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Title: The Black Phalanx - African American soldiers in the War of Independence, the - War of 1812, and the Civil War
Author: Wilson, Joseph T. (Joseph Thomas), 1836-1891
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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New Foreword by



Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Wilson, Joseph T. (Joseph Thomas), 1836-1891.

The Black phalanx: African American soldiers in the War of Independence,
the War of 1812, and the Civil War / by Joseph T. Wilson; foreword by
Dudley Taylor Cornish.--1st Da Capo Press ed.

p. cm.

Previously published: Hartford, Conn.: American Pub. Co., 1890.

Includes bibliographical references.

ISBN 0-306-80550-2

1. Afro-American soldiers--History. 2. United States--History--Civil
War, 1861-1865--Participation, Afro-American. 3.
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Participation,
Afro-American. 4. United States--History--War of 1812--Participation,
Afro-American. I. Cornish, Dudley Taylor. II. Title.
E185.63.W632 1994 93-40117
973.7-dc20 CIP

First Da Capo Press edition 1994

This Da Capo Press paperback edition of _The Black Phalanx_ is an
unabridged republication of the edition published in Hartford,
Connecticut, in 1887. It is here supplemented with a new foreword by
Dudley Taylor Cornish.

Foreword © 1994 by Dudley Taylor Cornish

Published by Da Capo Press, Inc.
A Subsidiary of Plenum Publishing Corporation
233 Spring Street, New York, N.Y. 10013

All Rights Reserved

Manufactured in the United States of America


By way of introduction to the American public, of the author and editor
of this book, we beg to say that Mr. Wilson is not altogether unknown to
the literary world, having already published several works relative to
the Negro race.

His services during the war of the Rebellion secured for him a
flattering recognition. He served in the 2nd Regiment Louisiana Native
Guard Volunteers, also the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers,--the most
famous of the Union negro regiments that engaged in the struggle,
receiving several wounds. He was the first negro member of the National
Council of Administration of the Grand Army of the Republic, and a
delegate to the National Encampment, and was appointed Colonel--A. D. C.
to the Commander-in-Chief G. A. R. He was chosen by his comrades to be
the historian of the negro soldiers, and has overcome many almost
insurmountable difficulties in gathering the scattered facts,
particularly those of the early wars of the United States, that were
necessary to complete this work.



_To the Brave Men Who Commanded the Black Phalanx._

SOLDIERS:--As a mark of esteem and respect for your patriotic devotion
to the cause of human freedom, I desire to dedicate to you this record
of the services of the negro soldiers, whom you led so often and
successfully in the struggle for liberty and union during the great war
of 1861-'65.

Your coming from the highest ranks of social life, undeterred by the
prevailing spirit of caste prejudice, to take commands in the largest
negro army ever enrolled beneath the flag of any civilized country, was
in itself a brave act. The organization and disciplining of over two
hundred thousand men, of a race that for more than two centuries had
patiently borne the burdens of an unrequited bondage, for the
maintenance of laws which had guaranteed to them neither rights nor
protection, was indeed a magnificent undertaking.

You were outlawed by the decrees of Jefferson Davis, criticised by many
friends at home, and contemptuously received by brother officers at
headquarters, in the field, in the trenches, and at the mess table; yet,
you did not waver in your fidelity to principle or in your heroic
leadership of those whose valor was denied until it was proven in
carnage and victory.

The record of the Black Phalanx invites the scrutiny of all who have
been disposed to taunt you for associating with "armed barbarians." No
massacre of vanquished foe stains the banners of those who followed you,
giving quarter but receiving none. It was your teaching that served as a
complete restraint against retaliation, though statesmen hinted that it
would be just. Your training developed patriotism and courage, but not
revenge. Ungrateful as Republics are said to be, ours has aimed to
recognize merit and reward it, and those who at first hailed you with
contumely, are now glad to greet you as heroes and saviors of a common

No true soldier desires to forget the price of his country's liberty, or
that of his own; it is the recollection of the terrible bloody
onset--the audacious charge--the enemy's repulse, which sweetens
victory. And surely no soldiers can appreciate the final triumph with a
keener sense of gladness than those who fought against such odds as did
the Black Phalanx. Beating down prejudice and upholding the national
cause at the same time, they have inscribed upon their banners every
important battle from April, 1863, to April, 1865.

If what I have written here shall call to your minds, and present justly
to the patriotic public, the indescribable hardships which you endured
on the march, in the bivouac, and in the seething flames of the battle's
front, my task will have served its purpose. In the name of and as a
token of the gratitude of a freed race, this book is dedicated to you.

                              JOSEPH T. WILSON.

    _Navy Hill, Richmond, Va._


It was a dark, stormy night in the winter of 1882, when less than a
hundred men, all of whom had served their country in crushing the great
Rebellion of 1861-'65, gathered around a camp-fire. The white and the
colored American were there; so were the German, Frenchman, and
Irishman,--all American citizens,--all veterans of the last war. The
empty sleeve, the absent leg, the sabred face, the bullet-scarred body
of the many, told the story of the service they had seen. It was the
annual Encampment of the Department of Virginia, Grand Army of the
Republic, and the comrades of Farragut Post had tastefully arranged
their quarters for the occasion.

At midnight a sumptuous soldiers fare--baked beans, hot coffee and hard
tack--was spread before the veterans, who ate and drank heartily as in
the days when resting from the pursuit of the enemy. In the morning
hour, when weary from the joy of song and toast, it was proposed that
the history of the American negro soldier should be written, that
posterity might have a fuller and more complete record of the deeds of
the negro soldiers than had been given in the numerous already published
histories of the conflicts in which they played so important a part.

The task of preparing the history fell to my lot, and it is in obedience
to the duty laid upon me by my former comrades, with whom I shared the
toils and joys of camp, march, battle and siege, that this volume, the
result of my efforts, is launched upon the sea of war literature.

Whether or not there is any merit in the work, the reader must judge.
His charity is asked, however, toward such defects as may be apparent,
and which, perhaps, might be expected in the literary work of one whose
life has been largely spent amid the darkness of the South American
countries and the isolation of the South Sea Islands. It was not until
May, 1862, while domiciled at the capitol of Chili, that I first learned
of the war in the United States, when, hastening to this country, I fell
into the ranks with the first negro soldiers that left the Touro
Building at New Orleans, in November, 1862, and marched out on the
Opelousas road, to serve in defence of the Union.

With whatever forebodings of failure I entered upon the work of
collecting the literature of the war, from which to cull and arrange
much of the matter contained herein,--which has required years of
incessant search and appeal,--I can but _feel_ that it has been
thoroughly done. The public libraries of the cities of Boston,
Cincinnati, New Bedford, New York, the War Department at Washington, and
the private libraries of several eminent citizens, have alike been made
use of by me.

It seemed proper, also, that the memory of our forefathers should not be
allowed to remain in longer obscurity; that it was fitting to recall
_their_ deeds of heroism, that all might know the sacrifices they made
for the freedom their descendants were so long denied from enjoying. In
gathering together the scattered facts relating to the negroe's
participation in the wars of 1775 and 1812, difficulties well-nigh
insurmountable have been overcome, and it has been only through patient
and persistent effort that I have been able to prepare the chapters
devoted to the early wars of the United States.

Descriptions of a number of the battles in which negro troops took part
in the late war of the Rebellion, are given to call attention to the
unsurpassed carnage which occurred, and to give them proper place in the
war's history rather than to present a critical account of the battles.
My aim has been to write in the spirit which impelled the soldiers to go
forth to battle, and to reverse the accounts given in the popular
histories which ascribe to the generals and colonels who commanded,
instead of the soldiers who did the fighting, victory or defeat. "The
troops who do what can neither be expected nor required, are the ones
which are victorious. The men, who, tired and worn and hungry and
exhausted, yet push into battle, are those who win. They who persist
against odds, against obstacles, against hope, who proceed or hold out
reasonably, are the conquerors," says Gen. Grant's historian. With no
desire of detracting from the commanders--if I were able--the honor due
them, my aim is to credit the soldiers with whatever heroism they may
have displayed.

I acknowledge it has been a labor of love to fight many of the battles
of the war of the rebellion over again, not because of a relish for
blood and the destruction of human life, but for the memories of the
past; of the bondage of a race and its struggle for freedom, awakening
as they do the intense love of country and liberty, such as one who has
been without either feels, when both have been secured by heroic effort.

To those who have responded to my appeal for information regarding the
negro soldier, I have aimed to give full credit; if any are omitted it
is not intentionally done. To no one am I more indebted for assisting in
collecting data, than to Lt. J. M. Trotter, of the 55th Mass. Reg't. nor
am I unmindful of the kindness of Hon. Robert Lincoln, late Secretary of
War, nor that of Col. James D. Brady, member of Congress from Virginia,
for copies of public records; to Col. H. C. Corbin, for the record of
the 14th Reg't.; and to Col. D. Torrance for that of the 29th Reg't.
Conn. I am also indebted to Maj. Gen. Wm. Mahone for a map of the
defences of Petersburg, showing the crater; to the librarian of the
Young Men's Mercantile Library, of Cincinnati, for the use of Col.
Albert's carved map of Fort Wagner, and to Col. G. M. Arnold and Hon.
Joseph Jergenson for copies of historical papers; also to Hon. Libbey.

                                  J. T. W.





The Sentiments of the Colonists--The Agreement of 1774--The Resolutions
of Ga.--The Virginians Boycotting a Slaver--Tories Opposed to a Negro
Army--Caste Prejudice not strong--The Militia Law of Mass. in
1652--Negro Sentinels at Meeting houses--Crispus Attucks leads the
whites to an attack upon British Soldiers--Resolution of the Committee
of Safety--Battle of Bunker Hill--Peter Salem Kills the British Maj.
Pitcairn--Petition to the General court of Mass. Bay--Biographical
account of Peter Salem--Manumitting of Slaves to allow them to become
Soldiers--Meeting of the Committee of Conference--Gen. Washington writes
the President regarding Negro Soldiers--Action of Congress sustaining
Gen. Washington--The First Question of "color" in the Army--Negroes
allowed in the S. C. Militia--Dr. Hopkins' Article concerning
Slavery--Lord Dunmore visits Norfolk, 1775--Proclamation of Lord
Dunmore--The Dread of the Colonists--An Unreasonable Fear--Action of the
Conn. General Assembly, 1777--Letter from Gen. Green to Gen.
Washington--Daring Exploits of Prince and other Negroes at Newport, R.
I.--The Storming of Fort Griswold--Action of the State of R. I.--Action
of the State of New York, 1781--Proclamation of Sir Henry Clinton--The
Colonists beginning to favor Negro Troops--Gen. Washington's Emphatic
Language--Re-enslavement of Discharged Negro Soldiers--Action of the
Legislature of Virginia                                                  21


The Principal Cause of the War--Seizure of American Negro
Sailors--Outrages upon American Ships--The Declaration of War--The
Battle of Lake Erie--Negroes on American Privateers--Action of the
Legislature of La.--Review of Negro Troops in New Orleans--The Battle of
New Orleans                                                              72




Existing Prejudice--No Prejudice in Europe--DeTocqueville's Views--The
New Race--Southern Opinions--The Negro's Ambition--The Coast Pursuit in
the Navy--A Change of Policy--Public Opinions Changed                    81


The Unpleasant duties of a Recruiting Officer--Henry Wilson's Bill in
Congress for the Arming of Negroes, 1862--Mr. Stevens' Amendment to the
Enrollment Act, 1864--Orders for the Enrollment of Negroes in the Miss.
Valley--Curious way of Keeping ranks full--The Date of the First
Organization of Colored Troops--The Organization of the 24th Mass.
Regiment--Their Quarters at Morris Island--Refusing to do Menial
Service--Short Pay for Negro Troops--Negroes Enlisting for
Bounty--Record of total number of Negroes who Served in the Army         93


Private Miles O'Reilly's Account of Gen. Hunter's Black Troops--The
First Negro Troops in the Field--Gen. Hunter's Humorous Report to
Congress--Jefferson Davis declares Gen. Hunter and his Officers
Outlaws--Gen. Hunter's suppressed Letter to Jefferson Davis--Miles
O'Reilly's Humorous Poem, "Sambo's Right to be Kil't"                   145


Officers of the Phalanx--Character and Qualifications of the men who
commanded Negro Troops--The Examination of Candidates for
Commissioners--Some of the Negroes who rose from the Ranks--Gen. Banks'
idea of Officering the Corps d'Afrique 166


The Surrender of Confederate Negro Troops at New Orleans--Slaves
flocking to the Union Camp--Gen. Phelps desires to Arm them--Butler
Refuses--Gen. Phelps' Resignation--Gen. Butler converted to the Policy
of Arming Negroes--Negroes Enlisted at New Orleans--Gen. Weitzel placed
in Command--The fight at Mansfield--The Battle of Milliken's
Bend--Indignities offered to Phalanx Soldiers--The affair at Ship
Island--Port Hudson--The Struggle--Desperate Fighting of the Phalanx--A
Useless Effort--Perilous Duties of the Engineers--Boker's Poem on the
fight at Port Hudson                                                    183


Iowa's splendid Response to the Call--Refusal of the Phalanx Troops to
Accept the Pay offered by the Government--Active times at Helena--The
Confederate General Dobbins makes an Attack--A Spirited Fight--A
Critical Situation--Re-enforcement by White Cavalry--The Honor Due to
Kansas--The report of the Service of Kansas Negro Troops--Col.
Crawford's report for the 2nd Kansas Regiment                           220


Gen. Hunter's Important Action--Organization of the 1st South
Carolina--An Expedition up the St. Mary's River--Fort
Wagner--Description of the Fort--Plans for the Assault--The forming of
the line--The Assault--Magnificent Fighting--Death of Col. Shaw--Useless
Slaughter--The Confederate Account of the Assault upon Fort
Wagner--Movements in Florida--The Landing at Jacksonville--Raids on the
surrounding country--The Advance towards Tallahassee--The Troops reach
Barbour's Station--The Battle of Olustee--Desperate Fighting on both
Sides--A Terrible Defeat--The Union Troops routed--Drawing away the
Wounded on railway cars--Return to Baldwin's--The 54th Mass.--Boykin's
Mill--The "Swamp Angel"--Inquiries Respecting Negro Troops--Labor Days
of the Negro Troops                                                     249


Services in the West--The Mississippi River Guarded by the Phalanx--Gen.
Morgan's Historical Sketch--The Rendezvous at Gallatin--The Place
Threatened by Guerillas--Organizing a Regiment--Negro Soldiers ordered
to Alabama--An Incident--A School in camp--The Battle at Dalton,
Ga.--Good Behavior of the troops there--Honors to the 51st
Colored--Sharp Fighting at Pulaski, Tenn.--An Incident of the Fight--An
Engagement at Decatur--Ordered to Nashville--Severe Fighting at that
place--A Reconnoissance--The Defeat of Gen. Hood--A Pursuit to
Huntsville--A Glorious Record                                           286


Sherman's March to the Sea--Destruction of the Confederate Bridge over
the Big Black river--Confederates Attack Federals near
Morristown--Gillem's Troops Driven into Knoxville--The Confederates
Retreat--Federals Pursued to Marion--Struggle for the Possession of the
Salt Works--The Charge of the 6th Regiment--Gen. Brisbin's account of
the Battle--The Salt Works Destroyed--Personal Bravery                  308


The Phalanx acquiring a Reputation--No Blacks Paroled--Gen. Grant's
Letter to the Confederate General Taylor--Jefferson Davis' Proclamation
respecting Negro Soldiers--Mr. Davis' Third Annual Message--Action of
the Confederate Congress--Negro Soldiers Captured by the Confederates
receive Punishment--Retaliation by the Federal Government--Refusal to
Exchange captured Negro Troops--Order from President Lincoln in relation
thereto--Report of the Congressional Committee in regard to Barbarities
Inflicted upon captured Union Prisoners--Report of the Congressional
Committee in regard to the Fort Pillow Massacre--Testimony
given--Sketches of Prison Life--Schemes for Escaping from Confederate
Prisons--Life in Libby Prison--The Effect of the Fort Pillow Massacre on
the Black Soldiers--Their Desire to Retaliate--Correspondence between
Gens. Forrest and Washburn--A Confederate Account, written in 1883--A
Confederate Account of Price's Cross-Roads--Heavy Fighting--Gallant
Conduct of the Federal Cavalry--The Rout of the Federal Force--The
Phalanx Saves the White Troops from Capture--Gen. Sturgis Criticised    315


Transfer of Negro Troops from the West and South to
Virginia--Preparations for a New Campaign--9th Army Corps passing
Through Washington--Army of the Potomac--Battle at Bailey's farm--Siege
of Petersburg--Digging a Mine--Phalanx Troops preparing to lead the
Assault--Disappointment--Explosion of the Mine--Terrible
Slaughter--Failure of the Attempt to Take the Redoubt--New Movement
Against Richmond--New Market Heights--Capture of Petersburg--Fall of
Richmond--Appomattox--Surrender of Lee                                  377


Phalanx Soldiers who received Medals of Honor from the United States
Government for Heroism                                                  463


Complete list from the Government Records, as far as can be obtained, of
Negro Military Organizations in all branches of the Service, with their
Chief Commanders--Battles--Dates of Organization and Dismissal          464


Preparation in the South for Hostilities--Early Organizations of
Battalions of Free Negroes--Review of Troops in New Orleans--Employment
of Negroes in Constructing Fortifications--Early Enacting of State Laws
authorizing the enrollment of Negroes for Military Service--The
Appearance of a few Negro Troops announced by the Press--Apparent
Enthusiasm of some Blacks--Effect on the Negroes of the Change in
Northern Policy--Necessity for Negro Troops--Strong Opposition
throughout the South--Letters from Gen. R. E. Lee urging the
Organization of Black Regiments--Exciting Debates in the Confederate
Congress--Passage of the Negro Bill--The Clerk's of the War Department
Record--Letter from Jefferson Davis--Enlistment began, etc.             481




Efforts of Negro Soldiers to Educate themselves--Studies pursued in the
Army--Officers acting as Teachers--Contributions to Educational
Institutions                                                            503


Personal Economy practiced for Benevolent purposes--Contributions to the
Lincoln Institute as a Monument--Magnificent Contributions to the
Lincoln Monument--Some figures in reference to the Freemen's Bank       508


List of Publications made use of                                        517



1. Portrait--JOSEPH T. WILSON                      Frontispiece.
2. DEATH OF CRISPUS ATTUCKS                        Face Page  26
3. BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL                                      34
4. ON PICKET                                                  52
5. NAVAL BATTLE                                               77
6. UNSHACKLED                                                 90
7. Portrait--ROBERT SMALLS                                    96
8.    "    --WILLIAM MORRISON                                 "
9.    "    --A. GRADINE                                       "
10.   "    --JOHN SMALLS                                      "
11. QUARTERS FOR CONTRABANDS                                 103
12. DRIVING GOVERNMENT CATTLE                                104
13. SCENE IN AND NEAR A RECRUITING OFFICE                    110
14. TEAMSTER OF THE ARMY                                     112
16. PROVOST GUARD SECURING CONSCRIPTS                        123
17. NEW RECRUITS TAKING CARS                                 126
18. SCENE AT NEW BERNE, N. C.                                134
19. MUSTERING INTO SERVICE                                   138
20. ORGANIZING AND DRILLING                                  142
21. FORTIFICATIONS AT HILTON HEAD                            148
22. BUILDING ROADS                                           154
23. OFF FOR THE WAR                                          160
24. Portrait--MAJOR MARTIN R. DELANEY                        166
25. Portrait--CAPT. O. S. B. WALL                            172
26. Portrait--CAPT. P. B. S. PINCHBACK.                      176
27.    "    --LT. JAMES M. TROTTER                            "
28.    "    --SURGEON A. T. AUGUSTA                           "
29.    "    --LT. W. H. DUPREE.                               "
30. Portrait--SERG'T W. H. CARNEY                            180
31. WASHING IN CAMP                                          184
32. COOKING IN CAMP                                          191
33. POINT ISABEL, TEXAS                                      199
34. THE RECRUITING OFFICE                                    200
35. BATTLE OF MILLIKEN'S BEND                                204
36. UNLOADING GOVERNMENT STORES                              211
37. CHARGE OF THE PHALANX AT PORT HUDSON                     214
38. PRESENTATION OF COLORS (1)                               223
39. REPELLING AN ATTACK                                      231
40. CAVALRY BRINGING IN PRISONERS                            236
41. CAPTURING BATTERY OF ARTILLERY                           242
42. THE WOODEN HORSE                                         249
43. AT FORT WAGNER                                           255
44. BRILLIANT CHARGE OF THE PHALANX                          270
45. RIVER PICKET DUTY                                        277
46. CHANGED CONDITIONS                                       286
47. SERVING REFRESHMENTS TO UNION TROOPS                     306
48. SCOUTING SERVICE                                         312
49. FIGHTING BLOODHOUNDS                                     320
51. MASSACRE AT FORT PILLOW                                  350
52. PHALANX REGIMENT RECEIVING ITS FLAGS (2)                 377
54. SCENE IN THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC                         391
55. AT WORK ON RIVER OBSTRUCTIONS                            401
56. PHALANX CHARGE AT PETERSBURG, VA.                        402
57. IN THE TRENCHES                                          411
59. A GOVERNMENT BLACKSMITH SHOP                             445
60. GENERAL GRANT AND THE NEGRO SENTINEL                     446
61. ABRAHAM LINCOLN ENTERING RICHMOND                        452
62. ON DUTY FOR THE CONFEDERATES                             484
63. A CONFEDERATE SHARPSHOOTER                               499
64. "PAYING OFF"                                             506





THE WAR OF 1775.

The history of the patriotic Negro Americans who swelled the ranks of
the Colonial and Continental armies has never been written, nor was any
attempt made by the historians of that day to record the deeds of those
who dared to face death for the independence of the American Colonies.
W. H. Day, in addressing a convention of negro men at Cleveland, O., in
1852, truly said: "Of the services and sufferings of the colored
soldiers of the Revolution, no attempt has, to our knowledge, been made
to preserve a record. Their history is not written; it lies upon the
soil watered with their blood; who shall gather it? It rests with their
bones in the charnel house; who shall exhume it?" Upon reading these
lines, it occurred to me that somewhere among the archives of that
period there must exist at least a clue to the record of the negro
patriots of that war. If I cannot exclaim _Eureka_, after years of
diligent search, I take pride in presenting what I _have_ found
scattered throughout the pages of the early histories and literature,
and from the correspondence of men who in that period discussed the
topics of the day--who led and fashioned public opinion, many of whom
commanded in the field. Not a few biographers have contributed to my
fund of knowledge. To avoid as much as possible the charge of plagiarism
I have aimed to give credit to my informants for what shall follow
regarding the colored patriots in the war of the Revolution. I have
reason to believe that I have gathered much that has been obscure; that
I have exhumed the bones of that noble Phalanx who, at Bunker Hill and
Yorktown, in various military employments, served their country. It is
true they were few in number when compared to the host that entered the
service in the late Rebellion, but it must be remembered that their
number was small at that time in the country, and that the seat of war
was at the North, and not, as in the late war, at the South, where their
numbers have always been large.

Of the three hundred thousand troops in the Revolutionary war, it has
been estimated that five thousand were colored, and these came
principally from the North, whose colored population at that time was
about 50,000, while the Southern colonies contained about 300,000. The
interest felt in the two sections for the success of the cause of
independence, if referred to the army, can easily be seen. The Northern
colonies furnished two hundred and forty-nine thousand, five hundred and
three, and the Southern colonies one hundred and forty-seven thousand,
nine hundred and forty soldiers, though the whole population of each
section was within a few hundred of being equal.

The love of liberty was no less strong with the Southern than with the
Northern colored man, as their efforts for liberty show. At the North he
gained his freedom by entering the American army; at the South, only by
entering the British army, which was joined by more than fifteen
thousand colored men. Jefferson says 30,000 negroes from Virginia alone
went to the British army. I make the digression simply to assert that
had the colored men at the South possessed the same opportunity as those
at the North, of enlisting in the American army, a large force of
colored men would have been in the field, fighting for America's
independence. Of the services of the little band, scattered as they were
throughout the army, two or three in a company composed of whites, a
squad in a regiment, a few companies with an army, made it quite
impossible for their record, beyond this, to be distinct from the
organizations they were attached to. However, enough has been culled
from the history of that conflict, to show that they bore a brave part
in the struggle which wrested the colonies from the control of Great
Britain, and won for themselves and offspring, freedom, which many of
them never enjoyed. I have studiously avoided narrating the conduct of
those who cast their fortune with the British, save those who went with
Lord Dunmore, for reasons too obvious to make mention of.

The sentiments of a majority of the people of the colonies were in full
accord with the declaration opposing slavery, and they sought to give it
supremacy by their success in the conflict. Slavery, which barred the
entrance to the army of the colored man at the South, had been denounced
by the colonist before the adoption of the articles of confederation,
and was maintained solely by local regulations. As early as 1774, all
the colonies had agreed to, and their representatives to the congress
had signed, the articles of the Continental Association, by which it was
agreed, "that we will neither import nor purchase any slave imported
after the first day of December next, (1774), after which we will wholly
discontinue the slave trade, and will neither be concerned in it
ourselves, nor will we hire our vessels, nor sell our commodities or
manufactories to those who are concerned in it." Georgia not being
represented in this Congress, consequently was not in the Association,
but as soon as her Provincial Congress assembled in July, 1775, it
passed the following resolutions:

    "_I._--_Resolved_, That this Congress will adopt and carry
    into execution all and singular the measures and
    recommendations of the late Continental Congress.

    "_IV._--_Resolved_, That we will neither import or purchase
    any slave imported from Africa or elsewhere after this day,
    (July, 6.")

The sincerity with which this agreement was entered into may be seen by
the action of the colonists at Norfolk, Virginia, where, in March, 1775,
a brig arrived from the coast of Guinea, via Jamaica, with a number of
slaves on board consigned to a merchant of that town. To use a modern
phrase the vessel was _boycotted_ by the committee, who published the

                        "TO THE FREEMEN OF VIRGINIA.
                             { COMMITTEE CHAMBER,
                             { NORFOLK, March 6th, 1775.

     "Trusting to your sure resentment against the enemies of
     your country, we, the committee, elected by ballot for the
     Borough of Norfolk, hold up for your just indignation Mr.
     John Brown, merchant, of this place.

     "On Thursday, the 2nd of March, this committee were informed
     of the arrival of the brig Fanny, Capt. Watson, with a
     number of slaves for Mr. Brown; and, upon inquiry, it
     appeared they were shipped from Jamaica as his property, and
     on his account; that he had taken great pains to conceal
     their arrival from the knowledge of the committee; and that
     the shipper of the slaves, Mr. Brown's correspondent, and
     the captain of the vessel, were all fully apprised of the
     Continental prohibition against the article.

     "From the whole of this transaction, therefore, we, the
     committee for Norfolk Borough, do give it as our unanimous
     opinion, that the said John Brown has wilfully and
     perversely violated the Continental Association, to which he
     had with his own hand subscribed obedience; and that,
     agreeable to the eleventh article, we are bound, forthwith,
     to publish the truth of the case, to the end that all such
     foes to the rights of British America may be publicly known
     and universally contemned as the enemies of American
     liberty, and that every person may henceforth break off all
     dealings with him."

This was the voice of a majority of the colonists, and those who
dissented were regarded as Tories, and in favor of the crown as against
the independence of the colonies, although there were many at the North
and South who held slaves, and were yet loyal to the cause of the
colonies; but the public sentiment was undoubtedly as strong against the
institution as it was in 1864. But the Tories were numerous at the
South, and by continually exciting the imagination of the whites by
picturing massacre and insurrection on the part of the negros if they
were armed, thwarted the effort of Col. Lauren's and of Congress to
raise a "negro army" at the South. The leaders were favorable to it, but
the colonists, for the reason cited, were distrustful of its
practicability. Though a strong effort was made, as will be seen, the
scare raised by the Tories prevented its success. Notwithstanding,
hundreds of colored men, slave and free, at the South, not only followed
the army but in every engagement took an active part on the side of the
colonist. They were not enrolled and mustered into the army, it is true,
but they rendered important service to the cause.

The caste prejudice now so strong in the country was then in its
infancy. A white man at that time lived with a colored woman without
fear of incurring the ostracism of his neighbors, and with the same
impunity he lived with an Indian Squaw. So common was this practice,
that in order to correct it laws were passed forbidding it. The
treatment of the slaves was not what it came to be after the war, nor
had the spirit of resentment been stifled in them as it was
subsequently. Manifestations of their courage and manliness were not
wanting when injustice was attempted to be practiced against them,
consequently the spirit and courage with which they went into the
conflict were quite equal to that of the whites, who were ever ready to
applaud them for deeds of daring. It is only through this medium that we
have discovered the meed of praise due the little Phalanx, which linked
its fortune with the success of the American army, and of whom the
following interesting facts can now be recorded.

It is well for the negro and for his descendants in America,
cosmopolitan as it is, that his race retains its distinctive
characteristics, color and features, otherwise they would not have, as
now, a history to hand down to posterity so gloriously patriotic and
interesting. His amalgamation with other races is attributable to the
relation which it bore to them, although inter-marriage was not allowed.
By the common consent of his enslavers, he was allowed to live
clandestinely with the women of his own color; sometimes from humane
considerations, sometimes from a standpoint of gain, but always as a
slave or a subject of the slave code. Reduced from his natural state of
freedom by his misfortune in tribal war, to that of a slave, and then
transported by the consent of his captors and enemies to these shores,
and sold into an unrequited bondage, the fire of his courage,--like
that of other races similarly situated, without hope of liberty; doomed
to toil,--slackened into an apathetic state, and seeming willing
servitude, which produced a resignation to fate from 1619 to 1770, more
than a century and a half. At the latter date, for the first time in the
history of what is now the United States, the negro, inspired with the
love of liberty, aimed a blow at the authority that held him in bondage.
In numerous instances, when the Indians attacked the white settlers,
particularly in the Northern colonies, negroes were summoned and took
part in the defense of the settlements.

As early as 1652, the militia law of Massachusetts required negroes,
Scotchmen and Indians,--the indentured slaves of Cromwell, who
encountered his army at the battle of Dunbar,--to train in the militia.
Nor was it an uncommon occurrence for them to be manumitted for
meritorious and courageous action in defending their masters' families,
often in the absence of the master, when attacked by the red men of the
woods. It was not infrequent to find the negro as a sentinel at the
meeting-house door; or serving as a barricade for the master's mansion.
The Indian was more of a terror to him than the boa-constrictor; though
slaves, they knew that if captured by the Indians their fate would be
the same as that of the white man; consequently they fought with a
desperation equal to that of the whites, against the common enemy. So
accustomed did they become to the use of arms, that one of the first
acts of the settlers after the Indians were driven from the forest, was
to disarm and forbid negroes keeping or handling fire-arms and weapons
of every sort. This was done from a sense of self-preservation and fear
that the negroes might (and many did) attempt to revenge themselves when
cruelly treated, or rise in mutiny and massacre the whites.


While leading an attack against British troops in Boston.]

But it was not until 1770, when the fervor of rebellion had influenced
the people of the colonies, and Capt. Preston, with the King's soldiers,
appeared in King Street, Boston, to enforce the decree of the British
Parliament, that the people met the troops face to face. This lent force
to the rebellious spirit against the Mother Country, which the people of
the United Northern Colonies had felt called upon to manifest in public
meetings and by written resolutions. The soldiers were regarded as
invaders. And while the leading men of Boston were discussing and
deliberating as to what steps should be taken to drive the British
troops out of the town, Crispus Attucks, a negro runaway slave,[1] led a
crowd against the soldiers, with brave words of encouragement. The
soldiers fired upon them, killing the negro leader, Attucks, first, and
then two white men, and mortally wounding two others. A writer says:

     "The presence of the British soldiers in King Street,
     excited the patriotic indignation of the people. The whole
     community was stirred, and sage counsellors were
     deliberating and writing and talking about the public
     grievances. But it was not for the 'wise and prudent' to be
     first to _act_ against the encroachments of arbitrary power.
     A motley rabble of saucy boys, negroes and mulattoes, Irish
     Jeazues, and outlandish Jack tars, (as John Adams described
     them in his plea in defence of the soldiers), could not
     restrain their emotion, or stop to enquire if what they
     _must_ do was according to the letter of the law. Led by
     Crispus Attucks, the mulatto slave, and shouting, 'The way
     to get rid of these soldiers is to attack the main guard;
     strike at the root; this is the nest;' with more valor than
     discretion they rushed to King Street, and were fired upon
     by Capt. Preston's company. Crispus Attucks was the first to
     fall; he and Samuel Gray and Jonas Caldwell were killed on
     the spot. Samuel Maverick and Patrick Carr were mortally
     wounded. The excitement which followed was intense. The
     bells of the town were rung. An impromptu town-meeting was
     held, and an immense assembly was gathered. Three days
     after, on the 17th, a public funeral of the martyr took
     place. The shops in Boston were closed, and all the bells of
     Boston and the neighboring towns were rung. It is said that
     a greater number of persons assembled on this occasion, than
     ever before gathered on this continent for a similar
     purpose. The body of Crispus Attucks, the mulatto, had been
     placed in Fanueil Hall with that of Caldwell; both being
     strangers in the city. Maverick was buried from his
     mother's house in Union Street, and Gray, from his
     brother's, in Royal Exchange Lane. The four hearses formed a
     junction in King Street, and then the procession marched in
     columns six deep, with a long file of coaches belonging to
     the most distinguished citizens, to the Middle Burying
     Ground, where the four victims were deposited in one grave;
     over which a stone was placed with the inscription:

          'Long as in Freedom's cause the wise contend,
          Dear to your country shall your fame extend;
          While to the world the lettered stone shall tell
          Where Caldwell, Attucks, Gray and Maverick fell.'

     "The anniversary of this event was publicly commemorated in
     Boston by an oration and other exercises every year until
     our National Independence was achieved, when the Fourth of
     July was substituted for the Fifth of March, as the more
     proper day for a general celebration. Not only was the event
     commemorated, but the martyrs who then gave up their lives
     were remembered and honored."

Thus the first blood for liberty shed in the colonies was that of a real
slave and a negro. As the news of the affray spread, the people became
aroused throughout the land. Soon, in every town and village, meetings
were held, and the colonists urged to resist the oppressive and
aggressive measures which the British Parliament had passed, and for the
enforcement of which troops had been stationed in Boston, and as we see,
had shot down those who dared to oppose them. In all the colonies
slavery was at this time tolerated, though the number of slaves was by
no means large in the Northern Colonies, nor had there been a general
ill treatment of them, as in after years in the Southern States. Their
war-like courage, it is true, had been slackened, but their manhood had
not been crushed.

Crispus Attucks was a fair representative of the colonial negro, as they
evinced thereafter, during the prolonged struggle which resulted in the
Independence of the United States. When the tocsin sounded "to arms, to
arms, ye who would be free," the negro responded to the call, and side
by side with the white patriots of the colonial militia, bled and died.

Mr. Bancroft in his history of the United States says:

     "Nor should history forget to record, that as in the army at
     Cambridge, so also in this gallant band, the free negroes of
     the colony had their representatives. For the right of free
     negroes to bear arms in the public defense was, at that day,
     as little disputed in New England as other rights. They took
     their place, not in a separate corps, but in the ranks with
     the white men; and their names may be seen on the
     pension-rolls of the country, side by side with those of
     other soldiers of the Revolution."

It was not the free only who took up arms in defence of America's
independence; not alone those who, in preceding wars,--Indian and
French,--had gained their liberty, that swelled the ranks of the
colonial militia; but slaves, inspired by the hope of freedom, went to
the front, as Attucks had done when he cut the Gordian knot that held
the colonies to Great Britain. "From that moment we may date the
severance of the British Empire," said Daniel Webster, in his Bunker
Hill oration, referring to the massacre on the 5th of March, 1770. The
thirst for freedom was universal among the people of New England. With
them liberty was not circumscribed by condition and now, since the slave
Attucks had struck the first blow for America's independence, thereby
electrifying the colonies and putting quite a different phase upon their
grievances, the people were called upon to witness a real slave
struggling with his oppressors for his freedom. It touched the people of
the colonies as they had never been touched before, and they arrayed
themselves for true freedom.

Dr. Joseph Warren thus heralds the sentiment of the colonist, in his
oration delivered at Boston, March 5th, 1775:

     "That personal freedom is the natural right of every man,
     and that property, or an exclusive right to dispose of what
     he has honestly acquired by his own labor, necessarily
     arises therefrom, are truths which common sense has placed
     beyond the reach of contradiction. And no man, or body of
     men, can, without being guilty of flagrant injustice, claim
     a right to dispose of the persons or acquisitions of any
     other man or body of men, unless it can be proved that such
     a right has arisen from some compact between the parties, in
     which it has been explicitly and freely granted."

The year previous, John Hancock was the orator on the occasion of the
4th anniversary of the shedding of the first blood for the Independence
of America, and he thus presents the case to a Boston audience yet
smarting under the insult and sting given them by the British soldiery:

     "But I forbear, and come reluctantly to the transactions of
     that dismal night, when in such quick succession, we felt
     the extremes of grief, astonishment and rage; when Heaven,
     in anger, for a dreadful moment suffered Hell to take the
     reins; when Satan with his chosen band opened the sluices of
     New England's blood, and sacrilegiously polluted our land
     with the dead bodies of her guiltless sons. Let this sad
     tale of death never be told without a tear; let the heaving
     bosom cause to burn with a manly indignation at the
     barbarous story, through the long tracts of future time; let
     every parent tell the shameful story to his listening
     children 'til tears of pity glisten in their eyes, and
     boiling passions shake their tender frames; and whilst the
     anniversary of that ill-fated night is kept a jubilee in the
     grim court of pandemonium, let all America join in one
     common prayer to Heaven, that the inhuman, unprovoked
     murders of the 5th of March, 1770, planned by Hillsborough
     and a knot of treacherous knaves in Boston, and executed by
     the cruel hand of Preston and his sanguinary coadjutors, may
     ever stand in history without a parallel. But what, my
     countrymen, withheld the ready arm of vengeance from
     executing instant justice on the vile assassins? Perhaps you
     feared promiscuous carnage might ensue, and that the
     innocent might share the fate of those who had performed the
     infernal deed. But were not all guilty? Were you not too
     tender of the lives of those who came to fix a yoke on your
     necks? But I must not too severely blame you for a fault
     which great souls only can commit. May that magnificence of
     spirit which scorns the low pursuit of malice; may that
     generous compassion which often preserves from ruin, even a
     guilty villain, forever actuate the noble bosoms of
     Americans! But let not the miscreant host vainly imagine
     that we feared their arms. No, those we despised; we dread
     nothing but slavery. Death is the creature of a poltroon's
     brains; 'tis immortality to sacrifice ourselves for the
     salvation of our country. We fear not death. That gloomy
     night, the pale-face moon, and the affrighted stars that
     hurried through the sky, can witness that we fear not death.
     Our hearts, which, at the recollection, glow with rage that
     four revolving years have scarcely taught us to restrain,
     can witness that we fear not death; and happy it is for
     those who dared to insult us, that their naked bones are not
     now piled up an ever-lasting monument of Massachusetts
     bravery. But they retired; they fled, and in that flight
     they found their only safety. We then expected that the hand
     of public justice would soon inflict that punishment upon
     the murderers, which, by the laws of God and man, they had
     incurred. But let the unbiassed pen of a Robertson, or
     perhaps of some equally famed American, conduct this trial
     before the great tribunal of succeeding generations. And
     though the murderers may escape the just resentment of an
     enraged people; though drowsy justice, intoxicated by the
     poisonous draft prepared for her cup, still nods upon her
     rotten seat, yet be assured, such complicated crimes will
     meet their due reward. Tell me, ye bloody butchers! ye
     villains high and low! ye wretches who contrived, as well as
     you who executed the inhuman deed! do you not feel the goads
     and stings of conscious guilt pierce through your savage
     bosoms? Though some of you may think yourselves exalted to a
     height that bids defiance to human justice, and others
     shroud yourselves beneath the mask of hypocrisy, and build
     your hopes of safety on the low arts of cunning, chicanery
     and falsehood; yet do you not sometimes feel the gnawings of
     that worm which never dies; do not the injured shades of
     Maverick, Gray, Cadwell, Attucks and Carr, attend you in
     your solitary walks; arrest you in the midst of your
     debaucheries and fill even your dreams with terror?"

The orators of New England poured out upon this once slave,--now hero
and martyr,--their unstinted praise. We have but to recall the
recollection of the earliest conflicts which the colonist had with the
British, in order to see the negro occupying a place in the ranks of the
patriot army. Their white fellow-citizens were only too glad to take
ground to the left, in order that they could fall in on their colors.
And they did good service whenever they fought, as the record shows.

The Committee of safety upon reviewing the situation and the army,
before the first great battle of the Revolution had been fought, adopted
the following resolution:

     "_Resolved_, That it is the opinion of this committee, that
     as the contest now between Great Britain and the Colonies
     respects the liberties and privileges of the latter, which
     the Colonies are determined to maintain, that the admission
     of any persons, as soldiers, into the army now raising, but
     such as are Freeman, will be inconsistent with the
     principals that are supported, and reflect dishonor on this
     Colony; and that no Slaves be admitted into this army upon
     any consideration whatever."

The exception was well taken, and this act of the Committee, excluding
slaves from the army, placed the rebels upon the basis of patriots,
fighting for freedom. This, however, did not detract from those who had
already distinguished themselves, by their bravery at Bunker Hill a few
weeks previous, where Peter Salem, once a slave, fought side by side in
the ranks with the white soldiers. When the British Major Pitcairn
mounted the redoubt, upon that memorable occasion, shouting, "The day
is ours!" Peter Salem poured the contents of his gun into that officer's
body, killing him instantly, and checking, temporarily, the advance of
the British. Swett, in his "Sketches of Bunker Hill Battle," says:

     "Major Pitcairn caused the first effusion of blood at
     Lexington. In that battle, his horse was shot under him,
     while he was separated from his troops. With presence of
     mind he feigned himself slain; his pistols were taken from
     his holsters, and he was left for dead, when he seized the
     opportunity and escaped. He appeared at Bunker Hill, and,
     says the historian, 'Among those who mounted the works was
     the gallant Major Pitcairn, who exultingly cried out, 'The
     day is ours!' when a black soldier, named Salem, shot him
     through and he fell. His agonized son received him in his
     arms, and tenderly bore him to the boats.' A contribution
     was made in the army for the colored soldier, and he was
     presented to Washington as having performed this feat."

Mr. Aaron White, of Thompson, Conn., in a letter to George Livermore,
Esq., of the Massachusetts Historical Society, writes:

     "With regard to the black Hero of Bunker Hill, I never knew
     him personally, nor did I ever hear from his lips the story
     of his achievements; but I have better authority. About the
     year 1809, I heard a soldier of the Revolution, who was
     present at the Bunker Hill Battle, relate to my father the
     story of the death of Major Pitcairn. He said the Major had
     passed the storm of fire without, and had mounted the
     redoubt, when, waving his sword, he commanded, in a loud
     voice, the 'rebels' to surrender. His sudden appearance, and
     his commanding air, at first startled the men immediately
     before him. They neither answered nor fired; probably not
     being exactly certain what was next to be done. At this
     critical moment, a negro soldier stepped forward, and,
     aiming his musket directly at the Major's bosom, blew him
     through. My informant declared that he was so near, that he
     distinctly saw the act. The story made quite an impression
     on my mind. I have frequently heard my father relate the
     story, and have no doubt of its truth. My father on the day
     of the battle was a mere child, and witnessed the battle and
     burning of Charlestown from Roxbury Hill, sitting on the
     shoulders of the Rev. Mr. Jackson, who said to him as he
     placed him on the ground, 'Now, boy, do you remember this!'
     Consequently, after such an injunction, he would necessarily
     pay particular attention to anecdotes concerning the first
     and only battle he ever witnessed."


Peter Salem shooting the British Major Pitcairn.]

Salem was undoubtedly one of the chief heroes of that ever memorable
battle. Orator, historian, poet, all give this sable patriot credit for
having been instrumental in checking the British advance and saving the

At the unveiling of the statue erected to the memory of Gen. Joseph
Warren, who fell at Bunker Hill, the orator of the occasion, Hon. Edward
Everett, said:

     "It is the monument of the day of the event, of the battle
     of Bunker Hill; all of the brave men who shared its
     perils,--alike of Prescott and Putnam and Warren, the chiefs
     of the day, and the colored man, Salem, who, is reported to
     have shot the gallant Pitcairn, as he mounted the parapet.
     Cold as the clods on which it rests, still as the silent
     Heaven to which it soars, it is yet vocal, eloquent, in
     their individual praise."

The following is a copy of a petition now in the Archive Department of


     "The subscribers beg leave to report to your Honorable
     House, (which we do in justice to the character of so brave
     a man), that under our own observation, we declare that a
     negro man named Salem Poor, of Col. Frye's regiment, Capt.
     Ame's company, in the late battle at Charleston, behaved
     like an experienced officer, as well as an excellent
     soldier. To set forth particulars of his conduct would be
     tedious. We only beg leave to say, in the person of this
     said negro, centers a brave and gallant soldier. The reward
     due to so great and distinguished a character, we submit to

     "JONA. BREWER, Col.
     THOMAS NIXON, Lt. Col.
     WM. PRESCOTT, Col.
     EPHM. COREY, Lieut.
     JOSEPH BAKER, Lieut.
     JOSHUA ROW, Lieut.
     THOMAS NIXON, Lt. Col.
     WM. PRESCOTT, Col.
     EPHM. COREY, Lieut.
     JOSEPH BAKER, Lieut.
     JOSHUA ROW, Lieut.

     CAMBRIDGE, Dec. 5, 1775.

     "In Council Dec. 21, 1775.--Read, and sent down.
     PEREZ MORTON, Dep'y Sec'y."

A biographical account of Peter Salem is given in the following
newspaper extract:

     "April, 1882, the town of Framingham voted to place a
     memorial stone over the grave of Peter Salem, alias Salem
     Middlesex, whose last resting place in the old burial ground
     at Framingham Centre has been unmarked for years. For this
     purpose $150 was appropriated by the town. The committee in
     charge of the matter has placed a neat granite memorial over
     his grave, and it bears the following inscription: "Peter
     Salem, a soldier of the revolution, Died Aug. 16, 1816.
     Concord, Bunker Hill, Saratoga. Erected by the town, 1882."
     Peter Salem was the colored man who particularly
     distinguished himself in the revolutionary war by shooting
     down Major Pitcairn at the battle of Bunker Hill, as he was
     mounting a redoubt and shouting, "The day is ours!" this
     being the time when Pitcairn fell back into the arms of his
     son. Peter Salem served faithfully in the war for seven
     years in the companies of minute men under the command of
     Capt. John Nixon and Capt. Simon Edgell of Framingham, and
     came out of it unharmed. He was a slave, and was owned,
     originally, by Capt. Jeremiah Belknap of Framingham, being
     sold by him to Major Lawson Buckminster of that town, he
     becoming a free man when he joined the army. Salem was born
     in Framingham, and, in 1783, married Katie Benson, a
     Granddaughter of Nero, living for a time near what is now
     the State muster field. He removed to Leicester after the
     close of the war, his last abode in that town being a cabin
     on the road leading from Leicester to Auburn. He was removed
     to Framingham, where he had gained a settlement in 1816 and
     there he died."

Salem was not the only negro at the battle of Bunker Hill. Says an

     "Col. Trumbull in his celebrated historic picture of this
     battle, introduces conspicuously the colored patriot. At the
     time of the battle, the artist, then acting as adjutant, was
     stationed with his regiment at Roxbury, and saw the action
     from this point. The picture was painted in 1786 when the
     event was fresh in his mind. It is a significant historical
     fact, pertinent to our present research, that, among the
     limited number of figures introduced on the canvas, more
     than one negro soldier can be distinctly seen."

Of the others who participated in the battle we have knowledge of Salem
Poor, whose bravery won for him favorable comment.

Major Wm. Lawrence, who fought through the war for independence, from
Concord, until the peace of 1783, participating in many of the severest
battles of the war. Says a memoir:

     "At Bunker Hill, where he was slightly wounded, his coat and
     hat were pierced with the balls of the enemy, and were
     preserved in the family for several years. At one time he
     commanded a company whose rank and file were all negroes, of
     whose courage, military discipline, and fidelity, he always
     spoke with respect. On one occasion, being out
     reconnoitering with his company, he got so far in advance of
     his command, that he was surrounded, and on the point of
     being made prisoner by the enemy. The men, soon discovering
     his peril, rushed to his rescue, and fought with the most
     determined bravery till that rescue was effectually
     secured. He never forgot this circumstance, and ever took
     special pains to show kindness and hospitality to any
     individual of the colored race, who came near his dwelling."

The Committee of Safety having excluded slaves from the army, many were
thereafter manumitted, that they might enlist. There was no law
regulating enlistment in the army at the time which required the color
of a soldier's skin to be recorded or regarded. A prejudice existed in
the legislature that prompted that body to begin a series of special
enactments, regarding negroes, which did not exclude them altogether
from the army, but looked to their organization into exclusive
companies, batallions and regiments.

Notwithstanding the record made by the negroes who had swollen the ranks
of the American army a few weeks after the battle of Bunker Hill,
General Gates, then at Cambridge, issued the following order to the
officers, then recruiting for the service:

     "You are not to enlist any deserter from the Ministerial
     army, nor any stroller, negro, or vagabond, or persons
     suspected of being an enemy to the liberty of America, nor
     any under eighteen years of age. As the cause is the best
     that can engage men of courage and principle to take up
     arms, so it is expected that none but such will be accepted
     by the recruiting officer. The pay, provision, &c., being so
     ample, it is not doubted but that the officers sent upon
     this service will, without delay, complete their respective
     corps, and march the men forthwith to camp. You are not to
     enlist any person that is not an American born, unless such
     person has a wife and family, and is a settled resident in
     this country. The persons you enlist must be provided with
     good and complete arms."

This was in July, and on the 26th of the following September, Edward
Rutledge, of South Carolina, moved in the Colonial Congress that all
negroes be discharged that were in the army. As might be expected, his
proposition was strongly supported by the Southern delegates, but the
Northern delegates being so much stronger, voted it down. The negroes
were crowding so rapidly into the army, and the Northern colonists
finding their Southern comrades so strongly opposing this element of
strength, submitted the question of their enlistment to a conference
committee in October, composed of such men as Dr. Franklin, Benjamin
Harrison and Thomas Lynch, with the Deputy Governors of Connecticut and
Rhode Island. This committee met at Cambridge, with a committee of the
council of Massachusetts Bay. The object and duty of the meeting was to
consider the condition of the army, and to devise means by which it
could be improved.

General Washington was present at the meeting, and took part in the
discussions. Among others, the following subject was considered and
reported upon: "'Ought not negroes to be excluded from the new
enlistment, especially those such as are slaves?' All were thought
improper by the council of officers. '_Agreed_, That they may be
rejected altogether.'"

In the organization of the new army, were many officers and men, who had
served with negroes in the militia, and who had been re-enlisted in the
colonial army. They protested against the exclusion of their old
comrades, on account of color. So very strong were their protests that
most of the rank and file of the Northern troops regarded the matter as
of serious import to the colonies, and of danger to the wives and
families of those in the field. There was quite a large number of free
negroes in the Northern Colonies at this time, and the patriotism
displayed by those who had the opportunity of serving in the militia
during the early stages of the war, aroused a feeling which prompted a
great many masters to offer to the commander of the army the services of
their slaves, and to the slaves their freedom, if their services were
accepted. So weighty were the arguments offered, and to soften the gloom
which hung about the homes and the camps of the soldiers, Gen.
Washington wrote to the President of Congress regarding the matter, from
Cambridge, in December, 1775:

     "It has been represented to me that the free negroes who
     have served in this army are very much dissatisfied at being
     discarded. As it is to be apprehended that they may seek
     employment in the Ministerial army, I have presumed to
     depart from the resolution respecting them, and have given
     license for their being enlisted. If this is disapproved by
     Congress, I will put a stop to it."[2]

The letter was submitted to Congress, and General Washington's action
was sustained by the passage of the following resolution: "That the free
negroes, who had served faithfully in the army at Cambridge, may be
re-enlisted therein, but no others."

The question of color first entered the army by order of Washington's
predecessor, Gen. Artemus Ward, who in his first general order required
the "complexion" of the soldier to be entered upon the roll. In October,
1775, Gen. Thomas wrote the following letter to John Adams. The general
was in every way competent to draw a true picture of the army, and had
the opportunity of observation. He says:

     "I am sorry to hear that any prejudices should take place in
     any Southern Colony, with respect to the troops raised in
     this. I am certain that the insinuations you mention are
     injurious, if we consider with what precipitation we are
     obliged to collect an army. In the regiments at Roxbury, the
     privates are equal to any that I served with in the last
     war; very few old men, and in the ranks very few boys. Our
     fifes are many of them boys. We have some negroes; but I
     look on them, in general, as equally serviceable with other
     men for fatigue; and in action many of them have proved
     themselves brave. I would avoid all reflection, or anything
     that may tend to give umbrage; but there is in this army
     from the southward, a number called riflemen, who are the
     most indifferent men I ever served with. These privates are
     mutinous, and often deserting to the enemy; unwilling for
     duty of any kind; exceedingly vicious; and I think the army
     here would be as well off without them. But to do justice to
     their officers, they are, some of them, likely men."

Despite all prejudice, the negro, as in all conflicts since, sought
every opportunity to show his patriotism, and his unquenchable thirst
for liberty; and no matter in what capacity he entered the service,
whether as body-servant, hostler or teamster, he always displayed the
same characteristic courage. In November of the same year the Provincial
Congress of South Carolina, by the passage of the following resolution,
gave permission to her militia officers, to use slaves in the army for
certain purposes:

     "On motion, _Resolved_, That the colonels of the several
     regiments of militia throughout the Colony have leave to
     enroll such a number of able male slaves, to be employed as
     pioneers and laborers, as public exegencies may require; and
     that a daily pay of seven shillings and six-pence be allowed
     for the service of each such slave while actually employed."

The foregoing resolution must not in any way be understood as
sanctioning the employment of negroes as soldiers, notwithstanding some
of the ablest men of the State advocated the enlistment of negroes in
the army; the opposition was too strong to carry the measure through
either Congress or the legislature. The feeling among the Northern
colonists may be shown by citing the views of some of their leading men,
and none perhaps was better calculated to give a clear expression of
their views, than the Rev. Dr. Hopkins, of Newport, R. I., who wrote a
"Dialogue Concerning the slavery of the Africans," published soon after
the commencement of hostilities. Here is an extract from a note to the

     "God is so ordering it in his providence, that it seems
     absolutely necessary something should speedily be done with
     respect to the slaves among us, in order to our safety, and
     to prevent their turning against us in our present struggle,
     in order to get their liberty. Our oppressors have planned
     to gain the blacks, and induce them to take up arms against
     us, by promising them liberty on this condition; and this
     plan they are prosecuting to the utmost of their power, by
     which means they have persuaded numbers to join them. And
     should we attempt to restrain them by force and severity,
     keeping a strict guard over them, and punishing them
     severely who shall be detected in attempting to join our
     oppressors, this will only be making bad worse, and serve to
     render our inconsistence, oppression, and cruelty more
     criminal, perspicuous, and shocking, and bring down the
     righteous vengeance of Heaven on our heads. The only way
     pointed out to prevent this threatening evil is to set the
     blacks at liberty ourselves by some public acts and laws,
     and then give them proper encouragement to labor, or take
     arms in the defence of the American cause, as they shall
     choose. This would at once be doing them some degree of
     justice, and defeating our enemies in the scheme that they
     are prosecuting."

Therefore it will be observed that public opinion regarding the arming
of negroes in the North and South, was controlled by sectional interest
in the one, and the love of liberty in the other. That both desired
America's Independence, no one will doubt, but that one section was
more willing than the other to sacrifice slavery for freedom, I think is
equally as plain. While the colonists were debating with much anxiety
the subject of what to do with the negroes, the New England States were
endeavoring to draw the Southern States or Colonies into the war by
electing George Washington as Commander of the army at Cambridge, and
accepting the mis-interpretations of the declarations of war. The Punic
faith with which the Southern States entered the war for liberty
humiliated the army, and wrung from its commander the letter written to
Congress, and its approval of his course in re-enlisting free negroes.
Meanwhile the British were actively engaged in recruiting and organizing
negroes into their army and navy.

In November, 1775, Lord Dunmore visited Norfolk, Virginia,[3] and, as
Governor, finding his authority as such not regarded by the whites,
issued a proclamation offering freedom to the slaves who would join the
British army. A full description of the State of affairs at that time,
is thus given by an English historian:

     "In letters which had been laid before the English
     Parliament, and published to the whole world, he (Lord
     Dunmore) had represented the planters as ambitious, selfish
     men, pursuing their own interest and advancement at the
     expense of their poorer countrymen, and as being ready to
     make every sacrifice of honesty and principle, and he had
     said more privately, that, since they were so anxious for
     liberty,--for more freedom than was consistent with the free
     institutions of the Mother Country and the charter of the
     Colony,--that since they were so eager to abolish a fanciful
     slavery in a dependence on Great Britain, he would try how
     they liked abolition of real slavery, by setting free all
     their negroes and indentured servants, who were, in fact,
     little better than _white_ slaves. This to the Virginians
     was like passing a rasp over a gangrened place; it was
     probing a wound that was incurable, or one which had not yet
     been healed. Later in the year, when the battle of Bunker's
     Hill had been fought, when our forts on Lake Champlain had
     been taken from us, and when Montgomery and Arnold were
     pressing on our possessions in Canada, Lord Dunmore carried
     his threat into execution. Having established his
     headquarters at Norfolk, he proclaimed freedom to all the
     slaves who would repair to his standard and bear arms for
     the King. The summons was readily obeyed by the most of the
     negroes who had the means of escape to him. He, at the same
     time, issued a proclamation, declaring martial law
     throughout the colony of Virginia; and he collected a number
     of armed vessels, which cut off the coasting trade, made
     many prizes, and greatly distressed an important part of
     that Province. If he could have opened a road to slaves in
     the interior of the Province, his measures would have been
     very fatal to the planters. In order to stop the alarming
     desertion of the negroes, and to arrest his Lordship in his
     career, the provincial Assembly detached against him a
     strong force of more than a thousand men, who arrived in the
     neighborhood of Norfolk in the month of December. Having
     made a circuit, they came to a village called Great Bridge,
     where the river Elizabeth was traversed by a bridge; but
     before their arrival the bridge had been made impassable,
     and some works, defended chiefly by negroes, had been thrown

During the same month Edmund Pendleton wrote to Richard Henry Lee that
many slaves had flocked to the British standard:

     "The Governor, * * * * marched out with three hundred and
     fifty soldiers, Tories and _slaves_, to Kemp's Landing; and
     after setting up his standard, and issuing his proclamation,
     declaring all persons rebels who took up arms for the
     country, and inviting all slaves, servants and apprentices
     to come to him and receive arms, he proceeded to intercept
     Hutchings and his party, upon whom he came by surprise, but
     received, it seems, so warm a fire, that the ragmuffins ran
     away. They were, however, rallied on discovering that two
     companies of our militia gave away; and left Hutchings and
     Dr. Reid with a volunteer company, who maintained their
     ground bravely till they were overcome by numbers, and took
     shelter in a swamp. The slaves were sent in pursuit of them;
     and one of Col. Hutching's, with another, found him. On
     their approach, he discharged his pistol at his slave, but
     missed him; and he was taken by them, after receiving a
     wound in the face with a sword. The number taken or killed
     on either side is not ascertained. It is said the Governor
     went to Dr. Reid's shop, and after taking the medicines and
     dressing necessary for his wounded men, broke all the others
     to pieces. Letters mention that slaves flock to him in
     abundance: but I hope it is magnified."

Five months after he issued the proclamation, Lord Dunmore thus writes,
concerning his success:

                      [No. 1]

          "_Lord Dunmore to the Secretary of State._
                  {SHIP 'DUNMORE,' IN ELIZABETH RIVER, VA.,
                  {    30th March, 1776.

     "Your Lordship will observe by my letter, No. 34, that I
     have been endeavoring to raise two regiments here--one of
     white people, the other of black. The former goes on very
     slowly, but the latter very well, and would have been in
     great forwardness, had not a fever crept in amongst them,
     which carried off a great many very fine fellows."

       *       *       *       *       *

                      [No. 3]

                  {"SHIP 'DUNMORE,' IN GWIN'S ISLAND HARBOR, VA.,
                  {    June 26, 1776.

     "I am extremely sorry to inform your Lordship, that that
     fever of which I informed you in my letter No. 1 has proved
     a very malignant one, and has carried off an incredible
     number of our people, especially the blacks. Had it not been
     for this horrid disorder, I am satisfied I should have had
     no doubt of penetrating into the heart of this colony."

The dread in which the colonists held the negro was equal to that with
which they regarded the Indians. The incendiary torch, massacre,
pillage, and revolt, was ever presenting a gloomy and disastrous picture
to the colonists at the South. Their dreams at night; their thoughts by
day; in the field and in the legislature hall, were how to keep the
negro down. If one should be seen in a village with a gun, a half score
of white men would rush and take it from him, while women in the street
would take shelter in the nearest house. The wrongs which they continued
to practice upon him was a terror to them through their conscience,
though then, as in later years, many, and particularly the leaders,
endeavored to impress others with their feigned belief of the natural
inferiority of the negro to themselves. This doctrine served them, as
the whistle did the boy in the woods; they talked in that way simply to
keep their courage up, and their conscience down.

The commander of the American army regarded the action of Lord Dunmore
as a serious blow to the national cause. To take the negroes out of the
field from raising produce for the army, and place them in front of the
patriots as opposing soldiers, he saw was a danger that should be
averted. With this in view he wrote to Joseph Reed in December, saying:

     "If the Virginians are wise, that arch-traitor to the rights
     of humanity, Lord Dunmore, should be instantly crushed, if
     it takes the whole army to do it; otherwise, like a snowball
     in rolling, his army will get size, some through fear, some
     through promises, and some through inclination, joining his
     standard; but that which renders the measure indispensable
     is the negroes; for, if he gets formidable, numbers of them
     will be tempted to join, who will be afraid to do it

Notwithstanding this, the Southern States still kept the negro out of
the army. It was not until affairs became alarmingly dangerous, and a
few weeks before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, that
the subject of arming the slaves came again before the people.

In May, 1777, the General Assembly of Connecticut postponed in one house
and rejected in the other the report of a committee "that the effective
negro and mulatto slaves be allowed to enlist with the Continental
battallions now raising in this State." But under a law passed at the
same session "white and black, bond and free, if 'able bodied,' went on
the roll together, accepted as the representatives of their 'class,' or
as substitutes for their employers." At the next session (October,
1777), the law was so amended as to authorize the selectmen of any town,
on the application of the master--after 'inquiry into the age,
abilities, circumstances, and character' of the servant or slave, and
being satisfied 'that it was likely to be consistent with his real
advantage, and that he would be able to support himself,'--to grant
liberty for his emancipation, and to discharge the master 'from any
charge or cost which may be occasioned by maintaining or supporting the
servant or slave made free as aforesaid.' Mr. J. H. Trumbull, of
Connecticut, in giving the foregoing facts, adds:

     "The slave (or servant for term of years) might receive his
     freedom; the master might receive exemption from draft, and
     a discharge from future liabilities, to which he must
     otherwise have been subjected. In point of fact, some
     hundreds of blacks,--slaves and freemen,--were enlisted,
     from time to time, in the regiments of State troops and of
     the Connecticut line."

The British were determined, it seems, to utilize all the available
strength they could command, by enlisting negroes at the North as well
as at the South. They conceived the idea of forming regiments of them at
the North, as the letter of Gen. Greene to Gen. Washington will show:

               "CAMP ON LONG ISLAND, July 21, 1776, two o'clock.

     "SIR:--Colonel Hand reports seven large ships are coming up
     from the Hook to the Narrows.

     "A negro belonging to one Strickler, at Gravesend, was taken
     prisoner (as he says) last Sunday at Coney Island. Yesterday
     he made his escape, and was taken prisoner by the rifle
     guard. He reports eight hundred negroes collected on Staten
     Island, this day to be formed into a regiment.

         I am your Excellency's most obedient, humble servant,
                                                  N. GREENE.
     "To His Excellency Gen. Washington, Headquarters, New York."

Occasionally the public would be startled by the daring and bravery of
some negro in the American army, and then the true lovers of liberty,
North and South, would again urge that negroes be admitted into the
ranks of the army. When Lt.-Col. Barton planned for the capture of the
British Maj.-Gen. Prescott, who commanded the British army at Newport R.
I., and whose capture was necessary in order to effect the release of
Gen. Lee, who was then in the hands of the British, and of the same rank
as that of Gen. Prescott, Col. Barton's plan was made a success through
the aid of Prince, a negro in Col. Barton's command. The daring of the
exploit excited the highest patriotic commendations of the Americans,
and revived the urgent appeals that had been made for a place in the
armed ranks for all men, irrespective of color. The Pennsylvania Evening
_Post_ of Aug. 7th, 1777, gives the following account of the capture:

     "They landed about five miles from Newport, and three
     quarters of a mile from the house, which they approached
     cautiously, avoiding the main guard, which was at some
     distance. _The Colonel went foremost, with a stout active
     negro close behind him, and another at a small distance; the
     rest followed so as to be near but not seen._

     "A single sentinel at the door saw and hailed the Colonel;
     he answered by exclaiming against and inquiring for, rebel
     prisoners, but kept slowly advancing. The sentinel again
     challenged him and required the countersign. He said he had
     not the countersign; but amused the sentry by talking about
     rebel prisoners, and still advancing till he came within
     reach of the bayonet, which, he presenting, the colonel
     struck aside, and seized him. He was immediately secured,
     and ordered to be silent, on pain of instant death.
     _Meanwhile, the rest of the men surrounding the house, the
     negro, with his head, at the second stroke, forced a passage
     into it, and then into the landlord's apartment. The
     landlord at first refused to give the necessary
     intelligence; but, on the prospect of present death, he
     pointed to the General's chamber, which being instantly
     opened by the negro's head, the Colonel, calling the General
     by name, told him he was a prisoner._"

Congress voted Col. Barton a magnificent sword, but the real captor of
Gen. Prescott, so far as known, received nothing. A surgeon in the
American army, Dr. Thacher, writes, under date of Aug. 3d, 1777, at

     "The pleasing information is received here that Lieut.-Col.
     Barton, of the Rhode Island Militia, planned a bold exploit
     for the purpose of surprising and taking Maj.-Gen. Prescott,
     the commanding officer of the Royal army at Newport. Taking
     with him, in the night, about forty men, in two boats, with
     oars muffled, he had the address to elude the vigilance of
     the ships-of-war and guard boats; and, having arrived
     undiscovered at the quarters of Gen. Prescott, they were
     taken for the sentinels; and the general was not alarmed
     till the captors were at the door of his lodging chamber,
     which was fast closed. _A negro man, named Prince, instantly
     thrust his beetle head through the panel door, and seized
     his victim while in bed._ This event is extremely honorable
     to the enterprising spirit of Col. Barton, and is considered
     an ample retaliation for the capture of Gen. Lee by Col.
     Harcourt. The event occasions great joy and exultation, as
     it puts in our possession an officer of equal rank with Gen.
     Lee, by which means an exchange may be obtained. Congress
     resolved that an elegant sword should be presented to Col.
     Barton, for his brave exploit."

To recite here every incident and circumstance illustrating the heroism
and the particular services rendered the patriotic army by negroes, who
served in regiments and companies with white soldiers, would fill this
entire volume. Yet, with the desire of doing justice to the memory of
all those negroes who aided in achieving the independence of America, I
cannot forbear introducing notices,--gathered from various sources,--of
some prominent examples.

Ebenezer Hill, a slave at Stonington, Conn., who served throughout the
war, and who took part in the battles of Saratoga and Stillwater, and
witnessed the surrender of Burgoyne.

Prince Whipple acted as bodyguard to General Whipple, one of
Washington's aids. Prince is the negro seen on horseback in the
engraving of Washington crossing the Delaware, and again pulling the
stroke oar in the boat which Washington crossed in.

At the storming of Fort Griswold, Maj. Montgomery was lifted upon the
walls of the fort by his soldiers, and called upon the Americans to
surrender. John Freeman, a negro soldier, with his pike, pinned him dead
to the earth. Among the American soldiers who were massacred by the
British soldiers, after the surrender of the fort, were two negro
soldiers, Lambo Latham and Jordan Freeman.

Quack Matrick, a negro, fought through the Revolutionary war, as a
soldier, for which he was pensioned. Also Jonathan Overtin, who was at
the battle of Yorktown. The grandfather of the historian Wm. Wells
Brown, Simon Lee, was also a soldier "in the times which tried men's

     "Samuel Charlton was born in the State of New Jersey, a
     slave, in the family of Mr. M., who owned, also, other
     members belonging to his family--all residing in the English
     neighborhood. During the progress of the war, he was placed
     by his master (as a substitute for himself) in the army then
     in New Jersey, as a teamster in the baggage train. He was in
     active service at the battle of Monmouth, not only
     witnessing, but taking a part in, the great struggle of that
     day. He was also in several other engagements in different
     sections of that part of the State. He was a great admirer
     of General Washington, and was, at one time, attached to his
     baggage train, and received the General's commendation for
     his courage and devotion to the cause of liberty. Mr.
     Charlton was about fifteen or seventeen years of age when
     placed in the army, for which his master rewarded him with a
     silver dollar. At the expiration of his time, he returned to
     his master, to serve again in bondage, after having toiled,
     fought and bled for liberty, in common with the regular
     soldiery. Mr. M., at his death, by will, liberated his
     slaves, and provided a pension for Charlton, to be paid
     during his lifetime.

            *       *       *       *

     "James Easton, of Bridgewater, a colored man, participated
     in the erection of the fortifications on Dorchester Heights,
     under command of Washington, which the next morning so
     greatly surprised the British soldiers then encamped in

     "Among the brave blacks who fought in the battles for
     American liberty was Major Jeffrey, a Tennesseean, who,
     during the campaign of Major-General Andrew Jackson in
     Mobile, filled the place of "regular" among the soldiers. In
     the charge made by General Stump against the enemy, the
     Americans were repulsed and thrown into disorder,--Major
     Stump being forced to retire, in a manner by no means
     desirable, under the circumstances. Major Jeffrey, who was
     but a common soldier, seeing the condition of his comrades,
     and comprehending the disastrous results about to befall
     them, rushed forward, mounted a horse, took command of the
     troops, and, by an heroic effort, rallied them to the
     charge,--completely routing the enemy, who left the
     Americans masters of the field. He at once received from the
     General the title of "Major," though he could not, according
     to the American policy, so commission him. To the day of his
     death, he was known by that title in Nashville, where he
     resided, and the circumstances which entitled him to it were
     constantly the subject of popular conversation.

     "Major Jeffrey was highly respected by the whites generally,
     and revered, in his own neighborhood, by all the colored
     people who knew him.

     "A few years ago receiving an indignity from a common
     ruffian, he was forced to strike him in self-defense; for
     which act, in accordance with the laws of slavery in that,
     as well as many other of the slave States, he was compelled
     to receive, on his naked person, _nine and thirty lashes
     with a raw hide!_ This, at the age of seventy odd, after the
     distinguished services rendered his country,--probably when
     the white ruffian for whom he was tortured was unable to
     raise an arm in its defense,--was more than he could bear;
     _it broke his heart_, and he sank to rise no more, till
     summoned by the blast of the last trumpet to stand on the
     battle-field of the general resurrection."

Jeffrey was not an exception to this kind of treatment. Samuel Lee died
on a tobacco plantation after the war.

The re-enslaving of the negroes who fought for American Independence
became so general at the South, that the Legislature of Virginia in
1783, in compliance with her honor, passed an act directing the
emancipation of certain slaves, who had served as soldiers of the State,
and for the emancipation of the slave Aberdeen.

James Armistead during the war acted as a scout and spy for LaFayette
during his campaign in Virginia, and at one time gave information of an
intended surprise to be made upon the forces of the Marquis, thereby
saving probably a rout of the army. Armistead, after the surrender of
Cornwallis at Yorktown, was returned to his master three years after the
close of the war. He was manumitted by especial act of the Virginia
Legislature, whose attention was called to the worthiness of the service
rendered by Armistead.

The opposition to the employment of negroes as soldiers, by the
persistency of its advocates and the bravery of those who were then
serving in white regiments, was finally overcome, so that their
enlistment became general and regulated by law. Companies, battalions
and regiments of negro troops soon entered the field and the struggle
for independence and liberty, giving to the cause the reality of
freedmen's fight. For three years the army had been fighting under the
smart of defeats, with an occasional signal victory, but now the tide
was about to be turned against the English. The colonists had witnessed
the heroism of the negro in Virginia at Great Bridge, and at Norfolk; in
Massachusetts at Boston and Bunker Hill, fighting, in the former, for
freedom under the British flag, in the latter for liberty, under the
banner of the colonies. The echoing shouts of the whites fell heavily
upon the ears of the black people; they caught the strain as by martial
instinct, and reverberated the appeal, "_Liberty and Independence_."

The negro's ancestors were not slaves, so upon the altar of their hearts
the fire of liberty was re-kindled by the utterances of the white
colonists. They heard Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams, whose eloquence
vehemently aroused their compatriots, and, like them, they too resolved
to be free. They held no regular organized meetings; at the North they
assembled with their white fellow-citizens; at the South each balmy gale
that swept along the banks of the rivers were laden with the negro's
ejaculations for freedom, and each breast was resolute and determined.
The advocates and friends of the measure for arming all men for freedom,
were on the alert, and now the condition of the army was such as to
enable them to press the necessity of the measure upon the attention of
the American people. Washington needed reinforcements; nay, more, the
perilous situation of the army as it lay in camp at Valley Forge, at the
conclusion of the campaign of 1777, was indeed distressing. The
encampment consisted of huts, and there was danger of a famine. The
soldiers were nearly destitute of comfortable clothing. "Many," says the
historian, "for want of shoes, walked barefoot on the frozen ground;
few, if any, had blankets for the night. Great numbers sickened; near
three thousand at a time were incapable of bearing arms."

Within fifteen miles of them lay the city of Philadelphia and the
British army. These gloomy circumstances overshadowed the recent victory
at Bennington, and the surrender of Burgoyne. Under these circumstances,
the difficulty of recruiting the patriot army may be easily imagined. A
general enlistment bill had failed to pass the legislature in the
spring, because, perhaps, the spirit of the patriots were up at the
time; but now they were down, and the advocates of arming negroes sought
the opportunity of carrying their plan. It was not attempted in
Connecticut, but in the General Assembly of Rhode Island an act was
passed for the purpose. Here are some of the principal provisions of
this act:

     "_It is Voted and Resolved_, That every able-bodied negro,
     mulatto, or Indian man slave in this State, may enlist into
     either of the said two battalions to serve during the
     continuance of the present war with Great Britain; that
     every slave so enlisted shall be entitled to receive all the
     bounties, wages, encouragements allowed by the Continental
     Congress to any soldier enlisted into their service.

     "_It is further Voted and Resolved_, That every slave so
     enlisting shall, upon his passing muster before Col.
     Christopher Greene, be immediately discharged from the
     service of his master or mistress, and be absolutely free,
     as though he had never been encumbered with any kind of
     servitude or slavery. And in case such slave shall, by
     sickness or otherwise, be unable to maintain himself, he
     shall not be chargable to his master or mistress, but shall
     be supported at the expense of the State.

     "And whereas slaves have been by the laws deemed the
     property of their owners; and therefore compensation ought
     to be made to the owners for the loss of their service,--

     "_It is further Voted and Resolved_, That there be allowed,
     and paid by this State to the owners, for every such slave
     so enlisting, a sum according to his worth at a price not
     exceeding one hundred and twenty pounds for the most
     valuable slave, and in proportion for a slave of less value;
     _Provided_ the owner of said slave shall deliver up to the
     officer who shall enlist him the clothes of said slave; or
     otherwise he shall not be entitled to said sum."

[Illustration: ON PICKET]

To speak of the gallantry of the negro soldiers recalls the recollection
of some of their daring deeds at Red Bank, where four hundred men met
and repulsed, after a terrible, sanguinary struggle, fifteen hundred
Hessian troops led by Count Donop.

     "The glory of the defence of Red Bank, which has been
     pronounced one of the most heroic actions of the war,
     belongs in reality to black men; yet who now hears them
     spoken of in connection with it? Among the traits which
     distinguished the black regiment was devotion to their
     officers. In the attack made upon the American lines, near
     Croton river, on the 13th of May, 1781, Col. Greene, the
     commander of the regiment, was cut down and mortally
     wounded; but the sabres of the enemy only reached him
     through the bodies of his faithful blacks, who gathered
     around him to protect him, _and every one of whom was

Now the negro began to take the field; not scattered here and there
throughout the army, filling up the shattered ranks of white regiments,
but in organizations composed entirely of men of their own race,
officered, however, by white officers, men of high social and military
character and standing. The success of the measure in Rhode Island,
emboldened the effort in Massachusetts, where the advocates of separate
negro organizations had been laboring zealously for its accomplishment.
Officers of the army in the field, expressed their desire to be placed
in command of negro troops, in separate and distinct organizations.
Every effort, however, up to this time to induce Massachusetts to
consent to the proposition had failed. Rhode Island alone sent her negro
regiments to the field, whose gallantry during the war more than met the
most sanguine expectations of their warmest friends, and fully merited
the trust and confidence of the State and country. As the struggle
proceeded, re-enforcements were more frequently in demand; but recruits
were scarce, and the question of arming negroes became again prominent
in the colonies and the army.

In April, 1778, Thomas Kench, then serving in an artillery regiment,
addressed letters to the Massachusetts Legislature urging the enlistment
of negroes. He wrote:

     "A re-enforcement can quickly be raised of two or three
     hundred men. Will your honors grant the liberty, and give me
     the command of the party? And what I refer to is negroes.
     We have divers of them in our service, mixed with white men.
     But I think it would be more proper to raise a body by
     themselves, than to have them intermixed with the white men;
     and their ambition would entirely be to outdo the white men
     in every measure that the fortunes of war calls a soldier to
     endure. And I could rely with dependence upon them in the
     field of battle or to any post that I was sent to defend
     with them; and they would think themselves happy could they
     gain their freedom by bearing a part of subduing the enemy
     that is invading our land, and clear a peaceful inheritance
     for their masters, and posterity yet to come, that they are
     now slaves to."

The letter from which this extract was made was duly referred to a joint
committee "to consider the same and report." Some days later "a
resolution of the General Assembly of Rhode Island for enlisting negroes
in the public service" was referred to the same committee. They duly
reported the draft of a law, differing little from the Rhode Island
Resolution. A separate organization of negro companies, by Kench, does
not appear to have been deemed advisable at that time. The usage was
continued of "taking," in the words of Kench, "negroes in our service,
intermixed with the white men."

The negroes of Boston and their abolition friends, rather insisted upon
the intermingling of the races in the army, believing that this course
had a greater tendency to destroy slavery, and the inequality of rights
among the blacks and whites; though it deprived the negroes, as we now
see, of receiving due credit for their valor, save in a few individual
cases. It was not in Massachusetts alone, but in many other States that
the same idea prevailed; and now the facts connected with the services
of the negroes are to be gathered only in fragments, from the histories
of villages and towns, or among the archives of the State, in a
disconnected and unsatisfactory form.

The legislature of New York, two months after the murder of Col. Greene
and his faithful negro troops at Point's Bridge, in that State, by the
British, passed an act (March, 1781) looking to the raising of two
regiments. The sixth section of the act reads as follows:

     "And it is further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that
     any person who shall deliver one or more of his able-bodied
     male slaves to any warrant officer, as aforesaid, to serve
     in either of the above regiments or independent corps, and
     produce a certificate thereof, signed by any person
     authorized to muster and receive the men to be raised by
     virtue of this act, and produce such certificate to the
     Surveyor-General, shall, for every male slave so entered and
     mustered as aforesaid, be entitled to the location and grant
     of one right, in manner as in and by this act is directed;
     and shall be, and hereby is discharged from any further
     maintenance of such slave, any law to the contrary
     notwithstanding. And such slave so entering as aforesaid,
     who shall serve for the term of three years or until
     regularly discharged, shall, immediately after such service
     or discharge, be, and is hereby declared to be, a free man
     of this State."

In 1821, in the convention which revised the constitution of New York,
Mr. Clark, speaking in favor of allowing negroes to vote, said in the
course of his remarks:

     "My honorable colleague has told us, that, as the colored
     people are not required to contribute to the protection or
     defence of the State, they are not entitled to an equal
     participation in the privileges of its citizens. But, Sir,
     whose fault is this? Have they ever refused to do military
     duty when called upon? It is haughtily asked, Who will stand
     in the ranks shoulder to shoulder with a negro? I answer, No
     one, in time of peace; no one, when your musters and
     trainings are looked upon as mere pastimes; no one, when
     your militia will shoulder their muskets and march to their
     trainings with as much unconcern as they would go to a
     sumptuous entertainment or a splendid ball. But, Sir, when
     the hour of danger approaches, your white 'militia' are just
     as willing that the man of color should be set up as a mark
     to be shot at by the enemy, as to be set up themselves. In
     the War of the Revolution, these people helped to fight your
     battles by land and by sea. Some of your States were glad to
     turn out corps of colored men, and to stand 'shoulder to
     shoulder' with them.

     "In your late war, they contributed largely towards some of
     your most splendid victories. On Lakes Erie and Champlain,
     where your fleets triumphed over a foe superior in numbers
     and engines of death, they were manned, in a large
     proportion, with men of color. And, in this very house, in
     the fall of 1814, a bill passed, receiving the approbation
     of all the branches of your government, authorizing the
     Governor to accept the services of a corps of two thousand
     free people of color. Sir, these were times which tried
     men's souls. In these times it was no sporting matter to
     bear arms. These were times, when a man who shouldered his
     musket did not know but he bared his bosom to receive a
     death wound from the enemy ere he laid it aside; and in
     these times, these people were found as ready and as willing
     to volunteer in your service as any other. They were not
     compelled to go; they were not drafted. No, your pride had
     placed them beyond your compulsory power. But there was no
     necessity for its exercise; they were volunteers; yes, Sir,
     volunteers to defend that very country from the inroads and
     ravages of a ruthless and vindictive foe, which had treated
     them with insult, degradation and slavery.

     "Volunteers are the best of soldiers. Give me the men,
     whatever be their complexion, that willingly volunteer, and
     not those who are compelled to turn out. Such men do not
     fight from necessity, nor from mercenary motives, but from

Hon. Mr. Martindale, who represented a District of the State of New
York, in Congress in 1828, thus speaks of the negro soldiers:

     "Slaves, or negroes who have been slaves, were enlisted as
     soldiers in the War of the Revolution; and I myself saw a
     battalion of them, as fine martial-looking men as I ever
     saw, attached to the Northern army."

Up to this time the East had been the theatre of the war, with now and
then a battle in some one of the Middle Colonies, but the British
discovering that the people of the South acted indifferently in
maintaining and recruiting the army, transferred their operations to
that section. Maryland then stood as a middle State or Colony. Her
statesmen, seeing the threatened danger of the invasion of Pennsylvania,
endeavored to prepare to meet it, and taking council from her sister
States at the East, accepted the negro as a soldier. In June, 1781, John
Cadwater, writing from Annapolis, Md., to Gen. Washington, says:

     "We have resolved to raise, immediately, seven hundred and
     fifty negroes, to be incorporated with the other troops; and
     a bill is now almost completed."

It does not appear that the negroes were formed into separate
organizations in this State, but filled the depleted ranks of the
Continental regiments, where their energy and daring was not less than
that displayed by their white comrades, with whom they fought, shoulder
to shoulder. The advocates of arming the negroes were not confined to
the Eastern and Middle sections; some of the best men of the South
favored and advocated the enlistment of free negroes, and made many,
though for a long time unsuccessful, efforts to obtain legal sanction
for such enlistment throughout the South. But their advice was not
listened to, even in the face of certain invasion, and then the whites
would not, and could not be induced to rally to the defence of their own
particular section and homes.

For fear that I may be accused of too highly coloring the picture of the
Southern laxity of fervor and patriotism, I quote from the valuable
essay which accompanies the history of the American Loyalists:

     "The whole number of regulars enlisted for the Continental
     service, from the beginning to the close of the struggle,
     was 231,959. Of these, I have once remarked, 67,907 were
     from Massachusetts; and I may now add, that every State
     south of Pennsylvania provided but 59,493, or 8,414 _less_
     than this single State."

The men of Massachusetts did not more firmly adhere to their policy of
mixed troops as against separate organizations, based upon color, than
did the men of the South to their peculiar institution, and against the
arming of negroes, free or slave. The war having fairly set in upon
Southern soil, and so urgent the necessity for recruiting the army, that
Congress again took up the subject of enrolling negroes as soldiers. It
was decided that the general Government had no control over the States
in the matter, but a series of resolutions were adopted recommending to
the States of Georgia and South Carolina, the arming of three thousand
able-bodied negroes.

Now began an earnest battle for the carrying out of the policy, as
recommended by Congress. Its friends were among the bravest and truest
to the cause of freedom in the States. Hon. Henry Laurens lead in the
effort. Even before the matter was brought to the attention of Congress,
he wrote to Gen. Washington, as follows:

     "Our affairs in the Southern department are more favorable
     than we had considered them a few days ago; nevertheless,
     the country is greatly distressed, and will be so unless
     further re-inforcements are sent to its relief. Had we arms
     for three thousand such black men as I could select in
     Carolina, I should have no doubt of success in driving the
     British out of Georgia, and subduing East Florida before the
     end of July."

Washington knew the temper of the Southerners. He was well aware that
slaves could not be entrusted with arms within sight of the enemy's
camp, and within hearing of his proclamation of freedom to all who would
join his Majesty's standard, unless equal inducements were offered them
by the colonists, and to this he knew the Southern colonist would not
consent. In his reply to Mr. Laurens, he said:

     "The policy of our arming slaves, is, in my opinion a moot
     point, unless the enemy set the example. For, should we
     begin to form battallions of them, I have not the smallest
     doubt, if the war is to be prosecuted, of their following us
     in it, and justifying the measure upon our own ground. The
     contest then must be, who can arm fastest. And where are our
     arms? Besides, I am not clear that a discrimination will not
     render slavery more irksome to those who remain in it. Most
     of the good and evil things in this life are judged of by
     comparison; and I fear a comparison in this case will be
     productive of much discontent in those who are held in
     servitude. But, as this is a subject that has never employed
     much of my thoughts, these are no more than the first crude
     ideas that have struck me upon the occasion."

Washington certainly had no doubts as to the value of the negro as a
soldier, but for the reasons stated, did not give the weight of his
influence, at this important juncture, to the policy of their
enlistment, while so many of the leading men of the colonies were
favorable to the action.

Among those who advocated the raising of negro troops was Col. John
Laurens, a native of South Carolina and a brave patriot, who had acted
as aide-de-camp to the commander-in-chief, and had seen service in Rhode
Island and elsewhere. He was the son of Hon. Henry Laurens, at one time
President of Congress, and was noted for his high qualities of
character. A commission of lieutenant-colonel was granted to him by
Congress, and he proceeded to South Carolina to use his personal
influence to induce the Legislature to authorize the enlistment of
negroes. His services in Rhode Island had given him an opportunity to
witness the conduct and worth of the negro soldier.

Alexander Hamilton in the course of a long letter to John Jay, relating
to the mission of Col. Laurens to South Carolina, says:

     "I foresee that this project will have to combat much
     opposition from prejudice and self-interest. The contempt we
     have been taught to entertain for the blacks makes us fancy
     many things that are founded neither in reason nor
     experience; and an unwillingness to part company with
     property of so valuable a kind will furnish a thousand
     arguments to show the impracticability or pernicious
     tendency of a scheme which requires such a sacrifice. But it
     should be considered, that, if we do not make use of them in
     this way, the enemy probably will; and that the best way to
     counteract the temptations they will hold out will be to
     offer them ourselves. An essential part of the plan is to
     give them their freedom with their muskets. This will secure
     their fidelity, animate their courage, and, I believe, will
     have a good influence upon those who remain, by opening a
     door to their emancipation. This circumstance, I confess has
     no small weight in inducing me to wish the success of the
     project; for the dictates of humanity and true policy,
     equally interest me in favor of this unfortunate class of

The patriotic zeal of Col. Laurens for the accomplishment of his design
was earnest and conscientious. He wrote to his friend Hamilton in these

     "Ternant will relate to you how many violent struggles I
     have had between duty and inclination--how much my heart was
     with you, while I appeared to be most actively employed
     here. But it appears to me, that I should be inexcusable in
     the light of a citizen, if I did not continue my utmost
     efforts for carrying the plan of the black levies into
     execution, while there remains the smallest hope of

The condition of the colonies and the Continental army at that time was
critical in the extreme. The campaign of 1779 had closed gloomily for
the Americans. The British had not only been active in raiding in
Virginia and destroying property, but in organizing negro troops. Lord
Dunmore, as we have seen, as early as November, 1775, had issued a
proclamation, inviting the negroes to join the Royal forces, to which a
great many slaves responded, and were organized into companies. A
regiment had been organized by the British on Long Island in 1776, and
now, Sir Henry Clinton invited them by the following proclamation:

     "By his Excellency Sir Henry Clinton, K. B., General and
     Commander-in-Chief of all his Majesty's Forces, within the
     Colonies lying on the Atlantic Ocean, from Nova Scotia to
     West Florida, inclusive, &c., &c.


     "Whereas the enemy have adopted a practice of enrolling
     _Negroes_ among their _Troops_, I do hereby give notice
     _That_ all Negroes taken in arms, or upon any military
     _Duty_, shall be purchased for _the public service_ at a
     stated _Price_; the money to be paid to the _Captors_.

     "But I do most strictly forbid any _Person_ to sell or claim
     _Right_ over any Negro, the property of a Rebel, who may
     take refuge in any part of this _Army_: And I do promise to
     every negro who shall desert the _Rebel Standard_, full
     security to follow within these _Lines_, any Occupation
     which he shall think proper.

     "Given under my Hand at Head-Quarters, Philipsburg, the 30th day
     of June, 1779.                               H. CLINTON.

     "By his Excellency's command, John Smith, Secretary."

It is highly probable that many negroes made their way to the British
camp. Col. Laurens wrote to General Washington, under date of February,
1780, six months after the issuing of Sir Henry Clinton's proclamation,
as follows:

     "Private accounts say that General Provost is left to
     command at Savannah; that his troops consist of Hessians and
     Loyalists that were there before, _re-inforced by a corps of
     blacks and a detachment of savages_. It is generally
     reported that Sir. Henry Clinton commands the present

Clinton left New York in the latter part of 1779, for the reduction of
Charleston, which he completed in May, three months after the date of
Col. Laurens' letter. Gen. Lincoln, who commanded the American forces at
Charleston, joined in the effort to arm the negroes. In a letter to Gov.
Rutledge, dated Charleston, March 13th, 1780, he says:

     "Give me leave to add once more, that I think the measure of
     raising a black corps a necessary one; that I have great
     reason to believe, if permission is given for it, that many
     men would soon be obtained. I have repeatedly urged this
     matter, not only because Congress has recommended it, and
     because it thereby becomes my duty to attempt to have it
     executed, but because my own mind suggests the utility and
     importance of the measure, as the safety of the town makes
     it necessary."

The project of raising negro troops gained some friends in all sections,
and Statesmen, both South and North, as they talked about it, became
more free to express their approbation of the measure. They had
witnessed the militia from Virginia and North Carolina, at the battle of
Camden, throw down their arms before the enemy;[4] they had seen black
and white troops under command of Gen. Provost occupy Savannah; the
surrender of Charlestown had become necessary; and these evils were all
brought about by the apathy of the white inhabitants.

Among those who spoke out in favor of Col. Laurens' and Gen. Lincoln's
plan, was Hon. James Madison, who, on the 20th of November, 1780, wrote
to Joseph Jones:

     "I am glad to find the Legislature persisting in their
     resolution to recruit their line of the army for the war;
     though, without deciding on the expediency of the mode under
     their consideration, would it not be as well to liberate and
     make soldiers at once of the blacks themselves, as to make
     them instruments for enlisting white soldiers? It would
     certainly be more consonant with the principles of liberty:
     and, with white officers and a majority of white soldiers,
     no imaginable danger could be feared from themselves; as
     there certainly could be none from the effect of the example
     on those who should remain in bondage; experience having
     shown that a freedman immediately loses all attachment and
     sympathy with his former fellow slaves."

No circumstances under which the South was placed, could induce either
their legislators or the people to adopt the recommendations of Congress
or the advice of the patriots and statesmen of their section. The
opposition to the arming of the negroes was much stronger than the love
for independence. The British, however, adopted the plan, and left no
stone unturned to augment the strength of their army. Thousands of
negroes flocked to the Royal standard at every opportunity, just as in
the war of the Rebellion in 1861-'65, they sought freedom under the
national banner.

It has ever been the rule among American historians to omit giving
credit to those negroes who sought to gain their freedom by joining the
British. They have generally also failed to acknowledge the valor of
those who swelled the ranks of the Continental army. Enough, however,
can be gathered, mostly from private correspondence, to show that the
hope of success for the Americans rested either in the docility of the
negroes at the South, or in their loyalty to the cause of Independence.
At all events, upon the action of the blacks more than upon the bravery
and valor of the American troops, depended the future status of the
Colonies; hence the solicitude of officers and of the leading citizens;
and it was not the love of universal freedom, which prompted their
efforts for arming negroes; not at all, but their keen appreciation of
the value of a neutral power, which could be utilized for the benefit of
America's Independence. Nor do I attribute other than the same motive to
the British, who did arm and did free a great many of the negroes, who
joined their service, especially at the South, where they must have
organized quite a large force,--not less than 5,000. Early in 1781,
(Feb'y) Gen. Greene, then in command in North Carolina, writing to
General Washington about the doings of the enemy in South Carolina,
where he formally commanded, says:

     "The enemy have ordered two regiments of negroes to be
     immediately embodied, and are drafting a great portion of
     the young men of that State [South Carolina], to serve
     during the war."

A few days after writing this letter, Gen. Greene met the British at
Guilford Court House, and again witnessed the cowardice of the Southern
militia,[5] whose conduct gave victory to the British, under Cornwallis.

The persistency of Col. Laurens in his effort to organize negro troops,
was still noteworthy. Having returned from France, whither he went on
important business, connected with the welfare of the States, he resumed
his "favorite pursuit." Under date of May, 19, 1782, in a letter
addressed to Washington, he says:

     "The plan which brought me to this country was urged with
     all the zeal which the subject inspired, both in our Privy
     Council and Assembly; but the single voice of reason was
     drowned by the howling of a triple-headed monster, in which
     prejudice, avarice, and pusillanimity were united. It was
     some degree of consolation to me, however, to perceive that
     the truth and philosophy had gained some ground; the
     suffrages in favor of the measure being twice as numerous as
     on a former occasion. Some hopes have been lately given me
     from Georgia; but I fear, when the question is put, we
     shall be out-voted there with as much disparity as we have
     been in this country.

            *       *       *       *

     "I earnestly desire to be where any active plans are likely
     to be executed, and to be near your Excellency on all
     occasions in which my services can be acceptable. The
     pursuit of an object which, I confess, is a favorite one
     with me, because I always regarded the interests of this
     country and those of the Union as intimately connected with
     it, has detached me more than once from your family, but
     those sentiments of veneration and attachments with which
     your Excellency has inspired me, keep me always near you,
     with the sincerest and most zealous wishes for a continuance
     of your happiness and glory."

