Annapolis [Md.], November 18 1861
My Dear Sir A circumstance occurred at one of the Camps in the vicinity of Annapolis, viz. the Massachusetts 25th Regiment, to day, that, calls forth this communication.
The facts, I briefly, but, correctly narrate. I was called on by a Mr Tucker of this (Anne Arundel) County, who stated that he had a servant, that had left him, and taken refuge in the Encampment of the 25th Regt. from Mass, that he had repaired to the ground so occupied, and that Col Upton, Commanding, at first refused, afterward, said to him go through and see if your man is here, He proceeded, but a short distance, when he Tucker was surrounded by quite a number, menaced him, and, applied opprobious Epithets; such as Negro stealer, Negro catchers, and that the negro was better than he, the master was &c &c until he was obliged to leave the ground, without looking after his servant. Now whilst in this there is amusement, I must say there was much to provoke, and altho I care little for what becomes of the negroes, yet these things produce bad feeling and bad effect. upon the representation of this case. I wrote to Col Upton, and at same time sent for Col Morse Commanding the 21st Mass. Regt. and here I discovered the necessity of obtrudeing a little upon your closely occupied time, and patience; Genl Burnside was not here (gone to N.Y) all here, were then equal in grade (Colns) and none to Issue orders, or command supremely. the result is, the case stands open. Tucker has gone home much fretted, and his servant, at large. now a word as to how these things work; we all delighted with Genl Dix, Proclamation, issued for the E. S. of Virginia;1 recd, this morning per mail; but taken quite aback this evening, by the occurrence at Camp Hicks (I understand it is calld) in regard to this servant and his master, with those offering insult–
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you are fully aware sir of the difficulty we have had in Md. things are working right now. let us have no stumbling blocks placed in our way– I care nothing for the Devlish Nigger difficulty, I desire to save the union, and will cooperate with the Administration in everything tending to that important result, that is proper. I know the difficulties surrounding us, and do not wish to mingle and mix up too much with the main design.
I labored to have Md roll up a majority, that would smother secessionism. We have given them a heavy dose. I hope to strike them another blow by an early convocation of the Legislature of our state, and if we can but keep away outside Issues, and all things foreign from the, one, true, great design of all Patriots, we shall save the union– I will attend early to your Telegram recd this evening. I have the Honor to be with great respect yr obt Servant
Tho. H. Hicks
Tho. H. Hicks to Hon. S. Cameron, 18 Nov. 1861, M-595 1861, Letters Received, Secretary of War, Record Group 107, National Archives.
1. On November 13, 1861, General John A. Dix, who was about to invade the Eastern Shore of Virginia, had assured residents of the region that his army would threaten “no rights of person or property,” and that their laws, institutions, and customs would be “scrupulously respected.” (The Destruction of Slavery, pp. 79–80.)
Published in The Destruction of Slavery, pp. 352–53, and in Free at Last, pp. 15–17.