HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH


Hilton Head, Port Royal, S.C., April 25, 1863

Hon. E.M. Stanton,
Secretary of War, Washington:

SIR: I have the honor to inclose you a copy of a letter to Jefferson Davis.

Hoping it will meet your approval, I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient,

D. HUNTER,
Major-General.


[Inclosure]

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH

Hilton Head, S.C., April 23, 1863
JEFFERSON DAVIS, Richmond, Va.:

The United States flag must protect all its defenders, white, black, or yellow. several negroes in the employ of the Government in the Western Department have been cruelly murdered by your authorities and others sold into slavery. Each outrage of this kind against the laws of war and humanity which may take place in this department shall be followed by the immediate execution of the rebel of highest rank in my possession. Man for man, these executions will certainly take place for every one sold into slavery worse than death. On your authorities will rest the responsibility of having inaugurated this barbarous policy, and you will be held responsible in this world and in the world to come for all the blood thus shed.

In the month of August last you declared all those engaged in arming the negroes to fight for their country to be felons, and directed the immediate execution of all such as should be captured. I have given you long enough to reflect on your folly. I now give you notice that unless this order is immediately revoked I will at once cause the execution of every rebel officer and every rebel slaveholder in my possession. This sad state of things may be kindly ordered by an all-wise Providence to induce the good people of the North to act earnestly and to realize that they are at war. Thousands of lives may thus be saved.

The poor negro in fighting for liberty in its truest sense, and Mr. Jefferson has beautifully said, "In such a war there is no attribute of the Almighty which will induce him to fight on the side of the oppressor."

You say you are fighting for liberty. Yes, you are fighting for liberty -- liberty to keep 4,000,000 of your fellow-beings in ignorance and degradation; liberty to separate parents and children, husband and wife, brother and sister; liberty to steal the products of their labor, exacted with many a cruel lash and bitter tear; liberty to seduce their wives and daughters, and to sell your own children into bondage; liberty to kill these children with impunity, when the murder cannot be proven by one of pure white blood. This is the kind of liberty - the liberty to do wrong - which Satan, chief of the fallen angels, was contending for when he was cast into hell.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

D. HUNTER
Major-General, Commanding


SEE GENERAL ORDERS NUMBER 60 - CSA

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