Here ended the project of arming negroes in South Carolina, and before
an earnest effort could be made in Georgia, the brave man laid his life
upon the altar of American liberty.

But to show the state of public opinion at the South, as understood by
the Commander-in-Chief of the American army, we have but to read
Washington's reply to Col. Laurens' last letter, in which he speaks of
"making a last effort" in Georgia. Gen. Washington uses this emphatic

     "I must confess that I am not at all astonished at the
     failure of your plan. That spirit of freedom, which, at the
     commencement of this contest, would have gladly sacrificed
     everything to the attainment of its object, has long since
     subsided, and every selfish passion has taken its place. It
     is not the public but private interest which influences the
     generality of mankind; nor can the Americans any longer
     boast an exception. Under the circumstances, it would rather
     have been surprising if you had succeeded; nor will you, I
     fear, have better success in Georgia."

This letter settles forever any boast of the Southerners, that to them
is due the credit of gaining the independence of the United States. It
is true Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown, Va., was the last of the
series of battles fought for independence.[6] But we must remember that
the French were at Yorktown. It cannot be doubted but that from
Charleston to Yorktown the Americans met negro troops more than once
fighting under the Royal flag; while at the east, in every important
engagement between the two enemies,--British and American,--the negro
was found fighting with the Americans. This division of the negroes can
easily be accounted for, since at the North and East the object of the
war was acknowledged to be set forth in the Declaration of Independence;
at the South only so much of the Declaration was accepted as demanded
Independence from Great Britain. Therefore, though in separate and
opposing armies, the object of the negro was the same--liberty. It is to
be regretted that the historians of the Revolutionary period did not
more particularly chronicle the part taken by negroes at the South,
though enough is known to put their employment beyond doubt.

Johnson, the author of the life of Gen. Greene, speaking of Greene's
recommendation to the Legislature of South Carolina to enroll negroes,

     "There is a sovereign, who, at this time, draws his soldiery
     from the same class of people; and finds a facility in
     forming and disciplining an army, which no other power
     enjoys. Nor does his immense military force, formed from
     that class of his subjects, excite the least apprehension;
     for the soldier's will is subdued to that of his officer,
     and his improved condition takes away the habit of
     identifying himself with the class from which he has been
     separated. Military men know what mere machines men become
     under discipline, and believe that any men, who may be
     obedient, may be made soldiers; and that increasing their
     numbers increases the means of their own subjection and

Cornwallis doubtless had gathered within his lines a large number of
negroes, to whose energy and labor, the erection of his breastworks were
mainly due. Lafayette feeling satisfied that the position of his army
before Yorktown would confine the British, and make the escape of
Cornwallis impossible without battle, wrote to Gen. Washington in

     "I hope you will find we have taken the best precautions to
     lessen his Lordship's escape. I hardly believe he will make
     the attempt. If he does, he must give up ships, artillery,
     baggage, part of his horses, and all the negroes."

All this time in some of the Northern States an opposition as strong as
at the South had existed against organizing negro troops, and in some
instances even against employing them as soldiers. The effort for
separate organizations had been going on, but with only the little
success that has been already noticed. In a biographical sketch of Col.
David Humphreys, in the "National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished
Americans," is the following:

     "In November, 1782, he was, by resolution of Congress,
     commissioned as a Lieutenant-Colonel, with order that his
     commission should bear date from the 23rd of June, 1780,
     when he received his appointment as aid-de-camp to the
     Commander-in-Chief. He had, when in active service, given
     the sanction of his name and influence in the establishment
     of a company of colored infantry, attached to Meigs',
     afterwards Butler's, regiment, in the Connecticut line. He
     continued to be the nominal captain of that company until
     the establishment of peace."

Though the Legislature of Connecticut had taken up the subject of arming
negroes generally, as early as 1777, and a bill, as we have seen, was
presented to that Legislature, for their enrollment, the advocates of
the measure, in every attempt to pass it, had been beaten. Nevertheless,
as appears by the record given above, Col. Humphrey took charge and
organized a company, with which he served until the close of the war.
But this company of fifty odd men were not all that did service in the
army from Connecticut, for in many of her white regiments, negroes, bond
and free, stood in the ranks with the whites. And, notwithstanding the
unsuccessful attempts of Col. Laurens and the advocates of negro
soldiery at the South, the negro was an attache of the Southern army,
and rendered efficient aid during the struggle, in building breastworks,
driving teams and piloting the army through dense woods, swamps, and
across rivers. Not a few were spies and drummers. To select or point out
a particular battle or siege, in which they rendered active service to
the British, would not be a difficult task, though the information at
hand is too limited for a detailed account of the part which they bore
in these struggles. The true patriots of the Revolution were not slow in
according to their black compatriots that meed of praise which was their
due. In almost every locality, either North or South, after the war,
there lived one or two privileged negroes, who, on great
occasions,--days of muster, 4th of July, Washington's birthday, and the
like,--were treated with more than ordinary courtesy by the other
people. That a great and dastardly wrong was committed upon many, in
like manner in which Simon Lee[7] was treated, is true. Many negroes at
the South, who fought for American independence were re-enslaved, and
this is so far beyond a doubt that no one denies it. The re-enslaving of
these soldiers,--not by those who took part in the conflict, but the
_stay-at-home's_,--was so flagrant an outrage that the Legislature of
Virginia, in 1783, in order to give freedom to those who had been
re-enslaved, and to rebuke the injustice of the treatment, passed the
following act:

     _An Act directing the Emancipation of certain Slaves who had
     served as Soldiers in this State, and for the Emancipation
     of the Slave, Aberdeen._

     "I. Whereas, it hath been represented to the present General
     Assembly, that, during the course of the war, many persons
     in this State had caused their slaves to enlist in certain
     regiments or corps, raised within the same, having tendered
     such slaves to the officers appointed to recruit forces
     within the State, as substitutes for free persons whose lot
     or duty it was to serve in such regiments or corps, at the
     same time representing to such recruiting officers that the
     slaves, so enlisted by their direction and concurrence, were
     freemen; and it appearing further to this Assembly, that on
     the expiration of the term of enlistment of such slaves,
     that the former owners have attempted again to force them to
     return to a state of servitude, contrary to the principles
     of justice, and to their own solemn promise;

     "II. And whereas it appears just and reasonable that all
     persons enlisted as aforesaid, who have faithfully served
     agreeable to the terms of their enlistment, and have hereby
     of course contributed towards the establishment of American
     liberty and independence, should enjoy the blessings of
     freedom as a reward for their toils and labors.

     "_Be it therefore enacted_, That each and every slave, who,
     by the appointment and direction of his owner, hath enlisted
     in any regiment or corps raised within this State, either on
     Continental or State establishment, and hath been received
     as a substitute for any free person whose duty or lot it was
     to serve in such regiment or corps, and hath served
     faithfully during the term of such enlistment, or hath been
     discharged from such service by some officer duly authorized
     to grant such discharge, shall, from and after the passing
     of this act, be fully and completely emancipated, and shall
     be held and deemed free, in as full and ample a manner as if
     each and every one of them were specially named in this act;
     and the Attorney-general for the Commonwealth is hereby
     required to bring an action, _in forma pauperis_, in behalf
     of any of the persons above described who shall, after the
     passage of this act, be detained in servitude by any person
     whatsoever; and if, upon such prosecution, it shall appear
     that the pauper is entitled to his freedom in consequence of
     this act, a jury shall be empaneled to assess the damages
     for his detention.

     "III. And whereas it has been represented to this General
     Assembly, that Aberdeen, a negro man slave, hath labored a
     number of years in the public service at the lead mines, and
     for his meritorious services is entitled to freedom;

     "_Be it therefore enacted_, That the said slave Aberdeen,
     shall be, and he is hereby, emancipated and declared free in
     as full and ample a manner as if he had been born free."

In 1786 an act was passed to emancipate a negro slave who had acted as a
spy for Lafayette. This practice was not perhaps wholly confined to the
South. Although Massachusetts abolished slavery in 1783, her territory
was, it seems, still subject to slave hunts, and her negro soldiers to
the insult of an attempt to re-enslave them. But Gen. Washington, though
himself a slave-holder, regarded the rights of those who fought for
liberty and national independence, with too much sacredness and the
honor of the country with too much esteem, to permit them to be set
aside, merely to accommodate those who had rendered the nation's cause
no help or assistance. Gen. Putnam received the following letter, which
needs no explanation:

                                    "HEADQUARTERS, Feb. 2, 1783.

     "SIR:--Mr. Hobby having claimed as his property a negro man
     now serving in the Massachusetts Regiment, you will please
     to order a court of inquiry, consisting of five as
     respectable officers as can be found in your brigade, to
     examine the validity of the claim and the manner in which
     the person in question came into service. Having inquired
     into the matter, with all the attending circumstances, they
     will report to you their opinion thereon; which you will
     report to me as soon as conveniently may be.

     "I am, Sir, with great respect, your most obedient servant,

                                      "GEORGE WASHINGTON.

       "P. S.--All concerned should be notified to attend.

     "Brig.-Gen. Putnam."

Not only did some of the negro soldiers who fought in the American Army
receive unjust treatment at the close of the war, but those who served
under the Royal standard, also shared a fate quite different from what
they supposed it would be when the proclamations of Lord Dunmore,
Clinton and Cornwallis, were inviting them to cast their lot with the

The high character of Thomas Jefferson induces me to reproduce his
letter to Dr. Gordon, or rather that portion of it which refers to the
treatment of the negroes who went with the British army. Mr. Jefferson

     "From an estimate I made at that time, on the best
     information I could collect, I supposed the State of
     Virginia lost, under Lord Cornwallis' hand, that year, about
     thirty thousand slaves; and that, of these, twenty-seven
     thousand died of the small-pox and camp fever; the rest were
     partly sent to the West Indies, and exchanged for rum,
     sugar, coffee and fruit; and partly sent to New York, from
     whence they went, at the peace, either to Nova Scotia or to
     England. From this last place, I believe they have lately
     been sent to Africa. History will never relate the horrors
     committed by the British army in the Southern States of

The heroism of the negro soldier has ever been eulogized by the true
statesmen of our country, whenever the question of the American
patriots was the theme. And I find no better eulogy to pronounce upon
them than that Hon. Charles Pinckney, of South Carolina, delivered in
the United States House of Representatives in 1820, and that of Hon. Wm.
Eustis, of Massachusetts, during the same debate. Mr. Pinckney said:

     "It is a remarkable fact, that notwithstanding, in the
     course of the Revolution, the Southern States were
     continually overrun by the British, and that every negro in
     them had an opportunity of leaving their owners, few did;
     proving thereby not only a most remarkable attachment to
     their owners, but the mildness of the treatment, from whence
     their affection sprang. They then were, as they still are,
     as valuable a part of our population to the union as any
     other equal number of inhabitants. They were in numerous
     instances the pioneers, and in all the laborers, of your
     armies. To their hands were owing the erection of the
     greatest part of the fortifications raised for the
     protection of our country; some of which, particularly Fort
     Moultrie, gave, at the early period of the inexperience and
     untried valor of our citizens, immortality to American arms;
     and, in the Northern States, numerous bodies of them were
     enrolled into, and fought, by the side of the whites, the
     battles of the Revolution."--_Annals of Congress._

And said Mr. Eustis:

     "At the commencement of the Revolutionary war, there were
     found in the Middle and Northern States, many blacks, and
     other people of color, capable of bearing arms; a part of
     them free, the greater part slaves. The freemen entered our
     ranks with the whites. The time of those who were slaves was
     purchased by the States; and they were induced to enter the
     service in consequence of a law by which, on condition of
     their serving in the ranks during the war, they were made

     "The war over, and peace restored, these men returned to
     their respective States; and who could have said to them, on
     their return to civil life, after having shed their blood in
     common with the whites in the defence of the liberties of
     their country, 'You are not to participate in the liberty
     for which you have been fighting?' Certainly no white man in

Such is the historic story of the negro in the American Revolution, and
it is a sad one as regards any benefit to his own condition by his
connection with either side. But it is one of the most memorable of all
history on exhibition of the fidelity of a race to the cause of the
freedom of all men.


[1] "Ran away from his master, William Brown, of Framingham, on the 30th
of Sept. last, a Mullato Fellow, about 27 years of age, named _Crispus_,
6 feet 2 inches high, short, curl'd hair, his knees nearer together than
common; had on a light coloured Bearskin Coat, plain brown Fustain
Jacket, or brown All Wool one, new Buck skin breeches, blue Yarn
Stockings, and a checked woolen shirt. Whoever shall take up said
Runaway, and convey him to his abovesaid master, shall have _ten
pounds_, old Tenor Reward, and all necessary charges paid. And all
Masters of Vessels and others, are hereby cautioned against concealing
or carrying off said Servant on Penalty of the Law. Boston, October 2,
1750."--_Boston Gazette._

[2] Mr. Sparks appends to this letter the following note: "At a meeting
of the general officers, previously to the arrival of the committee from
Congress in camp, it was unanimously resolved, that it was not expedient
to enlist slaves in the new army; and by a large majority, negroes of
every description were excluded from enlistment. When the subject was
referred to the Committee in conference, the resolve was not adhered to,
and probably for the reason here mentioned by Washington. Many black
soldiers were in the service during all stages of the war."--Spark's
Washington, Vol. III. pp. 218-219.

[3] Dunmore after destroying Norfolk, sailed with his fleet of
men-of-war and more than fifty transports, on board of which were many
armed negroes and Royal troops, to the mouth of the Piankatank river,
and took possession of Gwynn's Island, where he landed his troops and
entrenched. Here he was attacked by Gen. Lewis' men from the opposite
shore. One of Dunmore's ships was badly damaged by cannon balls, and he
drew off and sailed up the Potomoc river, and occupied St. Georgia's
Island, after having burned a mansion at the mouth of Aqua Creek. He was
here attacked by a militia force and retired. Misfortune followed him;
disease, shipwreck and want of provisions. He soon made sail, and with
his negroes reached England, where he remained.

[4] At the first onset, a large body of the Virginia militia, under a
charge of the British infantry with fixed bayonets, threw down their
arms and fled. A considerable part of the North Carolina militia
followed their unworthy example. But the Continentals evinced the most
unyielding firmness, and pressed forward with unusual ardor. Never did
men acquit themselves more honorably. They submitted only when forsaken
by their brethren in arms, and when overpowered by numbers.

[5] "The British loss, in this battle, exceeded five hundred in killed
and wounded, among whom were several of the most distinguished officers.
The American loss was about four hundred, in killed and wounded, of
which more than three-fourths fell upon the Continentals. Though the
numerical force of Gen. Greene nearly doubled that of Cornwallis, yet,
when we consider the difference between these forces; the shameful
conduct of the North Carolina militia, who fled at the first fire; the
desertion of the second Maryland regiment, and that a body of reserve
was not brought into action, it will appear that our numbers, actually
engaged, but little exceeded that of the enemy."--_Grimshaw's U. S.

[6] The Burlington _Gazette_, in an issue of some time ago, gives the
following account of an aged negro Revolutionary patriot: "The attention
of many of our citizens has doubtless been arrested by the appearance of
an old colored man, who might have been seen, sitting in front of his
residence, in east Union street, respectfully raising his hat to those
who might be passing by. His attenuated frame, his silvered head, his
feeble movements, combine to prove that he is very aged: and yet,
comparatively few are aware that he is among the survivors of the
gallant army who fought for the liberties of our country.

"On Monday last, we stopped to speak to him, and asked how old he was.
He asked the day of the month, and upon being told that it was the 24th
of May, replied, with trembling lips, 'I am very old--I am a hundred
years old to-day.'

"His name is Oliver Cromwell, and he says that he was born at the Black
Horse, (now Columbus), in this county, in the family of John Hutchins.
He enlisted in a company commanded by Capt. Lowry, attached to the
Second New Jersey Regiment, under the command of Col. Israel Shreve. He
was at the battles of Trenton, Brandywine, Princetown, Monmouth, and
Yorktown, at which latter place, he told us, he saw the last man killed.
Although his faculties are failing, yet he relates many interesting
reminiscences of the Revolution. He was with the army at the retreat of
the Delaware, on the memorable crossing of the 25th of December, 1776,
and relates the story of the battle on the succeeding day, with
enthusiasm. He gives the details of the march from Trenton to
Princetown, and told us, with much humor, that they 'knocked the British
around lively,' at the latter place. He was also at the battle of
Springfield, and says that he saw the house burning in which Mrs.
Caldwell was shot, at Connecticut Farms."

"I further learn, (says the author of the 'Colored Patriots of the
Revolution'), that Cromwell was brought up a farmer, having served his
time with Thomas Hutchins, Esq., his maternal uncle. He was, for six
years and nine months under the immediate command of Washington, whom he
loved affectionately."

"His discharge," says Dr. M'Cune Smith, "at the close of the war, was in
Washington's own handwriting, of which he was very proud, often speaking
of it. He received annually, ninety-six dollars pension. He lived a long
and honorable life. Had he been of a little lighter complexion, (he was
just half white), every newspaper in the land would have been eloquent
in praise of his many virtues."

[7] Simon Lee, the grandfather of William Wells Brown, on his mother's
side, was a slave in Virginia, and served in the war of the Revolution.
Although honorably discharged, with the other Virginia troops, at the
close of the war, he was sent back to his master, where he spent the
remainder of his life toiling on a tobacco plantation.--_Patriotism of
Colored Americans._


THE WAR OF 1812.

While there is no intention of entering into an examination of the
causes of the war between the United States and Great Britain in 1812,
yet in order to carry out the design of the author to show that in this
war,--like all others in which the government of the United States has
been engaged,--the negro, as a soldier, took part, it is deemed
necessary to cite at least one of the incidents, perhaps _the_ incident,
which most fired the national heart of America, and hastened the
beginning of hostilities.

The war between England and France gave to the American merchant marine
interest an impetus that increased the number of vessels three-fold in a
few years; it also gave command of the carrying trade of the West
Indies, from which Napoleon's frigates debarred the English merchantmen.
In consequence England sought and used every opportunity to cripple
American commerce and shipping. One plan was to deprive American ships
of the service of English seamen. Her war vessels claimed and exercised
the right of searching for English seamen on board American vessels.
During the year 1807, the English Admiral Berkeley, in command of the
North American Station, issued instructions to commanders of vessels in
his fleet to look out for the American frigate Chesapeake, and if they
fell in with her at sea, to board her and search for deserters, as all
English seamen in the American service were regarded by England. With
the instructions, were the descriptions of four sailors, three negroes
and one white man, who were missing.

The persons who deserted from the Melampus, then lying in Hampton Roads,
were William Ware, Daniel Martin, John Strachan, John Little and Ambrose
Watts. Within a month from their escape from the Melampus, the first
three of these deserters offered themselves for enlistment, and were
received on board the Chesapeake, then at Norfolk, Va., preparing for
sea. The British consul at Norfolk, being apprized of the circumstance,
wrote a letter to the American naval officer, requesting the men to be
returned. With this request, the officer refused to comply, and the
British lost no time in endeavoring to procure an order from the
American government for their surrender. On receipt of the application,
the Secretary of the Navy ordered an examination into the characters and
claims of the men in question. The examination resulted in proof that
the three negroes, Ware, Martin and Strachan were natives of America.
The two former had "_protections_," or notarial certificates of their
citizenship;[8] Strachan had no "_protection_," but asserted that he
lost it previous to his escape. Such being the circumstances, the
government refused to give the men up, insisting that they were American
citizens, and though, they had served in the British navy, they were
pressed into the service and had a right to desert it.

The Chesapeake was one of the finest of the frigates in the American
Navy, and after receiving an outfit requiring six months to complete at
the Gosport Navy Yard, at Norfolk, Va., started for the Mediterranean.
The English frigate Leopard, which lay in the harbor at Norfolk when the
Chesapeake sailed, followed her out to sea, hailed her and sent a letter
to her commander, Commodore James Barron, demanding the surrender of the
deserters. Barron sent a note refusing to comply with the demand,
whereupon the Leopard fired several broadsides into the Chesapeake.
Barron struck his colors without firing a shot, and permitted the
officers of the Leopard to board his vessel and search her. The British
captain refused to accept the surrender of the Chesapeake, but took from
her crew the three men who had been demanded as deserters; also a
fourth, John Wilson, a white man, claimed as a runaway from a merchant

The white sailor, it was admitted by the American government, was a
British subject, and his release was not demanded; he was executed for
deserting the British Navy. Of the negroes, two only were returned by
the British government, the other one having died in England. Says an
American historian:

     "An outrage like this, inflicted not by accident or the
     brutality of a separate commander, naturally excited the
     whole nation to the utmost.

     "President Jefferson very soon interdicted American harbors
     and waters to all vessels of the English Navy, and forbade
     intercourse with them. He sent a vessel of war with a
     special minister to demand satisfaction. The English Admiral
     hanged the deserter, and dismissed the three black men with
     a reprimand, blaming them for _disturbing the peace of two
     nations_. That the outrage did not end in immediate war, was
     due partly to the fact that the Americans had no Navy to
     fight with."

Nearly four years elapsed before the final settlement of the Chesapeake
affair, and then the English government insisted upon its right to, and
issued orders for the search for British sailors to be continued; thus a
cause for quarrel remained.

The principal grounds of war, set forth in a message of the President to
Congress, June 1st, 1812, and further explained by the Committee on
Foreign Relations, in their report on the subject of the message, were

     "The impressment of American seamen by the British; the
     blockade of her enemy's ports, supported by no adequate
     force, in consequence of which the American commerce had
     been plundered in every sea, and the great staples of the
     country cut off from their legitimate markets; and the
     British orders in council."

[Illustration: A NAVAL BATTLE.]

On these grounds, the President urged the declaration of war. In unison
with the recommendation of the President, the Committee on Foreign
Relations concluded their reports as follows:

     "Your committee, believing that the freeborn sons of America
     are worthy to enjoy the liberty which their fathers
     purchased at the price of much blood and treasure, and
     seeing by the measures adopted by Great Britain, a course
     commenced and persisted in, which might lead to a loss of
     national character and independence, feel no hesitation in
     advising resistance by force, in which the Americans of the
     present day will prove to the enemy and the world, that we
     have not only inherited that liberty which our fathers gave
     us, but also the will and power to maintain it. Relying on
     the patriotism of the nation, and confidently trusting that
     the Lord of Hosts will go with us to battle in a righteous
     cause, and crown our efforts with success, your committee
     recommend an immediate appeal to _arms_."

War was declared by Congress on the 17th of June, and proclaimed by the
President on the second day following.

The struggle was principally carried on upon the water, between the
armed vessels of the two nations, consequently no great armies were
called into active service upon the field. This was indeed fortunate for
America, whose military establishments at the time were very defective.
Congress called for twenty thousand men, but a very few enlisted. The
President was authorized to raise fifty thousand volunteers and to call
out one hundred thousand militia for the defence of the seacoast and
frontiers; but officers could not be found to nominally command the few
thousand that responded to the call; which state of affairs was no doubt
largely due to the opposition to the war, which existed in the New
England States.

Since the peace of 1783, a class of marine merchants at the North had
vied with each other in the African slave trade, in supplying the
Southern planters. Consequently the increase in negro population was
great; in 1800 it was 1,001,463, and in 1810, two years before war was
declared, 1,377,810, an increase of 376,347. Of the 1,377,810, there
were 1,181,362 slaves, and 186,448 free. Of course their increase was
not due solely to the importation by the slave trade, but the aggregate
increase was large, compared with the increase of the white population
for the same period.

The free negroes were mainly residents of the Northern States, where
they enjoyed a nominal freedom. They entered the service with alacrity;
excluded from the army, they enlisted in the navy, swelling the number
of those who, upon the rivers, lakes, bays and oceans, manned the guns
of the war vessels, in defense of Free Trade, Sailor's Rights and
Independence on the seas as well as on the land. It is quite impossible
to ascertain the exact number of negroes who stood beside the guns that
won for America just recognition from the maritime powers of the world.
Like the negro soldiers in the Revolutionary war who served with the
whites, so the negro sailors in the war of 1812 served in the American
Navy; in the mess, at the gun, on the yard-arm and in the gangway,
together with others of various nationalities, they achieved many
victories for the navy of our common country. The best evidence I can
give in substantiation of what has been written, is the following letter
from Surgeon Parsons to George Livermore, Esq., of the Massachusetts
Historical Society:

                          "PROVIDENCE, October 18, 1862.

     "MY DEAR SIR:--In reply to your inquiries about the
     employing of blacks in our navy in the war of 1812, and
     particularly in the battle of Lake Erie, I refer you to
     documents in Mackenzie's 'Life of Commodore Perry,' vol. i.
     pp. 166 and 187.

     "In 1814, our fleet sailed to the Upper Lakes to co-operate
     with Colonel Croghan at Mackinac. About one in ten or twelve
     of the crews were black.

     "In 1816, I was surgeon of the 'Java,' under Commodore
     Perry. The white and colored seamen messed together. About
     one in six or eight were colored.

     "In 1819, I was surgeon of the 'Guerriere,' under Commodore
     Macdonough; and the proportion of blacks was about the same
     in her crew. There seemed to be an entire absence of
     prejudice against the blacks as messmates among the crew.
     What I have said applies to the crews of the other ships
     that sailed in squadrons.

                          "Yours very respectfully,

                              "USHER PARSONS."

Dr. Parsons had reference to the following correspondence between
Captain Perry and Commodore Chauncey, which took place in 1813, before
the former's victory on Lake Erie. As will be seen, Perry expressed
dissatisfaction as to the recruits sent him to man the squadron then on
Lake Erie, and with which he gained a decisive victory over the British
fleet, under command of Capt Barley:

     "SIR,--I have this moment received, by express, the enclosed
     letter from General Harrison. If I had officers and
     men,--and I have no doubt you will send them,--I could fight
     the enemy, and proceed up the lake; but, having no one to
     command the 'Niagara,' and only one commissioned lieutenant
     and two acting lieutenants, whatever my wishes may be, going
     out is out of the question. The men that came by Mr.
     Champlin are a motley set,--blacks, soldiers, and boys. I
     cannot think you saw them after they were selected. I am,
     however, pleased to see any thing in the shape of a
     man."--_Mackenzie's Life of Perry_, vol. i. pp. 165, 166.

Commodore Chauncey then rebuked him in his reply, and set forth the
worth of the negro seaman:

     "SIR,--I have been duly honored with your letters of the
     twenty-third and twenty-sixth ultimo, and notice your
     anxiety for men and officers. I am equally anxious to
     furnish you; and no time shall be lost in sending officers
     and men to you as soon as the public service will allow me
     to send them from this lake. I regret that you are not
     pleased with the men sent you by Messrs Champlin and Forest;
     for, to my knowledge, a part of them are not surpassed by
     any seamen we have in the fleet: and I have yet to learn
     that the color of the skin, or the cut and trimmings of the
     coat, can effect a man's qualifications or usefulness. I
     have nearly fifty blacks on board of this ship, and many of
     them are among my best men; and those people you call
     soldiers have been to sea from two to seventeen years; and I
     presume that you will find them as good and useful as any
     men on board of your vessel; at least if you can judge by
     comparison; for those which we have on board of this ship
     are attentive and obedient, and, as far as I can judge, many
     of them excellent seamen: at any rate, the men sent to Lake
     Erie have been selected with a view of sending a fair
     proportion of petty officers and seamen; and I presume, upon
     examination, it will be found that they are equal to those
     upon this lake."--_Mackenzie's Life of Perry_, vol. i. pp.
     186, 187.

The battle of Lake Erie is the most memorable naval battle fought with
the British; of it Rossiter Johnson, in his "History of the War of
1812," in the description of the engagement, says:

     "As the question of the fighting qualities of the black man
     has since been considerably discussed, it is worth noting
     that in this bloody and brilliant battle a large number of
     Perry's men were negroes."

It was not left to Commodores Chauncey and Perry, solely, to applaud
them; there was not an American war vessel, perhaps, whose crew, in
part, was not made up of negroes, as the accounts of various sea fights
prove. And they are entitled to no small share of the meed of praise
given the American seamen, who fought and won victory over the British.
Not only in the Navy, but on board the privateers,[9] the American negro
did service, as the following extract will show:

     "_Extract of a Letter from Nathaniel Shaler, Commander of
     the private-armed Schooner Gov. Tompkins, to his Agent in
     New York._

                     AT SEA, Jan. 1, 1813.

     "Before I could get our light sails on, and almost before I
     could turn round, I was under the guns, not of a transport,
     but of a large _frigate_! and not more than a quarter of a
     mile from her. * * Her first broadside killed two men and
     wounded six others * * My officers conducted themselves in a
     way that would have done honor to a more permanent service *
     * * The name of one of my poor fellows who was killed ought
     to be registered in the book of fame, and remembered with
     reverence as long as bravery is considered a virtue. He was
     a black man by the name of John Johnson. A twenty-four pound
     shot struck him in the hip, and took away all the lower part
     of his body. In this state, the poor brave fellow lay on the
     deck, and several times exclaimed to his shipmates, '_Fire
     away, my boy: no haul a color down_' The other was a black
     man, by the name of John Davis, and was struck in much the
     same way. He fell near me, and several times requested to be
     thrown overboard, saying he was only in the way of others.

     "When America has such tars, she has little to fear from the
     tyrants of the ocean."--_Nile's Weekly Register, Saturday,
     Feb. 26, 1814._

As in the late war of the rebellion, the negroes offered their services
at the outset when volunteers were called for, and the true patriots at
the North sought to have their services accepted; but the government
being in the control of the opponents of universal freedom and the
extension of the rights of citizenship to the negro, the effort to admit
him into the ranks of the army, even in separate organizations, was
futile. At the same time American whites would not enlist to any great
extent, and but for the tide of immigration, which before the war had
set in from Ireland, the fighting on shore would probably not have
lasted six months; certainly the invasion of Canada would not have been

The reverses which met the American army in the first year of the war,
slackened even the enlistment that was going on and imperiled the safety
of the country, and the defences of the most important seaports and
manufacturing states. Battle after battle had been lost, the invasion of
Canada abandoned, and the British had turned their attention southward.
The war in Europe had been brought to a close, and Napoleon was a
captive. England was now at liberty to reinforce her fleet and army in
America, and fears were entertained that other European powers might
assist her in invading the United States. The negro soldier again loomed
up, and as the British were preparing to attack New Orleans with a
superior force to that of Gen. Jackson's, he sought to avail himself of
every possible help within his reach. Accordingly he issued the
following proclamation:


                      MOBILE, September 21, 1814.

     _To the Free Colored Inhabitants of Louisiana_:

     Through a mistaken policy, you have heretofore been deprived
     of a participation in the glorious struggle for national
     rights in which our country is engaged. This no longer shall

     As sons of freedom, you are now called upon to defend our
     most inestimable blessing. As Americans, your country looks
     with confidence to her adopted children for a valorous
     support, as a faithful return for the advantages enjoyed
     under her mild and equitable government. As fathers,
     husbands, and brothers, you are summoned to rally around the
     standard of the Eagle, to defend all which is dear in

     Your country, although calling for your exertions, does not
     wish you to engage in her cause without amply remunerating
     you for the services rendered. Your intelligent minds are
     not to be led away by false representations. Your love of
     honor would cause you to despise the man who should attempt
     to deceive you. In the sincerity of a soldier and the
     language of truth I address you.

     To every noble-hearted, generous freeman of color
     volunteering to serve during the present contest with Great
     Britain, and no longer, there will be paid the same bounty,
     in money and lands, now received by the white soldiers of
     the United States, viz: one hundred and twenty-four dollars
     in money, and one hundred and sixty acres of land. The
     non-commissioned officers and privates will also be
     entitled to the same monthly pay, and daily rations, and
     clothes, furnished to any American soldier.

     On enrolling yourselves in companies, the Major-General
     Commanding will select officers for your government from
     your white fellow-citizens. Your non-commissioned officers
     will be appointed from among yourselves.

     Due regard will be paid to the feelings of freeman and
     soldiers. You will not, by being associated with white men
     in the same corps, be exposed to improper comparisons or
     unjust sarcasm. As a distinct, independent battalion or
     regiment, pursuing the path of glory, you will, undivided,
     receive the applause and gratitude of your countrymen.

     To assure you of the sincerity of my intentions, and my
     anxiety to engage your invaluable services to our country, I
     have communicated my wishes to the Governor of Louisiana,
     who is fully informed as to the manner of enrollment, and
     will give you every necessary information on the subject of
     this address.

     ANDREW JACKSON, _Major-General Commanding._

     [_Niles Register, vol. vii. p. 205._]

When the news of Gen. Jackson arming the free negroes reached the North
it created no little surprise, and greatly encouraged those, who, from
the commencement of hostilities, had advocated it. The successes of the
summer were being obliterated by the victories which the British were
achieving. The national capitol was burned; Maine had virtually fallen
into their hands; gloom and disappointment prevailed throughout the
country. Enlistment was at a stand-still, and as the British were
threatening with annihilation the few troops then in the field, it
became evident that the States would have to look to their own defence.
New York again turned her attention to her free negro population; a bill
was prepared and introduced in the legislature looking to the arming of
her negroes, and in October, a month after Gen. Jackson issued his
appeal to the negroes of Louisiana, the Legislature passed a bill of
which the following are the most important sections:

"_An Act to authorize the raising of Two Regiments of Men of Color;
passed Oct. 24, 1814._

     "SECT. 1. Be it enacted by the people of the State of New
     York, represented in Senate and Assembly, That the Governor
     of the State be, and he is hereby authorized to raise, by
     voluntary enlistment, two regiments of free men of color,
     for the defence of the State for three years, unless sooner

     "SECT. 2. And be it further enacted, That each of the said
     regiments shall consist of one thousand and eighty
     able-bodied men; and the said regiments shall be formed into
     a brigade, or be organized in such manner, and shall be
     employed in such service, as the Governor of the State of
     New York shall deem best adapted to defend the said State.

     "SECT. 3. And be it further enacted, That all the
     commissioned officers of the said regiments and brigade
     shall be white men; and the Governor of the State of New
     York shall be, and he is hereby, authorized to commission,
     by brevet, all the officers of the said regiments and
     brigade, who shall hold their respective commissions until
     the council of appointment shall have appointed the officers
     of the said regiments and brigade, in pursuance of the
     Constitution and laws of the said State.

     "SECT. 6. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful
     for any able-bodied slave, with the written assent of his
     master or mistress, to enlist into the said corps; and the
     master or mistress of such slave shall be entitled to the
     pay and bounty allowed him for his service: and, further,
     that the said slave, at the time of receiving his discharge,
     shall be deemed and adjudged to have been legally manumitted
     from that time, and his said master or mistress shall not
     thenceforward be liable for his maintenance.--_Laws of the
     State of New York, passed at the Thirty-eighth Session of
     the Legislature_, chap. xviii."

The organization of negro troops was now fairly begun; at the South
enlistment was confined to the free negroes as set forth in Gen.
Jackson's Proclamation. In New York, the slaves who should enlist with
the consent of their owners were to be free at the expiration of their
service, as provided in the Sixth section of the law quoted above.

Animated by that love of liberty and country which has ever prompted
them, notwithstanding the disabilities under which they labored, to
enter the ranks of their country's defenders whenever that country has
been assailed by foes without or traitors within, the negroes responded
to the call of General Jackson and to that of New York, with a zeal and
energy characteristic only of a brave and patriotic people. Inspired by
the hope of impartial liberty, they rallied to the support of that
banner which Commodore Barron lowered when he failed to protect them
from British aggression, but which Commodore Decatur gallantly and
successfully defended.

The forcible capture and imprisonment of Ware, Martin and Strachan, the
three negroes taken from the Chesapeake, and who were recognized by the
United States authorities as citizens of the republic, was sounded as
the key-note and rallying cry of the war; the outrage served greatly to
arouse the people. The fact that the government sought to establish the
liberty of the free negroes, and the further fact that she regarded them
as citizens, heightened their indignation at the outrage committed by
the British, and appealed to their keenest patriotic sensibilities. New
York was not long in raising her two battalions, and sending it forward
to the army, then at Sacket's Harbor.

On the 18th of December, 1814, following the issuing of his
Proclamation, Gen. Jackson reviewed the troops under his command at New
Orleans, amounting to about six thousand, and of this force about five
hundred were negroes, organized into two battalions, commanded by Maj.
Lacoste and Maj. Savory. These battalions, at the close of the review,
says Parton, in his Life of Jackson, had read to them by Edward
Livingston, a member of Jackson's staff, the following address, from the
Commander of the American forces:

     "TO THE EMBODIED MILITIA.--_Fellow Citizens and Soldiers:_
     The General commanding in chief would not do justice to the
     noble ardor that has animated you in the hour of danger, he
     would not do justice to his own feeling, if he suffered the
     example you have shown to pass without public notice.

            *       *       *       *

     "Fellow-citizens, of every description, remember for what
     and against whom you contend. For all that can render life
     desirable--for a country blessed with every gift of
     nature--for property, for life--for those dearer than
     either, your wives and children--and for liberty, without
     which, country, life, property, are no longer worth
     possessing; as even the embraces of wives and children
     become a reproach to the wretch who could deprive them by
     his cowardice of those invaluable blessings.

            *       *       *       *

     "TO THE MEN OF COLOR.--Soldiers! From the shores of Mobile I
     collected you to arms,--I invited you to share in the perils
     and to divide the glory of your white countrymen. I expected
     much from you; for I was not uninformed of those qualities
     which must render you so formidable to an invading foe. I
     knew that you could endure hunger and thirst, and all the
     hardships of war. I knew that you loved the land of your
     nativity, and that, like ourselves, you had to defend all
     that is most dear to man. But you surpass my hopes. I have
     found in you, united to these qualities, that noble
     enthusiasm which impels to great deeds.

     "Soldiers! The President of the United States shall be
     informed of your conduct on the present occasion; and the
     voice of the Representatives of the American nation shall
     applaud your valor, as your General now praises your ardor.
     The enemy is near. His sails cover the lakes. But the brave
     are united; and, if he finds us contending among ourselves,
     it will be for the prize of valor, and fame its noblest
     reward."--_Niles's Register_, vol. vii. pp. 345, 346.

Thus in line with the white troops on the soil of Louisiana, amid a
large slave population, the negro soldiers were highly praised by the
commanding General. The British had already made their appearance on the
coast near the mouth of the Mississippi, and at the time of their
landing, General Jackson went out to meet them with two thousand one
hundred men; the British had two thousand four hundred. This was on the
23rd of December. The two armies met and fought to within a few miles of
the city, where the British general, Pakenham, who had arrived with
reinforcements, began on the 31st to lay siege. On Jan. 8th the short
but terrible struggle took place which not only taxed the energies and
displayed the great courage of both forces, but made the engagement one
of historic interest. In the short space of twenty-five minutes seven
hundred of the British were killed; fourteen hundred were wounded and
four hundred were taken prisoners. The American army was so well
protected that only four were killed and thirteen wounded. It was in
this great battle that two battalions of negroes participated, and
helped to save the city, the coveted prize, from the British. The two
battalions numbered four hundred and thirty men, and were commanded by
Maj. Lacoste and Maj. Savory. Great Britain also had her negro soldiers
there,--a regiment imported from the West Indies which headed the
attacking column against Jackson's right,--they led her van in the
battle; their failure, with that of the Irish regiment which formed also
a part of the advance column, lost the British the battle. The conduct
of the negro soldiers in Gen. Jackson's army on that occasion has ever
been applauded by the American people. Mr. Day, in Nell's "Colored
Patriots of the American Revolution," says:

     "From an authenticated chart, belonging to a soldier friend,
     I find that, in the battle of New Orleans, Major-General
     Andrew Jackson, Commander-in-Chief, and his staff, were just
     at the right of the advancing left column of the British,
     and that very near him were stationed the colored soldiers.
     He is numbered 6, and the position of the colored soldiers
     8. The chart explanation of No. 8 reads thus:--'8. Captains
     Dominique and Bluche, two 24 pounders; Major Lacoste's
     battalion, formed of the men of color of New Orleans and,
     Major Daquin's battalion, formed of the men of color of St.
     Domingo, under Major Savary, second in command.'

     "They occupied no mean place, and did no mean service.

     "From other documents in my possession, I am able to state
     the number of the 'battalion of St. Domingo men of color' to
     have been one hundred and fifty; and of 'Major Lacoste's
     battalion of Louisiana men of color,' two hundred and

     "Thus were over four hundred 'men of color' in that battle.
     When it is remembered that the whole number of soldiers
     claimed by Americans to have been in that battle reached
     only 3600, it will be seen that the 'men of color' were
     present in much larger proportion than their numbers in the
     country warranted.

     "Neither was there colorphobia then. Major Planche's
     battalion of uniformed volunteer companies, and Major
     Lacoste's 'men of color,' fought together; so, also, did
     Major Daquin's 'men of color,' and the 44th, under Captain

Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, in his speech in Congress on the Imprisonment
of Colored Seamen, September, 1850, bore this testimony to their gallant

     "I have an impression, that, not, indeed, in these piping
     times of peace, but in the time of war, when quite a boy, I
     have seen black soldiers enlisted, who did faithful and
     excellent service. But, however it may have been in the
     Northern States, I can tell the Senator what happened in the
     Southern States at this period. I believe that I shall be
     borne out in saying, that no regiments did better service,
     at New Orleans, than did the black regiments, which were
     organized under the direction of General Jackson himself,
     after a most glorious appeal to the patriotism and honor of
     the people of color of that region; and which, after they
     came out of the war, received the thanks of General Jackson,
     in a proclamation which has been thought worthy of being
     inscribed on the pages of history."

Perhaps the most glowing account of the services of these black American
soldiers, appeared in an article in the New Orleans _Picayune_:

     "Not the least interesting, although the most novel feature
     of the procession yesterday, was the presence of ninety of
     the colored veterans who bore a conspicuous part in the
     dangers of the day they were now for the first time called
     to assist in celebrating, and who, by their good conduct in
     presence of the enemy, deserved and received the approbation
     of their illustrious commander-in-chief. During the
     thirty-six years that have passed away since they assisted
     to repel the invaders from our shores, these faithful men
     have never before participated in the annual rejoicings for
     the victory which their valor contributed to gain. Their
     good deeds have been consecrated only in their memories, or
     lived but to claim a passing notice on the page of the
     historian. Yet, who more than they deserve the thanks of the
     country, and the gratitude of succeeding generations? Who
     rallied with more alacrity in response to the summons of
     danger? Who endured more cheerfully the hardships of the
     camp, or faced with greater courage the perils of the fight?
     If, in that hazardous hour, when our homes were menaced with
     the horrors of war, we did not disdain to call upon the
     colored population to assist in repelling the invading
     horde, we should not, when the danger is passed, refuse to
     permit them to unite with us in celebrating the glorious
     event, which they helped to make so memorable an epoch in
     our history. We were not too exalted to mingle with them in
     the affray; they were not too humble to join in our

     "Such, we think, is the universal opinion of our citizens.
     We conversed with many yesterday, and, without exception,
     they expressed approval of the invitation which had been
     extended to the colored veterans to take part in the
     ceremonies of the day, and gratification at seeing them in a
     conspicuous place in the procession.

     "The respectability of their appearance, and the modesty of
     their demeanor, made an impression on every observer, and
     elicited unqualified approbation. Indeed, though in saying
     so we do not mean disrespect to any one else, we think that
     they constituted decidedly the most interesting portion of
     the pageant, as they certainly attracted the most

It was during the rebellion of 1861-65 that the author saw one of the
colored drummer boys of that column beating his drum at the head of a
negro United States regiment marching through the streets of New Orleans
in 1862.

The New York battalion was organized and marched to the reinforcement of
the American army at Sacket's Harbor, then threatened by the enemy.
This battalion was said to be a fine looking body of men, well drilled
and disciplined. In Congress Mr. Martindale, of New York, said, in a
speech delivered on the 22nd January 1828, before that body:

     "Slaves or negroes who had been slaves were enlisted as
     soldiers in the war of the Revolution: and I myself saw a
     battalion of them,--as fine martial looking men as I ever
     saw attached to the Northern army in the last war
     (1812),--on its march from Plattsburg to Sacket's Harbor,
     where they did service for the country with credit to New
     York and honor to themselves."

As in the dark days of the Revolution, so now in another period of
national danger, the negroes proved their courage and patriotism by
service in the field. However, the lamentable treatment of Major
Jeffrey[10] is evidence that these services were not regarded as a
protection against outrage.

In the two wars in which the history of the negroes has been traced in
these pages, there is nothing that mitigates against his manhood, though
his condition, either bond or free, was lowly. But on the contrary the
honor of the race has been maintained under every circumstance in which
it has been placed.


[8] So indiscriminate were English officers in these outrages, that it
sometimes happened that black men were seized as English seamen. At that
time the public opinion of the world was such, that few statesmen
troubled themselves much about the rights of negroes. But in another
generation, when it proved convenient in the United States to argue that
free negroes had never been citizens, it was remembered that the
cabinets of Jefferson and Madison, in their diplomatic discussions with
Great Britain, had been willing to argue that the impressment of a free
negro was the seizure of an American citizen.--_Bryant's History of the
United States._

[9] "Hammond Golar, a colored man who lived in Lynn for many years, died
a few years since at the age of 80 years. He was born a slave, was a
privateer "powder boy" in the war of 1812, and was taken to Halifax as a
prisoner. The English Government did not exchange colored prisoners
because they would then be returned to slavery, and Golar remained a
prisoner until the close of the war."

[10] See page 50




[Illustration: UNSHACKLED.]



It seems proper, before attempting to record the achievements of the
negro soldiers in the war of the Rebellion, that we should consider the
state of public opinion regarding the negroes at the outbreak of the
war; also, in connection therewith, to note the rapid change that took
place during the early part of the struggle.

For some cause, unexplained in a general sense, the white people in the
Colonies and in the States, came to entertain against the colored races
therein a prejudice, that showed itself in a hostility to the latter's
enjoying equal civil and political rights with themselves. Various
reasons are alleged for it, but the difficulty of really solving the
problem lies in the fact that the early settlers in this country came
without prejudice against color. The Negro, Egyptian, Arab, and other
colored races known to them, lived in European countries, where no
prejudice, on account of color existed. How very strange then, that a
feeling antagonistic to the negroes should become a prominent feature in
the character of the European emigrants to these shores and their
descendants. It has been held by some writers that the American
prejudice against the negroes was occasioned by their docility and
unresenting spirit. Surely no one acquainted with the Indian will agree
that he is docile or wanting in spirit, yet occasionally there is
manifested a prejudice against him; the recruiting officers in
Massachusetts refused to enlist Indians, as well as negroes, in
regiments and companies made up of white citizens, though members of
both races, could sometimes be found in white regiments. During the
rebellion of 1861-5, some Western regiments had one or two negroes and
Indians in them, but there was no general enlistment of either race in
white regiments.[11] The objection was on account of color, or, as some
writers claim, by the fact of the races--negro and Indian[12]--having
been enslaved. Be the cause what it may, a prejudice, strong,
unrelenting, barred the two races from enjoying with the white race
equal civil and political rights in the United States. So very strong
had that prejudice grown since the Revolution, enhanced it may be by
slavery and docility, that when the rebellion of 1861 burst forth, a
feeling stronger than law, like a Chinese wall only more impregnable,
encircled the negro, and formed a barrier betwixt him and the army.
Doubtless peace--a long peace--lent its aid materially to this state of
affairs. Wealth, chiefly, was the dream of the American from 1815 to
1860, nearly half a century; a period in which the negro was friendless,
save in a few strong-minded, iron-hearted men like John Brown in Kansas,
Wendell Philips in New England, Charles Sumner in the United States
Senate, Horace Greeley in New York and a few others, who dared, in the
face of strong public sentiment, to plead his cause, even from a humane
platform. In many places he could not ride in a street car that was not
inscribed, "_Colored persons ride in this car_." The deck of a
steamboat, the box cars of the railroad, the pit of the theatre and the
gallery of the church, were the locations accorded him. The church lent
its influence to the rancor and bitterness of a prejudice as deadly as
the sap of the Upas.

To describe public opinion respecting the negro a half a century ago, is
no easy task. It was just budding into maturity when DeTocqueville
visited the United States, and, as a result of that visit, he wrote,
from observation, a pointed criticism upon the manners and customs, and
the laws of the people of the United States. For fear that I might be
thought over-doing--heightening--giving too much coloring to the
strength, and extent and power of the prejudice against the negro I
quote from that distinguished writer, as he clearly expressed himself
under the heading, "_Present and Future condition of the three races
inhabiting the United States_." He said of the negro:

     "I see that in a certain portion of the United States at the
     present day, the legal barrier which separates the two races
     is tending to fall away, but not that which exists in the
     manners of the country. Slavery recedes, but the prejudice
     to which it has given birth remains stationary. Whosoever
     has inhabited the United States, must have perceived, that
     in those parts of the United States, in which the negroes
     are no longer slaves, they have in nowise drawn nearer the
     whites; on the contrary, the prejudice of the race appears
     to be stronger in those States which have abolished slavery,
     than in those where it still exists. And, nowhere is it so
     intolerant as in the states where servitude has never been
     known. It is true, that in the North of the Union, marriages
     may be legally contracted between negroes and whites, but
     public opinion would stigmatize a man, who should content
     himself with a negress, as infamous. If oppressed, they may
     bring an action at law, but they will find none but whites
     among their judges, and although they may legally serve as
     jurors, prejudice repulses them for that office. In theatres
     gold cannot procure a seat for the servile race beside their
     former masters, in hospitals they lie apart. They _are_
     allowed to invoke the same divinity as the whites. The gates
     of heaven are not closed against those unhappy beings; but
     their inferiority is continued to the very confines of the
     other world. The negro is free, but he can share, neither
     the rights, nor the labor, nor the afflictions of him, whose
     equal he has been declared to be, and he cannot meet him
     upon fair terms in life or death."

DeTocqueville, as is seen, wrote with much bitterness and sarcasm, and,
it is but fair to state, makes no allusion to any exceptions to the
various conditions of affairs that he mentions. In all cases matters
might not have been exactly as bad as he pictures them, but as far as
the deep-seated prejudice against the negroes, and indifference to their
rights and elevation are concerned, the facts will freely sustain the
views so forcibly presented.

The negro had no remembrance of the country of his ancestry, Africa,
and he abjured their religion. In the South he had no family; women were
merely the temporary sharer of his pleasures; his master's cabins were
the homes of his children during their childhood. While the Indian
perished in the struggle for the preservation of his home, his hunting
grounds and his freedom, the negro entered into slavery as soon as he
was born, in fact was often purchased in the womb, and was born to know,
first, that he was a slave. If one became free, he found freedom harder
to bear than slavery; half civilized, deprived of nearly all rights, in
contact with his superiors in wealth and knowledge, exposed to the rigor
of a tyrannical prejudice moulded into laws, he contented himself to be
allowed to live.

The Negro race, however, it must be remembered, is the only race that
has ever come in contact with the European race, and been able to
withstand its atrocities and oppression; all others, like the Indian,
whom they could not make subservient to their use, they have destroyed.
The Negro race, like the Israelites, multiplied so rapidly in bondage,
that the oppressor became alarmed, and began discussing methods of
safety to himself. The only people able to cope with the Anglo-American
or Saxon, with any show of success, must be of _patient fortitude,
progressive intelligence, brave in resentment and earnest in endeavor_.

In spite of his surroundings and state of public opinion the African
lived, and gave birth, largely through amalgamation with the
representatives of the different races that inhabited the United States,
to a new race,--the _American Negro_. Professor Sampson in his mixed
races says:

     "The Negro is a new race, and is not the direct descent of
     any people that have ever flourished. The glory of the negro
     race is yet to come."

As evidence of its capacity to acquire glory, the record made in the
late struggle furnishes abundant proof. At the sound of the tocsin at
the North, negro waiter, cook, barber, boot-black, groom, porter and
laborer stood ready at the enlisting office; and though the recruiting
officer refused to list his name, he waited like the "patient ox" for
the partition--_prejudice_--to be removed. He waited two years before
even the door of the partition was opened; then he did not hesitate, but
walked in, and with what effect the world knows.

[Illustration: ROBERT SMALLS, (pilot). WILLIAM MORRISON, (sailor). A.
GRADINE, (Engineer). JOHN SMALLS, (sailor).

Four of the crew who, while the white officers were ashore in
Charleston. S. C., ran off with the Confederate war steamer, "Planter,"
passed Fort Sumter and delivered the vessel to the United States
authorities. On account of the daring exploit a special act of Congress
was passed ordering one-half the value of the captured vessel to be
invested in U. S. bonds, and the interest thereof to be annually paid
them or their heirs. Robert Smalls joined the Union army, and after the
war became active and prominent in politics.]

The war cloud of 1860 still more aroused the bitter prejudice against
the negro at both the North and South; but he was safer in South
Carolina than in New York, in Richmond than in Boston.

It is a natural consequence, when war is waged between two nations, for
those on either side to forget local feuds and unite against the common
enemy, as was done in the Revolutionary war. How different was the
situation now when the threatened war was not one between nations, but
between states of the same nation. The feeling of hostility toward the
negro was not put aside and forgotten as other troublesome matters were,
but the bitterness became intensified and more marked.

The Confederate Government though organized for the perpetual
enslavement of the negro, fostered the idea that the docility of the
negroes would allow them to be used for any purpose, without their
having the least idea of becoming freemen. Some idea may be formed of
public opinion at the South at the beginning of the war by what Mr.
Pollard, in his history, gives as the feeling at the South at the close
of the second year of the struggle:

     "Indeed, the war had shown the system of slavery in the
     South to the world in some new and striking aspects, and had
     removed much of that cloud of prejudice, defamation,
     falsehood, romance and perverse sentimentalism through which
     our peculiar institution had been formerly known to Europe.
     It had given a better vindication of our system of slavery
     than all the books that could be written in a generation. It
     had shown that slavery was an element of strength to us;
     that it had assisted us in our struggle; that no servile
     insurrections had taken place in the South, in spite of the
     allurements of our enemy; that the slave had tilled the soil
     while his master had fought; that in large districts,
     unprotected by our troops, and with a white population,
     consisting almost exclusively of women and children, the
     slave had continued his work, quiet, faithful, and cheerful;
     and that, as a conservative element in our social system,
     the institution of slavery had withstood the shocks of war,
     and been a faithful ally of our army, although instigated to
     revolution by every art of the enemy, and prompted to the
     work of assassination and pillage by the most brutal
     examples of the Yankee soldiers."

With this view, the whole slave population was brought to the assistance
of the Confederate Government, and thereby caught the very first hope of
freedom. An innate reasoning taught the negro that slaves could not be
relied upon to fight for their own enslavement. To get to the
breastworks was but to get a chance to run to the Yankees; and thousands
of those whose elastic step kept time with the martial strains of the
drum and fife, as they marched on through city and town, enroute to the
front, were not elated with the hope of Southern success, but were
buoyant with the prospects of reaching the North. The confederates found
it no easy task to watch the negroes and the Yankees too; their
attention could be given to but one at a time; as a slave expressed it,
"when marsa watch the Yankee, nigger go; when marsa watch the nigger,
Yankee come." But the Yankees did not always receive him kindly during
the first year of the war.

In his first inaugural, Mr. Lincoln declared "that the property, peace
and security of no section are to be in anywise endangered by the new
incoming administration." The Union generals, except Fremont and Phelps
and a few subordinates, accepted this as public opinion, and as their
guide in dealing with the slavery question. That opinion is better
expressed in the doggerel, sung in after months by the negro troops as
they marched along through Dixie:

    "McClellan went to Richmond with two hundred thousand braves,
    He said, '_keep back the niggers and the Union he would save_.'
    Little Mac. he had his way, still the Union is in tears,
    And they call for the help of the colored volunteers."

The first two lines expressed the sentiment at the time, not only of the
Army of the Potomoc, but the army commanders everywhere, with the
exceptions named. The administration winked at the enforcement of the
fugitive slave bill by the soldiers engaged in capturing and returning
the negroes coming into the Union lines.[13] Undoubtedly it was the idea
of the Government to turn the course of the war from its rightful
channel, or in other words,--in the restoration of the Union,--to
eliminate the anti-slavery sentiment, which demanded the freedom of the


Hon. Elisha R. Potter, of Rhode Island,--"who may," said Mr. Greeley,
"be fairly styled the hereditary chief of the Democratic party of that
State,"--made a speech on the war in the State Senate, on the 10th of
August 1861, in which he remarked:

     "I have said that the war may assume another aspect, and be
     a short and bloody one. And to such a war--_an anti-slavery
     war_--it seems to me we are _inevitably_ drifting. It seems
     to me hardly in the power of human wisdom to prevent it. We
     may commence the war without meaning to interfere with
     slavery; but let us have one or two battles, and get our
     blood excited, and we shall not only not restore any more
     slaves, but shall proclaim freedom wherever we go. And it
     seems to me almost judicial blindness on the part of the
     South that they do not see that this must be the inevitable
     result, if the contest is prolonged."

This sentiment became bolder daily as the thinking Union men viewed the
army turning aside from its legitimate purposes, to catch runaway
negroes, and return them. Party lines were also giving away; men in the
army began to realize the worth of the negroes as they sallied up to the
rebel breastworks that were often impregnable. They began to complain,
finding the negro with his pick and spade, a greater hinderance to their
progress than the cannon balls of the enemy; and more than one said to
the confederates, when the pickets of the two armies picnicked together
in the battle's lull, as frequently they did: "We can whip you, if you
keep your negroes out of your army."

Quite a different course was pursued in the navy. Negroes were readily
accepted all along the coast on board the war vessels, it being no
departure from the regular and established practice in the service. The
view with which the loyal friends of the Union began to look at the
negro and the rebellion, was aptly illustrated in an article in the
Montgomery (Ala.) _Advertiser_ in 1861, which said:

     white population of the eleven States now comprising the
     Confederacy is 6,000,000, and, therefore, to fill up the
     ranks of the proposed army (600,000) about ten per cent of
     the entire white population will be required. In any other
     country than our own such a draft could not be met, but the
     Southern States can furnish that number of men, and still
     not leave the material interests of the country in a
     suffering condition. Those who are incapacitated for bearing
     arms can oversee the plantations, and the negroes can go on
     undisturbed in their usual labors. In the North the case is
     different; the men who join the army of subjugation are the
     laborers, the producers, and the factory operatives. Nearly
     every man from that section, especially those from the rural
     districts, leaves some branch of industry to suffer during
     his absence. The institution of slavery in the South alone
     enables her to place in the field a force much larger in
     proportion to her white population than the North, or indeed
     any country which is dependent entirely on free labor. The
     institution is a tower of strength to the South,
     particularly at the present crisis, and our enemies will be
     likely to find that the 'moral cancer' about which their
     orators are so fond of prating, is really one of the most
     effective weapons employed against the Union by the South.
     Whatever number of men may be needed for this war, we are
     confident our people stand ready to furnish. We are all
     enlisted for the war, and there must be no holding back
     until the independence of the South is fully acknowledged."

The facts already noted became apparent to the nation very soon, and
then came a change of procedure, and the war began to be prosecuted upon
quite a different policy. Gen. McClellan, whose loyalty to the new
policy was doubted, was removed from the command of the Army of the
Potomac, and slave catching ceased. The XXXVII Congress convened in Dec.
1861, in its second session, and passed the following additional article
of war:

     "All officers are prohibited from employing any of the
     forces under their respective commands for the purpose of
     returning fugitives from service or labor who may have
     escaped from any persons to whom such service or labor is
     claimed to be due. Any officer who shall be found guilty by
     court-martial of violating this article shall be dismissed
     from the service."

This was the initatory measure of the new policy, which progressed to
its fulfillment rapidly. And then what Mr. Cameron, Secretary of War,
had recommended in December, 1861, and to which the President objected,
very soon developed, through a series of enactments, in the arming of
the negro; in which the loyal people of the whole country acquiesced,
save the border states people, who fiercely opposed it as is shown in
the conduct of Mr. Wickliffe, of Kentucky; Salisbury, of Delaware, and
others in Congress.

[Illustration: DRIVING GOVT. CATTLE]

Public opinion was now changed, Congress had prohibited the surrender of
negroes to the rebels, the President issued his Emancipation
Proclamation, and more than 150,000 negroes were fighting for the Union.
The Republican party met in convention at Chicago, and nominated Mr.
Lincoln for the second term as President of the United States; the
course of his first administration was now to be approved or rejected by
the people. In the resolutions adopted, the fifth one of them related to
Emancipation and the negro soldiers. It was endorsed by a very large
majority of the voters. A writer in one of the magazines, prior to the
election, thus reviews the resolutions:

     "The fifth resolution commits us to the approval of two
     measures that have aroused the most various and strenuous
     opposition, the Proclamation of Emancipation and the use of
     negro troops. In reference to the first, it is to be
     remembered that it is a war measure. The express language of
     it is: 'By virtue of the power in me vested as
     commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States
     in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and
     Government of the United States, and as a _fit and necessary
     war measure for suppressing said rebellion_.' Considered
     thus, the Proclamation is not merely defensible, but it is
     more; it is a proper and efficient means of weakening the
     rebellion which every person desiring its speedy overthrow
     must zealously and perforce uphold. Whether it is of any
     legal effect beyond the actual limits of our military lines,
     is a question that need not agitate us. In due time the
     supreme tribunal of the nation will be called to determine
     that, and to its decision the country will yield with all
     respect and loyalty. But in the mean time let the
     Proclamation go wherever the army goes, let it go wherever
     the navy secures a foothold on the outer border of the rebel
     territory, and let it summon to our aid the negroes who are
     truer to the Union than their disloyal masters; and when
     they have come to us and put their lives in our keeping, let
     us protect and defend them with the whole power of the
     nation. Is there anything unconstitutional in that? Thank
     God, there is not. And he who is willing to give back to
     slavery a single person who has heard the summons and come
     within our lines to obtain his freedom, he who would give up
     a single man, woman, or child, once thus actually freed, is
     not worthy the name of American. He may call himself
     Confederate, if he will.

     "Let it be remembered, also that the Proclamation has had a
     very important bearing upon our foreign relations. It
     evoked in behalf of our country that sympathy on the part of
     the people in Europe, whose is the only sympathy we can ever
     expect in our struggle to perpetuate free institutions.
     Possessing that sympathy, moreover, we have had an element
     in our favor which has kept the rulers of Europe in
     wholesome dread of interference. The Proclamation relieved
     us from the false position before attributed to us of
     fighting simply for national power. It placed us right in
     the eyes of the world, and transferred men's sympathies from
     a confederacy fighting for independence as a means of
     establishing slavery, to a nation whose institutions mean
     constitutional liberty, and, when fairly wrought out, must
     end in universal freedom."

The change of policy and of public opinion was so strongly endorsed that
it affected the rebels, who shortly passed a Congressional measure for
arming 200,000 negroes themselves. What a reversal of things; what a
change of sentiment, in less than twenty-four months![14] Mr. Lincoln,
in justifying the change, is reported to have said to Judge Mills, of

     "The slightest knowledge of arithmetic will prove to any man
     that the rebel armies cannot be destroyed with Democratic
     strategy. It would sacrifice all the white men of the North
     to do it. There are now in the service of the United States
     near two hundred thousand able-bodied colored men, most of
     them under arms, defending and acquiring Union territory.
     The Democratic strategy demands that these forces be
     disbanded, and that the masters be conciliated by restoring
     them to slavery. The black men who now assist Union
     prisoners to escape, they are to be converted into our
     enemies in the vain hope of gaining the good will of their
     masters. We shall have to fight two nations instead of one.
     You cannot conciliate the South if you guarantee to them
     ultimate success; and the experience of the present war
     proves their success is inevitable if you fling the
     compulsory labor of millions of black men into their side of
     the scale. Will you give our enemies such military
     advantages as insure success, and then depend on coaxing,
     flattery, and concession to get them back into the Union?
     Abandon all the posts now garrisoned by black men; take two
     hundred thousand men from our side and put them in the
     battle-field or cornfield against us, and we would be
     compelled to abandon the war in three weeks. We have to hold
     territory in inclement and sickly places; where are the
     Democrats to do this? It was a free fight, and the field
     was open to the war Democrats to put down this rebellion by
     fighting against both master and slave, long before the
     present policy was inaugurated. There have been men base
     enough to propose to me to return to slavery the black
     warriors of Port Hudson and Olustee, and thus win the
     respect of the masters they fought. Should I do so, I should
     deserve to be dammed in time and eternity. Come what will, I
     will keep my faith with friend and foe. My enemies pretend I
     am now carrying on this war for the sole purpose of
     abolition. So long as I am President, it shall be carried on
     for the sole purpose of restoring the Union. But no human
     power can subdue this rebellion without the use of the
     emancipation policy, and every other policy calculated to
     weaken the moral and physical forces of the rebellion.
     Freedom has given us two hundred thousand men raised on
     southern soil. It will give us more yet. Just so much it has
     subtracted from the enemy; and instead of alienating the
     South, there are now evidences of a fraternal feeling
     growing up between our men and the rank and file of the
     rebel soldiers. Let my enemies prove to the country that the
     destruction of slavery is not necessary to the restoration
     of the Union. I will abide the issue."

But the change of policy did not change the opinion of the Southerners,
who, notwithstanding the use which the Confederate Government was making
of the negro, still regarded him, in the _United States_ uniform, as a
vicious brute, to be shot at sight. I prefer, in closing this chapter,
to give the Southern opinion of the negro, in the words of a
distinguished native of that section. Mr. George W. Cable, in his
"Silent South," thus gives it:

     "He was brought to our shores a naked, brutish, unclean,
     captive, pagan savage, to be and remain a kind of connecting
     link between man and the beasts of burden. The great changes
     to result from his contact with a superb race of masters
     were not taken into account. As a social factor he was
     intended to be as purely zero as the brute at the other end
     of his plow line. The occasional mingling of his blood with
     that of the white man worked no change in the sentiment;
     one, two, four, eight, multiplied upon or divided in to
     zero, still gave zero for the result. Generations of
     American nativity made no difference; his children and
     children's children were born in sight of our door, yet the
     old notion held fast. He increased to vast numbers, but it
     never wavered. He accepted our dress, language, religion,
     all the fundamentals of our civilization, and became forever
     expatriated from his own land; still he remained, to us, an
     alien. Our sentiment went blind. It did not see that
     gradually, here by force and there by choice, he was
     fulfilling a host of conditions that earned at least a
     solemn moral right to that naturalization which no one at
     first had dreamed of giving him. Frequently he even bought
     back the freedom of which he had been robbed, became a
     tax-payer, and at times an educator of his children at his
     own expense; but the old idea of alienism passed laws to
     banish him, his wife, and children by thousands from the
     State, and threw him into loathsome jails as a common felon
     for returning to his native land. It will be wise to
     remember that these were the acts of an enlightened, God
     fearing people."



[11] I arrived in New York in August, 1862, from Valparaiso, Chili, on
the steamship "Bio-Bio," of Boston, and in company with two Spaniards,
neither of whom could speak English, enlisted in a New York regiment. We
were sent to the rendezvous on one of the islands in the harbor. The
third day after we arrived at the barracks, I was sent with one of my
companions to carry water to the cook, an aged negro, who immediately
recognized me, and in such a way as to attract the attention of the
corporal, who reported the matter to the commanding officer, and before
I could give the cook the hint, he was examined by the officer of the
day. At noon I was accompanied by a guard of honor to the launch, which
landed me in New York. I was a negro, that was all; how it was accounted
for on the rolls I cannot say. I was honorably discharged, however,
without receiving a certificate to that effect.

[12] The Indians referred to are many of those civilized and living as
citizens in the several States of the Union.

[13] See Appendix, "A."

[14] "Those who have declaimed loudest against the employment of negro
troops have shown a lamentable amount of ignorance, and an equally
lamentable lack of common sense. They know as little of the military
history and martial qualities of the African race as they do of their
own duties as commanders.

"All distinguished generals of modern times who have had opportunity to
use negro soldiers, have uniformly applauded their subordination,
bravery, and powers of endurance. Washington solicited the military
services of negroes in the revolution, and rewarded them. Jackson did
the same in the war of 1812. Under both those great captains, the negro
troops fought so well that they received unstinted praise."--_Charles



The recruiting officer, in the first year of the enlistment of negroes,
did not have a pleasant service to perform. At New Orleans there was no
trouble in recruiting the regiments organized under Butler's command,
for, beside the free negroes, the slave population for miles around were
eager to enlist, believing that with the United States army uniform on,
they would be safe in their escape from "ole master and the rebs." And
then the action of the confederate authorities in arming the free
negroes lent a stimulant and gave an ambition to the whole slave
population to be soldiers. Could arms have been obtained, a half a dozen
regiments could have been organized in sixty days just as rapidly as
were three. Quite early in 1862, while the negroes in New Orleans were
being enrolled in the Confederate service, under Gov. Moore's
proclamation, in separate and distinct organizations from the whites,
the Indians and negroes were enlisting in the Union service, on the
frontier, in the same company and regiments, with white officers to
command them. In the "Kansas Home Guard," comprising two regiments of
Indians, were over 400 negroes, and these troops were under Custer,
Blunt and Herron. They held Fort Gibson twenty months against the
assaults of the enemy. Two thousand five hundred negroes served in the
Federal army from the Indian Nations, and these, in all probability, are
a part of 5,896 "not accounted for" on the Adjutant General's rolls.

Quite a different state of things existed in South Carolina; rumors
were early afloat, when recruiting began, that the government officers
were gathering up the negroes to ship away to Cuba, Africa and the West
Indies. These reports for a long time hindered the enlistment very much.
Then there was no large city for contrabands to congregate in; besides
they had no way of traveling from island to island except on government
vessels. Before the Proclamation of freedom was issued, the city of
Washington, with Virginia and Maryland as additional territory to
recruit from, afforded an officer a better field to operate in than any
other point except New Orleans. The conduct of the Government in
revoking Gen. Fremont's Proclamation, and of McClellan's with the Army
of the Potomac, in catching and returning escaped slaves, also had a
tendency for some time to keep back even the free negroes of Virginia
and Maryland. But this class of people never enlisted to any great
numbers, either before or after 1863, and there finally came to be a
general want of spirit with them, while with the slave class there was a
ready enthusiasm to enlist. Senator Wilson, of Massachusetts, was
Chairman of the Committee of Military Affairs, and reported from that
committee on the 8th of July 1862, a bill authorizing the arming of
negroes as a part of the army. The bill finally passed both houses and
received the approval of the President on the 17th of July, 1862. The
battle for its success is as worthy of record as any fought by the
Phalanx. The debate was characterized by eloquence and deep feeling on
both sides. Says an account of the proceedings in Henry Wilson's
"Anti-slavery Measures of Congress":

[Illustration: TEAMSTER OF THE ARMY]

     "Mr. Sherman (Rep.) of Ohio said, "The question arises,
     whether the people of the United States, struggling for
     national existence, should not employ these blacks for the
     maintenance of the Government. The policy heretofore pursued
     by the officers of the United States has been to repel this
     class of people from our lines, to refuse their services.
     They would have made the best spies; and yet they have been
     driven from our lines."--"I tell the President," said Mr.
     Fessenden (Rep.) of Maine, "from my place here as a senator,
     I tell the generals of our army, they must reverse their
     practices and their course of proceeding on this subject. *
     * * I advise it here from my place,--treat your enemies as
     enemies, as the worst of enemies, and avail yourselves like
     men of every power which God has placed in your hands to
     accomplish your purpose within the rules of civilized
     warfare." Mr. Rice, (war Dem.) of Minnesota, declared that
     "not many days can pass before the people of the United
     States North must decide upon one of two questions: we have
     either to acknowledge the Southern Confederacy as a free and
     independent nation, and that speedily; or we have as
     speedily to resolve to use all the means given us by the
     Almighty to prosecute this war to a successful termination.
     The necessity for action has arisen. To hesitate is worse
     than criminal. Mr. Wilson said, "The senator from Delaware,
     as he is accustomed to do, speaks boldly and decidedly
     against the proposition. He asks if American soldiers will
     fight if we organize colored men for military purposes. Did
     not American soldiers fight at Bunker Hill with negroes in
     the ranks, one of whom shot down Major Pitcairn as he
     mounted the works? Did not American soldiers fight at Red
     Bank with a black regiment from your own State, sir? (Mr.
     Anthony in the chair.) Did they not fight on the
     battle-field of Rhode Island with that black regiment, one
     of the best and bravest that ever trod the soil of this
     continent? Did not American soldiers fight at Fort Griswold
     with black men? Did they not fight with black men in almost
     every battle-field of the Revolution? Did not the men of
     Kentucky and Tennessee, standing on the lines of New
     Orleans, under the eye of Andrew Jackson, fight with colored
     battalions whom he had summoned to the field, and whom he
     thanked publicly for their gallantry in hurling back a
     British foe? It is all talk, idle talk, to say that the
     volunteers who are fighting the battles of this country are
     governed by any such narrow prejudice or bigotry. These
     prejudices are the results of the teachings of demagogues
     and politicians, who have for years undertaken to delude and
     deceive the American people, and to demean and degrade

     Mr. Grimes had expressed his views a few weeks before, and
     desired a vote separately on each of these sections. Mr.
     Davis declared that he was utterly opposed, and should ever
     be opposed, to placing arms in the hands of negroes, and
     putting them into the army. Mr. Rice wished "to know if Gen.
     Washington did not put arms into the hands of negroes, and
     if Gen. Jackson did not, and if the senator has ever
     condemned either of those patriots for doing so." "I deny,"
     replied Mr. Davis, "that, in the Revolutionary War, there
     ever was any considerable organization of negroes. I deny,
     that, in the war of 1812, there was ever any organization of
     negro slaves. * * * In my own State, I have no doubt that
     there are from eighty to a hundred thousand slaves that
     belong to disloyal men. You propose to place arms in the
     hands of the men and boys, or such of them as are able to
     handle arms, and to manumit the whole mass, men, women, and
     children, and leave them among us. Do you expect us to give
     our sanction and our approval to these things? No, no! We
     would regard their authors as our worst enemies; and there
     is no foreign despotism that could come to our rescue, that
     we would not joyously embrace, before we would submit to
     any such condition of things as that. But, before we had
     invoked this foreign despotism, we would arm every man and
     boy that we have in the land, and we would meet you in a
     death-struggle, to overthrow together such an oppression and
     our oppressors." Mr. Rice remarked in reply to Mr. Davis,
     "The rebels hesitate at nothing. There are no means that God
     or the Devil has given them that they do not use. The
     honorable senator said that the negroes might be useful in
     loading and swabbing and firing cannon. If that be the case,
     may not some of them be useful in loading, swabbing, and
     firing the musket?"

On the 10th of February, 1864, Mr. Stevens (Republican) of Pennsylvania,
in the House of Representatives, moved an amendment to the Enrollment
Act. Says the same authority before quoted:

     The Enrollment Bill was referred to a Conference Committee,
     consisting of Mr. Wilson of Massachusetts, Mr. Nesmet of
     Oregon, and Mr. Grimes of Iowa, on the part of the Senate;
     and Mr. Schenck of Ohio, Mr. Deming of Connecticut, and Mr.
     Kernan of New York, on the part of the House. In the
     Conference Committee, Mr. Wilson stated that he never could
     assent to the amendment, unless the drafted slaves were made
     free on being mustered into the service of the United
     States. Mr. Grimes sustained that position; and the House
     committee assented to it. The House amendment was then
     modified so as to read, "That all able-bodied male colored
     persons between the ages of twenty and forty-five years,
     whether citizens or not, resident in the United States,
     shall be enrolled according to the provisions of this act,
     and of the act to which this is an amendment, and form part
     of the national forces; and, when a slave of a loyal master
     shall be drafted and mustered into the service of the United
     States, his master shall have a certificate thereof; and
     thereupon such slave shall be free; and the bounty of a
     hundred dollars, now payable by law for each drafted man,
     shall be paid to the person to whom such drafted person was
     owing service or labor at the time of his muster into the
     service of the United States. The Secretary of War shall
     appoint a commission in each of the slave States represented
     in Congress, charged to award, to each loyal person to whom
     a colored volunteer may owe service, a just compensation,
     not exceeding three hundred dollars, for each such colored
     volunteer, payable out of the fund derived from commutation;
     and every such colored volunteer, on being mustered into the
     service, shall be free."

     "The report of the Conference Committee was agreed to; and
     it was enacted that every slave, whether a drafted man or a
     volunteer, shall be free on being mustered into the military
     service of the United States, not by the act of the master,
     but by the authority of the Federal Government."

NEWBERNE N. C. Distributing clothing, captured from the Confederates, to
the free negroes.]

When Gen. Banks took command of the Gulf Department, Dec. 1862, he very
soon after found the negro troops an indispensable quantity to the
success of his expeditions; consequently he laid aside his prejudice,
and endeavored to out-Herod Gen. Lorenzo Thomas, Adjutant General of the
Army,--who in March had been dispatched on a military inspection tour
through the armies of the West and the Mississippi Valley, and also to
organize a number of negro regiments[15]--by issuing in May the
following order:

            No. 40.}

          _Corps d'Afrique._
          19TH ARMY CORPS,

                            _Opelousas_, May 1, 1863.

     The Major General commanding the Department proposes the
     organization of a corps d'armee of colored troops, to be
     designated as the "Corps d'Afrique." It will consist
     ultimately of eighteen regiments, representing all
     arms--Infantry, Artillery, and Cavalry, organized in three
     Divisions of three Brigades each, with appropriate corps of
     Engineers and flying Hospitals for each Division.
     Appropriate uniforms, and the graduation of pay to
     correspond with value of services, will be hereafter

     In the field, the efficiency of every corps depends upon the
     influence of its officers upon the troops engaged, and the
     practicable limits of one direct command is generally
     estimated at one thousand men. The most eminent military
     historians and commanders, among others Thiers and Chambray,
     express the opinion, upon a full review of the elements of
     military power, that the valor of the soldier is rather
     acquired than natural. Nations whose individual heroism in
     undisputed, have failed as soldiers in the field. The
     European and American continents exhibit instances of this
     character, and the military prowess of every nation may be
     estimated by the centuries it has devoted to military
     contest, or the traditional passion of its people for
     military glory. With a race unaccustomed to military
     service, much more depends on the immediate influence of
     officers upon individual members, than with those that have
     acquired more or less of warlike habits and spirit by
     centuries of contest. It is deemed best, therefore, in the
     organization of the Corps d'Afrique, to limit the regiments
     to the smallest number of men consistent with efficient
     service in the field, in order to secure the most thorough
     instruction and discipline, and the largest influence of the
     officers over the troops. At first they will be limited to
     five hundred men. The average of American regiments is less
     than that number.

     _The Commanding General desires to detail for temporary or
     permanent duty the best officers of the army, for the
     organization, instruction and discipline of this corps._
     With their aid, he is confident that the corps will render
     important service to the Government. It is not established
     upon any dogma of equality or other theory, but as a
     practical and sensible matter of business. The Government
     makes use of mules, horses, uneducated and educated white
     men, in the defense of its institutions. Why should not the
     negro contribute whatever is in his power for the cause in
     which he is as deeply interested as other men? We may
     properly demand from him whatever service he can render. The
     chief defect in organizations of this character has arisen
     from incorrect ideas of the officers in command. Their
     discipline has been lax, and in some cases the conduct of
     the regiments unsatisfactory and discreditable.
     Controversies unnecessary and injurious to the service have
     arisen between them and other troops. The organization
     proposed will reconcile and avoid many of these troubles.

     Officers and soldiers will consider the exigencies of the
     service in this Department, and the absolute necessity of
     appropriating every element of power to the support of the
     Government. The prejudices or opinions of men are in nowise
     involved. The co-operation and active support of all
     officers and men, and the nomination of fit men from the
     ranks, and from the lists of non-commissioned and
     commissioned officers, are respectfully solicited from the
     Generals commanding the respective Divisions.


                                      RICHARD B. IRWIN,
                                        _Assistant Adjutant General._

                                      WAR DEPARTMENT,
                              _Washington City_, March 25th, 1803.

His plan of organization is here given, but it was never fully

             No. 47}

          Corps d'Afrique.
          19TH ARMY CORPS,

                            _Before Port Hudson_, June 6th, 1863.

     I.--The regiments of infantry of the Corps d'Afrique,
     authorized by General Orders No. 44, current series, will
     consist of ten companies each, having the following minimum

     1 Captain, 1 First Lieutenant, 1 Second Lieutenant, 1 First
     Sergeant, 4 Sergeants, 4 Corporals, 2 Buglers, 40 Privates.

     To the above may be added hereafter, at the discretion of
     the Commanding General, four corporals and forty-two
     privates; thus increasing the strength to the maximum fixed
     by law for a company of infantry.

     The regimental organization will be that fixed by law for a
     regiment of infantry.

     II.--The Commissary and Assistant Commissaries of Musters
     will muster the Second Lieutenant into service as soon as he
     is commissioned; the First Lieutenant when thirty men are
     enlisted; and the Captain when the minimum organization is

     III.--The First, Second, Third and Fourth Regiments of
     Louisiana Native Guards will hereafter be known as the
     First, Second, Third and Fourth Regiments of Infantry of the
     Corps d'Afrique.

     IV.--The regiment of colored troops in process of
     organization in the district of Pensacola will be known as
     the Fifth Regiment of Infantry of the Corps d'Afrique.

     V.--The regiments now being raised under the direction of
     Brigadier General Daniel Ullman, and at present known as the
     First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Regiments of Ullman's
     Brigade, will be respectively designated as the Sixth,
     Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Regiments of Infantry of
     the Corps d'Afrique.

     VI.--The First Regiment of Louisiana Engineers, Colonel
     Justin Hodge, will hereafter be known as the First Regiment
     of Engineers of the Corps d'Afrique.


                                      RICHARD B. IRWIN,
                                            _Assistant Adjutant General._

                _NATHANIEL BURBANK, Acting Assistant Adjutant General._

General Banks' treatment of the negroes was so very different from that
which they had received from Gen. Butler,--displacing the negro officers
of the first three regiments organized,--that it rather checkmated
recruiting, so much so that he found it necessary to resort to the
provost guard to fill up regiments, as the following order indicates:

[Illustration: PROVOST GUARD SECURING CONSCRIPTS. Compelling all
able-bodied men to join the army.]

                      Commission of Enrollment.
     No. 64.           _New Orleans_, August 29, 1863.

     I. Colonel JOHN S. CLARK, Major B. RUSH PLUMLY and Colonel
     GEORGE H. HANKS, are hereby appointed a Commission to
     regulate the Enrollment, Recruiting and Employment and
     Education of persons of color. All questions concerning the
     enlistment of troops for the Corps d'Afrique, the regulation
     of labor, or the government and education of negroes, will
     be referred to the decision of this commission, subject to
     the approval of the Commanding General of the Department.

     II. No enlistments for the Corps d'Afrique will be
     authorized or permitted, except under regulations approved
     by this Commission.

     III. _The Provost Marshal General will cause to be enrolled
     all able-bodied men of color in accordance with the Law of
     Conscription, and such number as may be required for the
     military defence of the Department, equally apportioned to
     the different parishes, will be enlisted for the military
     service under such regulations as the Commission may adopt.
     Certificates of exemption will be furnished to those not
     enlisted, protecting them from arrest or other interference,
     except for crime._

     IV. Soldiers of the Corps d'Afrique will not be allowed to
     leave their camps, or to wander through the parishes, except
     upon written permission, or in the company of their

     V. Unemployed persons of color, vagrants and camp loafers,
     will be arrested and employed upon the public works, by the
     Provost Marshal's Department, without other pay than their
     rations and clothing.

     VI. Arrests of persons, and seizures of property, will not
     be made by colored soldiers, nor will they be charged with
     the custody of persons or property, except when under the
     command, and accompanied by duly authorized officers.

     VII. Any injury or wrong done to the family of any soldier,
     on account of his being engaged in military service, will be
     summarily punished.

     VIII. As far as practicable, the labor of persons not
     adapted to military service will be provided in substitution
     for that of enlisted men.

     IX. All regulations hitherto established for the government
     of negroes, not inconsistent herewith, will be enforced by
     the Provost Marshals of the different parishes, under the
     direction of the Provost Marshal General.


                                       RICHARD B. IRWIN,
                                        _Assistant Adjutant General._

In the department the actual number of negroes enlisted was never known,
from the fact that a practice prevailed of putting a live negro in a
dead one's place. For instance, if a company on picket or scouting lost
ten men, the officer would immediately put ten new men in their places
and have them answer to the dead men's names. I learn from very reliable
sources that this was done in Virginia, also in Missouri and Tennessee.
If the exact number of men could be ascertained, instead of 180,000 it
would doubtless be in the neighborhood of 220,000 who entered the ranks
of the army. An order was issued which aimed to correct the habit and to
prevent the drawing, by collusion, of the dead men's pay.

The date of the first organization of colored troops is a question of
dispute, but it seems as if the question might be settled, either by the
records of the War Department or the personal knowledge of those
interested. Of course the muster of a regiment or company is the record
of the War Department, but the muster by no means dates the organization
of the troops.[16] For example, a colonel may have been commissioned
July, 1862, and yet the muster of his regiment may be September 1862,
and even later, by two months, as is the case in more than one instance.
It is just as fair to take the date of a soldier's enlistment as the
date of the organization of a regiment, as that of the date of the order
detailing an officer to recruit as the date of the colonel's commission.
The writer's discharge from the Second Reg't. Louisiana Native Guards
credits him as enlisting on the 1st day of September, 1862; at this date
the 1st Reg't. La. N. G. was in the field, in November the Second
Regiment took the field, so that the date of the organization of the
first regiment of colored troops was in September, 1862. Col. Higginson,
says in his volume:

     "Except the Louisiana soldiers mentioned,--of whom no
     detailed reports have, I think, been published,--my regiment
     was unquestionably the first mustered into the service of
     the United States; the first company mustered bearing date,
     November 7, 1862, and the others following in quick

Save the regiments recruited in Kansas, South Carolina and New Orleans
during the year 1862, nothing was done towards increasing the negro
army, but in January 1863, when the policy of the Government was changed
and the Emancipation Proclamation foreshadowed the employment of negroes
in the armed service, an activity such as had not been witnessed since
the beginning of the war became apparent. Many officers without
commands, and some with, but who sought promotion, were eager to be
allowed to organize a regiment, a battalion or a brigade of negro
troops. Mr. Lincoln found it necessary in less than six months after
issuing his Proclamation of Freedom, to put the whole matter of negro
soldiers into the hands of a board.[17] Ambition, as ambition will,
smothered many a white man's prejudice and caused more than one West
Pointer to forget his political education. This order was issued:

                   _Washington, D. C._, January 13th, 1863.


     SIR:--By direction of the Secretary of War you are hereby
     authorized to raise a Brigade of (four regiments) of
     Louisiana Volunteer Infantry, to be recruited in that State
     to serve for three years or during the War.

     Each regiment of said Brigade will be organized as
     prescribed in General orders No. 126, series of 1862, from
     this office.

     The recruitment will be conducted in accordance with the
     rules of the service, and the orders of the War Department,
     and by the said department all appointments of officers will
     be made.

     All musters will be made in strict conformity to Paragraph
     86 Revised Mustering Regulations of 1862.

     I am, Very Respectfully Your Obedient Servant,
                     THOMAS M. VINCENT, _Asst. Adjt. Gen'l._


                        _Washington, D. C._, March 24, 1863.

     BRIG. GENERAL ULLMAN, Washington, D. C.

     GENERAL:--By direction of the Secretary of War, you are
     hereby authorized to raise a Battalion (six companies) of
     Louisiana Volunteer Infantry to be used for scouting
     purposes, to be recruited in that State, and to serve for
     three years or during the war.

     The said force will be organized as prescribed in Paragraph
     83, Mustering Regulations.

     The recruitment will be conducted in accordance with the
     rules of the service, and the orders of the War Department,
     and by the said Department all appointments of officers will
     be made.

     All musters will be made in accordance with the orders given
     in reference to the troops authorized by the instructions
     from this office of January 13, 1863.

     I am, General Very Respectfully Your Obedient Servant,

                        THOMAS M. VINCENT, _Asst. Adjt. General._

In furtherance of the order General Ullman proceeded to New Orleans and
assumed command of seven thousand troops already organized. It was said
that he had arranged to place 500 white officers in command of the
troops in Louisiana.

In October thereafter General Banks issued the following order, which
fully explains itself:

     Recruiting for the Corps d'Afrique.

     No. 77.                   _New Orleans_, October 27, 1863.

     I. All persons of Color coming within the lines of the army,
     or following the army when in the field, other than those
     employed in the Staff Department of the army, or as servants
     of officers entitled by the Regulations to have servants, or
     cooks, will be placed in charge of and provided for by the
     several Provost Marshals of the Parishes, or if the army be
     on the march, or in the field, by the Provost Marshal of the

     II. The several Provost Marshals of the Parishes and of the
     Army will promptly forward to the nearest recruiting depot
     all able bodied males for service in the Corps d'Afrique.

     III. Recruits will be received for the Corps d'Afrique of
     all able bodied men from sections of the country not
     occupied by our forces, and beyond our lines, without regard
     to the enrollment provided for in General Orders No. 64 and
     70, from these Headquarters.

     IV. Instructions will be given by the President of the
     Commission of Enrollment to the Superintendent of
     Recruiting, to govern in all matters of detail relating to
     recruiting, and officers will be held to a strict
     accountability for the faithful observance of existing
     orders and such instructions; but no officer will be
     authorized to recruit beyond the lines without first having
     his order approved by the officer commanding the nearest
     post, or the officer commanding the Army in the Field, who
     will render such assistance as may be necessary to make the
     recruiting service effective.


                      G. NORMAN LIEBER, _Act. Asst. Adjt. Gen'l._

At the North where negroes had been refused admission to the army, the
President's Proclamation was hailed with delight. Gov. Andrew, of
Massachusetts, at once began the organization of the 54th Regiment of
his State, composed entirely of negroes, and on the 28th of May the
regiment being ready to take the field, embarked for South Carolina.
Other Northern States followed. Pennsylvania established Camp Wm. Penn,
from which several regiments took their departure, while Connecticut and
Rhode Island both sent a regiment.


The taste with which the negro soldiers arranged their quarters often
prompted officers of white regiments to borrow a detail to clean and
beautify the quarters of their commands. An occurrence of this kind came
very near causing trouble on Morris Island, S.C. The matter was brought
to the commanding General's attention and he immediately issued this


    GENERAL ORDERS,        _Morris Island, S.C._, Sept. 17th, 1863.
    No. 77.

     1. It has come to the knowledge of the Brig. Gen. Commanding
     that detachments of colored troops, detailed for fatigue
     duty, have been employed in one instance at least, to
     prepare camps and perform menial duty for white troops. Such
     use of these details is unauthorized and improper, and is
     hereafter expressly prohibited. Commanding Officers of
     colored regiments are directed to report promptly, to the
     Headquarters, any violations of this order which may come to
     their knowledge.


     OFFICIAL:           ED. W. SMITH, _Asst. Adjt. Gen'l._

               _ISRAEL Z. SEALEY, Capt. 47th N.Y. Vols.,
                               Act. Asst. Adjt. General._

The Southern troops generally made no objection to cleaning the quarters
of their white allies, but when a detail from the 54th Mass. Reg't., on
its way to the front, was re-detailed for that purpose, they refused to
obey. The detail was placed under arrest. When this information reached
the regiment it was only by releasing the prisoners that a turbulent
spirit was quieted. There were about ten thousand negro troops in and
about Morris Island at that time, and they quickly sneezed at the 54th's
snuff. The negro barbers in this department had been refusing to shave
and to cut the hair of negro soldiers in common with the whites.
Corporal Kelley of the 54th Mass. Regiment, who had been refused a shave
at a shop located near one of the brigade Headquarters, went there one
evening accompanied by a number of the members of Company C. The men
gathered around the barber's place of business, which rested upon posts
a little up from the ground; the negro barbers were seated in their
chairs resting from their labors and listening to the concert, which it
was customary for a band to give each evening. As the last strains of
music were being delivered, one side of the barber shop was lifted high
and then suddenly dropped; it came down with a crash making a wreck of
the building and its contents, except the barbers, who escaped unhurt,
but who never made their appearance again. The episode resulted in the
issuing of an order forbidding discrimination on account of color.

The Washington authorities established recruiting stations throughout
the South. Of the difficulties under which recruiting officers labored
some idea may be formed by reading the following, written by the
historian of the 7th Regiment:

     "The position of recruiting officer for colored troops was
     by no means a sinecure; on the contrary, it was attended
     with hardships, annoyances and difficulties without number.
     Moving about from place to place; often on scant rations,
     and always without transportation, save what could be
     pressed into service; sleeping in barns, out-houses, public
     buildings,--wherever shelter could be found, and meeting
     from the people everywhere opposition and dislike. To have
     been an officer of colored troops was of itself sufficient
     to ostracize, and when, in addition, one had to take from
     them their slaves, dislike became absolute hatred. There
     were, of course, exceptions, and doubtless every officer
     engaged on this disagreeable duty can bear testimony to
     receiving at times a hospitality as generous as it was
     unexpected, even from people whom duty compelled them to
     despoil. But this was always from "_union men_," for it must
     be confessed that a large proportion of the property-holders
     on both the eastern and western shores of the Chesapeake
     were as deeply in sympathy with the rebellion as their
     brethren over the Virginia border.

     "Perhaps the most disagreeable feature of this recruiting
     duty was that Gen. Birney (Supt. of recruiting of negro
     troops in Maryland) seldom saw fit to give his subordinates
     anything but _verbal_ instructions. Officers were ordered to
     open recruiting stations; to raid through the country,
     carrying off slaves from under the eyes of their masters; to
     press horses for their own use and that of their men, and
     teams and vehicles for purposes of transportation; to take
     forage when needed; to occupy buildings and appropriate
     fuel; in short, to do a hundred things they had really no
     legal right to do, and had they been called upon, as was
     likely to happen at any time, for the authority under which
     they were acting, they would have had nothing to show but
     their commissions; and if, in carrying out these verbal
     instructions from their chief, they had become involved in
     serious difficulty, they had little reason to suppose that
     they would be sustained by him.

     "When it is remembered that slavery was at that time still a
     recognized institution, and that the duty of a recruiting
     officer often required him to literally strip a plantation
     of its field hands, and that, too, at a time of the year
     when the crops were being gathered, it is perhaps to be
     wondered that the bitter feelings of the slave-owners did
     not often find vent in open resistence and actual violence.
     That this delicate and disagreeable duty was performed in a
     manner to avoid serious difficulty certainly speaks well for
     the prudence and good judgment of the officers and men
     engaged in it.

     "The usual method of proceeding was, upon reaching a
     designated point, to occupy the most desirable public
     building, dwelling-house, warehouse, or barn found vacant,
     and with this as a rendezvous, small parties were sent into
     the surrounding country, visiting each plantation within a
     radius of twenty or thirty miles. The parties, sometimes
     under charge of an officer, usually consisted of a
     non-commissioned officer and ten or twelve men.

     "In these journeys through the country the recruiting
     officer often met with strange experiences. Recruits were
     taken wherever found, and as their earthly possessions
     usually consisted of but what they wore upon their backs,
     they required no time to settle their affairs. The laborer
     in the field would throw down his hoe or quit his plow and
     march away with the guard, leaving his late owner looking
     after him in speechless amazement. On one occasion the
     writer met a planter on the road, followed by two of his
     slaves, each driving a loaded wagon. The usual questions
     were asked and the whilom slaves joined the recruiting
     party, leaving their teams and late master standing in the
     highway. At another time a negro was met with a horse and
     wagon. Having expressed his desire to "'list," he turned his
     horse's head toward home, and marched away in the opposite

     "On one occasion the writer visited a large plantation near
     Capeville, Va., and calling upon the proprietor asked him to
     call in his slaves. He complied without a word, and when
     they came and were asked if they wished to enlist, replied
     that they did, and fell into the ranks with the guard. As
     they started away the old man turned to me, and with tears
     in his eyes, said, "Will you take them all? Here I am, an
     old man; I cannot work; my crops are ungathered; my negroes
     have all enlisted or run away, and what am I to do?" A hard
     question, truly. Another officer was called upon by a
     gentleman with this question, "You have taken all my
     able-bodied men for soldiers, the others have run away, and
     only the women and children are left;--what do you propose
     to do with them?" Another hard question.

