Maj Gen Curtis
My Appointment as Provost Marshal was received last night there was immense excitement here in regard to four Negroes confined in the jail here their owners had taken out a writ before a Justice of the Peace under the old civil law of the state and would taken or would have attempted to take them across the river the citizens had turned out and would have broken open the jail and freed the Negroes but for your timely dispatch I upon the receipt of the dispatch issued an order and they were turned loose by the Dept Sheriff they are here in the immediate Neighborhood will in all probability go to work for Union men by the month I will state my reasons for turning them loose
- They the Negroes had come within the lines of the United States Army a camp of the 4th Reg Mo Vol stationed at Gasconade bridge & placed themselves under the protection of Capt Mundweller Comdg Post he Capt Mundwiller not having rations enough to feed them and no work for them ordered them to go into the county and get work that no one could interfered with them Their having placed themselves under the protection of the United States Army officers were entitled to such protection that is (if I understand the law of Congress) that US Officers can return fugitives to their owners unless the fugitives he claimed are willing to go of their own free will such was not the case they were will to go I have questioned them myself and upon these facts I ordered their release
The Owners of said Slaves are to the best of my knowledge are first Hall Talbot who owns two of them has always classed as Secession and upon the ordering of the Militia to enroll he left and went to Canada or Europe. Mr. Martin who claims to own one of them is represented to me as being Secession Sympathizer and the other belongs to Mrs. Clark who is accused of being in the same class as the last one but of that I have no certain knowledge only the opinions of good Union men, these are some of the reasons governing me and also your letter to Mr. F.A. Nitchy please inform me if I will be sustained din what I have done and can there be anything done to give these fugitives from slavery that belong to disloyal men”
PS please excuse all errors in writing and poorness of same as I am suffering under severe cold and neuralgia in head
C C Manwaring
C.C. Manwaring to Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis, November 26, 1862, in Ira Berlin, Barbara J. Fields, Thavolia Glymph, Joseph P. Reidy, and Leslie S. Rowland (eds.), Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985-2013) series 1, vol. 1, book 1, 439-440. Original in RG 393, entry 2593, box 6, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC.