Jun 11 1863. I wrote to the president commending the fine work of Chaplain J. Eaton in caring for the population of freed slaves that have come into our lines.
Near Vicksburg Miss,
June 11th 1863.
Hon. a. Lincoln
President of the United States,
Enclosed herewith I send report of Chaplain J. Eaton, Gen. Supt. of Contrabands for this Department, embracing a very complete history of what has been done for, and with, this class of people within my command to the present time.
Finding that negroes were coming into our lines in great numbers, and receiving kind or abusive treatment according to the peculiar views of the troops they first came in contact with and not being able to give that personal attention to their care and use the matter demanded I determined to appoint a General Superintendent over the whole subject and give him such Assistants as the duties assigned him might require. Mr. Eaton was selected for this position. I have given him such aid as was in my power by the publication from time to time of such orders as seemed to be required, and generally at the suggestion of the Supt.
Mr. Eatons labors in his undertaking have been unremitting and skillful and I fear in many instances very trying. That he has been of very great service to the blacks in having them provided for when otherwise they would have been neglected, and to the government in finding employment for the negro whereby he might earn what he was receiving, the accompanying report will show, and many hundreds of visitors and officers and soldiers near the different camps can bear witness to.
I commend the report to your favorable notice and especially that portion of it which would suggest orders regulating the subject of providing for the government of the contraband subject which a Department commander is not competent to issue.
I have the honor to be very respectfully your obt. svt.
U. S. Grant Maj.
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 8, p 342-3
Library of Congress, Robert T. Lincoln