Saturday, August 31, 2013

August 31, 1863: Free negroes are fleeing Charleston, South Carolina

A map of the siege of Charleston, click to enlarge.
The Confederates defending Charleston Harbor had been counting on using forced negro labor, but the free negroes of Charleston thwarted those plans to some extent by leaving Charleston, even if they did not have permission.
STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

Charleston, August 31, 1863.

General JORDAN, Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: In the absence of the Governor a letter has been received from Colonel Shannon as to negro labor, which I think it is proper to bring to your notice at once, so that you may revolve the matter in your mind.

Colonel Shannon says:

In a fortnight the labor is due from Division Numbers 1. It has furnished no labor under my call, and I am informed little or none before. They ought to be the first impressed, but you cannot impress and carry on this scheme at the same time. One must get out of the way; either instruct me to withdraw the call immediately, and let the impressing agents take hold, or exempt it from the presence of the impresser until they have answered this call. The other division have been called on twice, except Numbers 4. which, by volunteering, is at least on an equality with Nos. 2 and 3.

If you desire any instruction to be immediately given to Colonel Shannon, please inform me. The Governor will be back by Wednesday or Thursday morning.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. P. ALDRICH,

Aide-de-Camp.

OFFICER COMMISSARY CITY OF CHARLESTON,

August 31, 1863.

General JORDAN, Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: Some weeks since General Beauregard instructed me (verbally) not to furnish refugee tickets to male negroes for the purpose of leaving the city, which I have regarded.

The applications are now numerous, and I am informed many are leaving the city without these tickets.

I beg to be advised if the prohibition still continues against able bodied male negroes and mulattoes leaving the city.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. Y. TUPPER,

Agent.

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