Title: Petition of Charles R. Belt, 14 May 1862
Date: May 14, 1862
Source Text: A microfilm reproduction of the original document held at the National Archives and Records Administration, Microcopy 520, Reel 3. The original document is held in the Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury, 1775–1978, National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 217.6.5. Within the National Archives' Archival Description Catalog, see ARC Identifier 4644616 / MLR Number A1 347 (http://arcweb.archives.gov).
Civil War Washington ID: cww.00223
To the Commissioners under the act of Congress approved the 16th of April, 1862, entitled "An act for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia."
Charles R Belt
of of the County of Washington District of
Columbia by this his petition in
writing, represents and states, that he is a
person loyal to the United States, who, at the time of the passage of the said
act of Congress, held a claim to service or labor against
Lethea Bowie, and her children
Andrew, Hamilton, and
Eliza Bowie, and also Henry
Augustus (or Julius) persons of African descent
of the name of for and during the
life of said
Hamilton, Eliza and
Henry respectively and that by said act of
Hamilton, Eliza and
Henry were discharged and freed of and from
all claim of your petitioner to such service or labor; that at the time of said
Lethea was about forty nine years old (49)
George about thirty one,
Harriet nineteen, Andrew
seventeen, Hamilton fifteen, Eliza
about thirteen and Henry about forty one (41) years of
age and of the personal description
Lethea is about 5 feet 6 inches high healthy,
corpulent, very pleasant and polite when spoken to, a dark copper color; was
raised in petitioners service and has been for many years his cook and
George is a very valuable servant would have
commanded the highest market price as a farm hand; is strong active,
healthy, skilful, sincere, about if not quite six feet high, a dark copper
color; Harriet about five feet six inches high, copper
color; good appearance, good sempstress, and able servant, faithful and
honest, Andrew, a valuable servant, about five feet
ten, farmhand and cobbler, polite has a hesitation in answering,
Hamilton dark copper speaks but seldom, greene look, some each in his eyes or rather defect that gives them a
peculiar color quite ingenious, handles carpenters tools very well, good
farm hand; Eliza, copper color well grown for her age,
stoops a little when backing, good face, good natured, pleasant when spoken
to, about five feet high; Henry is a dark copper, about
five feet seven inches, strong, well made has a doure look, and an impediment in his speech which gives him the
appearance of want of intelligence: he is however a smart active and good
That your petitioner acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said servants respectfully in manner following:(2) Lethea and Henry are brother and sister the children of Hannah who belonged to the late Jos. Sprigg Belt, residing in said county and they were born his property. Lethea's children were all born at the petitioner's residence after the death of his Father. Mr. Jos Sprigg Belt left his two children, your petitioner and his brother William J. Your petitioner after the death of his said father in 1849 continued to reside at the home place Hannah the mother of Lethea and Henry lived with him as his slave, and he subsequently purchased the interest of his brother in these servants.
That your petitioner's claim to the service or labor of said slaves was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of five thousand six hundred dollars in money.(3) All of these servants are healthy, strong, active and faithful, honest and true. The only one having any defect know to the petitioner is Henry and that is more apparent than real, for he has heretofore done with fidelity his full share of the work on the petitioners farm
Your petitioner hereby declares that he bears true and faithful allegiance to the Government of the United States, and that he has not borne arms against the United States in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid or comfort thereto.
And your petitioner further states and alleges, that he has not brought said servants neither of them into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said servants were held to service or labor therein under and by virtue of your petitioner's claim to such service or labor.
Your petitioner further states and alleges, that his said claim to the service or labor of said servants does not originate in or by virtue of any transfer heretofore made by any person who has in any manner aided or sustained the present rebellion against the Government of the United States.
And your petitioner prays the said Commissioners to investigate and determine the validity of his said claim to the service or labor of said servants respectively herein above set forth; and if the same be found to be valid, that they appraise and apportion the value of said claim in money, and report the same to the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, in conformity to the provisions of said act of Congress.
Chl R Belt
[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]
Washington County, ss.
I, Charles R. Belt being duly sworn, do depose and say, that all the several matters and things which are set forth and stated in the foregoing petition, as of my own knowledge, are true in substance and in fact; and that all the several other matters and things therein set forth and stated, as from the information of others, I believe to be true in substance and in fact.
Chl R. Belt
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 10th day of May A. D. 1862.
H Naylor J. Peace
Charles R. Belt
Note (2.)-- Here state how the claim was acquired, when, from whom, and for what price or consideration; and, if held under any written evidence of title, make exhibit thereof, or refer to the public record where the same may be found.
Note (3.)-- Here state such facts, if any there be, touching the value of the petitioner's claim to the service or labor of the person, as may enhance the same, and also such facts, if any, touching the moral, mental, and bodily infirmities or defects of said person, as impair the value of the petitioner's claim to such service or labor, and conclude such statement with an averment that the petitioner knows of no other infirmities or defects of said person which impair the value of petitioner's claim to such service or labor, and that he believes none other to exist. If the petitioner specify no such infirmity or defect, then his statement touching the value of his claim should conclude with an averment that he has no knowledge of any such infirmity or defect.