Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11, 1863: Feeding destitute rebels

William T. Sherman
On this day 150 years ago, Union Major General William Tecumseh Sherman ordered the distribution of food to destitute rebels without requiring them to take a loyalty oath.
SPECIAL ORDERS, HDQRS. SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,

Numbers 219. Memphis, Tenn., September 11, 1863.

General ASBOTH:

General Grant prefers not to raise the question of the oath of allegiance now. Indeed, he will not permit any one in Mississippi to take it. Provisions are issued as a pure charity to prevent suffering just as we would to the Indians on the frontier or to shipwrecked people. As representatives of the United States we cannot permit people to perish for want of food if we have any, and the fewer conditions imposed the purer the charity; only satisfy yourself that the people are in real want and cannot afford to buy. Send contrabands to provost-marshal in Vicksburg.

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General.

1 comment:

Tim Bode said...

It appears to me that this is not Special Orders, No. 219, which were issued by Henry Binmore by order of Maj. Gen. S. A. Hurlbut at Memphis, Tennessee, concerning Brig. Gen. T. W. Sweeny. It is, rather, merely communication from Sherman to Asboth (http://books.google.com/books?id=79YUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA527).