, being a commissioned officer, or acting as such, who, during the present war, shall command negroes or ovulattoes [whether ever slaves or not] in arms against the Confederate States, shall, if captured, be put to death, or otherwise punished at the discretion of the court.”
Some of the leading and most thorough Rebel journals, on reflection, admitted that this was unjusti. fiable—that the Confederacy could not prescribe the color of citizens of the Free States, never in bondage at
“A New Orleans, see p. 522.