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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

Contrabands - LA 1862

November 20, 1862
The New York Herald


It appears that among the captures made by the late
successful expedition down the Bayou La Fourche, were four
hundred wagonloads of negroes - or say four thousand
contrabands, allowing ten to each wagon. The rebels had been
gathering them up to carry them farther into the interior, or
perhaps to Texas, or perhaps with the intention of slipping
them over to Cuba. At all events, with the numerous gangs of
negroes which had found their way to his lines, Gen. Weitzel,
with these reinforcements of four hundred wagonloads, left by
the retreating enemy, was overwhelmed with Africans. What was
he to do with them? He wrote to Gen. Butler to advise and
relieve him.

In response, Gen. Butler has issued his instructions; but
we have yet to learn what they are. He has probably recommended
that they be turned over as free laborers to the loyal Union
planters of the neighborhood, or something of that sort. What
else, under the present laws of Congress, is to be done with
these cumbersome legions of slaves, as they continue to pour
into the lines of our advancing armies, we cannot divine.
President Lincoln, in view of his emancipation proclamation,
will realize the necessity of some special recommendations on
the subject in his annual message. If the Northern States will
not have these Southern negroes, if they are not wanted in the
army, and if the colonization scheme has already collapsed,
they must, under some new system, be retained where they are
found, or be turned adrift to take their chance. We turn them
over to the special attention of President Lincoln.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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