June 9, 1862: Congress investigates Hunter arming slaves

Gen. David Hunter

As we’ve seen, David Hunter already had gotten himself in a bit of hot water by acts of unilateral abolition at Fort Pulaski. Lincoln revoked Hunter’s emancipation proclamation in Georgia. Here we see Congress looking into reports that Hunter had freed slaves in South Carolina and armed them.

From the Official Record:

Resolution adopted by the House of Representatives June 9, 1862.

Resolved, That the Secretary of War be directed to inform this House if General Hunter of their Department of South Carolina has organized a regiment of South Carolina volunteers for the defense of the Union composed of black men (fugitive slaves) and appointed the colonel and other officers to command them.

Second. Was he authorized by the Department to organize and muster into the Army of the United States as soldiers the fugitive or captive slaves?

Third. Has he been furnished with clothing, uniforms, &c., for such force?

Fourth. Has he been furnished by order of the Deaprtment of War with arms to be placed in the hands of these slaves?

FIFTH. To report any orders given said Hunter and correspondence between him and the Department.

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