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Black Battalion: Speech of Hon. Joseph B. Foraker of Ohio in the Senate of the United States, 1908

slightest chance of bringing the offenders to justice or of sepa-
rating not the innocent, for there were doubtless hardly any
innocent, but the less guilty from those whose guilt was heinous.
                                            THEODORE ROOSEVELT.
  THE WHITE HOUSE, December 14, 1908.
  Mr. CULBERSON.    I ask that the report of the Secretary
of War which accompanies the message be read.
  The VICE-PRESIDENT.  Without objection, the accompany-
ing report will be read.
  The Secretary read as follows:
                                             WAR DEPARTMENT,
                                      Washington, December 10, 1908.
  MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: I have the honor to send you herewith a
report of investigation made by Mr. Herbert J. Browne, who was em-
 ployed by this department in conjunction with Capt. W. G. Baldwin to
Investigate as far as possible the occurrence at Brownsville on the 13th
and 14th of August, 1906.
      Sincerely, yours,                             LUKE E. WRIGHT.

                          GENERAL REPORT.
                               WASHINGTON, D. C., December 5, 1908.
  SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report relative to the
investigation of the Brownsville raid:
  Ex-Private Boyd Conyers, of Company B, Twenty-fifth Infantry, now
at Monroe, Ga., told William Lawson, a detective  in  the employ  of
Capt. William G. Baldwin, of Roanoke, Va., that he and three [or four]
other men of the Twenty-fifth Infantry were the leaders in the Browns-
ville raid.  This information was obtained at different dates during the
month of June, 1908. (See Exhibit A.)
  I submit the affidavit as presented. There are certain discrepancies
of a minor character, due to the fact that Lawson is illiterate and had
to depend on his memory for details. But it should be borne in mind
that Lawson was unacquainted with the details of the Brownsville raid
and was given information which could have come only from one fa-
miliar with the secret history of the affair.  Lawson's first report in-
cluded  the  names  of Conyers,  John  Holloman,  John  Brown,  and
"another man."  Subsequently he supplied the name of James Powell,
but I think the original name given was that of Robert L. Collier, Com-
pany C, one of the relief guard.  This information was corroborated in
the presence of witnesses, but before Lawson could finish his work
Conyers became suspicious and would give no further evidence incrimi-
nating himself.  From then on he furnished to A. H. Baldwin, Capt.
W. G. Baldwin, and to myself information piecemeal and reluctantly.
The name of Carolina de Saussure, his bunk mate, was the last one
  Conyers tried to commit suicide after he found that he had made his
statements to a detective, declaring that the other negroes would kill
him when it got out.  He finally wrote to Senator FORAKER and received
a reply, a copy of which is annexed.  That reply he construed to mean
that he should stick to his original story told before the Senate com-
mittee at all hazards, and there he stands.  I have every reason to
believe that his confession is genuine and gives for the first time the
true secret history of the Brownsville raid.
  The list of participants given in this report Conyers furnished me
personally.  I believe it is substantially correct, but with the influ-
ences shown to be backing Conyers to adhere to his false testimony
given before the Senate committee still being exerted he can not be
relied on to support his own confession until it is thoroughly sustained
from other sources.
  Evidences of similar encouragement to stick to the lies told at
Brownsville and before the Senate committee were found in many
places, and subsequent to the date of the Foraker letter they became
stronger and more obstructive than ever.
  The investigation has been conducted with strict recognition of
the advisability of preserving secrecy, and with discretion. No prom-
ises of immunity were made. The knowledge on the part of the ex-
soldiers that the Government could not punish them after their separa-
tion from the service, coupled with the belief that by preserving silence


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Black Battalion: Speech of Hon. Joseph B. Foraker of Ohio in the Senate of the United States, 1908



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