David Hunter had overstepped his authority repeatedly on the issue of freeing and arming slaves, and the Union government still wasn’t ready for his ideas. Here he regretfully announces the disbanding of a regiment of freedmen in South Carolina. It would not be long before the Federal commander would sing a different tune.
From the Official Record:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, Port Royal, S. C., August 10, 1862.
Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: I am happy to be able to report to you that notwithstanding the head of the weather the health of the troops under my command continues as good as usual. Failing to receive authority to muster the First Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers into the service of the United States, I have disbanded them. I had hoped that not only would this regiment have been accepted, but that many similar ones would have been authorized to fill up the decimated ranks of the army and afford the aid of which the cause seems now so much in need; but having failed to receive the authority which I expected I have deemed it best to discontinue the organization.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,