Military Governor of North Carolina to the Commander of the Department of North Carolina

New Berne [N.C.]  Jany 20th 1863

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

Edw Stanly

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.