Gen. Banks on putting slaves to work, New Orleans, 1863Item 75057 info
Maine Historical Society
The plan to have slaves work for pay needed to be sold to the slaves as well as to the planters.
In February 1863, Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks, commander of the Department of the Gulf, sent to all commanding officers an explanation his plan to put slaves to work.
Banks, who assumed command of the Union's Department of the Gulf in mid December 1862, wrote that "an effort is being made to provide work for the negroes and to maintain the cultivation of Plantations ..."
He asked Shepley for help in "explaining to the negroes the advantages of the plan to their race, to the planter, and to the government."