Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gen. Boyle's General Orders No. 41

General Orders No. 41 was made by Gen. Jeremiah T. Boyle on August 10, 1863, and was issued from Louisville. It sought to impress African Americans to build military roads for the army.  I first ran into General Orders No. 41, while doing research on slavery advertisements, when I found the below notice informing owners of how they could apply for compensation for the service of their enslaved people.  I found the order interesting to read so I am posting it in full:

General Orders No. 41
I. The construction of military roads in the State being a necessity, by the order of the Major General commanding the department [Ambrose E. Burnside], six thousand laborers from the negro population of the country through which the roads pass will be impressed.

II. The negro laborers will be impressed first from the following counties: Harrison, Bourbon, Scott, Clarke [sic], Fayette, Woodford, Jessamine, Mercer, Boyle, Garrard, Lincoln, Marion, Washington, and Nelson.

III. Male negroes from the ages of sixteen to forty-five both inclusive, are subject to this impressment.

IV. In order that the impressment may not hinder and materially injure the cultivation of and the harvesting and gathering the crops for the subsistence of the country, it is ordered that when a citizen has but one male negro laborer he will not be impressed under this order. In case a person has more than one and less than four, one is to be impressed. In case a person has four male laborers and over, one-third of them are impressed by this order.

V. Brig. Gen. S. S. Fry [pictured above] is charged with the execution of this order, and is directed to appoint officers from the 1st Division of the 23d Army Corps to assist him, and to employ citizens to take charge of said negro laborers.

VI. The negroes hereby impressed are required to be delivered by the owners at the points to be designated by the 20th August inst[ant], or at such time thereafter as Brig. Gen. S. S. Fry shall appoint officers or persons to take charge of them. Persons failing to comply with this order will have taken all their negroes of the ages designated.

VII. He will concentrate the negroes impressed by this order at Camp Nelson, or such other place as may be directed, and have them subsisted as laborers in the Quartermaster's Department; requiring complete rolls to be kept, with the names of the negroes, their owners, and place of residence.

VIII. All owners will be paid for the services of the laborers, and at the expiration of each month proper vouchers will be furnished to the persons entitled thereto. The negroes taken under this order will be delivered to their owners after the expiration of the time for which they are impressed.

IX. Brig. Gen. Fry is ordered to take immediate action for the execution of this order, and report to these Head Quarters the number of laborers collected, for information, that further orders may be issued to secure the quota of laborers required, and to distribute the impressment as equitably as practicable over the country to be mainly benefited by the proper improvement. By order of Brig. Gen. Boyle.

The above notice ran in May 1864 and reference's Boyle's General Order No. 41.  I wonder how many of those enslaved men that were impressed in 1863 ended up in USCT units in 1864?  Although they did not receive wages at this point surely they understood how important their labor was to the Union war effort.

Gen. Speed Fry image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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