Camp Lee, Hardeeville, Nov. 18, 1861.
To his Excellency, Governor F. W. Pickens
Sir: At the request of your Excellency, made to me yesterday at these head-quarters. I have the honor of presenting my views of the present attitude and behavior of the negroes in this portion of the State intrusted to my immediate command.
So far from there being any insurrectionary feeling among them, I can assure your Excellency that I have neither seen nor heard of any act of pillaging, incendiarism, or violence in any direction.
It is true that the negroes of a few plantations have shown a spirit of insubordination, by refusing to move higher up the country, when ordered to do so by their owners, but this disobedience should be assigned rather to a feeling of dismay and utter helplessness at being left alone and unprotected by the precipitate abandonment by their masters of their plantations, than from any organized plan of resistance to the authority they had been accustomed to obey.
But I now feel much satisfaction in stating, for the information of your Excellency, that the negroes are fast recovering from their fright, and coming forth from their hiding-places, and quietly and submissively resuming their agricultural labors without the guidance or presence, in many instances, of either master or overseer.
In conclusion, I would respectfully advise that all planters and overseers, who are not mastered into service, and are owners or agents of property upon the mainland, should, without delay, return to their several neighborhoods, and thus, by their presence, prevent a recurrence of that excitement among their people which has been due, in a great measure, to their absence. With much respect, your obedient servant,
Thomas F. Drayton,
Commanding Third Military District Department, S.C.