|Mellen to Chase, September 26, 1862(above).|
Copy in hand of Jacob W. Schuckers. Chase Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania (micro 23:0211).
Washington, Octo. 4, 1862.
I have read with great attention both your letters, and have had some conversation with the Secretary of War in relation to them.1 He is extremely desirous, and so am I, that you should be strengthened so as to enable you to accomplish important results; and I trust the time is not distant when this will be done.
You will pardon me if I frankly say that I think you err in desiring to come North with the best troops of the Department. All our wishes point exactly the other way. In my judgment, our successes for the next three months must be chiefly on the Coasts of the Atlantic and the Gulf, and they must be achieved in connection with an honest and thorough execution of the Confiscation Law, and a wise system for the military and civic employment of the loyal black population.
I have read attentively what you say on the subject of prejudice in the Army against the military employment of the blacks. It may not be wise altogether to disregard it. Perhaps the idea which you suggest of a separate establishment on one of the Islands for the military organization of these natives of South Carolina, may be expedient; but I am very sure that a great deal may be done, by firm and judicious speech and action, to allay if not entirely remove this prejudice. It will not do to give it free course and yield to it a passive submission. The demoralization thus produced would be as much to be regretted as any that could be caused by the most unrestricted employment of the blacks.
It is not true, as some allege, that any disproportionate care has been shown towards the blacks. It is a mean spirit which dictates such expressions. The blacks have been employed as labourers at the most meagre of all possible compensations. Those who were organized into