November 16, 1862: What to do with all these contrabands?

A group of "contrabands"

As Grant moves south from Memphis, he finds that he’s got more freed slaves than he knows what to do with. Halleck tells him to put them to work for the Union, and take food for them from the rebels.

Official Record


H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief.

LA GRANGE, November 15, 1862.
Citizens south of us are leaving their homes, and negroes coming in by wagon loads. What will I do with them? I am now having all the cotton still standing out picked by them.

U. S. GRANT,
Major-General.

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General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.
WAR DEPARTMENT,
Washington, November 16, 1862.
Major-General GRANT, La Grange, Tenn.:

The Secretary of War directs that you employ the refugee negroes as teamsters, laborers, &c., so far as you have use for them,in the quar-
termaster’s department on forts, railroads, &c.; also in picking and removing cotton, on account of the Government. So far as possible, subsist then and your army on the rebel inhabitants of Mississippi.

H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief.

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