Order by the Commander of the Department of Virginia

Fort Monroe [Va.]. November 1st 1861

General Orders No 34  The following pay and allowances will constitute the valuation of the labor of the Contrabands at work in the Engineer, Ordnance, Quartermaster, Commissary, and Medical Departments at this post to be paid as hereinafter mentioned,

Class 1st  Negro men over 18 years of age and able-bodied ten dollars per month, one Ration and the necessary amount of Clothing,

Class 2nd. Negro boys from 12 to 18 years of age and sickly and infirm negro men, five (5) per month, one ration and the necessary amount of Clothing,

The Quartermaster will furnish all the Clothing.  The departments employing these men, will furnish the subsistence specified above, and as an incentive to good behaviour, (to be witheld at the discretion, of the Chiefs of the departments, respectively) each individual of the 1s Class, will receive, two (2) dollars per month; and each individual of the 2nd Class one (1) dollar per month for their own use.  The remainder of the money valuation of their labor, will be turned over to the Quartermaster, who will deduct from it the cost of the Clothing issued to them,  the balance will constitute a fund to be expended by the Quartermaster under the direction of the Commanding Officer of the department for the support of the women and children, and those that are unable to work,

For any unusal amount of labor performed they may recieve extra pay, varying in amount from (50) fifty cents to one (1) dollar, this to be paid by the departments, employing them, to the men themselves, and to be for their own use.

Should any man be prevented from working on account of sickness for six consecutive days, or ten days in any one month, one half of the money valuation will be paid,  For being prevented from laboring for a longer period than ten days in any one month all pay and allowances cease,  By command of Maj Genl Wool

General Orders No. 34, Head Quarters Dept. of Va. &c, 1 Nov. 1861, vol. –/4 VaNc, pp. 69–70, General Orders Issued, series 5078, Department of VA & 7th Army Corps, U. S. Army Continental Commands, Record Group 393 Pt. 1, National Archives. Two weeks earlier, General Wool had issued a similar order with respect to former slaves employed as personal servants. Special Order 72, issued on October 14, had provided that “[a]ll colored persons called contrabands employed as servants by officers and others ” at Fortress Monroe, Camp Hamilton, and Camp Butler would receive subsistence, plus wages of at least $8 per month for men and $4 per month for women; however, rather than being paid to the laborers themselves, the wages, minus the cost of clothing, were to be turned over to the chief quartermaster of the department “to create a fund for the support of those contrabands who are unable to work for their own support.” (The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 128 vols. [Washington, 1880–1901], series 2, vol. 1, p. 774.)

Published in The Wartime Genesis of Free Labor: The Upper South, pp. 111–12, and in Free at Last, pp. 168–69.