Officer in a Missouri Black Regiment to the Superintendent of the Organization of Missouri Black Troops

Benton Barracks Mo  Feb 1st 1864

Sir,  Complaint has been made to me, by Martin Patterson, of Co. “H,” 2d Missouri Vols of A[frican]. D[escent]. that he has direct and reliable information from home that his family is receiving ill treatment from James Patterson their master, of Fayette, Howard Co. Mo

He says, that his wife is compelled to do out door work,–such as chop wood, husk corn &c. and that one of his children has been suffered to freeze, and has sinc died

Further complaint has been made by Wm Brooks that his wife and children are receiving ill treatment from Jack Sutter their master, of Fayette, Howard Co. Mo.  He says that they are required to do the same work that he formerly had to do, such as chopping wood, splitting rails &c

The said Martin Patterson and Wm Brooks request that permission be granted to remove their families to Jefferson City   Yours Respectfuly

William P Deming

1st Lieut. William P Deming to Brig. Genl. Pile, 1 Feb. 1864, enclosed in Brig. Genl. Wm. A. Pile to Maj. O. D. Greene, 11 Feb. 1864, P-91 1864, Letters Received, series 2593, Department of the Missouri, U.S. Army Continental Commands, Record Group 393 Pt. 1, National Archives.

Published in The Black Military Experience, pp. 242–43, in Free at Last, p. 362, and in Families and Freedom, p. 99.