     "At another time, when the _Balloon_ was lying at the mouth
     of the Pocomoke, accompanied by Lieut. Brown and with a
     boat's crew, we pulled up the river to the plantation of a
     Mrs. D., a noted rebel sympathizer. We were met, as we
     expected, with the most violent abuse from the fair
     proprietoress, which was redoubled when three of her best
     slaves, each of whom had probably been worth a couple of
     thousand dollars in _ante-bellum_ days, took their bundles
     and marched off to the boat. We bade the lady farewell, and
     pushed off amid the shouts and screams of a score of negro
     women and children, and the tears and execrations of the

     "To illustrate the unreasonable orders Gen. Birney was
     sometimes in the habit of giving to officers engaged under
     him on recruiting service, the writer well remembers being
     placed by him, at Pungoteague, Va., in charge of some 200
     recruits he had forcibly taken from an officer recruiting
     under Col. Nelson's orders, and receiving from him (Gen.
     Birney) the most positive orders under no circumstances to
     allow Col. Nelson to get possession of them,--Col. Nelson's
     steamer was hourly expected--and that I should be held
     personally responsible that they were put on board his own
     steamer, and this when I had neither men nor muskets to
     enforce the order. Fortunately (for myself) Gen. Birney's
     steamer arrived first and the men were safely put on board.
     Some days later, Lieut. Brown, who was then in charge of the
     same station, had a squad of recruits taken from him by Col.
     Nelson, in retaliation.

     "Many a hap-hazard journey was undertaken in search of
     recruits and recruiting stations. On one occasion an officer
     was ordered by Gen. Birney to take station at a town(?) not
     many miles from Port Tobacco, on the Potomac. After two
     days' careful search he discovered that the town he was in
     search of had been a post-office twenty years before, but
     then consisted of one house, uninhabited and uninhabitable,
     with not another within the circuit of five miles."

When the Government decided to arm the negroes and ordered the
organization of a hundred regiments, it was with great difficulty the
equipment department met the requisitions. It necessitated a departure
from the accustomed uniform material for volunteers, and helped to
arouse the animosity of the white troops. Instead of the coarse material
issued at first, the Phalanx was clothed in a fine blue-black dress coat
for the infantry, and a superb dark blue jacket for the artillery and
cavalry, all neatly trimmed with brass buttons and white, red and yellow
cord, representing the arm of service; heavy sky blue pantaloons, and a
flannel cap, or high crown black felt hat or _chapeau_ with a black
feather looped upon the right side and fastened with a brass eagle. For
the infantry and for the cavalry two swords crossed; for the artillery
two cannons on the front of the _chapeau_ crossed, with the letters of
the company, and number of the regiment to which the soldier belonged.
On the caps these insignias were worn on the top of the crown. The
uniform of the Phalanx put the threadbare clothes of the white veterans
in sad contrast, and was the cause of many a black soldier being badly
treated by his white comrades.[18]

At the outbreak of the Rebellion, the pay of soldiers (volunteers) was
the same as soldiers of the regular army, by law, $13 per month. The
soldiers of the Phalanx enlisted under the same law and regulations as
did the white volunteers, as to pay and term of service, but the
Secretary of War, after a few regiments were in the field, decided, and
so ordered, that negro troops should be paid ten dollars per month. The
instructions given to General Saxton on the 25th day of August, 1862,
had stated that the pay would be the same as that of the other troops:

     "In view of the small force under your command, and the
     inability of the Government at the present time to increase
     it, in order to guard the plantations and settlements
     occupied by the United States, from invasion, and to protect
     the inhabitants thereof from captivity and murder by the
     enemy, you are also authorized to arm, uniform, equip, and
     receive into the service of the United States, such number
     of volunteers of African descent as you may deem expedient,
     not exceeding five thousand, and may detail officers to
     instruct them in military drill, discipline and duty, and to
     command them. _The persons so received into service, and
     their officers, to be entitled to, and receive, the same pay
     and rations as are allowed, by law, to volunteers in the

As to the white officers they were paid in full, but the privates and
non-commissioned officers were allowed but $10 per month, three of which
were deducted on account of clothing. In several instances the paymaster
not having received special instructions to that effect, disregarded the
general orders, and paid the negro soldiers in full, like other
volunteers; but the order was generally recognized, though many of the
regiments refused to receive the $7 per month, which was particularly
the case of regiments from the Northern States. The order at one time in
the Department of the Gulf, came very near causing a mutiny among the
troops, because white troops, and conscripts at that, and those who had
done provost duty about the cities, were paid $16 per month,--Congress
having raised the pay,--while the Phalanx regiments in the field and
fortifications were offered $7. The dissatisfaction was so strongly
manifested as to cause twelve members of the Phalanx to lose their
lives, which were not the only ones lost by the bad faith on the part of
the Government. However, in no instance did the Phalanx refuse to do
its duty when called upon, and at the sound of the long roll, though the
black flag was raised against them, and many of their families were
suffering at home, their patriotic ardor never abated in the least. At
the North, provisions were made by the States to relieve the families of
the brave men. Massachusetts sent paymasters to make good the promises
of the Government, but the deficiency was rejected. Her regiments,
although a year without pay, refused to accept, and demanded full pay
from the Government. The loyal people of the country, at public meetings
and the press,[19] severely criticised the Government, while the
patriotic black men continued to pour out their blood and to give their
lives for liberty and the Union.

[Illustration: SCENE AT NEW BERNE, N. C.

Enthusiasm of the Blacks at the prospect of their being allowed to
enlist as U.S. Soldiers.]

The matter being one for Congress to adjust, Henry Wilson, of
Massachusetts, on the 8th of Jan. 1864, introduced in the Senate of the
United States, a bill to promote enlistments in the army, and in this
measure justice to the black soldiers was proposed. After months of
debate, it was finally passed; not only placing the Phalanx soldiers on
a footing with all other troops, but made free, the mothers, wives and
children of the noble black troops.

The fight of the Phalanx for equal pay and allowance with the white
troops, was a long one. The friends of the black soldiers in Congress
fought it, however, to the successful issue. Senator Wilson, of
Massachusetts, took the lead in the matter in the Senate, as he did in
the amending of the enrolling acts, and the act calling out the
militia, whereby negroes were enrolled.

In the winter of '64 Gen. Butler began the organization of the Army of
the James and the enlistment of negro troops. A camp was established
near Fortress Monroe, where a great many men enlisted. The Secretary of
War gave permission to the several Northern States to send agents South,
and to enlist negroes to fill up their quotas of troops needed. Large
bounties were then being paid and many a negro received as much as $500
to enlist; while many who went as substitutes received even more than
that. The recruiting officers or rather agents from the different States
established their headquarters largely within Gen. Butlers departments,
where negro volunteers were frequently secured at a much less price than
the regular bounty offered, the agent putting into his own pocket the
difference, which often amounted to $200 or even $400 on a single
recruit. To correct this wrong, Gen. Butler issued the following order:


     GENERAL ORDERS,        IN THE FIELD, Va., _August 4th, 1864._
          No. 90.

     With all the guards which the utmost vigilance and care have
     thrown around the recruitment of white soldiers, it is a
     fact, as lamentable as true, that a large portion of the
     recruits have been swindled of part, if not all, of their
     bounties. Can it be hoped that the colored man will be
     better able to protect himself from the infinite ingenuity
     of fraud than the white?

     Therefore, to provide for the families of the colored
     recruits enlisted in this Department--to relieve the United
     States, as far as may be, from the burden of supporting the
     families,--and to insure that at least a portion of the
     bounty paid to the negro shall be received for his use and
     that of his family;

     _It is ordered_: I--That upon the enlistment of any negro
     recruit into the service of the United States for three (3)
     years, by any State agent or other person not enlisting
     recruits under the direct authority of the War Department, a
     sum of one hundred (100) dollars, or one-third (1/3) of the
     sum agreed to be paid as bounty, shall be paid if the amount
     exceeds three times that sum, into the hands of the
     Superintendent of Recruiting, or an officer to be designated
     by him, and in the same proportion for any less time; and no
     Mustering Officer will give any certificate or voucher for
     any negro recruit mustered into the service of the United
     States, so that he may be credited to the quota of any
     State, or as a substitute, until a certificate is filed with
     him that the amount called for by this order has been paid,
     to the satisfaction of the Superintendent of Recruiting of
     the district wherein the recruit was enlisted; but the
     mustering officer will, in default of such payment, certify
     upon the roll that the recruit is not to be credited to the
     quota of any State, or as a substitute.

     II--The amount as paid to the Superintendent of Recruiting
     shall be turned over, on the last day of each month, to the
     Superintendent of Negro Affairs, to be expended in aid of
     the families of negro soldiers in this Department. The
     certificates filed with Commissary of Musters will be
     returned to said Superintendent of Negro Affairs, on the
     first day of every month, so that the Superintendent may
     vouch for the accounts of the Superintendent of Recruiting,
     for the amounts received by him.

     And the Superintendent of Negro Affairs will account monthly
     to the Financial Agent of this Department for the amounts
     received and expended by him.

     III--As there are unfilled colored Regiments in this
     Department sufficient to receive all the negro recruits
     therein, no negro male person above the age of sixteen (16)
     years, shall be taken out or attempted to be taken out of
     this Department, either as a recruit, as officer's servant,
     or otherwise, in any manner whatever, without a pass from
     these Head Quarters. Any officer, Master of Transportation,
     Provost Marshal, or person, who shall aid, assist or permit
     any male negro of the age of sixteen (16) years or upwards,
     to go out of this Department, in contravention of this
     order, will be punished, on conviction thereof before the
     Provost Court, by not less than six (6) months imprisonment
     at hard labor, under the Superintendent of Prison Labor, at
     Norfolk, and if this offence is committed by or with the
     connivance of any Master of Steamboat, Schooner, or other
     vessel, the steamboat or other vessel shall be seized and
     sold, and the proceeds be paid to the Superintendent of
     Negro Affairs, for the use of the destitute negroes
     supported by the Government.

     By command of Major General B. F. BUTLER:

                       _R. S. DAVIS, Major and Asst. Adjt. General._

    OFFICIAL: H. T. SCHROEDER, Lt. & A. A. A. Gen'l.
    OFFICIAL: WM. M. PRATT, Lt. & Aide-de-Camp.


Phalanx soldiers taking the oath of allegiance to the United States.]

The chief result of Butler's order was the establishment of the
Freedmens' Savings Bank. At the close of the war, there were in the
hands of the Superintendent of Negro Affairs, eight thousand dollars
unclaimed bounties, belonging, the most of it without doubt, to _dead
men_; it was placed in a bank at Norfolk, Va. This sum served as a
nucleus for the Freedmens' Bank, which, after gathering large sums of
the Freedmens' money, collapsed suddenly.

At Camp Hamilton several regiments were organized, including two of
cavalry. The general enlistment ordered by the War Department was pushed
most actively and with great results, till more than one hundred and
seventy-eight thousand, by the records, were enlisted into the army.

The opposition to negro soldiers did not cease with many of the Union
generals even after the Government at Washington issued its mandate for
their enlistment and impressment, and notwithstanding that the many
thousands in the service, with their display of gallantry, dash and
courage, as exhibited at Port Hudson, Milliken's Bend, Wagner, and in a
hundred other battles, had astonished and aroused the civilized world.
In view of all this, and, even more strangely, in the face of the Fort
Pillow butchery, General Sherman wrote to the Washington authorities, in
September, 1864, protesting against negro troops being organized in his
department. If Whitelaw Reid's "Ohio in the War," is to be relied upon,
Sherman's treatment of the negroes in his march to the sea was a
counterpart of the Fort Pillow massacre. His opposition was in keeping
with that of the authorities of his state,[20] notwithstanding it has
credited to its quota of troops during the war 5,092 negroes, but one
regiment was raised in the State, out of a negro population of 36,673 by
the canvas of 1860.

According to the statistics on file in the Adjutant General's office,
the States are accredited with the following number of negroes who
served in the army during the Rebellion:

    ALABAMA,                 2,969
    LOUISIANA,              24,052
    NEW HAMPSHIRE,             125
    MASSACHUSETTS,           3,966
    CONNECTICUT,             1,764
    NEW JERSEY,              1,185
    DELAWARE,                  954
    NORTH CAROLINA,          5,035
    SOUTH CAROLINA,          5,462
    FLORIDA,                 1,044
    TENNESSEE,              20,133
    MICHIGAN,                1,387
    INDIANA,                 1,537
    MISSOURI,                8,344
    IOWA,                      440
    KANSAS,                  2,080
    COLORADO TERRITORY,         95
    MISSISSIPPI,            17,869
    MAINE,                     104
    VERMONT,                   120
    RHODE ISLAND,            1,837
    NEW YORK,                4,125
    PENNSYLVANIA,            8,612
    MARYLAND,                8,718
    VIRGINIA,                5,723
    WEST VIRGINIA,             196
    GEORGIA,                 3,486
    ARKANSAS,                5,526
    KENTUCKY,               23,703
    OHIO,                    5,092
    ILLINOIS,                1,811
    MINNESOTA,                 104
    WISCONSIN,                 165
    TEXAS,                      47
    NOT ACCOUNTED FOR,       5,896

    TOTAL,                 178,975.

The losses these troops sustained from sickness, wounds, killed in
battle and other casualties incident to war, was 68,178.

The aggregate negro population in the U. S. in 1860 was 4,449,201, of
which 3,950,531 were slaves.



[15] General:--The exigencies of the service require that an inspection
should be made of the Armies, military posts and military operations in
the West; you will therefore make arrangements immediately to perform
that service. Without entering into any minute details, I beg to direct
your attention to the following subjects of investigation:

First. On arriving at Cairo, you will make a careful examination of the
military condition of that post, in the various branches of service, and
report to this Department, the result of your investigation, suggesting
whatever in your opinion, the service may require. You will observe
particularly the condition of that class of population known as
contrabands; the manner in which they are received, provided for and
treated by the military authorities, and give such directions to the
Commissary and Quartermaster Departments, and to the officers
commanding, as shall, in your judgement, be necessary to secure to them
humane and proper treatment, in respect to food, clothing, compensation
for their service, and whatever is necessary to enable them to support
themselves, and to furnish useful service in any capacity to the

Second. You will make similar observation at Columbus, Memphis and other
posts in your progress to the Headquarters of General Grant's Army.

Third. The President desires that you should confer freely with Major
General Grant, and the officers with whom you may have communication,
and explain to them the importance attached by the Government to the use
of the colored population emancipated by the President's Proclamation,
and particularly for the organization of their labor and military
strength. You will cause it to be understood that no officer in the
United States service is regarded as in the discharge of his duties
under the Acts of Congress, the President's Proclamation, and orders of
this Department, who fails to employ to the utmost extent, the aid and
co-operation of the loyal colored population in performing the labor
incident to military operations, and also in performing the duties of
soldiers under proper organization, and that any obstacle thrown in the
way of these ends, is regarded by the President as a violation of the
Acts of Congress, and the declared purposes of the Government in using
every means to bring the war to an end.

Fourth. You will ascertain what military officers are willing to take
command of colored troops; ascertain their qualifications for that
purpose, and if troops can be raised and organized, you will, so far as
can be done without prejudice to the service, relieve officers and
privates from the service in which they are engaged, to receive
commissions such as they may be qualified to exercise in the
organization of brigades, regiments and companies of colored troops. You
are authorized in this connection, to issue in the name of this
department, letters of appointment for field and company officers, and
to organize such troops for military service to the utmost extent to
which they can be obtained in accordance with the rules and regulations
of the service. You will see, more over, and expressly enjoin upon the
various staff departments of the service, that such troops are to be
provided with supplies upon the requisition of the proper officers, and
in the same manner as other troops in the service.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Very Respectfully Your Obedient Servant,
    EDWARD M. STANTON, _Sec. of War._

                          BRIG. GEN. L. THOMAS,
                          Adjt. Gen'l. U.S. Army.

[16] Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson in an appendix to his "Army Life in
a Black Regiment," gives some account of the organization of negro
troops, from which is condensed the following:

"It is well known that the first systematic attempt to organize colored
troops during the war of the rebellion was the so-called "Hunter
Regiment." The officer originally detailed to recruit for this purpose
was Sergeant C. T. Trowbridge, of the New York Volunteer Engineers (Col.
Serrell.) His detail was dated May 7, 1862, S. O. 84, Dept. South.

"The second regiment in order of muster was the First Kansas Colored,
dating from January 13, 1863. The first enlistment in the Kansas
regiment goes back to August 6, 1862; while the earliest technical date
of enlistment in my regiment was October 19, 1862, although, as was
stated above, one company really dated its organization back to May,
1862. My muster as Colonel dates back to November 10, 1862, several
months earlier than any other of which I am aware, among colored
regiments, except that of Col. Stafford, (First Louisiana Native
Guards,) Sept. 27, 1862. Colonel Williams, of the First Kansas Colored,
was mustered as Lt. Colonel on Jan. 13, 1863; as Col., March 8, 1863.
These dates I have (with the other facts relating to the regiment) from
Col. R. J. Hinton, the first officer detailed to recruit it.

"The first detachment of the Second South Carolina Volunteers (Col.
Montgomery) went into camp at Port Royal Island, February 23, 1863,
numbering one hundred and twenty men. I do not know the date of his
muster; it was somewhat delayed, but was probably dated back to about
that time.

"Recruiting for the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts (colored) began on
February 9, 1863, and the first squad went into camp at Readville,
Massachusetts, on February 21, 1863, numbering twenty-five men. Col.
Shaw's commission--and probably his muster--was dated April 17, 1863.
(Report of Adjutant General of Massachusetts for 1863, pp. 896-899.)
These were the earliest colored regiments, so far as I know."


    No. 143.      }       _Washington_, May 22, 1863.

I.--A Bureau is established in the Adjutant General's Office for the
record of all matters relating to the organization of Colored Troops. An
officer will be assigned to the charge of the Bureau, with such number
of clerks as may be designated by the Adjutant General.

II.--Three or more field officers will be detailed as Inspectors to
supervise the organization of colored troops at such points as may be
indicated by the War Department in the Northern and Western States.

III.--Boards will be convened at such posts as may be decided upon by
the War Department to examine applicants for commissions to command
colored troops, who, on application to the Adjutant General, may receive
authority to present themselves to the board for examination.

IV--No persons shall be allowed to recruit for colored troops except
specially authorized by the War Department; and no such authority will
be given to persons who have not been examined and passed by a board;
nor will such authority be given any one person to raise more than one

V.--The reports of Boards will specify the grade of commission for which
each candidate is fit, and authority to recruit will be given in
accordance. Commissions will be issued from the Adjutant General's
Office when the prescribed number of men is ready for muster into

VI.--Colored troops may be accepted by companies, to be afterwards
consolidated in battalions and regiments by the Adjutant General. The
regiments will be numbered _seriatim_, in the order in which they are
raised, the numbers to be determined by the Adjutant General. They will
be designated: "---- Regiment of U. S. Colored Troops."

VII.--Recruiting stations and depots will be established by the Adjutant
General as circumstances shall require, and officers will be detailed to
muster and inspect the troops.

VIII.--The non-commissioned officers of colored troops may be selected
and appointed from the best men of their number in the usual mode of
appointing non-commissioned officers. Meritorious commissioned officers
will be entitled to promotion to higher rank if they prove themselves
equal to it.

IX.--All personal applications for appointments in colored regiments, or
for information concerning them, must be made to the Chief of the
Bureau; all written communications should be addressed to the Chief of
the Bureau, to the care of the Adjutant General.

          E. D. TOWNSEND. _Asst. Adjt. General._

[18] I attempted to pass Jackson Square in New Orleans one day in my
uniform, when I was met by two white soldiers of the 24th Conn. They
halted me and then ordered me to undress. I refused, when they seized me
and began to tear my coat off. I resisted, but to no good purpose; a
half a dozen others came up and began to assist. I recognized a sergeant
in the crowd, an old shipmate on board of a New Bedford, Mass., Whaler;
he came to my rescue, my clothing was restored and I was let go. It was
nothing strange to see a black soldier _a la Adam_ come into the
barracks out of the streets. This conduct led to the killing of a
portion of a boat's crew of the U. S. Gunboat _Jackson_, at Ship Island,
Miss., by members of a Phalanx regiment stationed there.

[19] The injustice done the Phalanx, in discriminating between the
Northern and Southern negro, may be clearly seen by the following

"NEW VICTORIES AND OLD WRONGS.--_To the Editors of the Evening Post_: On
the 2d of July, at James Island, S. C., a battery was taken by three
regiments, under the following circumstances:

"The regiments were the One Hundred and Third New York (white), the
Thirty-Third United States (formerly First South Carolina Volunteers),
and the Fifty-Fifth Massachusetts, the two last being colored. They
marched at one A. M., by the flank, in the above order, hoping to
surprise the battery. As usual the rebels were prepared for them, and
opened upon them as they were deep in one of those almost impassable
Southern marshes. The One Hundred and Third New York, which had
previously been in twenty battles, was thrown into confusion; the
Thirty-Third United States did better, being behind; the Fifty-Fifth
Massachusetts being in the rear, did better still. All three formed in
line, when Colonel Hartwell, commanding the brigade, gave the order to
retreat. The officer commanding the Fifty-Fifth Massachusetts, either
misunderstanding the order, or hearing it countermanded, ordered his
regiment to charge. This order was at once repeated by Major Trowbridge,
commanding the Thirty-Third United States, and by the commander of the
One Hundred and Third New York, so that the three regiments reached the
fort in reversed order. The color-bearers of the Thirty-Third United
States and of the Fifty-Fifth Massachusetts had a race to be first in,
the latter winning. The One Hundred and Third New York entered the
battery immediately after.

"These colored regiments are two of the five which were enlisted in
South Carolina and Massachusetts, under the written pledge of the War
Department that they should have the same pay and allowances as white
soldiers. That pledge has been deliberately broken by the War
Department, or by Congress, or by both, except as to the short period,
since last New Year's Day. Every one of those killed in this action from
these two colored regiments--under a fire before which the veterans of
twenty battles recoiled--_died defrauded by the Government of nearly
one-half of his petty pay_.

"Mr. Fessenden, who defeated in the Senate the bill for the fulfillment
of the contract with these soldiers, is now Secretary of the Treasury.
Was the economy of saving six dollars per man worth to the Treasury the
ignominy of the repudiation?

"Mr. Stevens, of Pennsylvania, on his triumphal return to his
constituents, used to them this language: 'He had no doubt whatever as
to the final result of the present contest between liberty and slavery.
The only doubt he had was whether the nation had yet been satisfactorily
chastised for their cruel oppression of a harmless and long-suffering
race.' Inasmuch as it was Mr. Stevens himself who induced the House of
Representatives, most unexpectedly to all, to defeat the Senate bill for
the fulfilment of the national contract with these soldiers, I should
think he had excellent reasons for the doubt.

    Very respectfully,         T. W. HIGGINSON,
    July 10, 1864.  _Col. 1st S. C. Vols. (now 33d U. S.)_

       *       *       *       *       *

"_To the Editor of the New York Tribune_: No one can possibly be so
weary of reading of the wrongs done by Government toward the colored
soldiers as I am of writing about them. This is my only excuse for
intruding on your columns again.

"By an order of the War Department, dated Aug 1, 1864, it is at length
ruled that colored soldiers shall be paid the full pay of soldiers from
date of enlistment, provided they were free on April 19, 1861,--not
otherwise; and this distinction is to be noted on the pay-rolls. In
other words, if one half of a company escaped from slavery on April 18,
1861, they are to be paid thirteen dollars per month and allowed three
dollars and a half per month for clothing. If the other half were
delayed two days, they receive seven dollars per month and are allowed
three dollars per month for precisely the same articles of clothing. If
one of the former class is made first sergeant, his pay is put up to
twenty-one dollars per month; but if he escaped two days later, his pay
is still estimated at seven dollars.

"It had not occurred to me that anything could make the pay-rolls of
these regiments more complicated than at present, or the men more
rationally discontented. I had not the ingenuity to imagine such an
order. Yet it is no doubt in accordance with the spirit, if not with the
letter, of the final bill which was adopted by Congress under the lead
of Mr. Thaddeus Stevens.

"The ground taken by Mr. Stevens apparently was that the country might
honorably save a few dollars by docking the promised pay of those
colored soldiers whom the war had made free. _But the Government should
have thought of this before it made the contract with these men and
received their services._ When the War Department instructed
Brigadier-General Saxton, August 25, 1862, to raise five regiments of
negroes in South Carolina, it was known very well that the men so
enlisted had only recently gained their freedom. But the instructions
said: 'The persons so received into service, and their officers, to be
entitled to and receive the same pay and rations as are allowed by law
to volunteers in the service.' Of this passage Mr. Solicitor Whiting
wrote to me: 'I have no hesitation in saying that the faith of the
Government was thereby pledged to every officer and soldier enlisted
under that call.' Where is that faith of the Government now?

"The men who enlisted under the pledge were volunteers, every one; they
did not get their freedom by enlisting; they had it already. They
enlisted to serve the Government, trusting in its honor. Now the nation
turns upon them and says: Your part of the contract is fulfilled; we
have had your services. If you can show that you had previously been
free for a certain length of time, we will fulfil the other side of the
contract. If not, we repudiate it. Help yourselves, if you can.

"In other words, a freedman (since April 19, 1861) has no rights which a
white man is bound to respect. He is incapable of making a contract. No
man is bound by a contract made with him. Any employer, following the
example of the United States Government, may make with him a written
agreement, receive his services, and then withhold the wages. He has no
motive to honest industry, or to honesty of any kind. He is virtually a
slave, and nothing else, to the end of time.

"Under this order, the greater part of the Massachusetts colored
regiments will get their pay at last, and be able to take their wives
and children out of the almshouses, to which, as Governor Andrew informs
us, the gracious charity of the nation has consigned so many. For so
much I am grateful. But toward my regiment, which had been in service
and under fire, months before a Northern colored soldier was recruited,
the policy of repudiation has at last been officially adopted. There is
no alternative for the officers of South Carolina regiments but to wait
for another session of Congress, and meanwhile, if necessary, act as
executioners for these soldiers who, like Sergeant Walker, refuse to
fulfil their share of a contract where the Government has openly
repudiated the other share. If a year's discussion, however, has at
length secured the arrears of pay for the Northern colored regiments,
possibly two years may secure it for the Southern.


    "August 12, 1864.    _Col. 1st S. C. Vols., (now 33d U. S.)_"

[20] "It has been said that one negro regiment was raised in 1863. More
ought to have been secured; let it never be said that it was the fault
of the colored men themselves that they were not.

"At the first call for troops in 1861, Governor Dennison was asked if he
would accept negro volunteers. In deference to a sentiment then almost
universal, not less than to the explicit regulations of the Government,
he replied that he could not. When the Emancipation Proclamation changed
the status of negroes so completely, and the Government began to accept
their services, they resumed their applications to the State
authorities. Governor Tod still discouraged them. He had previously
committed himself, in repelling the opportunities of their leaders, to
the theory that it would be contrary to our laws, and without warrant
either in their spirit or letter, to accept them, even under calls for
militia. He now did all he could to transfer such as wished to enlist,
to the Massachusetts regiments.

"The Adjutant-General, in his report for 1863, professed his inability
to say why Massachusetts should be permitted to make Ohio a
recruiting-ground for filling her quotas. If he had looked into the
correspondence which the Governor gave to the public in connection with
his message, he would have found out. As early as May 11th the Governor
said, in a letter to Hon. Wm. Porter, of Millon, Ohio: 'I do not propose
to raise any colored troops. Those now being recruited in this State are
recruited by authority from Governor Andrew, of Massachusetts.'

"A few days later he wrote to Hon. John M. Langston: 'As it was
uncertain what number of colored men could be promptly raised in Ohio. I
have advised and still do advise, that those disposed to enter the
service promptly join the Massachusetts regiments. * * * Having
requested the Governor of Massachusetts to organize the colored men from
Ohio into separate companies, so far as practicable, and also to keep me
fully advised of the names, age, and place of residence of each, Ohio
will have the full benefit of all enlistments from the State, and the
recruits themselves the benefit of the State Associations to the same
extent nearly as if organized into a State regiment.' And to persons
proposing to recruit said companies he wrote that all commissions would
be issued by the Governor of Massachusetts. In this course he had the
sanction if not the original suggestion of the Secretary of War.
Afterward his applications for authority to raise an Ohio regiment were
for sometime refused, but finally he secured it, and the One Hundred and
Twenty-Seventh was the quick result. Unfortunately it was numbered the
Fifth United States Colored. The result of all this was that Ohio
received credit for little over a third of her colored citizens who
volunteered for the war."--_Reid's Ohio in the War, Vol. I, p. 176._



"Private Miles O'Reilly" was the _nom de plume_ of a talented literary
gentleman of the city of New York, who wrote much in humorous prose and
verse. His real name was Charles G. Halpine. After an honorable service
in the war, rising to high rank, he was elected Register of New York,
and died suddenly while in office, in 1868. The following sketches from
his pen, published during the war, give an account of matters connected
with the recruiting and organizing of negro troops in South Carolina,
and are quoted here as interesting historical facts connected with the

     "Black troops are now an established success, and
     hereafter--while the race can furnish enough able-bodied
     males--the probability would seem that one-half the
     permanent naval and military forces of the United States
     will be drawn from this material, under the guidance and
     control of the white officers. To-day there is much
     competition among the field and staff officers of our white
     volunteers--more especially in those regiments about being
     disbanded--to obtain commission of like or even lower grades
     in the colored regiments of Uncle Sam. General Casey's board
     of examination cannot keep in session long enough, nor
     dismiss incompetent aspirants quick enough, to keep down the
     vast throngs of veterans, with and without shoulder-straps,
     who are now seeking various grades of command in the colored
     brigades of the Union. Over this result all intelligent men
     will rejoice,--the privilege of being either killed or
     wounded in battle, or stricken down by the disease, toil and
     privations incident to the life of a marching soldier, not
     belonging to that class of prerogative for the exclusive
     enjoyment of which men of sense, and with higher careers
     open to them, will long contend. Looking back, however, but
     a few years, to the organization of the first regiment of
     black troops in the departments of the South, what a change
     in public opinion are we compelled to recognize! In sober
     verity, war is not only the sternest, but the quickest, of
     all teachers; and contrasting the Then and Now of our negro
     regiments, as we propose to do in this sketch, the contrast
     will forcibly recall Galileo's obdurate assertion that 'the
     world still moves.'

     "Be it known, then, that the first regiment of black troops
     raised in our recent war, was raised in the Spring of 1862
     by the commanding general of the department of the South, of
     his own motion, and without any direct authority of law,
     order, or even sanction from the President, the Secretary of
     War, or our House of Congress. It was done by General Hunter
     as 'a military necessity' under very peculiar circumstances,
     to be detailed hereafter; and although repudiated at first
     by the Government as were so many other measures originated
     in the same quarter, it was finally adopted as the settled
     policy of the country and of our military system; as have
     likewise since been adopted, all the other original measures
     for which these officers, at the time of their first
     announcement, was made to suffer both official rebuke and
     the violently vituperative denunciation of more than
     one-half the Northern press.

     "In the Spring of 1862, General Hunter, finding himself with
     less than eleven thousand men under his command, and charged
     with the duty of holding the whole tortuous and broken
     seacoast of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida, had applied
     often, and in vain, to the authorities at Washington for
     reinforcements. All the troops that could be gathered in the
     North were less than sufficient for the continuous drain of
     General McClellan's great operations against the enemy's
     capital; and the reiterated answer of the War Department
     was: 'You must get along as best you can. Not a man from the
     North can be spared.'

     "On the mainland of three States nominally forming the
     Department of the South, the flag of the Union had no
     permanent foothold, save at Fernandina, St. Augustine, and
     some few unimportant points along the Florida coast. It was
     on the Sea-islands of Georgia and South Carolina that our
     troops were stationed, and continually engaged in
     fortifying,--the enemy being everywhere visible, and in
     force, across the narrow creeks dividing us from the
     mainland; and in various raids they came across to our
     islands, and we drove them back to the mainland, and up
     their creeks, with a few gunboats to help us--being the
     order of the day; yea, and yet oftener, of the night.

     "No reinforcements to be had from the North; vast fatigue
     duties in throwing up earthworks imposed on our insufficient
     garrison; the enemy continually increasing both in insolence
     and numbers; our only success the capture of Fort Pulaski,
     sealing up of Savannah; and this victory offset, if not
     fully counter-balanced, by many minor gains of the enemy;
     this was about the condition of affairs as seen from the
     headquarters fronting Port Royal bay, when General Hunter
     one fine morning, with twirling glasses, puckered lips, and
     dilated nostrils, (he had just received another
     'don't-bother-us-for-reinforcements' dispatch from
     Washington) announced his intention of 'forming a negro
     regiment, and compelling every able-bodied black man in the
     department to fight for the freedom which could not but be
     the issue of our war.'

     "This resolution being taken, was immediately acted upon
     with vigor, the General causing all the necessary orders to
     be issued, and taking upon himself, as his private burden,
     the responsibility for all the irregular issues of arms,
     clothing, equipments, and rations involved in collecting and
     organizing the first experimental negro regiment. The men he
     intended to pay, at first, by placing them as laborers on
     the pay-roll of the Chief Quartermaster; but it was his hope
     that the obvious necessity and wisdom of the measure he had
     thus presumed to adopt without authority, would secure for
     it the immediate approval of the higher authorities, and the
     necessary orders to cover the required pay and supply-issue
     of the force he had in contemplation. If his course should
     be endorsed by the War Department, well and good; if it were
     not so indorsed, why, he had enough property of his own to
     pay back to the Government all he was irregularly expending
     in this experiment.

     "But now, on the very threshold of this novel enterprise,
     came the first--and it was not a trivial--difficulty. Where
     could experienced officers be found for such an
     organization? 'What! command niggers?' was the reply--if
     possible more amazed than scornful--of nearly every
     competent young lieutenant or captain of volunteers to whom
     the suggestion of commanding this class of troops was made.
     'Never mind,' said Hunter, when this trouble was brought to
     his notice; 'the fools or bigots who refuse are enough
     punished by their refusal. Before two years they will be
     competing eagerly for the commission they now reject.'
     Straightly there was issued a circular to all commanding
     officers in the department, directing them to announce to
     the non-commissioned officers and men of their respective
     commands that commissions in the 'South Carolina Regiment of
     Colored Infantry,' would be given to all deserving and
     reputable sergeants, corporals; and men who would appear at
     department headquarters, and prove able to pass an
     examination in the manual and tactics before a Band of
     Examiners, which was organized in a general order of current
     date. Capt. Arthur M. Kenzie, of Chicago, aid-de-camp,--now
     of Hancock's Veterans Reserve Corps--was detailed as Colonel
     of the regiment, giving place, subsequently, in consequence
     of injured health, to the present Brig.-Gen. James D.
     Fessenden, then a captain in the Berdan Sharpshooters,
     though detailed as acting aid-de-camp on Gen. Hunter's
     staff. Capt. Kenzie, we may add, was Gen. Hunter's nephew,
     and his appointment as Colonel was made partly to prove--so
     violent was then the prejudice against negro troops--that
     the Commanding General asks nothing of them which he was not
     willing that one of his own flesh and blood should be
     engaged in.

     "The work was now fairly in progress, but the barriers of
     prejudice were not to be lightly overthrown.
     Non-commissioned officers and men of the right stamp, and
     able to pass the examination requisite, were scarce
     articles. Ten had the hardihood or moral courage to face
     the screaming, riotous ridicule of their late associates in
     the white regiments. We remember one very striking instance
     in point, which we shall give as a sample of the whole.

     "Our friend Mr. Charles F. Briggs, of this city, so well
     known in literary circles, had a nephew enlisted in that
     excellent regiment the 48th New York, then garrisoning Fort
     Pulaski and the works of Tybee Island. This youngster had
     raised himself by gallantry and good conduct to be a
     non-commissioned officer; and Mr. Briggs was anxious that he
     should be commissioned, according to his capacities, in the
     colored troops then being raised. The lad was sent for,
     passed his examination with credit, and was immediately
     offered a first lieutenancy, with the promise of being made
     captain when his company should be filled up to the required
     standard,--probably within ten days.

     "The inchoate first-lieutenant was in ecstasies; a gentleman
     by birth and education, he longed for the shoulder-straps.
     He appeared joyously grateful; and only wanted leave to run
     up to Fort Pulaski for the purpose of collecting his traps,
     taking leave of his former comrades, and procuring his
     discharge-papers from Col. Barton. Two days after that came
     a note to the department headquarters respectfully declining
     the commission! He had been laughed and jeered out of
     accepting a captaincy by his comrades; and this--though we
     remember it more accurately from our correspondence with Mr.
     Briggs--was but one of many scores of precisely similar

     "At length, however, officers were found; the ranks were
     filled; the men learned with uncommon quickness, having the
     imitativeness of so many monkeys apparently, and such
     excellent ears for music that all evolutions seemed to come
     to them by nature. At once, despite all hostile influence,
     the negro regiment became one of the lions of the South; and
     strangers visiting the department, crowded out eagerly to
     see its evening parades and Sunday-morning inspection. By a
     strange coincidence, its camp was pitched on the lawn and
     around the mansion of Gen. Drayton, who commanded the rebel
     works guarding Hilton Head, Port Royal and Beaufort, when
     the same were first captured by the joint naval and military
     operations under Admiral DuPont and General Timothy W.
     Sherman,--General Drayton's brother, Captain Drayton of our
     navy, having command of one of the best vessels in the
     attacking squadron; as he subsequently took part in the
     first iron-clad attack on Fort Sumpter.

     "Meantime, however, the War Department gave no sign, and the
     oracles of the Adjutant-General's office were dumb as the
     statue of the Sphynx. Reports of the organization of the
     First South Carolina infantry were duly forwarded to army
     headquarters; but evoked no comment, either of approval or
     rebuke. Letters detailing what had been done, and the reason
     for doing it; asking instructions, and to have commissions
     duly issued to the officers selected; appeals that the
     department paymaster should be instructed to pay these negro
     troops like other soldiers; demands that the Government
     should either shoulder the responsibility of sustaining the
     organization, or give such orders as would absolve Gen.
     Hunter from the responsibility of backing out from an
     experiment which he believed to be essential to the
     salvation of the country,--all these appeals to Washington
     proved in vain; for the oracles still remained profoundly
     silent, probably waiting to see how public opinion and the
     politicians would receive this daring innovation.


Gen'l. Hunter's black regiment in the distance.]

     "At length one evening a special dispatch steamer plowed her
     way over the bar, and a perspiring messenger delivered into
     Gen. Hunter's hands a special despatch from the War
     Department, 'requiring immediate answer.' The General was
     just about mounting his horse for his evening ride along the
     picket-line, when this portentous missive was brought under
     his notice. Hastily opening it, he first looked grave, then
     began to smile, and finally burst into peals of
     irrepressible laughter, such as were rarely heard from
     'Black David,' his old army name. Never was the General
     seen, before or since, in such good spirits; he literally
     was unable to speak from constant interruption of laughter;
     and all his Adjutant-General could gather from him was:
     'That he would not part with the document in his hand for
     fifty thousand dollars.'

     "At length he passed over the dispatch to his Chief of
     Staff, who on reading it, and re-reading it, could find in
     its texts but little apparent cause for merriment. It was a
     grave demand from the War Department for information in
     regard to our negro regiment--the demand being based on a
     certain resolution introduced by the Hon. Mr. Wickliffe, of
     Kentucky, asking for specific information on the point, in a
     tone clearly not friendly. These resolutions had been
     adopted by Congress; and as Hunter was without authority for
     any of his actions in this case, it seemed to his then not
     cheerful Adjutant-General that the documents in his hands
     were the reverse of hilarious.

     "Still Hunter was in extravagant spirits as he rode along,
     his laughter startling the squirrels in the dense pine
     woods, and every attempt that he made to explain himself
     being again and again interrupted by renewed peals of
     inextinguishable mirth. 'The fools!' he at length managed to
     say; 'that old fool has just given me the very chance I was
     growing sick for! The War Department has refused to notice
     my black regiment; but now, in reply to this resolution, I
     can lay the matter before the country, and force the
     authorities either to adopt my negroes or to disband them.'
     He then rapidly sketched out the kind of reply he wished to
     have prepared; and, with the first ten words of his
     explanation, the full force of the cause he had for laughter
     became apparent. Never did a General and his Chief-of-Staff,
     in a more unseemly state of cachinnation, ride along a
     picket-line. At every new phase of the subject it presented
     new features of the ludicrous; and though the reply at this
     late date may have lost much of the drollery which then it
     wore, it is a serio-comic document of as much vital
     importance in the moral history of our late contest as any
     that can be found in the archives under the care of Gen. E.
     D. Townsend. It was received late Sunday evening, and was
     answered very late that night, in order to be in time for
     the steamer _Arago_, which sailed at daylight next
     morning,--the dispatch-steamer which brought the request
     'for immediate information' having sustained some injuries
     which prevented an immediate return. It was written after
     midnight, we may add, in a tornado of thunder and tempest
     such as has rarely been known even on that tornado-stricken
     coast; but loud as were the peals and vivid the flashes of
     heaven's artillery, there were at least two persons within
     the lines on Hilton Head who were laughing far too noisily
     themselves to pay any heed to external clamors. The reply
     thus concocted and sent, from an uncorrected manuscript copy
     now in our possession, ran as follows:

                            _Hilton Head, S. C._, June, 1862.

     "To the HON. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.

     "SIR:--I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a
     communication from the Adjutant-General of the Army, dated
     June 13, 1862, requesting me to furnish you with the
     information necessary to answer certain Resolutions
     introduced in the House of Representatives June 9, 1862, on
     motion of the Hon. Mr. Wickliffe, of Kentucky; their
     substance being to enquire:

     "1st--Whether I had organized, or was organizing, a regiment
     of 'fugitive slaves' in this department.

     "2d--Whether any authority had been given to me from the War
     Department for such an organization; and

     "3rd--Whether I had been furnished, by order of the War
     Department, with clothing, uniforms, arms, equipments, and
     so forth, for such a force?

     "Only having received the letter at a late hour this
     evening, I urge forward my answer in time for the steamer
     sailing to-morrow morning,--this haste preventing me from
     entering, as minutely as I could wish, upon many points of
     detail, such as the paramount importance of the subject
     would seem to call for. But, in view of the near termination
     of the present session of Congress, and the wide-spread
     interest which must have been awakened by Mr. Wickliffe's
     resolutions, I prefer sending even this imperfect answer to
     waiting the period necessary for the collection of fuller
     and more comprehensive data.

     "To the first question, therefore, I reply: That no regiment
     of 'fugitive slaves' has been, or is being, organized in
     this department. There is, however, a fine regiment of loyal
     persons whose late masters are fugitive rebels--men who
     everywhere fly before the appearance of the national flag,
     leaving their loyal and unhappy servants behind them, to
     shift, as best they can, for themselves. So far, indeed, are
     the loyal persons composing the regiment from seeking to
     evade the presence of their late owners, that they are now,
     one and all, endeavoring with commendable zeal to acquire
     the drill and discipline requisite to place them in a
     position to go in full and effective pursuit of their
     fugacious and traitorous proprietors.

     "To the second question, I have the honor to answer that the
     instructions given to Brig.-Gen. T. W. Sherman by the Hon.
     Simon Cameron, late Secretary of War, and turned over to me,
     by succession, for my guidance, do distinctly authorize me
     to employ 'all loyal persons offering their service in
     defence of the Union, and for the suppression of this
     rebellion,' in any manner I may see fit, or that
     circumstances may call for. There is no restriction as to
     the character or color of the persons to be employed, or the
     nature of the employment--whether civil or military--in
     which their services may be used. I conclude, therefore,
     that I have been authorized to enlist 'fugitive slaves' as
     soldiers, could any such fugitives be found in this
     department. No such characters, however, have yet appeared
     within view of our most advanced pickets,--the loyal negroes
     everywhere remaining on their plantations to welcome us, aid
     us, and supply us with food, labor and information. It is
     the masters who have in every instance been the 'fugitives,'
     running away from loyal slaves as well as loyal soldiers;
     and these, as yet, we have only partially been able to
     see--chiefly their heads over ramparts, or dodging behind
     trees, rifles in hand, in the extreme distance. In the
     absence of any 'fugitive master law,' the deserted slaves
     would be wholly without remedy had not the crime of treason
     given them right to pursue, capture and bring those persons
     of whose benignant protection they have been thus suddenly
     and cruelly bereft.

     "To the third interrogatory, it is my painful duty to reply
     that I have never received any specific authority for issue
     of clothing, uniforms, arms, equipments and so forth, to the
     troops in question,--my general instructions from Mr.
     Cameron, to employ them in any manner I might find
     necessary, and the military exigencies of the department and
     the country, being my only, but I trust, sufficient
     justification. Neither have I had any specific authority for
     supplying these persons with shovels, spades, and pickaxes,
     when employing them as laborers; nor with boats and oars,
     when using them as lighter-men; but these are not points
     included in Mr. Wickliffe's resolution. To me it seemed that
     liberty to employ men in any particular capacity implied and
     carried with it liberty, also, to supply them with the
     necessary tools; and, acting upon this faith, I have
     clothed, equiped, and armed the only loyal regiment yet
     raised in South Carolina, Georgia or Florida.

     "I must say, in vindication of my own conduct, that, had it
     not been for the many other diversified and imperative
     claims on my time and attention, a much more satisfactory
     result might to have been achieved; and that, in place of
     only one regiment, as at present, at least five or six
     well-drilled, and thoroughly acclimated regiments should, by
     this time, have been added to the loyal forces of the Union.

     "The experiment of arming the blacks, so far as I have made
     it, has been a complete and even marvellous success. They
     are sober, docile, attentive, and enthusiastic; displaying
     great natural capacities in acquiring the duties of the
     soldier. They are now eager beyond all things to take the
     field and be led into action; and it is the unanimous
     opinion of the officers who have had charge of them that, in
     the peculiarities of this climate and country, they will
     prove invaluable auxiliaries, fully equal to the similar
     regiments so long and successfully used by the British
     authorities in the West India Islands.

     "In conclusion, I would say, it is my hope--there appearing
     no possibility of other reinforcements, owing to the
     exigencies of the campaign in the Peninsula--to have
     organized by the end of next fall, and be able to present to
     the government, from forty-eight to fifty thousand of these
     hardy and devoted soldiers.

     "Trusting that this letter may be made part of your answer
     to Mr. Wickliffe's resolutions, I have the honor to be,

         Very respectfully your most obedient servant,
                      DAVID HUNTER, _Maj.-Gen. Commanding._"

     "This missive was duly sent, with many misgivings that it
     would not get through the routine of the War Department in
     time to be laid before Congress previous to the adjournment
     of that honorable body which was then imminent. There were
     fears; too, that the Secretary of War might think it not
     sufficiently respectful, or serious in its tone; but such
     apprehensions proved unfounded. The moment it was received
     and read in the War Department, it was hurried down to the
     House, and delivered, _ore retundo_, from the clerk's desk.

     "Here its effects were magical. The clerk could scarcely
     read it with decorum; nor could half his words be heard
     amidst the universal peals of laughter in which both
     Democrats and Republicans appeared to vie as to which should
     be the more noisy. Mr. Wickliffe, who only entered during
     the reading of the latter half of the document, rose to his
     feet in a frenzy of indignation, complaining that the reply,
     of which he had only heard some portion, was an insult to
     the dignity of the House, and should be severely noticed.
     The more he raved and gesticulated, the more irrepressibly
     did his colleagues, on both sides of the slavery question,
     scream and laugh; until finally, the merriment reached its
     climax on a motion made by some member--Schuyler Colfax, if
     we remember rightly--that 'as the document appeared to
     please the honorable gentleman from Kentucky so much, and as
     he had not heard the whole of it the Clerk be now requested
     to read the whole again'--a motion which was instantaneously
     carried amid such an uproar of universal merriment and
     applause as the frescoed walls of the chamber have seldom
     heard, either before or since. It was the great joke of the
     day, and coming at a moment of universal gloom in the public
     mind, was seized upon by the whole loyal press of the
     country as a kind of politico-military champaign cocktail.

     "This set that question at rest forever; and not long after,
     the proper authorities saw fit to authorize the employment
     of 'fifty thousand able-bodied blacks for labor in the
     Quartermaster's Department,' and the arming and drilling as
     soldiers of five thousand of these, but for the sole purpose
     of 'protecting the women and children of their
     fellow-laborers who might be absent from home in the public

     "Here we have another instance of the reluctance with which
     the National Government took up this idea of employing
     negroes as soldiers; a resolution, we may add, to which they
     were only finally compelled by General Hunter's disbandment
     of his original regiment, and the storm of public
     indignation which followed that act.

     "Nothing could have been happier in its effect upon the
     public mind than Gen. Hunter's reply to Mr. Wickliffe, of
     Kentucky, given in our last. It produced a general broad
     grin throughout the country, and the advocate who can set
     his jury laughing rarely loses his cause. It also
     strengthened the spinal column of the Government in a very
     marked degree; although not yet up to the point of fully
     endorsing and accepting this daring experiment.

     "Meantime the civil authorities of course got wind of what
     was going on,--Mr. Henry J. Windsor, special correspondent
     of the New York _Times_, in the Department of the south,
     having devoted several very graphic and widely-copied
     letters to a picture of that new thing under the sun,
     'Hunter's negro regiment.'

     "Of course the chivalry of the rebellion were incensed
     beyond measure at this last Yankee outrage upon Southern
     rights. Their papers teemed with vindictive articles against
     the commanding general who had dared to initiate such a
     novelty. The Savannah _Republican_, in particular,
     denouncing Hunter as 'the cool-blooded abolition miscreant
     who, from his headquarters at Hilton Head, is engaged in
     executing the bloody and savage behest of the imperial
     gorilla who, from his throne of human bones at Washington,
     rules, reigns and riots over the destinies of the brutish
     and degraded North.'

     "Mere newspaper abuse, however, by no means gave content to
     the outraged feeling of the chivalry. They therefore sent a
     formal demand to our Government for information as to
     whether Gen. Hunter, in organizing his regiment of
     emancipated slaves, had acted under the authority of our War
     Department, or whether the villany was of his own
     conception. If he had acted under orders, why then terrible
     measures of fierce retaliation against the whole Yankee
     nation were to be adopted; but if, _per contra_, the
     iniquity were of his own motion and without the sanction of
     our Government, then the foreshadowed retribution should be
     made to fall only on Hunter and his officers.

[Illustration: BUILDING ROADS]

     "To this demand, with its alternative of threats, President
     Lincoln was in no mood to make any definitive reply. In fact
     no reply at all was sent, for, as yet, the most far-seeing
     political augurs could not determine whether the bird seen
     in the sky of the Southern Department would prove an eagle
     or a buzzard. Public opinion was not formed upon the
     subject, though rapidly forming. There were millions who
     agreed with Hunter in believing that 'that the black man
     should be made to fight for the freedom which could not but
     be the issue of our war;' and then they were outraged at the
     prospect of allowing black men to be killed or maimed in
     company with our nobler whites.

     "Failing to obtain any reply therefor, from the authorities
     at Washington, the Richmond people determined to pour out
     all their vengeance on the immediate perpetrators of this
     last Yankee atrocity; and forthwith there was issued from
     the rebel War Department a General Order number 60, we
     believe, of the series of 1862--reciting that 'as the
     government of the U. S. had refused to answer whether it
     authorized the raising of a black regiment by Gen. Hunter or
     not' said General, his staff, and all officers under his
     command who had directly or indirectly participated in the
     unclean thing, should hereafter be outlaws not covered by
     the laws of war; but to be executed as felons for the crimes
     of 'inciting negro insurrections wherever caught.'

     "This order reached the ears of the parties mainly
     interested just as Gen. Hunter was called to Washington,
     ostensibly for consultation on public business; but really
     on the motion of certain prominent speculators in marine
     transportation, with those 'big things,' in Port Royal
     harbor,--and they were enormous--with which the General had
     seen fit to interfere. These frauds, however, will form a
     very fruitful and pregnant theme for some future chapters.
     At present our business is with the slow but certain growth
     in the public mind of this idea of allowing some black men
     to be killed in the late war, and not continuing to arrogate
     death and mutilation by projectiles and bayonets as an
     exclusive privilege for our own beloved white race.

     "No sooner had Hunter been relieved from this special duty
     at Washington, than he was ordered back to the South, our
     Government still taking no notice of the order of outlawry
     against him issued by the rebel Secretary of War. He and his
     officers were thus sent back to engage, with extremely
     insufficient forces, in an enterprise of no common
     difficulty, and with an agreeable sentence of _sus. per
     col._, if captured, hanging over their devoted heads!

     "Why not suggest to Mr. Stanton, General, that he should
     either demand the special revocation of that order, or
     announce to the rebel War Department that our Government has
     adopted your negro-regiment policy as its own--which would
     be the same thing.

     "It was partly on this hint that Hunter wrote the following
     letter to Jefferson Davis,--a letter subsequently suppressed
     and never sent, owing to influences which the writer of this
     article does not feel himself as yet at liberty to
     reveal,--further than to say that Mr. Stanton knew nothing
     of the matter. Davis and Hunter, we may add, had been very
     old and intimate friends, until divided, some years previous
     to our late war, by differences on the slavery question.
     Davis had for many years been adjutant of the 1st U. S.
     Dragoons, of which Hunter had been Captain Commanding; and a
     relationship of very close friendship had existed between
     their respective families. It was this thorough knowledge of
     his man, perhaps, which gave peculiar bitterness to Hunter's
     pen; and the letter is otherwise remarkable as a prophecy,
     or preordainment of that precise policy which Pres't.
     Johnson has so frequently announced, and reiterated since
     Mr. Lincoln's death. It ran--with some few omissions, no
     longer pertinent or of public interest--as follows:


     "SIR:--While recently in command of the Department of the
     South, in accordance with the laws of the war and the
     dictates of common sense, I organized and caused to be
     drilled, armed and equipped, a regiment of enfranchised
     bondsmen, known as the 1st South Carolina Volunteers.

     "For this action, as I have ascertained, the pretended
     government of which you are the chief officer, has issued
     against me and all of my officers who were engaged in
     organizing the regiment in question, a General Order of
     Outlawry, which announces that, if captured, we shall not
     even be allowed the usual miserable treatment extended to
     such captives as fall into your hands; but that we are to be
     regarded as felons, and to receive the death by hanging due
     to such, irrespective of the laws of war.

     "Mr. Davis, we have been acquainted intimately in the past.
     We have campaigned together, and our social relations have
     been such as to make each understand the other thoroughly.
     That you mean, if it be ever in your power, to execute the
     full rigor of your threats, I am well assured; and you will
     believe my assertion, that I thank you for having raised in
     connection with me and my acts, this sharp and decisive
     issue. I shall proudly accept, if such be the chance of war,
     the martyrdom you menace; and hereby give you notice that
     unless your General Order against me and my officers be
     formally revoked, within thirty days from the date of the
     transmission of this letter, sent under a flag of truce, I
     shall take your action in the matter as finale; and will
     reciprocate it by hanging every rebel officer who now is, or
     may hereafter be taken, prisoner by the troops of the
     command to which I am about returning.

     "Believe me that I rejoice at the aspect now being given to
     the war by the course you have adopted. In my judgment, if
     the undoubted felony of treason had been treated from the
     outset as it deserves to be--as the sum of all felonies and
     crimes--this rebellion would never have attained its present
     menacing proportions. The war you and your fellow
     conspirators have been waging against the United States must
     be regarded either as a war of justifiable defence, carried
     on for the integrity of the boundaries of a sovereign
     Confederation of States against foreign aggression, or as
     the most wicked, enormous, and deliberately planned
     conspiracy against human liberty and for the triumph of
     treason and slavery, of which the records of the world's
     history contain any note.

     "If our Government should adopt the first view of the case,
     you and your fellow rebels may justly claim to be
     considered a most unjustly treated body of disinterested
     patriots,--although, perhaps, a little mistaken in your
     connivance with the thefts by which your agent, John B.
     Floyd, succeeded in arming the South and partially disarming
     the North as a preparative to the commencement of the

     "But if on the other hand--as is the theory of our
     Government--the war you have levied against the U. S. be a
     rebellion the most causeless, crafty and bloody ever
     known,--a conspiracy having the rule-or-ruin policy for its
     basis; the plunder of the black race and the reopening of
     the African slave trade for its object, the continued and
     further degradation of ninety per cent. of the white
     population of the South in favor of a slave driving ten per
     cent. aristocracy, and the exclusion of all foreign-born
     immigrants from participation in the generous and equal
     hospitality foreshadowed to them in the Declaration of
     Independence,--if this, as I believe, be a fair statement of
     the origin and motives of the rebellion of which you are the
     titular head, then it would have been better had our
     Government adhered to the constitutional view of treason
     from the start, and hung every man taken in arms against the
     U. S. from the first butchery in the streets of Baltimore,
     down to the last resultless battle fought in the vicinity of
     Sharpsburg. If treason, in other words, be any crime, it is
     the essence of all crimes; a vast machinery of guilt,
     multiplying assassinations into wholesale slaughter, and
     organizing plunder as the basis for supporting a system of
     National Brigandage. Your action, and that of those with
     whom you are in league, has its best comment in the sympathy
     extended to your cause by the despots and aristocracies of
     Europe. You have succeeded in throwing back civilization for
     many years; and have made of the country that was the
     freest, happiest, proudest, richest, and most progressive
     but two short years ago, a vast temple of mourning, doubt,
     anxiety and privation; our manufactories of all but war
     material nearly paralyzed; the inventive spirit which was
     forever developing new resources destroyed, and our flag,
     that carried respect everywhere, now mocked by enemies who
     think its glory tarnished, and that its power is soon to
     become a mere tradition of the past.

     "For all these results, Mr. Davis, and for the three hundred
     thousand lives already sacrificed on both sides in the
     war--some pouring out their blood on the battle-field, and
     others fever stricken and wasting away to death in
     overcrowded hospitals--you and the fellow miscreants who
     have been your associates in this conspiracy are
     responsible. Of you and them it may, with truth be said,
     that if all the innocent blood which you have spilled could
     be collected in one pool, the whole government of your
     Confederacy might swim in it.

     "I am aware that this is not the language in which the
     prevailing etiquette of our army is in the habit of
     considering your conspiracy. It has come to pass--through
     what instrumentalities you are best able to decide--that the
     greatest and worst crime ever attempted against the human
     family, has been treated in certain quarters as though it
     were a mere error of judgment on the part of some gifted
     friend; a thing to be regretted, of course, as causing more
     or less disturbance to the relation of amity and esteem
     heretofore existing between those charged with the
     repression of such eccentricities and the eccentric actors;
     in fact, as a slight political miscalculation or peccadillo,
     rather than as an outrage involving the desolation of a
     continent, and demanding the promptest and severest
     retribution within power of human law.

     "For myself, I have never been able to take this view of the
     matter. During a lifetime of active service, I have seen the
     seeds of this conspiracy planted in the rank soil of
     slavery, and the upas-growth watered by just such tricklings
     of a courtesy alike false to justice, expediency, and our
     eternal future. Had we at an earlier day commenced to call
     things by their right names, and to look at the hideous
     features of slavery with our ordinary eyesight and common
     sense, instead of through the rose-colored glasses of
     supposed political expediency, there would be three hundred
     thousand more men alive to-day on American soil; and our
     country would never for a moment have forfeited her proud
     position as the highest exampler of the blessings--morals,
     intellectual and material--to be derived from a free form of

     "Whether your intention of hanging me and those of my staff
     and other officers who were engaged in organizing the 1st S.
     C. Volunteers, in case we are taken prisoners in battle,
     will be likely to benefit your cause or not, is a matter
     mainly for your own consideration. For us, our profession
     makes the sacrifice of life a contingency ever present and
     always to be accepted; and although such a form of death as
     your order proposes, is not that to the contemplating of
     which soldiers have trained themselves, I feel well assured,
     both for myself and those included in my sentence, that we
     could die in no manner more damaging to your abominable
     rebellion and the abominable institution which is its

     "The South has already tried one hanging experiment, but not
     with a success--one would think--to encourage its
     repetition. John Brown, who was well known to me in Kansas,
     and who will be known in appreciative history through
     centuries which will only recall your name to load it with
     curses, once entered Virginia with seventeen men and an
     idea. The terror caused by the presence of his idea, and the
     dauntless courage which prompted the assertion of his faith,
     against all odds, I need not now recall. The history is too
     familiar and too painful. 'Old Ossawatomie' was caught and
     hung; his seventeen men were killed, captured or dispersed,
     and several of them shared his fate. Portions of his skin
     were tanned, I am told, and circulated as relics dear to the
     barbarity of the slave-holding heart. But more than a
     million of armed white men, Mr. Davis, are to-day marching
     South, in practical acknowledgement that they regard the
     hanging of three years ago as the murder of a martyr; and as
     they march to a battle which has the emancipation of all
     slaves as one of its most glorious results, his name is on
     their lips; to the music of his memory their marching feet
     keep time; and as they sling knapsacks each one becomes
     aware that he is an armed apostle of the faith preached by

          "'Who has gone to be a soldier
          In the army of the Lord!'

     "I am content, if such be the will of Providence to ascend
     the scaffold made sacred by the blood of this martyr; and I
     rejoice at every prospect of making our struggle more
     earnest and inexorable on both sides; for the sharper the
     conflict the sooner ended; the more vigorous and remorseless
     the strife, the less blood must be shed in it eventually.

     "In conclusion, let me assure you, that I rejoice with my
     whole heart that your order in my case, and that of my
     officers, if unrevoked, will untie our hands for the future;
     and that we shall be able to treat rebellion as it deserves,
     and give to the felony of treason a felon's death.

     "Very obediently yours,
                  DAVID HUNTER, _Maj.-Gen._"

     "Not long after General Hunter's return to the Department of
     the South, the first step towards organizing and recognizing
     negro troops was taken by our Government, in a letter of
     instructions directing Brigadier-General Rufus Saxton--then
     Military Governor of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida,
     within the limits of Gen. Hunter's command--to forthwith
     raise and organize fifty thousand able-bodied blacks, for
     service as laborers in the quartermaster's department; of
     whom five thousand--only five thousand, mark you--might be
     armed and drilled as soldiers for the purpose of 'protecting
     the women and children of their fellow-laborers who might be
     absent from home in the public service.'

     "Here was authority given to Gen. Saxton, over Hunter's
     head, to pursue some steps farther the experiment which
     Hunter--soon followed by General Phelps, also included in
     the rebel order of 'outlawry'--had been the first to
     initiate. The rebel order still remained in full force, and
     with no protest against it on the part of our Government;
     nor to our knowledge, was any demand from Washington ever
     made for its revocation during the existence of the
     Confederacy. If Hunter, therefore, or any of his officers,
     had been captured in any of the campaigns of the past two
     and a half years, they had the pleasant knowledge for their
     comfort that any rebel officers into whose hands they might
     fall, was strictly enjoined to--not 'shoot them on the
     spot,' as was the order of General Dix, but to hang them on
     the first tree; and hang them quickly.

[Illustration: OFF FOR THE WAR.

Negro men marching aboard a steamer to join their regiments at Hilton
Head, S. C.]

     "With the subsequent history of our black troops the public
     is already familiar. General Lorenzo Thomas, titular
     Adjutant-General of our army, not being regarded as a very
     efficient officer for that place, was permanently detailed
     on various services; now exchanging prisoners, now
     discussing points of military law, now organizing black
     brigades down the Mississippi and elsewhere. In fact, the
     main object seemed to be to keep this Gen. Thomas--who must
     not be confounded with Gen. George H. Thomas, one of the
     true heroes of our army,--away from the Adjutant-General's
     office at Washington, in order that Brigadier-General E. W.
     Townsend--only a Colonel until quite recently--might perform
     all the laborious and crushing duties of Adjutant-General of
     our army, while only signing himself and ranking as First
     Assistant Adjutant-General. If there be an officer who has
     done noble service in the late war while receiving no public
     credit for the same,--no newspaper puffs nor public
     ovation,--that man is Brigadier-General E. W. Townsend, who
     should long since have been made a major-general, to rank
     from the first day of the rebellion.

     "And now let us only add, as practical proof that the
     rebels, even in their most rabid state, were not insensible
     to the force of proper "reasons," the following anecdote:
     Some officers of one of the black regiments--Colonel
     Higginson's, we believe--indiscreetly rode beyond our lines
     around St. Augustine in pursuit of game, but whether
     feathered or female this deponent sayeth not. Their guide
     proved to be a spy, who had given notice of the intended
     expedition to the enemy, and the whole party were soon
     surprised and captured. The next we heard of them, they were
     confined in the condemned cells of one of the Florida State
     prisons, and were to be "tried"--i. e., sentenced and
     executed--as 'having been engaged in inciting negro

     "We had some wealthy young slave-holders belonging to the
     first families of South Carolina in the custody of
     Lieutenant-Colonel J. F. Hall--now Brigadier-General of this
     city, who was our Provost Marshal; and it was on this basis
     Gen. Hunter resolved to operate. 'Release my officers of
     black troops from your condemned cells at once, and notify
     me of the fact. Until so notified, your first family
     prisoners in my hands'--the names then given--'will receive
     precisely similar treatment. For each of my officers hung, I
     will hang three of my prisoners who are slave-holders.' This
     dose operated with instantaneous effect, and the next letter
     received from our captured officers set forth that they were
     at large on parole, and treated as well as they could wish
     to be in that miserable country.

     "We cannot better conclude this sketch, perhaps, than by
     giving the brief but pregnant verses in which our
     ex-orderly, Private Miles O'Reilly, late of the Old Tenth
     Army Corps, gave his opinion on this subject. They were
     first published in connection with the banquet given in New
     York by Gen. T. F. Meagher and the officers of the Irish
     Brigade, to the returned veterans of that organization on
     the 13th of Jan. 1864, at Irving Hall. Of this song it may,
     perhaps, be said, in verity and without vanity, that, as
     Gen. Hunter's letter to Mr. Wickliffe had settled the negro
     soldiers' controversy in its official and Congressional
     form, so did the publication and immediate popular adoption
     of these verses conclude all argument upon this matter in
     the mind of the general public. Its common sense, with a
     dash of drollery, at once won over the Irish, who had been
     the bitterest opponents of the measure, to become its
     friends; and from that hour to this, the attacks upon the
     experiment of our negro soldiery have been so few and far
     between that, indeed, they may be said to have ceased
     altogether. It ran as follows, and appeared in the _Herald_
     the morning after the banquet as a portion of the report of
     the speeches and festivities:


          (_Air--The Low-Backed Chair._)

          Some say it is a burnin' shame
            To make the naygurs fight,
          An' that the thrade o' being kilt
            Belongs but to the white;
          But as for me, upon me sowl,
            So liberal are we here,
          I'll let Sambo be murthered in place o' meself
            On every day in the year.
          On every day in the year, boys,
          An' every hour in the day,
          The right to be kil't I'll divide wid him,
            An' divil a word I'll say.

          In battle's wild commotion
            I shouldn't at all object,
          If Sambo's body should stop a ball
            That was comin' for me direct;
          An' the prod of a Southern bagnet,
            So liberal are we here,
          I'll resign and let Sambo take it,
            On every day in the year.
          On every day in the year boys,
          An' wid none o' your nasty pride,
          All right in a Southern bagnet prod
            Wid Sambo I'll divide.

          The men who object to Sambo
            Should take his place and fight;
          An' it's betther to have a naygur's hue
            Than a liver that's wake an' white;
          Though Sambo's black as the ace o' spades
            His finger a thrigger can pull,
          An' his eye runs sthraight on the barrel sight
            From under its thatch o' wool.
          So hear me all, boys, darlins!
            Don't think I'm tippen' you chaff,
          The right to be kilt I'll divide wid him,
            An' give him the largest half!

     "In regard to Hunter's reply to Mr. Wickliffe, we shall only
     add this anecdote, told us one day by that brilliant
     gentleman and scholar, the Hon "Sunset" Cox, of Ohio (now of
     New York): 'I tell you, that letter from Hunter spoiled the
     prettiest speech I had ever thought of making. I had been
     delighted with Wickliffe's motion, and thought the reply to
     it would furnish us first-rate Democrat's thunder for the
     next election. I made up my mind to sail in against Hunter's
     answer--no matter what it was--the moment it came; and to be
     even more humorously successful in its delivery and
     reception than I was in my speech against War Horse Gurley,
     of Ohio, which you have just been complimenting. Well, you
     see, man proposes, but providence orders otherwise. When the
     Clerk announced the receipt of the answer, and that he was
     about to read it, I caught the Speaker's eye and was booked
     for the first speech against your negro experiment. The
     first sentence, being formal and official, was very well;
     but at the second the House began to grin, and at the third,
     not a man on the floor--except Father Wickliffe, of
     Kentucky, perhaps--who was not convulsed with laughter. Even
     my own risibles I found to be affected; and before the
     document was concluded, I motioned the Speaker that he might
     give the floor to whom he pleased, as my desire to
     distinguish myself in that particular tilt was over.'"



The character, qualifications and proficiency of the men, who, as
officers, commanded the negro troops, may be judged by the process which
they had to undergo in order to obtain commissions. Unlike the officers
of the white volunteers (with whom loyalty and dash were the essential
qualifications) they were required to possess much more than an ordinary
knowledge of military tactics. Major-General Hunter, by whose order the
first negro regiment with white officers was organized, commencing May,
1862, had an eye single to the make up of the men who should be placed
in command of the regiments. As a beginning, Gen. Saxton addressed the
following letter to Capt. T. W. Higginson, of the 51st Reg't. Mass.
Volunteers, Beaufort, S. C., Nov. 5th, 1862:

     "MY DEAR SIR:--I am organizing the First Regiment of South
     Carolina Volunteers, with every prospect of success. Your
     name has been spoken of in connection with the command of
     this regiment, by some friends in whose judgment I have
     confidence. I take great pleasure in offering you the
     position of Col. in it, and hope that you may be induced to
     accept. I shall not fill the place until I hear from you, or
     sufficient time shall have passed for me to receive your
     reply. Should you accept I enclose a pass for Port Royal, of
     which I trust you will feel disposed to avail yourself at
     once. I am, with sincere regard,

         Yours truly,
            R. SAXTON,
                _Brig. Gen., Mil. Gov._"

This was an excellent selection, and Captain Higginson's acceptance
rather assured a fair trial for the men who should compose this
regiment, as well as the quality of its officers.

[Illustration: MAJOR MARTIN R. DELANEY, U. S. A.]

The first Kansas regiment which recruited in that State, commencing in
August, 1862, was also fortunate in having Colonel R. J. Hinton.

General Butler, at New Orleans, was prevented by circumstances
surrounding him at the time, from choosing among the friends of the
negro race, as was the case in the before mentioned regiments, men to
command the first and second regiments organized by him in the above
named city, in August, 1862. He was only too glad to find white men of
military capacity to take charge of the drilling and disciplining of the
troops. As an experiment he was more than lucky in the appointment of
Colonels Stafford and Daniels to the command of these regiments,
seconded by Lieut. Cols. Bassett and Hall, and Finnegass of the 3rd
Regiment. These officers proved themselves worthy of the trust reposed
in them, and made these regiments, in drill and discipline, second to
none in the Department of the Gulf. Notwithstanding the captains and
subordinate officers of the first and second regiments were men, who
like those in a large majority of the white regiments had never made
arms a profession, and, who, through American prejudice, had but very
limited opportunities for acquiring even the rudiments of a common
English education. Several of them, however, being mulattoes, had had
some training in the schools of the parishes, and some few in the higher
schools of France, and in the Islands of the Caribbean Sea. Maj. Dumas,
of the 2nd Regiment, whose slaves composed nearly one whole company, was
a gentleman of fine tact and ability, as were others.

Considering that they were all negroes, free and slave, their dash and
manly courage, no less than their military aptitude, was equal, and in
many instances superior, to those found in the regiments of Maine and
New York. The 3rd Regiment was officered by soldiers of undoubted
character and pluck, as they proved themselves to be, during the siege
of Port Hudson, especially Capt. Quinn, who won distinction and
promotion, as the record shows. The regiments raised thereafter were
officered, more or less, by the non-commissioned officers of the white
regiments, as a reward for gallantry and meritorious service upon the
field, or on account of proficiency in drill. This rule of selection
held good throughout all the departments in the organizing of negro
troops. In May, 1863, President Lincoln, with a view of correcting an
abuse that a certain commanding general had begun to practice in
assigning inferior, though brave, men to the command of negro regiments;
and in keeping with his new policy of arming the negroes, for which Gen.
Lorenzo Thomas, Adjutant General of the Army, had gone into the
Mississippi Valley region to raise twenty regiments, he appointed a
Board for the examination of those applying for commands in negro

The "Record of the 7th Reg't. U.S. Colored Troops," in regard to the
matter, says: "That the labors of this Board contributed very materially
to the success of the experiment of raising this class of troops, no one
cognizant with the facts can doubt. The operations of the Board can best
be shown by quoting the following letter received from Gen. Casey in
reply to some enquiries on the subject:

                                "BROOKLYN, Nov. 30th, 1875.

     * * * "The Board for the Examination of candidates for
     officers in colored regiments, of which I was President, was
     appointed in May, 1863, and continued its duties about two
     years. This movement was, at first, very unpopular with a
     portion of the people of the country, as also with a large
     portion of the army. I, although doubting at first with
     regard to the expediency of operating in large bodies with
     this species of force, determined, that so far as I was
     concerned, it should have a fair trial.

     "A system was adopted for the examination of candidates
     which did not allow influence, favor or affection to
     interfere with the enforcement of its provisions. The Board
     examined nearly three thousand candidates, seventeen hundred
     of whom they recommended for commissions in various grades,
     from colonel down.

     "From my knowledge of the officers of white volunteers,
     gained in my duties connected with receiving and organizing,
     in the city of Washington, 300,000 of them, and also as
     commander of a division on the Peninsula, I have no
     hesitation in saying that the officers of the colored
     regiments, _who passed the Board_, as a body were superior
     to them, physically, mentally and morally.

     "From the concurrent reports received from various sources,
     there is but little doubt that the success of the colored
     troops in the field was brought about in no small degree by
     the action of the Board.

     "The following is the copy of a letter which I addressed to
     a gentleman of Philadelphia, and which you may find of

     'In conversation with you a few days since, I promised to
     elaborate somewhat the ideas which I expressed with regard
     to the appointment of officers of colored troops.

     'Military men, whose opinion is worth having, will agree in
     this, that to have good and efficient troops it is
     indispensable that we should have good officers. The
     material for soldiers which the loyal States have furnished
     during this rebellion, I have no hesitation in saying, is
     the best that the world has ever seen. Such men deserve to
     have officers to command them who have been educated to the
     military profession. But few men are really fit to command
     men who have not had such an education. In default of this,
     as a sufficient number of such men cannot be found in the
     country, the number has to be made up from the best
     available material. In order to ascertain whether or not the
     aspirant possesses the proper knowledge and capacity for
     command, it is necessary that he be examined by a board of
     competent officers. The fact that the life and death of the
     men of the regiment is intimately connected with the
     competency of its officers, is not sufficiently appreciated
     by the community.

     'The Board for the examination of officers of colored troops
     over which I preside, considers three things as
     indispensable before recommending a candidate, viz.: A good
     moral character, physical capacity, true loyalty to the
     country. A person possessing these indispensable
     qualifications is now submitted to an examination as to his
     knowledge of tactics and capacity for command.

     'The following grades are entertained, viz.:

          Colonel--1st, 2d and 3d Class.
          Lieut.-Colonel--1st, 2d and 3d Class.
          Major--           "
          Captain--         "
          1st Lieut.--      "
          2d Lieut.--       "

     and the recommendations for appointment made according to
     the applicant's merits.

     'We have endeavored, to the best of our ability, to make
     this recommendation without partiality, favor or affection.
     We consider alone, in making our awards, the ability of the
     person to serve his country in the duties appertaining to
     the office. If, in the opinion of the Board, the person is
     not possessed of sufficient knowledge or capacity to fill
     either of the above named to the advantage of his country,
     he is rejected, notwithstanding any influence he may be able
     to bring to bear in the case. Let it be remembered that zeal
     alone is not sufficient; but what we require for a good
     officer is zeal combined with knowledge. No ordinary man can
     properly fill the office of colonel of a regiment. To
     acquire that knowledge of tactics as would fit him to
     command his regiment, as it ought to be in all situations,
     requires much study and practice, and is by no means easy.
     He should, besides, possess good administrative qualities,
     in order that affairs should run smoothly in his command,
     and the officers and privates be as contented and happy as
     circumstances admit. Nor can too much trouble be taken
     properly to prepare persons to fill the responsible position
     of officers. Each State should have its military academy. In
     the meantime much good can be done by instituting a school
     for the instruction of persons (especially those who have
     had some experience in the service) who may have the
     requisite capacity and zeal to serve their country with
     advantage. Eschew all humbuggery and mere pretension, and
     let merit be the test of advancement.

     'Let it be impressed deeply on the conscience of every man
     of influence and authority that when he places in command an
     incompetent officer he is guilty of manslaughter. The
     country has lost millions of treasure and thousands of lives
     by the incompetency of officers. We have many enemies on
     earth besides the Southern rebels. The fate of free
     institutions, not only in our own country, but in other
     lands, the destiny of millions unborn, depend upon our
     ability to maintain this contest to a successful issue
     against all our enemies, both foreign and domestic.

     'The system of examination instituted by this Board, in my
     opinion, should be extended to the white as well as colored

     'Many of those who have been unsuccessful in the examination
     before the Board have, no doubt, in some cases, felt
     aggrieved, as also their friends.

     'We have established a system of examination for officers,
     the good effects of which are already apparent in the
     colored organizations in the field. In the performance of
     this responsible, and not always agreeable duty, of
     presiding over this Board, I have always endeavored to be
     guided by conscientious regard for the good of the country,
     and I have every confidence that a just and intelligent
     people will award their approbation.

                                            SILAS CASEY,
                       _Bvt. Major-General U.S. Army._'"

Of course this did not apply to regiments raised at the North,
generally. They were officered by the _elite_, such as Col. R. G. Shaw,
of the 54th Massachusetts, a former member of the 7th New York Regiment,
and upon whose battle monument his name is carved. Cols. James C.
Beecher, Wm. Birney and a host of others, whose names can now be found
on the army rolls, with the prefix General, commanded these regiments.
Of those who commanded Southern regiments this is equally true,
especially of those who served in the 9th, 10th, 18th and 19th Corps.
Col. Godfred Weitzel, who in March, 1865, had been promoted to Major
General of Volunteers, commanded the 25th Corps of 30,000 negro
soldiers. The select corps of officers intended to officer Gen. Ullman's
brigade of four regiments to be raised at New Orleans by order of the
War Department, dated January 1863, as well as the battalion, which he
was also ordered to raise for scouting purposes, the following March,
included many men of rank. To command a negro regiment or company was at
this date a coveted prize, for which men of wealth and education
contended. The distinction which they were continually winning for their
officers, frequently overcame the long-cherished prejudice of West
Point, and the graduates of this caste institution now vied for
commissions in negro regiments, in which many of them served during the
Rebellion and since.

[Illustration: CAPT. O. S. B. WALL, U. S. A.]

It was the idea of Gen. Banks when organizing the Corps d'Afrique to
appoint even the non-commissioned officers from the ranks of white
regiments, and he did so in several instances. His hostility to negro
officers was the cause of his removing them from the regiments, which
Major General Butler organized at New Orleans in 1862. In organizing the
Corps d'Afrique, the order, No. 40, reads:

     "The Commanding General desires to detail for temporary or
     permanent duty, the best officers of the army, for the
     organization, instruction, and discipline of this Corps.
     With them he is confident that the Corps will render
     important service to the Government. It is not established
     upon any dogma of equality or other theory, but as a
     practical and sensible matter of business. The Government
     makes use of mules, horses, uneducated white men in the
     defence of its institutions; why should not the negro
     contribute whatever is in his power, for the cause in which
     he is as deeply interested as other men? We may properly
     demand from him whatever service he can render."

At first it was proposed to pay the officers of negro troops less than
was paid the officers of white soldiers, but this plan was abandoned.
Toward the close of the war nearly all the chaplains appointed to negro
regiments were negroes; non-commissioned officers were selected from the
ranks, where they were found as well qualified as those taken from the
ranks of white regiments. In the 10th and 18th Corps it was a common
thing for the orderly sergeants to call their company's roll from
memory, and the records of many companies and regiments are kept at the
War Department in Washington, as mementoes of their efficiency.

Such were the men who commanded the Black Phalanx. The following are the
names of the negro commissioned officers of the Butler Louisiana



    Capts.  Andrew Cailloux,     Louis A. Snaer,      John Depass,
      "     Henry L. Rey,        Edward Carter,       Joseph Follin,
      "     James Lewis,         James H. Ingraham,   Aleide Lewis.
    Lieuts. Lewis Petit,         Ernest Sougpre,      J. G. Parker,
      "     J. E. Morre,         Wm. Harding,         John Hardman,
      "     F. Kimball,          V. Lesner,           J. D. Paddock,
      "     Louis D. Lucien.


    Major   F. E. Dumas,[21]
    Capts.  E. A. Bertinnean,    Hannibal Carter,     E. P. Chase,
      "     W. P. Barrett,       S. W. Ringgold,      P. B. S. Pinchback,
      "     William Bellez,      Monroe Menllim,      Joseph Villeverde,
      "     Samuel J. Wilkerson, R. H. Isabella.
    Lieuts. Octave Rey,          J. P. Lewis,         Jasper Thompson,
      "     Ernest Murphy,       Calvin Glover,       J. Wellington,
      "     Louis Degray,        George T. Watson,    Joseph Jones,
      "     Alphonso Fluery,     Rufus Kinsley,       Ernest Hubian,
      "     Theo. A. Martin,     Soloman Hoys,        Alfred Arnis,
      "     Peter O. Depremont.


    Capts.  Jacques Gla,         Peter A. Gardner,    Leon G. Forstall,
      "     Joseph C. Oliver,    Charles W. Gibbons,  Samuel Laurence,
      "     John J. Holland.
    Lieuts. Paul Paree,          Morris W. Morris,    Emile Detrege,
      "     Eugene Rapp,         E. T. Nash,          Alfred Bourgoan,
      "     E. Moss,             Chester W. Converse, G. B. Miller,
      "     G. W. Talmon,        Octave Foy,          Chas. Butler.


74TH U. S. C. T. CO. I. 2D LA. N. G.

    Sergts. Joseph Boudraux,    Andrieu Vidal,        Joseph Bellevue,
      "     Louis Martin,       Jessy C. Wallace,
    Corpls. Paul Bonne,         Thos. William,        Joseph Labeaud,
      "     Joseph Toolmer,     Louis Ford,           Peter Fleming,

As "muster in" rolls show.

74TH U. S. C. T. CO. D. 2ND N. G.

    1st Sergts. Joseph Francois, Adolph Augustin,     John Frick,
         "      Francois Remy,   Louis Duquenez.
    Corpls. Dorsin Sebatier,     Auguste Martin,      Lucien Boute,
      "     Adolphe Decoud,      Oscar Samuel,        Andre Gregoire,
      "     Joseph Armand,       Achilles Decoud.

As "muster out" rolls show.

[Illustration: CAPT. P. B. S. PINCHBACK 2ND LA. VOLS.




75TH U. S. C. T. CO. F. 3RD N. G.

    Sergts. Hy. White,          Robert Williams,    Mathew Roden,
      "     Frank Nichols,

    Corpls. Alfred Kellie,      Philip Craff,       Julius Vick.

As mustered out.

73RD U. S. C. T. CO. A. 1ST LA. N. G.

    Sergts. Joseph R. Forstall, Edmund Tomlinson,        Edgar Thezan,
       "    Numa Brihou,        Edward P. Ducloslange,
    Corpls. John G. Seldon,     Thelesphore J. Sauvinet, Alonzo Tocca,
       "    Joseph Francois,    Antonio Segura,          Auguste Martin,
       "    Francois Remy,      Ernest Brustic,

73RD U. S. C. T. CO. B. 1ST LA. N. G.

    Sergts. Faustin Zenon,      Louis Francois,     August Bartholenny,
       "    Joseph Alfred,      Wm. Armstrong,

Arthur Gaspard was a Sergeant at "muster in" of company; discharged for
wounds Dec. 10th, 1863.

    Corpls. Alphonse Barbe,     Albert Victor,      Wm. John Baptist,
       "    Louis Gille.

These were non-commissioned officers of Co. B at "muster out."

73RD U. S. C. T. CO. H. 1ST LA. N. G.

    Capt. Henry L. Rey,   1st Lieut. Eugene Rapp,
      2nd Lieut. Louis Arthur Thibaut,
    1st Sergt. Henry Mathien,   2nd Sergt. Armand Daniel,
    3rd Sergt. J. B. Dupre.
    4th   "    Felix Mathien,   5th   "    Lucien Dupre,
    Corpls. Ernest Hewlett,     Frank Delhomme,         D. J. Marine,
       "    Felix Santini,      Celestine Ferrand,      Auguste Campbell,
       "    Narcis Hubert,      Caliste Dupre.

As "muster in."

73RD U. S. C. T. CO. G, 1ST LA. N. G.

    Sergts. Theodule Drinier,   Peter Pascal,            Peter Robin,
       "    Gustave St. Leger,  Armand Le Blanc.
    Corpls. Edward Louis,       Cherry Fournette,        Townsen Lee,
       "    John Thompson,      Perrin Virgile,          William Charity,
       "    John Marshall,      Soloman Fisher.

The above were the non-commissioned officers at "muster out" of Company.

Corporal W. Heath, killed at Port Hudson.

74TH U. S. C. T. CO. G. 2ND LA. N. G.

    Sergts. Thos. Martin,       Etienne Duluc,           Arthur Frilot,
       "    Louis Martin,       J. B. Lavigne,
    Corpls. Martin Forstals,    Emile Duval,             Gustave Ducre,
       "    Joseph Naroce,      Polin Paree,*            Jerome Alugas,
       "    Ernest Butin,       Pierre Jignac.

* Deserted Oct. 5th, 1863.

The above were the non-commissioned officers at "muster in" of company,
Oct. 1862.


Surgeons U. S. Army.--Dr. W. P. Powell,  Dr. A. T. Augusta.
Major, Martin R. Delaney.                Capt., O. S. B. Wall.
Lieuts. 55th Regt.--James M. Trotter,    Chas. L. Mitchell,  W. H. Dupree,
           "        J. F. Shorter.

There were a number of negroes commissioned during the war whose record
it has not been possible to obtain. Quite a number of mulattoes served
in white regiments, some as officers; they were so light in complexion
that their true race connection could not be told. This is true of one
of the prominent Ohioans of to-day, who served on the staff of a Major
General of volunteers. There were several among the Pennsylvania troops,
and not a few in the New York and Massachusetts regiments. While lying
on a battle-field wounded and exhausted, an officer of the brigade to
which the writer belonged, rode up, passed me his canteen, and enquired
if I knew him. A negative answer was given. "I am Tom Bunting," he
replied. "You know me now, don't you? We used to play together in our
boyhood days in Virginia; keep the canteen. I will let your people know
about you." So saying he dashed away to his command; he belonged to a
Massachusetts regiment. There was quite a large number of mulattoes who
enlisted under Butler, at New Orleans, and served in white regiments;
this is also true of the confederate army. The writer has an intimate
acquaintance now living in Richmond, Va., who served in a New York
Regiment, who, while marching along with his regiment through Broad
street, after the capture of that city, was recognized by his mother,
and by her was pulled from the ranks and embraced. A man who became
United States Marshal of one of the Southern States after the war, was
Captain in the 2nd Louisiana Native Guards Regiment. Numerous instances
of this kind could be cited.

[Illustration: SERG'T. W. H. CARNEY.--Co. C. 54TH MASS. VOLS.

"The old flag never touched the ground, boys!"]


[21] Capt. F. E. Dumas organized a company of his own slaves, and
attached it to this regiment. He was promoted to the rank of Major, and
commanded two companies at Pascagoula, Miss., during the fight. He was a
free negro, wealthy, brave and loyal.



When Admiral Farragut's fleet anchored at New Orleans, and Butler
occupied the city, three regiments of confederate negro troops were
under arms guarding the United States Mint building, with orders to
destroy it before surrendering it to the Yankees. The brigade, however,
was in command of a Creole mulatto, who, instead of carrying out the
orders given him, and following the troops out of the city on their
retreat, counter-marched his command and was cut off from the main body
of the army by the Federal forces, to whom they quietly surrendered a
few days after.

General Phelps commanded the Federal forces at Carrolton, about seven
miles from New Orleans, the principal point in the cordon around the
city. Here the slaves congregated in large numbers, seeking freedom and
protection from their barbarous overseers and masters. Some of these
poor creatures wore irons and chains; some came bleeding from gunshot
wounds. General Phelps was an old abolitionist, and had early conceived
the idea that the proper thing to do was for the government to arm the
negroes. Now came his opportunity to act. Hundreds of able-bodied men
were in his camps, ready and willing to fight for their freedom and the
preservation of the Union. The secessionists in that neighborhood
complained to General Butler about their negroes leaving them and going
into camp with the Yankees. So numerous were the complaints, that the
General, acting under orders from Washington, and also foreseeing that
General Phelps intended allowing the slaves to gather at his post,
issued the following order:

                                    "NEW ORLEANS, May 23, 1862.

     "GENERAL:--You will cause all unemployed persons, black and
     white, to be excluded from your lines.

     "You will not permit either black or white persons to pass
     your lines, not officers and soldiers or belonging to the
     navy of the United States, without a pass from these
     headquarters, except they are brought in under guard as
     captured persons, with information, and those to be examined
     and detained as prisoners of war, if they have been in arms
     against the United States, or dismissed and sent away at
     once, as the case may be. This does not apply to boats
     passing up the river without landing within the lines.

     "Provision dealers and marketmen are to be allowed to pass
     in with provisions and their wares, but not to remain over

     "Persons having had their permanent residence within your
     lines before the occupation of our troops, are not to be
     considered unemployed persons.

     "Your officers have reported a large number of servants.
     Every officer so reported employing servants will have the
     allowance for servants deducted from his pay-roll.

                      Respectfully, your obedient servant,

                                                B. F. BUTLER.

     "Brig.-Gen. PHELPS, Commanding Camp Parapet."

This struck Gen. Phelps as an inhuman order, though he obeyed it and
placed the slaves just outside of his camp lines. Here the solders,
having drank in the spirit of their commander, cared for the fugitives
from slavery. But they continued to come, according to divine
appointment, and their increase prompted Gen. Phelps to write this
patriotic, pathetic and eloquent appeal, knowing it must reach the

     "CAMP PARAPET, NEAR CARROLLTON, LA., June 16, 1862.

     "Capt. R. S. DAVIS, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, New Orleans.

     "SIR: I enclose herewith, for the information of the
     major-general commanding the department, a report of Major
     Peck, officer of the day, concerning a large number of
     negroes, of both sexes and all ages, who are lying near our
     pickets, with bag and baggage, as if they had already
     commenced an exodus. Many of these negroes have been sent
     away from one of the neighboring sugar plantations by their
     owner, a Mr. Babilliard La Blanche, who tells them, I am
     informed, that 'the Yankees are king here now, and that they
     must go to their king for food and shelter.'

     "They are of that four millions of our colored subjects who
     have no king or chief, nor in fact any government that can
     secure to them the simplest natural rights. They can not
     even be entered into treaty stipulations with and deported
     to the east, as our Indian tribes have been to the west.
     They have no right to the mediation of a justice of the
     peace or jury between them and chains and lashes. They have
     no right to wages for their labor; no right to the Sabbath;
     no right to the institution of marriage; no right to letters
     or to self-defense. A small class of owners, rendered
     unfeeling, and even unconscious and unreflecting by habit,
     and a large part of them ignorant and vicious, stand between
     them and their government, destroying its sovereignty. This
     government has not the power even to regulate the number of
     lashes that its subjects may receive. It can not say that
     they shall receive thirty-nine instead of forty. To a large
     and growing class of its subjects it can secure neither
     justice, moderation, nor the advantages of Christian
     religion; and if it can not protect _all_ its subjects, it
     can protect none, either black or white.

     "It is nearly a hundred years since our people first
     declared to the nations of the world that all men are born
     free; and still we have not made our declaration good.
     Highly revolutionary measures have since then been adopted
     by the admission of Missouri and the annexation of Texas in
     favor of slavery by the barest majorities of votes, while
     the highly conservative vote of two-thirds has at length
     been attained against slavery, and still slavery
     exists--even, moreover, although two-thirds of the blood in
     the veins of our slaves is fast becoming from our own race.
     If we wait for a larger vote, or until our slaves' blood
     becomes more consanguined still with our own, the danger of
     a violent revolution, over which we can have no control,
     must become more imminent every day. By a course of
     undecided action, determined by no policy but the vague will
     of a war-distracted people, we run the risk of precipitating
     that very revolutionary violence which we seem seeking to

     "Let us regard for a moment the elements of such a

[Illustration: WASHING IN CAMP]

     "Many of the slaves here have been sold away from the border
     States as a punishment, being too refractory to be dealt
     with there in the face of the civilization of the North.
     They come here with the knowledge of the Christian religion,
     with its germs planted and expanding, as it were, in the
     dark, rich soil of their African nature, with feelings of
     relationship with the families from which they came, and
     with a sense of unmerited banishment as culprits, all which
     tends to bring upon them a greater severity of treatment and
     a corresponding disinclination 'to receive punishment'. They
     are far superior beings to their ancestors, who were brought
     from Africa two generations ago, and who occasionally
     rebelled against comparatively less severe punishment than
     is inflicted now. While rising in the scale of Christian
     beings, their treatment is being rendered more severe than
     ever. The whip, the chains, the stocks, and imprisonment are
     no mere fancies here; they are used to any extent to which
     the imagination of civilized man may reach. Many of them are
     as intelligent as their masters, and far more moral, for
     while the slave appeals to the moral law as his vindication,
     clinging to it as to the very horns of the altar of his
     safety and his hope, the master seldom hesitates to wrest
     him from it with violence and contempt. The slave, it is
     true, bears no resentment; he asks for no punishment for his
     master; he simply claims justice for himself; and it is this
     feature of his condition that promises more terror to the
     retribution when it comes. Even now the whites stand
     accursed by their oppression of humanity, being subject to a
     degree of confusion, chaos, and enslavement to error and
     wrong, which northern society could not credit or

     "Added to the four millions of the colored race whose
     disaffection is increasing even more rapidly than their
     number, there are at least four millions more of the white
     race whose growing miseries will naturally seek
     companionship with those of the blacks. This latter portion
     of southern society has its representatives, who swing from
     the scaffold with the same desperate coolness, though from a
     directly different cause, as that which was manifested by
     John Brown. The traitor Mumford, who swung the other day for
     trampling on the national flag, had been rendered placid and
     indifferent in his desperation by a government that either
     could not or would not secure to its subjects the blessings
     of liberty which that flag imports. The South cries for
     justice from the government as well as the North, though in
     a proud and resentful spirit; and in what manner is that
     justice to be obtained? Is it to be secured by that wretched
     resource of a set of profligate politicians, called
     'reconstruction?' No, it is to be obtained by the abolition
     of slavery, and by no other course.

