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Confederate Officers Letters

These are letters written by Confederates that deal with the issue of Negroes employed by the Confederate States of America. In these letters proof will be found that clearly demonstrates the Negroes received food, clothing, medical treatment, and wages from the Confederate government. In some letters numbers will be found, however there is no way to determine if these numbers are duplications of other names and numbers. If you can offer some solid proof these numbers are duplicated we will adjust the numbers per your sources.

Not all letters that we found are transcribed, and not all letters are transcribed in their entirety.

Words are spelled as they are written. Letters are posted in order as they are transcribed, when possible and when feasible, dates may be used to determine order. Some words are shown in ( ), these we have inserted to identify subject. Words shown as (?) are words we are unsure of, -------represents section(s) not transcribed.

(To) Capt. T. Heerman (Theodore)
Adjt. Engs.

------ Without physician & without medicine & without hospital furniture or appliances at both these stations, the Negros are dying on our hands. I made application to Dr. Berrien (James Hunter) and posted the same to Dr. Ganahl (Charles) for an assistant surgeon for proper medicine for laboratory. The assistant surgeon promised by (Dr. Baldwin with a supply of medicines) has not yet been heard from.
Very respectfully
C. G. Forshey (Caleb)
Surgeon in Charge of works
Sabine River, Texas

(Transcriber George Purvis)

Office Chief Commissary for Mississippi.
Meridian December 17, 1864

I have the honor to report (?) that in view of the necessity for providing the Negro employees of this department with suitable winter clothing, I applied to the Chief Quarter Master for such articles as were absolutely indispensible for their health and comfort. My application to obtain them upon requisition having totally failed I have been compelled to rely upon my own resources as I can (?)Provide the articles by purchases and exchange of wool. Major Mims Chief Q.M. for Missi. Has consented to issue upon these terms a portion of what we need requiring me to obtain an order from the Q. M. General to cover the issues made as well as any further quantity we may need.
??????? he proposes to receive goods in the Q. M. department and have them made up.

Compelled to rely on our own resources and to provide means to sustain the efficiency of this dept. independent of the aid I should legitimately be furnished by other departments, I respectfully request, Colonel, your sanctions and authority to proceed by purchase and by appropriation of the wool and hides collected by my officers , whatever

(The page ends here, cannot locate page 2. Transcriber George Purvis)

Engineer Office
Galveston, Dec. 19, 1863

I would respectfully suggest as there are a large number of sick Negros at this post and in different departments that a general Negro hospital be established under the supervision of Dr. Nagle (James) the post surgeon as the labor and expense of the Engineer Hospital is entirely borne by this department and suitable medical allowances cannot be obtained except through private ------ it would relieve this department of this labor and expense while under the skillful management of Dr. Nagle It would accommodate all of the sick Negros to the advantage of public service. I would respectfully request that an order be issued to Dr. Nagle Post Surgeon to do the same.

I am ------- --------
Very Respectfully,
V. Sulakowski,

To Col. A. T. Rainey

(Transcriber George Purvis)

The Confederate States of America
To Greenville Dowell

For: medical services as physician to Negro Hospital
Aug. 1st to Sept 30 two months at $100 a month --------------------------- $200

I certify the above account is correct and just, that services were rendered as stated and they were necessary for
The Engineer Service at Galveston Texas
M. G. Howe
Capt. Engr in charge

V. Sulakowski,

Engineer in Charge

Received at Galveston the 30th day of September, 1863

(Transcriber George Purvis)

Engineer Office Galveston June 1st 1863

The Negro force on the Galveston Island on the last of May consists ..
Negros working on fortifications, detailed on steamboats, obstructions, wharves ---481
Cooks and sick --- 125

Total 606

V. Sulakowski,
Chief Engineer

(Transcriber George Purvis)

This letter is very hard to read due the handwriting. I believe that service is supposed to be location however I just cannot determine what the spelling of the words may be and will leave that area blank. Date may be date of death.

April 17, 1863

Report of deaths in Negro Hospital Galveston from Jan. 16 to Feb 17 ------------

Name of Negro (?) Name of Owner (?)[Service Dates
Lee --- Col. H. Bass ---- Feb. 3
Dave (?) --- Mrs. Champion --- Feb. 3
Jeff ------------ Col. H. Bass ----------------- Feb 8.
Frank ---- Mrs. D. Vann ------------ Feb. 7
Jacob ---- Col. Wrighton ---------- Feb 7
Goodson (?) ---- D. Miles ---------- Feb. 8
Washington ---- “ “ “ --------------- Feb. 9
Dick ----- “ “ “ Feb 12
Washington ----- Gaston Banks --------- Feb 8
Anthony ----- Mr. Clark ----------- Feb 13
Tobe ---- Mrs. Mathews------------ Feb 14
Moses (?) ---- D. Miles ----------- Feb. 18
???????? ----- J. B. Banks ------------- Feb 7


Greenville Dowell

(Transcriber George Purvis)

The unit mentioned in these letters has been identified as the 20th Texas Volunteer Infantry. Additional note provided by David Upton.

