WASHINGTON, March 25. – The commission appointed by Gen. Wool to inquire into the condition of vagrants or contrabands, say in their official report that they stated with the general proposition that the military power have not only the right but it is among its privileges to avail itself of any and all means within its control to perfect its discipline, to render its position secure or make it effective for an advance against an enemy, and for these ends it has the right to employ for service or use anything which a military necessity may demand. At the same time they consider that necessity is the only proper measure by which this power can be exercised. The number of contrabands is given as 1508. Those distributed at Fortress Monroe, 691; at Camp Harris, 743; at Camp Butler and Newport News 74.
Little inclination is manifested by them to go North. Comparatively few contrabands come to our camps. The navy is decidedly popular with them; they are treated as boys and receive pay every month.
The Commission point out various abuses and suggest remedies.
It further appears from the report, that Gen. Wool has issued an order that hereafter all wages by them will be paid the contrabands for their own use and support under such regulations as may be deemed proper.
Representative Steel, a member of the Government Contractor’s Investigating Committee, returned to-day from Cairo, whither he was accompanied by his Colleague, Mr. Washburne. – Their business was to look into the Quartermaster’s and other departments. The discoveries and suggestions of this Committee have been the means of saving large amounts of money to the Government.
Petitions in favor of a general uniform bankrupt law are to be received.
Until further orders, no boats or vessels will be allowed to visit Mount Vernon.
WASHINGTON, March 26. – The House having addressed an inquiry to the Secretary of War regarding the purchases of vessels for carrying water, he replied to-day by enclosing a letter from Assistant Secretary Tucker, explaining these purchases.
Frequent applications are made as to the disposal of public lands in the Territory of Nevada, but as the land districts have not yet been organized therein, no claims can now be located. There seems to be no doubt that those who at present occupy lands will be secured in their locations by future legislation.
A Democratic conference was held last night, continuing in session until a late hour. The call was signed by all excepting four or five of the members of Congress who were elected as Democrats. Representative Corning presided, and Pendleton and Steele acted as Secretaries.
An injunction was placed on all present not to reveal the proceedings. It is however, ascertained from private conversation to-day, that the conference was principally confined to the consideration of the resolutions reported from a committee, of which Vallandigham was chairman, declaring in substance, that the restoration of the Union and maintenance of the Constitution, would require that the organization and principles of the democratic party of the United States should be fully and faithfully adhered to by all good citizens without distinction of section or party, to co-operate with the democrats in support of the constitution and restoring the old Union.
A committee of one from each State represented by a democrat, either in Senate or House, was appointed to report at a future conference. The names of the members are not yet known.
It is understood that several messengers from the Border Slave States were present, and participated in the proceedings.
The entire number at the meeting was about forty. The proceedings are represented as having been harmonious.
– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 29, 1862, p. 3