     "It is vain to deny that the slave system of labor is giving
     shape to the government of the society where it exists, and
     that that government is not republican, either in form or
     spirit. It was through this system that the leading
     conspirators have sought to fasten upon the people an
     aristocracy or a despotism; and it is not sufficient that
     they should be merely defeated in their object, and the
     country be rid of their rebellion; for by our constitution
     we are imperatively obliged to sustain the State against the
     ambition of unprincipled leaders, and secure to them the
     republican form of government. We have positive duties to
     perform, and should hence adopt and pursue a positive,
     decided policy. We have services to render to certain states
     which they cannot perform for themselves. We are in an
     emergency which the framers of the constitution might easily
     have foreseen, and for which they have amply provided.

     "It is clear that the public good requires slavery to be
     abolished; but in what manner is it to be done? The mere
     quiet operation of congressional law can not deal with
     slavery as in its former status before the war, because the
     spirit of law is right reason, and there is no reason in
     slavery. A system so unreasonable as slavery can not be
     regulated by reason. We can hardly expect the several states
     to adopt laws or measures against their own immediate
     interests. We have seen that they will rather find arguments
     for crime than seek measures for abolishing or modifying
     slavery. But there is one principle which is fully
     recognized as a necessity in conditions like ours, and that
     is that the public safety is the supreme law of the State,
     and that amid the clash of arms the laws of peace are
     silent. It is then for our president, the commander-in-chief
     of our armies, to declare the abolition of slavery, leaving
     it to the wisdom of congress to adopt measures to meet the
     consequences. This is the usual course pursued by a general
     or by a military power. That power gives orders affecting
     complicated interests and millions of property, leaving it
     to the other functions of government to adjust and regulate
     the effects produced. Let the president abolish slavery, and
     it would be an easy matter for congress, through a
     well-regulated system of apprenticeship, to adopt safe
     measures for effecting a gradual transition from slavery to

     "The existing system of labor in Louisiana is unsuited to
     the age; and by the intrusion of the national forces it
     seems falling to pieces. It is a system of mutual jealousy
     and suspicion between the master and the man--a system of
     violence, immorality and vice. The fugitive negro tells us
     that our presence renders his condition worse with his
     master than it was before, and that we offer no alleviation
     in return. The system is impolitic, because it offers but
     one stimulent to labor and effort, viz.: the lash, when
     another, viz.: money, might be added with good effect. Fear,
     and the other low and bad qualities of the slave, are
     appealed to, but never the good. The relation, therefore,
     between capital and labor, which ought to be generous and
     confiding, is darkling, suspicious, unkindly, full of
     reproachful threats, and without concord or peace. This
     condition of things renders the interests of society a prey
     to politicians. Politics cease to be practical or useful.

     "The questions that ought to have been discussed in the late
     extraordinary convention of Louisiana, are: _First_, What
     ought the State of Louisiana to do to adopt her ancient
     system of labor to the present advanced spirit of the age?
     And _Second_, How can the State be assisted by the general
     government in effecting the change? But instead of this, the
     only question before that body was how to vindicate slavery
     by flogging the Yankees!

     "Compromises hereafter are not to be made with politicians,
     but with sturdy labor and the right to work. The interests
     of workingmen resent political trifling. Our political
     education, shaped almost entirely to the interest of
     slavery, has been false and vicious in the extreme, and it
     must be corrected with as much suddenness, almost, as that
     with which Salem witchcraft came to an end. The only
     question that remains to decide is how the change shall take

     "We are not without examples and precedents in the history
     of the past. The enfranchisement of the people of Europe has
     been, and is still going on, through the instrumentality of
     military service; and by this means our slaves might be
     raised in the scale of civilization and prepared for
     freedom. Fifty regiments might be raised among them at once,
     which could be employed in this climate to preserve order,
     and thus prevent the necessity of retrenching our liberties,
     as we should do by a large army exclusively of whites. For
     it is evident that a considerable army of whites would give
     stringency to our government, while an army, partly of
     blacks, would naturally operate in favor of freedom and
     against those influences which at present most endanger our
     liberties. At the end of five years they could be sent to
     Africa, and their places filled with new enlistments.

     "There is no practical evidence against the effects of
     immediate abolition, even if there is not in its favor. I
     have witnessed the sudden abolition of flogging at will in
     the army, and of legalized flogging in the navy, against the
     prejudice-warped judgments of both, and, from the beneficial
     effects there, I have nothing to fear from the immediate
     abolition of slavery. I fear, rather, the violent
     consequences from a continuance of the evil. But should such
     an act devastate the whole State of Louisiana, and render
     the whole soil here but the mere passage-way of the fruits
     of the enterprise and industry of the Northwest, it would be
     better for the country at large than it is now as the seat
     of disaffection and rebellion.

     "When it is remembered that not a word is found in our
     constitution sanctioning the buying and selling of human
     beings, a shameless act which renders our country the
     disgrace of Christendom, and worse, in this respect, even
     than Africa herself, we should have less dread of seeing the
     degrading traffic stopped at once and forever. Half wages
     are already virtually paid for slave labor in the system of
     tasks which, in an unwilling spirit of compromise, most of
     the slave states have already been compelled to adopt. At
     the end of five years of apprenticeship, or of fifteen at
     farthest, full wages could be paid to the enfranchised negro
     race, to the double advantage of both master and man. This
     is just; for we now hold the slaves of Louisiana by the same
     tenure that the State can alone claim them, viz: by the
     original right of conquest. We have so far conquered them
     that a proclamation setting them free, coupled with offers
     of protection, would devastate every plantation in the

     "In conclusion, I may state that Mr. La Blanche is, as I am
     informed, a descendant from one of the oldest families of
     Louisiana. He is wealthy and a man of standing, and his act
     in sending away his negroes to our lines, with their clothes
     and furniture, appears to indicate the convictions of his
     own mind as to the proper logical consequences and
     deductions that should follow from the present relative
     status of the two contending parties. He seems to be
     convinced that the proper result of the conflict is the
     manumission of the slave, and he may be safely regarded in
     this respect as a representative man of the State. I so
     regard him myself, and thus do I interpret his action,
     although my camp now contains some of the highest symbols of
     secessionism, which have been taken by a party of the
     Seventh Vermont volunteers from his residence.

     "Meantime his slaves, old and young, little ones and all,
     are suffering from exposure and uncertainty as to their
     future condition. Driven away by their master, with threats
     of violence if they return, and with no decided welcome or
     reception from us, what is to be their lot? Considerations
     of humanity are pressing for an immediate solution of their
     difficulties; and they are but a small portion of their race
     who have sought, and are still seeking, our pickets and our
     military stations, declaring that they can not and will not
     any longer serve their masters, and that all they want is
     work and protection from us. In such a state of things, the
     question occurs as to my own action in the case. I cannot
     return them to their masters, who not unfrequently come in
     search of them, for I am, fortunately, prohibited by an
     article of war from doing that, even if my own nature did
     not revolt at it. I can not receive them, for I have neither
     work, shelter, nor the means or plan of transporting them to
     Hayti, or of making suitable arrangements with their masters
     until they can be provided for.

     "It is evident that some plan, some policy, or some system
     is necessary on the part of the government, without which
     the agent can do nothing, and all his efforts are rendered
     useless and of no effect. This is no new condition in which
     I find myself; it is my experience during the some
     twenty-five years of my public life as a military officer of
     the government. The new article of war recently adopted by
     congress, rendering it criminal in an officer of the army to
     return fugitives from injustice, is the first support that I
     have ever felt from the government in contending against
     those slave influences which are opposed to its character
     and to its interests. But the mere refusal to return
     fugitives does not now meet the case. A public agent in the
     present emergency must be invested with wider and more
     positive powers than this, or his services will prove as
     valueless to the country as they are unsatisfactory to

     "Desiring this communication to be laid before the
     president, and leaving my commission at his disposal, I have
     the honor to remain, sir,

                "Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                        J. W. PHELPS, _Brigadier-General._"

On the day on which he received this letter, Gen. Butler forwarded to
Washington this dispatch:

                            "NEW ORLEANS, LA., June 18, 1862.

     "Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

     "SIR:--Since my last dispatch was written, I have received
     the accompanying report from General Phelps.

     "It is not my duty to enter into a discussion of the
     questions which it presents.

     "I desire, however, to state the information of Mr. La
     Blanche, given me by his friends and neighbors, and also
     _Jack_ La Blanche, his slave, who seems to be the leader of
     this party of negroes. Mr. La Blanche I have not seen. He,
     however, claims to be loyal, and to have taken no part in
     the war, but to have lived quietly on his plantation, some
     twelve miles above New Orleans, on the opposite side of the
     river. He has a son in the secession army, whose uniform and
     equipments, &c., are the symbols of secession of which
     General Phelps speaks. Mr. La Blanche's house was searched
     by the order of General Phelps, for arms and contraband of
     war, and his neighbors say that his negroes were told that
     they were free if they would come to the general's camp.

[Illustration: COOKING IN CAMP]

     "That thereupon the negroes, under the lead of Jack,
     determined to leave, and for that purpose crowded into a
     small boat which, from overloading, was in danger of

     "La Blanche then told his negroes that if they were
     determined to go, they would be drowned, and he would hire
     them a large boat to put them across the river, and that
     they might have their furniture if they would go and leave
     his plantation and crop to ruin.

     "They decided to go, and La Blanche did all a man could to
     make that going safe.

     "The account of General Phelps is the negro side of the
     story; that above given is the story of Mr. La Blanche's
     neighbors, some of whom I know to be loyal men.

     "An order against negroes being allowed in camp is the
     reason they are outside.

     "Mr. La Blanche is represented to be a humane man, and did
     not consent to the 'exodus' of his negroes.

     "General Phelps, I believe, intends making this a test case
     for the policy of the government. I wish it might be so, for
     the difference of our action upon this subject is a source
     of trouble. I respect his honest sincerity of opinion, but I
     am a soldier, bound to carry out the wishes of my government
     so long as I hold its commission, and I understand that
     policy to be the one I am pursuing. I do not feel at liberty
     to pursue any other. If the policy of the government is
     nearly that I sketched in my report upon the subject and
     that which I have ordered in this department, then the
     services of General Phelps are worse than useless here. If
     the views set forth in his report are to obtain, then he is
     invaluable, for his whole soul is in it, and he is a good
     soldier of large experience, and no braver man lives. I beg
     to leave the whole question with the president, with perhaps
     the needless assurance that his wishes shall be loyalty
     followed, were they not in accordance with my own, as I have
     now no right to have any upon the subject.

     "I write in haste, as the steamer 'Mississippi' is awaiting
     this dispatch.

     "Awaiting the earliest possible instructions, I have the
     honor to be,

                        "Your most obedient servant,

                        "B. F. BUTLER, _Major General Commanding._"

Gen. Phelps waited about six weeks for a reply, but none came. Meanwhile
the negroes continued to gather at his camp. He said, in regard to not
receiving an answer, "I was left to the inference that silence gives
consent, and proceeded therefore to take such decided measures as
appeared best calculated, to me, to dispose of the difficulty."
Accordingly he made the following requisition upon headquarters:

                          "CAMP PARAPET, LA., July 30, 1862.

     "Captain R. S. DAVIS, A. A. A. General, New Orleans, La.:

     "SIR:--I enclose herewith requisitions for arms,
     accouterments, clothing, camp and garrison equipage, &c.,
     for three regiments of Africans, which I propose to raise
     for the defense of this point. The location is swampy and
     unhealthy, and our men are dying at the rate of two or three
     a day.

     "The southern loyalists are willing, as I understand, to
     furnish their share of the tax for the support of the war;
     but they should also furnish their quota of men, which they
     have not thus far done. An opportunity now offers of
     supplying the deficiency; and it is not safe to neglect
     opportunities in war. I think that, with the proper
     facilities, I could raise the three regiments proposed in a
     short time. Without holding out any inducements, or offering
     any reward, I have now upward of three hundred Africans
     organized into five companies, who are all willing and ready
     to show their devotion to our cause in any way that it may
     be put to the test. They are willing to submit to anything
     rather than to slavery.

     Society in the South seems to be on the point of
     dissolution; and the best way of preventing the African from
     becoming instrumental in a general state of anarchy, is to
     enlist him in the cause of the Republic. If we reject his
     services, any petty military chieftain, by offering him
     freedom, can have them for the purpose of robbery and
     plunder. It is for the interests of the South, as well of
     the North, that the African should be permitted to offer his
     block for the temple of freedom. Sentiments unworthy of the
     man of the present day--worthy only of another Cain--could
     alone prevent such an offer from being accepted.

     I would recommend that the cadet graduates of the present
     year should be sent to South Carolina and this point to
     organize and discipline our African levies, and that the
     more promising non-commissioned officers and privates of the
     army be appointed as company officers to command them.
     Prompt and energetic efforts in this direction would
     probably accomplish more toward a speedy termination of the
     war, and an early restoration of peace and unity, than any
     other course which could be adopted.

     "I have the honor to remain, sir,
          very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                    J. W. PHELPS, _Brigadier-General._"

This reply was received:

                                     NEW ORLEANS, July 31, 1862.

     "GENERAL:--The general commanding wishes you to employ the
     contrabands in and about your camp in cutting down all the
     trees, &c., between your lines and the lake, and in forming
     abatis, according to the plan agreed upon between you and
     Lieutenant Weitzel when he visited you some time since. What
     wood is not needed by you is much needed in this city. For
     this purpose I have ordered the quartermaster to furnish you
     with axes, and tents for the contrabands to be quartered in.

       "I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

                          "By order of Major-General BUTLER.

        "R. S. DAVIS, Capt. and A. A. A. G.

     "To Brigadier-General J. W. PHELPS, Camp Parapet."

General Butler's effort to turn the attention of Gen. Phelps to the law
of Congress recently passed was of no avail, that officer was determined
in his policy of warring on the enemy; but finding General Butler as
firm in his policy of leniency, and knowing of his strong pro-slavery
sentiments prior to the war,--notwithstanding his "contraband" order at
Fortress Monroe,--General Phelps felt as though he would be humiliated
if he departed from his own policy and became what he regarded as a
slave-driver, therefore he determined to resign. He replied to General
Butler as follows:

                        "CAMP PARAPET, LA., July 31, 1862.

     "Captain R. S. DAVIS, A. A. A. General, New Orleans, La.:

     "SIR:--The communication from your office of this date,
     signed, 'By order of Major-General Butler,' directing me to
     employ the 'contrabands' in and about my camp in cutting
     down all the trees between my lines and the lake, etc., has
     just been received.

     "In reply, I must state that while I am willing to prepare
     African regiments for the defense of the government against
     its assailants, I am not willing to become the mere
     slave-driver which you propose, having no qualifications in
     that way. I am, therefore, under the necessity of tendering
     the resignation of my commission as an officer of the army
     of the United States, and respectfully request a leave of
     absence until it is accepted, in accordance with paragraph
     29, page 12, of the general regulations.

     "While I am writing, at half-past eight o'clock P. M., a
     colored man is brought in by one of the pickets who has just
     been wounded in the side by a charge of shot, which he says
     was fired at him by one of a party of three slave-hunters or
     guerillas, a mile or more from our line of sentinels. As it
     is some distance from the camp to the lake, the party of
     wood-choppers which you have directed will probably need a
     considerable force to guard them against similar attacks.

     "I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

                          "J. W. PHELPS, _Brigadier-General._"

Phelps was one of Butler's most trusted commanders, and the latter
endeavored, but in vain, to have him reconsider his resignation. General
Butler wrote him:

                            NEW ORLEANS, August, 2, 1862.

     "GENERAL:--I was somewhat surprised to receive your
     resignation for the reasons stated.

     "When you were put in command at Camp Parapet, I sent
     Lieutenant Weitzel, my chief engineer, to make a
     reconnoissance of the lines of Carrollton, and I understand
     it was agreed between you and the engineer that a removal
     of the wood between Lake Pontchartrain and the right of your
     intrenchment was a necessary military precaution. The work
     could not be done at that time because of the stage of water
     and the want of men. But now both water and men concur. You
     have five hundred Africans organized into companies, you
     write me. This work they are fitted to do. It must either be
     done by them or my soldiers, now drilled and disciplined.
     You have said the location is unhealthy for the soldier; it
     is not to the negro; is it not best that these unemployed
     Africans should do this labor? My attention is specially
     called to this matter at the present time, because there are
     reports of demonstrations to be made on your lines by the
     rebels, and in my judgment it is a matter of necessary
     precaution thus to clear the right of your line, so that you
     can receive the proper aid from the gunboats on the lake,
     besides preventing the enemy from having cover. To do this
     the negroes ought to be employed; and in so employing them I
     see no evidence of 'slave-driving' or employing you as a

     "The soldiers of the Army of the Potomac did this very thing
     last summer in front of Arlington Heights; are the negroes
     any better than they?

     "Because of an order to do this necessary thing to protect
     your front, threatened by the enemy, you tender your
     resignation and ask immediate leave of absence. I assure you
     I did not expect this, either from your courage, your
     patriotism, or your good sense. To resign in the face of an
     enemy has not been the highest plaudit to a soldier,
     especially when the reason assigned is that he is ordered to
     do that which a recent act of congress has specially
     authorized a military commander to do, _i. e._, employ the
     Africans to do the necessary work about a camp or upon a

     "General, your resignation will not be accepted by me, leave
     of absence will not be granted, and you will see to it that
     my orders, thus necessary for the defense of the city, are
     faithfully and diligently executed, upon the responsibility
     that a soldier in the field owes to his superior. I will see
     that all proper requisitions for the food, shelter, and
     clothing of these negroes so at work are at once filled by
     the proper departments. You will also send out a proper
     guard to protect the laborers against the guerilla force, if
     any, that may be in the neighborhood.

       "I am your obedient servant,

              "BENJ. F. BUTLER, _Major-General Commanding._

     "Brigadier-General J. W. PHELPS, _Commanding at Camp Parapet._"

On the same day, General Butler wrote again to General Phelps:

                                  "NEW ORLEANS, August 2, 1862.

     "GENERAL:--By the act of congress, as I understand it, the
     president of the United States alone has the authority to
     employ Africans in arms as a part of the military forces of
     the United States.

     "Every law up to this time raising volunteer or militia
     forces has been opposed to their employment. The president
     has not as yet indicated his purpose to employ the Africans
     in arms.

     "The arms, clothing, and camp equipage which I have here for
     the Louisiana volunteers, is, by the letter of the secretary
     of war, expressly limited to white soldiers, so that I have
     no authority to divert them, however much I may desire so to

     "I do not think you are empowered to organize into companies
     negroes, and drill them as a military organization, as I am
     not surprised, but unexpectedly informed you have done. I
     cannot sanction this course of action as at present advised,
     specially when we have need of the services of the blacks,
     who are being sheltered upon the outskirts of your camp, as
     you will see by the orders for their employment sent you by
     the assistant adjutant-general.

     "I will send your application to the president, but in the
     mean time you must desist from the formation of any negro
     military organization.

         "I am your obedient servant,

                "BENJ. F. BUTLER, _Major-General Commanding._

     "Brigadier-General PHELPS, _commanding forces at Camp Parapet._"

General Phelps' resignation was accepted by the Government. He received
notification of the fact on the 8th of September and immediately
prepared to return to his farm in Vermont. In parting with his officers,
who were, like his soldiers, much attached to him, he said: "And now,
with earnest wishes for your welfare, and aspirations for the success of
the great cause for which you are here, I bid you good-bye." Says

     "When at length, the government had arrived at a negro
     policy, and was arming slaves, the president offered General
     Phelps a major-general's commission. He replied, it is said,
     that he would willingly accept the commission if it were
     dated back to the day of his resignation, so as to carry
     with it an approval of his course at Camp Parapet. This was
     declined, and General Phelps remains in retirement. I
     suppose the president felt that an indorsement of General
     Phelps' conduct would imply a censure of General Butler,
     whose conduct every candid person, I think, must admit, was
     just, forbearing, magnanimous."

General Butler was carrying out the policy of the Government at that
time, but it was not long before he found it necessary to inaugurate a
policy of his own for the safety of his command. On the 5th of August
Breckenridge assaulted Baton Rouge, the capital of the State, which
firmly convinced General Butler of the necessity of raising troops to
defend New Orleans. He had somewhat realized his situation in July and
appealed to the "home authorities" for reinforcements, but none could be
sent. Still, the Secretary of War said to him, in reply to his
application: "New Orleans must be held at all hazards."

With New Orleans threatened and no hope of reinforcement, General
Butler, on the 22d day of August, before General Phelps had retired to
private life, was obliged to accept the policy of arming negroes. He
issued the following order:

     GENERAL ORDERS          "NEW ORLEANS, August 22, 1862.
        NO. 63.

     "Whereas on the 23d day of April, in the year eighteen
     hundred and sixty-one, at a public meeting of the free
     colored population of the city of New Orleans, a military
     organization, known as the "Native Guards" (colored,) had
     its existence, which military organization was duly and
     legally enrolled as a part of the militia of the State, its
     officers being commissioned by Thomas O. Moore, Governor and
     Commander-in-Chief of the militia of the State of Louisiana,
     in the form following, that is to say:

                            "'THE STATE OF LOUISIANA.
                              [Seal of the State.]

     "'By Thomas Overton Moore, Governor of the State of
     Louisiana, and commander-in-chief of the militia thereof.

     "'In the name and by the authority of the State of
     Louisiana: Know ye that ----- ----, having been duly and
     legally elected captain of the "Native Guards" (colored,)
     1st division of the Militia of Louisiana, to serve for the
     term of the war,

     "'I do hereby appoint and commission him captain as
     aforesaid, to take rank as such, from the 2d day of May,
     eighteen hundred and sixty-one.

     "'He is, therefore, carefully and diligently to discharge
     the duties of his office by doing and performing all manner
     of things thereto belonging. And I do strictly charge and
     require all officers, non-commissioned officers and privates
     under his command, to be obedient to his orders as captain;
     and he is to observe and follow such orders and directions,
     from time to time, as he shall receive from me, or the
     future Governor of the State of Louisiana, or other superior
     officers, according to the Rules and Articles of War, and in
     conformity to law.

     "'In testimony whereof, I have caused these letters to be
     made patent, and the seal of the State to be hereunto

     "'Given under my hand, at the city of Baton Rouge, on the
     second day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand
     eight hundred and sixty-one.

     [L.S.]                    [Signed,] THOS. O. MOORE.
     "'By the Governor:
       [Signed,]                "'P. D. Hardy, Secretary of State.

     "'I, Maurice Grivot, Adjutant and Inspector General of the
     State of Louisiana, do hereby certify that ---- ----, named
     in the within commission, did, on the second day of May, in
     the year 1861, deposit in my office his written acceptance
     of the office to which he is commissioned, and his oath of
     office taken according to law.

                                      [Signed,] "'M. GRIVOT,
                        Adjutant and Inspector General, La.'

     "And whereas, said military organization elicited praise and
     respect, and was complimented in General Orders for its
     patriotism and loyalty, and was ordered to continue during
     the war, in the words following:


     "'Order No. 426.]     "'Adjutant General's Office, March 24, 1862.

     "'I.--The Governor and Commander-in-Chief, relying
     implicitly upon the loyalty of the free colored population
     of the city and State for the protection of their homes,
     their property, and for Southern rights, from the pollution
     of a ruthless invader, and believing that the military
     organization which existed prior to the 15th of February,
     1862, and elicited praise and respect for the patriotic
     motives which prompted it, should exist for and during the
     war, calls upon them to maintain their organization, and to
     hold themselves prepared for such orders as may be
     transmitted to them.

     "'II.--The colonel commanding will report without delay to
     Major General Lewis, commanding State militia.

                "'By order of THOS. O. MOORE, Governor.

     [Signed,] M. GRIVOT, Adjutant General.'

     "And whereas, said military organization, by the same order,
     was directed to report to Major-General Lewis for service,
     but did not leave the city of New Orleans when he did:

     "Now, therefore, the Commanding General, believing that a
     large portion of this militia force of the State of
     Louisiana are willing to take service in the volunteer
     forces of the United States, and be enrolled and organized
     to 'defend their homes from 'ruthless invaders;' to protect
     their wives and children and kindred from wrong and outrage;
     to shield their property from being seized by bad men; and
     to defend the flag of their native country as their fathers
     did under Jackson at Chalmette against Packenham and his
     myrmidons, carrying the black flag of 'beauty and booty;'

     "Appreciating their motives, relying upon their 'well-known
     loyalty and patriotism,' and with 'praise and respect' for
     these brave men--it is ordered that all the members of the
     'Native Guards' aforesaid, and all other free colored
     citizens recognized by the first and late governor and
     authorities of the State of Louisiana as a portion of the
     militia of the State, who shall enlist in the volunteer
     service of the United States, shall be duly organized by the
     appointment of proper officers, and accepted, paid,
     equipped, armed and rationed as are other volunteer troops
     of the United States, subject to the approval of the
     President of the United States. All such persons are
     required at once to report themselves at the Touro Charity
     Building, Front Levee St., New Orleans, where proper
     officers will muster them into the service of the United

              "By command of Major General Butler:

                          "R. S. DAVIS, _Capt. and A. A. A. G._"

Notwithstanding the harsh treatment they had been receiving from
Military-Governor Shepley and the Provost Guard, the rendezvous
designated was the scene of a busy throng the next day. Thousands of men
were enlisted during the first week, and in fourteen days a regiment was
organized. The first regiment's line officers were colored, and the
field officers were white. Those who made up this regiment were not all
free negroes by more than half. Any negro who would swear that he was
free, if physically good, was accepted, and of the many thousand slave
fugitives in the city from distant plantations, hundreds found their way
into Touro building and ultimately into the ranks of the three regiments
formed at that building. The second, like the first, had all colored
line officers; the third was officered regardless of color. This was
going beyond the line laid down by General Phelps. He proposed that
white men should take command of these troops exclusively. By November
these three regiments were in the field, where in course of time they
often met their former masters face to face and exchanged shots with
them. The pro-slavery men of the North and their newspapers endeavored
to make the soldiers in the field believe that the negroes would not
fight; while not only the papers and the soldiers, but many officers,
especially those from the West Point Academy, denounced General Butler
for organizing the regiments. General Weitzel, to whose command these
regiments were assigned in an expedition up the river, objected to them,
and asked Butler to relieve him of the command of the expedition. Butler
wrote him in reply:

     "You say that in these organizations you have no confidence.
     As your reading must have made you aware, General Jackson
     entertained a different opinion upon that subject. It was
     arranged between the commanding general and yourself, that
     the colored regiments should be employed in guarding the
     railroad. You don't complain, in your report, that they
     either failed in this duty, or that they have acted
     otherwise than correctly and obediently to the commands of
     their officers, or that they have committed any outrage or
     pillage upon the inhabitants. The general was aware of your
     opinion, that colored men will not fight. You have failed to
     show, by the conduct of these free men, so far, anything to
     sustain that opinion. And the general cannot see why you
     should decline the command, especially as you express a
     willingness to go forward to meet the only organized enemy
     with your brigade alone, without farther support. The
     commanding general cannot see how the fact that they are
     guarding your line of communication by railroad, can weaken
     your defense. He must, therefore, look to the other reasons
     stated by you, for an explanation of your declining the

     "You say that since the arrival of the negro regiment you
     have seen symptoms of a servile insurrection. But as the
     only regiment that arrived there got there as soon as your
     own command, of course the appearance of such symptoms is
     since their arrival.

     "Have you not mistaken the cause? Is it the arrival of a
     negro regiment, or is it the arrival of United States
     troops, carrying by the act of congress freedom to this
     servile race? Did you expect to march into that country,
     drained, as you say it is, by conscription of all its
     able-bodied white men, without leaving the negroes free to
     show symptoms of servile insurrection? Does not this state
     of things arise from the very fact of war itself? You are in
     a country where now the negroes outnumber the whites ten to
     one, and these whites are in rebellion against the
     government, or in terror seeking its protection. Upon
     reflection, can you doubt that the same state of things
     would have arisen without the presence of a colored
     regiment? Did you not see symptoms of the same things upon
     the plantations here upon our arrival, although, under much
     less favorable circumstances for revolt?

     "You say that the prospect of such an insurrection is
     heart-rending, and that you cannot be responsible for it.
     The responsibility rests upon those who have begun and
     carried out this war, and who have stopped at no barbarity,
     at no act of outrage, upon the citizens and soldiers of the
     United States. You have forwarded me the records of a
     pretended court-martial, showing that seven men of one of
     your regiments, who enlisted here in the Eighth Vermont, who
     had surrendered themselves prisoners of war, were in cold
     blood murdered, and, as certain information shows me,
     required to dig their own graves! You are asked if this is
     not an occurrence as heart-rending as a prospective servile

     "The question is now to be met, whether, in a hostile,
     rebellious part of the state, where this very murder has
     been committed by the militia, you are to stop in the
     operations of the field to put down servile insurrection,
     because the men and women are terror-stricken? Whenever was
     it heard before that a victorious general, in an
     unsurrendered province, stopped in his course for the
     purpose of preventing the rebellious inhabitants of that
     province from destroying each other, or refuse to take
     command of a conquered province lest he should be made
     responsible for their self-destruction?

     "As a military question, perhaps, the more terror-stricken
     the inhabitants are that are left in your rear, the more
     safe will be your lines of communication. You say there have
     appeared before your eyes the very facts, in terror-stricken
     women and children and men, which you had before
     contemplated in theory. Grant it. But is not the remedy to
     be found in the surrender of the neighbors, fathers,
     brothers, and sons of the terror-stricken women and
     children, who are now in arms against the government within
     twenty miles of you? And when that is done, and you have no
     longer to fear from these organized forces, and they have
     returned peaceably to their homes, you will be able to use
     the full power of your troops to insure your safety from the
     so much feared (by them, not by you) servile insurrection.

[Illustration: POINT ISABEL, TEXAS. Phalanx soldiers on duty, throwing
up earthworks.]

     "If you desire, you can send a flag of truce to the
     commander of these forces, embracing these views, and
     placing upon him the responsibility which belongs to him.
     Even that course will not remove it from you, for upon you
     it has never rested. Say to them, that if all armed
     opposition to the authority of the United States shall cease
     in Louisiana, on the west bank of the river, you are
     authorized by the commanding general to say, that the same
     protection against negro or other violence will be afforded
     that part of Louisiana that has been in the part already in
     the possession of the United States. If that is refused,
     whatever may ensue is upon them, and not upon you or upon
     the United States. You will have done all that is required
     of a brave, humane man, to avert from these deluded people
     the horrible consequences of their insane war upon the
     government. * * * *

     "Consider this case. General Bragg is at liberty to ravage
     the houses of our brethren of Kentucky because the Union
     army of Louisiana are protecting his wife and his home
     against his negroes. Without that protection he would have
     to come back to take care of his wife, his home and his
     negroes. It is understood that Mrs. Bragg is one of the
     terrified women of whom you speak in your report.

     "This subject is not for the first time under the
     consideration of the commanding general. When in command of
     the Department of Annapolis, in May, 1861, he was asked to
     protect a community against the consequences of a servile
     insurrection. He replied, that when that community laid down
     its arms, and called upon him for protection, he would give
     it, because from that moment between them and him war would
     cease. The same principle initiated there will govern his
     and your actions now; and you will afford such protection as
     soon as the community through its organized rulers shall ask

     " * * * * In the mean time, these colored regiments of free
     men, raised by the authority of the president, and approved
     by him as the commander-in-chief of the army, must be
     commanded by the officers of the army of the United States,
     like any other regiment."

General Butler continued General Weitzel in command but placed the
negroes under another officer. However, General Weitzel; like thousands
of others, changed his mind in regard to the colored troops. "If he was
not convinced by General Butler's reasoning," says Parton, "he must have
been convinced by what he saw of the conduct of those very colored
regiments at Port Hudson, where he himself gave such a glorious example
of prudence and gallantry."

Notwithstanding these troops did good service, it did not soften or
remove very much of the prejudice at the North against the negro
soldiers, nor in the ranks of the army. Many incidents might be cited to
show the feeling of bitterness against them.[22] However, General
Butler's example was followed very soon by every officer in command, and
by the time the President's Emancipation Proclamation was issued there
were not less than 10,000 negroes armed and equipped along the
Mississippi river. Of course the Government knew nothing of this.(?)
Not only armed, but some of them had been in skirmishes with the enemy.
That as a Phalanx they were invaluable in crushing the rebellion, let
their acts of heroism tell. In the light of history and of their own
deeds, it can be said that in courage, patriotism and dash, they were
second to no troops, either in ancient or modern armies. They were
enlisted after rigid scrutiny, and the examination of every man by
competent surgeons. Their acquaintance with the country in which they
marched, encamped and fought, made them in many instances superior to
the white troops. Then to strengthen their valor and tenacity, each
soldier of the Phalanx knew when he heard the long roll beat to arms,
and the bugle sound the charge, that they were not to go forth to meet
those who regarded them as opponents in arms, but who met them as a man
in his last desperate effort for life would meet demons; they knew,
also, that there was no reserve--no reinforcements behind to support
them when they went to battle; their alternative was _life or death_. It
was the consciousness of this fact that made the black phalanx a wall of
adamant to the enemy.

The not unnatural willingness of the white soldiers to allow the negro
troops to stop the bullets that they would otherwise have to receive was
shown in General Bank's Red River Campaign. At Pleasant Grove, Dickey's
black brigade prevented a slaughter of the Union troops. The black
Phalanx were represented there by a brigade attached to the first
division of the 19th Corps. When the confederates routed the army under
Banks at Sabine Cross Roads, below Mansfield, they drove it for several
hours toward Pleasant Grove, despite the ardor of the combined forces of
Banks and Franklin. It became apparent that unless the confederates
could be checked at this point, all was lost. General Emory prepared for
the emergency on the western edge of a wood, with an open field sloping
toward Mansfield. Here General Dwight formed a brigade of the black
Phalanx across the road. Hardly was the line formed when out came the
gallant foe driving 10,000 men before them. Flushed with two days'
victory, they came charging at double quick time, but the Phalanx held
its fire until the enemy was close upon them, and then poured a deadly
volley into the ranks of the exultant foe, stopping them short and
mowing them down like grass. The confederates recoiled, and now began a
fight such as was always fought when the Southerners became aware that
black soldiers were in front of them, and for an hour and a half they
fought at close quarters, ceasing only at night. Every charge of the
enemy was repulsed by the steady gallantry of General Emory's brigade
and the black Phalanx, who saved the army from annihilation against a
foe numbering three to one. During this memorable campaign the Phalanx
more than once met the enemy and accepted the face of their black flag
declarations. The confederates knew full well that every man of the
Phalanx would fight to the last; they had learned that long before.


Negroes enlisting in the army, and being examined by surgeons.]

As early as June, 1863, General Grant was compelled, in order to show a
bold front to Gens. Pemberton and Johnston at the same time, while
besieging Vicksburg, to draw nearly all the troops from Milliken's Bend
to his support, leaving three infantry regiments of the black Phalanx
and a small force of white cavalry to hold this, to him an all important
post. Milliken's Bend was well fortified, and with a proper garrison was
in condition to stand a siege. Brigadier-General Dennis was in command,
and the troops consisted of the 9th and 11th Louisiana Regiments, the
1st Mississippi and a small detachment of white cavalry, in all about
1,400 men, raw recruits. General Dennis looking upon the place more as a
station for organizing and drilling the Phalanx, had made no particular
arrangements in anticipation of an attack. He was surprised, therefore,
when a force of 3,000 men, under General Henry McCulloch, from the
interior of Louisiana, attacked and drove his pickets and two companies
of the 23d Iowa Cavalry, (white) up to the breastworks of the Bend. The
movement was successful, however, and the confederates, holding the
ground, rested for the night, with the expectation of marching into the
fortifications in the morning, to begin a massacre, whether a resistance
should be shown them or not. The knowledge this little garrison had of
what the morrow would bring it, doubtless kept the soldiers awake,
preparing to meet the enemy and their own fate. About 3 o'clock, in the
early grey of the morning, the confederate line was formed just outside
of the intrenchments; suddenly with fixed bayonets the men came rushing
over the works, driving everything before them and shouting, "No
quarter! No quarter to negroes or their officers!" In a moment the
blacks formed and met them, and now the battle began in earnest, hand to
hand. The gunboats "Choctaw" and "Lexington" also came up as the
confederates were receiving the bayonets and the bullets of the
Unionists, and lent material assistance. The attacking force had flanked
the works and was pouring in a deadly, enfilading musketry fire. The
defenders fell back out of the way of the gunboat's shells, but finally
went forward again with what was left of their 150 white allies, and
drove the enemy before them and out of the captured works. One division
of the enemy's troops hesitated to leave a redoubt, when a company of
brave black men dashed forward at double-quick time and engaged them.
The enemy stood his ground, and soon the rattling bayonets rang out amid
the thunders of the gunboats and the shouts of enraged men; but they
were finally driven out, and their ranks thinned by the "Choctaw" as
they went over the works. The news reached General Grant and he
immediately dispatched General Mower's brigade with orders to re-enforce
Dennis and drive the confederates beyond the Tensas river.

A battle can be best described by one who observed it. Captain Miller,
who not only was an eye-witness, but participated in the Milliken's Bend
fight, writes as follows:

     "We were attacked here on June 7, about three o'clock in the
     morning, by a brigade of Texas troops, about two thousand
     five hundred in number. We had about six hundred men to
     withstand them, five hundred of them negroes. I commanded
     Company I, Ninth Louisiana. We went into the fight with
     thirty-three men. I had sixteen killed, eleven badly
     wounded, and four slightly. I was wounded slightly on the
     head, near the right eye, with a bayonet, and had a bayonet
     run through my right hand, near the forefinger; that will
     account for this miserable style of penmanship.

     "Our regiments had about three hundred men in the fight. We
     had one colonel wounded, four captains wounded, two first
     and two second lieutenants killed, five lieutenants wounded,
     and three white orderlies killed, and one wounded in the
     hand, and two fingers taken off. The list of killed and
     wounded officers comprised nearly all the officers present
     with the regiment, a majority of the rest being absent


     "We had about fifty men killed in the regiment and eighty
     wounded; so you can judge of what part of the fight my
     company sustained. I never felt more grieved and sick at
     heart, than when I saw how my brave soldiers had been
     slaughtered,--one with six wounds, all the rest with two or
     three, none less than two wounds. Two of my colored
     sergeants were killed; both brave, noble men, always prompt,
     vigilant, and ready for the fray. I never more wish to hear
     the expression, 'The niggers won't fight.' Come with me, a
     hundred yards from where I sit, and I can show you the
     wounds that cover the bodies of sixteen as brave, loyal, and
     patriotic soldiers as ever drew bead on a rebel.

     "The enemy charged us so close that we fought with our
     bayonets, hand to hand. I have six broken bayonets to show
     how bravely my men fought. The Twenty-third Iowa joined my
     company on the right; and I declare truthfully that they had
     all fled before our regiment fell back, as we were all
     compelled to do.

     "Under command of Col. Page, I led the Ninth and Eleventh
     Louisiana when the rifle-pits were retaken and held by our
     troops, our two regiments doing the work.

     "I narrowly escaped death once. A rebel took deliberate aim
     at me with both barrels of his gun; and the bullets passed
     so close to me that the powder that remained on them burnt
     my cheek. Three of my men, who saw him aim and fire, thought
     that he wounded me each fire; One of them was killed by my
     side, and he fell on me, covering my clothes with his blood;
     and, before the rebel could fire again, I blew his brains
     out with my gun.

     "It was a horrible fight, the worst I was ever engaged
     in,--not even excepting Shiloh. The enemy cried, 'No
     quarter!' but some of them were very glad to take it when
     made prisoners.

     "Col. Allen, of the Sixteenth Texas, was killed in front of
     our regiment, and Brig.-Gen. Walker was wounded. We killed
     about one hundred and eighty of the enemy. The gunboat
     "Choctaw" did good service shelling them. I stood on the
     breastworks after we took them, and gave the elevations and
     direction for the gunboat by pointing my sword; and they
     sent a shell right into their midst, which sent them in all
     directions. Three shells fell there, and sixty-two rebels
     lay there when the fight was over.

            *       *       *       *

     "This battle satisfied the slave-masters of the South that
     their charm was gone; and that the negro as a slave, was
     lost forever. Yet there was one fact connected with the
     battle of Milliken's Bend which will descend to posterity,
     as testimony against the humanity of slave-holders; and that
     is, that no negro was ever found alive that was taken a
     prisoner by the rebels in this fight."

The Department of the Gulf contained a far greater proportion of the
Phalanx than did any other Department, and there were very few, if any,
important engagements fought in this Department in which the Phalanx did
not take part.

It is unpleasant here, in view of the valuable services rendered by the
Phalanx, to be obliged to record that the black soldiers were subjected
to many indignities, and suffered much at the hands of their white
fellow comrades in arms. Repeated assaults and outrages were committed
upon black men wearing the United States' uniform, not only by
volunteers but conscripts from the various States, and frequently by
confederate prisoners who had been paroled by the United States; these
outrages were allowed to take place, without interference by the
commanding officers, who apparently did not observe what was going on.

At Ship Island, Miss., there were three companies of the 13th Maine,
General Neal Dow's old regiment, and seven companies of the 2nd Regiment
Phalanx, commanded by Colonel Daniels, which constituted the garrison at
that point. Ship Island was the key to New Orleans. On the opposite
shore was a railroad leading to Mobile by which re-enforcements were
going forward to Charleston. Colonel Daniels conceived the idea of
destroying the road to prevent the transportation of the confederate
troops. Accordingly, with about two hundred men he landed at Pascagoula,
on the morning of the 9th of April. Pickets were immediately posted on
the outskirts of the town, while the main body marched up to the hotel.
Before long some confederate cavalry, having been apprised of the
movement, advanced, drove in the pickets, and commenced an attack on the
force occupying the town. The cavalry made a bold dash upon the left of
the negroes, which was the work of but a moment; the brave blacks met
their charge manfully, and emptied the saddles of the front rank, which
caused the rear ones first to halt and then retire. The blacks were
outnumbered, however, five to one, and finally were forced to abandon
the town; they went, taking with them the stars and stripes which they
had hoisted upon the hotel when entering it. They fell back towards the
river to give the gunboat "Jackson" a chance to shell their pursuers,
but the movement resulted in an apparently revengeful act on the part of
the crew of that vessel, they having previously had some of their number
killed in the course of a difficulty with a black sentry at Ship Island.

The commanding officer of the land force, doubtless from prudential
reasons, omitted to state in his report that the men fought their way
through the town while being fired upon from house-tops and windows by
boys and women. That the gunboat opened fire directly on them when they
were engaged in a hand to hand conflict, which so completely cut off a
number of the men from the main body of the troops that their capture
appeared certain. Major Dumas, however, seeing the condition of things,
put spurs to his horse and went to their succor, reaching them just as a
company of the enemy's cavalry made a charge. The Major, placing himself
at the head of the hard-pressed men, not only repulsed the cavalry and
rescued the squad, but captured the enemy's standard-bearer. The
retreating force reached their transport with the loss of only one man;
they brought with them some prisoners and captured flags. Colonel
Daniels, in his report, speaks as follows of the heroism of the


       *       *       *       *

     "The expedition was a perfect success, accomplishing all
     that was intended; resulting in the repulse of the enemy in
     every engagement with great loss; whilst our casualty was
     only two killed and eight wounded. Great credit is due to
     the troops engaged, for their unflinching bravery and
     steadiness under this their first fire, exchanging volley
     after volley with the coolness of veterans; and for their
     determined tenacity in maintaining their position, and
     taking advantage of every success that their courage and
     valor gave them; and also to their officers, who were cool
     and determined throughout the action, fighting their
     commands against five times their numbers, and confident
     throughout of success,--all demonstrating to its fullest
     extent that the oppression which they have heretofore
     undergone from the hands of their foes, and the obloquy that
     had been showered upon them by those who should have been
     friends, had not extinguished their manhood, or suppressed
     their bravery, and that they had still a hand to wield the
     sword, and a heart to vitalize its blow.

     "I would particularly call the attention of the Department
     to Major F. E. Dumas, Capt. Villeverd, and Lieuts. Jones and
     Martin, who were constantly in the thickest of the fight,
     and by their unflinching bravery, and admirable handling of
     their commands, contributed to the success of the attack,
     and reflected great honor upon the flag under and for which
     they so nobly struggled. Repeated instances of individual
     bravery among the troops might be mentioned; but it would be
     invidious where all fought so manfully and so well.

     "I have the honor to be, most respectfully your obedient servant,

                                            "N. U. DANIELS,

           "_Col. Second Regiment La. N. G. Vols., Commanding Post._"

The 2nd Regiment, with the exception of the Colonel, Lieut.-Colonel and
Adjutant, was officered by negroes, many of whom had worn the galling
chains of slavery, while others were men of affluence and culture from
New Orleans and vicinity.

The 2nd Regiment had its full share of prejudice to contend with, and
perhaps suffered more from that cause than any other regiment of the
Phalanx. Once while loading transports at Algiers, preparatory to
embarking for Ship Island, they came in contact with a section of the
famous Nim's battery, rated as one of the finest in the service. The
arms of the 2nd Regiment were stacked and the men were busy in loading
the vessel, save a few who were doing guard duty over the ammunition
stored in a shed on the wharf. One of the battery-men attempted to enter
the shed with a lighted pipe in his mouth, but was prevented by the
guard. It was more than the Celt could stand to be ordered by a negro;
watching for a chance when the guard about-faced, he with several others
sprang upon him. The guard gave the Phalanx signal, and instantly
hundreds of black men secured their arms and rushed to the relief of
their comrade. The battery-men jumped to their guns, formed into line
and drew their sabres. Lieut.-Colonel Hall, who was in command of the
2nd Regiment, stepped forward and demanded to know of the commander of
the battery if his men wanted to take the men the guard had arrested.
"Yes," was the officer's reply, "I want you to give them up." "Not until
they are dealt with," said Colonel Hall. And then a shout and yell, such
as the Phalanx only were able to give, rent the air, and the abortive
menace was over. The gunners returned their sabres and resumed their
work. Col. Hall, who always had perfect control of his men, ordered the
guns stacked, put on a double guard, and the men of the 2nd Regiment
resumed their labor of loading the transport. Of course this was early
in the struggle, and before a general enlistment of the blacks.

The first, second and third regiments of the Phalanx were the nucleus of
the one hundred and eighty that eventually did so much for the
suppression of the rebellion and the abolition of slavery. The 1st and
3rd Regiments went up the Mississippi; the 2nd garrisoned Ship Island
and Fort Pike, on Lake Pontchartrain, after protecting for several
months the Opelousa railroad, so much coveted by the confederates.

A few weeks after the fight of the 2nd Regiment at Pascagoula, General
Banks laid siege to Port Hudson, and gathered there all the available
forces in his department. Among these were the 1st and 3rd Infantry
Regiments of the Phalanx. On the 23rd of May the federal forces, having
completely invested the enemy's works and made due preparation, were
ordered to make a general assault along the whole line. The attack was
intended to be simultaneous, but in this it failed. The Union batteries
opened early in the morning, and after a vigorous bombardment Generals
Weitzel, Grover and Paine, on the right, assaulted with vigor at 10 A.
M., while Gen. Augur in the center, and General W. T. Sherman on the
left, did not attack till 2 P. M.

Never was fighting more heroic than that of the federal army and
especially that of the Phalanx regiments If valor could have triumphed
over such odds, the assaulting forces would have carried the works, but
only abject cowardice or pitiable imbecility could have lost such a
position under existing circumstances. The negro regiments on the north
side of the works vied with the bravest, making three desperate charges
on the confederate batteries, losing heavily, but maintaining their
position in the advance all the while.

The column in moving to the attack went through the woods in their
immediate front, and then upon a plane, on the farther side of which,
half a mile distant, were the enemy's batteries. The field was covered
with recently felled trees, through the interlaced branches of which the
column moved, and for two or more hours struggled through the obstacles,
stepping over their comrades who fell among the entangled brushwood
pierced by bullets or torn by flying missiles, and braved the hurricane
of shot and shell.

What did it avail to hurl a few thousand troops against those
impregnable works? The men were not iron, and were they, it would have
been impossible for them to have kept erect, where trees three feet in
diameter were crashed down upon them by the enemy's shot; they would
have been but as so many ten-pins set up before skillful players to be
knocked down.

The troops entered an enfilading fire from a masked battery which opened
upon them as they neared the fort, causing the column first to halt,
then to waver and stagger; but it recovered and again pressed forward,
closing up the ranks as fast as the enemy's shells thinned them. On the
left the confederates had planted a six-gun battery upon an eminence,
which enabled them to sweep the field over which the advancing column
moved. In front was the large fort, while the right of the line was
raked by a redoubt of six pieces of artillery. One after another of the
works had been charged, but in vain. The Michigan, New York and
Massachusetts troops--braver than whom none ever fought a battle--had
been hurled back from the place, leaving the field strewn with their
dead and wounded. The works must be taken. General Nelson was ordered
by General Dwight to take the battery on the left. The 1st and 3rd
Regiments went forward at double quick time, and they were soon within
the line of the enemy's fire. Louder than the thunder of Heaven was the
artillery rending the air shaking the earth itself; cannons, mortars and
musketry alike opened a fiery storm upon the advancing regiments; an
iron shower of grape and round shot, shells and rockets, with a perfect
tempest of rifle bullets fell upon them. On they went and down, scores
falling on right and left. "The flag, the flag!" shouted the black
soldiers, as the standard-bearer's body was scattered by a shell. Two
file-closers struggled for its possession; a ball decided the struggle.
They fell faster and faster; shrieks, prayers and curses came up from
the fallen and ascended to Heaven. The ranks closed up while the column
turned obliquely toward the point of fire, seeming to forget they were
but men. Then the cross-fire of grape shot swept through their ranks,
causing the glittering bayonets to go down rapidly. "Steady men,
steady," cried bold Cailloux; his sword uplifted, his face the color of
the sulphureous smoke that enveloped him and his followers, as they felt
the deadly hail which came apparently from all sides. Captain
Cailloux[23] was killed with the colors in his hands; the column seemed
to melt away like snow in sunshine, before the enemy's murderous fire;
the pride, the flower of the Phalanx, had fallen. Then, with a daring
that veterans only can exhibit, the blacks rushed forward and up to the
brink and base of the fortified elevation, with a shout that rose above
it. The defenders emptied their rifles, cannon and mortars upon the very
heads of the brave assaulters, making of them a human hecatomb. Those
who escaped found their way back to shelter as best they could.

[Illustration: PORT HUDSON.

Brilliant charge of the Phalanx upon the Confederate works.]

The battery was not captured; the battle was lost to all except the
black soldiers; they, with their terrible loss, had won and conquered a
much greater and stronger battery than that upon the bluff. Nature seems
to have selected the place and appointed the time for the negro to prove
his manhood and to disarm the prejudice that at one time prompted the
white troops to insult and assault the negro soldiers in New Orleans. It
was all forgotten and they mingled together that day on terms of perfect
equality. The whites were only too glad to take a drink from a negro
soldier's canteen, for in that trying hour they found a brave and
determined ally, ready to sacrifice all for liberty and country. If
greater heroism could be shown than that of the regiments of the Phalanx
already named, surely the 1st Regiment of Engineers displayed it during
the siege at Port Hudson. This regiment, provided with picks and spades
for the purpose of "mining" the enemy's works, often went forward to
their labor without any armed support except the cover of heavy guns, or
as other troops happened to advance, to throw up breastworks for their
own protection. It takes men of more than ordinary courage to engage in
such work, without even a revolver or a bayonet to defend themselves
against the sallies of an enemy's troops. Nevertheless this Engineer
Regiment of the black Phalanx performed the duty under such trying and
perilous circumstances. Many times they went forward at a double-quick
to do duty in the most dangerous place during an engagement, perhaps to
build a redoubt or breastworks behind a brigade, or to blow up a bastion
of the enemy's. "They but reminded the lookers on," said a correspondent
of a Western newspaper, "of just so many cattle going to a

A writer, speaking of the other regiments of the Phalanx, says:

     "They were also on trial that day, and justified the most
     sanguine expectations by their good conduct. Not that they
     fought better than our white veterans; they did not and
     could not."

But there had been so much incredulity avowed regarding the courage of
the negroes; so much wit lavished on the idea of negroes fighting to any
purpose, that General Banks was justified in according a special
commendation to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Regiments, and to the 1st Engineer
Regiment, of the Phalanx, saying, "No troops could be more determined or
daring." The 1st lost its Cailloux, the 2nd its Paine, but the Phalanx
won honor for the race it represented. No higher encomium could be paid
a regiment than that awarded the gallant 2nd by the poet Boker:


    Dark as the clouds of even,
    Banked in the western heaven,
    Waiting the breath that lifts
    All the dread mass, and drifts
    Tempest and falling brand,
    Over a ruined land--
    So still and orderly
    Arm to arm, and knee to knee
    Waiting the great event,
    Stands the Black Regiment.

    Down the long dusky line
    Teeth gleam and eyeballs shine;
    And the bright bayonet,
    Bristling and firmly set,
    Flashed with a purpose grand,
    Long ere the sharp command
    Of the fierce rolling drum
    Told them their time had come--
    Told them what work was sent
    For the Black Regiment.

    'Now,' the flag sergeant cried,
    'Though death and hell betide,
    Let the whole nation see
    If we are fit to be,
    Free in this land; or bound
    Down like the whining hound--
    Bound with red stripes of pain
    In our old chains again!'
    Oh! what a shout there went
    From the Black Regiment.

    'Charge!' trump and drum awoke;
    Onward the bondmen broke
    Bayonet and sabre stroke
    Vainly opposed their rush
    Through the wild battle's crush,
    With but one thought aflush,
    Driving their lords like chaff,

    In the gun's mouth they laugh;
    Or at the slippery brands
    Leaping with open hands,
    Down they tear, man and horse,
    Down in their awful course;
    Trampling with bloody heel
    Over the crashing steel,
    All their eyes forward bent,
    Rushed the Black Regiment.

    'Freedom!' their battle cry,
    'Freedom!' or leave to die!'
    Ah! and they meant the word,
    Not as with us its heard,
    Nor a mere party shout,
    They gave their spirits out;
    Trusted the end to God,
    And on the gory sod
    Rolled in triumphant blood,
    Glad to strike one free blow,
    Whether for weal or woe;
    Glad to breathe one free breath,
    Though on the lips of death
    Praying--alas! in vain!
    That they might fall again,
    So they could once more see
    That burst of liberty!
    This was what 'Freedom' lent
    To the Black Regiment.

    Hundreds on hundreds fell;
    But they are resting well;
    Scourges and shackles strong
    Never shall do them wrong.
    Oh! to the living few,
    Soldiers, be just and true!
    Hail them as comrades tried;
    Fight with them side by side;
    Never in field or tent,
    Scorn the Black Regiment."

     [See Appendix for further matter relating to the Department
     of the Gulf.]


[22] In November, while the 2nd Regiment was guarding the Opelousas
railway, about twenty miles from Algiers, La., their pickets were fired
upon, and quite a skirmish and firing was kept up during the night. Next
morning the cane field along the railroad was searched but no trace of
the firing party was found. A company of the 8th Vermont (white)
Regiment was encamped below that of the 2nd Regiment, but they broke
camp that night and left. The supposition was that it was this company
who fired upon and drove in the pickets of the Phalanx regiment.

[23] Captain Andre Cailloux fell, gallantly leading his men (Co. E) in
the attack. With many others of the charging column, his body lay
between the lines of the Confederates and Federals, but nearer the works
of the former, whose sharpshooters guarded it night and day, and thus
prevented his late comrades from removing it. Several attempts were made
to obtain the body, but each attempt was met with a terrific storm of
lead. It was not until after the surrender that his remains were
recovered, and then taken to his native city, New Orleans. The writer of
this volume, himself wounded, was in the city at the time, and witnessed
the funeral pageant of the dead hero, the like of which was never before
seen in that, nor, perhaps, in any other American city, in honor of a
dead negro. The negro captains of the 2nd Regiment acted as
pall-bearers, while a long procession of civic societies followed in the
rear of detachments of the Phalanx. A correspondent who witnessed the
scene thus describes it:

     " * * * * The arrival of the body developed to the white
     population here that the colored people had powerful
     organizations in the form of civic societies; as the Friends
     of the Order, of which Capt. Cailloux was a prominent
     member, received the body, and had the coffin containing it,
     draped with the American flag, exposed in state in the
     commodious hall. Around the coffin, flowers were strewn in
     the greatest profusion, and candles were kept continually
     burning. All the rites of the Catholic Church were strictly
     complied with. The guard paced silently to and fro, and
     altogether it presented as solemn a scene as was ever

     "In due time, the band of the Forty-second Massachusetts
     Regiment made its appearance, and discoursed the customary
     solemn airs. The officiating priest, Father Le Maistre, of
     the Church of St. Rose of Lima, who has paid not the least
     attention to the excommunication and denunciations issued
     against him by the archbishop of this this diocese, then
     performed the Catholic service for the dead. After the
     regular services, he ascended to the president's chair, and
     delivered a glowing and eloquent eulogy on the virtues of
     the deceased. He called upon all present to offer
     themselves, as Cailloux had done, martyrs to the cause of
     justice, freedom, and good government. It was a death the
     proudest might envy.

     "Immense crowds of colored people had by this time gathered
     around the building, and the streets leading thereto were
     rendered almost impassable. Two companies of the Sixth
     Louisiana (colored) Regiment, from their camp on the Company
     Canal, were there to act as an escort; and Esplanade Street,
     for more than a mile, was lined with colored societies, both
     male and female, in open order, waiting for the hearse to
     pass through.

     "After a short pause, a sudden silence fell upon the crowd,
     the band commenced playing a dirge; and the body was brought
     from the hall on the shoulders of eight soldiers, escorted
     by six members of the society, and six colored captains, who
     acted as pall-bearers. The corpse was conveyed to the hearse
     through a crowd composed of both white and black people, and
     in silence profound as death itself. Not a sound was heard
     save the mournful music of the band, and not a head in all
     that vast multitude but was uncovered.

     "The procession then moved off in the following order: The
     hearse containing the body, with Capts. J. W. Ringgold, W.
     B. Barrett, S. J. Wilkinson, Eugene Mailleur, J. A. Glea,
     and A. St. Leger, (all of whom, we believe, belong to the
     Second Louisiana Native Guards), and six members of The
     Friends of the Order, as pall-bearers; about a hundred
     convalescent sick and wounded colored soldiers; the two
     companies of the Sixth Regiment; a large number of colored
     officers of all native guard regiments; the carriages
     containing Capt. Cailloux's family, and a number of army
     officers; followed by a large number of private individuals,
     and thirty-seven civic and religious societies.

     "After moving through the principal down-town streets the
     body was taken to the Beinville-street cemetery, and there
     interred with military honors due his rank." * *

     The following lines were penned at the time:

            ANDRE CAILLOUX.

          He lay just where he fell,
          Soddening in a fervid summer's sun.
          Guarded by an enemy's hissing shell,
          Rotting beneath the sound of rebels' gun
          Forty consecutive days,
          In sight of his own tent.
          And the remnant of his regiment.

          He lay just where he fell.
          Nearest the rebel's redoubt and trench,
          Under the very fire of hell,
          A volunteer in a country's defence,
          Forty consecutive days.
          And not a murmur of discontent,
          Went from the loyal black regiment.

          A flag of truce couldn't save,
          No, nor humanity could not give
          This sable warrior a hallowed grave.
          Nor army of the Gulf retrieve.
          Forty consecutive days,
          His lifeless body pierced and rent,
          Leading in assault the black regiment.

          But there came days at length,
          When Hudson felt their blast,
          Though less a thousand in strength,
          For "our leader" vowed the last;
          Forty consecutive days
          They stormed, they charged, God sent
          Victory to the loyal black regiment.

          He lay just where he fell,
          And now the ground was their's,
          Around his mellowed corpse, heavens tell,
          How his comrades for freedom swears.
          Forty consecutive nights
          The advance pass-word went.
          Captain Cailloux of the black regiment.



At the Far West the fires of liberty and union burned no less brightly
upon the altar of the negro's devotion than at the North, East and
South. The blacks of Iowa responded with alacrity to the call of the
governor to strengthen the Army of the Ohio. Though the negro population
was sparse--numbering in 1860, only 1069--and thinly scattered over the
territory, and were enjoying all the rights and privileges of American
citizenship, nevertheless they gave up the luxuries of happy homes,
threw down their implements of peaceful industry, broke from the loving
embrace of wives and children, and with the generous patriotism which
has always characterized the conduct of the race, they rushed to the aid
of their yet oppressed countrymen, and the defense of the Union.

The Gibralters of the Mississippi, Vicksburg and Port Hudson, had fallen
by the might of the Union armies; the Mississippi was open to the Gulf.
The shattered ranks of the victorious troops, and the depleted ranks of
the Phalanx, rent and torn by the enemy during the long siege of Port
Hudson, lent an inspiring zeal to the negroes of the country, which
manifested itself in the rapidity of the enlistment of volunteers to
fill up the gaps.


In August, 1863, the authorities of the State of Iowa began the
enlistment of negroes as a part of her quota. Keokuk was selected as the
place of rendezvous. On the 11th of the following October nine full
companies under the command of Colonel John G. Hudson, took the oath of
allegiance to the United States, and became a part of the active
military force of the National Government. The regiment was designated
the 1st A. D. (African Descent) Regiment Iowa Volunteers, and was
mustered for three years, or during the war. Leaving Keokuk Barracks,
the regiment proceeded to St. Louis, Mo., and was quartered in Benton
Barracks, as a part of the forces under command of Major-General J. M.
Schofield. Here company G. joined the regiment, making ten full
companies. A memorable and patriotic incident occurred here: Mrs. I. N.
Triplet, in behalf of the ladies of the State of Iowa, and of the city
of Muscatine, presented the regiment with a beautiful silk national
flag, which was carried through the storms of battle, and returned at
the close of the war to the State.

On the first day of January, 1864, the regiment was ordered to report to
General Beaufort at Helena, Ark., becoming a part of the garrison of
that place until the following March.

One Sergeant Phillips, with some others, agitated the propriety of
refusing to accept the seven dollars per month offered them by the
Government, and of refusing to do duty on account of it. Sergeant
Barton, however, held it was better to serve without pay than to refuse
duty, as the enforcement of the President's Emancipation Proclamation
was essential to the freedom of the negro race. To this latter the
regiment agreed, and passed concurrent resolutions, which quelled a
discussion which otherwise might have led to mutiny.

While the regiment was at Helena it took part in several skirmishes and
captured a number of prisoners. In July, Colonel W. S. Brooks, in
command of the 56th, 60th, and a detachment of the 3rd Artillery Phalanx
Regiment, with two field guns, sallied out of Helena and proceeded down
the Mississippi River, to the mouth of White River, on a transport. Here
the troops disembarked. The next morning, after marching all night,
Brooks halted his command for breakfast; arms were stacked and the men
became scattered over the fields. Suddenly, General Dobbins, at the head
of a superior confederate force, made an attack upon them; the
confederates at first formed no regular line of battle, but rushed
pell-mell on the scattered federals, intending, doubtless, to annihilate
them at once. The Union men soon recovered their arms, but before they
got into line, their commander, Colonel Brooks, had been killed, and
Captain Ransey of Co. C, 60th Regiment, assumed command. The men of the
Phalanx, though they had had but a short time to rest from a long march,
rallied with the ardor of veterans, and fought with that desperation
that men display when they realize that the struggle is either victory
or death. It was not a question of numbers with them; it was one of
existence, and the Phalanx resolved itself into a seeming column of iron
to meet the foe as it rushed over the bodies of their dead and wounded
with the rage of madmen.

The two field guns, skillfully handled by black artillery-men, did good
work, plowing huge furrows through the assailants and throwing them into
confusion at every charge. Still the confederates, having finally
organized into line of battle, continued to charge after each repulse,
pouring a terrific fire upon the United States force at each advance. It
seemed as if the Phalanx must surrender; they were outnumbered two to
one, and every line officer was dead or wounded. Sergeant Triplet was
directing the fire of Company C; the artillery sergeant was in command
of the field guns, and worked them well for two long hours. The enemy's
sharpshooters stationed in the trees no longer selected their victims,
for one man of the Phalanx was as conspicuous as another.

Yet another assault was made; firm stood the little band of iron men,
not flinching, not moving, though the dead lay thick before them. The
cannon belched out their grape shot, the musketry rattled, and once more
the enemy fled back to the woods with ranks disordered. Thus from six
o'clock till noonday did the weary soldiers hold their foes back. The
situation became critical with the Phalanx. Their ammunition was nearly
exhausted; a few more rounds and their bayonets would be their only
protection against a massacre; this fact however, did not cool their

In front and on their flanks the enemy began massing for a final onset.
For five hours the Phalanx had fought like tigers, against a ruthless
foe, and though no black flag warned them, they were not unmindful of
the fate of their comrades at Fort Pillow. General Dobbins was evidently
preparing to sweep the field. Several times already had he sent his men
to annihilate the blacks, and as many times had they been repulsed.
There was no time for the Phalanx soldiers to manoeuvre; they were in
the closing jaws of death, and though they felt the day was lost, their
courage did not forsake them; it was indeed a dreadful moment. The enemy
was about to move upon them, when suddenly a shout,--not the yell of a
foe, was heard in the enemy's rear, and the next moment a detachment of
the 15th Illinois Cavalry, under command of Major Carminchæl, broke
through the confederate ranks and rushed to the support of the Phalanx,
aligning themselves with the black soldiers, amid the cheers of the
latter. Gathering up their dead and wounded, the federal force now began
a retreat, stubbornly yielding, inch by inch, each foot of ground, until
night threw her mantle of darkness over the scene and the confederates
ceased their firing. The Phalanx loss was 50, while that of the enemy
was 150. At the beginning couriers were dispatched to Helena for
re-enforcements, and Colonel Hudson, with the remainder of the Phalanx
troops, reached them at night too late to be of any assistance, as the
confederates did not follow the retreating column.

Two days later, Colonel Hudson, with all the available men of the two
Phalanx regiments,--60th, 56th and a detachment of the 3rd Phalanx
artillery, with two cannons,--went down the Mississippi and up the White
river, disembarked and made a three days march across the country, where
the enemy was found entrenched. The Phalanx, after a spirited contest,
drove them out of their works, burned their store, captured a few Texas
rangers and returned to Helena. In March, 1865, the 60th Regiment was
ordered to join Brig.-Gen. Reynolds' command at Little Rock, where the
regiment was brigaded with the 57th, 59th and 83rd Phalanx regiments.
The brigade was ordered to Texas overland, but the surrender of General
Lee to Grant obviated this march. The gallant 60th was mustered out at
Davenport, Iowa, on the 2nd of November, 1865, "where," says Sergeant
Burton, the regimental historian, "they were greeted by the authorities
and the loyal thousands of Iowa."

Kansas has undoubtedly the honor of being the first State in the Union
to _begin_ the organization of negroes as soldiers for the Federal army.
The State was admitted into the Union January 29, 1861, after a long
reign of hostilities within her borders, carried on by the same
character of men and strictly for the same purpose which brought on the
war of the Great Rebellion. In fact, it was but a transfer of
hostilities from Missouri and Kansas to South Carolina and Virginia.
Missouri and the South had been whipped out of Kansas and the territory
admitted into the Union as a free State. This single fact was accepted
by the South as a precursor of the policy of the incoming Republican
administration, and three Southern senators resigned or left the United
States Senate before the vote was taken for the admission of Kansas. The
act of admitting Kansas as a free State, was the torch that inflamed the
South, and led to the firing upon Fort Sumter the following April. The
men of Kansas had long been inured to field service, and used to
practice with Sharps' rifles. The men of Kansas, more than in any other
State of the Union, had a right to rush to the defence of the Federal
government, and they themselves felt so.

On the 9th of February, eleven days after the admission of the State
into the Union, Governor Robinson took the oath of office, and on the
15th of April President Lincoln called for seventy-five thousand
volunteers. The first regiment responded to the call by the close of
May; others speedily followed, until Kansas had in the field 20,000
soldiers. Of the regiments and companies which represented this State in
the Federal army, several were composed of negroes, with a slight
mixture of Indians.

It has been no easy task to learn about these regiments, but, after a
long search, the writer has been enabled, through the patriotic efforts
of Governor Crawford, of Kansas, who is also ex-Colonel of the 2nd
Kansas Regiment, to find Mr. J. B. McAfee, late chaplain of the same
regiment and Adjutant-General of Kansas, now engaged in business in
Topeka. With the finding of Mr. McAfee came another difficulty; the
report of the Adjutant-General, containing an account of the regiments
in the war, had been accidentally burned before leaving the printing
office. This difficulty was overcome, however, by the consideration ever
shown the negro by Mr. McAfee, who kindly loaned his only volume of the
"Military History of Kansas."

The service rendered by the Phalanx soldiery of Kansas stands second to
none upon the records of that State. Their patriotism was nothing less
than a fitting return for the love of liberty shown by the Free State
men in rescuing Kansas from the clutches of the slave power. The
discussions at the national capitol pointed Kansas out to the negro as a
place where he might enjoy freedom in common with all other American
citizens. He regarded it then as he does now,[24] the _acme_ of
Republican States. Those negroes who enjoyed and appreciated the
sentiment that made her so, were determined as far as they were able, to
stand by the men who had thus enlarged the area of freedom.

Without comment upon the bravery of these troops, the report is
submitted of their conduct in camp, field, on the march and in battle,
as made by those who commanded them on various occasions.

"On the 4th day of August, 1862, Captain James M. Williams, Co. F, 5th
Kansas Cavalry, was appointed by Hon. James H. Lane, Recruiting
Commissioner for that portion of Kansas lying north of the Kansas River,
for the purpose of recruiting and organizing a regiment of infantry for
the United States service, to be composed of men of African descent. He
immediately commenced the work of recruiting by securing the muster-in
of recruiting officers with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, and by procuring
supplies from the Ordnance Quartermaster and Commissary departments,
and by establishing in the vicinity of Leavenworth a camp of rendezvous
and instruction.

"Capt. H. C. Seaman was about the same time commissioned with like
authority for that portion of Kansas lying south of the Kansas river.
The work of recruiting went forward with rapidity, the intelligent
portion of the colored people entering into the work heartily, and
evincing by their actions a willing readiness to link their future and
share the perils with their white brethren in the war of the rebellion,
which then waged with such violence as to seriously threaten the
nationality and life of the Republic.

"Within sixty days five hundred men were recruited and placed in camp,
and a request made that a battallion be mustered into the United States
service. This request was not complied with, and the reasons assigned
were wholly unsatisfactory, yet accompanied with assurances of such a
nature as to warrant the belief that but a short time would elapse ere
the request would be complied with.

"In the meantime complications with the civil authorities in the
Northern District had arisen, which at one time threatened serious
results. These complications originated from the following causes, each
affecting different classes:

"1st.--An active sympathy with the rebellion.

"2nd.--An intolerant prejudice against the colored race, which would
deny them the honorable position in society which every soldier is
entitled to, even though he gained that position at the risk of his life
in the cause of the nation, which could ill afford to refuse genuine
sympathy and support from any quarter.

"3rd.--On the part of a few genuine loyalists who believed that this
attempt to enlist colored men would not be approved by the War
Department, and that the true interests of the colored man demanded that
their time should not be vainly spent in the effort.

"4th.--A large class who believed that the negro did not possess the
necessary qualifications to make efficient soldiers, and that
consequently the experiment would result in defeat, disaster and

"Col. Williams, acting under the orders of his military superiors felt
that it was no part of his duty to take council of any or all of these
classes. He saw no course for him to pursue but to follow his
instructions to the letter. Consequently, when the civil authorities
placed themselves in direct opposition to those of the military, by
arresting and confining the men of the command on the most frivolous
charges, and indicting their commanders for crime, such as unlawfully
restraining persons of their liberty, &c., by enforcing proper military
discipline, he ignored the right of the civil authorities to interfere
with his military actions in a military capacity and under proper

"On the 28th of October, 1862, a command consisting of detachments from
Captain Seaman's and Captain William's recruits, were moved and camped
near Butler. This command--about two hundred and twenty-five men, under
Captain Seaman,--was attacked by a confederate force of about five
hundred, commanded by Colonel Cockrell but after a severe engagement the
enemy was defeated with considerable loss. The negro loss was ten killed
and twelve wounded, including Captain A. J. Crew; a gallant young
officer, being among the first mentioned. The next morning the command
was re-enforced by a few recruits under command of Captain J. M.
Williams, when the enemy was pursued a considerable distance but without
further fighting. This is supposed to have been the first engagement in
the war in which colored troops were actually engaged. The work of
recruiting, drilling and disciplining the regiment was continued under
the adverse circumstances until the 13th of January, 1863, when a
battallion of six companies, formed by the consolidation of Colonel
Williams' recruits with those of Captain Seaman, was mustered into the
U. S. service by Lieutenant Sabin, of the regular army. Between January
13th and May 2nd, 1863, the other four companies were organized, when
the regimental organization was completed, appears by the roster of the


"Immediately after its organization, the regiment was ordered to Baxter
Springs, where it arrived in May, 1863, and the work of drilling the
regiment was vigorously prosecuted.

"Parts of two companies of the regiment, and a detachment of cavalry,
and one piece of artillery, made a diversion on Shawnee, Mo. attacked
and dispersed a small opposing force and captured five prisoners.

"While encamped here, on the 18th of May, a foraging party, consisting
of twenty-five men from the Phalanx regiment and twenty men of the 2nd
Kansas Battery, Major R. G. Ward commanding, was sent into Jasper
County, Mo. This party was surprised and attacked by a force of three
hundred confederates commanded by Major Livingston, and defeated, with a
loss of sixteen killed and five prisoners, three of which belonged to
the 2nd Kansas Battery and two of the black regiment. The men of the 2nd
Kansas Battery were afterwards exchanged under a flag of truce for a
like number of prisoners captured by the negro regiment. Livingston
refused to exchange the black prisoners in his possession, and gave as
his excuse that he should hold them subject to the orders of the
confederate War Department. Shortly after this Col. Williams received
information that one of the prisoners held by Livingston had been
murdered by the enemy. He immediately sent a flag of truce to Livingston
demanding the body of the person who committed the barbarous act.
Receiving an evasive and unsatisfactory reply, Col. Williams determined
to convince the Major that was a game at which two could play, and
directed that one of the prisoners in his possession be shot, and within
thirty minutes the order was executed. He immediately informed Major
Livingston of his action, sending the information by the same party that
brought the despatch to him. Suffice it to say that this ended the
barbarous practice of murdering prisoners of war, so far as Livingston's
command was concerned.

"Colonel Williams says:

     'I visited the scene of this engagement the morning after
     its occurrence, and for the first time beheld the horrible
     evidences of the demoniac spirit of these rebel fiends in
     their treatment of our dead and wounded. Men were found with
     their brains beaten out with clubs, and the bloody weapons
     left by their sides and their bodies most horribly

"It was afterwards ascertained that the force who attacked this foraging
party consisted partially of citizens of the neighborhood, who, while
enjoying the protection of our armies, had collected together to assist
the rebel forces in this attack. Colonel Williams directed that the
region of country within a radius of five miles from the scene of
conflict should be devastated, and is of opinion that this effectually
prevented a like occurrence in the same neighborhood.

"Subsequently, while on this expedition, the command captured a prisoner
in arms who had upon his person the evidence of having been paroled by
the commanding officer at Fort Scott, Kansas, he was shot on the spot.

"The regiment remained in camp at Baxter Springs until the 27th of June,
1863, when it struck tents and marched for Fort Gibson in connection
with a large supply train from Fort Scott _en route_ to the former

"Colonel Williams had received information that satisfied him that the
train would be attacked in the neighborhood of Cabin Creek, Cherokee
Nation. He communicated this information to Lieutenant-Colonel Dodd, of
the 2nd Colorado Infantry, who was in command of the escort, and
volunteered to move his regiment in such manner as would be serviceable
in case the expected attack should be made. The escort proper to the
train consisted of six companies of the 2nd Colorado Infantry, a
detachment of three companies of cavalry from the 6th and 9th Kansas,
and one section of the 2nd Kansas Battery. This force was joined, on the
28th of June, by three hundred men from the Indian Brigade, commanded by
Major Foreman, making altogether a force of about eight hundred
effective men.

"On arriving at Cabin Creek, July 1st, 1863, the rebels were met in
force--under command of Gen. Cooper. Some skirmishing occurred on that
day, when it was ascertained that the enemy occupied a strong position
on the south bank of the creek, and upon trial it was found that the
stream was not fordable for infantry, on account of a recent shower, but
it was supposed that the swollen current would have sufficiently
subsided by the next morning to allow the infantry to cross. The
regiment then took a strong position on the north side of the stream and
camped for the night. After a consultation of officers, it was agreed
that the train should be parked in the open prairie and guarded by three
companies of the 2nd Colorado and a detachment of one hundred men of the
1st Colorado, and that the balance of the troops, Col. Williams
commanding, should engage the enemy and drive him from his position.

"Accordingly, the next morning, July 2nd, 1863, the command moved, which
consisted of the 1st Kansas Volunteer Colored Infantry, three companies
of the 2nd Colorado Infantry, commanded by the gallant Major Smith, of
that regiment, the detachments of cavalry and Indian troops before
mentioned and four pieces of artillery, making altogether a force of
about twelve hundred men. With this force, after an engagement of two
hours duration, the enemy was dislodged and driven from his position in
great disorder, with a loss of one hundred killed and wounded and eight
prisoners. The loss on our side was eight killed and twenty-five
wounded, including Major Foreman, who was shot from his horse while
attempting to lead his men across the creek under the fire of the enemy,
and Captain Ethan Earl, of the 1st Colored, who was wounded at the head
of his company. This was the first battle in which the whole regiment
had been engaged, and here they evinced a coolness and true soldiery
spirit which inspired the officers in command with that confidence which
subsequent battle scenes satisfactorily proved was not unfounded.

"The road being now open, the entire command proceeded to Fort Gibson,
where it arrived on the evening of the 5th of July, 1863. On the 16th of
July the entire force at Fort Gibson, under command of Gen. Blunt, moved
upon the enemy, about six thousand strong, commanded by Gen. Cooper, and
encamped at Honey Springs, twenty miles south of Fort Gibson. Our forces
came upon the enemy on the morning of the 17th of July, and after a
sharp and bloody engagement of two hours' duration, the enemy was
totally defeated, with a loss of four hundred killed and wounded, and
one hundred prisoners. At the height of the engagement, Gen. Blunt
ordered Colonel Williams to move his regiment against that portion of
the enemy's line held by the 29th and 30th Texas regiments and a rebel
battery, with directions to charge them if he thought he could carry and
hold the position. The regiment was moved at a shoulder arms, pieces
loaded and bayonets fixed, under a sharp fire, to within forty paces of
the rebel lines, without firing a shot. The regiment then halted and
poured into their ranks a well directed volley of 'buck and ball' from
the entire line, such as to throw them into perfect confusion, from
which they could not immediately recover. Col. Williams' intention was,
after the delivery of this volley, to charge their line and capture
their battery, which the effect of this volley had doubtless rendered it
possible for him to accomplish. But he was at that instant rendered
insensible from gunshot wounds, and the next officer in rank,
Lieutenant-Colonel Bowles, not being aware of his intentions, the
project was not fully carried out. Had the movement been made as
contemplated, the entire rebel line must have been captured. As it was,
most of the enemy escaped, receiving a lesson, however, which taught
them not to despise on the battle field the race they had long
tyrannized over as having 'no rights which a white man was bound to

"Colonel Williams says:

     'I had long been of the opinion that this race had a right
     to kill rebels, and this day proved their capacity for the
     work. Forty prisoners and one battle flag fell into the
     hands of my regiment on this field.'

"The loss to the regiment in this engagement was five killed and
thirty-two wounded. After this, the regiment returned to Fort Gibson and
went into camp, where it remained until the month of September, when it
again moved with the Division against the confederate force under
General Cooper, who fled at our approach.

"After a pursuit of one hundred miles, and across the Canadian river to
Perryville, in the Choctaw Nation, all hopes of bringing them to an
engagement was abandoned, and the command returned to camp on the site
of the confederate Fort Davis, situated on the south side of the
Arkansas river, near its junction with Grand river.

"The regiment remained in this camp, doing but little duty, until
October, when orders were received to proceed to Fort Smith, where it
arrived during the same month. At this point it remained until December
1st, making a march to Waldron and returning via Roseville, Arkansas,
and in the same month went into winter quarters at the latter place,
situated fifty miles east of Fort Smith, on the Arkansas river. The
regiment remained at Roseville until March, 1864, when the command moved
to join the forces of Gen. Steele, then about starting on what was known
as the Camden Expedition. Joining Gen. Steele's command at the Little
Missouri river, distant twenty-two miles northeast of Washington,
Arkansas, the entire command moved upon the enemy, posted on the west
side of Prairie de Anne, and within fifteen miles of Washington. The
enemy fled, and our forces occupied their works without an engagement.

"The pursuit of the enemy in this direction was abandoned. The command
arrived at Camden on the 16th of April, 1864, and occupied the place
with its strong fortifications without opposition. On the day following,
Colonel Williams started with five hundred men of the 1st Colorado, two
hundred Cavalry, detailed from the 2nd, 6th and 14th, Kansas regiments,
and one section of the 2nd Indian Battery, with a train to load forage
and provisions at a point twenty miles west of Camden, on the Washington
road. On the 17th he reached the place and succeeded in loading about
two-thirds of the train, which consisted of two hundred wagons. At dawn
the command moved towards Camden, and loaded the balance of the wagons
from plantations by the wayside. At a point fourteen miles west of
Camden the advance encountered a small force of the enemy, who, after a
slight skirmishing, retreated down the road in such a manner as to lead
Col. Williams to suspect that this movement was a feint intended to
cover other movements or to draw the command into an ambuscade.

"Just previous to this he had been re-enforced by a detachment of three
hundred men of the 18th Iowa Infantry, and one hundred additional
cavalry, commanded by Capt. Duncan, of the 18th Iowa.

"In order to prevent any surprise, all detached foraging parties were
called in, and the original command placed in the advance, leaving the
rear in charge of Captain Duncan's command, with orders to keep flankers
well out and to guard cautiously against a surprise. Colonel Williams at
the front, with skirmishers and flankers well out, advanced cautiously
to a point about one and a half miles distant, sometimes called Cross
Roads, but more generally known as Poison Springs, where he came upon a
skirmish line of the enemy, which tended to confirm his previous
suspicion of the character and purpose of the enemy. He therefore closed
up the train as well as possible in this thickly timbered region, and
made the necessary preparations for fighting. He directed the cavalry,
under Lieutenant Henderson, of the 6th, and Mitchell, of the 2nd, to
charge and penetrate the rebel line of skirmishers, in order to develop
their strength and intentions. The movement succeeded most admirably in
its purposes, and the development was such that it convinced Colonel
Williams that he had before him a struggle of no ordinary magnitude.

"The cavalry, after penetrating the skirmish line, came upon a strong
force of the enemy, who repulsed and forced them back to their original
line, not, however, without hard fighting and severe loss on our part in
killed and wounded, including in the latter the gallant Lieutenant
Henderson, who afterwards fell into the hands of the enemy.

"The enemy now opened on our lines with ten pieces of artillery--six in
front and four on the right flank. From a prisoner Colonel Williams
learned that the force of the enemy was from eight to ten thousand,
commanded by Generals Price and Maxey. These developments and this
information convinced him that he could not hope to defeat the enemy;
but as there was no way to escape with the train except through their
lines, and as the train and its contents were indispensable to the very
existence of our forces at Camden, who were then out of provisions, he
deemed it to be his duty to defend the train to the last extremity,
hoping that our forces at Camden, on learning of the engagement, would
attack the enemy in his rear, thus relieving his command and saving the

"With this determination, he fought the enemy's entire force from 10 A.
M. until 2 P. M., repulsing three successive assaults and inflicting
upon the enemy severe loss.

"In his report Colonel Williams says:

     'The conflict during these four hours was the most terrific
     and deadly in its character of any that has ever fallen
     under my observation.'

"At 2 P. M. nearly one-half of our force engaged had been placed _hors
de combat_, and the remainder were out of ammunition. No supplies
arriving, the Colonel was reluctantly compelled to abandon the train to
the enemy and save as much of the command as possible by taking to the
swamps and canebrakes and making for Camden by a circuitous route,
thereby preventing pursuit by cavalry. In this manner most of the
command that was not disabled in the field reached Camden during the
night of the 18th. For a more specific and statistical report of this
action, in which the loss to the 1st Colored alone was 187 men and
officers, the official report of Colonel J. M. Williams is herewith

                         'CAMDEN, ARKANSAS. April 24, 1867.

     'CAPTAIN:--I have the honor to submit the following report
     of a foraging expedition under my command:

     'In obedience to verbal orders received from
     Brigadier-General Thayer, I left Camden, Arkansas on the
     11th instant with 695 men and two guns, with a forage train
     of 198 wagons.

     'I proceeded westerly on the Washington road a distance of
     eighteen miles, where I halted the train and dispatched part
     of it in different directions to load; one hundred wagons
     with a large part of the command, under Major Ward, being
     sent six miles beyond the camp. These wagons returned to
     camp at midnight, nearly all loaded with corn.

     'At sunrise on the 18th, the command started on the return,
     loading the balance of the train as it proceeded, there
     being but a few wagon loads of corn to be found at any one
     place. I was obliged to detail portions of the command in
     different directions to load the wagons, until nearly all of
     my available force was so employed.

     'At a point known as Cross Roads, four miles west of my
     camping ground, I was met by a re-enforcement of three
     hundred and seventy-five men of the 18th Iowa Infantry,
     commanded by Capt. Duncan, twenty-five men of the 6th
     Kansas, Lieut. Phillips commanding, forty-five men of the
     2nd Kansas Cavalry, Lieut. Ross commanding, twenty men of
     the 14th Kansas Cavalry, Lieut. Smith commanding, and two
     mountain howitzers from the 6th Kansas Cavalry, Lieut.
     Walker commanding,--in all, 465 men and two mountain
     howitzers. These, added to my former command, made my entire
     force consist of eight hundred and seventy-five, two hundred
     and eighty-five cavalry, and four guns. But the excessive
     fatigue of the preceeding day, coming as it did at the close
     of a toilsome march of twenty-four hours without halting,
     had so affected the infantry that fully one hundred of the
     1st Kansas Colored were rendered unfit for duty. Many of the
     cavalry had, in violation of orders, straggled from their
     command, so that at this time my effective force did not
     exceed one thousand men.

     'At a point one mile east of this, my advance came upon a
     picket of the enemy, which was driven back one mile, when a
     line of the enemy's skirmishers presented itself. Here I
     halted the train, formed a line of the small force I then
     had in advance, and ordered that portion of the 1st Kansas
     Colored which had previously been guarding the rear of the
     train to the front, and gave orders for the train to be
     packed as closely as the nature of the ground would permit.
     I also opened a fire upon the enemy's line from the section
     of the 2nd Indiana Battery, for the double purpose of
     ascertaining if possible if the enemy had artillery in
     position in front, and also to draw in some foraging parties
     which had previously been dispatched upon either flank of
     the train. No response was elicited save a brisk fire from
     the enemy's skirmishers.

     'Meanwhile, the remainder of the first Kansas Colored had
     come to the front, as also three detachments, which formed
     part of the original escort, which I formed in line facing
     to the front, with a detachment of the 14th Kansas Cavalry,
     on my right, and detachments of the 2nd and 6th Kansas
     Cavalry on the left flank. I also sent orders to Capt.
     Duncan, commanding the 18th Iowa Infantry, to so dispose of
     his regiment and the cavalry and howitzers which came out
     with him as to protect the rear of the train, and to keep a
     sharp lookout for a movement upon his rear and right flank.

     'Meanwhile a movement of the enemy's infantry toward my
     right flank had been observed through the thick brush which
     covered the face of the country in that direction. Seeing
     this, I ordered forward the cavalry on my right, under
     Lieuts. Mitchell and Henderson, with orders to press the
     enemy's line, force it if possible, and at all events to
     ascertain his position and strength, fearing as I did that
     the silence of the enemy in front was but for the purpose of
     drawing me on to the open ground which lay in my front. At
     this juncture, a rebel rode into my lines and inquired for
     Col. DeMorse. From him I learned that General Price was in
     command of the rebel force and that Col. DeMorse was in
     command of the force on my right.

     'The cavalry had advanced but four hundred yards, when a
     brisk fire of musketry was opened upon them from the brush,
     which they returned with true gallantry, but were forced to
     fall back. In this skirmish many of the cavalry were
     unhorsed, and Lieut. Henderson, of the 6th Kansas Cavalry,
     fell, wounded in the abdomen, while bravely and gallantly
     urging his command forward.

     'In the meantime I formed five companies of the 1st Kansas
     Colored, with one piece of artillery, on my right flank, and
     ordered up to their assistance four companies of the 18th
     Iowa Infantry. Soon my orderly returned from the rear with a
     message from Captain Duncan, stating that he was so closely
     pressed in the rear by the enemy's infantry and artillery
     that the men could not be spared.

     'At this moment the enemy opened on me with two
     batteries,--one of six pieces, in front, and one, of three
     pieces, on my right flank,--pouring in an incessant and well
     directed cross-fire of shot and shell. At the same time he
     advanced his infantry both in front and on my right flank.

     'From the force of the enemy--now the first time made
     visible--I saw that I could not hope to defeat him, but
     still resolved to defend the train to the last, hoping that
     re-enforcements would come up from Camden.

     'I suffered them to approach within one hundred yards of my
     line, when I opened upon them with musketry charged with
     buck and ball, and after a contest of fifteen minutes
     duration compelled them to fall back. Two fresh regiments
     coming up, they again rallied and advanced upon my line,
     this time with colors flying and continuous cheering, so
     loud as to drown even the roar of the musketry. Again I
     suffered them to approach even nearer than before, and
     opened upon them with buck and ball, their artillery still
     pouring in a cross-fire of shot and shell over the heads of
     their infantry, and mine replying with vigor and effect. And
     thus, for another quarter of an hour, the battle was waged
     with desperate fury. The noise and din of this almost hand
     to hand conflict was the loudest and most terrific it has
     ever been my lot to listen to. Again were they forced to
     fall back, and twice during this conflict were their colors
     brought to the ground, but as often raised.


     'During these engagements fully one-half of my infantry
     engaged were either killed or wounded. Three companies were
     left without any officers, and seeing the enemy again
     re-enforced with fresh troops, it became evident that I
     could hold my line but little longer. I now directed Maj.
     Ward to hold the line until I could ride back and form the
     18th Iowa in proper shape to support the retreat of the
     advanced line.

     'Meanwhile, so many of the gunners had been shot from around
     their pieces that there were not enough to serve the guns,
     so I ordered them to retire to the rear of the train, and
     report to the cavalry officer there. Just as I was starting
     for the line of the 18th Iowa, my horse was shot, which
     delayed me until another could be procured, when I rode to
     the rear and formed a line of battle facing in the direction
     the enemy was advancing.

     'Again did the enemy hurl his columns against the remnant of
     men that formed my front and right flank, and again were
     they met as gallantly as before. But my decimated ranks were
     unable to resist the overpowering force hurled against them,
     and after their advance had been checked, seeing that our
     lines were completely flanked on both sides, Major Ward gave
     the order to retire, which was done in good order, forming
     and charging the enemy twice before reaching the rear of the

     'With the assistance of Major Ward and other officers, I
     succeeded in forming a portion of the 1st Kansas Colored in
     the rear of the 18th Iowa, and when the enemy approached
     this line, they gallantly advanced to the line of the 18th,
     and with them poured in their fire. The 18th maintained
     their line manfully, and stoutly contested the ground until
     nearly surrounded, when they retired, and forming again,
     checked the advancing foe, and still held their ground until
     again nearly surrounded, when they again retired across a
     ravine which was impassable for artillery, and I gave orders
     for the piece to be spiked and abandoned.

     'After crossing the ravine I succeeded in forming a portion
     of the cavalry, which I kept in order to give the infantry
     time to cross the swamp which lay in our front, which they
     succeeded in doing. By this means nearly all, except the
     badly wounded, were enabled to reach the camp. Many wounded
     men belonging to the 1st Kansas Colored fell into the hands
     of the enemy, and I have the most positive assurance from
     eyewitnesses that they were murdered on the spot. I was
     forced to abandon everything to the enemy, and they thereby
     became possessed of the large train.

     'With two six pounder guns and two twelve pounder mountain
     howitzers, together with what force could be collected, I
     made my way to this post, where I arrived at 11 P. M. of the
     same day.

     'At no time during the engagement, such was the nature of
     the ground and size of the train, was I obliged to employ
     more than five hundred men and two guns to repel the
     assaults of the enemy, whose force, from the statement of
     prisoners, I estimate at ten thousand men and twelve guns.
     The columns of assault which were again thrown against my
     front and right flank consisted of five regiments of
     infantry and one of cavalry, supported by a strong force
     which operated against my left flank and rear. My loss, in
     killed, wounded and missing during this engagement was as
     follows: Killed--ninety-two, wounded--ninety-seven,
     missing--one hundred and six.

     'Many of those reported missing are supposed to have been
     killed, others are supposed to have been wounded and taken
     prisoners. The loss of the enemy is not known, but in my
     opinion it will exceed our own. The conduct of all the
     troops under my command, officers and men, were
     characterized by true soldiery bearing, and in no case was a
     line broken, except when assaulted by an overwhelming force,
     and then falling back only when so ordered. The officers and
     men all evinced the most heroic spirit, and those that fell
     died the death of the true soldier. The action commenced at
     10 A. M., and terminated at 2 P. M. I have named this
     engagement the action of Poison Springs, from a spring of
     that name in the vicinity.

                                    'Very respectfully yours,

                                        'J. M. WILLIAMS,

       '_Colonel 1st Kansas Colored Vol. Infantry, Commanding Expedition._

     'Capt. WM. S. WHITTEN, _Assistant Adjutant General._'

"On the 26th day of April following, Gen. Steele's command evacuated
Camden and marched for Little Rock. At Saline Crossing, on the 30th of
April, the rear of Gen. Steele's command was attacked by the entire
force of the enemy, commanded by Gen. Kirby Smith. The engagement which
followed resulted in the complete defeat of the enemy, with great loss
on his part. In this engagement the 1st Kansas Colored was not an active
participant, being at the moment of the attack in the advance, distant
five miles from the rear and scene of the engagement. The regiment was
ordered back to participate in the battle, but did not arrive on the
line until after the repulse of the enemy and his retirement from the

"On the day following, May 1st, 1864, Colonel Williams was ordered to
take command of the 2nd Brigade, composed of the following Phalanx
regiments: 1st Regiment, commanded by Major Ward; 2nd Regiment,
commanded by Colonel S. J. Crawford; 11th Regiment, commanded by
Lieut.-Col. James M. Steele; 54th Regiment, Lieut.-Col. Chas. Fair; of
the Frontier Division 7th Army Corps.

"Colonel Williams never afterwards resumed direct command of his
regiment. It constituted for most of the time, however, a part of the
Brigade, which he commanded until he was mustered out of service with
the regiment.

"The regiment remained with the Division at Little Rock until some time
during the month of May, when it Marched for Fort Smith,--then
threatened by the enemy,--at which point it arrived during the same
month. This campaign was one of great fatigue and privation, and
accomplished only with great loss of life and material, with no adequate
recompense or advantage gained.