District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, Maj. Gen. J. B. Magruder, C. S. Army, commanding.

20th Texas, Col. H. M. Elmore

1st Texas Heavy Art. Nine companies, Col. J.J. Cook

Engineer Troops, Capt. M. G. Fox (probably who the hospital was for?)

Texas Battery, Capt. P. Fox

4th Texas State Cavalry, ten companies, Col. J. B. Johnson

Texas State Infantry battalion, Maj. Thomas B. Stubbs

Series 1, Vol. 26 part 2, page 312

HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT, Brig. Gen. P. O. HEBERT, Shreveport, La., October 14, 1863.

Commanding Sub-District of Louisiana:

GENERAL: I am instructed by the lieutenant-general commanding to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of September 17, relative to the organization into the military service of the Confederacy of able-bodied Negro men. The commanding general thanks you for the suggestion, and directs me to say that the subject had before been brought to his attention, and is now under consideration. The adoption of the measure, however, is totally at variance with the policy of the Government, and he is compelled to defer any action in the matter till the Legislatures of the States take it up and authorize such a course. The difficulty of getting arms is now our greatest trouble. The blockading fleets of the United States and France capture every vessel that attempts to bring munitions of war into the Rio Grande, and it is impossible at present to arm the troops already in the field in this department.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. CUNNINGHAM, -Lieutenant, and Aide-de- Camp.

Provision return for Negro Teamsters of the 20th T.V.I. for 11 days commencing on the 21st day of May 1864 and ending on the 31st day of May 1864

No of men ---- 10
Number of days --- 11
Number of Rations – 110
I certify the above return is correct and just and that all the Negros for whom provisions are required are actually present.

H. M. Elmore Sidney Martin
Col Commanding Capt A. Q. M.

The A. C. S. will issue on the above return

(Transcriber George Purvis)

I believe this is a different group of men and different unit than mentioned above

Provisions for eleven Negros employed in the Quartermaster Department, Cooks Regt., Heavy Artillery at Galveston Texas for 10 days commencing the 11 day of May, 1864 and ending on the 20th day of May 1864.

Number of men ---11
Number of days ----- 10
Number of rations –165
I certify the above return is correct
Jho. H. Manley PP Brotherson
Lt. Col. Capt. AQM
Cooks Regt

The ACS will issue ----- to the above return.

(Transcriber George Purvis)

This letter is some 30 pages long and discusses supplies. I only used a portion of this letter to demonstrate that the Negros were part of the Confederate government’s military makeup and were maintained by the Confederate government.

Office of the AQM, Huston
Feb. 29, 1864

Page 4---- statement of number of troops of the line(?), state troops, Gun boat service, officers, and Labor Bureau Negros, in the coming six months --------

Page 9 ----Negros of the Labor Bureau 3,000

E. C. Wharton
Capt AQM

(Transcriber George Purvis)


I respectfully request that Maj. E.C. Wharton, Q. mast. Be specifically required (?) to furnish two hundred suits including shoes for the Negros working at this place as that many are so destitute of clothing as to be without shirts or pants.

Very respectfully your obedient servant
V. Sulakowski

Chief Eng.

E.P. Turner
AAG Sabine pass.

(Transcriber George Purvis)

Engineering Office Sabine City Sept 22, 1863
Engineer Office
Galveston, Jan, 1864(?)

I have the honor to report that the works of defenses on the Island of Galveston under construction are as follows.
Reconstruction of Virginia Point constructing bomb proofs, magazines, & strengthening the embankments.
Redoubt No. 3 (at the mouth of buffalo Bayou) is under construction and it will be in fighting order in about 8 days, the finishing it off will require more time.
Land Hills are in the process of leveling from McKinney’s Bayou towards South Battery –

There are 466 Negroes in the employ of the Engineering Department at this point which are employed as follows.

Virginia Point Fort --- 193
Redoubt No. 3 --- 100
Leveling Sand hills ---- 60
Pile driving --- 10
Teamsters --- 11
Steamboats Lonestar, Stell and San Antonio --- 37

Cutting wood and making Fascines in Trinity River – 25
Blacksmith shops 6
Hauling water and provisions ---6
Sick --- 80
Cooks and Nurses --- 41

Total –466

To Capt. T. Heerman I am very respectfully your Ob. servant
Adj. V. Sulakowski,
Eng. Department. Huston Chief Eng.

(Transcriber George Purvis)

4,306 11/12/11