Military Governor of North Carolina to the Commander of the
Department of North Carolina
New Berne [N.C.] Jany
General, I have just received a letter from Edenton,
of date the 6th Inst. informing that a band of negroes
& Soldiers, “armed,” visited the premises
of a Mrs Page of that town, and carried away Several negroes, and
a parcel of bedding & other furniture: that they were very
insolent in their conduct and threatened to have the town shelled
if they were interfered with.
My correspondent says that they came, as he heard, from on
board the Ocean Wave:
A negro man, formerly living on the plantation of the
venerable James C. Johnston, named “Matthew” was the
person commanding the party
This negro, is one of desperate character.
The Citizens of Edenton beg your protection from outrages of
this Kind: they desire to know whether it can be afforded them,
or must they take redress into their own hands?
I have written and informed my correspondent–a gentleman
of the highest character–that I would call your attention
to this case, & have no doubt you will, as heretofore, take
effectual steps to protect peacable citizens and punish such
outrages. I have the honor to be &c
Mil. Gov. Edw Stanly to Major Genl. Foster, 20 Jan. 1863, N-41 1863, Letters Received, series 3238, Department of NC & 18th
Army Corps, U.S. Army Continental Commands, Record Group 393 Pt. 1, National Archives. Enclosed is a deposition, undated and unsigned but apparently by one of the black participants in the raid, which indicated that the former slaves who had returned for their families and
property were working as stewards on the Ocean Wave
or as servants for Union officers who approved the raid. Stanly had earlier complained that Confederate soldiers were seizing and carrying off large numbers of slaves. “This robbery takes civilized beings from their families and homes; it deprives a kind master of his property and punishes slaves for their fidelity to him.” “This outrage,” he added, “has not the defense attempted for the African Slave trade–that it brought uncivilized
beings under the influence of Christianity and Civilization.” (Milty. Govnr. Edwd. Stanley to Maj. Genl.
Foster, 29 Dec. 1862, F-183 1862, Letters Received, series 3238, Department of NC, Record Group 393 Pt. 1, National Archives.)
Published in The Destruction of Slavery, pp.
87–88, and in Free at Last, p. 98.