MAYORS OFFICE, Houston, June 8, 1864.
Maj. Gen. J. B. MAGRUDER, Commanding District of Texas, &c.:
DEAR SIR: The board of aldermen of city of Houston, by resolutions passed at their last regular meeting, have instructed me to communicate to you the fact that the negroes and persons of color, some thirty in number, captured by the forces under your command from the enemy and considered as prisoners of war are now going at large within the city of Houston, mixing and associating with our slave population, contrary to the laws of the State of Texas and to the laws of the Confederate States; and they further instructed me to request you that these persons be ordered by you to be removed from our midst to work on the fortifications, or that they be turned over to the civil authorities and to be sent to the penitentiary under the State law. In complying with the wishes of the board of aldermen, I beg leave to remark that the same matter was laid before you by me in the beginning of this year, that an order was promptly issued from your headquarters ordering the negroes spoken of to be confined. Subsequently, however, that order was modified and partially revoked, and the Yankee negroes are now freely ambulating within our city. Numerous complaints of our best citizens have been made to the authorities, and it seems that the whole community is alarmed. The most evil influence is exerted by those negroes, who, most of them, are intelligent, shrewd, and capable to read and write, and try to obtain a mastery over our slave population. It is true a portion of those negroes are employed by the city and are guarded, but they are not under the exclusive control of the city. They are frequently sent for by officers to do special work, and so the city cannot be responsible for their conduct. Most of them, however, are employed as body servants to different officers, and thus enjoy the very best opportunity to obtain information and communicating the same to our negroes. General, the matter laid before you is of the greatest importance to the welfare not only of this city, but to the country at large, and I deem it my solemn duty to request you to give it your immediate attention. The board of aldermen do not desire anything else but that the negroes alluded to be restrained from associating with our home negroes. Whether they are made to work on the fortifications or be sent to the penitentiary does not concern them. They desire them placed in such position as the law provides and where they can exert no influence injurious to the best interests of this community. If you should desire any consultation on the subject with the city authorities, we will be happy to wait on you at such time as you may designate. I have the honor to remain, yours, very respectfully, WILLIAM ANDEIRS, Mayor.
HOUSTON, June 10, 1864.
His Honor WILLIAM ANDERS, Mayor, &c.:
I have the honor to reply to your communication of 8th instant in reference to the captured negroes now in Houston, and by direction of Maj. Gen. J. B. Magruder, commanding, &c., to say that they are prisoners of war. Some, whose conduct has not been conspicuously correct, are under strict guard, others are in charge of officers under surveillance, but of these latter none are to have any privileges except those who have behaved well. Some have been confined closely by the commanding general within a few days. He will give the subject his early attention and make such arrangements as will prevent any injury to the slaves of this city. It is entirely beyond the power of the city and State authorities to say how, where, or on what work these negroes shall be employed, or in what manner the commanding general may treat prisoners of war so long as he does not violate the laws of the city or State. It is, in the estimation of the commanding general, gratuitous on the part of the city authorities to request him to put prisoners of war to work on the fortifications, and whether they do anything for officers or not, since there is no State or municipal law on the subject, and does not come properly within the province of the city authorities to comment upon, he is the sole judge of such service. E. P. TURNER, Assistant Adjutant- General.
Black POWs allowed to walk the streets of Houston? Now, that's not what's been taught. I love the "pound sand" reply.