"The regiment remained on duty at Fort Smith until January 16th, 1865,
doing heavy escort and fatigue duty. On the 16th of September, 1864, a
detachment of forty-two men of Co. K, commanded by Lieut. D. M.
Sutherland, while guarding a hay-making party near Fort Gibson, were
surprised and attacked by a large force of rebels under Gen. Gano, and
defeated after a gallant resistence, with a loss of twenty-two killed
and ten prisoners--among the latter the Lieutenant commanding. On the
16th of January, 1865, the regiment moved to Little Rock, where it
arrived on the 31st of the same month, here it remained on duty until
July 1865, when it was ordered to Pine Bluffs, Ark. Here it remained,
doing garrison and escort duty, until October 1st, 1865, when it was
mustered out of service and ordered to Fort Leavenworth for final
payment and discharge. The regiment received its final payment and was
discharged at Fort Leavenworth on the 30th day of October, 1865."

The heroism of the negro people of Kansas was not all centered in this
one regiment. Elated with the success of their brethren already in the
field, there was a general desire to emulate their heroic deeds. In
June, 1863, the second regiment was organized at Fort Scott. The
regimental organization was completed at Fort Smith, Ark., by the
mustering in of the field and staff officers.

The regiment went into camp on the Poteau River, about two miles south
of Fort Smith. Here the work of drill and discipline was the daily
routine of duty until the regiment maintained a degree of proficiency
second to none in the Army of the Frontier.

On the 24th of March, 1864, the regiment left Fort Smith and started on
what was known as the Camden Expedition, forming a part of Colonel
Williams' Brigade of General Thayer's Division. Major-General Steele's
forces left Little Rock about the same time that General Thayer's
Division left Fort Smith, the latter uniting with the former on the
Little Missouri river, all destined for active operations in the
direction of Red River.

Colonel Crawford, in reply to the writer's circular letter asking for
information respecting the 2nd Regiment's service on the frontier, thus
pungently details the operations of the army of which his regiment was a

                          "WASHINGTON. D. C., Dec. 31st., 1885.

                          "JOSEPH T. WILSON, Esq., Richmond, Va.

     "MY DEAR SIR:

     "The Second Kansas, afterwards designated as the 83rd United
     States Colored Troops, was organized at Fort Scott, Kansas,
     on the 3rd day of October, 1863. Most of the companies were
     organized and mustered into service during the spring and
     summer preceding. The regiment, when organized, was full to
     the maximum, or nearly so, and composed of active,
     able-bodied young men. Immediately upon assuming command of
     the regiment, I moved to the front through Missouri, to Fort
     Smith, in Arkansas, where the regiment was stationed during
     the winter 1863-4, and when not on other duty or in the
     field, spent the time in company and regimental drill.

     "On the 24th day of March, 1864, with the Kansas Division of
     the Frontier Army under the command of General Thayer, I
     moved south and joined the 7th Army Corps under the command
     of Major-General Fred. Steele, in an expedition against the
     rebel armies under Generals Price, Kirby Smith and Dick
     Taylor, then encamped in the vicinity of Shreveport, La.

     "While Steele was advancing from the North, General Banks
     was at the same time moving up the Red river from the East.
     Price, Smith and Taylor, seeing the two armies of Steele and
     Banks, closing in upon them, concentrated their forces,
     first upon Banks, and after defeating and routing his
     forces, turned upon Steele, who was then near Red river, in
     south-western Arkansas.

     "Steele hearing of the Banks disaster, changed his course
     and moved eastward, to Camden, a strongly fortified town on
     the Washita river. From the point at which he turned
     eastward, to Camden, a distance of about sixty miles, the
     march was almost continuous, except when it became necessary
     to skirmish with the enemy's cavalry, which hovered
     unpleasantly close during the greater part of the distance.

     "In each of the light engagements which took place on this
     march from Red river to Camden, the 2nd Regiment
     participated, and behaved in a manner creditable to itself
     and the army.

     "After remaining at Camden about three days (so as to give
     the victorious rebel armies full time to concentrate upon
     him) General Steele crossed the Washita to the North and
     commenced a disgraceful retreat or run back toward Little

     "The enemy, under Price and Kirby Smith, followed in close
     pursuit, and within a few hours were again upon our flank
     and rear. The march or retreat was continuous, night and
     day, until the village of Princeton was reached, where
     Steele's army encamped one night, and received a full ration
     of fresh beef and New Orleans sugar, the latter of which had
     been captured, or rather found in Camden. Early on the
     following morning the army resumed its onward march, towards
     the North Pole as the apparent objective point.

     "Now mind you this was an army (the 7th Army Corps) about
     thirty thousand strong; mostly Western troops, and
     splendidly armed and equipped. Better soldiers never wore
     spurs or carried muskets. Yet under the command of a tenor
     singing dog fancier, that magnificent army was thus
     retreating before an army in every way its inferior save,
     and except, the Commanding General.

     "Thus things went, disgracefully, until the afternoon of the
     day on which we left Princeton, April 29, 1864. Then, for
     the first time after turning our backs to the enemy, in the
     vicinity of Red river, there seemed to be a bare possibility
     of escape,--not from the enemy, but from absolute disgrace
     and humiliation.

     "At no time during that disgraceful retreat, was there a
     moment when the whole army corps, except the Commanding
     General, would not have welcomed a battle, with one
     universal shout.

     "About 4 o'clock in the afternoon of the day mentioned, the
     rebel Cavalry appeared in force and commenced skirmishing
     with our forces in the rear, which continued, more or less,
     until darkness set in. Meantime our distinguished leader,
     the Major-General Commanding, had arrived at the crossing of
     the Saline river, thrown a pontoon bridge over that swollen
     stream, and made good his escape to the north side, taking
     with him the whole army, except one Section of artillery and
     two brigades of infantry of which the 2nd Kansas colored
     formed a part.

     "These two brigades--six regiments in all--stood in line of
     battle all night long, while the rain poured in torrents
     most of the time.

     "During the night the enemy's infantry moved up and formed
     in our immediate front; in fact made every necessary
     preparation for battle, while the dog fancier, who was
     unfortunately at the head of our army across the river, was
     either sleeping or devising the ways and means by which he
     could most easily elude the enemy.

     "But when daylight came the six regiments were there in
     line, every man ready, willing and determined to return,
     volley for volley, and if necessary force the fighting, so
     as to bring on a general engagement.

     "There were but six regiments of us south of the river, with
     two pieces of artillery. But we were there to stay until a
     battle was fought.

     "General Rice of Iowa, formed his brigade in the center; the
     12th Kansas Infantry, commanded by Col. Hayes was on his
     left, and the 2nd Kansas Colored Infantry, commanded by
     myself, was on the right.

     "As soon as it was fairly light, the battle began; both
     lines moving slightly forward until within close range. From
     the beginning, the crash of musketry was terrific. Our men
     stood firm against the advanced Division of the enemy's
     infantry, and used their Springfield and Enfield rifles with
     deadly effect.

     "The enemy seeing our weakness in numbers, pressed heavily
     in the center and upon both flanks, with the evident design
     of breaking our line before re-enforcements could reach us.

     "But in this they were disappointed. We held our position
     until re-enforcements arrived.

     "At one time my regiment was under a heavy fire from the
     front and also from the flank, but not a man wavered. In
     fact it seemed to inspire them with additional courage. The
     re-enforcements as they arrived, passed to the rear and
     formed on the left, leaving me to hold the right. After
     about three hours hard fighting, the enemy having failed to
     dislodge my regiment from its position, which was regarded
     as the key to the situation, brought into position a battery
     of artillery, planted it immediately in front of my regiment
     and opened with canister.

     "As soon as this was done I gave the order to cease firing
     and fix bayonets, and followed that immediately with the
     order to charge the battery.

     "These orders were executed with a courage and daring seldom
     equaled by even older troops, and never excelled by a
     volunteer regiment.

     "In less than two minutes from the time the charge was
     ordered, the rebel battery was in our possession, and out of
     thirty-six horses used in the battery, but two were left
     standing when we passed the guns.

     "Most of the artillery-men lay dead and wounded around the
     battery while the line of infantry support in the rear of
     battery, fell back in disorder before our bayonets; not,
     however, until many of them had for the first time felt the
     effects of cold steel.

     "The charge, though bloody on both sides, was pre-eminently
     successful, and my regiment, "the 2nd Iron Clads," as it was
     called, brought away the battery so captured.

     "In the charge, the regiment lost in killed and wounded,
     some forty odd men and officers. All of our horses, field
     and staff, were shot and most of them killed. The color
     bearer Harrison Young, a hero among men, was wounded and
     fell, raised to his feet and was again twice wounded. A
     comrade then took the flag and was wounded, and a third man
     brought it off the field.

     "A wounded lieutenant of the battery was brought to me, as a
     prisoner;[25] but in view of the massacre of colored troops
     by the rebels at Fort Pillow and other places, I sent the
     Lieutenant immediately back through the lines, pointing him
     to the regiment that had made the charge, and telling him
     that since the rebel authorities had concluded to take no
     prisoners, belonging to colored regiments, it would hardly
     be proper for me to hold him as a prisoner; that they had
     established the precedent, and that in so far as I was
     concerned, they could 'lay on MacDuff.' The Lieutenant
     rejoined his command a sadder if not a wiser man.

     "After the charge I moved with my regiment to the centre,
     where the battle was then raging hottest. Here it remained
     in the thickest of the fight until an advance was ordered
     all along the line, which was made, the enemy falling back
     slowly before our troops, and finally retired from the
     field, leaving us in full possession, with a complete


     "Only infantry was engaged on either side except the rebel
     battery, which my regiment captured.

     "Our cavalry, some five thousand strong, and artillery,
     about forty pieces, as already stated, were on the North
     side of the river, and could not be brought into action, to
     advantage, on account of the dense forest and swampy nature
     of the ground. We had about fifteen thousand men engaged,
     while the enemy had the armies of Price and Kirby Smith,
     from which our _gallant_ commander, Steele, had for many
     days been fleeing, as from the wrath to come. During the
     entire battle Steele remained on the north side of the
     river, beyond the reach of the enemy's guns, and at a point
     from which he could continue his flight with safety in case
     of defeat. But the victory was ours, so the march from
     Saline river to Little Rock was made in peace.

     "During this battle my regiment lost in killed and wounded
     about eighty men, but we were richly rewarded by the
     achievements of the day. We, perhaps, had as much to do with
     bringing on the battle as any other one regiment. I went
     into action in the morning without orders. In fact I
     disobeyed an order to cross the river at daylight, and
     instead, I formed my regiment and faced the enemy. The
     regiment charged the battery by my orders, and against an
     order from a superior officer, to hold back and wait for

     "My regiment, though among the first in action, and having
     suffered a greater loss than that of any other, was the last
     to leave the field.

     "From this time forward until the close of the war, in so
     far as the Western army was concerned, we heard no more of
     the question, 'Will they fight?'

     "The reputation of at least one colored regiment was
     established, and it stands to-day, in the estimation of men
     who served in the Western army, as the equal of any other
     volunteer regiment.

     "After the Saline river battle the regiment moved back to
     Little Rock and thence to Fort Smith, in western Arkansas.

     "In July 1864, with the 2nd and other troops, I conducted an
     expedition through the Choctaw Nation in the Indian
     Territory, against, or rather in pursuit of a brigade of
     rebel forces, driving them out of that country. During this
     campaign several light engagements were fought, in each of
     which the 2nd took a prominent part, and in each of which
     the 2nd was invariably successful.

     "In the fall of 1864[26], I resigned my position as Colonel
     to assume other duties.

     "What took place from then until the regiment was mustered
     out of service, I only know from heresay, but it is safe to
     say that the regiment maintained its reputation as one of
     the best infantry regiments in the 7th Army Corps.

     "A short time before I left the regiment, General Marcy,
     then Inspector General of the U.S. Army, inspected the
     Kansas Division, to which my regiment belonged, and his
     report, which is now on file in the War Department, if I am
     not mistaken, shows that the 2nd Colored in point of drill,
     discipline and military appearance, stood first of all the
     regiments in that Division.

                            "Yours truly,

                                "SAMUEL J. CRAWFORD.

Lieutenant-Colonel Gilpatrick, promoted from Major, took command of the
regiment succeeding Colonel Crawford, and in December made a forced
march to Hudson's crossing on the Neosho river, by way of Fort Gibson, a
distance of one hundred and fifty miles, on quarter rations, and
returned as escort to a large supply train. It was then, with all the
Phalanx regiments at Fort Smith, ordered to Little Rock, where it
arrived with a very large train of refugees under charge, on the 4th of
February, after a march of seventeen days.

Colonel Gilpatrick says:

     "The men suffered severely on the march by exposure to wet
     and cold and for the want of proper and sufficient food,
     clothing and shelter. Many of them were barefooted, almost
     naked, and without blankets."

The regiment remained at Little Rock until the spring of 1865, when it
formed part of an expedition which proceeded some distance south of
Little Rock, and operated against a band of guerillas on the Saline
river, which they succeeded in driving out and partly capturing. On the
25th of July the regiment broke camp and proceeded to Camden, Arkansas,
and was mustered out of the United States service, and proceeding by way
of Pine Bluff, Ark., Memphis, Tenn., and St. Louis, Mo., reached
Leavenworth, Kansas, where the men were finally paid and discharged on
the 27th of November, 1865. These brave men immediately returned to
their homes to enjoy the blessings of a free government.

[Illustration: THE WOODEN HORSE.

A mode of punishment for slight offences.]


[24] Not less than 70,000 negroes--5,000 at least of which fought for
the Union.--have been driven by persecution into Kansas from the
Southern States, and the exodus still continues.

[25] "Colonel Crawford ordered the prisoners to be taken to the rear
without insult or injury, which conduct on his part is in striking
contrast to the treatment bestowed upon our colored troops at Poison
Springs. He also told a rebel lieutenant and other prisoners to inform
their commanding General that colored troops had captured them, and that
he must from necessity leave some of his wounded men in hospitals by the
way, and that he should expect the same kind treatment shown to them
that he showed to those falling into his hands; but that just such
treatment as his wounded men received at their hands, whether kindness
or death, should from this time forward, be meted out to all rebel
falling into his hands. That if they wished to treat as prisoners of war
our colored soldiers, to be exchanged for theirs, the decision was their
own; but if they could afford to murder our colored prisoners to gratify
their fiendish dispositions and passions, the responsibility of
commensurate retaliation, to bring them to a sense of justice, was also
their own. But, notwithstanding the kindness shown to their prisoners,
so soon as our command left, a Texas soldier, in the presence of one of
their officers, killed, in the hospital, nine of the wounded men
belonging to the 2nd Kansas Colored Infantry."--_McAfee's Military
History of Kansas._

[26] About the middle of October, Colonel Crawford received information
of his nomination for the office of Governor, and came from Fort Smith
to Kansas, arriving about the 20th instant, just in time to be an active
participant in the expulsion of General Price and his army from the
border of the State.



The appearance of the negro in the Union army altered the state of
affairs very much. The policy of the general Government was changed, and
the one question which Mr. Lincoln had tried to avoid became _the_
question of the war. General Butler, first at Fortress Monroe and then
at New Orleans, had defined the status of the slave, "contraband" and
then "soldiers," in advance of the Emancipation Proclamation. General
Hunter, in command at the South, as stated in a previous chapter, had
taken an early opportunity to strike the rebellion in its most vital
part, by arming negroes in his Department, after declaring them free.

Notwithstanding the President revoked Hunter's order, a considerable
force was organized and equipped as early as December, 1862; in fact a
regiment of blacks was under arms when the President issued the
Emancipation Proclamation. This regiment, the 1st South Carolina, was in
command of Colonel T. W. Higginson, who with a portion of his command
ascended the St. Mary's river on transports, visited Florida and
Georgia, and had several engagements with the enemy. After an absence of
ten or more days, the expedition returned to South Carolina without the
loss of a man.

Had there been but one army in the field, and the fighting confined to
one locality, the Phalanx would have been mobilized, but as there were
several armies it was distributed among the several forces, and its
conduct in battle, camp, march and bivouac, was spoken of by the
commanders of the various armies in terms which any class of soldiers,
of any race, might well be proud of.

General Grant, on the 24th of July, following the capture of Vicksburg,
wrote to the Adjutant-General:

     "The negro troops are easier to preserve discipline among
     than are our white troops, and I doubt not will prove
     equally good for garrison duty. All that have been tried
     have fought bravely."

This was six days after the unsurpassed bravery of the 54th Regiment
Massachusetts Volunteers--representing the North in the black
Phalanx--had planted its bloodstained banner on the ramparts of Fort
Wagner. It was the Southern negroes, who, up to this time, had reddened
the waters of the Mississippi. It was the freedman's blood that had
moistened the soil, and if ignorance could be so intrepid still greater
daring might be expected on the part of the more intelligent men of the

The assault on Fort Wagner, July 18, 1863, was one of the most heroic of
the whole four years' war. A very graphic account of the entire movement
is given in the following article:

     "At daylight, on the morning of the 12th of July a strong
     column of our troops advanced swiftly to the attack of Fort
     Wagner. The rebels were well prepared, and swept with their
     guns every foot of the approach to the fort, but our
     soldiers pressed on, and gained a foothold on the parapet;
     but, not being supported by other troops, nor aided by the
     guns of the fleet, which quietly looked on, they were forced
     to retreat, leaving many of their comrades in the hands of
     the enemy.

     "It is the opinion of many that if the fleet had moved up at
     the same time, and raked the fort with their guns, our
     troops would have succeeded in taking it; but the naval
     captains said in their defence that they knew nothing of the
     movement, and would have gladly assisted in the attack had
     they been notified.

     "This, unfortunately, was not the only instance of a want of
     harmony or co-operation between the land and naval forces
     operating against Charleston. Had they been under the
     control of one mind, the sacrifice of life in the siege of
     Forts Wagner and Sumter would have been far less. We will
     not assume to say which side was at fault, but by far the
     greater majority lay the blame upon the naval officers.
     Warfare kindles up the latent germs of jealousy in the human
     breast, and the late rebellion furnished many cruel examples
     of its effects, both among the rebels and among the
     patriots. We have had the misfortune to witness them in
     more than one campaign, and upon more than one bloody and
     disastrous field.

     "By the failure of this attack, it was evident that the guns
     of Wagner must be silenced before a successful assault with
     infantry could be made; and, in order to accomplish this, a
     siege of greater or less duration was required. Therefore
     earthworks were immediately thrown up at the distance of
     about a thousand yards from the fort, and the guns and
     mortars from Folly Island brought over to be placed in

     "This Morris Island is nothing but a narrow bed of sand,
     about three miles in length, with a breadth variable from a
     few hundred yards to a few feet. Along the central portion
     of the lower end a ridge of white sand hills appear, washed
     on one side by the tidal waves, and sloping on the other
     into broad marshes, more than two miles in width, and
     intersected by numerous deep creeks. Upon the extreme
     northern end, Battery Gregg, which the rebels used in
     reducing Fort Sumter in 1861, had been strengthened, and
     mounted with five heavy guns, which threw their shot more
     than half way down the island. A few hundred yards farther
     down the island, and at its narrowest portion, a strong fort
     had been erected, and armed with seventeen guns and mortars.
     This was the famous Fort Wagner; and, as its cannon
     prevented any farther progress up the island, it was
     necessary to reduce it before our forces could approach
     nearer to Fort Sumter.

     "It was thought by our engineers that a continuous
     bombardment of a few days by our siege batteries and the
     fleet might dismount the rebel cannon, and demoralize the
     garrison, so that our brave boys, by a sudden rush, might
     gain possession of the works. Accordingly our siege train
     was brought over from Folly Island, and a parallel commenced
     about a thousand yards from Wagner. Our men worked with such
     energy that nearly thirty cannon and mortars were in
     position on the 17th of July. On the 18th of July the
     bombardment commenced. The land batteries poured a tempest
     of shot into the south side of Wagner, while the fleet moved
     up to within short range, and battered the east side with
     their great guns. In the mean time the rebels were not
     silent, but gallantly stood to their guns, returning shot
     for shot with great precision. But, after a few hours, their
     fire slackened; gun after gun became silent, as the men were
     disabled, and, when the clock struck four in the afternoon,
     Wagner no longer responded to the furious cannonade of the
     Federal forces. Even the men had taken shelter beneath the
     bomb-proofs, and no sign of life was visible about the grim
     and battered fortress.

     "Many of our officers were now so elated with the apparent
     result of demolition, that they urged General Gillmore to
     allow them to assault the fort as soon as it became dark.
     General Gillmore yielded to the solicitations of the
     officers, but very reluctantly, for he was not convinced
     that the proper time had arrived; but the order was finally
     given for the attack to take place just after dark. Fatal
     error as to time, for our troops in the daytime would have
     been successful, since they would not have collided with
     each other; they could have seen their foes, and the arena
     of combat, and the fleet could have assisted them with their
     guns, and prevented the landing of the re-enforcements from

     "It was a beautiful and calm evening when the troops who
     were to form the assaulting column moved out on to the broad
     and smooth beach left by the receding tide.

     "The last rays of the setting sun illumined the grim walls
     and shattered mounds of Wagner with a flood of crimson
     light, too soon, alas! to be deeper dyed with the red blood
     of struggling men.

     "Our men halted, and formed their ranks upon the beach, a
     mile and more away from the deadly breach. Quietly they
     stood leaning upon their guns, and awaiting the signal of
     attack. There stood, side by side, the hunter of the far
     West, the farmer of the North, the stout lumber-man from the
     forests of Maine, and the black Phalanx Massachusetts had
     armed and sent to the field.

     "In this hour of peril there was no jealousy, no contention.
     The black Phalanx were to lead the forlorn hope. And they
     were proud of their position, and conscious of its danger.
     Although we had seen many of the famous regiments of the
     English, French, and Austrian armies, we were never more
     impressed with the fury and majesty of war than when we
     looked upon the solid mass of the thousand black men, as
     they stood, like giant statues of marble, upon the
     snow-white sands of the beach, waiting the order to advance.
     And little did we think, as we gazed with admiration upon
     that splendid column of four thousand brave men, that ere an
     hour had passed, half of them would be swept away, maimed or
     crushed in the gathering whirlwind of death! Time passed
     quickly, and twilight was fast deepening into the darkness
     of night, when the signal was given. Onward moved the chosen
     and ill-fated band, making the earth tremble under the heavy
     and monotonous tread of the dense mass of thousands of men.
     Wagner lay black and grim in the distance, and silent. Not a
     glimmer of light was seen. Not a gun replied to the bombs
     which our mortars still constantly hurled into the fort. Not
     a shot was returned to the terrific volleys of the giant
     frigate Ironsides, whose shells, ever and anon, plunged into
     the earthworks, illuminating their recesses for an instant
     in the glare of their explosion, but revealing no signs of

     "Were the rebels all dead? Had they fled from the pitiless
     storm which our batteries had poured down upon them for so
     many hours? Where were they?

     "Down deep beneath the sand heaps were excavated great
     caverns, whose floors were level with the tide, and whose
     roofs were formed of huge trunks of trees laid in double
     rows. Still above these massive beams sand was heaped so
     deeply that even our enormous shells could not penetrate the
     roofs, though they fell from the skies above. In these dark
     subterranean retreats two thousand men lay hid, like
     panthers in a swamp, waiting to leap forth in fury upon
     their prey.

     "The signal given, our forces advanced rapidly towards the
     fort, while our mortars in the rear tossed their bombs over
     their heads. The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts [Phalanx
     Regiment] led the attack, supported by the 6th Conn., 48th
     N. Y., 3rd N. H., 76th Penn. and the 9th Maine Regiments.
     Onward swept the immense mass of men, swiftly and silently,
     in the dark shadows of night. Not a flash of light was seen
     in the distance! No sentinel hoarsely challenged the
     approaching foe! All was still save the footsteps of the
     soldiers, which sounded like the roar of the distant surf,
     as it beats upon the rock-bound coast.

[Illustration: AT FORT WAGNER.

Desperate charge of the 54th Mass. Vols. in the assault on Fort Wagner,
July 18, 1863.]

     "Ah, what is this! The silent and shattered walls of Wagner
     all at once burst forth into a blinding sheet of vivid
     light, as though they had suddenly been transformed by some
     magic power into the living, seething crater of a volcano!
     Down came the whirlwind of destruction along the beach with
     the swiftness of lightning! How fearfully the hissing shot,
     the shrieking bombs, the whistling bars of iron, and the
     whispering bullet struck and crushed through the dense
     masses of our brave men! I never shall forget the terrible
     sound of that awful blast of death, which swept down,
     shattered or dead, a thousand of our men. Not a shot had
     missed its aim. Every bolt of steel, every globe of iron and
     lead, tasted of human blood.

     "'Forward!' shouted the undaunted Putnam, as the column
     wavered and staggered like a giant stricken with death.

     "'Steady, my boys!' murmured the brave leader, General
     Strong, as a cannon-shot dashed him, maimed and bleeding,
     into the sand.

     "In a moment the column recovered itself, like a gallant
     ship at sea when buried for an instant under an immense

     "The ditch is reached; a thousand men leap into it, clamber
     up the shattered ramparts, and grapple with the foe, which
     yields and falls back to the rear of the fort. Our men swarm
     over the walls, bayoneting the desperate rebel cannoneers.
     Hurrah! the fort is ours!

     "But now came another blinding blast from concealed guns in
     the rear of the fort, and our men went down by scores. Now
     the rebels rally, and, re-enforced by thousands of the
     chivalry, who have landed on the beach under cover of
     darkness, unmolested by the guns of the fleet. They hurl
     themselves with fury upon the remnant of our brave band. The
     struggle is terrific. Our supports hurry up to the aid of
     their comrades, but as they reach the ramparts they fire a
     volley which strikes down many of our men. Fatal mistake!
     Our men rally once more; but, in spite of an heroic
     resistance, they are forced back again to the edge of the
     ditch. Here the brave Shaw, with scores of his black
     warriors went down, fighting desperately. Here Putnam met
     his death wound, while cheering and urging on the
     overpowered Phalanx men.

     "What fighting, and what fearful carnage! Hand to hand,
     breast to breast! Here, on this little strip of land, scarce
     bigger than the human hand, dense masses of men struggled
     with fury in the darkness; and so fierce was the contest
     that the sands were reddened and soaked with human gore.

     "But resistance was vain. The assailants were forced back
     again to the beach, and the rebels trained their recovered
     cannon anew upon the retreating survivors.

     "What a fearful night was that, as we gathered up our
     wounded heroes, and bore them to a place of shelter! And
     what a mournful morning, as the sun rose with his clear
     beams, and revealed our terrible losses! What a rich harvest
     Death had gathered to himself during the short struggle!
     Nearly two thousand of our men had fallen. More than six
     hundred of our brave boys lay dead on the ramparts of the
     fatal fort, in its broad ditch, and along the beach at its
     base. A flag of truce party went out to bury our dead, but
     General Beauregard they found had already buried them, where
     they fell, in broad, deep trenches."

Colonel Shaw, the young and gallant commander of the 54th Regiment, was
formerly a member of the famous 7th N. Y. Regiment. He was of high,
social and influential standing, and in his death won distinction. The
confederates added to his fame and glory, though unintentionally, by
burying him with his soldiers, or as a confederate Major expressed the
information, when a request for the Colonel's body was made, "we have
buried him with his niggers!"

A poet has immortalized the occurrence and the gallant Shaw thus:

    'They buried him with his niggers!'
    Together they fought and died.
    There was room for them all where they laid him,
    (The grave was deep and wide).
    For his beauty and youth and valor,
    Their patience and love and pain;
    And at the last together
    They shall be found again.

    'They buried him with his niggers!'
    Earth holds no prouder grave;
    There is not a mausoleum
    In the world beyond the wave,
    That a nobler tale has hallowed,
    Or a purer glory crowned,
    Than the nameless trench where they buried
    The brave so faithful found.

    'They buried him with his niggers!'
    A wide grave should it be;
    They buried more in that shallow trench
    Than human eye could see.
    Aye, all the shames and sorrows
    Of more than a hundred years
    Lie under the weight of that Southern soil
    Despite those cruel sneers.

    'They buried him with his niggers!'
    But the glorious souls set free
    Are leading the van of the army
    That fights for liberty.
    Brothers in death, in glory
    The same palm branches bear;
    And the crown is as bright o'er the sable brows
    As over the golden hair.

       *   *   *   *

    Buried with a band of brothers
    Who for him would fain have died;
    Buried with the gallant fellows
    Who fell fighting by his side;

    Buried with the men God gave him,
    Those whom he was sent to save;
    Buried with the martyr heroes,
    He has found an honored grave.

    Buried where his dust so precious
    Makes the soil a hallowed spot;
    Buried where by Christian patriot,
    He shall never be forgot.

    Buried in the ground accursed,
    Which man's fettered feet have trod;
    Buried where his voice still speaketh,
    Appealing for the slave to God;

    Fare thee well, thou noble warrior,
    Who in youthful beauty went
    On a high and holy mission,
    By the God of battles sent.

    Chosen of him, 'elect and precious,'
    Well didst thou fulfil thy part;
    When thy country 'counts her jewels,'
    She shall wear thee on her heart.

The heroic courage displayed by the gallant Phalanx at the assault upon
Fort Wagner was not surpassed by the Old Guard at Moscow. Major-General
Taliaferro gives this confederate account of the fight, which is
especially interesting as it shows the condition of affairs inside the

     "On the night of the 14th the monster iron-plated frigate
     New Ironsides, crossed the bar and added her formidable and
     ponderous battery to those destined for the great effort of
     reducing the sullen earthwork which barred the Federal
     advance. There were now five monitors, the Ironsides and a
     fleet of gunboats and monster hulks grouped together and
     only waiting the signal to unite with the land batteries
     when the engineers should pronounce them ready to form a
     cordon of flame around the devoted work. The Confederates
     were prepared for the ordeal. For fear that communications
     with the city and the mainland, which was had by steamboat
     at night to Cummings' Point should be interrupted, rations
     and ordnance stores had been accumulated, but there was
     trouble about water. Some was sent from Charleston and wells
     had been dug in the sand inside and outside the fort, but it
     was not good. Sand bags had been provided and trenching
     tools supplied sufficient for any supposed requirement.

     "The excitement of the enemy in front after the 10th was
     manifest to the Confederates and announced an 'impending
     crisis.' It became evident that some extraordinary movement
     was at hand. The Federal forces on James Island had been
     attacked on the morning of the 16th by General Hagood and
     caused to retire, Hagood occupying the abandoned positions,
     and on the 17th the enemy's troops were transferred to
     Little Folly and Morris Islands. It has been stated that the
     key to the signals employed by the Federals was in
     possession of General Taliaferro at this time, and he was
     thus made acquainted with the intended movement and put upon
     his guard. That is a mistake. He had no such direct
     information, although it is true that afterwards the key was
     discovered and the signals interpreted with as much ease as
     by the Federals themselves. The 18th of July was the day
     determined upon by the Federal commanders for the grand
     attempt which, if successful, would level the arrogant
     fortress and confuse it by the mighty power of their giant
     artillery with the general mass of surrounding sand hills,
     annihilate its garrison or drive them into the relentless
     ocean, or else consign them to the misery of hostile

     "The day broke beautifully, a gentle breeze slightly
     agitated the balmy atmosphere, and with rippling dimples
     beautified the bosom of the placid sea. All nature was
     serene and the profoundest peace held dominion over all the
     elements. The sun, rising with the early splendors of his
     midsummer glory, burnished with golden tints the awakening
     ocean, and flashed his reflected light back from the spires
     of the beleaguered city into the eyes of those who stood
     pausing to gather strength to spring upon her, and of those
     who stood at bay to battle for her safety. Yet the profound
     repose was undisturbed; the early hours of that fair morning
     hoisted a flag of truce between the combatants which was
     respected by both. But the tempest of fire which was
     destined to break the charm of nature, with human thunders
     then unsurpassed in war, was gathering in the south. At
     about half-past 7 o'clock the ships of war moved from their
     moorings, the iron leviathan the Ironsides, an Agamemnon
     among ships, leading and directing their movements, then
     monitor after monitor, and then wooden flagships. Steadily
     and majestically they marched; marched as columns of men
     would march, obedient to commands, independent of waves and
     winds, mobilized by steam and science to turn on a pivot and
     manoeuvre as the directing mind required them; they halted
     in front of the fort; they did not anchor as Sir Peter
     Parker's ships had done near a hundred years before in front
     of Moultrie, which was hard by and frowning still at her
     ancient enemies of the ocean. They halted and waited for
     word of command to belch their consuming lightnings out upon
     the foe. On the land, engineering skill was satisfied and
     the deadly exposure for details for labor was ended; the
     time for retaliation had arrived when the defiant shots of
     the rebel batteries would be answered; the batteries were
     unmasked; the cordon of fire was complete by land and by
     sea; the doomed fort was encircled by guns.

     "The Confederates watched from the ramparts the approach of
     the fleet and the unmasking of the guns, and they knew that
     the moment had arrived in which the problem of the capacity
     of the resistant power of earth and sand to the forces to
     which science so far developed in war could subject them was
     to be solved and that Battery Wagner was to be that day the
     subject of the crucial test. The small armament of the fort
     was really inappreciable in the contest about to be
     inaugurated. There was but one gun which could be expected
     to be of much avail against the formidable naval power which
     would assail it and on the land side few which could reach
     the enemy's batteries. When these guns were knocked to
     pieces and silenced there was nothing left but passive
     resistance, but the Confederates, from the preliminary tests
     which had been applied, had considerable faith in the
     capacity of sand and earth for passive resistance.

     "The fort was in good condition, having been materially
     strengthened since the former assault by the indefatigable
     exertions of Colonel David Harris, chief engineer, and his
     valuable assistant, Captain Barnwell. Colonel Harris was a
     Virginian, ex-officer of the army of the United States and a
     graduate of West Point, who had some years before retired
     from the service to prosecute the profession of civil
     engineering. Under a tempest of shells he landed during the
     fiercest period of the bombardment at Cummings' Point, and
     made his way through the field of fire to the beleaguered
     fort to inspect its condition and to inspire the garrison by
     his heroic courage and his confidence in its strength.
     Escaping all the dangers of war, he fell a victim to yellow
     fever in Charleston, beloved and honored by all who had
     ever known him. The heavy work imposed upon the garrison in
     repairs and construction, as well as the strain upon the
     system by constant exposure to the enemy's fire, had induced
     General Beauregard to adopt the plan of relieving the
     garrison every few days by fresh troops. The objection to
     this was that the new men had to be instructed and
     familiarized with their duties; but still it was wise and
     necessary, for the same set of officers and men, if retained
     any length of time, would have been broken down by the
     arduous service required of them. The relief was sent by
     regiments and detachments, so there was never an entirely
     new body of men in the works.

     "The garrison was estimated at one thousand seven hundred
     aggregate. The staff of General Taliaferro consisted of
     Captain Twiggs, Quartermaster General; Captain W. T.
     Taliaferro, Adjutant General; Lieutenants H. C. Cunningham
     and Magyck, Ordnance Officers; Lieutenants Meade and Stoney,
     Aides-de-Camp; Major Holcombe; Captain Burke, Quartermaster,
     and Habersham, Surgeon-in-Chief; Private Stockman, of
     McEnery's Louisiana Battalion, who had been detailed as
     clerk because of his incapacity for other duty, from most
     honorable wounds, acted also in capacity of aid.

     "The Charleston Battalion was assigned to that part of the
     work which extended from the Sally port or Lighthouse Inlet
     creek around to the left until it occupied part of the face
     to the south, including the western bastion; the Fifty-first
     North Carolina connected with these troops on the left and
     extended to the southeast bastion; the rest of the work was
     to be occupied by the Thirty-first North Carolina Regiment,
     and a small force from that regiment was detailed as a
     reserve, and two companies of the Charleston Battalion were
     to occupy outside of the fort the covered way spoken of and
     some sand-hills by the seashore; the artillery was
     distributed among the several gun-chambers and the light
     pieces posted on a traverse outside so as to sweep to sea
     face and the right approach. The positions to be occupied
     were well known to every officer and man and had been
     verified repeatedly by day and night, so there was no fear
     of confusion, mistake or delay in the event of an assault.
     The troops of course were not ordered to these positions
     when at 6 o'clock it was evident a furious bombardment was
     impending, but, on the contrary, to the shelter of the
     bomb-proofs, sand-hills and parapet; a few sentinels or
     videttes were detailed and the gun detachments only ordered
     to their pieces.

     "The Charleston Battalion preferred the freer air of the
     open work to the stifling atmosphere of the bomb-proofs and
     were permitted to shelter themselves under the parapet and
     traverses. Not one of that heroic band entered the opening
     of a bomb-proof during that frightful day. The immense
     superiority of the enemy's artillery was well understood and
     appreciated by the Confederate commander, and it was clear
     to him that his policy was to husband his resources and
     preserve them as best he could for the assault, which it was
     reasonable to expect would occur during the day. He
     recognized the fact that his guns were only defensive and
     he had little or no offensive power with which to contend
     with his adversaries. Acting on this conviction he had the
     light guns dismounted and covered with sand bags, and the
     same precaution was adopted to preserve some of the shell
     guns or fixed carriages. The propriety of this determination
     was abundantly demonstrated in the end.

     "About a quarter past 8 o'clock the storm broke, ship after
     ship and battery after battery, and then apparently all
     together, vomited forth their horrid flames and the
     atmosphere was filled with deadly missiles. It is impossible
     for any pen to describe or for anyone who was not an
     eye-witness to conceive the frightful grandeur of the
     spectacle. The writer has never had the fortune to read any
     official Federal report or any other account of the
     operations of this day except an extract from the graphic
     and eloquent address of the Rev. Mr. Dennison, a chaplain of
     one of the Northern regiments, delivered on its nineteenth
     anniversary at Providence, R. I. He says: 'Words cannot
     depict the thunder, the smoke, the lifted sand and the
     general havoc which characterized that hot summer day. What
     a storm of iron fell on that island; the roar of the guns
     was incessant; how the shots ploughed the sand banks and the
     marshes; how the splinters flew from the Beacon House; how
     the whole island smoked like a furnace and trembled as from
     an earthquake.'

     "If that was true outside of Wagner it is easy to conceive
     how intensified the situation was within its narrow limits
     towards which every hostile gun was pointed. The sand came
     down in avalanches; huge vertical shells and those rolled
     over by the ricochet shots from the ships, buried themselves
     and then exploded, rending the earth and forming great
     craters, out of which the sand and iron fragments flew high
     in the air. It was a fierce sirocco freighted with iron as
     well as sand. The sand flew over from the seashore, from the
     glacis, from the exterior slope, from the parapet, as it was
     ploughed up and lifted and driven by resistless force now in
     spray and now almost in waves over into the work, the men
     sometimes half buried by the moving mass. The chief anxiety
     was about the magazines. The profile of the fort might be
     destroyed, the ditch filled up, the traverses and bomb-proof
     barracks knocked out of shape, but the protecting banks of
     sand would still afford their shelter; but if the coverings
     of the magazines were blown away and they became exposed,
     the explosion that would ensue would lift fort and garrison
     into the air and annihilate all in general chaos. They were
     carefully watched and reports of their condition required to
     be made at short intervals during the day.

     "Wagner replied to the enemy, her 10-inch columbiad alone to
     the ships, deliberately at intervals of fifteen minutes, the
     other guns to the land batteries whenever in range, as long
     as they were serviceable. The 32-pounder rifled gun was soon
     rendered useless by bursting and within two hours many other
     guns had been dismounted and their carriages destroyed.
     Sumter, Colonel Alfred Rhett in command, and Gregg, under
     charge of Captain Sesesne, with the Sullivan and James
     Island batteries at long range, threw all the power of their
     available metal at the assailants and added their thunders
     to the universal din; the harbor of Charleston was a
     volcano. The want of water was felt, but now again
     unconsciously the enemy came to the assistance of the
     garrison, for water was actually scooped from the craters
     made in the sand by the exploded shells. The city of
     Charleston was alive and aflame with excitement; the bay,
     the wharves, the steeples and streets filled with anxious
     spectators looking across the water at their defenders, whom
     they could not succor.

     "At 2 o'clock the flag halliards were cut by a shot and the
     Confederate garrison flag was blown over into the fort;
     there was an instant race for its recovery through the storm
     of missiles, over the broken earth and shells and splinters
     which lined the parade. Major Ramsey, Sergeant Shelton and
     private Flinn, of the Charleston Battalion, and Lieutenant
     Riddick, of the Sixty-third Georgia, first reached it and
     bore it back in triumph to the flagstaff, and at the same
     moment Captain Barnwell, of the engineers, seized a
     battle-flag, and leaping on the ramparts, drove the staff
     into the sand. This flag was again shot away, but was again
     replaced by Private Gaillard, of the Charleston Battalion.
     These intrepid actions, emulating in a higher degree the
     conduct of Sergeant Jasper at Moultrie during the
     Revolution, were cheered by the command and inspired them
     with renewed courage.

     "The day wore on; thousands upon thousands of shells and
     round shot, shells loaded with balls, shells of guns and
     shells of mortars, percussion shells, exploding upon impact,
     shells with graded fuses--every kind apparently known to the
     arsenals of war leaped into and around the doomed fort, yet
     there was no cessation; the sun seemed to stand still and
     the long midsummer day to know no night. Some men were dead
     and no scratch appeared on their bodies; the concussion had
     forced the breath from their lungs and collapsed them into
     corpses. Captain Twiggs, of the staff, in executing some
     orders was found apparently dead. He was untouched, but
     lifeless, and only strong restoratives brought him back to
     animation, and the commanding officer was buried knee-deep
     in sand and had to be rescued by spades from his
     imprisonment. The day wore on, hours followed hours of
     anxiety and grim endurance, but no respite ensued. At last
     night came; not however, to herald a cessation of the
     strife, but to usher in a conflict still more terrible. More
     than eleven hours had passed. The fort was torn and
     mutilated; to the outside observer it was apparently
     powerless, knocked to pieces and pounded out of shape, the
     outline changed, the exterior slope full of gaping wounds,
     the ditch half filled up, but the interior still preserved
     its form and its integrity; scarred and defaced it was yet a
     citadel which, although not offensive, was defiant.

     "It was nearly eight o'clock at night, but still twilight,
     when a calm came and the blazing circle ceased to glow with
     flame. The ominous pause was understood; it required no
     signals to be read by those to whom they were not directed
     to inform them that the supreme moment to test the value of
     the day's achievements was now at hand. It meant nothing but
     assault. Dr. Dennison says the assault was intended to be a
     surprise. He over-estimates the equanimity of the
     Confederate commander if he supposes that that bombardment,
     which would have waked the dead, had lulled him into
     security and repose. The buried cannon were at once exhumed,
     the guns remounted and the garrison ordered to their
     appointed posts. The Charleston Battalion were already
     formed and in position; they had nestled under the parapet
     and stood ready in their places. The other troops with the
     exception of part of one regiment, responded to the summons
     with extraordinary celerity, and the echoes of the Federal
     guns had hardly died away before more than three-fourths of
     the ramparts were lined with troops; one gap remained
     unfilled; the demoralized men who should have filled it
     clung to the bomb-proofs and stayed there. The gallant
     Colonel Simpkins called his men to the gun-chambers wherever
     guns existed. De Pass, with his light artillery on the
     traverse to the left, his guns remounted and untouched,
     stood ready, and Colonel Harris moved a howitzer outside the
     fort to the right to deliver an enfilade fire upon the

     "The dark masses of the enemies columns, brigade after
     brigade, were seen in the fading twilight to approach; line
     after line was formed and then came the rush. A small creek
     made in on the right of the fort and intercepted the enemy's
     left attack; they did not know it, or did not estimate it.
     Orders were given to Gaillard to hold his fire and deliver
     no direct shot. It was believed the obstacle presented by
     the creek would confuse the assailants, cause them to
     incline to the right and mingle their masses at the head of
     the obstacle and thus their movements would be obstructed.
     It seemed to have the anticipated effect and the assaulting
     columns apparently jumbled together at this point were met
     by the withering volleys of McKethan's direct and Gaillard's
     cross-fire and by the direct discharge of the shell guns,
     supplemented by the frightful enfilading discharges of the
     lighter guns upon the right and left. It was terrible, but
     with an unsurpassed gallantry the Federal soldiers breasted
     the storm and rushed onward to the glacis.

     "The Confederates, not fourteen hundred strong, with the
     tenacity of bull dogs and a fierce courage which was roused
     to madness by the frightful inaction to which they had been
     subjected, poured from the ramparts and embrasures sheets of
     flame and a tempest of lead and iron, yet their intrepid
     assailants rushed on like the waves of the sea by whose
     shore they fought. They fell by hundreds, but they pushed
     on, reeling under the frightful blasts that almost blew them
     to pieces, some up to the Confederate bayonets. The
     southeast bastion was weakly defended, and into it a
     considerable body of the enemy made their way but they were
     caught in a trap, for they could not leave it. The fight
     continued; but it was impossible to stem the torrent of
     deadly missiles which poured out from the fort, the reflux
     of that terrible tide which had poured in all day, and the
     Federals retreated, leaving near a thousand dead around the

     "There was no cessation of the Confederate fire. Sumter and
     Gregg threw their shells along with those of Wagner upon the
     retiring foe; nor was the conflict over in the fort itself.
     The party which had gained access by the salient next the
     sea could not escape. It was certain death to attempt to
     pass the line of concentrated fire which swept the faces of
     the work, and they did not attempt it; but they would not
     surrender, and in desperation kept up a constant fire upon
     the main body of the fort. The Confederates called for
     volunteers to dislodge them--a summons which was promptly
     responded to by Major McDonald, of the Fifty-first North
     Carolina, and by Captain Rion, of the Charleston Battalion,
     with the requisite number of men. Rion's company was
     selected, and the gallant Irishman, at the head of his
     company, dashed at the reckless and insane men, who seemed
     to insist upon immolation. The tables were now singularly
     turned; the assailants had become the assailed and they held
     a fort within the fort, and were protected by the traverses
     and gun chambers, behind which they fought. Rion rushed at
     them, but he fell, shot outright, with several of his men,
     and the rest recoiled. At this time General Hagood reported
     to General Taliaferro with Colonel Harrison's splendid
     regiment, the Thirty-second Georgia, sent over by Beauregard
     to his assistance as soon as a landing could be effected at
     Cummings' Point. These troops were ordered to move along on
     the traverses and bomb-proofs, and to plunge their
     concentrated fire over the stronghold. Still, for a time,
     the enemy held out, but at last they cried out and

     "The carnage was frightful. It is believed the Federals lost
     more men on that eventful night than twice the entire
     strength of the Confederate garrison. The Confederates lost
     eight killed and twenty wounded by the bombardment and about
     fifty killed and one hundred and fifty wounded altogether
     from the bombardment and assault. Among the killed were
     those gallant officers, Lieutenant Colonel Simkins and Major
     Ramsey and among the wounded Captains DePass and Twiggs, of
     the staff, and Lieutenants Storey (Aide-de-Camp), Power and
     Watties. According to the statement of Chaplain Dennison the
     assaulting columns in two brigades, commanded by General
     Strong and Colonel Putnam (the division under General
     Seymour), consisted of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, Third
     and Seventh New Hampshire, Sixth Connecticut and One
     Hundredth New York, with a reserve brigade commanded by
     General Stephenson. One of the assaulting regiments was
     composed of negroes (the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts) and to
     it was assigned the honor of leading the white columns to
     the charge. It was a dearly purchased compliment. Their
     Colonel (Shaw) was killed upon the parapet and the regiment
     almost annihilated, although the Confederates in the
     darkness could not tell the color of their assailants. Both
     the brigade commanders were killed as well as Colonel

     "The same account says: 'We lost 55 officers and 585 men, a
     total of 640, one of the choicest martyr rolls of the war.'
     By 'lost,' 'killed' is supposed to be meant, but still that
     number greatly falls short of the number reported by the
     Confederates to have been buried on the 19th by them and by
     their own friends under a flag of truce. These reports show
     that 800 were buried, and as a number were taken prisoners,
     and it is fair to estimate that three were wounded to one
     killed, the total loss of the Federals exceeded 3,000. The
     writer's official report estimates the Federal loss at not
     less than 2,000; General Beauregard's at 3,000. The Federal
     official reports have not been seen.

     "The limits prescribed for this paper would be exceeded if
     any account of the remaining forty-eight days of the heroic
     strife on Morris Island were attempted. It closes with the
     repulse of the second assault, and it is a fit conclusion to
     render the homage due to the gallantry of the contestants by
     quoting and adopting the language of Dr. Dennison's address:
     'The truest courage and determination was manifested on both
     sides on that crimson day at that great slaughter-house,

It was no longer a question of doubt as to the valor of Northern
negroes. The assault on Fort Wagner completely removed any prejudice
that had been exhibited toward negro troops in the Department of the
South. General Gillmore immediately issued an order forbidding any
distinction to be made among troops in his command. So that while the
black Phalanx had lost hundreds of its members, it nevertheless won
equality in all things save the pay. The Government refused to place
them on a footing even with their Southern brothers, who received $7 per
month and the white troops $13. However, they were not fighting for pay,
as "Stonewall" of Company C argued, but for the "_freedom of our kin_."
Nobly did they do this, not only at Wagner, as we have seen, but in the
battles on James Island, Honey Hill, Olustee and at Bodkin's Mill.

In the winter of 1864, the troops in the Department of the South lay
encamped on the islands in and about Charleston harbor, resting from
their endeavors to drive the confederates from their strongholds. The
city was five miles away in the distance. Sumter, grim, hoary and in
ruins, yet defying the National authority, was silent. General Gillmore
was in command of the veteran legions of the 10th Army Corps, aided by a
powerful fleet of ironclads and other war vessels. There laid the city
of Charleston, for the time having a respite. General Gillmore was
giving rest to his troops, before he began again to throw Greek fire
into the city and batter the walls of its defences. The shattered ranks
of the Phalanx soldiers rested in the midst of thousands of their white
comrades-in-arms, to whom they nightly repeated the story of the late
terrible struggle. The solemn sentry pacing the ramparts of Fort Wagner
night and day, his bayonet glittering in the rays of the sun or in the
moonlight, seemed to be guarding the sepulchre of Col. Shaw and those
who fell beside him within the walls of that gory fort, and who were
buried where they fell. Only those who have lived in such a camp can
appreciate the stories of hair-breadth escapes from hand-to-hand fights.

The repose lasted until January, when an important movement took place
for the permanent occupation of Florida. The following account, written
by the author of this book, was published in "The Journal," of Toledo,

     "The twentieth day of February, 1864, was one of the most
     disastrous to the Federal arms, and to the administration of
     President Lincoln, in the annals of the war for the union.
     Through private advice Mr. Lincoln had received information
     which led him to believe that the people in the State of
     Florida, a large number of them, at least, were ready and
     anxious to identify the State with the cause of the Union,
     and he readily approved of the Federal forces occupying the
     State, then almost deserted by the rebels. Gen. Gillmore,
     commanding the Department of the South had a large force
     before Charleston, S. C., which had been engaged in the
     capture of Fort Wagner and the bombardment of the city of
     Charleston, and the reduction of Sumter.

     "These objects being accomplished, the army having rested
     several months, Gen. Gillmore asked for leave to undertake
     such expeditions within his Department as he might think
     proper. About the middle of December, 1863, the War
     Department granted him his request, and immediately he began
     making preparations for an expedition, collecting
     transports, commissary stores, drilling troops, etc., etc.

     "About the 1st of January, 1864, General Gillmore wrote to
     the General-in-Chief, Halleck, that he was about to occupy
     the west bank of St. Johns river, with the view (1st) to
     open an outlet to cotton, lumber, etc., (2d) to destroy one
     of the enemy's sources of supplies, (3d) to give the negroes
     opportunity of enlisting in the army, (4th) to inaugurate
     measures for the speedy restoration of Florida to the Union.

     "In accordance with instructions from President Lincoln
     received through the assistant Adjutant General, Major J. H.
     Hay, who would accompany the expedition, on the 5th of
     February the troops began to embark under the immediate
     command of General Truman Seymour, on board of twenty
     steamers and eight schooners, consisting of the following
     regiments, numbering in all six thousand troops, and under
     convoy of the gunboat Norwich:

     "40th Massachusetts Mounted Infantry, Col. Guy V. Henry.

     "7th Connecticut, Col. J. R. Hawley.

     "7th New Hampshire, Col. Abbott.

     "47th, 48th and 115th New York, Col. Barton's command.

     "The Phalanx regiments were: 8th Pennsylvania, Col. Fribley;
     1st North Carolina, Lt.-Col. Reed; 54th Massachusetts, Col.
     Hallowell; 2d South Carolina, Col. Beecher; 55th
     Massachusetts, Col. Hartwell, with three batteries of white
     troops, Hamilton's, Elder's and Langdon's. Excepting the two
     last named regiments, this force landed at Jacksonville on
     the 7th of February, and pushed on, following the 40th
     Massachusetts Mounted Infantry, which captured by a bold
     dash Camp Finnigan, about seven miles from Jacksonville,
     with its equipage, eight pieces of artillery, and a number
     of prisoners. On the 10th, the whole force had reached
     Baldwin, a railroad station twenty miles west of
     Jacksonville. There the army encamped, except Col. Henry's
     force, which continued its advance towards Tallahassee,
     driving a small force of Gen. Finnegan's command before him.
     This was at the time all the rebel force in east Florida. On
     the 18th Gen. Seymour, induced by the successful advance of
     Col. Henry, lead his troops from Baldwin with ten days'
     rations in their haversacks, and started for the Suwanee
     river, about a hundred and thirty miles from Baldwin
     station, leaving the 2d South Carolina and the 55th
     Massachusetts Phalanx regiments to follow. After a fatiguing
     march the column, numbering about six thousand, reached
     Barbour's Station, on the Florida Central Railroad, twenty
     miles from Baldwin. Here the command halted and bivouaced,
     the night of the 19th, in the woods bordering upon a wooded
     ravine running off towards the river from the railroad

     "It is now nineteen years ago, and I write from memory of a
     night long to be remembered. Around many a Grand Army
     Camp-fire in the last fifteen years this bivouac has been
     made the topic of an evening's talk. It was attended with no
     particular hardship. The weather was such as is met with in
     these latitudes, not cold, not hot, and though a thick
     vapory cloud hid the full round moon from early eventide
     until the last regiment filed into the woods, yet there was
     a halo of light that brightened the white, sandy earth and
     gave to the moss-laden limbs of the huge pines which stood
     sentry-like on the roadside the appearance of a New England
     grove on a frosty night, with a shelled road leading through

     "It was well in the night when the two Phalanx regiments
     filed out of the road into the woods, bringing up the rear
     of the army, and took shelter under the trees from the
     falling dew. Amid the appalling stillness that reigned
     throughout the encampment, except the tramp of feet and an
     occasional whickering of a battery horse, no sound broke the
     deep silence. Commands were given in an undertone and
     whispered along the long lines of weary troops that lay
     among the trees and the underbrush of the pine forest. Each
     soldier lay with his musket beside him, ready to spring to
     his feet and in line for battle, for none knew the moment
     the enemy, like a tiger, would pounce upon them. It was a
     night of intense anxiety, shrouded in mystery as to what
     to-morrow would bring. The white and black soldier in one
     common bed lay in battle panoply, dreaming their common
     dreams of home and loved ones.

     "Here lay the heroic 54th picturing to themselves the
     memorable nights of July 17 and 18, their bivouac on the
     beach and their capture of Fort Wagner and the terrible fate
     of their comrades. They were all veteran troops save the 8th
     Pennsylvania, which upon many hard-fought fields had covered
     themselves with gallant honor in defense of their country's
     cause, from Malvern Hill to Morris Island.

     "It was in the gray of the next morning that Gen. Seymour's
     order aroused the command. The men partook of a hastily
     prepared cup of coffee and meat and hard-tack from their
     haversacks. At sunrise the troops took up the line of march,
     following the railroad for Lake City. Col. Henry, with the
     40th Massachusetts Mounted Infantry and Major Stevens'
     independent battalion of Massachusetts cavalry, led the
     column. About half-past one o'clock they reached a point
     where the country road crossed the railroad, about two miles
     east of Olustee, and six miles west of Sanderson, a station
     through which the troops passed about half-past eleven
     o'clock. As the head of the column reached the crossing the
     rebel pickets fired and fell back upon a line of
     skirmishers, pursued by Col. Henry's command. The enemy's
     main force was supposed to be some miles distant from this
     place, consequently General Seymour had not taken the
     precaution to protect his flanks, though marching through an
     enemy's country. Consequently he found his troops flanked on
     either side.

     "Col. Henry drove the skirmishers back upon their main
     forces, which were strongly posted between two swamps. The
     position was admirably chosen; their right rested upon a
     low, slight earthwork, protected by rifle-pits, their center
     was defended by an impassable swamp, and on their left was a
     cavalry force drawn up on a small elevation behind the
     shelter of a grove of pines. Their camp was intersected by
     the railroad, on which was placed a battery capable of
     operating against the center and left of the advancing
     column, while a rifle gun, mounted on a railroad flat,
     pointed down the road in front.

     "Gen. Seymour, in order to attack this strongly fortified
     position, had necessarily to place his troops between the
     two swamps, one in his front, the other in the rear. The
     Federal cavalry, following up the skirmishers, had attacked
     the rebel right and were driven back, but were met by the
     7th New Hampshire, 7th Connecticut, a regiment of the black
     Phalanx (8th Pennsylvania), and Elder's battery of four and
     Hamilton's of six pieces. This force was hurled against the
     rebel right with such impetuosity that the batteries were
     within one hundred yards of the rebel line of battle before
     they knew it. However, they took position, and supported by
     the Phalanx regiment, opened a vigorous fire upon the rebel
     earthworks. The Phalanx regiment advanced within twenty or
     thirty yards of the enemy's rifle-pits, and poured a volley
     of minie balls into the very faces of those who did not fly
     on their approach.

     "The 7th Connecticut and the 7th New Hampshire, the latter
     with their seven-shooters, Spencer repeaters, Col. Hawley,
     commanding, had taken a stand further to the right of the
     battery, and were hotly engaging the rebels. The Phalanx
     regiment (8th), after dealing out two rounds from its
     advanced position, finding the enemy's force in the center
     preparing to charge upon them, fell back under cover of
     Hamilton's battery, which was firing vigorously and
     effectively into the rebel column. The 7th Connecticut and
     New Hampshire about this time ran short of ammunition, and
     Col. Hawley, finding the rebels outnumbered his force three
     to one, was about ordering Col. Abbott to fall back and out
     of the concentrated fire of the enemy pouring upon his men,
     when he observed the rebels coming in for a down upon his

     "Here they come like tigers; the Federal column wavers a
     little; it staggers and breaks, falling back in considerable
     disorder! Col. Hawley now ordered Col. Fribley to take his
     Phalanx Regiment, the 8th, to the right of the battery and
     check the advancing rebel force. No time was to be lost, the
     enemy's sharpshooters had already silenced two of Hamilton's
     guns, dead and dying men and horses lay in a heap about
     them, while at the remaining four guns a few brave
     artillerists were loading and fixing their pieces, retarding
     the enemy in his onward movement.

     "Deficient in artillery, they had not been able to check the
     Federal cavalry in its dash, but the concentrated fire from
     right to center demoralized, and sent them galloping over
     the field wildly. Col. Fribley gave the order by the right
     flank, double quick! and the next moment the 8th Phalanx
     swept away to the extreme right in support of the 7th New
     Hampshire and the 7th Connecticut. The low, direct aim of
     the enemy in the rifle-pits, his Indian sharpshooters up in
     the trees, had ere now so thinned the ranks of Col. Hawley's
     command that his line was gone, and the 8th Phalanx met the
     remnant of his brigade as it was going to the rear in
     complete disorder. The rebels ceased firing and halted as
     the Phalanx took position between them and their fleeing
     comrades. They halted not perforce, but apparently for
     deliberation, when with one fell swoop in the next moment
     they swept the field in their front.

     "The Phalanx did not, however, quit the field in a
     panic-stricken manner but fell hastily back to the battery,
     only to find two of the guns silent and their brave workers
     and horses nearly all of them dead upon the field. With a
     courage undaunted, surpassed by no veteran troops on any
     battle-field, the Phalanx attempted to save the silent guns.
     In this effort Col. Fribley was killed, in the torrent of
     rebel bullets which fell upon the regiment. It held the two
     guns, despite two desperate charges made by the enemy to
     capture them, but the stubbornness of the Phalanx was no
     match for the ponderous weight of their enemy's column,
     their sharpshooters and artillery mowing down ranks of their
     comrades at every volley. A grander spectacle was never
     witnessed than that which this regiment gave of gallant
     courage. They left their guns only when their line officers
     and three hundred and fifty of their valiant soldiers were
     dead upon the field, the work of an hour and a half. The
     battery lost forty of its horses and four of its brave men.
     The Phalanx saved the colors of the battery with its own.
     Col. Barton's brigade, the 47th, 48th and 115th New York,
     during the fight on the right had held the enemy in the
     front and center at bay, covering Elder's battery, and nobly
     did they do their duty, bravely maintaining the reputation
     they had won before Charleston, but like the other troops,
     the contest was too unequal. The rebels outnumbered them
     five to one, and they likewise gave way, leaving about a
     fourth of their number upon the field, dead and wounded.

     "Col. Montgomery's brigade, comprising two Phalanx
     regiments, 54th Massachusetts and 1st North Carolina, which
     had been held in reserve about a mile down the road, now
     came up at double-quick. They were under heavy marching
     orders, with ten days' rations in their knapsacks, besides
     their cartridge boxes they carried ten rounds in their
     overcoat pockets. The road was sandy, and the men often
     found their feet beneath the sand, but with their wonted
     alacrity they speed on up the road, the 54th leading in
     almost a locked running step, followed closely by the 1st
     North Carolina. As they reached the road intersected by the
     railroad they halted in the rear of what remained of
     Hamilton's battery, loading a parting shot. The band of the
     54th took position on the side of the road, and while the
     regiments were unstringing knapsacks as coolly as if about
     to bivouac, the music of the band burst out on the
     sulphurous air, amid the roar of artillery, the rattle of
     musketry and the shouts of commands, mingling its
     soul-stirring strains with the deafening yells of the
     charging columns, right, left, and from the rebel center.
     Thus on the very edge of the battle, nay, in the battle, the
     Phalanx band poured out in heroic measures 'The Star
     Spangled Banner.' Its thrilling notes, soaring above the
     battles' gales, aroused to new life and renewed energy the
     panting, routed troops, flying in broken and disordered
     ranks from the field. Many of them halted, the New York
     troops particularly, and gathered at the battery again,
     pouring a deadly volley into the enemy's works and ranks.
     The 54th had but a moment to prepare for the task. General
     Seymour rode up and appealed to the Phalanx to check the
     enemy and save the army from complete and total
     annihilation. Col. Montgomery gave Col. Hallowell the order
     'Forward,' pointing to the left, and away went the 54th
     Phalanx regiment through the woods, down into the swamp,
     wading up to their knees--in places where the water reached
     their hips; yet on they went till they reached terra firma.
     Soon the regiment stood in line of battle, ready to meet the
     enemy's advancing cavalry, emerging from the extreme left.

     "'Hold your fire!' the order ran down the line. Indeed, it
     was trying. The cavalry had halted but the enemy, in their
     rifle-pits in the center of their line, poured volley after
     volley into the ranks of the Phalanx, which it stood like a
     wall of granite, holding at bay the rebel cavalry hanging on
     the edge of a pine grove. The 1st Phalanx regiment entered
     the field in front, charged the rebels in the centre of the
     line, driving them into their rifle-pits, and then for half
     an hour the carnage became frightful. They had followed the
     rebels into the very jaws of death, and now Col. Reid found
     his regiment in the enemy's enfilading fire, and they swept
     his line. Men fell like snowflakes. Driven by this terrific
     fire, they fell back. The 54th had taken ground to the
     right, lending whatever of assistance they could to their
     retiring comrades, who were about on a line with them, for
     although retreating, it was in the most cool and deliberate
     manner, and the two regiments began a firing at will against
     which the rebels, though outnumbering them, could not face.
     Thus they held them till long after sunset, and firing

     "The slaughter was terrible; the Phalanx lost about 800 men,
     the white troops about 600. It was Braddock's defeat after
     the lapse of a century."

The rout was complete; the army was not only defeated but beaten and
demoralized. The enemy had succeeded in drawing it into a trap for the
purpose of annihilating it. Seymour had advanced, contrary to the orders
given him by General Gillmore, from Baldwin's Station, where he was
instructed to intrench and await orders. Whether or not he sought to
retrieve the misfortunes that had attended him in South Carolina, in
assaulting the enemy's works, is a question which need not be discussed
here. It is only necessary to show the miserable mismanagement of the
advance into the enemy's country. The troops were marched into an
ambuscade, where they were slaughtered by the enemy at will. Even after
finding his troops ambuscaded, and within two hundred yards of the
confederate fortifications, General Seymour did not attempt to fall back
and form a line of battle, though he had sufficient artillery, but
rushed brigade after brigade up to the enemy's guns, only to be mowed
down by the withering storm of shot. Each brigade in turn went in as
spirited as any troops ever entered a fight, but stampeded out of it
maimed, mangled and routed. At sunset the road, foot-paths and woods
leading back to Saunders' Station, was full of brave soldiers hastening
from the massacre of their comrades, in their endeavor to escape
capture. At about nine o'clock that night, what remained of the left
column, Colonel Montgomery's brigade, consisting of the 54th and 35th
Phalanx Regiments, and a battery, arrived at the Station, and reported
the confederates in hot pursuit.

[Illustration: CHARGE OF THE PHALANX.]

Instantly the shattered, scattered troops fled to the roads leading to
Barber's, ten miles away, with no one to command. Each man took his own
route for Barber's, leaving behind whatever would encumber him,--arms,
ammunition, knapsacks and cartridge boxes; many of the latter containing
forty rounds of cartridges. It was long past midnight when Barber's was
reached, and full day before the frightened mob arrived at the Station.
At sunrise on the morning of the 21st, the scene presented at Barber's
was sickening and sad. The wounded lay everywhere, upon the ground,
huddled around the embers of fagot fires, groaning and uttering cries of
distress. The surgeons were busy relieving, as best they could, the more
dangerously wounded. The foot-sore and hungry soldiers sought out their
bleeding and injured comrades and placed them upon railroad flats,
standing upon the tracks, and when these were loaded, ropes and strong
vines were procured and fastened to the flats. Putting themselves in the
place of a locomotive,--several of which stood upon the track at
Jacksonville,--the mangled and mutilated forms of about three hundred
soldiers were dragged forward mile after mile. Just in the rear, the
confederates kept up a fire of musketry, as though to hasten on the
stampede. It was well into the night when the train reached Baldwin's,
where it was thought the routed force would occupy the extensive work
encircling the station, but they did not stop; their race was continued
to Jacksonville. At Baldwin's an agent of the Christian Commission gave
the wounded each two crackers, without water. This over with, the train
started for Jacksonville, ten miles further. The camp of Colonel
Beecher's command, 2nd Phalanx Regiment, was reached, and here coffee
was furnished. At daylight the train reached Jacksonville, where the
wounded were carried to the churches and cared for. The battle and the
retreat had destroyed every vestige of distinction based upon color. The
troops during the battle had fought together, as during the stampede
they had endured its horrors together.

The news of the battle and defeat reached Beaufort the night of the 23rd
of February. It was so surprising that it was doubted, but when a boat
load of wounded men arrived, all doubts were dispelled.

Colonel T. W. Higginson, who was at Beaufort at the time with his
regiment, (1st S. C), thus notes the reception of the news in his diary,
which we quote with a few comments from his admirable book, "Army Life
in a Black Regiment":

                                  "'FEBRUARY, 19TH.

     "'Not a bit of it! This morning the General has ridden up
     radiant, has seen General Gillmore, who has decided not to
     order us to Florida at all, nor withdraw any of this
     garrison. Moreover, he says that all which is intended in
     Florida is done--that there will be no advance to
     Tallahassee, and General Seymour will establish a camp of
     instruction in Jacksonville. Well, if that is all, it is a
     lucky escape.'

     "We little dreamed that on that very day the march toward
     Olustee was beginning. The battle took place next day, and I
     add one more extract to show how the news reached Beaufort.

                                  "'FEBRUARY 23, 1864.

     "'There was a sound of revelry by night at a ball in
     Beaufort last night, in a new large building beautifully
     decorated. All the collected flags of the garrison hung
     round and over us, as if the stars and stripes were devised
     for an ornament alone. The array of uniforms was such, that
     a civilian became a distinguished object, much more a lady.
     All would have gone according to the proverbial marriage
     bell, I suppose, had there not been a slight palpable shadow
     over all of us from hearing vague stories of a lost battle
     in Florida, and from the thought that perhaps the very
     ambulances in which we rode to the ball were ours only until
     the wounded or the dead might tenant them.

     "'General Gillmore only came, I supposed, to put a good face
     upon the matter. He went away soon, and General Saxton went;
     then came a rumor that the Cosmopolitan had actually arrived
     with wounded, but still the dance went on. There was nothing
     unfeeling about it--one gets used to things,--when suddenly,
     in the midst of the 'Lancers,' there came a perfect hush,
     the music ceasing, a few surgeons went hastily to and fro,
     as if conscience stricken (I should think they might have
     been),--and then there 'waved a mighty shadow in,' as in
     Uhland's 'Black Knight,' and as we all stood wondering we
     were aware of General Saxton who strode hastily down the
     hall, his pale face very resolute, and looking almost sick
     with anxiety. He had just been on board the steamer; there
     were two hundred and fifty wounded men just arrived, and the
     ball must end. Not that there was anything for us to do, but
     the revel was mis-timed, and must be ended; it was wicked to
     be dancing with such a scene of suffering near by.


Federal picket boat near Fernandina, Fla., attacked by Confederate
sharpshooters stationed in the trees on the banks.]

     "'Of course the ball was instantly broken up, though with
     some murmurings and some longings of appetite, on the part
     of some, toward the wasted supper.

     "'Later, I went on board the boat. Among the long lines of
     wounded, black and white intermingled, there was the
     wonderful quiet which usually prevails on such occasions.
     Not a sob nor a groan, except from those undergoing removal.
     It is not self-control, but chiefly the shock to the system
     produced by severe wounds, especially gunshot wounds, and
     which usually keeps the patient stiller at first than at any
     later time.

     "'A company from my regiment waited on the wharf, in their
     accustomed dusky silence, and I longed to ask them what they
     thought of our Florida disappointment now? In view of what
     they saw, did they still wish we had been there? I confess
     that in presence of all that human suffering, I could not
     wish it. But I would not have suggested any such thought to

     "'I found our kind-hearted ladies, Mrs. Chamberlin and Mrs.
     Dewhurst, on board the steamer, but there was nothing for
     them to do, and we walked back to camp in the radiant
     moonlight; Mrs. Chamberlin more than ever strengthened in
     her blushing woman's philosophy, 'I don't care who wins the
     laurels, provided we don't!'

                                  "'FEBRUARY 29TH.

     "'But for a few trivial cases of varioloid, we should
     certainly have been in that disastrous fight. We were
     confidently expected for several days at Jacksonville, and
     the commanding general told Hallowell that we, being the
     oldest colored regiment, would have the right of the line.
     This was certainly to miss danger and glory very closely.'"

At daybreak on the 8th of March, 1864, the 7th Regiment, having left
Camp Stanton, Maryland, on the 4th and proceeded to Portsmouth, Va.,
embarked on board the steamer "Webster" for the Department of the South.
Arriving at Hilton Head, the regiment went into camp for a few days,
then it embarked for Jacksonville, Fla., at which place it remained for
some time, taking part in several movements into the surrounding country
and participating in a number of quite lively skirmishes. On the 27th of
June a considerable portion of the Regiment was ordered to Hilton Head,
where it arrived on July 1st; it went from there to James Island, where
with other troops a short engagement with the confederates was had.
Afterwards the regiment returned to Jacksonville, Fla., remaining in
that vicinity engaged in raiding the adjacent territory until the 4th of
August, when the regiment was ordered to Virginia, to report to the
Army of the Potomoc, where it arrived on Aug. 8th. The 55th
Massachusetts Regiment was also ordered to the Department of the South,
It left Boston July 21st, 1863, on the steamer "Cahawba," and arrived at
Newbern on the 25th. After a few days of rest, to recover from the
effects of the voyage, the regiment was put into active service, and
performed a large amount of marching and of the arduous duties required
of a soldier. Many skirmishes and actions of more or less importance
were participated in. February 13th, 1864, the regiment took a steamer
for Jacksonville, Fla., and spent considerable time in that section and
at various points on the St. Johns river. In June the regiment was
ordered to the vicinity of Charleston, and took part in several of the
engagements which occurred in that neighborhood, always sustaining and
adding to the reputation they were acquiring for bravery and good
soldierly conduct. The regiment passed its entire time of active service
in the department to which it was first sent, and returned to Boston,
Mass., where it was mustered out, amid great rejoicing, on the 23rd of
September, 1865.

The battles in which the 54th Regiment were engaged were some of the
most sanguinary of the war. The last fight of the regiment, which, like
the battle of New Orleans, took place after peace was declared, is thus
described by the Drummer Boy of Company C, Henry A. Monroe, of New
Bedford, Mass.:


    One wailing bugle note,--
    Then at the break of day,
    With Martial step and gay.
    The army takes its way
    From Camden town.

    There lay along the path,
    Defending native land;
    A daring, desperate band
    Entrenched on either hand
    In ambuscade.

    A low and dark ravine
    Beneath a rugged hill,
    Where stood the Boykin Mill
    Spanning the creek, whose rill
    Flows dark an deep.

    Only a narrow bank
    Where one can scarcely tread:
    Thick branches meet o'erhead;
    Across the mill-pond's bed
    A bridge up-torn.

    One single sharp report!
    A hundred muskets peal,--
    A wild triumphant yell,
    As back the army fell
    Stunned, bleeding, faint.

    As when some mighty rock
    Obstructs the torrent's course,
    After the moment's pause
    Twill rush with greater force
    Resistless on.

    A moment's pause and then,
    Our leader from his post,
    Viewing the stricken host.
    Cried 'Comrades, all is lost
    If we now fail!'

    Forming in single file.
    They gaze with bated breath,
    On every hand, stern Death
    His visage showed.

    'Forward!' They quickly spring
    With leveled bayonet;
    Each eye is firmly set
    Upon that pathway wet
    With crimson gore.

    That 'Balaklava' dash!
    Right through the leaden hail.
    O'er dyke mid timbers frail,
    With hearts that never fail
    They boldly charge.

    Facing the scathing fire
    Without a halt or break;
    Save when with moan or shriek,
    In the blood-mingled creek
    The wounded fall.

    What could resist that charge?
    Above the battle's roar,
    There swells a deafening cheer
    Telling to far and near,
    The Mill is won!

The slaughter was terrible, and among the killed was young Lieutenant
Stevenson, a graduate of Harvard. The affair was an unnecessary
sacrifice of human life, for the war was over, peace had been declared,
and President Lincoln had been assassinated; but in the interior of the
Carolinas, the news did not reach until it was too late to prevent this
final bloodshed of the war. Perhaps it may be regarded as a fitting seal
of the negro to his new covenant with freedom and his country.

The very large number of negro troops which General Gillmore had under
his command in the Department of the South, afforded him a better
opportunity to test their fitness for and quality as soldiers, than any
other commander had. In fact the artillery operations in Charleston
harbor, conducted throughout with remarkable engineering skill,
perseverence and bravery, won for General Gillmore and his troops the
attention and admiration of the civilized world, and an exceptional
place in the annals of military siege. Such fame is sufficient to prompt
an inquiry into the capacity of the men who performed the labor of
planting the "Swamp Angel," which threw three hundred pound shot into
the heart of Charleston, more than four miles away, and also mounted the
six 200-pound cannons which demolished the forts in the harbor two miles
distant. The work of mounting these immense guns in swamp and mud could
only be done by men who feared neither fatigue, suffering nor death.
After the accomplishment of these worlds, wonders, and the subjugation
of "arrogant" Wagner, the following circular was addressed to the
subordinate engineers for information regarding the negro troops, which
drew forth explicit and interesting answers:



     "ENGINEER'S OFFICE, MORRIS ISLAND, S. C., Sept. 10th, 1863.

     "As the important experiment which will test the fitness of
     the American negro for the duties of a soldier is now being
     tried, it is desirable that facts bearing on the question be
     carefully observed and recorded.

     "It is probable that in no military operations of the war
     have negro troops done so large a proportion, and so
     important and hazardous, fatigue duty, as in the siege
     operations on this island.

     "As you have directed the operations of working parties of
     both white and black troops here, I respectfully ask, for
     the object above stated, an impartial and carefully prepared
     answer to the following inquiries, together with such
     statements as you choose to make bearing on this question:

     "I. Courage as indicated by their behavior under fire.

     "II. Skill and appreciation of their duties, referring to
     the quality of the work performed.

     "III. Industry and perseverence, with reference, to the
     quantity of the work performed.

     "IV. If a certain work were to be accomplished in the least
     possible time, _i. e._, when enthusiasm and direct personal
     interest is necessary to attain the end, would whites or
     blacks answer best?

     "V. What is the difference, considering the above points
     between colored troops recruited from the free States and
     those from the slave States?

         "Very respectfully your obedient servant,

                                  "T. B. BROOKS,

     "_Major, Aide-de-Camp and Ass't Engineer._"

_Six_ replies to these enquiries were received from engineer officers
who had been engaged in the siege, the substance of which is embraced in
the following summary, following which two replies are given in full,

     "1. To the first question all answer that the black is more
     timorous than the white, but is in a corresponding degree
     more docile and obedient, hence more completely under the
     control of his commander, and much more influenced by his

     "2. All agree that the black is less skillful than the white
     soldier, but still enough so for most kinds of siege work.

     "3. The statements unanimously agree that the black will do
     a greater amount of work than the white soldier because he
     labors more constantly.

     "4. The whites are decidedly superior in enthusiasm. The
     blacks cannot be easily hurried in their work, no matter
     what the emergency.

     "5. All agree that the colored troops recruited from free
     States are superior to those recruited from slave States.

     "It may with propriety be repeated here, that the average
     percentage of sick among the negro troops during the siege
     was 13.9, while that of the white infantry was 20.1 per

     "The percentage of tours of duty performed by the blacks as
     compared with the white infantry, was as 56 to 41. But the
     grand guard duty, which was considered much more wearing
     than fatigue, was all done by the whites.

     "The efficiency and health of a battalion depends so much
     upon its officers, that, in order to institute a fair
     comparison, when so small a number of troops are considered,
     this element should be eliminated. This has not, however,
     been attempted in this paper."

               [_Reply in Full No. 1._]

                       "MORRIS ISLAND, S. C., Sept. 11th, 1863.

     "MAJOR:--In answer to your several queries as per circular
     of September 10, 1863, requesting my opinion as to the
     relative merits of white and black troops, for work in the
     trenches, I have the honor to make the the following

     "I. 'Their courage as indicated by their behavior under
     fire.' I will say, in my opinion, their courage is rather of
     the passive than the active kind. They will stay, endure,
     resist, and follow, but they have not the restless,
     aggressive spirit. I do not believe they will desert their
     officers in trying moments, in so great numbers as the
     whites; they have not the will, audacity or fertility of
     excuse of the straggling white, and at the same time they
     have not the heroic, nervous energy, or vivid perception of
     the white, who stands firm or presses forward.

     "I do not remember a single instance, in my labors in the
     trenches, where the black man has skulked away from his
     duty, and I know that instances of that kind have occurred
     among the whites; still I think that the superior energy and
     intelligence of those remaining, considering that the whites
     were the lesser number by the greater desertion, would more
     than compensate.

     "II. 'Skill and appreciation of their duties referring to
     the quality of the work.'

     "They have a fair share of both; enough to make them very
     useful and efficient, but they have not apparently that
     superior intelligence and skill that may be found largely
     among the non-commissioned officers and privates of the
     white regiments.

     "III. 'Industry and perseverence with reference to the
     quantity of the work done.'

     "I think they will do more than the whites; they do not have
     so many complaints and excuses, but stick to their work
     patiently, doggedly, obediently, and accomplish a great
     deal, though I have never known them to work with any marked
     spirit or energy. I should liken the white man to the horse
     (often untractable and balky), the black man to the ox.

     "IV. 'If a certain work were to be accomplished in the least
     possible time, _i. e._, when enthusiasm and direct personal
     interest is necessary to attain the end, would whites or
     blacks answer best?'

     "I cannot make up my mind that it is impossible to arouse
     the enthusiasm of the blacks, for I have seen enough of them
     to know that they are very emotional creatures; still though
     they might have more dash than I have seen and think
     possible, it is unquestionable to my mind that were the
     enthusiasm and personal interest of both aroused, the white
     would far surpass the black.

     "It seems to me that there is a hard nervous organization at
     the bottom of the character of the white, and a soft
     susceptible one at the bottom of the character of the black.

     "V. 'What is the difference, considering the above points,
     between colored troops recruited from the free States and
     those from the slave States?'

     "I should say that the free State men were the best; they
     have more of the self-reliance, and approximate nearer to
     the qualities of the white man in respect to dash and
     energy, than those from the slave States.

     "_Summary._--To me they compare favorably with the whites;
     they are easily handled, true and obedient; there is less
     viciousness among them; they are more patient; they have
     great constancy. The character of the white, as you know,
     runs to extremes; one has bull-dog courage, another is a
     pitiful cur; one is excessively vicious, another pure and
     noble. The phases of the character of the white touches the
     stars and descends to the lowest depths. The blacks
     character occupies the inner circle. Their status is
     mediocrity, and this mediocrity and uniformity, for military
     fatigue duty, I think, answers best.

                    "I am respectfully your obedient servant,

                                        "JOSEPH WALKER.

                       "_Captain New York Volunteer Engineers._

     "Major T. B. BROOKS,

                    "_Aide-de-Camp and Ass't. Eng. Dept. of the South."_

                     [_Reply in Full No. 2._]

                                  "MORRIS ISLAND, Sept. 16th, 1863.

         "MAJOR T. B. BROOKS, _Ass't. Engineer Dept. of the South._

     "SIR: I have the honor to state that I received from you a
     circular of inquiry respecting the comparative merits of
     white and black soldiers for fatigue duty, requesting my
     opinion as derived from observation and actual intercourse
     with them, on several specified points, which I subjoin with
     the respective answers.

     "I. 'Courage as indicated by conduct under fire.'

     "I have found that the black troops manifest more timidity
     under fire than the white troops, but they are at the same
     time more obedient to orders, and more under control of
     their officers, in dangerous situations, than white

     "II. 'Skill and appreciation of their duties with reference
     to the quality of the work performed.'

     "White soldiers are more intelligent and experienced and of
     course more skillful than the black ones, but they have not
     generally a corresponding appreciation of their duties. As a
     consequence I have found in most cases the work as well done
     by black as by white soldiers.

     "III. 'Industry and perseverence with reference to the
     amount of work performed.'

     "White soldiers work with more energy while they do work
     than the black ones, but do not work as constantly. Black
     soldiers seldom intermit their labors except by orders or
     permission. The result, as far as my observations extends,
     is that a greater amount of work is usually accomplished
     with black than with white soldiers.

     "IV. 'If a certain work were to be accomplished in the least
     possible time, when enthusiasm and direct personal interest
     is necessary to the attainment of the end, would whites or
     blacks answer best?'

     "Whites. Because though requiring more effort to control,
     they possess a greater energy of character and
     susceptibility of enthusiasm than the black race, which can
     be called into action by an emergency or by a sufficient
     effort on the part of their officers.

     "V. 'What is the difference, considering the above points,
     between colored troops recruited from the free States and
     those from the slave States?'

     "I have observed a decided difference in favor of those
     recruited from the free States.

     "The problem involved in the foregoing investigation is more
     difficult of a solution than appears at first sight, owing
     to the fact that the degree of efficiency peculiar to any
     company of troops depends so much on the character of their
     officers, an element that must eliminate from the question
     in order to ascertain the quality of the material of which
     the troops are composed.

                  "I have the honor to be your obedient servant,

                                                 "H. FARRAND,

         "_1st Lieut. New York Volunteer Engineers._"

In his report to Major-General Gillmore, dated "Morris Island, Sept.
27th, 1863," Major Brooks, his Assistant Engineer, says: "Of the
numerous infantry regiments which furnished fatigue details, the Fourth
New Hampshire Volunteers did the most and best work. Next follow the
blacks, the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, and Third United
States Colored Troops."

Annexed to these reports is also a statement of the labor days of the


     "The total number of days' work, of six hours each, expended
     in Major Brooks' operations was, by engineers, 4,500, and by
     infantry 19,000, total 23,500; of the 19,000 days' work by
     infantry, one-half was performed by colored troops. In
     addition to the above, 9,500 days' work was expended in
     preparing siege materials for Major Brooks' operations. The
     infantry soldiers' days' work is about one-fifth what a
     citizen laborer would do on civil works. Of my work, over
     eight-twentieths was against Wagner, about seven-twentieths
     on the defensive lines, and nearly five-twentieths on the
     batteries against Sumter.

     "The approximate amount of labor actually expended on the
     more important works is as follows: One emplacement for a
     siege piece, 40 days; one emplacement for a heavy breaching
     gun, 100 days; one bomb-proof magazine, 250 days;
     construction and repairs of each yard of approach having
     splinter-proof parapet, 2 days; a lineal yard of narrow
     splinter-proof shelter, 4 days; a lineal yard of wide
     splinter-proof shelter, 8 days; to make and set one yard of
     inclined palisading, 2 days.

     "At least three-fourths of the manual labor was simply
     shoveling sand; one-half of the remainder was carrying
     engineer material. The balance was employed in various kinds
     of work.

     "About three-fourths of this work was executed in the
     night-time, and at least nine-tenths of it under a fire of
     artillery or sharpshooters, or both. The sharpshooters
     seldom fired during the night. The artillery fire was most
     severe during the day. Thirty-five projectiles fired by the
     enemy at our works per hour was called "heavy firing,"
     although sometimes more than double that number were thrown.

     "In the order of their number the projectiles were from
     smooth-bore guns, mortars, and rifled guns.

     "The James Island batteries were from two thousand to four
     thousand yards from our works; Fort Sumter and Battery Gregg
     were respectively about three thousand five hundred and two
     thousand one hundred; Fort Wagner was from thirteen hundred
     to one hundred yards.

     "The total number of casualties in the working parties and
     the guard of the advanced trenches, (not including the main
     guard of the trenches), during the siege, was about one
     hundred and fifty. When it is considered that on an average
     over two hundred men were constantly engaged in these
     duties, being under fire for fifty days, the number of
     casualties is astonishingly small.

     "The camp at which the fatigue parties were quartered and
     fed were, in order to be beyond the reach of the enemy's
     fires, two miles from the centre of the works; hence the
     distance of four miles had to be marched each tour of duty,
     which required nearly two hours, and added greatly to the
     labor of the siege.

     "This siege has been conducted through the hottest part of
     the season,--July, August and September,--yet the troops
     have suffered but little from excess in heat, on account of
     the large proportion of night work, and the almost continual
     sea-breeze, which was always cool and refreshing.

     "The amount of sickness was great, the large amount of duty
     being the probable cause. On the 7th of August the
     percentage was the smallest observed during the siege, being
     18.6. At this date the aggregate garrison of Morris Island
     was 9,353, of which 1,741 were sick. On the 17th of August
     22.9 per cent. of the whole garrison were on the sick list.
     This was the most unhealthy period of the siege.

     "The average strength of the command on Morris Island during
     the siege was, of all arms, 10,678 men, of which the average
     percentage sick was 19.88. The number of black troops varied
     from 1,127 to 1947.

     "Average percentage of sick in Artillery, 6.2; ditto, in
     Engineers, 11.9; ditto, in Black Infantry, 13.9; ditto, in
     White Infantry, (excluding one brigade), 20.1.

     "This brigade consisted of the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania,
     Twenty-fourth Massachusetts and Tenth Connecticut
     Volunteers. It averaged thirty per cent sick. This was due
     to the fact that these three regiments had been stationed,
     before moving to Morris Island, on Seabrook Island, which
     proved very unhealthy. The engineers and black infantry were
     employed exclusively on fatigue duty. The white infantry
     served as guard of the trenches, as well as for work in the

     "Details from the troops on Folly Island took part in the
     operations on Morris Island.

     "It was found by experience that men under these
     circumstances could not work more than one-fourth the time.
     A greater amount at once increased the sick list. Eight
     hours in thirty-two, or eight hours on and twenty-four off,
     was found to be the best arrangement, as it made a daily
     change in the hours of duty for those regiments permanently
     detailed for work.

     "The organization found most advantageous in working a
     command permanently detailed for fatigue duty, was to divide
     its effective force into four equal detachments, on duty
     eight hours each, relieving each other at 4 A. M., 12 M. and
     8 P. M. The large number of extra troops employed in the
     trenches each night were usually changed daily.

     "The engineer officers in charge of the works were divided
     into corresponding groups, four in each, relieving each
     other at 8 A. M., 4 P. M., and 12 midnight, four hours
     different from the time of relieving the troops. This
     difference enabled the engineer officers to carry the work
     through the period of relieving the fatigue details.

     "One engineer officer, having from two to four different
     kinds or jobs of work to superintend, was found to work
     advantageously in the night, with the help of
     non-commissioned officers of engineers, from one hundred to
     two hundred men.

     "The working parties of engineers and black infantry seldom
     carried their arms into the trenches, while the white
     infantry fatigue parties usually did."


[27] NOTE.--Boykin's Mill, a few miles from Camden, S. C, was the scene
of one of the bloodiest skirmishes that the 54th Regt. ever participated
in. We had literally fought every step of the way from Georgetown to
Camden, and the enemy made a last desperate stand at this place. No
better position could be found for a defense, as the only approach to
it, was by a narrow embankment about 200 yards long, where only one
could walk at a time. The planks of the bridge over the mill-race were
torn up, compelling the troops to cross on the timbers and cross-ties,
under a galling fire which swept the bridge and embankment, rendering it
a fearful 'way of death.' The heroes of Wagner and Olustee did not
shrink from the trial, but actually charged in single file. The first to
step upon the fatal path, went down like grass before the scythe, but
over their prostrate bodies came their comrades, until the enemy,
panic-stricken by such determined daring, abandoned their position and



Important services were rendered by the Phalanx in the West. The
operations in Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky, afforded an excellent
opportunity to the commanders of the Union forces to raise negro troops
in such portions of the territory as they held; but in consequence of
the bitterness against such action by the semi-Unionists and Copperheads
in the Department of the Ohio and Cumberland, it was not until the fall
of 1863 that the organizing of such troops in these Departments fairly
began. The Mississippi was well-nigh guarded by Phalanx regiments
enlisted along that river, numbering about fifty thousand men. They
garrisoned the fortifications, and occupied the captured towns. Later
on, however, when the confederate General Bragg began preparations for
the recovery of the Tennessee Valley, organization of the Phalanx
commenced in earnest, and proceeded with a rapidity that astounded even
those who were favorable to the policy. St. Louis became a depot and
Benton Barracks a recruiting station, from whence, in the fall of 1863,
went many a regiment of brave black men, whose chivalrous deeds will
ever live in the annals of the nation. It was not long after this time
that the noble Army of the Cumberland began to receive a portion of the
black troops, whose shouts rang through the mountain fastnesses. The
record made by the 60th Regiment is the boast of the State of Iowa, to
which it was accredited: but of those which went to the assistance of
General Thomas' army none won greater distinction and honor than the
gallant brigade commanded by Colonel T. J. Morgan, afterwards raised to
Brigadier-General. The gallant 14th Infantry was one of its regiments,
the field officers of which were Colonel, Thomas J. Morgan, who had been
promoted through various grades, from a 1st Lieutenancy in the 70th
Indiana Volunteer Infantry; Lieutenant-Colonel, H. C. Corbin, who had
risen from a 1st Lieutenancy of the 79th O. V. I., and Major N. J. Vail,
who had served as an enlisted man in the 19th Illinois Volunteers. All
the officers passed a rigid examination before the board of examiners
appointed by the War Department for that purpose.


The Confederate Generals Edward Johnson and G. H. Stewart, as prisoners,
under guard of Phalanx Soldiers, May 12th, 1864.]

General Morgan, by request furnishes the following highly interesting
and historical statement of his services with the Phalanx Brigade:

     "The American Civil War of 1861-5 marks an epoch not only in
     the history of the United States, but in that of democracy,
     and of civilization. Its issue has vitally affected the
     course of human progress. To the student of history it ranks
     along with the conquests of Alexander; the incursions of the
     Barbarians; the Crusades; the discovery of America and the
     American Revolution. It settled the question of our National
     unity with all the consequences attaching thereto. It
     exhibited in a very striking manner the power of a free
     people to preserve their form of government against its most
     dangerous foe, Civil War. It not only enfranchised four
     millions of American slaves of African descent, but made
     slavery forever impossible in the great Republic, and gave a
     new impulse to the cause of human freedom. Its influence
     upon American slaves was immediate and startlingly
     revolutionary, lifting them from the condition of despised
     chattels, bought and sold like sheep in the market, with no
     rights which the white man was bound to respect,--to the
     exalted plane of American citizenship; made them free men,
     the peers in every civil and political right, of their late
     masters. Within about a decade after the close of the war,
     negroes, lately slaves, were legislators, state officers,
     members of Congress, and for a brief time one presided over
     the Senate of the United States, where only a few years
     before, Toombs had boasted that he would yet call the roll
     of his slaves in the shade of Bunker Hill.

     "To-day slavery finds no advocate, and the colored race in
     America is making steady progress in all the elements of
     civilization. The conduct of the American slave during, and
     since the war, has wrought an extraordinary change in public
     sentiment, regarding the capabilities of the race.

     "The manly qualities of the negro soldiers, evinced in camp,
     on the march and in battle, won for them golden opinions,
     made their freedom a necessity and their citizenship a

     "Those of us who assisted in organizing, disciplining and
     leading negro troops in battle, may, perhaps, be pardoned
     for feeling a good degree of pride in our share of the
     thrilling events of the great war.

     "When Sumter was fired upon, April, 1861, I was 21; a member
     of the Senior Class in Franklin College, Indiana. I enlisted
     in the 7th Indiana Volunteer infantry and served as a
     private soldier for three months in West Virginia, under
     Gen. McClellan,--'the young Napoleon,' as he was even then
     known. I participated in the battle of Carricks Ford, where
     Gen. Garnett was killed and his army defeated. In August,
     1862, I re-enlisted as a First Lieutenant in the 70th
     Indiana, (Col. Benjamin Harrison) and saw service in
     Kentucky and Tennessee.

     "In January 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued the Proclamation of
     Emancipation, and incorporated in it the policy of arming
     the negro for special service in the Union army. Thus the
     question was fairly up, and I entered into its discussion
     with the deepest interest, as I saw that upon its settlement
     hung great issues.

     "On the one hand the opponents of the policy maintained that
     to make soldiers of the negroes would be to put them on the
     same level with white soldiers, and so be an insult to every
     man who wore the blue. It was contended, too, that the negro
     was not fit for a soldier because he belonged to a degraded,
     inferior race, wanting in soldierly qualities; that his long
     bondage had crushed out whatever of manliness he might
     naturally possess; that he was too grossly ignorant to
     perform, intelligently, the duties of the soldier; that his
     provocation had been so great as a slave, that when once
     armed, and conscious of his power as a soldier, he would
     abuse it by acts of revenge and wanton cruelty.

     "It was urged, on the other hand, that in its fearful
     struggle for existence, the Republic needed the help of the
     able-bodied negroes; that with their natural instincts of
     self-preservation, desire for liberty, habit of obedience,
     power of imitation, love of pomp and parade, acquaintance
     with the southern country and adaptation to its climate,
     they had elements which peculiarly fitted them for soldiers.
     It was further urged that the negro had more at stake than
     the white man, and that he should have a chance to strike a
     blow for himself. It was particularly insisted upon that he
     needed just the opportunity which army service afforded to
     develop and exhibit whatever of manliness he possessed. As
     the war progressed, and each great battle-field was piled
     with heaps of the killed and wounded of our best citizens,
     men looked at each other seriously, and asked if a black man
     would not stop a bullet as well as a white man? Miles
     O'Reilly at length voiced a popular sentiment when he said,

     "'The right to be killed I'll divide with the nayger,
     And give him the largest half.'

