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774      DOUGLASS' MONTHLY.      JANUARY, 1863

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Marshall of the city has given her authority to act as visitor, adviser and instructor, to these people;, but the magnitude of the work almost appalls her.

We hope that other women may be sent from the north to co-operate with her in a work where women's presence is so much needed.  Two or three gentlemen have been laboring here for some months past and have administered as far as they could to the religious, moral and physical wants of these people, but not being appointed by Government, this authority is limeted and they can accomplish but little in proportion to what is needed.

Before the war there were no schools here for colored people, but about five months since a school was opened for free colored people here by two young colored men from the north, a large share of the pupils are young women, and it is really a very nice school.-We hope soon to see school among the contrabands, and some efforts are now made to instruct them, but no suitable place can be procured for a school.  Miss W. says in one of her letters.  "In one of my visits to the Slave Pen a few days since, in a corner of one of the rooms seated on the floor was a woman and around her a dozen children, each with a primer and reading in words of three letters They were so much engaged that my enterance was unnoticed for some moments.  The moment the dark incubes of Slavery is lifted from these people, they show many of them an intense desire to learn to read.  This poor freed woman had with her own earnings bought these books for the children and a halo of glory was almost visible about her head.  In this place with its filthy surroundings it seemed to me a ray from the Sun of Righteousness had entered and where signs and groans of broken hearted men and women had been so often heard, a work has commenced which if continued will make it forever impossible to reduce again to bondage this long oppressed people.

We hope as things become more settled and as these people improve that the prejudice against them will diminish.  To put in motion a tendency to devote them in any locality, is a benefit to the race everywhere.  What changes await these people none of us can foresee, but we cannot too soon begin the work of fitting them for the duties of free men and free women.

We hope that 1863 will be the year of jubilee to this long oppressed people; but the state of the country at present is such that the transition from slavery to freedom must of necessity be attended, with peculiar hardship and suffering and it is to make more tolerable their present condition that we ask aid from our friends at home and abroad.

On behalf of the Society,

A. M. C. Barnes, Sec'y

Rochester, Dec 22 1862.

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[Extracts from the report of the Secretary of War]


It will be seen that the Quartermasters Department upon which, under the law of 17th July providing for the employment of colored persons, the charge of such persons is chiefly imposed, has not found itself burdened with their care, but that it has, on the contrary, derived valuable aid from their labor, and in a considerable portion of its field 
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of operations has thus far suffered from a scant, rather than from too great a supply of such labor.  In Louisiana, where, at one time, there were apprehensions of embarrassment from the number of refugees, the reserve of a tract of rich land along the railroad to Berwick's Bay opens up a territory in which many thousands can be profitably employed, if placed under proper regulation and control, At Port Royal such persons have been extensively employed in the work of the Quartermaster's Department, and in cultivating some thousands of accres of the sea islands of the coast, the products which are used in the support of themselves and families.  In the operations of the army on the James river, and upon the Potomac, in the fortifications of Washington and as laborers, teamsters, hostlers, in the landing and shipping of stores, they have been of great service; and the demand for their labor has exceeded the supply available.
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With this presentation of the past operations and the present condition of the War Department, the duty required of me by the act of Congress to make an annual report is, in a great measure, fulfilled.  It is seen that a force has been placed by the people of the United States at the command of the Government to maintain its authority, more mighty in all the elements of warlike power than was ever before arrayed under one banner.  How shall that force be employed?  To smite the enemy on every hand, to attack his armies and strong holds, to occupy his ports, clear the great rivers of the West of his obstructions, and pause not until he is subdued, is our plain duty.  Above all it is our duty to disdain no legitimate aid, that may save the lives of our gallant soldiers, diminish their labors, provide for their wants and lessen the burdens of our people.

