Battle Creek [Mich.] Decr 5th 61
Freind Camron a Fugitive from Tenesee a few nights Since on his way to Canada Informed me that it is the Settled Intention of the Rebels to Ere Long Arm the Slaves throughout the Entier South put them in the front Ranks to Receive the fier & then Storm the Federal works in all points. he Sais its Talked of in all the Rebel Familys. Declaring that Every Slave Shall first be Butchered before the Rebels will give up he Sais that Tens of Thousands of Slaves are in the greatest Alarm their masters telling them that our officers & Army will Sell them to Cuba & that 5 Slaves that was Sent over from Kentuckey by our Federal Troops Say that the ware Badly Treated by our officers altho the offered to work or Fight for the Government. but ware told to Clear out that the officers wanted no D—D Niggers about them &c &c & ware actually Driven over to their old Homes. he Sais too that there is not a Slave South but would Take up arms for our Troopes if the Could, but the Treatment the Receive has almost Sett them Crasy. the Expected Friends of us in Stead of Enemys the are Comeing through here Constantly on their way to Canada. now what a picture is this. is our Relatives to be Butcherd as the Are & we to add fuel to the Flames of the Rebels to Continue the Destruction. oh Can it be that this Government is to Crush 4000000 of Human beings. to uphold the most Blood Thirsty Sett of Tyrants on Earth. your Document1 is greatly approved of, and if the Administration Dont put a Stop to the Ill Treatment of the Slaves by our Army I greally fear that we will be the Loosers thereby– I think that matter Cannot be Seen to, to Soon for I am Satisfyed that the Rebels will Resort to any Attrocious acts to Carry their points– Very Truly Yours
H. Willis to Freind Camron, 5 Dec. 1861, W-443 1861, Letters Received, Office of the Secretary of War, Record Group 107, National Archives.
1. Secretary of War Simon Cameron's controversial annual report of December 1, 1861, which advocated employing slaves on behalf of the Union war effort–including arming them for military service–and freeing all those so employed. President Abraham Lincoln forced Cameron to delete the recommendation to arm and free slaves. (Edward McPherson, The Political History of the United States of America, during the Great Rebellion, 2nd ed. [Washington, 1865], p. 249.)