     "With the strong conviction that the negro was a man worthy
     of freedom, and possessed of all the essential qualities of
     a good soldier, I early advocated the organization of
     colored regiments,--not for fatigue or garrison duty, but
     for field service.

     "In October, 1863, having applied for a position as an
     officer in the colored service, I was ordered before the
     Board of Examiners at Nashville, Tennessee, where I spent
     five rather anxious hours. When I entered the army I knew
     absolutely nothing of the details of army life; had never
     even drilled with a fire company. During the first three
     months I gathered little except a somewhat rough
     miscellaneous experience. As a lieutenant and staff officer
     I learned something, but as I had never had at any time
     systematic instruction from any one, I appeared before the
     Board with little else than vigorous health, a college
     education, a little experience as a soldier, a good
     reputation as an officer, a fair amount of common sense and
     a good supply of zeal. The Board averaged me, and
     recommended me for a Major.

     "A few days after the examination, I received an order to
     report to Major George L. Stearns, who had charge of the
     organization of colored troops in that Department. He
     assigned me to duty temporarily in a camp in Nashville.
     Major Stearns was a merchant in Boston, who had been for
     years an ardent abolitionist, and who, among other good
     deeds, had befriended John Brown. He was a large-hearted,
     broad-minded genial gentleman. When the policy of organizing
     colored troops was adopted, he offered his services to the
     Government, received an appointment as Assistant Adjutant
     General, and was ordered to Nashville to organize colored
     regiments. He acted directly under the Secretary of War, and
     independently of the Department Commander. To his zeal, good
     judgment and efficient labor, was due, very largely, the
     success of the work in the West.

     "November 1st, 1863, by order of Major Stearns, I went to
     Gallatin, Tennessee, to organize the 14th United States
     Colored Infantry. General E. A. Paine was then in command of
     the post at Gallatin, having under him a small detachment of
     white troops. There were at that time several hundred negro
     men in camp, in charge of, I think, a lieutenant. They were
     a motley crowd,--old, young, middle aged. Some wore the
     United States uniform, but most of them had on the clothes
     in which they had left the plantations, or had worn during
     periods of hard service as laborers in the army. Gallatin at
     that time was threatened with an attack by the guerilla
     bands then prowling over that part of the State. General
     Paine had issued a hundred old muskets and rifles to the
     negroes in camp. They had not passed a medical examination,
     had no company organization and had had no drill. Almost
     immediately upon my arrival, as an attack was imminent, I
     was ordered to distribute another hundred muskets, and to
     'prepare every available man for fight.' I did the best I
     could under the circumstances, but am free to say that I
     regard it as a fortunate circumstance that we had no
     fighting to do at that time. But the men raw, and, untutored
     as they were, did guard and picket duty, went foraging,
     guarded wagon trains, scouted after guerillas, and so
     learned to soldier--by soldiering.

     "As soon and as fast as practicable, I set about organizing
     the regiment. I was a complete novice in that kind of work,
     and all the young officers who reported to me for duty, had
     been promoted from the ranks and were without experience,
     except as soldiers. The colored men knew nothing of the
     duties of a soldier, except a little they had picked up as

     "Fortunately there was one man, Mr. A. H. Dunlap, who had
     had some clerical experience with Col. Birney, in Baltimore,
     in organizing the 3rd U.S. Colored Infantry. He was an
     intelligent, methodical gentleman, and rendered me
     invaluable service. I had no Quartermaster; no Surgeon; no
     Adjutant. We had no tents, and the men were sheltered in an
     old filthy tobacco warehouse, where they fiddled, danced,
     sang, swore or prayed, according to their mood.

     "How to meet the daily demands made upon us for military
     duty, and at the same time to evoke order out of this chaos,
     was no easy problem. The first thing to be done was to
     examine the men. A room was prepared, and I and my clerk
     took our stations at a table. One by one the recruits came
     before us _a la Eden, sans_ the fig leaves, and were
     subjected to a careful medical examination, those who were
     in any way physically disqualified being rejected. Many bore
     the wounds and bruises of the slave-driver's lash, and many
     were unfit for duty by reason of some form of disease to
     which human flesh is heir. In the course of a few weeks,
     however, we had a thousand able-bodied, stalwart men.

     "I was quite as solicitous about their mental condition as
     about their physical status, so I plied them with questions
     as to their history, their experience with the army, their
     motives for becoming soldiers, their ideas of army life,
     their hopes for the future, &c., &c. I found that a
     considerable number of them had been teamsters, cooks,
     officers' servants, &c., and had thus seen a good deal of
     hard service in both armies, in camp, on the march and in
     battle, and so knew pretty well what to expect. In this
     respect they had the advantage of most raw recruits from the
     North, who were wholly 'unused to wars' alarms.' Some of
     them had very noble ideas of manliness. I remember picturing
     to one bright-eyed fellow some of the hardships of camp life
     and campaigning, and receiving from him the cheerful reply,
     'I know all about that.' I then said, 'you may be killed in
     battle.' He instantly answered, 'many a better man than me
     has been killed in this war.' When I told another one who
     wanted to 'fight for freedom,' that he might lose his life,
     he replied, 'but my people will be free.'

     "The result of this careful examination convinced me that
     these men, though black in skin, had men's hearts, and only
     needed right handling to develope into magnificent soldiers.
     Among them were the same varieties of physique, temperament,
     mental and moral endowments and experiences, as would be
     found among the same number of white men. Some of them were
     finely formed and powerful; some were almost white; a large
     number had in their veins white blood of the F. F. V.
     quality; some were men of intelligence, and many of them
     deeply religious.

     "Acting upon my clerk's suggestion, I assigned them to
     companies according to their height, putting men of nearly
     the same height together. When the regiment was full, the
     four center companies were all composed of tall men, the
     flanking companies of men of medium height, while the little
     men were sandwiched between. The effect was excellent in
     every way, and made the regiment quite unique. It was not
     uncommon to have strangers who saw it parade for the first
     time, declare that the men were all of one size.

     "In six weeks three companies were filled, uniformed, armed,
     and had been taught many soldierly ways. They had been
     drilled in the facings, in the manual of arms, and in some
     company movements.

     "November 20th, Gen. G. H. Thomas commanding the Department
     of the Cumberland, ordered six companies to Bridgeport,
     Alabama, under command of Major H. C. Corbin. I was left at
     Gallatin to complete the organization of the other four
     companies. When the six companies were full, I was mustered
     in as Lieutenant-Colonel. The complete organization of the
     regiment occupied about two months, being finished by Jan.
     1st, 1864. The field, staff and company officers were all
     white men. All the non-commissioned officers,--Hospital
     Steward, Quartermaster, Sergeant, Sergeant-Major, Orderlies,
     Sergeants and Corporals were colored. They proved very
     efficient, and had the war continued two years longer, many
     of them would have been competent as commissioned officers.

     "When General Paine left Gallatin, I was senior officer and
     had command of the post and garrison, which included a few
     white soldiers besides my own troops. Colored soldiers acted
     as pickets, and no citizen was allowed to pass our lines
     either into the village or out, without a proper permit.
     Those presenting themselves without a pass were sent to
     headquarters under guard. Thus many proud Southern
     slave-holders found themselves marched through the street,
     guarded by those who three months before had been slaves.
     The negroes often laughed over these changed relations as
     they sat around their camp fires, or chatted together while
     off duty, but it was very rare that any Southerner had
     reason to complain of any unkind or uncivil treatment from a
     colored soldier.

     "About the first of January occurred a few days of extreme
     cold weather, which tried the men sorely. One morning after
     one of the most severe nights, the officers coming in from
     picket, marched the men to headquarters, and called
     attention to their condition: their feet were frosted and
     their hands frozen. In some instances the skin on their
     fingers had broken from the effects of the cold, and it was
     sad to see their sufferings. Some of them never recovered
     from the effects of that night, yet they bore it patiently
     and uncomplainingly.

     "An incident occurred while I was still an officer in a
     white regiment, that illustrates the curious transition
     through which the negroes were passing. I had charge of a
     company detailed to guard a wagon train out foraging. Early
     one morning, just as we were about to resume our march, a
     Kentucky lieutenant rode up to me, saluted, and said he had
     some runaway negroes whom he had arrested to send back to
     their masters, but as he was ordered away, he would turn
     them over to me. At that time a reward could be claimed for
     returning fugitive slaves. I took charge of them, and
     assuming a stern look and manner, enquired, 'Where are you
     going?' 'Going to the Yankee army.' 'What for?' 'We wants to
     be free, sir.' 'All right, you are free, go where you wish.'
     The satisfaction that came to me from their heartfelt
     'thank'ee, thank'ee sir,' gave me some faint insight into
     the sublime joy that the great emancipator must have felt
     when he penned the immortal proclamation that set free four
     millions of human beings.

     "These men afterward enlisted in my regiment, and did good
     service. One day, as we were on the march, they--through
     their lieutenant--reminded me of the circumstance, which
     they seemed to remember with lively gratitude.

     "The six companies at Bridgeport were kept very busily at
     work, and had but little opportunity for drill.
     Notwithstanding these difficulties, however, considerable
     progress was made in both drill and discipline. I made
     earnest efforts to get the regiment united and relieved from
     so much labor, in order that they might be prepared for
     efficient field service as soldiers.

     "In January I had a personal interview with General Thomas,
     and secured an order uniting the regiment at Chattanooga. We
     entered camp there under the shadow of Lookout Mountain, and
     in full view of Mission Ridge, in February, 1864. During the
     same month Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas, from Washington,
     then on a tour of inspection, visited my regiment, and
     authorized me to substitute the eagle for the silver leaf.

     "Chattanooga was at that time the headquarters of the Army
     of the Cumberland. Gen Thomas and staff, and a considerable
     part of the army were there. Our camp was laid out with
     great regularity; our quarters were substantial, comfortable
     and well kept. The regiment numbered a thousand men, with a
     full compliment of field, staff, line and non-commissioned
     officers. We had a good drum corps, and a band provided with
     a set of expensive silver instruments. We were also fully
     equipped; the men were armed with rifled muskets, and well
     clothed. They were well drilled in the manual of arms, and
     took great pride in appearing on parade with arms burnished,
     belts polished, shoes blacked, clothes brushed, in full
     regulation uniform, including white gloves. On every
     pleasant day our parades were witnessed by officers,
     soldiers and citizens from the North, and it was not
     uncommon to have two thousand spectators. Some came to make
     sport, some from curiosity, some because it was the fashion,
     and others from a genuine desire to see for themselves what
     sort of looking soldiers negroes would make.

     "At the time that the work of organizing colored troops
     began in the West, there was a great deal of bitter
     prejudice against the movement, and white troops threatened
     to desert, if the plan should be really carried out. Those
     who entered the service were stigmatized as 'nigger
     officers,' and negro soldiers were hooted at and mal-treated
     by white ones.

     "Apropos of the prejudice against so called nigger officers,
     I may mention the following incident: While an officer in
     the 70th Indiana, I had met, and formed a passing
     acquaintance with Lieut.-Colonel ----, of the ---- Ohio
     Regiment. On New Years Day, 1864, I chanced to meet him at a
     social gathering at General Ward's headquarters in
     Nashville. I spoke to him as usual, at the same time
     offering my hand, which apparently he did not see. Receiving
     only a cool bow from him, I at once turned away. As I did so
     he remarked to those standing near him that he 'did not
     recognize these nigger officers.' In some way, I do not know
     how, a report of the occurrence came to the ears of Lorenzo
     Thomas, the Adjutant-General of the Army, then in Nashville,
     who investigated the case, and promptly dismissed Colonel
     ---- from the United States service.

     "Very few West Point officers had any faith in the success
     of the enterprise, and most Northern people perhaps,
     regarded it as at best a dubious experiment. A college
     classmate of mine, a young man of intelligence and earnestly
     loyal, although a Kentuckian, and a slave-holder, plead with
     me to abandon my plan of entering this service, saying, 'I
     shudder to think of the remorse you may suffer, from deeds
     done by barbarians under your command.'

     "General George H. Thomas, though a Southerner, and a West
     Point graduate, was a singularly fair-minded, candid man. He
     asked me one day soon after my regiment was organized, if I
     thought my men would fight. I replied that they would. He
     said he thought 'they might behind breastworks.' I said they
     would fight in the open field. He thought not. 'Give me a
     chance General,' I replied, 'and I will prove it.'

     "Our evening parades converted thousands to a belief in
     colored troops. It was almost a daily experience to hear the
     remark from visitors, 'Men who can handle their arms as
     these do, will fight.' General Thomas paid the regiment the
     compliment of saying that he 'never saw a regiment go
     through the manual as well as this one.' We remained in
     'Camp Whipple' from February, 1864, till August, 1865, a
     period of eighteen months, and during a large part of that
     time the regiment was an object lesson to the army, and
     helped to revolutionize public opinion on the subject of
     colored soldiers.

     "My Lieutenant-Colonel and I rode over one evening to call
     on General Joe Hooker, commanding the 20th Army Corps. He
     occupied a small log hut in the Wauhatchie Valley, near
     Lookout Mountain and not far from the Tennessee river. He
     received us with great courtesy, and when he learned that we
     were officers in a colored regiment, congratulated us on our
     good fortune, saying that he 'believed they would make the
     best troops in the world.' He predicted that after the
     rebellion was subdued, it would be necessary for the United
     States to send an army into Mexico. This army would be
     composed largely of colored men, and those of us now holding
     high command, would have a chance to win great renown. He
     lamented that he had made a great mistake in not accepting a
     military command, and going to Nicaragua with General
     Walker. 'Why,' said he, 'young gentlemen, I might have
     founded an empire.'

     "While at Chattanooga, I organized two other regiments, the
     42nd and the 44th United States Colored Infantry. In
     addition to the ordinary instruction in the duties required
     of the soldier, we established in every company a regular
     school, teaching men to read and write, and taking great
     pains to cultivate in them self-respect and all manly
     qualities. Our success in this respect was ample
     compensation for our labor. The men who went on picket or
     guard duty, took their books as quite as indispensable as
     their coffee pots.

     "It must not be supposed that we had only plain sailing.
     Soon after reaching Chattanooga, heavy details began to be
     made upon us for men to work upon the fortifications then in
     process of construction around the town. This almost
     incessant labor, interfered sadly with our drill, and at one
     time all drill was suspended, by orders from headquarters.
     There seemed little prospect of our being ordered to the
     field, and as time wore on and arrangements began in earnest
     for the new campaign against Atlanta, we grew impatient for
     work, and anxious for opportunity for drill and preparations
     for field service.

     "I used every means to bring about a change, for I believed
     that the ultimate status of the negro was to be determined
     by his conduct on the battle-field. No one doubted that he
     would work, while many did doubt that he had courage to
     stand up and fight like a man. If he could take his place
     side by side with the white soldier; endure the same
     hardships on the campaign, face the same enemy, storm the
     same works, resist the same assaults, evince the same
     soldierly qualities, he would compel that respect which the
     world has always accorded to heroism, and win for himself
     the same laurels which brave soldiers have always won.

     "Personally, I shrink from danger, and most decidedly prefer
     a safe corner at my own fireside, to an exposed place in the
     face of an enemy on the battle-field, but so strongly was I
     impressed with the importance of giving colored troops a
     fair field and full opportunity to show of what mettle they
     were made, that I lost no chance of insisting upon our right
     to be ordered into the field. At one time I was threatened
     with dismissal from the service for my persistency, but that
     did not deter me, for though I had no yearning for
     martyrdom, I was determined if possible to put my regiment
     into battle, at whatever cost to myself. As I look back upon
     the matter after twenty-one years, I see no reason to regret
     my action, unless it be that I was not even more persistent
     in claiming for these men the rights of soldiers.

     "I was grievously disappointed when the first of May, 1864,
     came, and the army was to start south, leaving us behind to
     hold the forts we had helped to build.

     "I asked General Thomas to allow _me_, at least, to go
     along. He readily consented, and directed me to report to
     General O. O. Howard, commanding the 4th Army Corps, as
     Volunteer Aide. I did so, and remained with him thirty days,
     participating in the battles of Buzzard's Roost, Resaca,
     Adairsville and Dallas. At the end of that time, having
     gained invaluable experience, and feeling that my place was
     with my regiment, I returned to Chattanooga, determined to
     again make every possible effort to get it into active

     "A few days after I had taken my place on General Howard's
     staff, an incident occurred showing how narrowly one may
     escape death. General Stanley and a staff officer and
     General Howard and myself were making a little
     reconnoissance at Buzzards Roost. We stopped to observe the
     movements of the enemy, Stanley standing on the right,
     Howard next on his left, and I next. The fourth officer,
     Captain Flint, stood immediately in the rear of General
     Howard. A sharpshooter paid us a compliment in the shape of
     a rifle ball, which struck the ground in front of General
     Howard, ricocheted, passed through the skirt of his coat,
     through Captain Flint's cap, and buried itself in a tree

     "At Adairsville a group of about a dozen mounted officers
     were in an open field, when the enemy exploded a shell just
     in front and over us, wounding two officers and five horses.
     A piece of the shell passed through the right fore leg of my
     horse, a kind, docile, fearless animal, that I was greatly
     attached to. I lost a friend and faithful servant.

     "On asking leave to return to my command, I was delighted to
     receive from General Howard the following note:


     31st 1864.

     "'COLONEL:--This is to express my thanks for your services
     upon my staff during the past month, since starting upon
     this campaign. You have given me always full satisfaction,
     and more, by your assiduous devotion to duty.

     "'You have been active and untiring on the march, and
     fearless in battle. Believe me,

         "Your friend,              O. O. HOWARD.

         "'_Major-General Commanding 4th Army Corps._

     "'To Col. T.J. Morgan, _Commanding 14th U. S. C. I._"

     "General James B. Steadman, who won such imperishable renown
     at Chickamauga, was then in command of the District of
     Etowah, with headquarters at Chattanooga. I laid my case
     before him; he listened with interest to my plea, and
     assured me that if there was any fighting to be done in his
     district, we should have a hand in it.

     "DALTON, GA.--August 15th, 1864, we had our first fight, at
     Dalton, Georgia. General Wheeler, with a considerable force
     of confederate cavalry, attacked Dalton, which was occupied
     by a small detachment of Union troops belonging to the 2nd
     Missouri, under command of Colonel Laibold. General Steadman
     went to Laibold's aid, and forming line of battle, attacked
     and routed the Southern force. My regiment formed on the
     left of the 51st Indiana Infantry, under command of Col. A.
     D. Streight. The fight was short, and not at all severe. The
     regiment was all exposed to fire. One private was killed,
     one lost a leg, and one was wounded in the right hand.
     Company B, on the skirmish line killed five of the enemy,
     and wounded others. To us it was a great battle, and a
     glorious victory. The regiment had been recognized as
     soldiers; it had taken its place side by side with a white
     regiment; it had been under fire. The men had behaved
     gallantly. A colored soldier had died for liberty. Others
     had shed their blood in the great cause. Two or three
     incidents will indicate the significance of the day. Just
     before going into the fight, Lieutenant Keinborts said to
     his men: 'Boys, some of you may be killed, but remember you
     are fighting for liberty.' Henry Prince replied, 'I am ready
     to die for liberty.' In fifteen minutes he lay dead,--a
     rifle ball through his heart,--a willing martyr.

     "During the engagement General Steadman asked his Aide,
     Captain Davis, to look especially after the 14th colored.
     Captain Davis rode up just as I was quietly rectifying my
     line, which in a charge had been disarranged. Putting spurs
     to his horse, he dashed back to the General and reassured
     him by reporting that 'the regiment was holding dress parade
     over there under fire.' After the fight, as we marched into
     town through a pouring rain, a white regiment standing at
     rest, swung their hats and gave three rousing cheers for the
     14th Colored. Col. Streight's command was so pleased with
     the gallantry of our men that many of its members on being
     asked, 'What regiment?' frequently replied, '51st Colored.'

     "During the month of August we had some very hard marching,
     in a vain effort to have another brush with Wheeler's

     "The corn in East Tennessee was in good plight for roasting,
     and our men showed great facility in cooking, and marvelous
     capacity in devouring it. Ten large ears were not too much
     for many of them. On resuming our march one day, after the
     noon halt, one of the soldiers said he was unable to walk,
     and asked permission to ride in an ambulance. His comrades
     declared that, having already eaten twelve ears of corn, and
     finding himself unable to finish the thirteenth, he
     concluded that he must be sick, and unfit for duty.

     "PULASKI, TENN.--September 27th, 1864, I reported to
     Major-General Rousseau, commanding a force of cavalry at
     Pulaski, Tenn. As we approached the town by rail from
     Nashville, we heard artillery, then musketry, and as we left
     the cars we saw the smoke of guns. Forest, with a large body
     of cavalry, had been steadily driving Rousseau before him
     all day, and was destroying the railroad. Finding the
     General, I said: 'I am ordered to report to you, sir.' 'What
     have you?' 'Two regiments of colored troops.' Rousseau was a
     Kentuckian, and had not much faith in negro soldiers. By his
     direction I threw out a strong line of skirmishers, and
     posted the regiments on a ridge, in good supporting
     distance. Rousseau's men retired behind my line, and
     Forest's men pressed forward until they met our fire, and
     recognizing the sound of the minie ball, stopped to reflect.

     "The massacre of colored troops at Fort Pillow was well
     known to us, and had been fully discussed by our men. It was
     rumored, and thoroughly credited by them, that General
     Forest had offered a thousand dollars for the head of any
     commander of a 'nigger regiment.' Here, then, was just such
     an opportunity as those spoiling for a fight might desire.
     Negro troops stood face to face with Forest's veteran
     cavalry. The fire was growing hotter, and balls were
     uncomfortably thick. At length, the enemy in strong force,
     with banners flying, bore down toward us in full sight,
     apparently bent on mischief. Pointing to the advancing
     column, I said, as I passed along the line, 'Boys, it looks
     very much like fight; keep cool, do your duty.' They seemed
     full of glee, and replied with great enthusiasm: 'Colonel,
     dey can't whip us, dey nebber get de ole 14th out of heah,
     nebber.' 'Nebber, drives us away widout a mighty lot of dead
     men,' &c., &c.

     "When Forest learned that Rousseau was re-enforced by
     infantry, he did not stop to ask the color of the skin, but
     after testing our line, and finding it unyielding, turned to
     the east, and struck over toward Murfreesboro.

     "An incident occurred here, illustrating the humor of the
     colored soldier. A spent ball struck one of the men on the
     side of the head, passed under the scalp, and making nearly
     a circuit of the skull, came out on the other side. His
     comrades merrily declared that when the ball struck him, it
     sang out 'too thick' and passed on.

     "As I was walking with my adjutant down toward the picket
     line, a ball struck the ground immediately in front of us,
     about four feet away, but it was so far spent as to be
     harmless. We picked it up and carried it along.

     "Our casualties consisted of a few men slightly wounded. We
     had not had a battle, but it was for us a victory, for our
     troops had stood face to face with a triumphant force of
     Southern cavalry, and stopped their progress. They saw that
     they had done what Rousseau's veterans could not do. Having
     traveled 462 miles, we returned to Chattanooga, feeling that
     we had gained valuable experience, and we eagerly awaited
     the next opportunity for battle, which was not long delayed.

     "DECATUR, ALA.--Our next active service was at Decatur,
     Alabama. Hood, with his veteran army that had fought Sherman
     so gallantly from Chattanooga to Atlanta, finding that his
     great antagonest had started southward and seaward, struck
     out boldly himself for Nashville. Oct. 27th I reported to
     General R. S. Granger, commanding at Decatur. His little
     force was closely besieged by Hood's army, whose right
     rested on the Tennessee river below the town, and whose left
     extended far beyond our lines, on the other side of the
     town. Two companies of my regiment were stationed on the
     opposite side of the river from Hood's right, and kept up an
     annoying musketry fire. Lieutenant Gillett, of Company G,
     was mortally wounded by a cannon ball, and some of the
     enlisted men were hurt. One private soldier in Company B,
     who had taken position in a tree as sharpshooter, had his
     right arm broken by a ball. Captain Romeyn said to him, 'You
     would better come down from there, go to the rear, and find
     the surgeon.' 'Oh no, Captain!' he replied, 'I can fire with
     my left arm,' and so he did.

     "Another soldier of Company B, was walking along the road,
     when hearing an approaching cannon ball, he dropped flat
     upon the ground, and was almost instantly well nigh covered
     with the dirt plowed up by it, as it struck the ground near
     by. Captain Romeyn, who witnessed the incident, and who was
     greatly amused by the fellow's trepidation, asked him if he
     was frightened? His reply was, 'Fore God, Captain, I thought
     I was a dead man, sure!'

     "Friday, Oct. 28th, 1864, at twelve o'clock, at the head of
     355 men, in obedience to orders from General Granger, I
     charged and took a battery, with a loss of sixty officers
     and men killed and wounded. After capturing the battery, and
     spiking the guns, which we were unable to remove, we retired
     to our former place in the line of defense. The conduct of
     the men on this occasion was most admirable, and drew forth
     high praise from Generals Granger and Thomas.

     "Hood, having decided to push on to Nashville without
     assaulting Decatur, withdrew. As soon as I missed his troops
     from my front, I notified the General commanding, and was
     ordered to pursue, with the view of finding where he was.
     About ten o'clock the next morning, my skirmishers came up
     with his rear guard, which opened upon us a brisk infantry
     fire. Lieutenant Woodworth, standing at my side, fell dead,
     pierced through the face. General Granger ordered me to
     retire inside of the works, and the regiment, although
     exposed to a sharp fire, came off in splendid order. As we
     marched inside the works, the white soldiers, who had
     watched the manoeuvre, gave us three rousing cheers. I
     have heard the Pope's famous choir at St. Peters, and the
     great organ at Freibourg, but the music was not so sweet as
     the hearty plaudits of our brave comrades.

     "As indicating the change in public sentiment relative to
     colored soldiers, it may be mentioned that the
     Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the 68th Indiana Volunteer
     Infantry, requested me as a personal favor to ask for the
     assignment of his regiment to my command, giving as a reason
     that his men would rather fight along side of the 14th
     Colored than with any white regiment. He was ordered to
     report to me.

     "After Hood had gone, and after our journey of 244 miles, we
     returned to Chattanooga, but not to remain.

     "NASHVILLE, TENN.--November 29, 1864, in command of the
     14th, 16th and 44th Regiments U. S. C. I., I embarked on a
     railroad train at Chattanooga for Nashville. On December
     1st, with the 16th and most of the 14th, I reached my
     destination, and was assigned to a place on the extreme left
     of General Thomas' army then concentrating for the defence
     of Nashville against Hood's threatened attack.

     "The train that contained the 44th colored regiment, and two
     companies of the 14th, under command of Colonel Johnson, was
     delayed near Murfreesboro until Dec. 2nd, when it started
     for Nashville. But when crossing a bridge not far from the
     city, its progress was suddenly checked by a cross-fire of
     cannon belonging to Forest's command. I had become very
     anxious over the delay in the arrival of these troops, and
     when I heard the roar of cannon thought it must be aimed at
     them. I never shall forget the intensity of my suffering, as
     hour after hour passed by bringing me no tidings. Were they
     all captured? Had they been massacred? Who could answer? No
     one. What was to be done? Nothing. I could only wait and

     "The next day Colonel Johnson reached Nashville, reporting
     that when stopped, he and his men were forced, under heavy
     fire, to abandon the train, clamber down from the bridge,
     and run to a blockhouse near by, which had been erected for
     the defence of the bridge, and was still in possession of
     the Union soldiers. After maintaining a stubborn fight until
     far into the night, he withdrew his troops, and making a
     detour to the east came into our lines, having lost in
     killed, wounded and missing, two officers and eighty men of
     the 44th, and twenty-five men of the 14th.

     "Just as Captain C. W. Baker, the senior officer of the
     14th, was leaving the car, a piece of shell carried off the
     top of his cap, thus adding immensely to its value--as a
     souvenir. Some of the soldiers who escaped lost everything
     except the clothes they had on, including knapsacks,
     blankets and arms. In some cases they lay in the water
     hiding for hours, until they could escape their pursuers.

     "Soon after taking our position in line at Nashville, we
     were closely besieged by Hood's army; and thus we lay facing
     each other for two weeks. Hood had suffered so terribly by
     his defeat under Schofield, at Franklin, that he was in no
     mood to assault us in our works, and Thomas needed more time
     to concentrate and reorganize his army, before he could
     safely take the offensive. That fortnight interval was
     memorable indeed. Hood's army was desperate. It had been
     thwarted by Sherman, and thus far baffled by Thomas, and
     Hood felt that he must strike a bold blow to compensate for
     the dreadful loss of prestige occasioned by Sherman's march
     to the sea. His men were scantily clothed and poorly fed; if
     he could gain Nashville, our great depot of supplies, he
     could furnish his troops with abundance of food, clothing
     and war material; encourage the confederacy, terrify the
     people of the North, regain a vast territory taken from the
     South at such great cost to us, recruit his army from
     Kentucky, and perhaps invade the North.

     "Thomas well knew the gravity of the situation, and was
     unwilling to hazard all by a premature battle. I think that
     neither he nor any of his army ever doubted the issue of the
     battle when it should come, whichever force should take the

     "The authorities at Washington grew restive, and the people
     at the North nervous. Thomas was ordered to fight, Logan was
     dispatched to relieve him if he did not, and Grant himself
     started West to take command. Thomas was too good a soldier
     to be forced to offer battle, until he was sure of victory.
     He knew that time was his best ally, every day adding to his
     strength and weakening his enemy. In the meantime the
     weather became intensely cold, and a heavy sleet covered the
     ground, rendering it almost impossible for either army to
     move at all. For a few days our sufferings were quite
     severe. We had only shelter tents for the men, with very
     little fuel, and many of those who had lost their blankets
     keenly felt their need.

     "On December 5th, before the storm, by order of General
     Steadman, I made a little reconnoissance, capturing, with
     slight loss, Lieutenant Gardner and six men, from the 5th
     Mississippi Regiment. December 7th we made another, in
     which Colonel Johnson and three or four men were wounded. On
     one of these occasions, while my men were advancing in face
     of a sharp fire, a rabbit started up in front of them. With
     shouts of laughter, several of them gave chase, showing that
     even battle could not obliterate the negro's love of sport.

     "But the great day drew near. The weather grew warmer; the
     ice gave way. Thomas was ready, and calling together his
     chiefs, laid before them his plan of battle.

     "About nine o'clock at night December 14th, 1864, I was
     summoned to General Steadman's headquarters. He told me what
     the plan of battle was, and said he wished me to open the
     fight by making a vigorous assault upon Hood's right flank.
     This, he explained, was to be a feint, intended to betray
     Hood into the belief that it was the real attack, and to
     lead him to support his right by weakening his left, where
     Thomas intended assaulting him in very deed. The General
     gave me the 14th United States Colored Infantry, under
     Colonel H. C. Corbin; the 17th U. S. C. I., under the
     gallant Colonel W. R. Shafter; a detachment of the 18th U.
     S. C. I., under Major L. D. Joy; the 44th U. S. C. I., under
     Colonel L. Johnson; a provisional brigade of white troops
     under Colonel C. H. Grosvenor, and a section of Artillery,
     under Captain Osburn, of the 20th Indiana Battery.

     "The largest force I had ever handled was two regiments, and
     as I rather wanted to open the battle in proper style, I
     asked General Steadman what suggestion he had to make. He
     replied: 'Colonel, to-morrow morning at daylight I want you
     to open the battle.' 'All right, General, do you not think
     it would be a good plan for me to--', and I outlined a
     little plan of attack. With a twinkle in his kindly eye, he
     replied: 'To-morrow morning, Colonel, just as soon as you
     can see how to put your troops in motion, I wish you to
     begin the fight.' 'All right, General, good night.' With
     these explicit instructions, I left his headquarters,
     returned to camp, and gave the requisite orders for the
     soldiers to have an early breakfast, and be ready for
     serious work at daybreak. Then taking Adjutant Clelland I
     reconnoitered the enemy's position, tracing the line of his
     camp fires, and decided on my plan of assault.

     "The morning dawned with a dense fog, which held us in check
     for some time after we were ready to march. During our stay
     in Nashville, I was the guest of Major W. B. Lewis, through
     whose yard ran our line. He had been a warm personal friend
     of Andrew Jackson, occupying a place in the Treasury
     Department during his administration. He gave me the room
     formerly occupied by the hero of New Orleans, and
     entertained me with many anecdotes of him. I remember in
     particular one which I especially appreciated, because of
     the scarcity of fuel in our own camp. At one time General
     Jackson ordered certain troops to rendezvous for a few days
     at Nashville. Major Lewis, acting as Quartermaster, laid in
     a supply of several hundred cords of wood, which he supposed
     would be ample to last during their entire stay in the city.
     The troops arrived on a 'raw and gusty day,' and being
     accustomed to comfortable fires at home, they burned up
     every stick the first night, to the quartermaster's great

     "To return: On the morning of December 15th, Major Lewis
     said he would have a servant bring me my breakfast, which
     was not ready, however, when I started. The boy, with an eye
     to safety, followed me afar off, so far that he only reached
     me, I think, about two o'clock in the afternoon. But I
     really believe the delay, improved the flavor of the

     "As soon as the fog lifted, the battle began in good
     earnest. Hood mistook my assault for an attack in force upon
     his right flank, and weakening his left in order to meet it,
     gave the coveted opportunity to Thomas, who improved it by
     assailing Hood's left flank, doubling it up, and capturing a
     large number of prisoners.

     "Thus the first day's fight wore away. It had been for us a
     severe but glorious day. Over three hundred of my command
     had fallen, but everywhere our army was successful. Victory
     perched upon our banners. Hood had stubbornly resisted, but
     had been gallantly driven back with severe loss. The left
     had done its duty. General Steadman congratulated us, saying
     his only fear had been that we might fight too hard. We had
     done all he desired, and more. Colored soldiers had again
     fought side by side with white troops; they had mingled
     together in the charge; they had supported each other; they
     had assisted each other from the field when wounded, and
     they lay side by side in death. The survivors rejoiced
     together over a hard fought field, won by a common valor.
     All who witnessed their conduct, gave them equal praise. The
     day that we had longed to see had come and gone, and the sun
     went down upon a record of coolness, bravery, manliness,
     never to be unmade. A new chapter in the history of liberty
     had been written. It had been shown that, marching under a
     flag of freedom, animated by a love of liberty, even the
     slave becomes a man and a hero.

     "At one time during the day, while the battle was in
     progress, I sat in an exposed place on a piece of ground
     sloping down toward the enemy, and being the only horseman
     on that part of the field, soon became a target for the
     balls that whistled and sang their threatening songs as they
     hurried by. At length a shot aimed at me struck my horse in
     the face, just above the nostril, and passing up under the
     skin emerged near the eye, doing the horse only temporary
     harm, and letting me off scot-free, much to my satisfaction,
     as may be supposed. Captain Baker, lying on the ground near
     by, heard the thud of the ball as it struck the horse, and
     seeing me suddenly dismount, cried out, 'the Colonel is
     shot,' and sprang to my side, glad enough to find that the
     poor horse's face had been a shield to save my life. I was
     sorry that the animal could not appreciate the gratitude I
     felt to it for my deliverance.

     "During that night Hood withdrew his army some two miles,
     and took up a new line along the crest of some low hills,
     which he strongly fortified with some improvised breast
     works and abatis. Soon after our early breakfast, we moved
     forward over the intervening space. My position was still
     on the extreme left of our line, and I was especially
     charged to look well to our flank, to avoid surprise.

     "The 2nd Colored Brigade, under Colonel Thompson, of the
     12th U. S. C. I., was on my right, and participated in the
     first days' charge upon Overton's Hill, which was repulsed.
     I stood where the whole movement was in full view. It was a
     grand and terrible sight to see those men climb that hill
     over rocks and fallen trees, in the face of a murderous fire
     of cannon and musketry, only to be driven back. White and
     black mingled together in the charge, and on the retreat.

     "When the 2nd Colored Brigade retired behind my lines to
     re-form, one of the regimental color-bearers stopped in the
     open space between the two armies, where, although exposed
     to a dangerous fire, he planted his flag firmly in the
     ground, and began deliberately and coolly to return the
     enemy's fire, and, greatly to our amusement, kept up for
     some little time his independent warfare.

     "When the second and final assault was made, the right of my
     line took part. It was with breathless interest I watched
     that noble army climb the hill with a steady resolve which
     nothing but death itself could check. When at length the
     assaulting column sprang upon the earthworks, and the enemy
     seeing that further resistance was madness, gave way and
     began a precipitous retreat, our hearts swelled as only the
     hearts of soldiers can, and scarcely stopping to cheer or to
     await orders, we pushed forward and joined in the pursuit,
     until the darkness and the rain forced a halt.

     "The battle of Nashville did not compare in numbers engaged,
     in severity of fighting, or in the losses sustained, with
     some other Western battles. But in the issues at stake, the
     magnificent generalship of Thomas, the completeness of our
     triumph, and the immediate and far-reaching consequences, it
     was unique, and deservedly ranks along with Gettysburg, as
     one of the decisive battles of the war.

     "When General Thomas rode over the battle-field and saw the
     bodies of colored men side by side with the foremost, on the
     very works of the enemy, he turned to his staff, saying:
     'Gentlemen, the question is settled; negroes will fight.' He
     did me the honor to recommend me for promotion, and told me
     that he intended to give me the best brigade that he could
     form. This he afterward did.

     "After the great victory, we joined in the chase after the
     fleeing foe. Hood's army was whipped, demoralized, and
     pretty badly scattered. A good many stragglers were picked
     up. A story circulated to this effect: Some of our boys on
     making a sharp turn in the road, came upon a forlorn
     Southern soldier, who had lost his arms, thrown away his
     accoutrements, and was sitting on a log by the roadside,
     waiting to give himself up. He was saluted with, 'Well,
     Johnny, how goes it?' 'Well, Yank, I'll tell ye; I confess
     I'm horribly whipped, and badly demoralized, but blamed if
     I'm _scattered_!'

     "After we had passed along through Franklin, we had orders
     to turn about and return to that city. I was riding at the
     head of the column, followed by my own regiment. The men
     were swinging along 'arms at will,' when they spied General
     Thomas and staff approaching. Without orders they brought
     their arms to 'right shoulder shift,' took the step, and
     striking up their favorite tune of 'John Brown,' whistled it
     with admirable effect while passing the General, greatly to
     his amusement.

     "We had a very memorable march from Franklin to
     Murfreesboro, over miserable dirt roads. About December 19th
     or 20th, we were on the march at an early hour, but the rain
     was there before us, and stuck by us closer than a brother.
     We were drenched through and through, and few had a dry
     thread. We waded streams of water nearly waist deep; we
     pulled through mud that seemed to have no bottom, and where
     many a soldier left his shoes seeking for it. The open woods
     pasture where we went into camp that night, was surrounded
     with a high fence made of cedar rails. That fence was left
     standing, and was not touched--until--well, I do believe
     that the owner's bitterness at his loss was fully balanced
     by the comfort and good cheer which those magnificent rail
     fires afforded us that December night. They did seem
     providentially provided for us.

     "During the night the weather turned cold, and when we
     resumed our march the ground was frozen and the roads were
     simply dreadful, especially for those of our men who had
     lost their shoes the day before and were now compelled to
     walk barefoot, tracking their way with blood. Such
     experiences take away something of the romance sometimes
     suggested to the inexperienced by the phase, 'soldiering in
     the Sunny South,' but then a touch of it is worth having for
     the light it throws over such historical scenes as those at
     Valley Forge.

     "We continued in the pursuit of Hood, as far as Huntsville,
     Ala., when he disappeared to return no more, and we were
     allowed to go back to Chattanooga, glad of an opportunity to
     rest. Distance travelled, 420 miles.

     "We had no more fighting. There were many interesting
     experiences, which, however, I will not take time to relate.
     In August, 1865, being in command of the Post at Knoxville,
     Tenn., grateful to have escaped without imprisonment,
     wounds, or even a day of severe illness, I resigned my
     commission, after forty months of service, to resume my

     "I cannot close this paper without expressing the conviction
     that history has not yet done justice to the share borne by
     colored soldiers in the war for the Union. Their conduct
     during that eventful period, has been a silent, but most
     potent factor in influencing public sentiment, shaping
     legislation, and fixing the status of colored people in
     America. If the records of their achievements could be put
     into such shape that they could be accessible to the
     thousands of colored youth in the South, they would kindle
     in their young minds an enthusiastic devotion to manhood and



In the winter of 1864, while Sherman was marching his army toward the
sea, raiding parties and expeditions were sent out from the several
departments to intercept rebel communications, destroy telegraph lines,
railroads and stores; in nearly all of which Phalanx troops actively
participated, and shared the perils and honors of the achievements.

From Vicksburg, Miss., Brevet Brigadier-General E. D. Osband, with the
Third Phalanx Regiment, on the 27th of November captured and destroyed
the Mississippi Central Railroad bridge over the Big Black River, near
Canton, also thirty miles of the railroad, with two locomotives and a
large amount of stores.

In the meantime, General Breckenridge, with a large confederate force,
attacked the Federals under General Gillem, near Morristown, Tenn.,
captured the artillery, with several hundred men, and drove the
remainder of Gillem's troops into Knoxville. Breckenridge soon retired,
however, pursued by General Ammen's forces. On the 12th of December,
General Stoneman having concentrated the commands of Generals Burbridge
and Gillem, near Bean Station, Tenn., started in pursuit of Breckenridge
intending to drive him into Virginia and to destroy the railroad and
Salt Works at Saltville, West Virginia. General Burbridge's command was
principally composed of Kentucky troops, three brigades, numbering about
five thousand men, all mounted. The 6th Phalanx Cavalry was attached to
the 3rd brigade, which Colonel Jas. F. Wade, of the 6th, commanded.
Gillem's defeat rather inspired the men in the new column, and they
dashed forward with a determination to annihilate the enemy. Four days
after leaving Bean Station, the confederates were overtaken at Marion,
General Vaughn being in command, and were routed, the Federals capturing
all their guns, trains and a number of prisoners. Vaughn fell back to
Wytheville, pursued by the Federals, who captured and destroyed the
town, with its stores and supplies and the extensive lead mines.


Having accomplished their mission, the Federals about faced for Marion,
where they met with a large force of confederates under Breckenridge,
including the garrison of Saltville. Now came the decisive struggle for
the Salt Works between the two forces. The Federals had been enjoying
their signal victory, which they now attempted to enhance by pressing
the enemy, who had crossed a bridge and there taken up a position.
During the night an advance regiment succeeded in crossing the bridge,
after re-laying the planks which the confederates had torn up, but they
were driven back, and there remained till the next morning. The 6th
Phalanx was assigned its usual position, and was held in reserve. The
battle opened in the morning, and continued with varying success during
the day. Late in the afternoon General Stoneman found his troops badly
beaten, and unable to extricate themselves from the confederate coil;
they were not the "Old Guard," and the question with them was not
"victory or death," but surrender or death. Nor was this long a
question. General Stoneman ordered up the 6th Phalanx, dividing them
into three columns, placing himself at the head of one, and giving one
each to Colonel Wade, (their valiant colonel), and his chief of staff,
General Brisbin. The regiment dashed into the fight for the rescue of
the pro-slavery Kentuckians and haughty Tennesseeians, who were now
nearly annihilated. The historian of this campaign, General Brisbin, who
but a day or two previous to this battle had attempted to shoot one of
the brave black boys of the 6th for retaliating for the murder of one
of his comrades by shooting a confederate prisoner, thus writes,
twenty-two years afterwards, about the battle and the conduct of the

     "Early in the day General Stoneman had sent General Gillem
     off to the right with orders to get in Breckenridge's rear
     and if possible cut him off from the salt works. It was
     believed the Kentucky troops could handle Breckenridge until
     Gillem could strike in the rear, but the action in front
     about noon became terrific and Gillem was recalled to aid
     Burbridge. Our right flank had been driven back and our
     extreme left was almost at right angles with the original
     position held early in the morning. To add to our
     misfortunes, a party of Confederate cavalry had got in our
     rear and captured some of our pack train. The packers had at
     one time become demoralized and fell back almost into the
     hands of the Confederates operating in our rear. General
     Burbridge saw the movement, and drawing his revolver placed
     himself in front of the leading packs and ordered them back,
     but the crazy men kept on until the General wounded the man
     who was leading them off, and with the aid of some officers
     who used their sabres freely, the packs were forced back
     into the timber close to our lines and compelled to stay
     there. Thus over five hundred packs and animals were saved
     to the army by the prompt action of the General and his

     "At 3:30 o'clock the situation was critical in the extreme.
     Colonel Boyle had been killed in leading a charge and his
     regiment repulsed. The Twelfth Ohio Cavalry had promptly
     come to Boyle's support and checked the confederates, who
     were coming into our centre. The hospital in our rear, where
     our sick were, had been charged, and for a short time was in
     the hands of the enemy. Burbridge and Stoneman had their
     headquarters on a little knoll near the centre of our line,
     where they could see the fighting. The Confederate right, in
     swinging around, had covered this hill and it was no longer
     tenable. A lieutenant, in reporting to General Burbridge on
     this knoll, had been shot by a Confederate rifleman through
     the head and fell dead at the General's feet. Orderlies,
     horses and men were being shot down, and I begged General
     Burbridge to retire. He asked me if there were no more
     troops we could bring up and put into action. I told him all
     we had left was the Sixth United States Colored Cavalry and
     the horse-holders. He said:

     "'Well, go and bring up the negroes and tell everybody to
     tie the horses as well as they can. We might as well lose
     them as to be whipped, when we will lose them anyway.'

     "I made haste to bring up the Sixth Colored and all the
     horse-holders I could get. The Sixth Colored was a fine
     regiment, but few had faith in the fighting qualities of the
     negroes. General Burbridge divided them into three columns,
     and taking one himself gave the other two to General Wade
     and myself. Wade had the right, Burbridge the left and I was
     in the centre. Wade got off first and sailed in in gallant
     style. Burbridge piled his overcoat on the ground, and
     drawing his sword led his column forward. The men were all
     on foot and most of the officers. But few were mounted. It
     was unpleasant riding under fire where so many were on foot.
     Wade's horse was soon shot, but he kept on with his men,
     leading on foot. Looking to the left I saw Burbridge
     surrounded by a black crowd of men, his form towering above
     them and his sword pointing to the enemy. Wade was first to
     strike the Confederate line. They fired and fired, but the
     darkies kept straight on, closing for a hand-to-hand fight.
     Then the cry was raised along the Confederate lines that the
     negroes were killing the wounded. Wade went through the
     Confederate line like an iron wedge, and it broke and fled.
     Burbridge hit hard, but the insistence was less stubborn
     than in Wade's front. Of my own part in the action I prefer
     not to write. Suffice it to say that never did soldiers do
     better on any battle-field than the black men I led that

     "When their guns were empty they clubbed them, and I saw one
     negro fighting with a gun barrel, swinging it about his head
     like a club, and going straight for the enemy. He did not
     hit anybody for nobody waited to be hit, but some of the
     Confederates jumped fully fifteen feet down the opposite
     side of that hill to get out of the way of the negroes, and
     I would have jumped too, probably, if I had been on their
     side, for I never yet saw anything in battle so terrible as
     an infuriated negro.

     "Gillem returned just as night was putting an end to the
     fighting and in the approaching darkness we mistook his
     column for a new column of the enemy coming in on our right
     and rear. Burbridge hurried back with his victorious negroes
     and was about to advance with the Twelfth Ohio Cavalry and
     Eleventh Michigan, when the glad news came that the supposed
     Confederates were Gillem's column returning to our support.

     "During the night Breckenridge retreated in the direction of
     the salt works, but Colonel Buckley, returning from the
     direction of the lead mines with his brigade, and having got
     in Breckenridge's rear at Seven Mile Ford, charged his
     advance, capturing ten prisoners. Breckenridge, no doubt
     thinking he had been outflanked and was about to be enclosed
     between two columns, abandoned all idea of going to the salt
     works and put back in confusion to Marion, where he took the
     North Carolina road and fled over the mountains. Colonel
     Bentley, with his Twelfth Ohio, was sent up with
     Breckenridge's rear. The Confederates felled trees across
     the road to retard Bentley's advance, but he cleared them
     out and he and his gallant regiment hammered Breckenridge's
     rear all the way into North Carolina."

The road to the Salt Works was thus opened and their destruction
accomplished by the bravery and matchless valor of the gallant Sixth.
Many of the regiment forfeited their lives in rescuing the force from
defeat, and securing a victory; those who survived the terrible
struggle no longer had opprobrious epithets hurled at them, but modestly
received the just encomiums that were showered upon them by the white
troops, who, amid the huzzas of victory, greeted them with loud shouts
of "Comrades!"

General Brisbin, continuing, says:

     "There were many instances of personal bravery, but I shall
     only mention one. A negro soldier had got a stump quite
     close to the Confederate line, and despite all efforts to
     dislodge him, there he stuck, picking off their men. The
     Confederates charged the stump, but the Federal line
     observing it concentrated their fire on the advancing men
     and drove them back. Then there were long and loud cheers
     for the brave darkey, who stuck to his stump and fired away
     with a regularity that was wonderful. His stump was riddled
     with bullets, but he stuck to it, although he was at times
     nearer the Confederate lines than our own."

[Illustration: SCOUTS]




It was not long after each army received its quota of Phalanx soldiers,
before the white troops began regarding them much as Napoleon's troops
did the Imperial Guard, their main support. When a regiment of the
Phalanx went into a fight, every white soldier knew what was meant, for
the black troops took no ordinary part in a battle. Where the conflict
was hottest; where danger was most imminent, there the Phalanx went; and
when victory poised, as it often did, between the contending sides, the
weight of the Phalanx was frequently thrown into the balancing scales;
if some strong work or dangerous battery had to be taken, whether with
the bayonet alone or hand grenade or sabre, the Phalanx was likely to be
in the charging column, or formed a part of the storming brigade.

The confederates were no cowards; braver men never bit cartridge or
fired a gun, and when they were to meet "their slaves," as they
believed, in revolt, why, of course, honor forbade them to ask or give
quarter. This fact was known to all, for, as yet, though hundreds had
been captured, none had been found on parole, or among the exchanged
prisoners. General Grant's attention was called to this immediately
after the fight at Milliken's Bend, where the officers of the Phalanx,
as well as soldiers, had been captured and hung. Grant wrote Gen.
Taylor, commanding the confederate forces in Louisiana, as follows:

     "I feel no inclination to retaliate for offences of
     irresponsible persons, but, if it is the policy of any
     general intrusted with the command of troops, to show no
     quarter, or to punish with death, prisoners taken in battle,
     _I will accept the issue_. It may be you propose a different
     line of policy to black troops, and officers commanding
     them, to that practiced toward white troops. If so, I can
     assure you that these colored troops are regularly mustered
     into the service of the United States. The government, and
     all officers under the government, are bound to give the
     same protection to these troops that they do to any other

General Taylor replied that he would punish all such acts, "disgraceful
alike to humanity and the reputation of soldiers," but declared that
officers of the "Confederate Army" were required to turn over to the
civil authorities, to be dealt with according to the laws of the State
wherein such were captured, all negroes taken in arms.

As early as December, 1862, incensed by General Butler's administration
at New Orleans in the arming of negroes, Jefferson Davis, President of
the Confederate Government, issued the following proclamation:

     "FIRST.--That all commissioned officers in the command of
     said Benjamin F. Butler be declared not entitled to be
     considered as soldiers engaged in honorable warfare, but as
     robbers and criminals, deserving death; and that they, and
     each of them, be, whenever captured, reserved for execution.

     "SECOND.--That the private soldiers and non-commissioned
     officers in the army of said Benj. F. Butler, be considered
     as only instruments used for the commission of crimes,
     perpetrated by his orders, and not as free agents; that
     they, therefore, be treated when captured as prisoners of
     war, with kindness and humanity, and be sent home on the
     usual parole; that they will in no manner aid or serve the
     United States in any capacity during the continuance of war,
     unless duly exchanged.

     "THIRD.--That all negro slaves captured in arms be at once
     delivered over to the executive authorities, of the
     respective States to which they belong, and to be dealt with
     according to the laws of said States.

     "FOURTH.--That the like orders be executed in all cases with
     respect to all commissioned officers of the United States
     when found serving in company with said slaves in
     insurrection against the authorities of the different States
     of this Confederacy.

         "Signed and sealed at Richmond, Dec. 23, 1862.

                                  "JEFFERSON DAVIS."

This Proclamation was the hoisting of the black flag against the
Phalanx, by which Mr. Davis expected to bring about a war of
extermination against the negro soldiers.[28]

In his third annual message to the Confederate Congress, Mr. Davis said:

     "We may well leave it to the instincts of that common
     humanity which a beneficient creator has implanted in the
     breasts of our fellow men of all countries to pass judgment
     on a measure by which several millions of human beings of an
     inferior race--peaceful and contented laborers in their
     sphere--are doomed to extermination, while at the same time
     they are encouraged to a general assassination of their
     masters by the insiduous recommendation to abstain from
     violence unless in necessary defence. Our own detestation of
     those who have attempted the most execrable measures
     recorded in the history of guilty man is tempered by
     profound contempt for the impotent rage which it discloses.
     So far as regards the action of this government on such
     criminals as may attempt its execution, I confine myself to
     informing you that I shall--unless in your wisdom you deem
     some other course expedient--deliver to the several State
     authorities all commissioned officers of the United States
     that may hereafter be captured by our forces in any of the
     States embraced in the Proclamation, that they may be dealt
     with in accordance with the laws of those States providing
     for the punishment of criminals engaged in exciting servile
     insurrection. The enlisted soldiers I shall continue to
     treat as unwilling instruments in the commission of these
     crimes, and shall direct their discharge and return to their
     homes on the proper and usual parole."

The confederate Congress soon took up the subject, and after a
protracted consideration passed the following:

     "_Resolved_, By the Congress of the Confederate States of
     America, in response to the message of the President,
     transmitted to Congress at the commencement of the present
     session. That, in the opinion of Congress, the commissioned
     officers of the enemy _ought_ not to be delivered to the
     authorities of the respective States, as suggested in the
     said message, but all captives taken by the confederate
     forces, ought to be dealt with and disposed of by the
     Confederate Government.

     "SEC. 2.--That in the judgment of Congress, the
     Proclamations of the President of the United States, dated
     respectively September 22nd, 1862, and January 1st, 1863,
     and other measures of the Government of the United States,
     and of its authorities, commanders and forces, designed or
     intended to emancipate slaves in the Confederate States, or
     to abduct such slaves, or to incite them to insurrection, or
     to employ negroes in war against the Confederate States, or
     to overthrow the institution of African slavery and bring on
     a servile war in these States, would, if successful, produce
     atrocious consequences, and they are inconsistent with the
     spirit of those usages which, in modern warfare, prevail
     among the civilized nations; they may therefore be lawfully
     suppressed by retaliation.

     "SEC. 3.--That in every case wherein, during the war, any
     violation of the laws and usages of war among civilized
     nations shall be, or has been done and perpetrated by those
     acting under the authority of the United States, on the
     persons or property of citizens of the Confederate States,
     or of those under the protection or in the land or naval
     service of the Confederate States, or of any State of the
     Confederacy, the President of the Confederate States is
     hereby authorized to cause full and ample retaliation to be
     made for every such violation, in such manner and to such
     extent as he may think proper.

     "SEC. 4.--That every white person, being a commissioned
     officer, or acting as such, who during the present war shall
     command negroes or mulattoes in arms against the Confederate
     States, or who shall arm, train, organize or prepare negroes
     or mulattoes for military service against the Confederate
     States, or who shall voluntarily use negroes or mulattoes in
     any military enterprise, attack or conflict, in such
     service, shall be deemed as inciting servile insurrection,
     and shall, if captured, be put to death, or to be otherwise
     punished at the discretion of the court.

     "SEC. 5.--Every person, being a commissioned officer, or
     acting as such in the service of the enemy, who shall during
     the present war, excite, attempt to excite, or cause to be
     excited a servile insurrection, or who shall incite, or
     cause to be incited a slave to rebel, shall, if captured, be
     put to death, or otherwise punished at the discretion of the

     "SEC. 6.--Every person charged with an offence punishable
     under the preceeding resolutions shall, during the present
     war, be tried before the military court, attached to the
     army or corps by the troops of which he shall have been
     captured, or by such other military court as the President
     may direct, and in such manner and under such regulations as
     the President shall prescribe; and after conviction, the
     President may commute the punishment in such manner and on
     such terms as he may deem proper.

     "SEC. 7.--All negroes and mulattoes who shall be engaged in
     war, or be taken in arms against the Confederate States, or
     shall give aid or comfort to the enemies of the Confederate
     States, shall, where captured in the Confederate States, be
     delivered to authorities of the State or States in which
     they shall be captured, to be dealt with according to such
     present or future laws of such State or States."

In March, 1863, this same Confederate Congress enacted the following
order to regulate the impressment of negroes for army purposes:

     "SEC. 9.--Where slaves are impressed by the Confederate
     Government, to labor on fortifications, or other public
     works, the impressment shall be made by said Government
     according to the rules and regulations provided in the laws
     of the States wherein they are impressed; and, in the
     absence of such law, in accordance with such rules and
     regulations not inconsistent with the provisions of this
     act, as the Secretary of War shall from time to time
     prescribe; _Provided_, That no impressment of slaves shall
     be made, when they can be hired or procured by the owner or

     "SEC. 10.--That, previous to the 1st day of December next,
     no slave laboring on a farm or plantation, exclusively
     devoted to the production of grain and provisions, shall be
     taken for the public use, without the consent of the owner,
     except in case of urgent necessity."

Thus it is apparent that while the Confederate Government was holding
aloft the black flag, even against the Northern Phalanx regiments
composed of men who were never slaves, it was at the same time engaged
in enrolling and conscripting slaves to work on fortifications and in
trenches, in support of their rebellion against the United States, and
at a period when negro troops were not accepted in the army of the
United States.

Soon after the admission of negroes into the Union army, it was reported
to Secretary Stanton that three negro soldiers, captured with the
gunboat "Isaac Smith," on Stone river, were placed in close confinement,
whereupon he ordered three confederate prisoners belonging to South
Carolina to be placed in close confinement, and informed the Confederate
Government of the action. The Richmond _Examiner_ becoming cognizant of
this said:

     "It is not merely the pretension of a regular Government
     affecting to deal with 'rebels,' but it is a deadly stab
     which they are aiming at our institutions themselves;
     because they know that, if we were insane enough to yield
     this point, to treat black men as the equals of white, and
     insurgent slaves as equivalent to our brave white soldiers,
     the very foundation of slavery would be fatally wounded."

Several black soldiers were captured in an engagement before Charleston,
and when it came to an exchange of prisoners, though an immediate
exchange of all captured in the engagement had been agreed upon, the
confederates would not exchange the negro troops. To this the
President's attention was called, whereupon he issued the following


     "It is the duty of every government to give protection to
     its citizens, of whatever color, class, or condition, and
     especially to those who are duly organized as soldiers in
     the public service. The law of nations and the usages and
     customs of war, as carried on by civilized powers, permit no
     distinction as to color in the treatment of prisoners of
     war, as public enemies. To sell or enslave any captured
     person, on account of his color, and for no offense against
     the laws of war, is a relapse into barbarism, and a crime
     against the civilization of the age. The government of the
     United States will give the same protection to all its
     soldiers; and if the enemy shall enslave or sell any one
     because of his color, the offense shall be punished by
     retaliation upon the enemy's prisoners in our possession.
     It is therefore ordered that for every soldier of the United
     States killed in violation of the laws of war, a rebel
     soldier shall be executed, and for every one enslaved by the
     enemy or sold into slavery, a rebel soldier shall be placed
     at hard labor on public works, and continued at such labor
     until the other shall be released and receive the treatment
     due to a prisoner of war.

                                  "ABRAHAM LINCOLN,

     "By order of the Secretary of War.

                            "E. D. TOWNSEND, Ass't. Adjt.-General."

However, this order did not prevent the carrying out of the intentions
of the confederate President and Congress.

The saddest and blackest chapter of the history of the war of the
Rebellion, is that which relates to the treatment of Union prisoners in
the rebel prison pens, at Macon, Ga., Belle Island, Castle Thunder,
Pemberton, Libbey, at and near Richmond and Danville, Va., Cahawba,
Ala., Salisbury, N. C., Tyler, Texas, Florida, Columbia, S. C., Millen
and Andersonville, Ga. It is not the purpose to attempt a general
description of these modern charnel houses, or to enter into a detailed
statement of the treatment of the Union soldiers who were unfortunate
enough to escape death upon the battle-field and then fall captive to
the confederates. When we consider the fact that the white men who were
engaged in the war upon both sides, belonged to one nation, and were
Americans, many of whom had been educated at the same schools, and
many--very many--of them members of the same religious denominations,
and church; not a few springing from the same stock and loins, the
atrocities committed by the confederates against the Union soldiers,
while in their custody as prisoners of war, makes their deeds more
shocking and inhuman than if the contestants had been of a different


The 1st South Carolina Regiment was attacked by the Confederates with
bloodhounds, at Pocaralago Bridge, Oct. 23rd, 1862. The hounds rushed
fiercely upon the troops, who quickly shot or bayoneted them and
exultingly held aloft the beasts that had been so long a terror to the
negro race.]

The English soldiers who lashed the Sepoys to the mouths of their
cannon, and then fired the pieces, thus cruelly murdering the captured
rebels, offered the plea, in mitigation of their crime, and as an excuse
for violating the rules of war, that their subjects were not of a
civilized nation, and did not themselves adhere to the laws governing
civilized nations at war with each other. But no such plea can be
entered in the case of the confederates, who starved, shot and murdered
80,000 of their brethren in prison pens, white prisoners of war. If such
treatment was meted to those of their own color and race, as is related
by an investigating committee of Senators, what must have been the
treatment of those of another race,--whom they had held in slavery, and
whom they regarded the same as sheep and horses, to be bought and sold
at will,--when captured in battle, fighting against them for the Union
and their own freedom?

The report of the Congressional Committee furnishes ample proof of the

         38TH CONGRESS,    }            {REP. COM.
         _1st Session._    }            {_No. 68._

                    "IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.

     "_Report of the Joint Committee on the Conduct and
     Expenditures of the War._

     "On the 4th inst., your committee received a communication
     of that date from the Secretary of War, enclosing the report
     of Colonel Hoffman, commissary general of prisoners, dated
     May 3, calling the attention of the committee to the
     condition of returned Union prisoners, with the request that
     the committee would immediately proceed to Annapolis and
     examine with their own eyes the condition of those who have
     been returned from rebel captivity. The committee resolved
     that they would comply with the request of the Secretary of
     War on the first opportunity. The 5th of May was devoted by
     the committee to concluding their labors upon the
     investigation of the Fort Pillow massacre. On the 6th of
     May, however, the committee proceeded to Annapolis and
     Baltimore, and examined the condition of our returned
     soldiers, and took the testimony of several of them,
     together with the testimony of surgeons and other persons in
     attendance upon the hospitals. That testimony, with the
     communication of the Secretary of War, and the report of
     Colonel Hoffman, is herewith transmitted.

     "The evidence proves, beyond all manner of doubt, a
     determination on the part of the rebel authorities,
     deliberately and persistently practiced for a long time
     past, to subject those of our soldiers who have been so
     unfortunate as to fall in their hands to a system of
     treatment which has resulted in reducing many of those who
     have survived and been permitted to return to us in a
     condition, both physically and mentally, which no language
     we can use can adequately describe. Though nearly all the
     patients now in the Naval Academy hospital at Annapolis, and
     in the West hospital, in Baltimore, have been under the
     kindest and most intelligent treatment for about three weeks
     past, and many of them for a greater length of time, still
     they present literally the appearance of living skeletons,
     many of them being nothing but skin and bone; some of them
     are maimed for life, having been frozen while exposed to the
     inclemency of the winter season on Belle Isle, being
     compelled to lie on the bare ground, without tents or
     blankets, some of them without overcoats or even coats, with
     but little fire to mitigate the severity of the winds and
     storms to which they were exposed.

     "The testimony shows that the general practice of their
     captors was to rob them, as soon as they were taken
     prisoners, of all their money, valuables, blankets, and good
     clothing, for which they received nothing in exchange
     except, perhaps, some old worn-out rebel clothing hardly
     better than none at all. Upon their arrival at Richmond they
     have been confined, without blankets or other covering, in
     buildings without fire, or upon Belle Isle with, in many
     cases, no shelter, and in others with nothing but old
     discarded army tents, so injured by rents and holes as to
     present but little barrier to the wind and storms; on
     several occasions, the witnesses say, they have arisen in
     the morning from their resting-places upon the bare earth,
     and found several of their comrades frozen to death during
     the night, and that many others would have met the same fate
     had they not walked rapidly back and forth, during the hours
     which should have been devoted to sleep, for the purpose of
     retaining sufficient warmth to preserve life.

     "In respect to the food furnished to our men by the rebel
     authorities, the testimony proves that the ration of each
     man was totally insufficient in quantity to preserve the
     health of a child, even had it been of proper quality, which
     it was not. It consisted usually, at the most, of two small
     pieces of corn-bread, made in many instances, as the
     witnesses state, of corn and cobs ground together, and badly
     prepared and cooked, of, at times, about two ounces of meat,
     usually of poor quality, and unfit to be eaten, and
     occasionally a few black worm-eaten beans, or something of
     that kind. Many of your men were compelled to sell to their
     guards, and others, for what price they could get, such
     clothing and blankets as they were permitted to receive of
     that forwarded for their use by our government, in order to
     obtain additional food sufficient to sustain life; thus, by
     endeavoring to avoid one privation reducing themselves to
     the same destitute condition in respect to clothing and
     covering that they were in before they received any from our
     government. When they became sick and diseased in
     consequence of this exposure and privation, and were
     admitted into the hospitals, their treatment was little if
     any, improved as to food, though they, doubtless, suffered
     less from exposure to cold than before. Their food still
     remained insufficient in quantity and altogether unfit in
     quality. Their diseases and wounds did not receive the
     treatment which the commonest dictates of humanity would
     have prompted. One witness, whom your committee examined,
     who had lost all the toes of one foot from being frozen
     while on Belle Isle, states that for days at a time his
     wounds were not dressed, and they had not been dressed for
     four days when he was taken from the hospital and carried on
     the flag-of-truce boat for Fortress Monroe.

     "In reference to the condition to which our men were reduced
     by cold and hunger, your committee would call attention to
     the following extracts from the testimony. One witness

     "'I had no blankets until our Government sent us some.

     "'Question.--How did you sleep before you received those

     "'Answer.--We used to get together just as close as we
     could, and sleep spoon-fashion, so that when one turned over
     we all had to turn over.'

     "Another witness testifies:

     "'Question.--Were you hungry all the time?

     "'Answer.--Hungry! I could eat anything that came before us;
     some of the boys would get boxes from the North with meat of
     different kinds in them; and, after they had picked the meat
     off, they would throw the bones away into the spit-boxes,
     and we would pick the bones out of the spit-boxes and gnaw
     them over again.'

     "In addition to this insufficient supply of food, clothing
     and shelter, our soldiers, while prisoners, have been
     subjected to the most cruel treatment from those placed over
     them. They have been abused and shamefully treated on almost
     every opportunity. Many have been mercilessly shot and
     killed when they failed to comply with all the demands of
     their jailors, sometimes for violating rules of which they
     had not been informed. Crowded in great numbers in
     buildings, they have been fired at and killed by the
     sentinels outside when they appeared at the windows for the
     purpose of obtaining a little fresh air. One man, whose
     comrade in the service, in battle and in captivity, had been
     so fortunate as to be among those released from further
     torments, was shot dead as he was waving with his hand a
     last adieu to his friend; and other instances of equally
     unprovoked murder are disclosed by the testimony.

     "The condition of our returned soldiers as regards personal
     cleanliness, has been filthy almost beyond description.
     Their clothes have been so dirty and so covered with vermin,
     that those who received them have been compelled to destroy
     their clothing and re-clothe them with new and clean
     raiment. Their bodies and heads have been so infested with
     vermin that, in some instances, repeated washings have
     failed to remove them; and those who have received them in
     charge have been compelled to cut all the hair from their
     heads, and make applications to destroy the vermin. Some
     have been received with no clothing but shirts and drawers
     and a piece of blanket or other outside covering, entirely
     destitute of coats, hats, shoes or stockings; and the bodies
     of those better supplied with clothing have been equally
     dirty and filthy with the others, many who have been sick
     and in the hospital having had no opportunity to wash their
     bodies for weeks and months before they were released from

     "Your committee are unable to convey any adequate idea of
     the sad and deplorable condition of the men they saw in the
     hospitals they visited; and the testimony they have taken
     cannot convey to the reader the impressions which your
     committee there received. The persons we saw, as we were
     assured by those in charge of them, have greatly improved
     since they have been received in the hospitals. Yet they are
     now dying daily, one of them being in the very throes of
     death as your committee stood by his bed-side and witnessed
     the sad spectacle there presented. All those whom your
     committee examined stated that they have been thus reduced
     and emaciated entirely in consequence of the merciless
     treatment they received while prisoners from their enemies;
     and the physicians in charge of them, the men best fitted by
     their profession and experience to express an opinion upon
     the subject, all say that they have no doubt that the
     statements of their patients are entirely correct.

     "It will be observed from the testimony, that all the
     witnesses who testify upon that point state that the
     treatment they received while confined at Columbia, South
     Carolina, Dalton, Georgia, and other places, was far more
     humane than that they received at Richmond, where the
     authorities of the so-called confederacy were congregated,
     and where the power existed, had the inclination not been
     wanting, to reform those abuses and secure to the prisoners
     they held some treatment that would bear a public comparison
     to that accorded by our authorities to the prisoners in our
     custody. Your committee, therefore, are constrained to say
     that they can hardly avoid the conclusion, expressed by so
     many of our released soldiers, that the inhuman practices
     herein referred to are the result of a determination on the
     part of the rebel authorities to reduce our soldiers in
     their power, by privation of food and clothing, and by
     exposure, to such a condition that those who may survive
     shall never recover so as to be able to render any effective
     service in the field. And your committee accordingly ask
     that this report, with the accompanying testimony be printed
     with the report and testimony [which was accordingly done]
     in relation to the massacre of Fort Pillow, the one being,
     in their opinion, no less than the other, the result of a
     predetermined policy. As regards the assertions of some of
     the rebel newspapers, that our prisoners have received at
     their hands the same treatment that their own soldiers in
     the field have received, they are evidently but the most
     glaring and unblushing falsehoods. No one can for a moment
     be deceived by such statements, who will reflect that our
     soldiers, who, when taken prisoners, have been stout,
     healthy men, in the prime and vigor of life, yet have died
     by hundreds under the treatment they have received, although
     required to perform no duties of the camp or the march;
     while the rebel soldiers are able to make long and rapid
     marches, and to offer a stubborn resistance in the field.

     "Your committee, finding it impossible to describe in words
     the deplorable condition of these returned prisoners, have
     caused photographs to be taken of a number of them, and a
     fair sample to be lithographed and appended to their report,
     that their exact condition may be known by all who examine
     it. Some of them have since died.

     "There is one feature connected with this investigation, to
     which your committee can refer with pride and satisfaction;
     and that is the uncomplaining fortitude, the undiminished
     patriotism exhibited by our brave men under all their
     privations, even in the hour of death.

     "Your committee will close their report by quoting the
     tribute paid these men by the chaplin of the hospital at
     Annapolis, who has ministered to so many of them in their
     last moments; who has smoothed their passage to the grave by
     his kindness and attention, and who has performed the last
     sad offices over their lifeless remains. He says:

     "'There is another thing I would wish to state. All the men,
     without any exception among the thousands that have come to
     this hospital, have never in a single instance expressed a
     regret (notwithstanding the privations and sufferings they
     have endured) that they entered their country's service.
     They have been the most loyal, devoted and earnest men. Even
     on the last days of their lives they have said that all they
     hoped for was just to live and enter the ranks again and
     meet their foes. It is a most glorious record in reference
     to the devotion of our men to their country. I do not think
     their patriotism has ever been equalled in the history of
     the world.'

     "All of which is respectfully submitted.

                          "B. F. WADE, _Chairman._"

Also the following:

                              WASHINGTON, D. C., May 3, 1864.

     "SIR:--I have the honor to report that, pursuant to your
     instructions of the 2nd instant, I proceeded, yesterday
     morning, to Annapolis, with a view to see that the paroled
     prisoners about to arrive there from Richmond were properly
     received and cared for.

     "The flag-of-truce boat 'New York,' under the charge of
     Major Mulford, with thirty-two officers, three hundred and
     sixty-three enlisted men, and one citizen on board, reached
     the wharf at the Naval School hospital about ten o'clock. On
     going on board, I found the officers generally in good
     health, and much cheered by their happy release from the
     rebel prisons, and by the prospect of again being with their

     "The enlisted men who had endured so many privations at
     Belle Isle and other places were, with few exceptions, in a
     very sad plight, mentally and physically, having for months
     been exposed to all the changes of the weather, with no
     other protection than a very insufficient supply of
     worthless tents, and with an allowance of food scarcely
     sufficient to prevent starvation, even if of wholesome
     quality; but as it was made of coarsely-ground corn,
     including the husks, and probably at times the cobs, if it
     did not kill by starvation, it was sure to do it by the
     disease it created. Some of these poor fellows were wasted
     to mere skeletons, and had scarcely life enough remaining to
     appreciate that they were now in the hands of their friends,
     and among them all there were few who had not become too
     much broken down and dispirited by their many privations to
     be able to realize the happy prospect of relief from their
     sufferings which was before them. With rare exception, every
     face was sad with care and hunger; there was no brightening
     of the countenance or lighting up of the eye, to indicate a
     thought of anything beyond a painful sense of prostration of
     mind and body. Many faces showed that there was scarcely a
     ray of intelligence left.

     "Every preparation had been made for their reception in
     anticipation of the arrival of the steamer, and immediately
     upon her being made fast to the wharf the paroled men were
     landed and taken immediately to the hospital, where, after
     receiving a warm bath, they were furnished with a suitable
     supply of new clothing, and received all those other
     attentions which their sad condition demanded. Of the whole
     number, there are perhaps fifty to one hundred who, in a
     week or ten days, will be in a convalescent state, but the
     others will very slowly regain their lost health.

     "That our soldiers, when in the hands of the rebels, are
     starved to death, cannot be denied. Every return of the
     flag-of-truce boat from City Point brings us too many living
     and dying witnesses to admit of a doubt of this terrible
     fact. I am informed that the authorities at Richmond admit
     the fact, but excuse it on the plea that they give the
     prisoners the same rations they give their own men. But can
     this be so? Can an army keep the field, and be active and
     efficient, on the same fare that kills prisoners of war at a
     frightful percentage? I think not; no man can believe it;
     and while a practice so shocking to humanity is persisted in
     by the rebel authorities, I would very respectfully urge
     that retaliatory measures be at once instituted by
     subjecting the officers we now hold as prisoners of war to a
     similar treatment.

     "I took advantage of the opportunity which this visit to
     Annapolis gave me to make a hasty inspection of Camp Parole,
     and I am happy to report that I found it in every branch in
     a most commendable condition. The men all seemed to be
     cheerful and in fine health, and the police inside and out
     was excellent. Colonel Root, the commanding officer,
     deserves much credit for the very satisfactory condition to
     which he has brought his command.

     "I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient

                                        "W. HOFFMAN,

         "_Colonel 3rd Infantry, Commissary General of Prisoners._

     "HON. E. M. STANTON, _Secretary of War, Washington, D. C._"

This report does not refer to the treatment of the soldiers of the
_Phalanx_ who were taken by the confederates in battle,[29] after the
surrender of Fort Pillow, Lawrence and Plymouth, and at several other
places. It is inserted to enable the reader to form an opinion as to
what the negro soldier's treatment must have been. The same committee
also published as a part of their report, the testimony of a
number,--mostly black, soldiers, who escaped death at Fort Pillow; a few
of their statements are given:

            38TH CONGRESS,}         {REP. COM.
             1st Session. }         {No. 63 & 68.


     _Report of the Joint Committee on the Conduct and
     Expenditures of the War to whom was Referred the Resolution
     of Congress Instructing them to Investigate the late
     Massacre at Fort Pillow._

     "_Deposition of John Nelson in relation to the capture of
     Fort Pillow._

     "John Nelson, being duly sworn, deposeth and saith:

     "'At the time of the attack on and capture of Fort Pillow,
     April 12, 1864, I kept a hotel within the lines at Fort
     Pillow, and a short distance from the works. Soon after the
     alarm was given that an attack on the fort was imminent, I
     entered the works and tendered my services to Major Booth,
     commanding. The attack began in the morning at about 5-1/2
     o'clock, and about 1 o'clock P.M. a flag of truce
     approached. During the parley which ensued, and while the
     firing ceased on both sides, the rebels kept crowding up to
     the works on the side near Cold Creek, and also approached
     nearer on the south side, thereby gaining advantages pending
     the conference under the flag of truce. As soon as the flag
     of truce was withdrawn the attack began, and about five
     minutes after it began the rebels entered the fort. Our
     troops were soon overpowered, and broke and fled. A large
     number of the soldiers, black and white, and also a few
     citizens, myself among the number, rushed down the bluff
     toward the river. I concealed myself as well as I could in a
     position where I could distinctly see all that passed below
     the bluff, for a considerable distance up and down the

     "'A large number, at least one hundred, were hemmed in near
     the river bank by bodies of the rebels coming from both
     north and south. Most all of those thus hemmed in were
     without arms. I saw many soldiers, both white and black,
     throw up their arms in token of surrender, and call out that
     they had surrendered. The rebels would reply, 'G--d d--n
     you, why didn't you surrender before?' and shot them down
     like dogs.

     "'The rebels commenced an indiscriminate slaughter. Many
     colored soldiers sprang into the river and tried to escape
     by swimming, but these were invariably shot dead.

     "'A short distance from me, and within view, a number of our
     wounded had been placed, and near where Major Booth's body
     lay; and a small red flag indicated that at that place our
     wounded were placed. The rebels however, as they passed
     these wounded men, fired right into them and struck them
     with the butts of their muskets. The cries for mercy and
     groans which arose from the poor fellows were heart-rending.

     "'Thinking that if I should be discovered, I would be
     killed, I emerged from my hiding place, and, approaching the
     nearest rebel, I told him I was a citizen. He said, 'You are
     in bad company, G--d d--n you; out with your greenbacks, or
     I'll shoot you.' I gave him all the money I had, and under
     his convoy I went up into the fort again.

     "'When I re-entered the fort there was still some shooting
     going on. I heard a rebel officer tell a soldier not to kill
     any more of those negroes. He said that they would all be
     killed, any way, when they were tried.

     "'After I entered the fort, and after the United States flag
     had been taken down, the rebels held it up in their hands in
     the presence of their officers, and thus gave the rebels
     outside a chance to still continue their slaughter, and I
     did not notice that any rebel officer forbade the holding of
     it up. I also further state, to the best of my knowledge and
     information, that there were not less than three hundred and
     sixty negroes killed and two hundred whites. This I give to
     the best of my knowledge and belief.

                                            "JOHN NELSON.

     "Subscribed and sworn to before me this 2nd day of May, A. D. 1864.

                                            "J. D. LLOYD,

     "_Capt. 11th Inf., Mo. Vols., and Ass't. Provost Mar.,
         Dist. of Memphis._"

     "Henry Christian, (colored), private, company B, 6th United
     States heavy artillery, sworn and examined. By Mr. Gooch:

     'Question. Where were you raised? 'Answer. In East

     'Question. Have you been a slave? 'Answer. Yes, sir.

     'Question. Where did you enlist? 'Answer. At Corinth,

     'Question. Were you in the fight at Fort Pillow? 'Answer.
     Yes, sir.

     'Question. When were you wounded? 'Answer. A little before
     we surrendered.

     'Question. What happened to you afterwards? 'Answer.
     Nothing; I got but one shot, and dug right out over the hill
     to the river, and never was bothered any more.

     'Did you see any men shot after the place was taken?
     'Answer. Yes, sir.

     'Question. Where? 'Answer. Down to the river.

     'Question. How many? 'Answer. A good many; I don't know how

     'Question. By whom were they shot? 'Answer. By secesh
     soldiers; secesh officers shot some up on the hill.

     'Question. Did you see those on the hill shot by the
     officers? 'Answer. I saw two of them shot.

     'Question. What officers were they? 'Answer. I don't know
     whether he was a lieutenant or captain.

     'Question. Did the men who were shot after they had
     surrendered have arms in their hands? 'Answer. No, sir; they
     threw down their arms.

     'Question. Did you see any shot the next morning? 'Answer. I
     saw two shot; one was shot by an officer--he was standing,
     holding the officer's horse, and when the officer came and
     got his horse he shot him dead. The officer was setting fire
     to the houses.

     'Question. Do you say the man was holding the officer's
     horse, and when the officer came and took his horse he shot
     the man down? 'Answer. Yes, sir; I saw that with my own
     eyes; and then I made away into the river, right off.

     'Question. Did you see any buried? 'Answer. Yes, sir; a
     great many, black and white.

     'Question. Did you see any buried alive? 'Answer. I did not
     see any buried alive.

     "Jacob Thompson, (colored), sworn and examined. By Mr.

     'Question. Were you a soldier at Fort Pillow? 'Answer. No,
     sir, I was not a soldier; but I went up in the fort and
     fought with the rest. I was shot in the hand and the head.

     'Question. When were you shot? 'Answer. After I surrendered.

     'Question. How many times were you shot? 'Answer. I was shot
     but once; but I threw my hand up, and the shot went through
     my hand and my head.

     'Question. Who shot you? 'Answer. A private.

     'Question. What did he say? 'Answer. He said, 'G--d d--n
     you, I will shoot you, old friend.'

     'Question. Did you see anybody else shot? 'Answer. Yes, sir;
     they just called them out like dogs, and shot them down. I
     reckon they shot about fifty, white and black, right there.
     They nailed some black sergeants to the logs, and set the
     logs on fire.

     'Question. When did you see that? 'Answer. When I went there
     in the morning I saw them; they were burning all together.

     'Question. Did they kill them before they burned them?
     'Answer. No, sir, they nailed them to the logs; drove the
     nails right through their hands.

     'Question. How many did you see in that condition? 'Answer.
     Some four or five; I saw two white men burned.

     'Question. Was there any one else there who saw that?
     Answer. I reckon there was; I could not tell who.

     'Question. When was it that you saw them? 'Answer. I saw
     them in the morning after the fight; some of them were
     burned almost in two. I could tell they were white men,
     because they were whiter than the colored men.

     'Question. Did you notice how they were nailed? 'Answer. I
     saw one nailed to the side of a house; he looked like he was
     nailed right through his wrist. I was trying then to get to
     the boat when I saw it.

     'Question. Did you see them kill any white men? 'Answer.
     They killed some eight or nine there. I reckon they killed
     more than twenty after it was all over; called them out from
     under the hill, and shot them down. They would call out a
     white man and shoot him down, and call out a colored man and
     shoot him down; do it just as fast as they could make their
     guns go off.

     'Question. Did you see any rebel officers about there when
     this was going on? 'Answer. Yes, sir; old Forrest was one.

     'Question. Did you know Forrest? 'Answer. Yes, sir; he was a
     little bit of a man. I had seen him before at Jackson.

     'Question. Are you sure he was there when this was going on?
     'Answer. Yes, sir.

     'Question. Did you see any other officers that you knew?
     'Answer. I did not know any other but him. There were some
     two or three more officers came up there.

     'Question. Did you see any buried there? 'Answer. Yes, sir;
     they buried right smart of them. They buried a great many
     secesh, and a great many of our folks. I think they buried
     more secesh than our folks.

     'Question. How did they bury them? 'Answer. They buried the
     secesh over back of the fort, all except those on Fort hill;
     them they buried up on top of the hill where the gunboats
     shelled them.

     'Question. Did they bury any alive? 'Answer. I heard the
     gunboat men say they dug two out who were alive.

     'Question. You did not see them? 'Answer. No, sir.

     'What company did you fight with? 'Answer. I went right into
     the fort and fought there.

     'Question. Were you a slave or a free man? 'Answer. I was a

     'Question. Where were you raised? 'Answer. In old Virginia.

     'Question. Who was your master? 'Answer. Colonel Hardgrove.

     'Question. Where did you live? 'Answer. I lived three miles
     the other side of Brown's mills.

     'Question. How long since you lived with him? 'Answer. I
     went home once and staid with him a while, but he got to
     cutting up and I came away again.

     'Question. What did you do before you went into the fight?
     'Answer. I was cooking for Co. K, of Illinois cavalry; I
     cooked for that company nearly two years.

     'Question. What white officers did you know in our army?
     'Answer. I knew Captain Meltop and Colonel Ransom; and I
     cooked at the hotel at Fort Pillow, and Mr. Nelson kept it.
     I and Johnny were cooking together. After they shot me
     through the hand and head, they beat up all this part of my
     head (the side of his head) with the breach of their guns.

     "Ransome Anderson, (colored), Co. B, 6th United States heavy
     artillery, sworn and examined. By Mr. Gooch:

     'Question. Where were you raised? 'Answer. In Mississippi.

     'Question. Were you a slave? 'Answer. Yes, sir.

     'Question. Where did you enlist? 'Answer. At Corinth.

     'Question. Were you in the fight at Fort Pillow? 'Answer.
     Yes, sir.

     'Question. Describe what you saw done there. 'Answer. Most
     all the men that were killed on our side were killed after
     the fight was over. They called them out and shot them down.
     Then they put some in the houses and shut them up, and then
     burned the houses.

     'Question. Did you see them burn? 'Answer. Yes, sir.

     'Question. Were any of them alive? 'Answer. Yes, sir; they
     were wounded, and could not walk. They put them in the
     houses, and then burned the houses down.

     'Question. Do you know they were in there? 'Answer. Yes,
     sir; I went and looked in there.

     'Question. Do you know they were in there when the house was
     burned? 'Answer. Yes, sir; I heard them hallooing there when
     the houses were burning.

     'Question. Are you sure they were wounded men, and not dead,
     when they were put in there? 'Answer. Yes, sir; they told
     them they were going to have the doctor see them, and then
     put them in there and shut them up, and burned them.

     'Question. Who set the house on fire? 'Answer. I saw a rebel
     soldier take some grass and lay it by the door, and set it
     on fire. The door was pine plank, and it caught easy.

     'Question. Was the door fastened up? 'Answer. Yes, sir; it
     was barred with one of those wide bolts.

     "James Walls, sworn and examined. By Mr. Gooch:

     'Question. To what company did you belong? 'Answer. Company
     E, 13th Tennessee cavalry.

     'Question. Under what officers did you serve? 'Answer. I was
     under Major Bradford and Captain Potter.

     'Question. Were you in the fight at Fort Pillow? 'Answer.
     Yes, sir.

     'Question. State what you saw there of the fight, and what
     was done after the place was captured. 'Answer. We fought
     them for some six or eight hours in the fort, and when they
     charged, our men scattered and ran under the hill; some
     turned back and surrendered, and were shot. After the flag
     of truce came in I went down to get some water. As I was
     coming back I turned sick, and laid down behind a log. The
     secesh charged, and after they came over I saw one go a good
     ways ahead of the others. One of our men made to him and
     threw down his arms. The bullets were flying so thick there
     I thought I could not live there, so I threw down my arms
     and surrendered. He did not shoot me then, but as I turned
     around he or some other one shot me in the back.

     'Question. Did they say anything while they were shooting?
     'Answer. All I heard was, 'Shoot him, shoot him!' 'Yonder
     goes one!' 'Kill him, kill him!' That is about all I heard.

     'Question. How many do you suppose you saw shot after they
     surrendered? 'Answer. I did not see but two or three shot
     around me. One of the boys of our company, named Taylor, ran
     up there, and I saw him shot and fall. Then another was shot
     just before me, like--shot down after he threw down his

     'Question. Those were white men? 'Answer. Yes, sir. I saw
     them make lots of niggers stand up, and then they shot them
     down like hogs. The next morning I was lying around there
     waiting for the boat to come up. The secesh would be prying
     around there, and would come to a nigger and say, 'You ain't
     dead are you?' They would not say anything, and then the
     secesh would get down off their horses, prick them in their
     sides, and say, 'D--n you, you aint dead; get up.' Then they
     would make them get up on their knees, when they would shoot
     them down like hogs.

     'Question. Do you know of their burning any buildings?
     'Answer. I could hear them tell them to stick torches all
     around, and they fired all the buildings.

     'Question. Do you know whether any of our men were in the
     buildings when they were burned? 'Answer. Some of our men
     said some were burned; I did not see it, or know it to be so

     'Question. How did they bury them--white and black together?
     'Answer. I don't know about the burying; I did not see any

     'Question. How many negroes do you suppose were killed after
     the surrender? 'Answer. There were hardly any killed before
     the surrender. I reckon as many as 200 were killed after the
     surrender, out of about 300 that were there.

     Question. Did you see any rebel officers about while this
     shooting was going on? 'Answer. I do not know as I saw any
     officers about when they were shooting the negroes. A
     captain came to me a few minutes after I was shot; he was
     close by me when I was shot.

     'Question. Did he try to stop the shooting? 'Answer. I did
     not hear a word of their trying to stop it. After they were
     shot down, he told them not to shoot them any more. I begged
     him not to let them shoot me again, and he said they would
     not. One man, after he was shot down, was shot again. After
     I was shot down, the man I surrendered to went around the
     tree I was against and shot a man, and then came around to
     me again and wanted my pocket-book. I handed it up to him,
     and he saw my watch-chain and made a grasp at it, and got
     the watch and about half the chain. He took an old Barlow
     knife I had in my pocket. It was not worth five cents; was
     of no account at all, only to cut tobacco with.'

     "Nathan G. Fulks, sworn and examined. By Mr. Gooch:

     'Question. To what company and regiment do you belong?
     'Answer. To Company D, 13th Tennessee cavalry.

     'Question. Where are you from? 'Answer. About twenty miles
     from Columbus, Tennessee.

     'Question. How long have you been in the service? 'Answer.
     Five months, the 1st of May.

     'Question. Were you at Fort Pillow at the time of the fight
     there? Answer. Yes, sir.

     'Question. Will you state what happened to you there?
     'Answer. I was at the corner of the fort when they fetched
     in a flag for a surrender. Some of them said the major stood
     a while, and then said he would not surrender. They
     continued to fight a while; and after a time the major
     started and told us to take care of ourselves, and I and
     twenty more men broke for the hollow. They ordered us to
     halt, and some of them said, 'God d--n 'em, kill 'em!' I
     said, 'I have surrendered.' I had thrown my gun away then. I
     took off my cartridge-box and gave it to one of them, and
     said, 'Don't shoot me;' but they did shoot me, and hit just
     about where the shoe comes up on my leg. I begged them not
     to shoot me, and he said,' God d--n you, you fight with the
     niggers, and we will kill the last one of you!' Then they
     shot me in the thick of the thigh, and I fell; and one set
     out to shoot me again, when another one said, 'Don't shoot
     the white fellows any more.

     'Question. Did you see any person shot besides yourself?
     'Answer. I didn't see them shot. I saw one of our fellows
     dead by me.

     'Question. Did you see any buildings burned? 'Answer. Yes,
     sir. While I was in the major's headquarters they commenced
     burning the buildings, and I begged one of them to take me
     out and not let us burn there; and he said, 'I am hunting up
     a piece of yellow flag for you.' I think we would have
     whipped them if the flag of truce had not come in. We would
     have whipped them if we had not let them get the dead-wood
     on us. I was told that they made their movement while the
     flag of truce was in. I did not see it myself, because I
     had sat down, as I had been working so hard.

     'Question. How do you know they made their movement while
     the flag of truce was in? 'Answer. The men that were above
     said so. The rebs are bound to take every advantage of us. I
     saw two more white men close to where I was lying. That
     makes three dead ones, and myself wounded."

Later on during the war the policy of massacring was somewhat abated,
that is it was not done on the battle-field. The humanity of the
confederates in Virginia permitted them to take their black prisoners to
the rear. About a hundred soldiers belonging to the 7th Phalanx
Regiment, with several of their white officers, were captured at Fort
Gilmer on the James River, Va., and taken to Richmond in September,
1864. The following account is given of their treatment in the record of
the Regiment:

     "The following interesting sketches of prison-life, as
     experienced by two officers of the regiment, captured at
     Fort Gilmer, have been kindly furnished. _The details of the
     sufferings of the enlisted men captured with them we shall
     never know, for few of them ever returned to tell the sad

     "'An escort was soon formed to conduct the prisoners to
     Richmond, some seven or eight miles distant, and the kinder
     behavior of that part of the guard which had participated in
     the action was suggestive of the freemasonry that exists
     between brave fellows to whatever side belonging. On the
     road the prisoners were subjected by every passer-by, to
     petty insults, the point in every case, more or less
     obscene, being the color of their skin. The solitary
     exception, curiously enough, being a _nymph du pave_ in the
     suburbs of the town.[30]

     "'About dusk the prisoners reached the notorious Libby,
     where the officers took leave of their enlisted
     comrades--from most of them forever. The officers were then
     searched and put collectively in a dark hole, whose purpose
     undoubtedly was similar to that of the 'Ear of Dionysius.'
     In the morning, after being again searched, they were placed
     among the rest of the confined officers, among whom was
     Capt. Cook, of the Ninth, taken a few weeks previously at
     Strawberry Plains. Some time before, the confederates had
     made a great haul on the Weldon Railroad, and the prison was
     getting uncomfortably full of prisoners and--vermin. After a
     few days sojourn in Libby, the authorities prescribed a
     change of air, and the prisoners were packed into box and
     stock cars and rolled to Salisbury, N. C. The comforts of
     this two day's ride are remembered as strikingly similar to
     those of Mr. Hog from the West to the Eastern market before
     the invention of the S. F. P. C. T. A.

     "'At Salisbury the prisoners were stored in the third story
     of an abandoned tobacco factory, occupied on the lower
     floors by political prisoners, deserters, thieves and spies,
     who during the night made an attempt on the property of the
     new-comers, but were repulsed after a pitched battle. In the
     morning the Post-Commandant ordered the prisoners to some
     unused negro quarters in another part of the grounds,
     separated from the latter by a line of sentries. During the
     week train-loads of prisoners--enlisted men--arrived and
     were corralled in the open grounds. The subsequent
     sufferings of these men are known to the country, a parallel
     to those of Andersonville, as the eternal infamy of Wirtz is
     shared by his _confrere_ at Salisbury--McGee.

     "'The weakness, and still more, the appalling ferocity of
     the guards, stimulated the desire to escape; but when this
     had become a plan it was discovered, and the commissioned
     prisoners were at once hurried off to Danville, Va., and
     there assigned the two upper floors of an abandoned tobacco
     warehouse, which formed one side of an open square. Here an
     organization into messes was effected, from ten to eighteen
     in each--to facilitate the issue of rations. The latter
     consisted of corn-bread and boiled beef, but gradually the
     issues of meat became like angels' visits, and then for
     several months ceased altogether. It was the art of feeding
     as practised by the Hibernian on his horse--only their
     exchange deprived the prisoners of testing the one straw per

     "Among the democracy of hungry bellies there were a few
     aristocrats, with a Division General of the Fifth Corps as
     Grand Mogul, whose Masonic or family connections in the
     South procured them special privileges. On the upper floor
     these envied few erected a cooking stove, around which they
     might be found at all hours of the day, preparing savory
     dishes, while encircled by a triple and quadruple row of
     jealous noses, eagerly inhailing the escaping vapors, so
     conducive to day-dreams of future banquets. The social
     equilibrium was, however, bi-diurnally restored by a common
     pursuit--a general warfare under the black flag against a
     common enemy, as insignificant individually as he was
     collectively formidable--an insect, in short, whose
     domesticity on the human body is, according to some
     naturalists, one of the differences between our species and
     the rest of creation. This operation, technically,
     'skirmishing,' happened twice a day, according as the sun
     illumined the east or west sides of the apartments, along
     which the line was deployed in its beams.

