Head Quarters Dist S. E. Mo|
Cairo Sept 21st 1861|
|GENERAL L. THOMAS|
|ADJT GENL U. S. A.|
|WASHINGTON D. C.|
Complaint has just been lodged with me by a Mr Wm. W. Howell of Jackson Missouri that on or about the 8th day of the present month he lost a negro Boy, said to have been carried off by some of the members of the 19th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers
The 19th is now in or about Washington City and I respectfully refer the matterfor investigation
The Boy is discribed as being 21 years ef age old full 6 feet high, of dark copper color, foot remarkably large, and he answers to the name of Will.
Your obt Servant
U. S. GRANT
Brig Gen Com
Copies, DLC-USG, V, 4, 5, 7, 8, 78; DNA, RG 393, USG Hd. Qrs. Correspondence. Although the fugitive slave laws remained in force during the early part of the Civil War, the House of Representatives, on July 9, 1861, resolved "That in the judgment of this House it is no part of the duty of the soldiers of the United States to capture and return fugitive slaves." O. R., II, i, 759. Amid considerable uncertainty, army officers adopted a variety of methods for dealing with fugitive slaves. Ibid., pp. 750-818 passim.
On Sept. 28, 1st Lt. Clark B. Lagow wrote to Col. C. Carroll Marsh. "You will deliver at once to J D McFarland a Negro Boy named 'John' brought from Jackson Mo" Copies, DLC-USG, V, 2, 77; DNA, RG 393, USG Letters Sent. On Oct. 26, James D. McFarland of Cape Girardeau wrote to USG transmitting "statements and depositions in relation to a negro boy taken from him by 20th Ill. Inf. Vols." DLC-USG, V, 10; DNA, RG 393, USG Register of Letters Received.