Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Send Contrabands to Haiti

This entry is from The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 3, vol 1, Part 1 (Union Letters, Orders, Reports)

James Redpath, was journalist who had visited Haiti in 1860 in his capacity as a reporter. Later he served as director of Haiti's campaign to attract free black emigrants from the United States and Canada.  But the idea never really took off, and after the war, Redpath gave up on the idea. 

Here he writes a letter to the Secretary of War, Simon Cameron, suggesting Haiti as a partial solution to the contraband problem caused by the onset of the war.

HAYTIAN BUREAU OF EMIGRATION, Numbers 8 Washington Building, 221 Washington Street, Boston, June 1, 1861.
Honorable SIMON CAMERON,  Secretary of War of the United States:
SIR: I notice that since the decision of your Department that "the slaves held by rebels who may seek protection in our camps are to be
reported as contraband articles of war" has been published, a great number of negroes have flocked to the fortresses, forts, and war headquarters of our troops now stationed in the rebellion States. Since the number of these contraband articles will soon become too great to be employed in the labors of entrenching, &c., and must occasion great embarrassment to the troops, I take the liberty of making two suggestions to you, and of offering at the same time to carry them out without expense for my personal services to the Government of the United States:

First. The establishment of a central station, to which all living contraband articles (of a black and colored complexion), who may not be needed by the regiments from whom they seek protection, shall be sent until the war is over, or until the Cabinet may decide what final disposition to make of them.

Second. The shipment of all such said articles to Hayti as by the conduct of their former holders, or the decision of the Cabinet, may be declared free to the Republic of Hayti.
As a citizen of the United States I offer to superintend free of charge such a central station as is here recommended. As the agent of the Government of Hayti I offer to provide every negro whom you may confiscate with a comfortable home and a farm in Hayti.

Respectfully submitted.
James Redpath, from

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