     "Eating, sleeping, smelling and skirmishing formed the
     routine of prison-life, broken once in a while by a walk,
     under escort, to the Dan river, some eighty yards distant,
     for a water supply. Generally, some ten or twelve prisoners
     with buckets were allowed to go at once, and this
     circumstance, together with the fact that the guard for all
     the prisons in town were mounted in the open square in
     front, excited the first idea of escape. According to high
     diplomatic authority, empty stomachs are conducive to
     ingenuity, so the idea soon became a plan and a conspiracy.
     While the new guard had stacked arms in the open square
     preparatory to mounting, some ten or twelve officers, under
     the lead of Col. Ralston, the powerful head of some New York
     regiment, were to ask for exit under pretense of getting
     water, and then to overpower the opposing sentries, while
     the balance of the prisoners, previously drawn up in line at
     the head of the short staircase leading direct to the exit
     door, were to rush down into the square, seize the stacked
     arms and march through the Confederacy to the Union

     "'Among the ten or twelve pseudo-water-carriers--the forlorn
     hope--were Col. Ralston, Capt. Cook, of the Ninth, and one
     or two of the Seventh--Capt. Weiss and Lieut. Spinney. On
     the guard opening the door for egress, Col. Ralston and one
     of the Seventh threw themselves on the first man, a powerful
     six-footer, and floored him. At the same moment, however,
     another guard with great presence of mind, slammed the door
     and turned the key, and that before five officers could
     descend the short staircase. The attempt was now a failure.
     One of the guards on the outside of the building took
     deliberate aim through the open window at Col. Ralston, who
     was still engaged with the struggling fellow, and shot him
     through the bowels. Col. Ralston died a lingering and
     painful death after two or three days. Less true bravery
     than his has been highly sung in verse.

     "'This attempt could not but sharpen the discipline of the
     prison, but soon the natural humanity of the commandant,
     Col. Smith, now believed to be Chief Engineer of the
     Baltimore Bridge Company, asserted itself, and things went
     on as before. Two incidents may, however, be mentioned in
     this connection, whose asperities time has removed, leaving
     nothing but their salient grotesque features.

     "'Immediately after the occurrence, an unlimited supply of
     dry-salted codfish was introduced. This being the first
     animal food for weeks, was greedily devoured in large
     quantities, mostly raw--producing a raging thirst. The water
     supply was now curtailed to a few bucketsful, but even these
     few drops of the precious fluid were mostly wasted in the
     _melee_ for their possession. The majority of the
     contestants retired disappointed to muse on the comforts of
     the Sahara Desert, and as the stories about tapping camels
     recurred to them, suggestive glances were cast at the more
     fortunate rivals. After a few days, conspicuous for the
     sparing enjoyment of salt cod, the water supply was ordered
     unlimited. An immediate 'corner' in the Newfoundland staple
     took place, the stock being actively absorbed by _bona fide_
     investors, who found that it bore watering with impunity.

       *       *       *       *

     "'At the beginning of February, 1865, thirty boxes of
     provisions, etc., from friends in the North arrived for the
     prisoners. The list of owners was anxiously scanned and the
     lucky possessor would not have exchanged for the capital
     prize in the Havana lottery. The poor fellows of the
     Seventh were among the fortunate, and from that day none
     knew hunger more.

     "'With the advent of the boxes came the dawn of a brighter
     day. Cartels of exchange were talked about, and by the
     middle of February the captives found themselves on the rail
     for Richmond. The old Libby appeared much less gloomy than
     on first acquaintance, the rays of hope throwing a halo
     about everywhere. Many asked and obtained the liberty of the
     town to lay in a supply of those fine brands of tobacco for
     which Richmond is famous. In a few days the preliminaries to
     exchange were completed, and on the 22d of
     February--Washington's birthday--the captives also stepped
     into a new life under the old flag."

     "Captain Sherman, of Co. C., gives the following account:

     "'Further resistence being useless, and having expressed our
     willingness to surrender, we were invited into the fort. As
     I stepped down from the parapet I was immediately accosted
     by one of the so-called F. F. V.'s, whose smiling
     countenance and extended hand led me to think I was
     recognized as an acquaintance. My mind was soon disabused of
     that idea, however, for the next instant he had pulled my
     watch from its pocket, with the remark, 'what have you
     there?' Quick as thought, and before he could realize the
     fact, I had seized and recovered the watch, while he held
     only a fragment of the chain, and placing it in an inside
     pocket, buttoned my coat and replied, 'that is my watch and
     you cannot have it.'

     "'Just then I discovered Lieut. Ferguson was receiving a
     good deal of attention--a crowd having gathered about
     him--and the next moment saw his fine new hat had been
     appropriated by one of the rebel soldiers, and he stood
     hatless. Seeing one of the rebel officers with a Masonic
     badge on his coat, Lieut. F. made himself known as a brother
     Mason, and appealed to him for redress. The officer quickly
     responded and caused the hat to be returned to its owner,
     only to be again stolen, and the thief made to give it up as

     "'In a little while we (seven officers and eighty-five
     enlisted men) were formed in four ranks, and surrounded by a
     guard, continued the march 'on to Richmond,' but under very
     different circumstances from what we had flattered ourselves
     would be the case, when only two or three hours before our
     brigade-commander had remarked, as he rode by the regiment,
     that we would certainly be in Richmond that night. We met a
     great many civilians, old and young, on their way to the
     front, as a general alarm had been sounded in the city, and
     all who could carry arms had been ordered to report for duty
     in the intrenchments. After a few miles march we halted for
     a rest, but were not allowed to sit down, as I presume the
     guards thought we could as well stand as they. Here a squad
     of the Richmond Grays, the _elite_ of the city, came up and
     accosted us with all manner of vile epithets. One of the
     most drunken and boisterous approached within five or six
     feet of me, and with the muzzle of his rifle within two feet
     of my face swore he would shoot me. Fearless of
     consequences, and feeling that immediate death even could
     not be worse than slow torture by starvation, to which I
     knew that so many of our soldiers had been subjected, and
     remembering that the Confederate Congress had declared
     officers of colored troops outlaws, I replied, as my eyes
     met his, 'shoot if you dare.' Instead of carrying out his
     threat he withdrew his aim and staggered on. Here Lieut.
     Ferguson lost his hat, which had been already twice stolen
     and recovered. One of the rebs came up behind him and taking
     the hat from his head replaced it with his own and ran off.
     The lieutenant consoled himself with the reflection that at
     last he had a hat no one would steal.

     "'At about 7 P. M. we arrived at Libby Prison _and were
     separated from the enlisted men, who, we afterward learned,
     suffered untold hardships, to which many of them succumbed.
     Some were claimed as slaves by men who had never known them;
     others denied fuel and shelter through the winter, and
     sometimes water with which to quench their thirst; the sick
     and dying neglected or mal-treated and even murdered by
     incompetent and fiendish surgeons; without rations for days
     together; shot at without the slightest reason or only to
     gratify the caprice of the guards,--all of which harrowing
     details were fully corroborated by the few emaciated wrecks
     that survived_.

     "'We were marched inside the prison, searched, and what
     money we had taken from us. I was allowed to retain
     pocket-book, knife and watch. Our names were recorded and we
     were told to follow the sergeant. Now, I thought, the
     question will be decided whether we are to go up stairs
     where we knew the officers were quartered, or be confined in
     the cells below. As we neared the corner of the large room
     and I saw the sergeant directing his steps to the stairs
     leading down, I thought it had been better had we fallen on
     the battle-field. He led the way down to a cell, and as we
     passed in barred and locked the door and left us in
     darkness. Here, without rations, the bare stone floor for a
     bed, the dampness trickling down the walls on either side,
     seven of us were confined in a close room about seven feet
     by nine. It was a long night, but finally morning dawned and
     as a ray of light shone through the little barred window
     above our heads we thanked God we were not in total
     darkness. About 9 A. M. rations, consisting of bread and
     meat, were handed in, and being divided into seven parts,
     were drawn for by lot. About noon we were taken from the
     cell and put in with the other officers. Here we met Capt.
     Cook, of the Ninth Regiment, who had been captured about a
     month previous while reconnoitering the enemy's line.

     "'We were now in a large room, perhaps forty by ninety feet,
     with large windows, entirely destitute of glass. No blankets
     nor anything to sit or lie upon except the floor, and at
     night when we lay down the floor was literally covered.

     "'About the middle of the second night we were all hurriedly
     marched out and packed in filthy box-cars--like sardines,
     for there was not room for all to sit down--for an unknown
     destination. After a slow and tedious ride we arrived at
     Salisbury, N. C. When we arrived there were but few
     prisoners, and for two or three days we received fair
     rations of bread, bean soup and a little meat. This did not
     last long, for as the number of prisoners increased our
     rations were diminished. There were four old log houses
     within the stockade and into these the officers were moved
     the next day, while a thousand or more prisoners, brought on
     from Petersburg, were turned into the pen without shelter of
     any kind. From these we were separated by a line of
     sentinels, who had orders to shoot any who approached within
     six paces of their beat on either side. This was called the
     'dead-line,' which also extended around the enclosure about
     six paces from the stockade.

     "'The second Sunday after our arrival, just as we were
     assembling to hear preaching, an officer who had
     thoughtlessly stepped to a tree on the dead-line was shot
     and killed by the sentry, who was on an elevated platform
     outside the fence, and only about two rods distant. For this
     fiendish act the murderer was granted a sixty days furlough.

     "'Prisoners were being brought in almost daily, and at this
     time there were probably six thousand within the enclosure.
     A pretence of shelter was furnished by the issue of a few
     Sibley tents, but not more than a third of the prisoners
     were sheltered. Many of them built mud hovels or burrowed in
     the ground; some crawled under the hospital building. Very
     few had blankets and all were thinly clad, and the rations
     were barely sufficient to sustain life. What wonder that men
     lost their strength, spirits, and sometimes reason. The
     story of exposure, sickness and death is the same and rivals
     that of Andersonville.

     "'The guard was strengthened, a portion of the fence taken
     down and a piece of artillery stationed at the corners to
     sweep down the crowd, should an outbreak occur. This we had
     thought of for some time, and a plan of action was decided
     upon. At a given signal all within the enclosure were to
     make a break for that part of the fence nearest them, and
     then scatter, each one for himself. Of course, some would
     probably be killed, but it was hoped most would escape
     before the guards could load and fire a second time. This
     plot, which was to have been carried out at midnight, was
     discovered the previous afternoon. The inside guard,
     separating the enlisted-men from the officers, had become
     more vigilant, and the only means of communication was to
     attach a note to a stone and throw it across. This an
     officer attempted. The note fell short; the sentry picked it
     up, called the corporal of the guard, who took it to the
     officer of the guard, and in less than five minutes the
     whole arrangement was known. Two hours afterward we were
     formed in line and learned that we were to change our
     quarters. We had then been in Salisbury twenty days. Before
     we left one of our mess found and brought away a bound copy
     of _Harper's Magazine_. It proved a boon to us, as it served
     for a pillow for one of us at night, and was being read by
     some one from dawn until night, until we had all read it
     through, when we traded it off for a volume of the _Portland

     "'We were packed in box cars and started North. The next
     morning we arrived at Danville and were confined in a
     tobacco warehouse, built of brick and about eighty feet
     long, forty wide, and three stories high. When we first
     entered the prison the ration was fair in quantity. We had
     from twelve to sixteen ounces of corn-bread, and from two to
     four ounces of beef or a cup of pea-soup, but never beef and
     soup the same day. True, the soup would have an abundance of
     worms floating about in it, but these we would skim off, and
     trying to forget we had seen them, eat with a relish. Hunger
     will drive one to eat almost anything, as we learned from
     bitter experience. About the 1st of November the soup and
     beef ration began to decrease, and from the middle of the
     month to the 20th of February, when I was paroled, not a
     ration of meat or soup was issued. Nothing but corn-bread,
     made from unbolted meal, and water, and that growing less
     and less. Sometimes I would divide my ration into three
     parts and resolve to make it last all day, but invariably it
     would be gone before noon. Generally I would eat the whole
     ration at once, but that did not satisfy my hunger, and I
     had to go without a crumb for the next twenty-four hours. To
     illustrate how inadequate the ration was, I can say that I
     have seen officers picking potato-peelings from the large
     spittoons, where they were soaking in tobacco spittle, wash
     them off and eat them.

     "'We had an abundance of good, pure water, which was a great
     blessing. Pails were furnished, and when five or six men
     were ready, the sentry would call the corporal of the guard,
     who would send a guard of from four to six with us to the
     river, about two hundred yards distant. Twice a day an
     officer would come in and call the roll; that is form us
     into four ranks and count the files. If any had escaped, it
     was essential that the number should be kept good for some
     days, to enable them to get a good start, and for this
     purpose various means were used. Some, times one of the rear
     rank, after being counted, would glide along unseen to the
     left of the line and be recounted. A hole was cut in the
     upper floor, and while the officer was going upstairs, some
     would climb through the hole and be counted with those on
     the third floor. This created some confusion, as the number
     would occasionally overrun.

     "'As the season advanced we suffered more and more from the
     cold, for being captured in September our clothing was not
     sufficient for December and January. Very few had blankets,
     and the rebel authorities never issued either blankets or
     clothing of any kind. The windows of the lower rooms were
     without glass, and only the lower half of each boarded up;
     the wind would whistle through the large openings, and
     drawing up through the open floor, upon which we had to lie
     at night, would almost freeze us. I finally succeeded in
     trading my watch with one of the guard for an old bed-quilt
     and twenty dollars Confederate money. The money came in very
     good time, for I then had the scurvy so badly that my
     tongue, lips and gums were so swollen that by evening I
     could scarcely speak. In the morning the swelling would not
     be quite so bad, and by soaking the corn-bread in water,
     could manage to swallow a little. The surgeon, who visited
     the prison every day, cauterized my mouth, but it continued
     to grow worse, until at last I could not eat the coarse
     bread. Sometimes I would have a chance to sell it for from
     one to two dollars, which, with the twenty, saved me from
     starvation. I bought rice of the guard for two dollars the
     half-pint, and good-sized potatoes for a dollar each. These
     were cooked usually over a little fire in the yard with wood
     or chips picked up while going for water. Sometimes, by
     waiting patiently for an hour or more, I could get near
     enough to the stove to put my cup on. The heating apparatus
     was a poor apology for a cylinder coal-stove, and the coal
     the poorest I ever saw, and gave so little heat that one
     could stand all day by it and shiver.


     "'The bed-quilt was quite narrow, but very much better than

     "'Capt. Weiss and I would spread our flannel coats on the
     floor, use our shoes for pillows, spread the quilt over us,
     and with barely space to turn over, would, if the night was
     not too cold, go to sleep; usually to dream of home and
     loved ones; of Christmas festivities and banquets; of trains
     of army wagons so overloaded with pies and cakes that they
     were rolling into the road; of a general exchange; a thirty
     day's leave of absence, and a thousand things altogether
     unlike that which we were experiencing; and would wake only
     to find ourselves cold and hungry.

     "'Our mess had the volume of _Harper's Magazine_, found at
     Salisbury, and we each could have it an hour or more daily.
     A few games of checkers or cribbage, played sitting on the
     floor, tailor-fashion, were always in order. All who were
     accustomed to smoking would manage to secure a supply of
     tobacco at least sufficient for one smoke per day, and, if
     they could not obtain it in any other way, would sell half
     their scanty ration, and perhaps get enough to last a week.
     It was a good place to learn how to economize. I have known
     some to refuse a light from the pipe, for fear of losing a
     grain of the precious weed. Evenings we would be in
     darkness, and as we could not move about without frequent
     collisions, would gather in little groups and talk of home,
     friends, and the good time coming, when we would have one
     good, square meal; arrange the bill of fare, comprising all
     the delicacies that heart could wish, or a morbid mind
     prompted by a starving stomach could conceive; lay plans for
     escape and discuss the route to be followed; sing a few
     hymns and the national airs, and wind up with 'We'll Hang
     Jeff Davis on a Sour Apple Tree.'

     "'There were with us two officers who, when we arrived at
     Salisbury, had been in solitary confinement and whom the
     rebels were holding as hostages for two guerillas whom Gen.
     Burnside had condemned to be shot. When the removal of the
     officers to Danville occurred, these two were released from
     close confinement and sent on with us, and it was thought
     they were no longer considered as hostages. They had planned
     an escape and well nigh succeeded. They had dug a hole
     through the brick wall, and passing into an adjoining
     unoccupied building, cut through the floor, dug under the
     stone foundation and were just coming through on the
     outside, when some one in passing stepped on the thin crust
     and fell in. Whether he or the men digging were the most
     frightened it would be hard to tell. The next morning these
     two who had worked so hard to regain their liberty were
     taken out and probably placed in close confinement again.

     "'After this attempt to escape, the rebel authorities made
     an effort to rob us of everything, particularly
     pocket-knives, watches, or any thing that could aid us to
     escape. In this they were foiled. They made us all go to one
     end of the room and placing a guard through the middle,
     searched us one by one and passed us to the other side. If
     one had a knife, watch or money, he had only to toss it over
     to some one already searched, and when his turn came would
     have nothing to show.

     "'The guards would not allow us to stand by the windows, and
     on one occasion, without warning, fired through a
     second-story window and badly wounded an officer on the
     third floor.

     "'My shoes were nearly worn out when I was captured, and
     soon became so worn that I could only keep _sole_ and _body_
     together by cutting strings from the edge of the uppers and
     lacing them together. These strings would wear but a little
     while, and frequent cuttings had made the shoes very low.

     "'Toward the last of January, Capt. Cook received
     intelligence that a special exchange had been effected in
     his case and he was to start at once for the North. Here was
     an opportunity to communicate with our comrades and friends,
     for up to this time we did not know whether any of our
     letters had been received. Capt. Cook had a pair of good
     stout brogans. These shoes he urged me to take in exchange
     for my dilapidated ones. At first, I felt reluctant to do
     so, but finally made the exchange and he left us with a
     light heart, but his anticipations were not realized, for
     instead of going directly North he was detained in Libby
     Prison until just before the rest of us arrived, and when we
     reached Annapolis he was still there awaiting his leave, and
     had been obliged to wear my old shoes until two days

     "'Rumors of a general exchange began to circulate, and a few
     boxes of provisions and clothing, sent by Northern friends,
     were delivered. Among the rest, was a well-filled box from
     the officers of our regiment, and twelve hundred dollars
     Confederate money (being the equivalent of sixty dollars
     greenbacks) which they had kindly contributed. Could we have
     received the box and money in November, instead of just
     before our release, we could have subsisted quite
     comfortably all winter. As it was, we lived sumptuously as
     long as the contents of the box lasted, and when about a
     week later we started for Richmond to be paroled, we had
     drawn considerably upon the twelve hundred dollars.

     "'February 17th, we left Danville for Richmond and were
     again quartered in Libby. On the 19th, we signed the parole

     "'The second morning after signing the rolls, one of the
     clerks came in and said that for want of transportation,
     only a hundred would be sent down the river that day, and
     the rest would follow soon; that those whose names were
     called would fall in on the lower floor, ready to start. As
     he proceeded to call the roll there was a death-like
     stillness, and each listened anxiously to hear his own name.
     Of our mess only one name was called. As he stopped reading
     and folded his rolls and turned to leave, I thought, what if
     our army should commence active operations and put an end
     to the exchange, and resolved to go with the party that day,
     if possible. I had noticed that the clerk had not called the
     names in their order nor checked them, and knew he could not
     tell who had been called. I therefore hurried down to the
     lower floor and fell in with the rest, thinking all the time
     of the possibility of detection and the consequent solitary
     confinement, and although my conscience was easy so far as
     the papers I had signed were concerned--for I had only
     agreed not to take up arms until duly exchanged--I did not
     breath freely until I had disembarked from the boat and was
     under the Stars and Stripes. Fortunately, the rest of the
     party came down on the boat the next day.

     "'One other incident and I am done: Sergt. Henry Jordan, of
     Company C, was wounded and captured with the rest of us, but
     on account of his wounds was unable to be sent South with
     the other enlisted-men. After his recovery he was kept as a
     servant about the office of Major Turner, the commandant of
     the prison, and when, on the 2d of April, 1865, the rebels
     evacuated Richmond and paroled the prisoners, he remained
     until our forces came in and took possession of the city.
     When, a few days later, Maj. Turner was captured by our
     troops and confined in the same cell we had occupied, Sergt.
     Jordan was detailed to carry him his rations, and although
     he was not of a vindictive or revengeful disposition, I will
     venture to say that the rations allowed Turner were not much
     better than had been given the sergeant through the winter.
     Had Turner been guarded by such men as Henry Jordan, or even
     by the poorest soldiers of the regiment, he would not have
     escaped within three days of his capture, as was the case.'"

Very few of the black soldiers were exchanged, though the confederate
government pretended to recognize them and treat them as they did the
whites. General Taylor's reply to General Grant, was the general policy
applied to them when convenient. In the latter days of the war, when--in
June, 1864, at Guntown, Miss.,--the confederate Gen. Forrest attacked
and routed the Union forces, under Sturgis, through the stupidity of the
latter, (alluded to more at length a few pages further on,) a number of
black soldiers were captured, Sturgis having had several Phalanx
regiments in his command. The confederates fought with desperation, and
with their usual "no quarter," because, as Forrest alleges, the Phalanx
regiments meant to retaliate for his previous massacre of the blacks at
Fort Pillow. Seeking to justify the inhuman treatment of his black
prisoners, he wrote as follows to General Washburn, commanding the
District of West Tennessee:

     "It has been reported to me that all of your colored troops
     stationed in Memphis took, on their knees, in the presence
     of Major General Hurlburt and other officers of your army,
     an oath to avenge Fort Pillow, and that they would show my
     troops no quarter. Again I have it from indisputable
     authority that the troops under Brigadier General Sturgis on
     their recent march from Memphis, publicly, and in many
     places, proclaimed that no quarter would be shown my men. As
     they were moved into action on the 10th they were exhorted
     by their officers to remember Fort Pillow. The prisoners we
     have captured from that command, or a large majority of
     them, have voluntarily stated that they expected us to
     murder them, otherwise they would have surrendered in a body
     rather than have taken to the bushes after being run down
     and exhausted."

The massacre at Fort Pillow had a very different effect upon the black
soldiers than it was doubtless expected to have. Instead of weakening
their courage it stimulated them to a desire of retaliation; not in the
strict sense of that term, but to fight with a determination to subdue
and bring to possible punishment, the men guilty of such atrocious
conduct. Had General Sturgis been competent of commanding, Forrest would
have found himself and his command no match for the Phalanx at Guntown
and Brice's Cross Roads. Doubtless Forrest was startled by the reply of
General Washburn, who justly recognized the true impulse of the Phalanx.
He replied to Forrest, June 19, 1864, as follows:

     "You say in your letter that it has been reported to you
     that all the negro troops stationed in Memphis took an oath,
     on their knees, in the presence of Major General Hurlburt
     and other officers of our army, to avenge Fort Pillow and
     that they would show your troops no quarter. I believe it is
     true that the colored troops did take such an oath, but not
     in the presence of General Hurlburt. From what I can learn
     this act of theirs was not influenced by any white officer,
     but was the result of their own sense of what was due to
     themselves and their fellows who had been mercilessly

The chief of Forrest's artillery writes in the Philadelphia _Times_, in
September, 1883:

     "Col. Arthur T. Reeve, who commanded the Fifty-fifth Colored
     Infantry in this fight, tells me that no oath was taken by
     his troops that ever he heard of, but the impression
     prevailed that the black flag was raised, and on his side
     was raised to all intents and purposes. He himself fully
     expected to be killed if captured. Impressed with this
     notion a double effect was produced. It made the Federals
     afraid to surrender and greatly exasperated our men, and in
     the break-up the affair became more like a hunt for wild
     game than a battle between civilized men."

In his description of the battle at Brice's Cross Roads, he says:

     "The entire Confederate force was brought into action at
     once. We kept no reserves; every movement was quickly
     planned and executed with the greatest celerity. A potent
     factor which made the battle far bloodier than it would have
     been, was it being reported, and with some degree of truth,
     that the negroes had been sworn on their knees in line
     before leaving Memphis to show 'no quarter to Forrest's
     men,' and badges were worn upon which were inscribed,
     'Remember Fort Pillow.' General Washburn, commanding the
     district of West Tennessee, distinctly admits that the negro
     troops with Sturgis had gone into this fight with the
     declared intention to give no quarter to Forrest's men."

The fate of the black soldiers taken in these fights is unknown, which
is even worse than of those who are known to have been massacred.

The details of the massacre at Fort Pillow have been reserved for this
portion of the present chapter in order to state them more at length,
and in connection with important movements which soon after took place
against the same confederate force.

The most atrocious of all inhuman acts perpetrated upon a brave
soldiery, took place at Fort Pillow, Kentucky, on the 13th of April,
1864. No cause can be assigned for the shocking crime of wanton,
indiscriminate murder of some three hundred soldiers, other than that
they were "niggers," and "fighting with niggers."

On the 12th, General Forrest suddenly appeared before Fort Pillow with a
large force, and demanded its surrender. The fort was garrisoned by 557
men in command of Major L. F. Booth, consisting of the 13th Tennessee
Cavalry, Major Bradford, and the 6th Phalanx Battery of heavy artillery,
numbering 262 men, and six guns. At sunrise on the 13th, General
Forrest's forces advanced and attacked the fort. The garrison maintained
a steady brisk fire, and kept the enemy at bay from an outer line of
intrenchments. About 9 A. M. Major Booth was killed, and Major Bradford
taking command, drew the troops back into the Fort, situated on a high,
steep and partially timbered bluff on the Mississippi river, with a
ravine on either hand. A federal gunboat, the "New Era," assisted in the
defence, but the height of the bluff prevented her giving material
support to the garrison. In the afternoon both sides ceased firing, to
cool and clean their guns. During this time, Forrest, under a flag of
truce, summoned the federals to surrender within a half hour. Major
Bradford refused to comply with the demand. Meantime the confederates
taking advantage of the truce to secret themselves down in a ravine,
from whence they could rush upon the Fort at a given signal. No sooner
was Bradford's refusal to surrender received, than the confederates
rushed simultaneously into the Fort. In a moment almost the place was in
their possession. The garrison, throwing away their arms fled down the
steep banks, endeavoring to hide from the promised "no quarter," which
Forrest had embodied in his demand for surrender: "_If I have to storm
your works, you may expect no quarter._" The confederates followed,
"butchering black and white soldiers and non-combatants, men, women and
children. Disabled men were made to stand up and be shot; others were
burned within the tents wherein they had been nailed to the floor." This
carnival of murder continued until dark, and was even renewed the next
morning. Major Bradford was not murdered until he had been carried as a
prisoner several miles on the retreat.

It is best that the evidence in this matter, as given in previous pages
of this chapter, should be read. It is unimpeachable, though Forrest, S.
D. Lee and Chalmers have attempted to deny the infernal work. The last
named, under whose command these barbarous acts were committed, offered
on the floor of the United States Congress, fifteen years afterward, an
apologetic denial of what appears from the evidence of those who
escaped,--taken by the Congressional Committee,--and also contradictory
to the confederate General S. D. Lee's report, in which he fails to
convince himself even of the inaccuracy of the reports of brutality, as
made by the few who escaped being murdered. Lee says:

[Illustration: THE MASSACRE AT FORT PILLOW.--APRIL 12TH, 1864.]

     "The garrison was summoned in the usual manner, and its
     commanding officer assumed the responsibility of refusing to
     surrender after having been informed by General Forrest of
     his ability to take the Fort, and of his fears of what the
     result would be in case the demand was not complied with.
     The assault was made under a heavy fire, and with
     considerable loss to the attacking party. Your colors were
     never lowered, and your garrison never surrendered, but
     retreated under cover of a gunboat, with arms in their hands
     and constantly using them. This was true particularly of
     your colored troops, who had been firmly convinced by your
     teaching of the certainty of slaughter, in case of capture.
     Even under these circumstances, many of your men, white and
     black, were taken prisoners."

Continuing, he says:

     "The case under consideration is almost an extreme one. You
     had a servile race armed against us. I assert that our
     officers with all the circumstances against them endeavored
     to prevent the effusion of blood."

This is an admission that the massacre of the garrison actually
occurred, and because Phalanx troops were a part of the garrison. That
the black soldiers had been taught that no quarter would be shown them
if captured, or if they surrendered, is doubtless true. It is also too
true that the teaching was the _truth_. One has but to read the summons
for the surrender to be satisfied of the fact, and then recollect that
the President of the Confederate States, in declaring General Butler an
outlaw, also decreed that negroes captured with arms in their hands,
their officers as well, should be turned over to the State authorities
wherein they were captured, to be dealt with according to the laws of
that State and the Confederacy.

The sentiment of the chief confederate commander regarding the
employment of negroes in the Union army, notwithstanding the Confederate
Government was the first to arm and muster them into service, as shown
in previous and later chapters, is manifested by the following dispatch,
though at the time of writing it, that General had hundreds of blacks
under his command at Charleston building fortifications.

                        "CHARLESTON, S. C., Oct. 13th, 1862.

           "HON. WM. P. MILES, RICHMOND, VA.

     "Has the bill for the execution of abolition prisoners,
     after January next, been passed? Do it, and England will be
     stirred into action. It is high time to proclaim the black
     flag after that period: let the execution be with the
     garrote. G. T. BEAUREGARD."

The confederate thirst for "nigger" blood seemed to have been no
stronger in Kentucky than in other Departments, but it does appear, for
some reason, that Kentucky and northern Mississippi were selected by the
confederate generals, Pillow and Forrest, as appropriate sections in
which to particularly vent their spite. The success of Forrest at Fort
Pillow rather strengthened General Beauford's inhumanity. He commanded a
portion of Pillow's forces which appeared before Columbus the day after
the Fort Pillow massacre, and in the following summons demanded its

     "_To the Commander of the United States Forces, Columbus,

     "Fully capable of taking Columbus and its garrison, I desire
     to avoid shedding blood. I therefore demand the
     unconditional surrender of the forces under your command.
     Should you surrender, the negroes in arms will be returned
     to their masters. Should I be compelled to take the place by
     force, _no quarter will be shown negro troops whatever_;
     white troops will be treated as prisoners of war.

                            "I am, sir, yours,
                                A. BEAUFORD, Brig. Gen."

Colonel Lawrence, of the 34th New Jersey, declined to surrender, and
drove the enemy off, who next appeared in Paducah, but retired without
making an assault upon the garrison.

These occurrences, with the mysterious surrender of Union City to
Forrest, on the 16th of March, so incensed the commander of the
Department that a strong force was organized, and in command of General
S. D. Sturgis, started, on the 30th of April, in pursuit of Forrest and
his men, but did not succeed in overtaking him. A few weeks later,
General Sturgis, with a portion of his former force, combined with that
of General Smith's,--just returning from the Red River (Banks)
_fiasco_,--again went in pursuit of General Forrest. At Guntown, on the
10th of June, Sturgis' cavalry, under General Grierson, came up with the
enemy, charged upon them, and drove them back upon their infantry posted
near Brice's Cross Roads. General Grierson, needing support, sent back
for the infantry, which was several miles in his rear. The day was
intensely hot, and the roads, from constant rains, in very bad
condition. However, Sturgis marched the troops up at double-quick to the
position where General Grierson was holding the confederates in check.
The infantry had become so exhausted when they reached the scene of
action, that they were unable to fight as they otherwise would have
done. Sturgis, either ignorant of what was going on or incapacitated for
the work, heightened the disorder at the front by permitting his train
of over two hundred wagons to be pushed up close to the troops, thus
blocking their rear, and obstructing their manoeuvring; finally the
wagons were parked a short distance from the lines and in sight of the
foe. The troops exhausted by the rapid march, without proper formation
or commanders, had been brought up to the support of the cavalry, who
were hotly engaged with the enemy, whose desperation was increased at
the sight of the Phalanx regiments. General Beauford had joined Forrest,
augmenting his force 4,000. Sturgis' force numbered about 12,000, in
cavalry, artillery and infantry. Forrest was well provided with
artillery, which was up early and took a position in an open field
enfilading the Federal line, which fought with a determination worthy of
a better fate than that which befel it.

A confederate writer says:

     "At early dawn on the 10th Lyon took the advance, with
     Morton's artillery close behind, Rucker and Johnson
     following. Meanwhile, Bell, as we have stated, at Rienzi,
     eight miles further north, was ordered to move up at a trot.
     The roads, soaked with water from recent continuous heavy
     rains and so much cut up by the previous passage of cavalry
     and trains, greatly retarded the progress of the artillery,
     so that Rucker and Johnson soon passed us. On reaching old
     Carrollville, five miles northeast of Brice's Cross Roads,
     heavy firing could be heard just on ahead. Forrest, as was
     his custom, had passed to the front of the entire column
     with his escort.

     "He had, however, ordered Lieutenant R. J. Black, a dashing
     young officer, temporarily attached to his staff, to take a
     detachment of men from the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry and
     move forward and develop the enemy. Black soon reported that
     he had met the advance of the Federal cavalry one and a half
     miles from Brice's Cross Roads and there was skirmishing
     with them. General Forrest ordered Lyon to press forward
     with his brigade. A courier hastening back to the artillery
     said: 'General Forrest says, 'Tell Captain Morton to fetch
     up the artillery at a gallop.' Lyon in the meantime had
     reached the enemy's outposts, dismounted his brigade and
     thrown it into line and had warmly opposed a strong line of
     infantry or dismounted cavalry, which, after stubborn
     resistance, had been driven back to within half a mile of
     Brice's Cross Roads."

The columns of the Federals could not do more than retreat, and if they
had been able to do this in any order, and recover from their
exhaustion, they would have been ready to drive the foe, but they were
hotly pursued by the confederates, who were continually receiving
re-enforcements. It was soon evident that the confederates intended to
gain the rear and capture the whole of the Union troops. The Federals,
therefore, began to retire leisurely.

Says the confederate account:

     "General Forrest directed General Buford to open vigorously
     when he heard Bell on the left, and, taking with him his
     escort and Bell's Brigade, moved rapidly around
     southeastward to the Guntown-Ripley road. He formed Wilson's
     and Russel's Regiments on the right of the road, extending
     to Rucker's left, and placed Newsom's Regiment on the left
     of the road; Duffs Regiment, of Rucker's Brigade, was placed
     on the left of Newsom; Captain H. A. Tyler, commanding
     Company A, Twelfth Kentucky, was ordered by Lyon and
     subsequently by Forrest to take his company, with Company C,
     Seventh Kentucky, and keep mounted on the extreme left of
     the line. The escort, under Captain Jackson, moved around
     the extreme left of the line, and on striking the Baldwyn
     and Pontotoc road about two miles south of the cross roads
     had a sharp skirmish and pressed the enemy's cavalry back to
     where Tishamingo creek crosses that road; here it was joined
     by Captain Gartrell's Georgia company and a Kentucky
     company. By mutual agreement Captain Jackson, of the escort,
     was placed in command of the three companies and Lieutenant
     George L. Cowan in command of the escort. Meanwhile General
     Buford had ordered Barteau's Second Tennessee Cavalry to
     move across the country and gain the Federal rear, and if
     possible destroy their trains and then strike them in

The gallant conduct of the Federal cavalry inspired the other troops.
They made a stand, and for awhile advanced, driving the confederate line
before them on the right, doubling it up and gaining the rear.

The same writer says:

     "It was at this critical moment an officer of Bell's staff
     dashed up to General Forrest, very much excited, and said:
     'General Forrest, the enemy flanked us and are now in our
     rear. What shall be done?' Forrest, turning in his saddle,
     very coolly replied: 'We'll whip these in our front and
     then turn around, and wont we be in their rear? And then
     we'll whip them fellows!' pointing in the direction of the
     force said to be in his rear. Jackson and Tyler, charging on
     the extreme left, drove back two colored regiments of
     infantry upon their main line at the cross roads. In this
     charge the gallant Captain Tyler was severely wounded.

     "Meanwhile the Federals, with desperation, hurled a double
     line of battle, with the four guns at Brice's house
     concentrated upon Rucker and Bell, which for a moment seemed
     to stagger and make them waver. In this terrible onslaught
     the accomplished Adjutant, Lieutenant W. S. Pope, of the
     Seventh Tennessee, was killed, and a third of his regiment
     was killed and wounded. Soon another charge was sounded.
     Lieutenant Tully Brown was ordered, with his section of
     three-inch rifles, close on the front at the Porter house,
     from which position he hurled a thousand pounds of cold iron
     into their stubborn lines. A section of twelve-pounder
     howitzers, under Lieutenant B. F. Haller, pressed still
     further to the front and within a stone's throw almost of
     the enemy's line. Mayson's section of three-inch rifles were
     quickly placed in line with Haller's. Just then, General
     Buford, riding up and seeing no support to the artillery,
     called General Forrest's attention to the fact, when Forrest
     remarked: 'Support, h--l; let it support itself; all the
     d--n Yankees in the country can't take it."'

The lines were now closing upon each other, and the confederates began
to feel the effect of the Union fire. The dash of the Phalanx, charging
the enemy's flank, gave renewed courage to the troops, now pouring
deadly volleys into the confederate's faces, and their guns had gained a
position, from which they began to sweep the enemy's lines.

Says the same account:

     "Now rose the regular incessant volleys of musketry and
     artillery. The lines in many places were not over thirty
     paces apart and pistols were freely used. The smoke of
     battle almost hid the combatants. The underbrush and dense
     black-jack thickets impeded the advance of the dismounted
     cavalry as the awful musketry fire blazed and gushed in the
     face of these gallant men. Every tree and brush was barked
     or cut to the ground by this hail of deadly missiles. It was
     here the accomplished and gallant William H. Porter, brother
     of Major Thomas K. and Governor James D. Porter, fell
     mortally wounded. This promising young officer had not
     attained his manhood. He was a cadet in the regular
     Confederate States army and had been ordered to report to
     General Bell, who assigned him to duty as A. D. C. Captain
     J. L. Bell, General Bell's Assistant Inspector-General, had
     just been killed from his horse, and almost at the same
     moment young Porter lost his own horse and just mounted
     Captain Bell's when he received the fatal shot. Lieutenant
     Isaac Bell, aide-de-camp of Bell's staff, was severely
     wounded. The loss in officers right here was very heavy;
     sixteen were killed and sixty-one wounded. Captain Ab Hust,
     a mere boy, who commanded Bell's escort, rendered most
     efficient service at this critical juncture, and Major Tom
     Allison, the fighting Quartermaster of Bell's Brigade, was
     constantly by the side of his fearless commander, and in
     this terrible loss in staff officers his presence was most

     "Like a prairie on fire the battle raged and the volleying
     thunder can be likened in my mind to nothing else than the
     fire of Cleburne's Division at Chickamauga, on that terrible
     Saturday at dusk. At length the enemy's lines wavered,
     Haller and Mayson pressed their guns by hand to within a
     short distance of Brice's house, firing as they advanced.
     Bell, Lyon and Rucker now closed in on the cross roads and
     the Federals gave way in disorder, abandoning three guns
     near Brice's house. General Sturgis, in his official report
     of the fight, says: 'We had four pieces of artillery at the
     cross roads. * * * Finding our troops were being hotly
     pressed, I ordered one section to open on the enemy's
     reserves. The enemy's artillery soon replied, and with great
     accuracy, every shell bursting over and in the immediate
     vicinity of our guns.' A shell from one of the Confederate
     guns struck the table in Brice's porch, was used by General
     Sturgis, stunning that officer."

The terrible struggle which now ensued was not surpassed, according to
an eye-witness, by the fighting of any troops. The Phalanx were
determined, if courage could do it, to whip the men who had so dastardly
massacred the garrison of Fort Pillow. This fact was known to Forrest,
Buford and their troops, who fought like men realizing that anything
short of victory was death, and well may they have thus thought, for
every charge the Phalanx made meant annihilation. They, too, accepted
the portentous fiat, victory or death.

Though more than twenty years have passed since this bloody fight, yet
the chief of the confederate artillery portrays the situation in these

     "Is was soon evident that another strong line had formed
     behind the fence by the skirt of woods just westward of
     Phillips' branch. General Forrest riding up, dismounted and
     approached our guns, which were now plying shell and solid
     shot. With his field glasses he took in the situation. The
     enemy's shot were coming thick and fast; leaden balls were
     seen to flatten as they would strike the axles and tires of
     our gun carriages; trees were barked and the air was ladened
     with the familiar but unpleasant sound of these death

     "Realizing General Forrest's exposure, we involuntarily
     ventured the suggestion that, 'You had better get lower down
     the hill, General.' Instantly we apologized, as we expected
     the General to intimate that it was none of our business
     where he went. He, however, stepped down the hill out of
     danger and seating himself behind a tree, seemed for a few
     moments in deep study, but soon the head of our cavalry
     column arriving, he turned to me and said: 'Captain, as soon
     as you hear me open on the right and flank of the enemy over
     yonder,' pointing to the enemy's position, 'charge with your
     artillery down that lane and cross the branch.' The genial
     and gallant Captain Rice coming up at this time and hearing
     the order, turned to me and said: 'By G--d! whoever heard of
     artillery charging?' Captain Brice's Battery had been
     stationed at Columbus, Miss., and other points on local
     duty, and only a few months previous had been ordered and
     assigned to our command. He accepted his initiation into the
     ways and methods of horse artillery with much spirit and
     good grace.

     "Meanwhile, watching Forrest at the head of the cavalry
     moving through the woods and across the field in the
     direction of the enemy's right, I directed Lieutenants
     Tully, Brown and H. H. Briggs, whose sections had been held
     in the road below the Hadden house for an emergency, to be
     ready to move into action at a moments notice. The enemy,
     observing our cavalry passing to their right, began to break
     and retire through the woods. Forrest, seeing this, dashed
     upon them in column of fours. At the same moment Lieutenant
     Brown pressed his section down the road, even in advance of
     the skirmish line, and opened a terrific fire upon the
     enemy, now breaking up and in full retreat. Lieutenant
     Briggs also took an advanced position and got in a few
     well-directed shots. Brown's section and a section of Rice's
     Battery were pushed forward across Phillips' branch and up
     the hill under a sharp fire, the former taking position on
     the right of the road and the latter in the road just where
     the road turns before reaching Dr. Agnew's house.

     "Our skirmishers had driven the enemy's skirmishers upon
     their main line, when we were about to make another
     artillery charge, but distinctly hearing the Federal
     officers giving orders to their men to stand steady and
     yell, 'Remember Fort Pillow.' 'Charge! charge! charge!' ran
     along their lines, and on they came. Our right was pressed
     back on the 'negro avengers of Fort Pillow.' They moved
     steadily upon our guns and for a moment their loss seemed
     imminent. Our cannoneers, standing firm and taking in the
     situation, drove double-shotted cannister into this
     advancing line. The cavalry rallying on our guns sent death
     volleys into their ranks, which staggered the enemy and
     drove them back, but only to give place to a new line that
     now moved down upon us with wild shouts and got almost
     within hand-shaking distance of our guns.

     "Lyon coming up opportunely at this moment formed his
     brigade on our right, and springing forward with loud
     cheers, hurled them back with so stormful an onset that
     their entire line gave way in utter rout and confusion.
     Lieutenant Brown's horse was shot under him. The gallant
     young soldier, Henry King, of Rice's Battery, fell with his
     rammer staff in hand, mortally wounded. His grave now marks
     the spot where he fell. Several members of the artillery
     were wounded and a great many battery horses were killed.
     The reason for this desperate stand was soon discovered. The
     road was filled with their wagons, ambulances and many
     caissons, the dying and wounded. Cast-away arms,
     accoutrements, baggage, dead animals and other evidences of
     a routed army were conspicuous on every side. The sun had
     set, but the weary and over-spent Confederates maintained
     the pursuit for some five or six miles beyond and until it
     became quite too dark to go further. A temporary halt was
     ordered, when a section from each battery was directed to be
     equipped with ammunition and the best horses from their
     respective batteries and be ready to continue the pursuit at

The rout was all the enemy could desire, the Federals fought with a
valor creditable to any troops, but were badly worsted, through the
incompetency of Sturgis. They were driven back to Ripley, in a most
disastrously confused state, leaving behind their trains, artillery,
dead and wounded. But for the gallantry of the Phalanx, the enemy would
have captured the entire force.

The same writer describes the rout:

     "Johnson, pressing his brigade forward upon the enemy's
     position at Brice's Quarter, with Lyon supporting the
     artillery in the road below Brice's house, the position was
     soon captured with many prisoners and three pieces of
     artillery. Hallers and Mayson's sections were moved up at a
     gallop and established on the hill at Brice's Quarter and
     opened a destructive fire with double-shotted cannister upon
     the enemy's fleeing columns and wagon trains. The bridge
     over Tishamingo creek, still standing, was blocked up with
     wagons, some of whose teams had been killed. Finding the
     bridge thus obstructed the enemy rushed wildly into the
     creek, and as they emerged from the water on the opposite
     bank in an open field, our artillery played upon them for
     half a mile, killing and disabling large numbers. Forrests
     escort, under the dashing Lieutenant Cowan, having become
     detached in the meantime, had pressed around to the west
     side of the creek and south of the Ripley road, and here
     made one of its characteristic charges across an open field
     near the gin house, upon the enemy's wagon train, capturing
     several wagons.

     "Meanwhile Barteau was not idle. He had moved his regiment,
     as we have stated, across to get in the enemy's rear, and in
     his own language says: 'I took my regiment across the
     country westward, to reach the Ripley road, on which the
     enemy was moving, and being delayed somewhat in passing
     through a swampy bottom, I did not reach that road, at
     Lyon's gin, three miles from Brice's Cross Roads, until
     probably 1 o'clock. I then learned that the last of the
     Federal regiments, with all their train, had passed by rapid
     march, and as there was now a lull in the engagement (for I
     had been hearing sharp firing in front), I greatly feared
     that Forrest was defeated and that the Federals were pushing
     him back, so I moved rapidly down the road till I reached
     the open field near the bridge.'

     "This could not have been the Ripley Guntown road, as that
     road was filled with Federal troops, wagons and artillery
     from Dr. Agnew's house to the cross roads, a distance of two
     miles. 'Having placed some sharpshooters, whose sole
     attention was to be directed to the bridge,' he continues,
     'I extended my line nearly half a mile, and began an attack
     by scattering shots at the same time. Sounding my bugle from
     various points along the line, almost immediately a
     reconnoitering force of the enemy appeared at the bridge,
     and being fired upon returned. This was followed, perhaps,
     by a regiment, and then a whole brigade came down to the
     creek. My men, taking good aim, fired upon them coolly and
     steady. Soon I saw wagons, artillery, etc., pushing for the
     bridge. These were shot at by my sharpshooters. I now began
     to contract my line and collect my regiment, for the
     Federals came pouring in immense numbers across the creek.
     Your artillery was doing good work. Even the bullets from
     the small arms of the Confederates reached my men. I
     operated upon the flank of the enemy until after dark.'

     "The wagons blockading the bridge were soon removed by being
     thrown into the stream and a section from each battery was
     worked across by hand, supported by the escort, and brought
     to bear upon a negro brigade with fearful loss; the other
     two sections were quickly to the front, ahead of any support
     for the moment, and drove the enemy from the ridge back of
     Holland's house across Dry creek. The cavalry in the
     meantime had halted, reorganized and soon joined in the
     pursuit. The road was narrow, with dense woods on each side,
     so that it was impossible to use more than four pieces at a
     time, but that number were kept close upon the heels of the
     retreating enemy and a murderous fire prevented them from
     forming to make a stand.

     "The ridge extending southward from the Hadden house offered
     a strong natural position for defensive operations. Upon
     this ridge the Federals had established a line of battle,
     but a few well directed shots from the artillery stationed
     near the Holland house and a charge by our cavalry across
     Dry creek readily put them to flight. A section of each
     battery was ordered at a gallop to this ridge, which was
     reached in time to open with a few rounds of double-shotted
     cannister upon their demoralized ranks as they hastily
     retreated through the open fields on either side of Phillips
     branch. Our cannoneers were greatly blown and well nigh
     exhausted from excessive heat and continuous labor at their
     guns for full five hours. We noticed a number drink with
     apparant relish the black powder water from the sponge

The enemy followed the fleeing column, capturing and wounding many at
the town of Ripley. Next morning the Federals made a stand. Again the
Phalanx bore the brunt of the battle, and when finally the troops
stampeded, held the confederates in check until the white troops were
beyond capture. But this was all they could do, and this was indeed an
heroic act.

The confederate says:

     "Long before daylight found us moving rapidly to overtake
     the flying foe. We had changed positions. The cavalry now
     being in advance, overtook the enemy at Stubb's farm; a
     sharp skirmish ensued, when they broke, leaving the
     remainder of their wagon train. Fourteen pieces of artillery
     and some twenty-five ambulances, with a number of wounded,
     were left in Little Hatchie bottom, further on. The
     discomfited Federals were badly scattered throughout the
     country. Forrest, therefore, threw out his regiment on
     either side of the roads to sweep the vicinity. A number
     were killed and many prisoners captured before reaching
     Ripley, twenty-five miles from Brice's Cross Roads. At this
     point two strong lines were formed across the road. After a
     spirited onset the Federals broke, leaving one piece of
     artillery, two caissons, two ambulances. Twenty-one killed
     and seventy wounded were also left on the field. Colonel G.
     M. McCraig, of the One Hundred and Twentieth Illinois
     Infantry, was among the killed; also Captain W. J. Tate,
     Seventh Tennessee Cavalry. This was accomplished just as the
     artillery reached the front.

     "Lieutenant Frank Rodgers, of Rucker's staff, the night
     previous, with a small, select detachment of men, assisted
     by Captain Gooch, with the remnant of his company, hung
     constantly upon the Federal rear, with a daring never
     surpassed. Their series of attacks greatly harrassed and
     annoyed the enemy, numbers of whom were killed and wounded.
     The artillery followed to Salem, twenty-five miles distant
     from Ripley."

The Phalanx regiments would not consent to be whipped, even with the
black flag flying in their front, and deserted by their white comrades.
A correspondent of the Cleveland _Leader_, in giving an account of this
"miserable affair," writes:

     "About sunrise, June 11, the enemy advanced on the town of
     Ripley, and threatened our right, intending to cut us off
     from the Salem Road. Again the colored troops were the only
     ones that could be brought into line; the Fifty-ninth being
     on the right, and the Fifty-fifth on the left, holding the
     streets. At this time, the men had not more than ten rounds
     of ammunition, and the enemy were crowding closer and still
     closer, when the Fifty-ninth were ordered to charge on them,
     which they did in good style, while singing,

          "'We'll rally round the flag, boys.'

     "This charge drove the enemy back, so that both regiments
     retreated to a pine grove about two hundred yards distant.

     "By this time, all the white troops, except one squadron of
     cavalry, that formed in the rear, were on the road to Salem
     and, when this brigade came up, they, too, wheeled and left,
     and in less than ten minutes this now little band of colored
     troops found themselves flanked. They then divided
     themselves into three squads, and charged the enemy's lines;
     one squad taking the old Corinth Road, then a by-road, to
     the left. After a few miles, they came to a road leading to
     Grand Junction. After some skirmishing, they arrived, with
     the loss of one killed and one wounded.

     "Another and the largest squad covered the retreat of the
     white troops, completely defending them by picking up the
     ammunition thrown away by them, and with it repelling the
     numerous assaults made by the rebel cavalry, until they
     reached Collierville, a distance of sixty miles. When the
     command reached Dan's Mills, the enemy attempted to cut it
     off by a charge; but the colored boys in the rear formed,
     and repelled the attack, allowing the whole command to pass
     safely on, when they tore up the bridge. Passing on to an
     open country, the officers halted, and re-organized the
     brigade into an effective force. They then moved forward
     until about four, P. M.; when some Indian flank skirmishers
     discovered the enemy, who came up to the left, and in the
     rear, and halted. Soon a portion advanced, when a company
     faced about and fired, emptying three saddles. From this
     time until dark, the skirmishing was constant.

     "A corporal in Company C, Fifty-ninth, was ordered to
     surrender. He let his would-be captor come close to him;
     when he struck him with the butt of his gun.

     "While the regiment was fighting in a ditch, and the order
     came to retreat, the color-bearer threw out the flag,
     designing to jump out and get it; but the rebels rushed for
     it, and in the struggle one of the boys knocked down with
     his gun the reb who had the flag, caught it, and ran.

     "A rebel, with an oath, ordered one of our men to surrender.
     He, thinking the reb's gun was loaded, dropped his gun; but,
     on seeing the reb commence loading, our colored soldier
     jumped for his gun, and with it struck his captor dead.

     "Capt. H., being surrounded by about a dozen rebels, was
     seen by one of his men, who called several of his
     companions; they rushed forward and fired, killing several
     of the enemy, and rescued their captain.

     "A rebel came up to one, and said, 'Come my good fellow, go
     with me and wait on me.' In an instant, the boy shot his
     would-be master dead.

     "Once when the men charged on the enemy, they rushed forth
     with the cry, 'Remember Fort Pillow.' The rebs called back,
     and said, 'Lee's men killed no prisoners.'

     "One man in a charge threw his antagonist to the ground, and
     pinned him fast; and, as he attempted to withdraw his
     bayonet, it came off his gun, and, as he was very busy just
     then, he left him transfixed to mother earth.

     "One man killed a rebel by striking him with the butt of his
     gun, which he broke; but, being unwilling to stop his work,
     he loaded and fired three times before he could get a better
     gun; the first time not being cautious, the rebound of his
     gun badly cut his lip.

     "When the troops were in the ditch, three rebels came to one
     man, and ordered him to surrender. His gun being loaded, he
     shot one and bayoneted another; and, forgetting he could
     bayonet the third, he turned the butt of his gun, and
     knocked him down."

General Sturgis was severely criticised by the press immediately after
the affair. Historians since the war have followed up these criticisms.
He has been accused of incompetency, rashness and drunkenness, none of
which it is the purpose of this volume to endorse. Possibly his reports
furnish a sufficient explanation for the disaster, which it is hoped
they do, inasmuch as he is not charged with either treason or cowardice.

                    [_General Sturgis' Report, No. 1._]

                         "HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES,
                            COLLIERSVILLE, TENN., June 12, 1864.

     "GENERAL:--I have the honor to report that we met the enemy
     in position and in heavy force about 10 A. M. on the 10th
     instant at Brice's Cross-Roads on the Ripley and Fulton road
     and about six miles northwest of Guntown, Miss. A severe
     battle ensued which lasted until about 4 P. M., when I
     regret to say my lines were compelled to give way before the
     overwhelming numbers by which they were assailed at every
     point. To fall back at this point was more than ordinarily
     difficult as there was a narrow valley in our rear through
     which ran a small creek crossed by a single narrow bridge.
     The road was almost impassable by reason of the heavy rains
     which had fallen for the previous ten days and the
     consequence was that the road soon became jammed by the
     artillery and ordnance wagons. This gradually led to
     confusion and disorder.

     "In a few minutes, however, I succeeded in establishing two
     colored regiments in line of battle in a wood on this side
     of the little valley. These troops stood their ground well
     and checked the enemy for a time. The check, however, was
     only temporary and this line in turn gave way. My troops
     were seized with a panic and became absolutely
     uncontrollable. One and a half miles in rear by dint of
     great exertion and with pistol in hand, I again succeeded in
     checking up the flying column and placing it in line of

     "This line checked the enemy for ten or fifteen minutes
     only, when it again gave way and my whole army became
     literally an uncontrollable mob. Nothing now remained to do
     but allow the retreat to continue and endeavor to force it
     gradually into some kind of shape. The night was exceedingly
     dark, the roads almost impassable and the hope of saving my
     artillery and wagons altogether futile, so I ordered the
     artillery and wagons to be destroyed. The latter were burned
     and the former dismantled and spiked, that is all but six
     pieces which we succeeded in bringing off in safety. By 7 A.
     M. next morning we reached Ripley (nineteen miles). Here we
     re-organized and got into very respectable shape. The
     retreat was continued, pressed rapidly by the enemy. Our
     ammunition soon gave out, this the enemy soon discovered and
     pressed the harder. Our only hope now lay in continuing the
     retreat which we did to this place, where we arrived about 7
     o'clock this morning.

     "My losses in material of war was severe, being 16 guns and
     some 130 wagons. The horses of the artillery and mules of
     the train we brought away. As my troops became very greatly
     scattered and are constantly coming in in small parties, I
     am unable to estimate my loss in killed and wounded. I fear,
     however, it will prove severe, probably ten or twelve
     hundred. While the battle lasted it was well contested and I
     think the enemy's loss in killed and wounded will not fall
     short of our own.

     "This, general, is a painful record, and yet it was the
     result of a series of unfortunate circumstances over which
     human ingenuity could have no control.

     "The unprecedented rains so delayed our march across a
     desert country that the enemy had ample time to accumulate
     an overwhelming force in our front, and kept us so long in
     an exhausted region as to so starve and weaken our animals
     that they were unable to extricate the wagons and artillery
     from the mud.

     "So far as I know every one did his duty well, and while
     they fought no troops ever fought better. The colored troops
     deserve great credit for the manner in which they stood to
     their work.

     "This is a hasty and rather incoherent outline of our
     operations, but I will forward a more minute account as soon
     as the official reports can be received from division

     "I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your
     obedient servant,

                                     "S. D. STURGIS,

                             "_Brig.-Gen. Commanding._

     "To Maj.-Gen. C. C. WASHBURN, Commanding District W. Tenn."

An extract from a letter from Colonel Arthur T. Reeve, who commanded the
55th Colored Infantry in this fight, reads:

     "Our (the Federal) command having been moved up on
     double-quick--a distance of about five miles--immediately
     before their arrival on the field and the consequent fact
     that this arm of our force went into the engagement very
     seriously blown, in fact, very nearly exhausted by heat and
     fatigue, with their ranks very much drawn out, were whipped
     in detail and overwhelmed by the very brilliant and vigorous
     assaults of your forces. When the engagement first began I
     was at the rear of the Federal column, in command of the
     train guard, and hence passed over the ground on the way to
     the battle-field after the balance of the army had passed,
     and am able to speak advisedly of the extreme exhaustion of
     the infantry, as I passed large numbers entirely prostrated
     by heat and fatigue, who did not reach the field of battle
     and must have fallen into your hands after the engagement."

               [_General Sturgis' Report, No. 2._]

                                 "MEMPHIS, TENN., June 24, 1864.

     "Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of the
     operations of the expedition which marched from near La
     Fayette, Tenn., under my command on the 2nd instant. This
     expedition was organized and fitted out under the
     supervision of the major general commanding the District of
     West Tennessee and I assumed command of it on the morning of
     the 2nd of June, near the town of La Fayette, Tenn., in
     pursuance of Special Orders, No. 38, dated Headquarters,
     District of West Tennessee, Memphis, May 31, 1864, and which
     were received by me on the 1st inst. The strength of the
     command in round numbers was about 8,000 men,' (which
     included the following Phalanx regiments: 59th Regt., 61st
     Regt., 68th Regt., Battery I, 2nd Artillery, (Light,) 2

     "My supply train, carrying rations for 18 days, consisted of
     181 wagons, which with the regimental wagons made up a train
     of some 250 wagons. My instructions were substantially as
     follows, viz: To proceed to Corinth, Mississippi by way of
     Salem and Ruckersville, capture any force that might be
     there, then proceed south, destroying the Mobile and Ohio
     Railroad to Tupelo and Okolona and as far as possible
     towards Macon and Columbus with a portion of my force,
     thence to Grenada and back to Memphis. A discretion was
     allowed me as to the details of the movement where
     circumstances might arise which could not have been
     anticipated in my instructions. Owing to some
     misunderstanding on the part of the quartermaster, as to the
     point on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad at which some
     forage was to have been deposited from the cars, there was
     some little delay occasioned in getting the column in

     "The following incidents of the march are taken from the
     journal kept from day to day by one of my staff, Capt. W. C.
     Rawolle, A. D. C. and A. A. A. G.:

     "'Wednesday, June 1st.--Expedition started from Memphis and
     White's Station toward La Fayette.

     "'Thursday, June 2nd.--The general and staff left Memphis on
     the 5 o'clock A. M. train and established headquarters at
     Leaks' House, near La Fayette, and assumed command. Cavalry
     moved to the intersection of State line and Early Grove
     roads, six miles from La Fayette. It rained at intervals all
     day and part of the night.

     "'Friday, June 3rd.--Ordered the cavalry to move to within
     three four miles of Salem. Infantry marched to Lamar, 18
     miles from La Fayette. Owing to the heavy rains during the
     day and the bad condition of the roads and bridges, the
     train could only move to within four miles of Lamar, and did
     not get into park until 11 o'clock P. M., the colored
     brigade remaining with the train as a guard.

     "'Saturday, June 4th.--Informed General Grierson that the
     infantry and train under the most favorable circumstances
     could only make a few miles beyond Salem and to regulate his
     march accordingly. Train arrived at Lamar about noon, issued
     rations to the infantry and rested the animals. It rained
     heavily until 1 o'clock P. M., making the roads almost
     impassable. Moved headquarters to the Widow Spright's house,
     two miles west of Salem, and Colonel Hoge's brigade of
     infantry to Robinson's house, four miles from Salem.

     "'Sunday, June 5th.--Infantry and train started at half past
     four o'clock A. M., and joined the cavalry, two miles east
     of Salem. At 10 o'clock A. M., issued rations to the cavalry
     and fed the forage collected by them. Infantry remained in
     camp during the day; cavalry moved to the intersection of
     the LaGrange and Ripley and the Salem and Ruckersville
     roads. Col. Joseph Karge, 2nd New Jersey, with 400 men,
     started at 6 P. M., with instructions to move via Ripley to
     Rienzi, to destroy the railroad; to proceed north, destroy
     bridge over Tuscumbia and to join General Grierson at
     Ruckersville. Heavy showers during the afternoon.

     "'Monday, June 6th.--Infantry and train moved at 4 o'clock
     A. M., on the Ruckersville road. Commenced raining at 5 A.
     M., and continued at intervals all day. Progress very slow,
     marched 13 miles and made headquarters at Widow Childers, at
     intersection of the Saulsbury and Ripley and the
     Ruckersville and Salem roads. Cavalry moved to Ruckersville.
     The advance guard of the infantry encountered a small party
     of rebels about noon and chased them towards Ripley on La
     Grange and Ripley roads.

     "'Tuesday, June 7th.--Upon information received from General
     Grierson that there was no enemy near Corinth, directed him
     to move toward Ellistown, on direct road from Ripley, and
     instruct Colonel Karge to join him by way of Blackland or
     Carrollsville. Infantry moved to Ripley and cavalry encamped
     on New Albany road two miles south. Encountered a small
     party of rebels near Widow Childers and drove them toward
     Ripley. In Ripley, met an advance of the enemy and drove
     them on New Albany road. Cavalry encountered about a
     regiment of rebel cavalry on that road and drove them south.
     Several showers during the afternoon, and the roads very

     "Wednesday, June 8th.--Received information at 4 o'clock A.
     M. that Colonel Karge was on an island in the Hatchie River
     and sent him 500 men and two howitzers as re-inforcements.
     Winslow's brigade of cavalry moved 6 miles on the Fulton
     Road. Infantry and train moved five miles on same road.
     Colonel Waring's brigade remained in Ripley awaiting return
     of Colonel Karge, who joined him at 5 o'clock P. M., having
     swam the Hatchie River. Rained hard during the night.

     "'Thursday, June 9th.--Sent back to Memphis 400 sick and
     wounded men and 41 wagons. Cavalry and infantry moved to
     Stubbs', fourteen miles from Ripley; issued five days'
     rations (at previous camp.) Rained two hours in the evening.

     "'Friday, June 10th.--Encountered the enemy at Brice's
     Cross-Roads, 23 miles from Ripley and six miles from

     "At Ripley it became a serious question in my mind as to
     whether or not I should proceed any farther. The rain still
     fell in torrents; the artillery and wagons were literally
     mired down, and the starved and exhausted animals could with
     difficulty drag them along. Under these circumstances, I
     called together my division commanders and placed before
     them my views of our condition. At this interview, one
     brigade commander and two members of my staff were,
     incidentally, present also. I called their attention to the
     great delay we had undergone on account of the continuous
     rain and consequent bad condition of the roads; the
     exhausted condition of our animals; the great probability
     that the enemy would avail himself of the time thus afforded
     him to concentrate an overwhelming force against us in the
     vicinity of Tupelo and the utter hopelessness of saving our
     train or artillery in case of defeat, on account of the
     narrowness and general bad condition of the roads and the
     impossibility of procuring supplies of forage for the
     animals; all agreed with me in the probable consequences of
     defeat. Some thought our only safety lay in retracing our
     steps and abandoning the expedition. It was urged, however,
     (and with some propriety, too,) that inasmuch as I had
     abandoned a similar expedition only a few weeks before and
     given as my reasons for so doing, the "utter and entire
     destitution of the country," and that in the face of this we
     were again sent through the same country, it would be
     ruinous on all sides to return again without first meeting
     the enemy. Moreover, from all the information General
     Washburn had acquired, there _could be no considerable_
     force in our front and all my own information led to the
     same conclusion. To be sure my information was exceedingly
     meagre and unsatisfactory and had I returned I would have
     been totally unable to present any facts to justify my
     cause, or to show why the expedition might not have been
     successfully carried forward. All I could have presented
     would have been my conjectures as to what the enemy would
     naturally do under the circumstances and these would have
     availed but little against the idea that the enemy was
     scattered and had no considerable force in our front.

     "Under these circumstances, and with a sad forboding of the
     consequences, I determined to move forward; keeping my force
     as compact as possible and ready for action at all times;
     hoping that we might succeed, and feeling that if we did
     not, yet our losses might at most be insignificant in
     comparison with the great benefits which might accrue to
     General Sherman by the depletion of Johnson's army to so
     large an extent.

     "On the evening of the 8th, one day beyond Ripley, I
     assembled the commanders of infantry brigades at the
     headquarters of Colonel McMillen, and cautioned them as to
     the necessity of enforcing rigid discipline in their camps;
     keeping their troops always in hand and ready to act on a
     moment's notice. That it was impossible to gain any accurate
     or reliable information of the enemy, and that it behooved
     us to move and act constantly as though in his presence.
     That we were now where we might encounter him at any moment,
     and that we must under no circumstances allow ourselves to
     be surprised. On the morning of the 10th, the cavalry
     marched at half-past 5 o'clock and the infantry at seven,
     thus allowing the infantry to follow immediately in rear of
     the cavalry as it would take the cavalry a full hour and a
     half to clear their camp. The habitual order of march was as
     follows, viz: Cavalry with its artillery in advance;
     infantry with its artillery; next, and lastly, the supply
     train, guarded by the rear brigade with one of its regiments
     at the head, one near the middle and one with a section of
     artillery in the rear. A company of pioneers preceded the
     infantry for the purpose of repairing the roads, building
     bridges, &c., &c.

     "On this morning, I had preceded the head of the infantry
     column and arrived at a point some five miles from camp,
     when I found an unusually bad place in the road and one that
     would require considerable time and labor to render
     practicable. While halted here to await the head of the
     column, I received a message from General Grierson that he
     had encountered a portion of the enemy's cavalry. In a few
     minutes more I received another message from him, saying the
     enemy numbered some 600 and were on the Baldwyn road. That
     he was himself at Brice's Cross-Roads and that his position
     was a good one and he would hold it. He was then directed to
     leave 600 or 700 men at the cross-roads, to precede the
     infantry on its arrival, on its march towards Guntown, and
     with the remainder of his forces to drive the enemy toward
     Baldwyn and there rejoin the main body by way of the line of
     the railroad, as I did not intend being drawn from my main
     purpose. Colonel McMillen arrived at this time and I rode
     forward toward the cross-roads. Before proceeding far,
     however, I sent a staff officer back directing Colonel
     McMillen to move up his advance brigade as rapidly as
     possible without distressing his troops. When I reached the
     cross-roads, found nearly all the cavalry engaged and the
     battle growing warm, but no artillery had yet opened on
     either side. We had four pieces of artillery at the
     cross-roads, but they had not been placed in position, owing
     to the dense woods on all sides and the apparent
     impossibility of using them to advantage. Finding, however,
     that our troops were being hotly pressed, I ordered one
     section to open on the enemy's reserves. The enemy's
     artillery soon replied, and with great accuracy, every shell
     bursting over and in the immediate vicinity of our guns.

     "Frequent calls were now made for re-enforcements, but until
     the infantry should arrive, I had none to give. Colonel
     Winslow, 4th Iowa Cavalry, commanding a brigade and
     occupying a position on the Guntown road a little in advance
     of the cross-roads, was especially clamorous to be relieved
     and permitted to carry his brigade to the rear. Fearing that
     Colonel Winslow might abandon his position without
     authority, and knowing the importance of the cross-roads to
     us, I directed him in case he should be overpowered, to fall
     back slowly toward the cross-roads, thus contracting his
     line and strengthening his position. I was especially
     anxious on this point because through some misunderstanding,
     that I am yet unable to explain, the cavalry had been
     withdrawn without my knowledge from the left, and I was
     compelled to occupy the line, temporarily, with my escort,
     consisting of about 100 of the 19th Penn. Cavalry. This
     handful of troops under the gallant Lieut.-Colonel Hess,
     behaved very handsomely and held the line until the arrival
     of the infantry. About half-past 1 p. m. the infantry began
     to arrive. Col. Hodge's brigade was the first to reach the
     field and was placed in position by Colonel McMillen, when
     the enemy was driven a little. General Grierson now
     requested authority to withdraw the entire cavalry as it was
     exhausted and well nigh out of ammunition. This I authorized
     as soon as sufficient infantry was in position to permit it
     and he was directed to reorganize his command in the rear
     and hold it ready to operate on the flanks. In the mean time
     I had ordered a section of artillery to be placed in
     position on a knoll near the little bridge, some three or
     four hundred yards in the rear, for the purpose of opposing
     any attempt of the enemy to turn our left. I now went to
     this point to see that my orders had been executed and also
     to give directions for the management and protection of the
     wagon-train. I found the section properly posted and
     supported by the 72nd Ohio Infantry, with two companies
     thrown forward as skirmishers, and the whole under the
     superintendence of that excellent officer, Colonel Wilkins,
     of the 9th Minn. While here, the head of the wagon train,
     which had been reported still a mile and a half in rear,
     arrived. It was immediately ordered into an open field near
     where the cavalry were reorganizing, there to be turned
     round and carried farther toward the rear. The pressure on
     the right of the line was now becoming very great and
     General Grierson was directed to send a portion of his
     cavalry to that point. At this time I received a message
     from Colonel Hodge that he was satisfied that the movement
     on the right was a feint and that the real attack was being
     made on the left. Another section of artillery was now
     placed in position a little to the rear of Colonel Wilkins,
     but bearing on the left of our main line, and a portion of
     the cavalry was thrown out as skirmishers. The cavalry which
     had been sent to the extreme right began now to give way,
     and at the same time the enemy began to appear in force in
     rear of the extreme left, while Colonel McMillen required
     re-enforcements in the centre. _I now endeavored to get hold
     of the colored brigade which formed the guard to the train.
     While traversing the short distance to where the head of
     that brigade should be found, the main line began to give
     way at various points; order soon gave way to confusion and
     confusion to panic. I sent an aid to Col. McMillen informing
     him that I was unable to render him any additional
     assistance, and that he must do all in his power with what
     he had to hold his position until I could form a line to
     protect his retreat. On reaching the head of the supply
     train, Lieut.-Colonel Hess was directed to place in position
     in a wood the first regiment of colored troops I could find.
     This was done, and it is due to those troops to say here
     that they stood their ground well and rendered valuable aid
     to Colonel McMillen_, who was soon after compelled to
     withdraw from his original line and take up new positions in
     rear. It was now 5 o'clock P. M. For seven hours, these
     gallant officers and men had held their ground against
     overwhelming numbers, but at last overpowered and exhausted
     they were compelled to abandon not only the field, but many
     of their gallant comrades who had fallen to the mercy of the
     enemy. Everywhere the army now drifted toward the rear and
     was soon altogether beyond control. I requested General
     Grierson to accompany me and to aid in checking the fleeing
     column and establishing a new line. By dint of entreaty and
     force and the aid of several officers, whom I called to my
     assistance, with pistols in their hands we at length
     succeeded in checking some 1200 or 1500 and establishing
     them in a line of which Colonel Wilkins, 9th Minnesota, was
     placed in command. About this time it was reported to me
     that Col. McMillen was driving the enemy. I placed but
     little faith in this report, yet disseminated it freely for
     the good effect it might produce upon the troops. In a few
     minutes, however, the gallant Colonel McMillen, sad and
     disheartened, arrived himself, and reported his lines broken
     and in confusion. The new line under Colonel Wilkins also
     gave way soon after and it was now impossible to exercise
     any further control. The road became crowded and jammed with
     troops; the wagons and artillery sinking into the deep mud
     became inextricable and added to the general confusion which
     now prevailed. No power could now check or control the
     panic-stricken mass as it swept toward the rear, led off by
     Colonel Winslow at the head of his brigade of cavalry, and
     who never halted until he had reached Stubbs', ten miles in
     rear. This was the greater pity as his brigade was nearly,
     if not entirely, intact, and might have offered considerable
     resistance to the advancing foe. About 10 o'clock P. M., I
     reached Stubbs' in person, where I found Colonel Winslow and
     his brigade. I then informed him that his was the only
     organized body of men I had been able to find, and directed
     him to add to his own every possible force he could rally,
     as they passed, and take charge of the rear, remaining in
     position until all should have passed. I also informed him
     that on account of the extreme darkness of the night and the
     wretched condition of the road, I had little hope of saving
     anything more than the troops, and directed him therefore to
     destroy all wagons and artillery which he might find
     blocking up the road and preventing the passage of the men.
     In this way about 200 wagons and 14 pieces of artillery were
     lost, many of the wagons being burned and the artillery
     spiked and otherwise mutilated; the mules and horses were
     brought away. By 7 o'clock A. M., of the 11th, we had
     reorganized at Ripley, and the army presented quite a
     respectable appearance, and would have been able to
     accomplish an orderly retreat from that point but for the
     unfortunate circumstances that the cartridge boxes were
     well nigh exhausted. At 7 o'clock the column was again put
     in motion on the Salem road, the cavalry in advance,
     followed by the infantry. The enemy pressed heavily on the
     rear, and there was now nothing left but to keep in motion
     so as to prevent the banking up of the rear, and to pass all
     cross-roads before the enemy could reach them, as the
     command was in no condition to offer determined resistance,
     whether attacked in the front or the rear. At 8 o'clock a.
     m. on the 12th, the column reached Colliersville, worn out
     and exhausted by the fatigues of fighting and marching for
     two days and two nights without rest and without eating.
     About noon of the same day a train arrived from Memphis,
     bringing some 2,000 infantry, commanded by Colonel Wolf, and
     supplies for my suffering men, and I determined to remain
     here until next day for the purpose of resting and affording
     protection to many who had dropped by the wayside, through
     fatigue and other causes. Learning, however, toward evening,
     that the commander at White's Station had information of a
     large force of the enemy approaching that place from the
     southeast, and knowing that my men were in no condition to
     offer serious resistance to an enemy presenting himself
     across my line of march, I informed the general commanding
     the district, by telegraph, that I deemed it prudent to
     continue my march to White's Station. Accordingly, at 9 p.
     m., the column marched again, and arrived at White's Station
     at daylight next morning. This report having already become
     more circumstantial than was anticipated, I have purposely
     omitted the details of our march from Ripley to White's
     Station, as they would extend it to a tiresome length, but
     would respectfully refer you for these to the sub-reports
     herewith enclosed. Casualties are as follows:

     "Killed, 223, wounded, 394; missing, 1623; total, 2240. That
     our loss was great, is true; yet that it was not much
     greater is due in an eminent degree to the personal
     exertions of that model soldier, Col. W. L. McMillen, of the
     95th Ohio Infantry, who commanded the infantry, and to the
     able commanders under him.

     "The strength of the enemy is variously estimated by my most
     intelligent officers at from 15,000 to 20,000 men. A very
     intelligent sergeant who was captured and remained five days
     in the hands of the enemy, reports the number of the enemy
     actually engaged, to have been 12,000, and that two
     divisions of infantry were held in reserve. It may appear
     strange that so large a force of the enemy could be in our
     vicinity and we be ignorant of the fact, but the surprise
     will exist only in the minds of those who are not familiar
     with the difficulty, (I may even say impossibility) of
     acquiring reliable information in the heart of the enemy's
     country. Our movements and numbers are always known to the
     enemy, because every woman and child is one of them, but we,
     as everybody knows who has had any experience in this war,
     can only learn the movements of the enemy and his numbers by
     actually fighting for the information; and in that case the
     knowledge often comes too late.

     "While I will not prolong this already extended report by
     recording individual acts of good conduct, and the names of
     many brave officers and men who deserve mention, but will
     respectfully refer you for these to the reports of division
     and brigade commanders, yet I cannot refrain from expressing
     my high appreciation of the valuable services rendered by
     that excellent and dashing officer, Col. Joseph Karge, of
     the 2nd New Jersey Vols., in his reconnoissance to Corinth
     and his subsequent management of the rear-guard, during a
     part of the retreat, fighting and defending the rear during
     one whole afternoon and throughout the entire night

     "To the officers of my staff,--Lieut.-Col. J. C. Hess, 19th
     Pa. Cavalry, commanding escort, Capt. W. C. Rawolle, A. D.
     C. and A. A. A. G.; Capt. W. C. Belden, 2nd Iowa Cavalry, A.
     D. C.; Lieut. E. Caulkins 7th Indiana Cavalry, A. D. C.;
     Lieut. Samuel (name illegible) 19th Penn. Cavalry, A. D. C.;
     Lieut. Dement, A. A. Q. M.; Lieut. W. H. Stratton, 7th Ills.
     Cavalry, A. A. C. S.,--whose names appear in no other
     report, I am especially grateful, for the promptness and
     zeal with which my orders were executed at all times and
     often under trying and hazardous circumstances.

     "I am, major, very respectfully your obedient servant,

                                         S. D. STURGIS,
     MAJ. W. H. MORGAN, A. A. G.,     _Brig.-Gen. Commanding._
       Hdqrs. Dist. West Tenn., Memphis, Tenn.

     "Amid these scenes we noted the arrival of 95 more men;
     those who had belonged to a _raid_ sent from Memphis, Tenn.,
     under command of General Sturgis, and were attacked and
     badly defeated by the rebel General Forrest, at a place in
     Mississippi. General Sturgis is said to have been
     _intoxicated_ during the engagement, and that just as soon
     as he saw things were likely to go against him, he turned
     away with a portion of his cavalry, and _sought to save
     himself from capture_.--'_Life and Death in Rebel

Notwithstanding the arrangements usually and speedily entered into by
two belligerent powers for the exchange of prisoners of war, it proved a
most difficult task for the Federal Government to consummate an
arrangement with the confederates, and much suffering was caused among
the prisoners in the hands of the latter while negotiations were in
progress. The agreement entered into by the commissioners, after a long
delay, did not anticipate there being any black soldiers to exchange;
nor would the confederate authorities thereafter allow the terms of the
cartel to apply to the blacks, because Jefferson Davis and the
confederate Congress regarded it as an outrage against humanity, and the
rules of civilized warfare to arm the negroes against their masters.

It was a year after the black soldiers had become a part of the Union
forces before even a _quasi_ acknowledgment of their rights as prisoners
was noted in Richmond. The grounds upon which the greatest difficulty
lingered was the refusal of the Federal government at first to accord
belligerent rights to the confederates but this difficulty was finally
overcome in July, 1862, and the exchange of prisoners proceeded with
until the confederate authorities refused to count the black soldiers
captured in the interpretation of the cartel. But the time arrived when
Grant assumed command of the armies, when it was no longer an open
question, for the confederate Congress began devising plans for arming
the slaves.

However, the inhuman treatment did not cease with "irresponsible
parties," whose conduct was doubtless approved by the rebel authorities,
Jefferson Davis having declared General Butler an outlaw, and committed
him and his officers and black soldiers to the mercy of a chivalry which
affected to regard them as mercenaries. With this spirit infused in the
confederate army, what else than barbarity could be expected?


Presentation of colors to the 20th United States Colored Infantry, Col.
Bertram, in N. Y., March 5th, 1864.]


[28] Among the captured rebel flags now in the War Department,
Washington, D. C., are several Black Flags. No. 205 was captured near
North Mountain, Md., Aug. 1st, 1864. Another Captured from General
Pillow's men at Fort Donelson, is also among the rebel archives in that
Department. Several of them were destroyed by the troops capturing them,
as at Pascagoula, Miss., and near Grand Gulf on the Mississippi.

[29] General Brisbin, in his account of the expedition which, in the
Winter of 1864, left Bean Station, Tenn., under command of General
Stoneman, for the purpose of destroying the confederate Salt Works in
West Virginia, says the confederates after capturing some of the
soldiers of the Sixth Phalanx Cavalry Regiment, butchered them. His
statement is as follows:

"For the last two days a force of Confederate cavalry, under Witcher,
had been following our command picking up stragglers and worn-out horses
in our rear. Part of our troops were composed of negroes and these the
Confederates killed as fast as they caught them, laying the dead bodies
by the roadside with pieces of paper pinned to their clothing, on which
were written such warnings as the following: 'This is the way we treat
all nigger soldiers,' and, 'This is the fate of nigger soldiers who
fight against the South.' We did not know what had been going on in our
rear until we turned about to go back from Wytheville, when we found the
dead colored soldiers along the road as above described. General
Burbridge was very angry and wanted to shoot a Confederate prisoner for
every one of his colored soldiers he found murdered, and would
undoubtedly have done so had he not been restrained. As it was, the
whole corps was terribly excited by the atrocious murders committed by
Witcher's men, and if Witcher had been caught he would have been shot."

This gallant soldier,(?) twenty years after the close of the war, writes
about the incidents and happenings during the march of the army to
Saltville, and says:

"Before we reached Marion we encountered Breckenridge's advance and
charged it vigorously driving it back in confusion along the Marion and
Saltville road for several miles. In one of these charges (for there
were several of them and a sort of running fight for several miles) one
of Witcher's men was captured and brought in. He was reported to me and
I asked him what his name was and to what command he belonged. He gave
me his name and said 'Witcher's command.' Hardly were the words out of
his mouth before a negro soldier standing near raised his carbine and
aimed at the Confederate soldier's breast. I called out and sprang
forward, but was too late to catch the gun. The negro fired and the poor
soldier fell badly wounded. Instantly the negro was knocked down by our
white soldiers, disarmed and tied. I drew my revolver to blow his brains
out for his terrible crime, but the black man never flinched. All he
said was, pointing to the Confederate soldier, 'He killed my comrades; I
have killed him.' The negro was taken away and put among the prisoners.
The Provost Marshal had foolishly changed the white guard over the
prisoners and placed them under some colored troops. An officer came
galloping furiously to the front and said the negroes were shooting the
prisoners. General Burbridge told me to go back quickly and do whatever
I pleased in his name to restore order. It was a lively ride, as the
prisoners were more than four miles back, being forced along the road as
rapidly as possible toward Marion. All the prisoners, except a few
wounded men, were on foot, and of course they could not keep up with the
cavalry. I soon reached them and never shall I forget that sight while I
live. Men with sabres were driving the poor creatures along the road
like beasts. I halted the motley crew and scolded the officer for his
inhumanity. He said he had orders to keep the prisoners up with the
column and he was simply trying to obey his orders. As I was General
Burbridge's chief of staff and all orders were supposed to emanate from
my office, I thought I had better not continue the conversation. As it
was, I said such orders were at an end and I would myself take charge of
the prisoners."

[30] "When the successful attempt was made, by tunneling, to escape from
Libby Prison in 1862, many of the fugitives were honorably harbored by
this unfortunate class till a more quiet opportunity occurred for
leaving the city. This I have from one of the escaped officers."



The laurels won by the Phalanx in the Southern States, notwithstanding
the "no quarter" policy, was proof of its devotion to the cause of
liberty and the old flag, which latter, until within a short period had
been but a symbol of oppression to the black man; Cailloux had reddened
it with his life's blood, and Carney, in a seething fire had planted it
on the ramparts of Wagner. The audacious bravery of the Phalanx had
wrung from Generals Banks and Gillmore congratulatory orders, while the
loyal people of the nation poured out unstinted praises. Not a breach of
discipline marred the negro soldier's record; not one cowardly act
tarnished their fame. Grant pronounced them gallant and reliable, and
Weitzel was willing to command them.

In New York City, where negroes had been hung to lamp posts, and where a
colored orphan asylum had been sacked and burned, crowds gathered in
Broadway and cheered Phalanx regiments on their way to the front.
General Logan, author of the Illinois Black Code, greeted them as
comrades, and Jefferson Davis finally accorded to them the rights due
captured soldiers as prisoners of war. Congress at last took up the
question of pay, and placed the black on an equal footing with the white
soldiers. Their valor, excelled by no troops in the field, had finally
won full recognition from every quarter, and henceforth they were to
share the full glory as well as the toils of their white
comrades-in-arms. Not until those just rights and attentions were
attained, was the Phalanx allowed, to any great extent, to show its
efficiency and prowess in the manoeuvres in Virginia and vicinity,
where that magnificent "Army of Northern Virginia," the hope and the
pride of the Confederacy, was operating against the Federal government.
But when General Grant came to direct the movements of the Eastern
armies of the United States, there was a change. He had learned from his
experience at Vicksburg and other places in his western campaigns, that
the negro soldiers were valuable; that they could be fully relied upon
in critical times, and their patriotic zeal had made a deep impression
upon him. Therefore, as before stated, there were changes, and quite a
good many Phalanx regiments--numbering about 20,000 men--were taken from
Southern and Western armies and transferred to the different armies in

The 19th Army Corps sent one brigade. General Gillmore brought a brigade
from the Tenth Army Corps. At least ten thousand of them were veterans,
and had driven many confederates out of their breastworks.

The world never saw such a spectacle as America presented in the winter
and early spring of 1864. The attempt to capture Richmond and Petersburg
had failed. The Army of the Potomac lay like a weary lion under cover,
watching its opponent. Bruised, but spirited and defiant, it had driven,
and in turn had been driven time and again, by its equally valient foe.
It had advanced and retreated until the soldiers were foot-sore from
marching and counter-marching, crossing and re-crossing the now historic
streams of the Old Dominion. Of all this, the loyal people were tired
and demanded of the Administration a change. The causes of the failures
to take the confederate capitol were not so much the fault of the
commanders of the brave army as that of the authorities at Washington,
whose indecision and interference had entailed almost a disgrace upon
McClellan, Hooker, Burnside and Meade. But finally the people saw the
greatest of the difficulties, and demanded its removal, which the
Administration signified its willingness to do. Then began an activity
at the North, East and West, such as was never before witnessed. The
loyal heart was again aroused by the President's call for troops, and
all realized the necessity of a more sagacious policy, and the
importance of bringing the war to a close. The lion of the South must be
bearded in his lair, and forced to surrender Richmond, the Confederate
Capitol, that had already cost the Government millions of dollars, and
the North thousands of lives. The cockade city,--Petersburg,--like the
Gibralter of the Mississippi, should haul down the confederate banner
from her breastworks; in fact, Lee must be vanquished. That was the
demand of the loyal nation, and right well did they enter into
preparations to consummate it; placing brave and skillful officers in

[Illustration: PARADE OF THE 20TH REGT. U. S. C. T. IN NEW YORK.]

The whole North became a recruiting station. Sumner, Wilson, Stevens and
Sherman, in Congress, and Greeley, Beecher, Philips and Curtis, with the
press, had succeeded in placing the fight upon the highest plane of
civilization, and linked _freedom_ to the cause of the Union thus making
the success of one the success of the other,--"Liberty and Union, one
and inseparable." What patriotism should fail in accomplishing,
bounties--National, State, county, city and township--were to induce and
effect. The depleted ranks of the army were filled to its maximum, and
with a hitherto victorious and gallant leader would be hurled against
the fortifications of the Confederacy with new energy and determination.

Early in January, General Burnside was ordered again to take command of
the Ninth Army Corps, and to recruit its strength to fifty thousand
effective men, which he immediately began to do. General Butler, then in
command of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina, began the
organization of the Army of the James, collecting at Norfolk, Portsmouth
and on the Peninsula, the forces scattered throughout his Department,
and to recruit Phalanx regiments. In March, General Grant was called to
Washington, and received the appointment of Lieutenant General, and
placed in command of the armies of the Republic. He immediately began
their reorganization, as a preliminary to attacking Lee's veteran army
of northern Virginia.

As has before been stated, the negro had, up to this time, taken no very
active part in the battles fought in Virginia. The seed of prejudice
sown by Generals McDowell and McClellan at the beginning of hostilities,
had ripened into productive fruit. The Army of the Potomac being early
engaged in apprehending and returning runaway slaves to their presumed
owners, had imbibed a bitter, unrelenting hatred for the poor, but ever
loyal, negro. To this bitterness the Emancipation Proclamation gave a
zest, through the pro-slavery press at the North, which taunted the
soldiers with "_fighting to free the negroes_." This feeling had served
to practically keep the negro, as a soldier, out of the Army of the

General Burnside, upon assuming his command, asked for and obtained
permission from the War Department to raise and unite a division of
Negro troops to the 9th Army Corps. Annapolis, Md., was selected as the
"depot and rendezvous," and very soon Camp Stanton had received its
allowance of Phalanx regiments for the Corps. Early in April, the camp
was broken, and the line of march taken for Washington. It was rumored
throughout the city that the 9th Corps would pass through there, and
that about 6,000 Phalanx men would be among the troops. The citizens
were on the _qui vive_; members of Congress and the President were eager
to witness the passage of the Corps.

At nine o'clock on the morning of the 25th of April, the head of the
column entered the city, and at eleven the troops were marching down New
York Avenue. Halting a short distance from the corner of 14th street,
the column closed up, and prepared to pay the President a marching
salute, who, with General Burnside and a few friends, was awaiting their
coming. Mr. Lincoln and his party occupied a balcony over the entrance
of Willard's Hotel. The scene was one of great beauty and animation.
The day was superbly clear; the soft atmosphere of the early spring was
made additionally pleasant by a cool breeze; rain had fallen the
previous night, and there was no dust to cause discomfort to the
soldiers or spectators. The troops marched and appeared well; their
soiled and battered flags bearing inscriptions of battles of six States.
The corps had achieved almost the first success of the war in North
Carolina; it had hastened to the Potomac in time to aid in rescuing the
Capitol, when Lee made his first Northern invasion; it won glory at
South Mountain, and made the narrow bridge at Antietam, forever
historic; it had likewise reached Kentucky in time to aid in driving the
confederates from that State. Now it appeared with recruited ranks, and
new regiments of as good blood as ever was poured out in the cause of
right; and with a new element--those whom they had helped set free from
the thraldom of slavery--whom they were proud to claim as comrades.

Their banners were silent, effective witnesses of their valor and their
sacrifices; Bull's Run, Ball's Bluff, Roanoke, Newburn, Gaines' Mills,
Mechanicsville, Seven Pines, Savage Station, Glendale, Malvern,
Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Antietam, South Mountain, Knoxville,
Vicksburg, Port Hudson and Gettysburg, were emblazoned in letters of
gold. The firm and soldierly bearing of the veterans, the eager and
expectant countenances of the men and officers of the new regiments, the
gay trappings of the cavalry, the thorough equipment and fine condition
of the artillery, the clattering of hoofs, the clanking of sabres, the
drum-beat, the bugle call, and the music of the bands were all subjects
of interest. The President beheld the scene. Pavement, sidewalks,
windows and roofs were crowded with people. A division of veterans
passed, saluting the President and their commander with cheers. And
then, with full ranks--platoons extending from sidewalk to
sidewalk--brigades which had never been in battle, for the first time
shouldered arms for their country; they who even then were disfranchised
and were not American citizens, yet they were going out to fight for
the flag. Their country was given them by the tall, pale, benevolent
hearted man standing upon the balcony. For the first time, they beheld
their benefactor. They were darker hued than their veteran comrades, but
they cheered as lustily, "hurrah, hurrah, hurrah for Massa Linkun! Three
cheers for the President!" They swung their caps, clapped their hands
and shouted their joy. Long, loud and jubilant were the rejoicings of
these redeemed sons of Africa. Regiment after regiment of stalwart
men,--slaves once, but freemen now,--with steady step and even ranks,
passed down the street, moving on to the Old Dominion. It was the first
review of the negro troops by the President. Mr. Lincoln himself seemed
greatly pleased, and acknowledged the plaudits and cheers of the Phalanx
soldiers with a dignified kindness and courtesy. It was a spectacle
which made many eyes grow moist, and left a life-long impression. Thus
the corps that had never lost a flag or a gun, marched through the
National Capitol, crossed long bridge and went into camp near
Alexandria, where it remained until the 4th of May.

The Phalanx regiments composing the 4th division were the 19th, 23rd,
27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st, 39th and 43rd, commanded by General E.

The Army of the James, under General Butler, which was to act in
conjunction with the Army of the Potomac, under Meade, was composed of
the 10th and 18th Corps. The 10th Corps had two brigades of the Phalanx,
consisting of the 7th, 9th, 29th, 16th, 8th, 41st, 45th and 127th
Regiments, commanded by Colonels James Shaw, Jr., and Ulysses Doubleday,
and constituted the 3rd division of that Corps commanded by
Brigadier-General Wm. Birney.

The 3rd division of the 18th Corps, commanded by Brigadier-General
Charles G. Paine, was composed of the 1st, 22nd, 37th, 5th, 36th, 38th,
4th, 6th, 10th, 107th, 117th, 118th and 2nd Cavalry, with Colonels Elias
Wright, Alonzo G. Draper, John W. Ames and E. Martindale as brigade
commanders of the four brigades. A cavalry force numbering about two
thousand, comprising the 1st and 2nd, was under command of Colonel
West,[31] making not less than 20,000 of the Phalanx troops, including
the 4th Division with the Ninth Corps, and augmenting Butler's force to
47,000, concentrated at Yorktown and Gloucester Point.

On the 28th of April, Butler received his final orders, and on the night
of the 4th of May embarked his troops on transports, descended the York
river, passed Fortress Monroe and ascended the James River. Convoyed by
a fleet of armored war vessels and gunboats, his transports reached
Bermuda Hundreds on the afternoon of the 5th. General Wilde, with a
brigade of the Phalanx, occupied Fort Powhatan, on the south bank of the
river, and Wilson's Wharf, about five miles below on the north side of
the James, with the remainder of his division of 5,000 of the Phalanx.
General Hinks landed at City Point, at the mouth of the Appomattox. The
next morning the troops advanced to Trent's, with their left resting on
the Appomattox, near Walthall, and the right on the James, and
intrenched. In the meantime, Butler telegraphed Grant:

                                    "OFF CITY POINT, VA., May 5th.

