The Cruel Yankee Enemy
The writer refers below to the Negro troops enlisted by Massachusetts, black men who were relentlessly pursued so its white citizens could avoid service in the war of emancipation. The radical governor of that State, John Andrew, first sent recruiting agents with bonus money to Philadelphia and Canada looking for free-blacks to enlist, then his agents descended upon occupied-South Carolina in search of captured slaves to force into the military under the State quota of troops.
The general insurrection of slaves suggested in the captured letter reminds one of Thomas Jefferson’s charge against George III, and the actions of Lord Dunmore of Virginia: "he has incited treasonable insurrections of our fellow citizens with the allurements of forfeiture and confiscation of our property."
Bernhard Thuersam, Executive Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Post Office Box 328
Wilmington, NC 28402
The Cruel Yankee Enemy:
June 7 (1863). Sunday (Diary entry):
"From every side evidences of the barbarity, savageness, and insolent assumption of the Yankee government in the policy on which they have resolved in the conduct of the war, thicken. The policy fully disclosed is to trample out all opposition in all places which come into their possession, even if it leads to a deportation of the whole population. They have Negro regiments in every military department except Hooker’s, mostly enrolled in the South. Massachusetts (Boston) with characteristic regard for consistency, principle, and thrift is sending her (non-resident) Negroes to the wars to be killed off, a clear gain every way.
A letter (circular) was captured on a vessel taken on the Neuse (N.C.) some days ago, addressed to General (John G.) Foster by (Augustus S. Montgomery) dated Washington City, which proposed a plan for organizing a general insurrection on August 4 next throughout the Confederate States to be supported by United States armies. The slaves were to be informed through the contrabands, and the circular was to be passed from one military commander to another, each writing below, without his signature, the word "approved" so that the friends of the enterprise might know how far it had the support of the military authorities, and that they might each be aware that it was generally known and approved. Copies of this were sent by (North Carolina) Governor Vance to the War Department and to General Lee. This diabolism was not authenticated by any government authority, but bore evidences of having the countenance of the United States Government.
There is nothing which they suppose tends to the destruction of the South which they are not prompt to embrace….The Earth contains no race so lost to every sentiment of manliness, honor, faith or humanity, at once so servile and so tyrannical, so mean and so cruel, such willing slaves, and so bent on destroying the independence and existence of their enemy."
(Inside the Confederate Government, The Diary of Robert Garlick Hill Kean, LSU Press, 1993, pp. 69-71)