No aphorism is more universally received, than that "the sole object of a just war is to make the enemy feel the evils of his injustice, and by his sufferings amend his ways, he must therefore be attacked in his most accessible quarter."  The power of the rebels rests upon their peculiar system of labor, which keeps laborers on their plantations to support owners who are devoting their time and strength to destroy our armies and destroy our Government.  Whenever that system is in hostility to the Government, it is, in my opinion, the duty of those conducting the war to strike down the system, and turn against the rebels the productive power that upholds the insurrection.  Rightly organized in the recovered territory, the laborers of the rebel States will not only aid in holding fortified positions, but their labor will, as in India, free the white soldier from the most unwholesome exposure of the South.  They will cultivate the corn and forage, which will feed our cavalry and artillery horses, and save the country a portion of the enormous burden now attending their purchase and transport from the North.  This cultivation would have been of greater advantage to us on the southeastern coast than even that of the great staple of the Sea Islands.

Probably the people who remained upon these islands, within protection of our armies, could, under wise control, have supplied all the forage needed this year by the forces in the Department of the South.  The full ration for a horse weighs twenty-six pounds, that of a soldier three pounds.

An army, well organized and equipped for active operations, with a due proportion of cavalry, artillery and baggage trains, will have not less than one horse or mule to every four soldiers; so that the weight of food for he animals is more than double that of the rations of the men.

How important an aid, how great an economy, in the long contest, therefore, would there be in raising by the cheap labor the greater part of the forage alone for the Southern Department; thus, for greater portion of our wants, transferring the base of supplies, now at New York, to Hilton Head or New Orleans.

The Department has found it difficult to 
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transfer this labor from one part of the seat of war to another.  Local and family ties seem to be very strong with these people, and with all their faith in the power and good will of our military commanders, it was found difficult to get volunteer laborers to leave Port Royal for other depots.

A population of four millions, true to the interests of the Union, with slight assistance from the army, will, under proper regulation and government, be of the greatest assistance in holding the territory once recovered.  The principal staples of the South are the product exclusively of their labor.  If protected upon the lands they have heretofore cultivated, with some organization, and with support from small detachments of loyal troops, they would not only produce much of what is needed to feed our armies and their trains, but they would forever cut off from the rebellion the resources of a country thus occupied.

The rebel armies move with ease through portions of the border States, living upon the country in which our commanders find no supplies. The people bring forth their hoards, and offer them to the rebels far sale or gift. Protect the laboring population, who are the majority in the greater part of the South, in the possession of the land and its products, and this great advantage will, for whatever portion of the country we occupy, be transferred to us. As soon as the coast is thoroughly occupied, and the people organized, trade will revive. Cotton, rice, sugar and other products will be exchanged by the producer for what he needs. Their wants will be supplied direct from the Northern factories, and the cultivation of the great staples will enable them to pay for what they use. A perfectly free trade may thus again grow up between the North and the South, and with greater of less rapidity it will spread over the country as our forces succeed in meeting and dispersing the rebel armies. 

The greater part of the whole country which formerly produced the sea island cotton is not thoroughly restored to the Union - The laborers are there - the soil and climate. It needs only assurance of protection to revive the cultivation of the staple, as well as to produce vast quantities of corn and forage for our troops. Since this war must be conducted by marches and battles and sieges, why neglect the best means to make them successful, and their results permanent? It is worthy of notice that, thus far, the portions of territory which, once recovered, we have most firmly held, are precisely those in which the greatest proportion of colored men are found. By their assistance, our armies will be able permanently to operate in and occupy the country; and in labor for the army, in raising its and their own supplies, full occupation can be given them, and with this, there will be neither occasion nor temptation to them to emigrate to a northern and less congenial climate. 

Judging by experience, no colored man will leave his home in the South, if protected in that home.  All possibility of competition from negro labor in the North is avoided in giving colored men protection and employment upon the soil which they have thus far cultivated, and the right to which has been vacated, by the original proprietors, deeply involved in the crimes of treason and rebellion. No great territory has been permanently reduced without depriving the leaders of its people of their lands and property.  It is these that give power and influence. Few men have commanding genius and talent to exercise dangerous influences over their fellowmen without the adventitious aid of money and property.  By striking down this system of compulsory labor, which enables the leaders of the rebellion to control the resources of the people, the rebellion would die of itself.

Under no circumstances has any disposition to servile insurrection been exhibited by the colored population in any Southern State, while a strong loyalty to the Federal Government has been displayed on every occasion, and against every discouragement. By the means suggested, rebellion may be disarmed and subdued, swiftly and effectually, and the

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