Arming of Fugitive Slaves

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 63, Number 167, 3 July 1862

Armed and ready to protect the Union.

Gen. Hunter, of the Department of S.C., has written a letter to the Secretary of War, in reply to the inquiry concerning the equipment, arming, &c.,  of fugitive slaves, in which he says, that he was authorized by Secretary Cameron to employ all persons, without distinction of color, for the suppression of rebellion; that the regiment of negroes organized are not “fugitives,” but their late masters are “fugitives,” and he concludes as follows – “The experiment of arming the blacks, as far as I have made it has been a complete and even marvelous success. They are sober, docile, attentive and enthusiastic, displaying great natural capacities for acquiring the duties of the soldier.  They are eager beyond all things to take the field and be led into action; and it is the unanimous opinion of the officers who have charge of them, that in the peculiarities of this climate and country they will prove invaluable auxiliaries — fully equal to the similar regiments so long and successfully used by the British authorities in the West India Islands.  In conclusion, I would say it is my hope, there appearing no possibility of other reinforcements, owing to the exigencies of the campaign in the Peninsula, to have organized by the end of next fall, and be able to present to the Government from forty-eight to fifty thousand of these hardy and devoted soldiers.”

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