Item #4168 [Autograph Letter Signed by Confederate Captain H. McKay as Commander of Negro Labor, to Captain A.H. Moy, Concerning "The Arrest and Commitment of a Negro Servant"]. Civil War, Texas, Slavery.

[Autograph Letter Signed by Confederate Captain H. McKay as Commander of Negro Labor, to Captain A.H. Moy, Concerning "The Arrest and Commitment of a Negro Servant"]

Anderson, Tx. Headquarters, Negro Labor, November 8, 1864. [1]p., docketed on verso. Old folds, light edge toning. Very good plus. Item #4168

A rare communication issued from the "Negro Labor" department of the Confederate Army in Texas. The letter was written by the commander of the department, Captain H. McKay, and details the issue involving an alleged runaway slave. The text of the letter reads, in full: "I have the honor again of calling your attention to abuses of arresting and committing to jail - as run-aways - slaves in Govt. service. I am just advised, by the agent in charge of Negro Dep't at Houston, of the arrest and commitment of a Negro in service, property of Mr. Israel Worsham, Montgomery County, by one Michael Conway, on detail in the employment of the N. & Y.R. Road. Said agent, whose duty it was to receive and return said Negro to service, demanded this Negro of Conway before commitment, but he refused to deliver said Negro. The Negro protests that he was not a runaway. Captain permit me to assure you that Maj. Genl. will find a cordial support by a patriotic country in a judicious exercise of such powers as he commands to correct those abuses and prevent their recurrence."

According to his biography in the Handbook of Texas, Israel Worsham (1820-1882) "supplied the Confederate Army with slaves to drive wagons of provisions from his plantation, for which he was never reimbursed 'for want of funds.'" The original docketing describes the letter as "Communication with regard to abuses in arresting & committing Gov't. negroes to jail." The document is additionally docketed by Confederate Major General John George Walker, a Mexican War veteran who, after the Civil War, fled to Mexico, Cuba, and England before returning to Texas in 1868. Walker indicates the case was referred two days later to Brigadier General Hebert "who is directed to cause the arrest and confinement by the Provost Marshal of the man Conway, have his detail revoked and send him under guard to his regiment." It is entirely possible that Conway was holding the supposed runaway slave to work on the railroad instead of letting him return to work on Israel Worsham's plantation; Walker corrected the situation, which was apparently a repeat problem, as McKay writes at the beginning that he writes about the issue "again." An interesting and rare correspondence involving slave labor in the Texas Confederate military.

Price: $1,250.00