     "LIEUT. GEN. GRANT, Commanding Armies of the United States,
                                      Washington, D. C.:

     "We have seized Wilson's Wharf Landing; a brigade of Wilde's
     colored troops are there; at Fort Powhatan landing two
     regiments of the same brigade have landed. At City Point,
     Hinks' division, with the remaining troops and battery, have
     landed. The remainder of both the 18th and 10th Army Corps
     are being landed at Bermuda Hundreds, above Appomattox. No
     opposition experienced thus far, the movement was
     comparatively a complete surprise. Both army corps left
     Yorktown during last night. The monitors are all over the
     bar at Harrison's landing and above City Point. The
     operations of the fleet have been conducted to-day with
     energy and success. Gens. Smith and Gillmore are pushing the
     landing of the men. Gen. Graham with the army gunboats, lead
     the advance during the night, capturing the signal station
     of the rebels. Colonel West, with 1800 cavalry, made several
     demonstrations from Williamsburg yesterday morning. Gen.
     Rantz left Suffolk this morning with his cavalry, for the
     service indicated during the conference with the
     Lieut.-General. The New York flag-of-truce boat was found
     lying at the wharf with four hundred prisoners, whom she had
     not time to deliver. She went up yesterday morning. We are
     landing troops during the night, a hazardous service in the
     face of the enemy.

                                "BENJ. F. BUTLER,

     "A. F. PUFFER, Capt. and A. D. C.   _Maj.-Gen. Commanding._"

About two miles in front of their line ran the Richmond & Petersburg
Railroad, near which the enemy was encountered. Butler's movements being
in concert with that of the Army of the Potomac and the 9th Corps,--the
latter as yet an independent organization.

General Meade, with the Army of the Potomac, numbering 120,000 effective
men, crossed the Rapidan _en route_ for the Wilderness, each soldier
carrying fifty rounds of ammunition and three days rations. The supply
trains were loaded with ten days forage and subsistence. The advance was
in two columns, General Warren being on the right and General Hancock on
the left. Sedgwick followed closely upon Warren and crossed the Rapidan
at Germania Ford. The Ninth Corps received its orders on the 4th,
whereupon General Burnside immediately put the Corps in motion toward
the front. Bivouacking at midnight, the line of march was again taken up
at daylight, and at night the Rapidan was crossed at Germania Ford. The
corps marched on a road parallel to that of its old antagonist, General
Longstreet's army, which was hastening to assist Lee, who had met the
Army of the Potomac in the entanglements of the wilderness, where a
stubborn and sanguinary fight raged for two days. General Ferrero's
division, composed of the Phalanx regiments, reached Germania Ford on
the morning of the 6th, with the cavalry, and reported to General
Sedgwick, of the 6th Corps, who had the care of the trains. The enemy
was projecting an attack upon the rear of the advancing columns. Gen.
Ferrero was ordered to guard with his Phalanx division, the bridges,
roads and trains near and at the Rapidan river. That night the
confederates attacked Sedgwick in force; wisely the immense supply
trains had been committed to the care of the Phalanx, and the enemy was
driven back before daylight, while the trains were securely moved up
closer to the advance. General Grant, finding that the confederates were
not disposed to continue the battle, began the movement toward
Spottsylvania Court House on the night of the 7th. The 9th Corps brought
up the rear, with the Phalanx division and cavalry covering the trains.

Butler and his Phalanx troops, as we have seen, was within six miles of
Petersburg, and on the 7th, Generals Smith and Gillmore reached the
railroad near Port Walthall Junction, and commenced destroying it; the
confederates attacked them, but were repulsed. Col. West, on the north
side of the James River, forded the Chickahominy with the Phalanx
cavalry, and arrived opposite City Point, having destroyed the railroad
for some distance on that side.

Leaving General Hinks with his Phalanx division to hold City Point, on
the 9th Butler again moved forward to break up the railroad which the
forces under Smith and Gillmore succeeded in doing, thus separating
Beaureguard's force from Lee's. He announced the result of his
operation's in the following message to Washington:

     "May 9th, 1864.

     "Our operations may be summed up in a few words. With one
     thousand and seven hundred cavalry we have advanced up the
     Peninsula, forced the Chickahominy and have safely brought
     them to our present position. These were _colored cavalry_,
     and are now holding our advanced pickets toward Richmond.
     General Kautz, with three thousand cavalry from Suffolk, on
     the same day with our movement up James river, forced the
     Blackwater, burned the railroad bridge at Stony Creek, below
     Petersburg, cutting in two Beauregard's force at that point.
     We have landed here, intrenched ourselves, destroyed many
     miles of railroad, and got possession, which, with proper
     supplies, we can hold out against the whole of Lee's army. I
     have ordered up the supplies. Beauregard, with a large
     portion of his force, was left south, by the cutting of the
     railroad by Kautz. That portion which reached Petersburg
     under Hill, I have whipped to-day, killing and wounding
     many, and taking many prisoners, after a well contested
     fight. General Grant will not be troubled with any further
     re-inforcements to Lee from Beaureguard's force.

     "BENJ. F. BUTLER, _Major-General._"

But for having been misinformed as to Lee's retreating on
Richmond,--which led him to draw his forces back into his
intrenchments,--Butler would have undoubtedly marched triumphantly into
Petersburg. The mistake gave the enemy holding the approaches to that
city time to be re-enforced, and Petersburg soon became well fortified
and garrisoned. Beaureguard succeeded in a few days time in
concentrating in front of Butler 25,000 troops, thus checking the
latter's advance toward Richmond and Petersburg, on the south side of
the James, though skirmishing went on at various points.

General Grant intended to have Butler advance and capture Petersburg,
while General Meade, with the Army of the Potomac, advanced upon
Richmond from the north bank of the James river. Gen. Butler failed to
accomplish more than his dispatches related, though his forces entered
the city of Petersburg, captured Chester Station, and destroyed the
railroad connection between Petersburg and Richmond. Failure to support
his troops and to intrench lost him all he had gained, and he returned
to his intrenchments at Bermuda Hundreds.

The Phalanx (Hinks division) held City Point and other stations on the
river, occasionally skirmishing with the enemy, who, ever mindful of the
fact that City Point was the base of supplies for the Army of the James,
sought every opportunity to raid it, but they always found the Phalanx
ready and on the alert.

After the battle of Drewry's Bluff, May 16th, Butler thought to remain
quiet in his intrenchments, but Grant, on the 22nd, ordered him to send
all his troops, save enough to hold City Point, to join the Army of the
Potomac; whereupon General W. F. Smith, with 16,000 men, embarked for
the White House, on the Pamunky river, Butler retaining the Phalanx
division and the Cavalry. Thus ended the operations of the Army of the
James, until Grant crossed the river with the army of the Potomac.


Negro baggage train drivers watering their mules.]

On the 13th of May, Grant determined upon a flank movement toward
Bowling Green, with a view of making Port Royal, instead of
Fredericksburg, his depot for supplies. Sending his reserve artillery to
Belle Plain, he prepared to advance. It was in this manoeuvre that
Lee, for the last time, attacked the Federal forces, outside of cover,
in any important movement. The attempt to change the base of supply was
indeed a hazardous move for Grant; it necessitated the moving of his
immense train, numbering four thousand wagons, used in carrying rations,
ammunition and supplies for his army, and transportation of the badly
wounded to the rear, where they could be cared for.

Up to this time the Wilderness campaign had been a continuous fight and
march. The anxiety which Grant felt for his train, is perhaps best told
by himself:

     "My movements are terribly embarrassed by our immense wagon
     train. It could not be avoided, however."

It was the only means by which the army could obtain needful supplies,
and was consequently indispensable. It was the near approach to the
train that made the confederates often fight so desperately, for they
knew if they could succeed in capturing a wagon they would probably get
something to eat. Soon after the advance began, it was reported to
Grant, that the confederate cavalry was in the rear, in search of the
trains. On the 14th he ordered General Ferrero to "keep a sharp lookout
for this cavalry, and if you can attack it with your (Phalanx) infantry
and (white) cavalry, do so." On the 19th Ferrero, with his Phalanx
division, (4th division, 9th Corps) was on the road to Fredericksburg,
in rear of and to the right of General Tyler's forces, in the
confederates' front. The road formed Grant's direct communication with
his base, and here the confederates, under Ewell attacked the Federal
troops. Grant sent this dispatch to Ferrero:

     "The enemy have crossed the Ny on the right of our lines, in
     considerable force, and may possibly detach a force to move
     on Fredericksburg. Keep your cavalry pickets well out on the
     plank road, and all other roads leading west and south of
     you. If you find the enemy moving infantry and artillery to
     you, report it promptly. In that case take up strong
     positions and detain him all you can, turning all your
     trains back to Fredericksburg, and whatever falling back
     you may be forced to do, do it in that direction."

The confederates made a dash for the train and captured twenty-seven
wagons, but before they had time to feast off of their booty the Phalanx
was upon them. The enemy fought with uncommon spirit; it was the first
time "F. F. V's," the chivalry of the South,--composing the Army of
Northern Virginia,--had met the negro soldiers, and true to their
instinctive hatred of their black brothers, they gave them the best they
had; lead poured like rain for a while, and then came a lull. Ferrero
knew what it meant, and prepared for their coming. A moment more and the
accustomed yell rang out above the roar of the artillery. The
confederates charged down upon the Phalanx, but to no purpose, save to
make the black line more stable. They retaliated, and the confederates
were driven as the gale drives chaff, the Phalanx recapturing the wagons
and saving Grant's line of communication. General Badeau, speaking of
their action, in his military history of Grant, says:

     "It was the first time at the East when colored troops had
     been engaged in any important battle, and the display of
     soldierly qualities won a frank acknowledgment from both
     troops and commanders, not all of whom had before been
     willing to look upon negroes as comrades. But after that
     time, white soldiers in the army of the Potomac were not
     displeased to receive the support of black ones; they had
     found the support worth having."

Ferrero had the confidence of his men, who were ever ready to follow
where Grant ordered them to be led.

But this was not the last important battle the Phalanx took part in.
Butler, after sending the larger portion of his forces to join the Army
of the Potomac, was not permitted to remain quiet in his intrenchments.
The confederates felt divined to destroy, if not capture, his base, and
therefore were continually striving to break through the lines. On the
24th of May, General Fitzhugh Lee made a dash with his cavalry upon
Wilson's Wharf, Butler's most northern outpost, held by two Phalanx
Regiments of General Wilde's brigade. Lee's men had been led to believe
that it was only necessary to yell at the "niggers" in order to make
them leave the Post, but in this affair they found a foe worthy of their
steel. They fought for several hours, when finally the confederate
troops beat a retreat. An eye witness of the fight says:

     "The chivalry of Fitzhugh Lee and his cavalry division was
     badly worsted in the contest last Tuesday with negro troops,
     composing the garrison at Wilson's Landing; the chivalry
     made a gallant fight, however. The battle began at half-past
     twelve P. M., and ended at six o'clock, when the chivalry
     retired, disgusted and defeated. Lee's men dismounted far in
     the rear, and fought as infantry; they drove in the pickets
     and skirmishers to the intrenchments, and made several
     valiant charges upon our works. To make an assault, it was
     necessary to come across an opening in front of our
     position, up to the very edge of a deep and impassable
     ravine. The rebels, with deafening yells, made furious
     onsets, but the negroes did not flinch, and the mad
     assailants, discomforted, returned to cover with shrunken
     ranks. The rebels' fighting was very wicked; it showed that
     Lee's heart was bent on taking the negroes at any cost.
     Assaults on the center having failed, the rebels tried first
     the left, and then the right flank, with no greater success.
     When the battle was over, our loss footed up, one man killed
     outright, twenty wounded, and two missing. Nineteen rebels
     were prisoners in our hands. Lee's losses must have been
     very heavy; the proof thereof was left on the ground.
     Twenty-five rebel bodies lay in the woods unburied, and
     pools of blood unmistakably told of other victims taken
     away. The estimate, from all the evidence carefully
     considered, puts the enemy's casualties at two hundred.
     Among the corpses Lee left on the field, was that of Major
     Breckenridge, of the 2nd Virginia Cavalry. There is no
     hesitation here in acknowledging the soldierly qualities
     which the colored men engaged in the fight have exhibited.
     Even the officers who have hitherto felt no confidence in
     them are compelled to express themselves mistaken. General
     Wilde, commanding the Post, says that the troops stood up to
     their work like veterans."

Newspaper correspondents were not apt to overstate the facts, nor to
give too much favorable coloring to the Phalanx in those days. Very much
of the sentiment in the army--East and West--was manufactured by them.
The Democratic partizan press at the North, especially in New York and
Ohio, still engaged in throwing paper bullets at the negro soldiers, who
were shooting lead bullets at the country's foes.

The gallantry and heroic courage of the Phalanx in the Departments of
the Gulf and South, and their bloody sacrifices, had not been sufficient
to stop the violent clamor and assertions of those journals, that the
"niggers won't fight!"

Many papers favorable to the Emancipation; opposed putting negro troops
in battle in Virginia. But to all these bomb-proof opinions Grant turned
a deaf ear, and when and where necessity required it, he hurled his
Phalanx brigades against the enemy as readily as he did the white
troops. The conduct of the former was, nevertheless, watched eagerly by
the correspondents of the press who were with the army, and when they
began to chronicle the achievements of the Phalanx, the prejudice began
to give way, and praises were substituted in the place of their
well-worn denunciations. A correspondent of the New York _Herald_ thus
wrote in May:

     "The conduct of the colored troops, by the way, in the
     actions of the last few days, is described as superb. An
     Ohio soldier said to me to-day, 'I never saw men fight with
     such desperate gallantry as those negroes did. They advanced
     as grim and stern as death, and when within reach of the
     enemy struck about them with a pitiless vigor, that was
     almost fearful.' Another soldier said to me, 'These negroes
     never shrink, nor hold back, no matter what the order.
     Through scorching heat and pelting storms, if the order
     comes, they march with prompt, ready feet.' Such praise is
     great praise, and it is deserved. The negroes here who have
     been slaves, are loyal, to a man, and on our occupation of
     Fredericksburg, pointed out the prominent secessionists, who
     were at once seized by our cavalry and put in safe quarters.
     In a talk with a group of faithful fellows, I discovered in
     them all a perfect understanding of the issues of the
     conflict, and a grand determination to prove themselves
     worthy of the place and privileges to which they are to be

The ice was thus broken, and then each war correspondent found it his
duty to write in deservedly glowing terms of the Phalanx.

The newspaper reports of the engagements stirred the blood of the
Englishman, and he eschewed his professed love for the freedom of
mankind, and particularly that of the American negro. The London
_Times_, in the following article, lashed the North for arming the
negroes to shoot the confederates, forgetting, perhaps, that England
employed negroes against the colonist in 1775, and at New Orleans, in
1814, had her black regiments to shoot down the fathers of the men whom
it now sought to uphold, in rebellion against the government of the
United States:


     "Six months have now passed from the time Mr. Lincoln issued
     his proclamation abolishing slavery in the States of the
     Southern Confederacy. To many it may seem that this measure
     has failed of the intended effect and this is doubtless in
     some respects the case. It was intended to frighten the
     Southern whites into submission, and it has only made them
     more fierce and resolute than ever. It was intended to raise
     a servile war, or produce such signs of it as should compel
     the Confederates to lay down their arms through fear for
     their wives and families; and it has only caused desertion
     from some of the border plantations and some disorders along
     the coast. But in other respects the consequences of this
     measure are becoming important enough. The negro race has
     been too much attached to the whites, or too ignorant or too
     sluggish to show any signs of revolt in places remote from
     the presence of the federal armies: but on some points where
     the federals have been able to maintain themselves in force
     in the midst of a large negro population, the process of
     enrolling and arming black regiments has been carried on in
     a manner which must give a new character to the war. It is
     in the State of Louisiana, and under the command of General
     Banks, that this use of negro soldiers has been most
     extensive. The great city of New Orleans having fallen into
     the possession of the federals more than a year ago, and the
     neighboring country being to a certain degree abandoned by
     the white population, a vast number of negroes have been
     thrown on the hands of the General in command to support
     and, if he can, make use of. The arming of these was begun
     by General Butler, and it has been continued by his
     successor. Though the number actually under arms is no doubt
     exaggerated by Northern writers, yet enough have been
     brought into service to produce a powerful effect on the
     imaginations of the combatants, and, as we can now clearly
     see, to add almost grievously to the fury of the struggle.

     "Of all wars, those between races which had been accustomed
     to stand to each other in the relation of master and slave
     have been so much the most horrible that by general consent
     the exciting of a servile insurrection has been considered
     as beyond the pale of legitimate warfare. This had been held
     even in the case of European serfdom, although there the
     rulers and the ruled are of the same blood, religion and
     language. But the conflict between the white men and the
     negro, _and particularly the American white man and the
     American negro, is likely to be more ruthless than any which
     the ancient world, fruitful in such histories, or the modern
     records of Algeria can furnish_. There was reason to hope
     that the deeds of 1857 in India would not be paralleled in
     our time or in any after age. The Asiatic savagery rose upon
     a dominant race scattered throughout the land, and wreaked
     its vengeance upon it by atrocities which it would be a
     relief to forget. But it has been reserved for the New
     World to present the spectacle of civil war, calling servile
     war to its aid, and of men of English race and language so
     envenomed against each other that one party places arms in
     the hands of the half savage negro, and the other acts as if
     resolved to give no quarter to the insurgent race or the
     white man who commands them or fights by their side. In the
     valley of the Mississippi, where these negro soldiers are in
     actual service, it seems likely that a story as revolting as
     that of St. Domingo is being prepared for the world. No one
     who reads the description of the fighting at Port Hudson,
     and the accounts given by the papers of scenes at other
     places, can help fearing that the worst part of this war has
     yet to come, and that a people who lately boasted that they
     took the lead in education and material civilization are now
     carrying on a contest without regard to any law of
     conventional warfare,--one side training negroes to fight
     against its own white flesh and blood, the other
     slaughtering them without mercy whenever they find them in
     the field.

     " * * * It is pitiable to find these unhappy Africans, whose
     clumsy frames are no match for the sinewy and agile white
     American, thus led on to be destroyed by a merciless enemy.
     Should the war proceed in this manner, it is possible that
     the massacre of Africans may not be confined to actual
     conflict in the field. Hitherto the whites have been
     sufficiently confident in the negroes to leave them
     unmolested, even when the enemy was near; but with two or
     three black regiments in each federal corps, and such events
     as the Port Hudson massacre occuring to infuriate the minds
     on either side, who can foresee what three months more of
     war may bring forth?

     "All that we can say with certainty is that the unhappy
     negro will be the chief sufferer in this unequal conflict.
     An even greater calamity, however, is the brutalization of
     two antagonistic peoples by the introduction into the war of
     these servile allies of the federals. Already there are
     military murders and executions on both sides. The horrors
     which Europe has foreseen for a year past are now upon us.
     Reprisal will provoke reprisal, until all men's natures are
     hardened, and the land flows with blood."

The article is truly instructive to the present generation; its
malignity and misrepresentation of the Administration's intentions in
regard to the arming of negroes, serves to illustrate the deep-seated
animosity which then existed in England toward the union of the States.
Nor will the American negro ever forget England's advice to the
confederates, whose massacre of negro soldiers fighting for freedom she
endorsed and applauded. The descendants of those black soldiers, who
were engaged in the prolonged struggle for freedom, can rejoice in the
fact that no single act of those patriots is in keeping with the
Englishman's prediction; no taint of brutality is even charged against
them by those whom they took prisoners in battle. The confederates
themselves testify to the humane treatment they unexpectedly received at
the hands of their negro captors. Mr. Pollard, the historian, says:

     "No servile insurrections had taken place in the South."

But it is gratifying to know that all Englishmen did not agree with the
writer of the _Times_. A London letter in the New York Evening _Post_,

     "Mr. Spurgeon makes most effective and touching prayers,
     remembering, at least once on a Sunday, the United States.
     'Grant, O God,' he said recently, 'that the right may
     conquer, and that if the fearful canker of slavery must be
     cut out by the sword, it be wholly eradicated from the body
     politic of which it is the curse.' He is seldom, however, as
     pointed as this; and, like other clergymen of England, prays
     for the return of peace. Indeed, it must be acknowledged
     that if the English press and government have done what they
     could to continue this war, the dissenting clergy of England
     have nobly shown their good will and hearty sympathy with
     the Americans, and their sincere desire for the settlement
     of our difficulties. 'If praying would do you Americans any
     good,' said an irreverent acquaintance last Sunday, 'you
     will be gratified to learn that a force of a
     thousand-clergymen-power is constantly at work for you over

After the heroic and bloody effort at Cold Harbor to reach Richmond, or
to cross the James above the confederate capitol, and thus cut off the
enemy's supplies,--after Grant had flanked, until to flank again would
be to leave Richmond in his rear,--when Lee had withdrawn to his
fortifications, refusing to accept Grant's challenge to come out and
fight a decisive battle,--when all hope of accomplishing either of these
objects had vanished, Grant determined to return to his original plan of
attack from the coast, and turned his face toward the James river. On
the 12th of June the Army of the Potomac began to move, and by the 16th
it was, with all its trains across, and on the south side of the James.

Petersburg Grant regarded as the citadel of Richmond, and to capture it
was the first thing on his list to be accomplished. General Butler was
made acquainted with this, and as soon as General Smith, who, with a
portion of Butler's forces had been temporarily dispatched to join the
army of the Potomac at Cold Harbor, returned to Bermuda Hundreds with
his force, he was ordered forward to capture the Cockade City. It was
midnight on the 14th, when Smith's troops arrived. Butler ordered him
immediately forward against Petersburg, and he moved accordingly. His
force was in three divisions of Infantry, and one of Cavalry, under
General Kautz, who was to threaten the line of works on the Norfolk
road. General Hinks, with his division of the Phalanx, was to take
position across the Jordon's Point road on the right of Kautz; Brooks'
division of white troops was to follow, Hinks coming in at the center of
the line, while General Martindale with the other division was to move
along the Appomattox and strike the City Point road. Smith's movement
was directed against the northeast side of Petersburg, extending from
the City Point to the Norfolk railroad. About daylight on the 15th, as
the columns advanced on the City Point road at Bailey's farm, six miles
from Petersburg, a confederate battery opened fire. Kautz reconnoitered
and found a line of rifle trench, extending along the front, on rapidly
rising ground, with a thicket covering. The work was held by a regiment
of cavalry and a light battery. At once there was use for the Phalanx;
the works must be captured with the battery before the troops could
proceed. The cavalry was re-called, and Hinks began the formation of an
attacking party from his division. The confederates were in an open
field, their battery upon a knoll in the same field, commanding a
sweeping position to its approaches. The advancing troops must come out
from the woods, rush up the slope and carry it at the point of the
bayonet, exposed to the tempest of musketry and cannister of the
battery. Hinks formed his line for the assault, and the word of command
was given,--"forward." The line emerged from the woods, the enemy opened
with cannister upon the steadily advancing column, which, without
stopping, replied with a volley of Minie bullets.

     "The long, dusky line, arm to arm, knee to knee."


Then shells came crashing through the line, dealing death and shattering
the ranks; but on they went, with a wild cheer, running up the slope;
again a storm of cannister met them; a shower of musketry came down upon
the advancing column, whose bristling bayonets were to make the way
clear for their white comrades awaiting on the roadside. A hundred black
men went down under the fire; the ranks were quickly closed however, and
with another wild cheer the living hundreds went over the works with the
impetuosity of a cyclone; they seized the cannon and turned them upon
the fleeing foe, who, in consternation, stampeded toward Petersburg, to
their main line of intrenchments on the east. Thus the work of the 5th
and 22nd Phalanx regiments was completed and the road made clear for the
18th Corps.

Brooks now moved up simultaneously with Martindale, on the river road.
By noon the whole corps was in front of the enemy's main line of works,
Martindale on the right, Brooks in the center, the Phalanx and cavalry
on the left, sweeping down to the Jerusalem Plank Road on the southeast.
Hinks, with the Phalanx, in order to gain the position assigned him, had
necessarily to pass over an open space exposed to a direct and
cross-fire. Nevertheless, he prepared to occupy his post, and forming a
line of battle, he began the march. The division numbered about 3,000, a
portion of it being still at Wilson's Landing, Fort Powhatan, City Point
and Bermuda Hundreds. This was a march that veterans might falter in,
without criticism or censure. The steady black line advanced a few rods
at a time, when coming within range of the confederate guns they were
obliged to lie down and wait for another opportunity. Now a lull,--they
would rise, go forward, and again lie down. Thus they continued their
march, under a most galling, concentrated artillery fire until they
reached their position, from which they were to join in a general
assault; and here they lay, from one till five o'clock,--four long
hours,--exposed to ceaseless shelling by the enemy. Badeau says, in
speaking of the Phalanx in this ordeal:

     "No worse strain on the nerves of troops is possible, for it
     is harder to remain quiet under cannon fire, even though
     comparatively harmless, than to advance against a storm of

General W. F. Smith, though brave, was too cautious and particular in
detail, and he spent those four hours in careful reconnoissance, while
the troops lay exposed to the enemy's concentric fire.

The main road leading east from Petersburg ascends a hill two or more
miles out, upon the top of which stood what was then known as Mr. Dunn's
house. In front of it was a fort, and another south, and a third north,
with other works; heavy embankments and deep ravines and ditches, trunks
of hewn trees blackened by camp fires, formed an abatis on the even
ground. Here the sharpshooters and riflemen had a fair view of the
entire field. The distance from these works to the woods was about three
hundred and sixty paces, in the edge of which lay the black Phalanx
division, ready, like so many tigers, waiting for the command,
"forward." The forts near Dunn's house had direct front fire, and those
on the north an enfilading fire on the line of advance. Smith got his
troops in line for battle by one o'clock, but there they lay. Hinks
impatiently awaited orders; oh! what a suspense--each hour seemed a
day,--what endurance--what valor. Shells from the batteries ploughed
into the earth where they stood, and began making trouble for the
troops. Hinks gave the order, "lie down;" they obeyed, and were somewhat
sheltered. Five o'clock--yet no orders. At length the command was given,
"forward." The skirmishers started at quick time; the enemy opened upon
them vigorously from their batteries and breastworks, upon which they
rested their muskets, in order to fire with accuracy. A torrent of
bullets was poured upon the advancing line, and the men fell fast as
autumn leaves in a gale of wind. Then the whole line advanced, the
Phalanx going at double-quick; their well aligned ranks, with bayonets
glittering obliquely in the receding sunlight, presented a spectacle
both magnificent and grand.

[Illustration: A GALLANT CHARGE. The 22nd Negro Regiment, Duncan's
Brigade, carrying the first line of Confederate works before Petersburg,

Duncan rushed his skirmishers and reached the ditches in front of the
breastworks, which, without waiting for the main body, they entered and
clambered up the steep embankments. A sheet of flame from above was
rained down, causing many a brave man to stagger and fall back into the
ditch, never to rise again. The troops following, inspired by the daring
of the skirmishers, pressed forward on the run up to the forts, swept
round the curtains, scaled the breastworks and dashed with patriotic
rage at the confederate gunners, who deserted their pieces and ran for
their lives. Brooks and Martindale advanced simultaneously upon the
works at Osborn's house and up the railroad, sweeping everything before
them. The Phalanx seized upon the guns and turned them instantly upon
the fleeing foe, and then with spades and shovels reversed the
fortifications and prepared to hold them. Fifteen pieces of artillery
and three hundred confederates were captured. "The Phalanx," says the
official report, took two-thirds of the prisoners and nine pieces of
artillery. General Smith, finding that General Birney, with the 2nd
Corps, had not arrived, instead of marching the troops into Petersburg,
waited for re-inforcements unnecessarily, and thereby lost his chance of
taking the city, which was soon garrisoned with troops enough to defy
the whole army. Thus Grant was necessitated afterward to lay siege to
the place.

The confederates never forgot nor forgave this daring of the "niggers,"
who drove them, at the point of the bayonet, out of their breastworks,
killing and capturing their comrades and their guns. They were chided by
their brother confederates for allowing negroes to take their works from
them. The maidens of the Cockade City were told that they could not
trust themselves to men who surrendered their guns to "niggers." The
soldiers of the Phalanx were delirious with joy. They had caught "ole
massa," and he was theirs. General Hinks had their confidence, and they
were ready to follow wherever he led.

The chaplin of the 9th Corps, in his history, says:

     "In this movement a division of colored troops, under
     Brigadier-General Hinks, seems to have won the brightest
     laurels. They first attacked and carried the enemy's outpost
     at Bailey's farm, capturing one piece of artillery in the
     most gallant manner. On their arrival before Petersburg,
     they lay in front of the works for nearly five hours,
     waiting for the word of command. They then, in company with
     the white troops, and showing equal bravery, rushed and
     carried the enemy's line of works, with what glorious
     success has already been related."

This, indeed, was a victory, yet shorn of its full fruits; but that
Petersburg was not captured was no fault of the Phalanx. They had
carried and occupied the most formidable obstacles.

Badeau, in chronicling these achievements, says:

     "General Smith assaulted the works on the City Point and
     Prince George Court House roads. The rebels resisted with a
     sharp infantry fire, but the center and left dashed into the
     works, consisting of five redan's on the crest of a deep and
     difficult ravine. Kiddoo's (22d) black regiment was one of
     the first to gain the hill. In support of this movement, the
     second line was swung around and moved against the front of
     the remaining works. The rebels, assaulted thus in front and
     flank, gave way, four of the guns already captured were
     turned upon them by the negro conquerors, enfilading the
     line, and before dark, Smith was in possession of the whole
     of the outer works, two and a half miles long, with fifteen
     pieces of artillery and three hundred prisoners. Petersburg
     was at his mercy."

This failure made a siege necessary, and General Grant began by regular
approaches to invest the place, after making the three desperate
assaults on the 16th, 17th and 18th. It had been indeed a bloody June;
the soil of the Old Dominion, which for two centuries the negro had
tilled and made to yield the choicest products, under a system of cruel
and inhuman bondage he now reddened with his blood in defense of his
liberty, proving by his patriotism, not only his love of liberty, but
his courage and capacity to defend it. The negro troops had marched and
fought with the white regiments with equal intrepidity and courage; they
were no longer despised by their comrades; they now had recognition as
soldiers, and went into the trenches before Petersburg as a part of as
grand an army as ever laid siege to a stronghold or stormed a

On the 18th of June, General Ferrero reported to General Meade, with his
division of the Phalanx, (4th Division, 9th Corps), and was immediately
ordered to join its own proper corps,--from which it had been separated
since the 6th of May,--at the crossing of the Rapidan. It had served
under Sedgwick and Sheridan until the 17th, when it came under the
direct command of General Grant, and thus remained until the 25th of
May, when General Burnside, waiving rank to Meade, the 9th Corps was
incorporated into the Army of the Potomac. During its absence the
division sustained the reputable renown of its corps, not only in
protecting the trains, but in fighting the enemy, and capturing
prisoners. Before rejoining the corps, the division was strengthened by
three regiments of cavalry,--the 5th New York, 3rd New Jersey and 2nd
Ohio. From the 9th of May till the 17th, the division occupied the plank
road, looking to the old Wilderness tavern, covering the extreme right
of the army, extending from Todd's to Banks' Ford. On the 17th, the
division moved to Salem Church, near the main road to Fredericksburg,
where, as we have seen, it defended the rear line against the attack
made by the confederates, under General Ewell.

The historian of the corps says:

     "The division on the 21st of May was covering
     Fredericksburg, and the roads leading hence to Bowling
     Green. On the 22nd it marched toward Bowling Green, and on
     the 23rd it moved to Milford Station. From that date to the
     27th it protected the trains of the army in the rear of the
     positions on the North Anna. On the 27th, the division moved
     to Newtown; on the 28th, to Dunkirk, crossing the Maltapony;
     on the 29th, to the Pamunkey, near Hanovertown. On the 1st
     of June the troops crossed the Pamunkey, and from the 2nd to
     the 6th, covered the right of the army; from the 6th to the
     12th they covered the approaches from New Castle Ferry,
     Hanovertown, Hawe's shop, and Bethusda Church. From the 12th
     to the 18th they moved by easy stages, by way of Tunstall's
     New Kent Court House, Cole's Ferry, and the pontoon bridge
     across the James, to the line of the army near Petersburg.
     The dismounted cavalry were left to guard the trains, and
     the 4th Division prepared to participate in the more active
     work of soldiers. Through the remainder of the month of
     June, and the most of July, the troops were occupied in the
     second line of trenches, and in active movements towards the
     left, under Generals Hancock and Warren. While they were
     engaged in the trenches they were also drilled in the
     movements necessary for an attack and occupation of the
     enemy's works. A strong feeling of pride and esprit de
     corps sprung up within the hearts of the blacks, and they
     began to think that they too might soon have the opportunity
     of some glory for their race and country."

How natural was this feeling. As we have seen, their life for more than
a month had been one of marching and counter-marching, though hazardous
and patriotic. When on the 18th, they entered upon the more active duty
of soldiers, they found the 3rd Division of the 18th Corps, composed of
the Phalanx of the Army of the James, covered with glory, and the welkin
ringing with praises of their recent achievements. The men of the 4th
Division chafed with eager ambition to rival their brothers of the 18th
Corps, in driving the enemy from the Cockade City. General Burnside was
equally as anxious to give his black boys a chance to try the steel of
the chivalry in deadly conflict, and this gave them consolation, with
the assurance that their day would ere long dawn, so they toiled and
drilled carefully for their prospective glory.

But the situation of the Phalanx before Petersburg was far from being
enviable. Smarting under the thrashing they had received from Hinks'
division, the confederates were ever ready now to slaughter the
"niggers" when advantage offered them the opportunity. A steady,
incessant fire was kept up against the positions the Phalanx occupied,
and their movements were watched with great vigilance. Although they did
not raise the black flag, yet manifestly no quarter to negro troops, or
to white troops that fought with them, was the confederates'

     "Judging from their actions, the presence of the negro
     soldiers, both in the Eighteenth and Ninth Corps," says
     Woodbury, "seemed to have the effect of rendering the enemy
     more spiteful than ever before the Fourth Division came. The
     closeness of the lines on the front of the corps rendered
     constant watchfulness imperative, and no day passed without
     some skirmishing between the opposing pickets. When the
     colored soldiers appeared, this practice seemed to increase,
     while in front of the Fifth Corps, upon the left of our
     line, there was little or no picket firing, and the outposts
     of both armies were even disposed to be friendly. On the
     front of the Ninth, the firing was incessant, and in many
     cases fatal."

[Illustration: IN THE TRENCHES]

     "General Potter, in his report, mentions that, when his
     division occupied the front, his loss averaged some fourteen
     or fifteen officers killed and wounded per diem. The
     sharpshooters on either side were vigilant, and an exposure
     of any part of the person was the signal for the exchange of
     shots. The men, worn by hard marching, hard fighting and
     hard digging, took every precaution to shield themselves,
     and sought cover at every opportunity. They made fire proofs
     of logs and earth, and with tortuous covered ways and
     traverse, endeavoring to secure themselves from the enemy's
     fire. The artillery and mortars on both sides were kept
     almost constantly at work. These were all precursors of the
     coming, sanguinary struggle for the possession of Cemetery
     Hill. Immediately in front of the salient occupied by the
     Ninth Corps, the rebels had constructed a very strong
     redoubt, a short distance below Cemetery Hill. In the rear
     of the redoubt ran a ridge nearly at right angles with the
     rebels' lines, to the hill. It appeared that if this redoubt
     was captured, the enemy's line would be seriously
     threatened, if not entirely broken up. A feasible plan for
     the destruction of the redoubt, was seriously discussed
     among the soldiers of the corps; finally Colonel Pleasants,
     of the 48th Pennsylvania Regiment, devised a plan to run a
     mine under the intervening space between the line of the
     corps and the redoubt, with the design of exploding it,
     directly under the redoubt. To this plan General Burnside
     lent his aid, and preparations were made for an assault upon
     Cemetery Hill, at the time of its explosion. The work of
     digging and preparing the mine was prosecuted under the most
     disadvantageous circumstances. General Meade reluctantly
     gave official sanction, and the work of excavation proceeded
     with, despite the fact that General Burnside's requisitions
     for supplies were not responded to. Nevertheless, in less
     than a month the mine was ready, and after considerable
     discussion, and not without some bickering, the plan of
     attack was arranged, which, in brief, was to form two
     columns, and to charge with them through the breach caused
     by the explosion of the mine. Then to sweep along the
     enemy's line, right and left, clearing away the artillery
     and infantry, by attacking in the flank and rear. Other
     columns were to make for the crest, the whole to co-operate.
     General Ferrero, in command of the Phalanx division was
     informed, that in accordance with the plan of attack, he was
     to lead in the assault, when the attack was made, after the
     mine had been fired. He was ordered to drill his troops
     accordingly. After a careful examination of the ground,
     Ferrero decided upon his methods of advance,--not to go
     directly in the crater formed by the explosion, but rather
     upon one side of it, and then to take the enemy in flank and
     reverse. When he informed his officers and men that they
     would be called upon to lead in the assault, they received
     the information with delight. His men, desirous of emulating
     their comrades of the Third Division of the Eighteenth
     Corps, felt that their cherished hope,--the opportunity for
     which they had prayed,--was near at hand; the hour in which
     they would show themselves worthy of the honor of being
     associated with the Army of the Potomac. They rejoiced at
     the prospect of wiping off whatever reproach an ill-judged
     prejudice might have cast upon them, by proving themselves
     brave, thereby demanding the respect which brave men
     deserve. For three weeks they drilled with alacrity in the
     various movements; charging upon earthworks, wheeling by the
     right and left, deployment, and other details of the
     expected operations. General Burnside had early expressed
     his confidence in the soldierly capabilities of the men of
     the Phalanx, and now wished to give them an opportunity to
     justify his good opinion."

His white troops, moreover, had been greatly exposed throughout the
whole campaign, had suffered severely, and had been so much under the
fire of the sharpshooters that it had become a second nature with them
to dodge bullets. The negro troops had not been so much exposed, and had
already shown their steadiness under fire in one or two pretty severe
skirmishes in which they had previously been engaged. The white officers
and men of the corps were elated with the selection made by General
Burnside, and they, too, manifested an uncommon interest in their
dark-hued comrades. The demeanor of the former toward the latter was
very different from that of the other corps, of which that particular
army was composed. The 9th Corps had seen more service than any other
corps in the Army of the Potomac. Its operations in six States had given
to the men an experience calculated to destroy, very greatly, their race
prejudice; besides a very large portion of the regiments in the corps
came from the New England States, especially Massachusetts, Vermont and
Rhode Island, where race prejudice was not so strong; consequently the
treatment of the men in the 4th Division was tempered by humanity, and
pregnant with a fraternal feeling of comradeship. And then there was a
corps pride very naturally existing among the white troops, which
prompted a desire for the achievement of some great and brilliant feat
by their black comrades. This feeling was expressed in more than one way
by the entire corps, and greatly enhanced the ambition of the Phalanx to
rout the enemy and drive him out of his fortifications before
Petersburg, if not to capture the city.

These high hopes were soon dissipated, however. General Meade had an
interview with General Burnside on the 28th; the subject was fully
discussed as to the plan of the assault, as proposed by General
Burnside, and made known to Meade by Burnside, in writing, on the 26th.
It was at this meeting that General Meade made his objections to the
Phalanx leading the assault. General Burnside argued with all the reason
he could command, in favor of his plans, and especially for the Phalanx,
going over the grounds already cited; why his white troops were unfit
and disqualified for performing the task of leading the assault, but in
vain. Meade was firm in his purpose, and, true to his training, he had
no use for the negro but as a servant; he never had trusted him as a
soldier. The plan, with General Meade's objection was referred to
General Grant for settlement. Grant, doubting the propriety of agreeing
with a subordinate, as against the commander of the army, dismissed the
dispute by agreeing with Meade; therefore the Phalanx was ruled out of
the lead and placed in the supporting column. It was not till the night
of the 29th, a few hours before the assault was made, that the change
was made known to General Ferrero and his men, who were greatly
chagrined and filled with disappointment.

General Ledlie's division of white troops was to lead the assault, after
the explosion of the mine on the morning of the 30th. It was on the
night of the 29th, when General Burnside issued his battle order, in
accordance with General Meade's plan and instructions, and at the
appointed hour all the troops were in readiness for the conflict. The
mine, with its several tons of powder, was ready at a quarter past three
o'clock on the eventful morning of the 30th of July. The fuses were
fired, and "all eyes were turned to the confederate fort opposite,"
which was discernible but three hundred feet distant. The garrison was
sleeping in fancied security; the sentinels slowly paced their rounds,
without a suspicion of the crust which lay between them and the awful
chasm below. Our own troops, lying upon their arms in unbroken silence,
or with an occasional murmur, stilled at once by the whispered word of
command, looked for the eventful moment of attack to arrive. A quarter
of an hour passed,--a half hour, yet there was no report. Four o'clock,
and the sky began to brighten in the east; the confederate garrison was
bestirring itself. The enemy's lines once more assumed the appearance of
life; the sharpshooters, prepared for their victims, began to pick off
those of our men, who came within range of their deadly aim. Another day
of siege was drawing on, and still there was no explosion. What could it
mean? The fuses had failed;--the dampness having penetrated to the place
where the parts had been spliced together, prevented the powder from
burning. Two men (Lieut. Jacob Douty and Sergeant--afterwards
Lieutenant--Henry Rees,) of the 48th Pennsylvania volunteered to go and
ascertain where the trouble was. At quarter past four o'clock they
bravely entered the mine, re-arranged the fuses and relighted them. In
the meantime, General Meade had arrived at the permanent headquarters of
the 9th Corps. Not being able to see anything that was going forward,
and not hearing any report, he became somewhat impatient. At fifteen
minutes past four o'clock he telegraphed to General Burnside to know
what was the cause of the delay. Gen. Burnside was too busy in remedying
the failure already incurred to reply immediately, and expected, indeed,
that before a dispatch could be sent that the explosion would take
place. General Meade ill-naturedly telegraphed the operator to know
where General Burnside was. At half-past four, the commanding general
became still more impatient, and was on the point of ordering an
immediate assault upon the enemy's works, without reference to the mine.
Five minutes later he _did_ order an assault. General Grant was there
when, at sixteen minutes before five o'clock, the mine exploded. Then
ensued a scene which beggars description.

General Badeau, in describing the spectacle, says:

     "The mine exploded with a shock like that of an earthquake,
     tearing up the rebels' work above them, and vomiting men,
     guns and caissons two hundred feet into the air. The
     tremendous mass appeared for a moment to hang suspended in
     the heavens like a huge, inverted cone, the exploding powder
     still flashing out here and there, while limbs and bodies of
     mutilated men, and fragments of cannon and wood-work could
     be seen, then all fell heavily to the ground again, with a
     second report like thunder. When the smoke and dust had
     cleared away, only an enormous crater, thirty feet deep,
     sixty wide, and a hundred and fifty long stretched out in
     front of the Ninth Corps, where the rebel fort had been."

The explosion was the signal for the federal batteries to open fire, and
immediately one hundred and ten guns and fifty mortars opened along the
Union front, lending to the sublime horror of the upheaved and quaking
earth, the terror of destruction.

A confederate soldier thus describes the explosion, in the Philadelphia
_Times_, January, 1883:

     "About fifteen feet of dirt intervened between the sleeping
     soldiers and all this powder. In a moment the superincumbent
     earth, for a space forty by eighty feet, was hurled upward,
     carrying with it the artillery-men, with their four guns,
     and three companies of soldiers. As the huge mass fell
     backwards it buried the startled men under immense
     clods--tons of dirt. Some of the artillery was thrown forty
     yards towards the enemy's line. The clay subsoil was broken
     and piled in large pieces, often several yards in diameter,
     which afterwards protected scores of Federals when
     surrounded in the crater. The early hour, the unexpected
     explosion, the concentrated fire of the enemy's batteries,
     startled and wrought confusion among brave men accustomed to

Says a Union account:

     "Now was the time for action, forward went General Ledlie's
     column, with Colonel Marshall's brigade in advance. The
     parapets were surmounted, the abatis was quickly removed,
     and the division prepared to pass over the intervening
     ground, and charge through the still smoking ruins to gain
     the crest beyond. But here the leading brigade made a
     temporary halt; it was said at the time our men suspected a
     counter mine, and were themselves shocked by the terrible
     scene they had witnessed. It was, however, but momentary; in
     less than a quarter of an hour, the entire division was out
     of its entrenchments, and was advancing gallantly towards
     the enemy's line. The ground was somewhat difficult to cross
     over, but the troops pushed steadily on with soldiery
     bearing, overcoming all the obstacles before them. They
     reached the edge of the crater, passed down into the chasm
     and attempted to make their way through the yielding sand,
     the broken clay, and the masses of rubbish that were
     everywhere about. Many of the enemy's men were lying among
     the ruins, half buried, and vainly trying to free
     themselves. They called for mercy and for help. The soldiers
     stopped to take prisoners, to dig out guns and other
     material. Their division commander was not with them, there
     was no responsible head, the ranks were broken, the
     regimental organizations could not be preserved, and the
     troops were becoming confused. The enemy was recovering from
     his surprise, our artillery began to receive a spirited
     response, the enemy's men went back to their guns; they
     gathered on the crest and soon brought to bear upon our
     troops a fire in front from the Cemetery Hill, and an
     enfilading and cross-fire from their guns in battery. Our
     own guns could not altogether silence or overcome this fire
     in flank, our men in the crater were checked, felt the
     enemy's fire, sought cover, began to entrench. The day was
     lost, still heroic men continued to push forward for the
     crest, but in passing through the crater few got beyond it.
     Regiment after regiment, brigade followed brigade, until the
     three white divisions filled the opening and choked the
     passage to all. What was a few moments ago organization and
     order, was now a disordered mass of armed men. At six
     o'clock, General Meade ordered General Burnside to push 'his
     men forward, at all hazards, white and black.' His white
     troops were all in the crater, and could not get out. As
     instructed, he ordered General Ferrero to rush in the
     Phalanx; Colonel Loving was near when the order came to
     Ferrero; as the senior staff officer present, seeing the
     impossibility of the troops to get through the crater, at
     that time countermanded the order, and reported in person to
     General Burnside, but he had no discretion to exercise, his
     duty was simply to repeat Meade's order. The order must be
     obeyed; it was repeated; away went the Phalanx division,
     loudly cheering, but to what purpose did they advance? The
     historian of that valiant corps, presumably more reliable
     than any other writer, says:

     "'The colored troops charged forward, cheering with
     enthusiasm and gallantry. Colonel J. K. Sigfried, commanding
     the first brigade, led the attacking column. The command
     moved out in rear of Colonel Humphrey's brigade of the Third
     Division. Colonel Sigfried, passing Colonel Humphrey by the
     flank, crossed the field immediately in front, went down the
     crater, and attempted to go through. The passage was
     exceedingly difficult, but after great exertions the brigade
     made its way through the crowded masses in a somewhat broken
     and disorganized condition, and advanced towards the crest.
     The 43rd U. S. Colored troops moved over the lip of the
     crater toward the right, made an attack upon the enemy's
     line of intrenchments, and won the chief success of the day,
     capturing a number of prisoners and rebel colors, and
     _re-capturing_ a stand of national colors. The other
     regiments of the brigade were unable to get up, on account
     of white troops in advance of them crowding the line. The
     second brigade, under command of Colonel H. G. Thomas,
     followed the first with equal enthusiasm. The men rushed
     forward, descended into the crater, and attempted to pass
     through. Colonel Thomas' intention was to go to the right
     and attack the enemy's rifle-pits. He partially succeeded in
     doing so, but his brigade was much broken up when it came
     under the enemy's fire. The gallant brigade commander
     endeavored, in person, to rally his command, and at last
     formed a storming column, of portions of the 29th, 28th,
     23rd, and 19th Regiments of the Phalanx division.'

     "'These troops' made a spirited attack, but lost heavily in
     officers and became somewhat disheartened.
     Lieutenant-Colonel Bross, of the 29th, with the colors in
     his hands, led the charge; was the first man to leap upon
     the enemy's works, and was instantly killed. Lieutenant
     Pennell seized the colors, but was shot down, riddled
     through and through. Major Theodore H. Rockwood, of the
     19th, sprang upon the parapet, and fell while cheering on
     his regiment to the attack. The conduct of these officers
     and their associates was indeed magnificent. No troops were
     ever better lead to an assault; had they been allowed the
     advance at the outset, before the enemy had recovered from
     his first surprise, their charge would have been successful.
     But it was made too late. The fire to which they were
     exposed was very hot and destructive; it came from front and
     flank, it poured into the faces of the men. It enfiladed
     their lines. The enemy's rage against the colored troops had
     its bloody opportunity."

And they made use of it.

Captain W. L. Fagan, of the 8th Alabama Regiment, thus gives an account
of the fight, from the confederate side:

     "The crater combat, unlike other battles in Virginia, was a
     series of deeds of daring, of bloody hand-to-hand fighting,
     where the survivor could count with a certainty the men he
     had slain. A few days ago a soldier said to me: 'I killed
     two at the crater; they were not three feet from me when
     they fell. I had followed the fortunes of the Confederacy
     from Williamsburg to Appomattox Court House, and had, to the
     morning of July 30, only seen two bayonet wounds;--one
     received at Frazier's Farm, the other at Turkey Ridge, June
     3, 1864.' Men stood face to face at the crater. Often a
     bayonet thrust was given before the Minie ball went crashing
     through the body. Every man took care of himself, intent on
     selling his life as dearly as possible. The negroes did not
     all stampede. They mingled with the white troops. The troops
     of Mahone, Wilcox and Wright were greeted with defiant
     yells, while their ranks were mowed down by withering fires.
     Many officers commanding negro troops held their commissions
     for bravery. Encouraged, threatened, emulating the white
     troops, the black men fought with desperation. Some
     Confederate soldiers recognized their slaves at the crater.
     Captain J----, of the Forty-first Virginia, gave the
     military salute to 'Ben' and 'Bob,' whom he had left hoeing
     corn down in Dinwiddie. If White's Division had occupied
     Reservoir Hill, Richmond would have been evacuated."

But let the writer of the following tell what the brave black men met
after having advanced beyond the crater, where they grappled with the
sullen foe filled with the recollection of the capture, in June, of
their works, guns and comrades by the "niggers" of the 18th Corps. It
was not _lex talionis_ that they observed, but a repetition of the Fort
Pillow Massacre. Under the head of "The Confederate Charge," the
particulars are given:

     "The Federals now held the crater and the inner line.
     Generals Lee and Mahone arrived on the field about 7:30 A.
     M. A ravine, which deepened on our right, ran parallel with
     this inner line and was used by Mahone in which to form his
     brigade when preparing to attack. At 8 A. M. Mahone's
     Brigade, commanded by Colonel D. A. Weisiger, brought from
     the right of Hoke's Division, was formed in this ravine and
     advanced to the assault. The Federals, concentrating a
     terrific fire of musketry and artillery, ploughed out great
     gaps in these fearless Virginians. Nothing daunted, they
     pressed forward and recaptured the inner line. The loss of
     this brigade was heavy, both in men and officers, more than
     two hundred Virginians falling between the ravine and the
     captured works. The Federal troops, white and colored,
     fought with a desperation never witnessed on former
     battle-fields. The negroes, it is said, cried 'No quarter.'
     Mahone and Wright's Brigades took only twenty-nine of them
     prisoners. The Federals still held the crater and part of
     the line. Another charge was necessary and Wright's Georgia
     Brigade was ordered up from Anderson's Division. Wright's
     Brigade, forming in the ravine, moved forward to drive the
     Federals from the line they still held. The enemy, expecting
     their attack, poured a volley into the Georgians that
     decimated their ranks, killing and wounding nearly every
     field officer in the brigade. The men rushing forward,
     breasting a storm of lead and iron, failed to oblique far
     enough to the right to recapture the whole line, but gained
     the line occupied by and contiguous to the line already
     captured by Weisiger, commanding Mahone's Brigade. Mahone's
     Brigade and Wright's Brigade had captured forty-two
     officers, three hundred and ninety men and twenty-nine

     "It was now about 10 A. M. General Grant made no effort to
     reinforce his line or to dislodge Wright and Mahone from the
     positions they held. A courier dashed up to General J. C. C.
     Sanders, commanding Wilcox's Brigade, informing him that his
     brigade was wanted. The men were expecting this courier, as
     they were next in line, and they distinctly heard the shouts
     of Mahone's and Wright's men, followed by the heavy
     artillery firing, while the word had passed down the line
     that the salient had not been recaptured. General Sanders
     moved his brigade, consisting of the Eighth, Ninth, Tenth,
     Eleventh and Fourteenth Alabama Regiments, to the left and
     occupied the ravine. There was no shade or water in this
     ravine, while the men were exposed nearly four hours to a
     scorching sun. The heat was almost beyond human endurance.
     Strong men fainted and were carried to the rear. The waves
     of hot air at times were almost suffocating. For the first
     and only time the men were told what was expected of them.
     General Saunders explained the situation to the officers of
     the regiments. Each captain spoke to his men, urging them to
     retake the salient, or Petersburg and Richmond must be
     evacuated. The men were ordered to fix their bayonets
     securely, to trail arms--not to fire, not to yell, but to
     move quietly up the side of the ravine, and then, every man
     run for his life to the breastworks. They were told that
     Generals Lee, Beauregard, Hill, Mahone, Hoke and every
     general officer of the army would watch them as they moved

     "At 1:30 P. M. the firing had almost ceased and the
     Federals, overcome with heat, did not expect an attack.
     Saunders formed his brigade and moved quietly up the side of
     the ravine. Hardly a word was spoken, for the Alabamians
     expected to die or retake that salient. The eye of General
     Lee was fixed on them. When they caught sight of the works
     their old feelings came back to them and yell they must.
     With the fury of a whirlwind they rushed upon the line they
     had been ordered to take. The movement was so unexpected and
     so quickly executed that only one shell was thrown into the
     brigade. The works gained, they found the enemy on the other
     side. It was stated that Lee, speaking to Beauregard, said:
     'Splendid!' Beauregard spoke with enthusiasm of the
     brilliant charge.

     "In an instant the Federal army was aroused, and batteries
     opened along the whole line, while the infantry fire was a
     continuous roar. Only a breastwork divided Wilcox's Brigade
     from the Federals. A moment was required for Saunders to
     reform, and his brigade mounted the inner line and forced
     the enemy backwards to the outer line and the crater. The
     crater was full of white and negro soldiers. The
     Confederates, surrounding it on every side, poured volley
     after volley into this heaped-up mass of terrified negroes
     and their brave officers. The negroes ran in every direction
     and were shot down without a thought. Bayonets, swords and
     the butts of muskets were used. The deafening roar of
     artillery and musketry, the yells and imprecations of the
     combatants, drowned the commands of officers. A negro in the
     crater attempted to raise a white flag, and it was instantly
     pulled down by a Federal officer. The Federal colors were
     planted on a huge lump of dirt, and waved until Sergeant
     Wallace, of the Eleventh Alabama, followed by others, seized
     them and tore them from the staff. Instantly a white flag
     was raised, and the living, who were not many, surrendered.
     The crater was won."

With the exception of General Burnside, no commander of the Army of the
Potomac was in favor of the Phalanx participating in a battle. What,
then, had the Phalanx to expect of those to whom they had borne the
relation of _slave_? The confederates had a right to expect hard
fighting when they met the Phalanx, and the Phalanx knew they had to
fight hard when they met the confederates. It was the previous
associations and habits of the negro that kept him from retaliating for
the several massacres that had been perpetrated upon his
brother-soldiers. It was not for a want of courage to do it: it was only
necessary for those who commanded them to have ordered it, and they
would never have taken a confederate prisoner.

Many of those who commanded them needed but public opinion to sustain
them, to give such an order as would have made every battle between the
Phalanx and the confederates bloody and inhuman. It was but the
enlightened sentiment of the North, the religious teaching of the
brotherhood of man, the high character and moral training of the
statesmen on the side of the Union, that restrained the Phalanx from
retaliation, else they possessed none of the characteristics of a
courageous, sensitive and high tempered people. The negro is not
naturally docile; his surroundings, rather than his nature, have given
him the trait; it is not naturally his, but something which his trainers
have given him; and it is not a difficult task to untrain him and
advance him beyond his apparent unconsciousness of self-duty and
self-preservation. Let him feel that he is to be supported in any
transaction uncommon to him, and he can act as aggressively as any race
of men who are naturally quicker in temperament. It is this
characteristic that made the negro what General Grant said he was: in
discipline a better soldier than the white man. It was said that he
would not fight: there is no man in the South who met him on the
battle-field that will say so now.

These are a few of the thoughts that came to me as I listened for an
hour, one evening in June, 1883, to the confederate Gen. Mahone, whose
acquaintance the writer enjoys, reciting the story of the fight at the
crater, where the negro met the confederate, and in a hand-to-hand
struggle one showed as much brute courage as the other. It would not be
doing the negro justice to accord him less, and yet that courage never
led him to acts of inhumanity. It is preferable that the confederates
themselves should tell the stories of their butcheries than for me to
attempt them. Not the stories told at the time, but fifteen years
afterward, when men could reflect and write more correctly. There is
one, an orator, who has described the fight, whose reference to the
crater so gladdened the hearts of his audience that they reproduced the
"yell," and yelled themselves hoarse. No battle fought during the war,
not even that of Bull Run, elicited so much comment and glorification
among the confederates as that of the crater. It was the bloodiest fight
on the soil of the Old Dominion, and has been the subject of praise by
poets and orators upon the confederate side. Capt. J. B. Hope eulogized
"Mahone's brigade" in true Southern verse. Capt. McCabe, on the 1st of
November, 1876, in his oration before the "Association of the Army of
Northern Virginia," in narrating the recapture of the works, said:

     "It was now 8 o'clock in the morning. The rest of Potter's
     (Federal) division moved out slowly, when Ferrero's negro
     division, the men, beyond question, inflamed with drink,
     (there are many officers and men, myself among the number,
     who will testify to this), burst from the advanced lines,
     cheering vehemently, passed at a double quick over a crest
     under a heavy fire, and rushed with scarcely a check over
     the heads of the white troops in the crater, spread to their
     right, and captured more than two hundred prisoners and one
     stand of colors. At the same time Turner, of the Tenth
     corps, pushed forward a brigade over the Ninth Corps'
     parapet, seized the Confederate line still further to the
     north, and quickly dispersed the remaining brigades of his
     division to confirm his successes."

The truth is over-reached in the statement of this orator if he intended
to convey the idea that the men of the Phalanx division were drunk from
strong drink; but it may be looked upon as an excuse offered for the
treatment the courageous negro soldiers received at the hands of their
captors, who, worse than enraged by strong drink, gave the battle-cry on
their way to the front, "_No quarter to niggers!_" This has been
admitted by those in a position, at the time, to know what went on. In
his "Recollections of the Recapture of the Lines," Colonel Stewart of
the 61st Virginia Regiment, says:

     "When nearly opposite the portions of our works held by the
     Federal troops, we met several soldiers who were in the
     works at the time of the explosion. Our men began ridiculing
     them for going to the rear, when one of them remarked, 'Ah,
     boys, you have got hot work ahead,--they are negroes, and
     show no quarter.' This was the first intimation we had that
     we were to fight negro troops, and it seemed to _infuse_ the
     little band with impetuous daring, as they pressed toward
     the fray. I never felt more like fighting in my life. Our
     comrades had been slaughtered in a most inhuman and brutal
     manner, and slaves were trampling over their mangled and
     bleeding corpses. Revenge must have fired every heart, and
     strung every arm with nerves of steel, for the herculean
     task of blood."

On the Monday morning after the assault of Saturday, the Richmond
_Enquirer_ said:

     "Grant's war cry of 'no quarter' shouted by his negro
     soldiers, was returned with interest, we regret to hear, not
     so heavily as ought to have been, since some negroes were
     captured instead of being shot. Let every salient we are
     called upon to defend, be a Fort Pillow, and butcher every
     negro that Grant hurls against our brave troops, and permit
     them not to soil their hands, with the capture of one

There is no truth in the statement. No such cry was ever made by negro
soldiers; and when it is remembered that the confederate congress, in
four short months after this declaration, began arming slaves for the
defense of Richmond, it is readily seen how deep and with what sincerity
such declarations were made. The Southern historian Pollard thus
describes the situation after the assault and the ground had again come
into the possession of the confederates:


Phalanx soldiers, under a flag of truce, burying their dead after one of
the terrible battles before Petersburg.]

     "The ground all around was dotted with the fallen, while the
     sides and bottom of the crater were literally lined with
     dead, the bodies lying in every conceivable position. Some
     had evidently been killed with the butts of muskets, as
     their crushed skulls and badly smashed faces too plainly
     indicated.' Within this crater--this hole of forty by eighty
     feet--were lying one hundred and thirty-six dead soldiers,
     besides the wounded. The soil was literally saturated with
     blood. General Bartlett was here, with his steel leg broken.
     He did not look as though he had been at a 'diamond
     wedding,' but was present at a 'dance of death.' A covered
     way for artillery was so full of dead that details were made
     to throw them out, that artillery might be brought in. The
     dead bodies formed a heap on each side. The Alabamians
     captured thirty-four officers, five hundred and thirty-six
     white and one hundred and thirty-nine colored soldiers. The
     three brigades had seventeen stands of colors, held by
     seventeen as brave, sweaty, dirty, powder-stained fellows as
     ever wore the gray, who knew that, when presenting their
     colors to division headquarters, to each a furlough of
     thirty days would be granted.

     "The crater was filled with wounded, to whom our men gave
     water. Adjutant Morgan Cleveland, of the 8th Alabama
     Regiment, assisted a federal captain who was mortally
     wounded and suffering intensely. Near him lay a burly,
     wounded negro. The officer said he would die. The negro,
     raising himself on his elbow, cried out: 'Thank God. You
     killed my brother when we charged, because he was afraid and
     ran. Now the rebels have killed you.' Death soon ended the
     suffering of one and the hatred of the other. A darkness
     came down on the battle-field and the victors began to
     repair the salient. The crater was cleared of the dead and
     wounded. Men were found buried ten feet under the dirt.
     Twenty-two of the artillery company were missing. Four
     hundred and ninety-eight dead and wounded confederates were
     buried or sent to the hospitals. Between the lines lay
     hundreds of wounded federals, who vainly called for water.
     These men had been without water since early morning. Some
     calling louder than others, their voices were recognized,
     and as their cries grew fainter, we knew their lives were
     ebbing away. Our men, risking their lives, carried water to

     "I find in my diary these lines: 'Sunday, July 31, 1864.
     Everything comparatively quiet along the lines. Hundreds of
     federal soldiers are lying in front of the crater exposed to
     a scorching sun; some are crying for water. The enemy's fire
     is too heavy for a soldier to expose himself.' Late on
     Sunday evening a flag of truce was sent in and forwarded to
     General Lee. General Grant had asked permission to bury his
     dead and remove his wounded. The truce was granted, to begin
     on Monday at 5 A. M. and conclude at 9 A. M. Punctual to the
     hour the federal details came on the field and by 9 A. M.
     had buried about three hundred. The work was hardly begun
     and the truce was extended. Hour after hour was granted
     until it was evening before the field was cleared."

With these selections from the mass of confederate testimony before us,
of their "daring, bloody work," given by participants, it is well to
read some of the statements of those who battled for the Union on that

Many of the correspondents at the seat of war, ignorant of the real
facts regarding the assault, attributed the failure, not to General
Meade's interference with General Burnside's plan, but to the Phalanx
division, the men who bore the brunt of the battle and gained for
themselves a fame for desperate fighting. But some of those who _were_
acquainted with the facts have left records that tell the true story and
give honor to whom honor is due. Gen. Grant is among the number; he
perfectly understood the whole matter, knew that General Burnside, not
being allowed to carry out his own plans, but at the last moment
compelled to act contrary to his judgment, could not fight with that
enthusiasm and confidence that he would have done had he been allowed to
carry out his own ideas. In his "Memoirs," General Grant gives an
account of the explosion of the mine and the assault after placing the
blame for the "stupendous failure" where it belongs. I quote a few
preliminary words which not only intimate where the trouble lies, but
gives the key to the whole matter. Speaking of General Burnside's
command, he says:

     "The four divisions of his corps were commanded by Generals
     Potter, Wilcox, Ledlie and Ferrero. The last was a colored
     division; and Burnside selected it to make the assault.
     Meade interfered with this. Burnside then took Ledlie's
     division--a worse selection than the first could have been.
     * * * * Ledlie, besides being otherwise inefficient, proved
     also to possess disqualifications less common among

A correspondent of the New York _Evening Post_ says:

     "We have been continually notified for the last fortnight,
     that our sappers were mining the enemy's position. As soon
     as ready, our division was to storm the works on its
     explosion. This rumor had spread so wide we had no faith in
     it. On the night of the 29th, we were in a position on the
     extreme left. We were drawn in about nine P. M., and marched
     to General Burnside's headquarters, and closed in mass by
     division, left in front. We there received official notice
     that the long-looked-for mine was ready charged, and would
     be fired at daylight next morning. The plan of storming was
     as follows: One division of white troops was to charge the
     works immediately after the explosion, and carry the first
     and second lines of rebel intrenchments. Our division was to
     follow immediately, and push right into Petersburg, take the
     city, and be supported by the remainder of the Ninth and
     Twenty-eighth corps. We were up bright and early, ready and
     eager for the struggle to commence. I had been wishing for
     something of this sort to do for some time, to gain the
     respect of the Army of the Potomac. You know their former
     prejudices. At thirty minutes after five, the ball opened.
     The mine, with some fifty pieces of artillery, went off
     almost instantaneously; at the same time, the white troops,
     according to the plan, charged the fort, which they carried,
     for there was nothing to oppose them; but they did not
     succeed in carrying either of the lines of intrenchments.

     "We were held in rear until the development of the movement
     of the white troops; but, on seeing the disaster which was
     about to occur, we pushed in by the flank (for we could go
     in in no other way to allow us to get in position); so you
     see on this failure we had nothing to do but gain by the
     flank. A charge in that manner has never proved successful,
     to my knowledge; when it does, it is a surprise.

     "Our men went forward with enthusiasm equal to anything
     under different circumstances; but, in going through the
     fort that had been blown up, the passage was almost impeded
     by obstacles thrown up by the explosion. At the same time,
     we were receiving a most deadly cross-fire from both flanks.
     At this time, our lieutenant-colonel (E. W. Ross) fell, shot
     through the left leg, bravely leading the men. I immediately
     assumed command, but only to hold it a few minutes, when I
     fell, struck by a piece of shell in the side. Capt.
     Robinson, from Connecticut, then took command; and, from all
     we can learn, he was killed. At this time, our first charge
     was somewhat checked, and the men sought cover in the works.
     Again our charge was made, but, like the former,
     unsuccessful. This was followed by the enemy making a
     charge. Seeing the unorganized condition and the great loss
     of officers, the men fell back to our own works. Yet a large
     number still held the fort until two P. M., when the enemy
     charged again, and carried it. That ended the great attempt
     to take Petersburg.

     "It will be thus seen that the colored troops did not
     compose the first assaulting, but the supporting column; and
     they were not ordered forward until white troops in greater
     numbers had made a desperate effort to carry the rebel
     works, and had failed. Then the colored troops were sent in;
     moved over the broken ground, and up the slope, and within a
     short distance of the parapet, in order, and with steady
     courage; but finally broke and retreated under the same fire
     which just before had sent a whole division of white
     regiments to the right-about. If there be any disgrace in
     that, it does not belong exclusively nor mainly to the
     negroes. A second attack is far more perilous and unlikely
     to succeed than a first; the enemy having been encouraged by
     the failure of the first, and had time to concentrate his
     forces. And, in this case, there seems to have been a fatal
     delay in ordering both the first and second assault."

An officer in the same engagement says:

     "In regard to the bravery of the colored troops, although I
     have been in upwards of twenty battles, I never saw so many
     cases of gallantry. The 'crater,' where we were halted, was
     a perfect slaughter-pen. Had not 'some one blundered,' but
     moved us up at daylight, instead of eight o'clock, we should
     have been crowned with success, instead of being cut to
     pieces by a terrific enfilading fire, and finally forced
     from the field in a panic. We had no trouble in rallying the
     troops and moving them into the rifle-pits; and, in one hour
     after the rout I had nearly as many men together as were
     left unhurt.

     "I was never under such a terrific fire, and can hardly
     realize how any escaped alive. Our loss was heavy. In the
     Twenty-eighth (colored) for instance, commanded by
     Lieut.-Col. Russell (a Bostonian), he lost seven officers
     out of eleven, and ninety-one men out of two hundred and
     twenty-four; and the colonel himself was knocked over
     senseless, for a few minutes, by a slight wound in the head;
     both his color-sergeants and all his color-guard were
     killed. Col. Bross, of the Twenty-ninth, was killed
     outright, and nearly every one of his officers hit. This was
     nearly equal to Bunker Hill. Col. Ross, of the Thirty-first,
     lost his leg. The Twenty-eighth, Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth
     (colored), all charged over the works; climbing up an
     earthwork six feet high, then down into a ditch, and up on
     the other side, all the time under the severest fire in
     front and flank. Not being supported, of course the storming
     party fell back. I have seen white troops run faster than
     these blacks did, when in not half so tight a place. Our
     brigade lost thirty-six prisoners, all cut off after leaving
     the 'crater.' My faith in colored troops is not abated one

The Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War investigated the
affair, before which General Grant testified. He was severe upon General
Ledlie, whom he regarded as an inefficient officer; he blamed himself
for allowing that officer to lead the assault. General Grant also

     "General Burnside wanted to put his colored division in
     front; I believe if he had done so it would have been a

On the morning of the 13th of August, 1864, a brigade of the Phalanx,
consisting of the 7th, 8th, 9th and 29th Regiments, crossed from Bermuda
Hundreds to the north side of the James river, on pontoons, near Jones'
landing, and bivouacked for the night. General Grant was led to believe
that General Lee had sent a portion of his troops, at least three
divisions of infantry, and one of cavalry, from the front of Petersburg,
to re-enforce Gen. Early, then operating in the valley. Consequently he
thought it a favorable opportunity to threaten Richmond, and ordered
Hancock with the 2nd, and Birney with a part of the 10th Corps, with
Gregg's Cavalry, to attack the confederate works on the north side of
the James. The object was two-fold: to prevent Lee from re-enforcing
Early, confronted by Sheridan's troops; and likewise to drive the
confederates from out their works. The troops crossed the James on the
13th, the 2d Corps going to Deep Bottom by transports, the other troops
crossing the river by pontoons, and advancing, found the enemy in force.
Several spirited engagements took place, after which the main forces
withdrew again across the river, to the front of Petersburg. The
following account applies to the brigade as well as the 7th Phalanx
Regiment, from whose record it is extracted:

     "During the forenoon of the 14th the (7th) Regiment acted as
     reserve, moving forward occasionally as the line advanced.
     Most of the work of the day was done to the right, little
     being done in the immediate front except skirmishing. About
     5 P. M. a portion of the Seventh and Ninth, forming line in
     the edge of some timber, moved across an open field and
     charged upon reaching the farther side and captured the
     enemy's line of rifle-pits. The companies of the Seventh
     pushed on some distance further toward their second line,
     but were met with so severe a fire that they fell back to
     the captured line; which was held. This charge, known as the
     action of Kingsland Road, was made in fine style. The
     battalion of the Seventh was commanded by Capt. Weiss--Col.
     Shaw having been detailed as Corps Officer of the day, and
     Lieut.-Col. Haskell being temporarily in command of the
     brigade. Our losses were two men killed, and one officer
     (Lieut. Eler) and thirty-two men wounded.

     "About 10 o'clock P. M., the troops moved down the road to
     the right, and at 1 o'clock Col. Shaw withdrew the pickets
     of the corps, re-crossed the pontoons, where we had crossed
     in the morning, and moved down the neck. Then followed four
     hours of the most wearisome night-marching--moving a few
     rods at a time and then halting for troops ahead to get out
     of the way; losing sight of them and hurrying forward to
     catch up; straggling out into the darkness, stumbling and
     groping along the rough road, and all the time the rain
     coming down in a most provoking, exasperating drizzle. About
     daylight crossed back to the north side and halted for
     coffee, and then moved forward some four miles and rejoined
     the corps, taking position behind the crest of a hill. The
     Eighth and Twenty-ninth were left in a work on the hill.

     "About 3:30 P. M. orders came to pile knapsacks and be ready
     to march immediately. A little after 4 o'clock the brigade
     moved to the right, some three-quarters of a mile, into an
     open cornfield, and, after halting a few moments, turned
     down a road through the woods to the left with Gen. Wm.
     Birney, who ordered Col. Shaw to throw out skirmishers and
     advance with his brigade down a road which he pointed out,
     find the enemy and attack vigorously, and then rode away.
     Finding the road turning to the left, Col. Shaw sent word to
     Gen. Birney that the designated road would probably bring
     him back on our own line. The order came back from Gen.
     Birney to go ahead. The road still bearing to the left, word
     was again sent that we should strike our own line if we
     continued to advance in the direction we were going. A
     second time the answer came to move on. A third messenger
     having brought from Gen. Birney the same reply, Col. Shaw
     decided to disobey the order and call in the skirmishers.
     Before it could be done firing commenced and continued
     briskly for several minutes, before the men recognized each
     other, and it was discovered that we had been firing into
     our own Second Brigade--Col. Osborn's. This sad affair,
     which would not have occurred had Col Shaw's caution been
     heeded, resulted in the killing of the lieutenant commanding
     the picket-line and the wounding of many men on both sides.
     After this _fiasco_ the brigade moved out into the
     cornfield, where it had halted earlier in the day, and
     bivouacked for the night. The regiment had been more or less
     exposed all day to shell-fire, but lost from it only four or
     five men wounded, in addition to the ten or twelve men
     wounded in the skirmish with Osborn's brigade.

     "Early on the morning of the 16th, the regiment marched back
     to its knapsacks and halted for breakfast. About 10 o'clock
     it was ordered out to support two batteries, and remained on
     this duty until 3 P. M., changing position frequently, in
     the meantime Gen. Terry, with the First Division of the
     Tenth Corps, had charged the rebel line, near Fuzzel's
     mills, and captured it, together with three colors and some
     three hundred prisoners. But the enemy rallied, and with
     reinforcements, soon compelled Gen. Terry to relinquish the
     captured line. About dark Gen. Wm. Birney came up, and
     taking the left wing of the Seventh--the right wing, under
     Col. Shaw, was in support of a battery--and two companies of
     the Ninth, placed them under command of Lieut.-Col. Haskell,
     and ordered him with this handful of men to take an
     earthwork in his front which a division a short time before
     had failed to carry. The timely arrival of Gen. Terry put an
     end to this mad scheme. The regiment lost during the day
     eight or ten men wounded.

     "The general results of the day's fighting had been
     unsatisfactory, for not only had Terry's attack failed in
     its object, but the advance on the right, along the Charles
     City road, by the troops of the Second Corps and Gregg's
     cavalry division, had been equally unsuccessful. The rebel
     General Chambliss was among the killed.

     "About 2:30 A. M. of the 17th, the left wing of the regiment
     was sent back to a line of rifle-pits that had been thrown
     up some two hundred yards to the rear, where it was joined
     by the right wing in the morning after breakfast.
     Picket-firing continued during the day and heavy artillery
     firing was heard in the direction of Petersburg. At 4 P. M.
     a flag of truce was sent out and two hours given to bring in
     the dead from between the lines. Gen. Chambliss' body was
     delivered, and we received that of Capt. Williams, of the
     Thirty-ninth Illinois. Early in the evening the regiment was
     ordered on picket. Considerable picket-firing occurred
     during the night and day, the men being with difficulty
     restrained from it. We were relieved about noon of the 18th
     by the One Hundred and Fifteenth New York and Seventy-sixth
     Pennsylvania. * * *

     "Early in the morning the Eighth and the Twenty-ninth
     Connecticut rejoined the regiment, and after the regiment
     was relieved from picket, it, with the Twenty-ninth, fell
     back a quarter of a mile, leaving the Eighth and Ninth on
     the line. Rations having been drawn, the men got supper and
     prepared for a good night's sleep. Suddenly a heavy musketry
     fire broke out toward the left which rapidly extended to the
     right and the entire line was soon under fire. The regiment
     moved forward at double-quick, but by the time it reached
     the front and formed line, darkness set in and the enemy
     fell back. About 11 P. M. our forces were withdrawn, and,
     after several hours spent in marching and halting, the
     regiment went into camp two miles from the pontoons. Here it
     lay all day of the 19th. The following congratulatory order
     was received from corps headquarters, in which the brigade
     was spoken of in very flattering terms by Maj.-Gen. D. B.
     Birney, commanding:

                        FUZZEL'S MILLS, VA., August 19, 1864.

     "'_General Orders._--The Major-General commanding
     congratulates the Tenth Army Corps upon its success. It has,
     on each occasion, when ordered, broken the enemy's strong
     lines. It has captured during this short campaign four siege
     guns protected by formidable works, six colors and many
     prisoners. It has proved itself worthy of its old Wagner and
     Fort Sumter renown.

     "'Much fatigue, patience and heroism, may still be demanded
     of it, but the Major-General commanding is confident of the
     response. To the colored troops, recently added to us, and
     fighting with us, the Major-General tenders his thanks for
     their uniform good conduct and soldierly bearing. They have
     set a good example to our veterans, by the entire absence of
     straggling from their ranks on the march.

     "'By order of Maj.-Gen. D. B. BIRNEY.

                                        "'E.W. SMITH,
     _Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General._'

     "The special correspondent of the New York _Tribune_ said:

     "'Gen. Butler, in a dispatch to the Tenth Corps, on
     receiving official report of its work, said: 'All honor to
     the brave Tenth Corps; you have done more than was expected
     of you by the Lieutenant-General.'

     "'The loss in the four colored regiments is about three
     hundred. The Seventh U. S. C. T. on the first day, carried,
     with fixed bayonets, a line of rifle-pits, and carried it
     without a shot, but with a loss of 35. It was one of the
     most stirring and gallant affairs I have ever known'.

     "It began to rain in the afternoon and continued during the
     night and until nearly noon of the following day, 20th.
     During the afternoon of the 20th, orders were received to
     send all sick to the rear and be ready to withdraw quietly
     at dark. The movement began at 7 P. M., both the Second and
     Tenth Corps participating--the Second Corps and the cavalry
     returning to the Petersburg line, and the Tenth to the
     Bermuda Hundred front. The night was dark and the roads
     muddy, and after various delays the pontoons were crossed;
     and at 2 A. M., the regiment went into camp near the spot it
     occupied the first night after its arrival in Virginia.

     "An amusing incident occurred when we halted, after crossing
     the river. When the fires were lighted our line presented
     the appearance of a checker-board--alternate black and white
     men. The latter belonged to the Second Corps, and having
     straggled from their commands, and belonging to regiments
     with the same numbers, had fallen into our solid ranks by
     mistake. Their astonishment and our amusement were about
     equal. Capt. Walker, having been asked if his men were all
     present, replied: 'Yes, and about twenty recruits.'

     "Thus ended a very hard week's work, during which the
     regiment was almost constantly under fire; marching,
     counter-marching, supporting a battery here or strengthening
     the line there--duties which required almost constant
     wakefulness and watchfulness. The losses of the brigade
     footed up some two hundred and fifty.

     "This movement, which had begun on the 12th by the
     withdrawal of the Second Corps, Gen. Hancock, and Gregg's
     cavalry division, from the Petersburg front to the north
     bank of the James, to act in conjunction with the Tenth
     Corps in an attempt to turn the left of the rebel line,
     proved as abortive as the similar attempt made by the same
     corps in the latter part of June; Gen. Lee, in both
     instances, seeming to have received timely information of
     our plans to enable him to transfer re-enforcements from the
     Petersburg to the Richmond front. The Union losses during
     the movement have been estimated at five thousand.

     "Sunday, the 21st, was a day of rest. The men put up shelter
     tents and made themselves as comfortable as circumstances
     would allow. Gen. Birney resumed command of the brigade and
     Col. Shaw returned to the regiment. About 6 P. M. orders
     came to be ready to move during the night with one day's
     rations. Moved out of camp at 2 A. M., 22nd, and reported at
     Maj.-Gen. Birney's headquarters, where, after remaining a
     short time, the regiment returned to camp. About 8 P. M.
     orders were received to pack everything, and at 5 the
     regiment marched to the front and went into the trenches
     near Battery Walker, (No. 7), relieving a regiment of
     hundred-days' men, whose time had expired.

     "The 23d passed quietly. Tents were pitched, and in the
     evening a dress-parade was held. Lieut. Mack returned to
     duty from absent sick.

     "Line was formed at dawn on the 24th, and again about
     noon--rapid picket-firing in each instance rendering an
     attack probable.

     "About daybreak on the 25th, the enemy attacked toward the
     left, drove in our pickets--Capts. Weld and Thayer in
     command--but were checked before reaching the main line. The
     regiment was placed in support of Battery England (No. 5).
     Two men were wounded.

     "Some changes in the division here took place--the
     Twenty-ninth Connecticut was transferred to another brigade,
     and the Tenth U. S. C. T. to ours, and Col. Duncan was
     placed in command.

     "About noon (25th) packed up everything, crossed the
     Appomattox, and after a fatiguing march through the heat and
     dust, reached the Petersburg front a little before sunset
     and halted for orders. Soon after dark moved to the left in
     a heavy rain squall, and lay down on a hillside as reserve
     to the troops in the trenches. At 11 P. M. ordered to report
     to Gen. Terry. Marched back a mile and reported. Another
     mile's march in another direction brought the regiment,
     about 1 A. M., to its position, where it lay down in the
     woods, again as a reserve. A rattling fire of musketry was
     kept up all night.

     "On the 26th, a camp was selected and had been partially
     cleared up, when orders were received for the regiment to go
     into the trenches. Reported at brigade headquarters at
     sunset, and soon afterward, through the mud and darkness,
     the men silently felt their way into the trenches, which the
     rain had reduced to the condition of a quagmire. It was a
     slow process, and 10 o'clock came before all were in their

     "During the following day (27th,) the parapet was raised and
     paths made through the muddier portions of the trenches.
     Soon after dark a furious cannonade began which lasted for
     several hours, and afforded to the spectators on both sides
     a brilliant pyrotechnic display.

     "Just after daybreak on the 28th, the enemy opened a heavy
     musketry fire which lasted until after sunrise. He did not
     leave his works, however, and our men remained stationary. A
     man of Company B, while watching for a shot through a
     section of stove-pipe, which he had improvised into a
     port-hole, was struck and killed by a sharpshooter's bullet.

     "Soon after midnight on the 28th-29th, the regiment moved
     out of the trenches, and after daylight marched a quarter of
     a mile to the right and rear and went into camp in a
     cornfield. The men were at once put to work constructing
     bomb-proofs, as the position was within sight and range of
     the enemy's line. This occupied the entire day.

     "Brig.-Gen. Birney's arrangement of the brigade did not seem
     to have given satisfaction to higher authority, and it was
     broken up, and the old brigade--Seventh, Eighth, Ninth U. S.
     C. T., and Twenty-ninth Connecticut--were again united, with
     Col. Shaw in command.

     "From this time until the 24th of September, the Seventh and
     Eighth alternated with the Ninth and Twenty-ninth for duty
     in the trenches--two days in and two out; and on the 'off'
     days furnishing details of officers and men for fatigue
     purposes, in constructing new works and strengthening old
     ones. The main lines at this point were scarcely over a
     hundred yards apart, while from the advanced posts a stone
     could almost be thrown into the enemy's works, and it was
     considered the most disagreeable portion of the line.

     "During the evening of the 4th of September, there was a
     grand salute along the whole line, in honor of the fall of
     Atlanta. At every battery the men stood at the guns, and
     when the monster mortar--"The Petersburg Express"--gave the
     expected signal, every lanyard was pulled. The effect was
     exceedingly grand.

     "At 9 o'clock on the morning of the 5th, the regiment met
     with an irreparable loss in the death of Capt. A. R. Walker.
     Capt. Walker, who was at the time in the trenches, had
     raised his head above the parapet to observe the enemy's
     movements, when he was struck in the head by a bullet, and
     fell without speaking against the parapet. He was carried
     back and laid upon the ground in rear of the trench, but all
     efforts failed to elicit any token of recognition. He
     breathed for a few moments and life was extinct. His body
     was sent to the rear the same afternoon under charge of
     Lieut. Teeple, upon whom the command of his company
     devolved, who made the necessary arrangements for having it
     embalmed and forwarded to his friends at Caledonia, New

            *       *       *       *

     "On the 14th Col. Howell, who was commanding the division in
     the absence of Gen. Birney, who was absent sick, died of
     injuries received from a fall from his horse, and the
     command of the division devolved upon Col. Pond. Col. Howell
     was highly esteemed, and was a thorough gentleman and a good

     "On the 17th, Sergt. Wilson, Company F, color-sergeant, was
     reduced to the ranks for cowardice, and Sergt. Griffin,
     Company B, appointed in his place.

     "On the 21st, Capt. Thayer resigned.

     "On the 22d, Gen. Birney returned and resumed command of the
     brigade; the division having been temporarily broken up by
     the withdrawal of troops, and Col. Shaw returned to the

     "On the 23d, companies B and C were detailed to garrison
     Fort Steadman.

     "On the evening of the 24th, the regiment was relieved from
     duty in the trenches by the Sixty-ninth New York, and moving
     about two miles to the rear, went into camp with the
     remainder of the brigade--some four miles from City Point.
     Here regular drills and parades were resumed.

     "At 3 P. M. on the 28th, camp was broken, and an hour later
     the brigade followed the two divisions of the corps on the
     road toward Bermuda Hundred. A tedious night-march followed,
     during which the north side of the James was reached by way
     of Broadway and Jones' landings. After an hour or two of
     rest on the morning of the 29th, the brigade moved forward
     as a support to the First Division (Paine's), the First
     Brigade of which, under Col. Duncan, charged and carried the
     enemy's works on Signal-Hill, on the New Market road, beyond
     the line of works taken by the Seventh and Ninth on the 14th
     of August.[32] [See foot-note next page.] * * * The
     Eighteenth Corps at the same time charged and carried Fort
     Harrison and a long line of rebel works. Soon after noon,
     while the brigade, which had been moving by the flank down
     the New Market road, had halted in the road, orders came to
     form column of regiments, faced to the left, in the woods.
     Scarcely had this been done when Gen. Wm. Birney, commanding
     brigade, rode up to the right of the column and ordered the
     Seventh to move off by the right flank. As it was crossing
     the Mill road, Col. Shaw reached the head of the line and
     received from him the order to "form on the right by file
     into line, and charge and take the work that is firing," and
     adding, "if that work is taken when you reach it, push right
     on and take the next _before Gen. Foster can get there_." In
     the meantime the Ninth had charged a work on the right and
     had been repulsed, and the commanding officer of the Eighth
     had been ordered to send four companies deployed as
     skirmishers to take the work to the left, but when Major
     Wagner found how strong it was he halted his line and
     remained in advance as skirmishers. As the regiment was
     forming for the charge, behind the crest of a knoll, Capt.
     Bailey, Gen. Birney's Adjutant-General, rode up to Col. Shaw
     with the order to send four companies deployed as
     skirmishers to 'attack and take the work that is firing.'
     Col. Shaw replied that he had orders to charge it with his
     regiment, to which Capt. Bailey answered, 'well, _now_ the
     General directs you to send four companies, deployed as
     skirmishers, to take the work.' Lieut.-Col. Haskell, being
     absent on leave, and Maj. Mayer sick, companies C, D, G and
     K were placed under command of Capt. Weiss, who, when he
     received the order to charge, replied, 'what! take a fort
     with a skirmish line?' and then added, 'I will try, but it
     can't be done.' What followed can best be described by
     quoting his own words:

     "Captain Weiss says: 'I at once, about 1 P. M., ordered the
     four companies on the right of the regiment, C, D, G and K,
     twenty-five or thirty paces to the front, where a slight
     depression in the ground secured them from the eyes, if not
     the projectiles, of the enemy. After being deployed by the
     flank on the right of the second company from the right, the
     command advanced in ordinary quick step against the
     objective point. Emerging from the swale into view, it
     became at once the target for a seemingly redoubled fire,
     not only from the fort in front, but also from the one on
     _its_ right. The fire of the latter had been reported
     silenced, but instead, from its position to the left
     oblique, it proved even more destructive than that of the
     one in front.

     "'Both forts were most advantageously situated for defense,
     at the extremity of a plain, variously estimated at from 500
     to 700 yards wide, whose dead level surface afforded at no
     point shelter from view or shot to an assailing party. The
     forts were connected by a curtain of rifle-pits containing a
     re-entrant angle, thus providing for a reciprocal enfilading
     fire in case either was attacked.

     "'The nature of the ground and the small altitude of the
     ordnance above the level of the plain also made the fire in
     the nature of a ricochet.

     "'As the party advanced the enemy's shell and schrapnel were
     exchanged for grape and cannister, followed soon by a lively
     rattle of musketry. When within range of the latter, and
     after having traversed about three-fourths of the distance,
     the order to charge was given and obeyed with an alacrity
     that seemed to make the execution almost precede the order.
     For a moment, judging from the slacking of their fire, the
     enemy seemed to be affected by a panicky astonishment, but
     soon recovering, they opened again with cannister and
     musketry, which, at the shorter range, tore through the
     ranks with deadlier effect. Capt. Smith and Lieut. Prime,
     both of Company G, here fell grievously wounded, while forty
     or fifty enlisted-men dotted the plain with their prostrate

     "'In a few minutes the ditch of the fort was reached. It was
     some six or seven feet deep and ten or twelve wide, the
     excavated material sufficing for the embankments of the
     fort. Some 120 men and officers precipitated themselves into
     it, many losing their lives at its very edge. After a short
     breathing spell men were helped up the exterior of the
     parapet on the shoulders of others; fifty or sixty being
     thus disposed an attempt was made to storm the fort. At the
     signal nearly all rose, but the enemy, lying securely
     sheltered behind the interior slope, the muzzles of their
     guns almost touching the storming party, received the latter
     with a crushing fire, sending many into the ditch below shot
     through the brain or breast. Several other attempts were
     made with like result, till at last forty or fifty of the
     assailants were writhing in the ditch or resting forever.

     "'The defense having been obviously re-enforced meanwhile
     from other points not so directly attacked, and having armed
     the gunners with muskets, it was considered impolitic to
     attempt another storm with the now greatly reduced force on
     hand, especially as the cessation of the artillery fire of
     the fort was considered a sufficient hint to the commander
     of the Union forces that the attacking party had come to
     close quarters and were proper subjects for re-enforcements.
     No signs, however, of the latter appearing, it was decided
     to surrender, especially as the rebels had now commenced to
     roll lighted shells among the stormers, against which there
     was no defense, thus inviting demoralization. Seven
     officers, Capts. Weiss and McCarty, Lieuts. Sherman, Mack,
     Spinney, Ferguson and Eler, and from seventy to eighty
     enlisted-men, delivered up their arms to an enemy gallant
     enough to have fought for a better cause.

     "'Many, in mounting the parapet, could not help taking a
     last mournful look on their dead comrades in the ditch,
     whose soldierly qualities had endeared them to their best
     affections; and many, without for a moment selfishly looking
     at their own dark future, were oppressed with inexpressible
     sadness when reflecting on the immensity of the sacrifice
     and the deplorableness of the result. It was a time for
     manly tears.'

     "Lieut. Spinney gives the following account of the charge
     against Fort Gilmer:

     "'The charge was made in quick time, in open order of about
     three paces, until we could plainly see the enemy; then the
     order was given by Capt. Weiss to 'double-quick,' which was
     promptly obeyed, the line preserving its order as upon
     drill. Upon arriving at the ditch there was no wavering, but
     every man jumped into the trap from which but one man
     returned that day (George W. Washington, Company D.)

     "'Upon looking about us after getting into the ditch we
     found there was but one face where the enemy could not touch
     us, so all the survivors rallied at that face. Then
     commenced a scene which will always be very fresh in my

     "'Capt. Weiss gave orders to raise men upon the parapet,
     which was done by two men assisting one to climb. Capt.
     Weiss, having from thirty to forty men up, attempted to gain
     the inside of the fort, but he with all of his storming
     party were knocked back, either killed or wounded, into the
     ditch. A second attempt was made with the same result,
     Lieut. Ferguson being wounded by a bullet across the top of
     his head. A third attempt was made with no better success.

     "'The enemy during this time had been rolling shell upon us,
     and calling upon us to surrender, which was answered by some
     of the men in the words, 'we will show you how to
     surrender,' at the same time rising and firing into the
     fort. One of these men I remember to have been Perry
     Wallace, Company D.

     "'Upon a consultation of the officers who were in the ditch,
     it was decided to surrender what was left of the command. I
     was still upon the face of the parapet, when Lieut. Sherman
     passed me a handkerchief which I raised upon the point of my
     sword. But the rebels, fearing it was only done to gain a
     foothold, would not take notice of it, but called upon me to
     come in, which I did, and met with a warm reception at their
     hands, being plucked of all they could lay hands upon. An
     adjutant of an Alabama regiment coming up, ordered his men
     to return to me what they had taken, but this was not done,
     however. I stated that our men had disarmed themselves and
     were ready to give up the hopeless struggle. Still they
     would not believe me, but made me mount the parapet first,
     when they had the courage to do so themselves, when the
     remnant of the four companies marched into the fort.

     "'The march to Richmond was one continued insult from the
     troops that were hurrying to the front; one man being
     determined to kill Capt. Weiss, whom he thought was not
     humble enough. The female portion of the inhabitants were
     also very insolent.

     "'Upon arriving at Libby Prison the officer in charge asked
     the commander of our guard if the 'niggers' would fight. His
     answer was, 'by G--d! if you had been there you would have
     thought so. They marched up just as if they were on drill,
     not firing a shot.'

     "'After being lodged in Libby, Salisbury and Danville
     prisons, we were returned to Richmond about February 17th,
     paroled on the 21st, and reached our lines on the 22d.'

     "An article in the New York _Herald_ of November 4th, 1864,
     copied from a rebel newspaper, arguing for the arming of
     slaves, has in it the following passage:

     "'But A. B. says that negroes will not fight. We have before
     us a letter from a distinguished general (we wish we were at
     liberty to use his name and influence) who says 'Fort Gilmer
     proved the other day that they would fight. They raised each
     other on the parapet to be shot as they appeared above.'

     "The officer referred to was understood to be Gen. Lee.

     "After the four companies had disappeared in the ditch of
     the fort, Capt. Pratt, with Company F, was ordered to move
     forward as near the work as he could get and keep down its
     fire and cover their retreat. Capt. Smith and Lieut. Prime
     came back, both severely wounded. Later in the day companies
     A, B, E and I, under Capt. Spaulding, moved to the left and
     relieved the four companies of the Eighth, who were out of
     ammunition. Co. F lost two men killed and twenty-three
     wounded, and the four companies under Capt. Spaulding had
     eleven men killed and wounded. Lieut. Teeple, commanding
     Company I, was wounded in the arm, but remained in command
     of his company during the day.

     "Four companies annihilated, 70 killed, 110 wounded and 129
     missing tells the story of Fort Gilmer.

     "The regiment, or what was left of it, remained at the front
     until 9 o'clock P. M., when the wounded were gathered
     together and it moved half a mile to the rear and slept on
     its arms.

     "This day proved the most unfortunate one in the history of
     the regiment. The storming of a strong field-work, whose
     garrison was on the alert, with a thin skirmish line without
     supports, resulted as could easily have been foreseen.
     First, the Ninth was sent unsupported to charge a work to
     the left of Fort Gilmer, across an open field where its line
     was enfiladed by the enemy's fire, and was repulsed; then
     four companies of the Eighth, as skirmishers, were sent
     against the same work, with no better success, and after
     this bitter experience, four companies of the Seventh were
     sent to their destruction on an errand equally hopeless. Had
     the brigade been sent together, instead of its three
     regiments in detail, the rebel line would have been carried
     and the road to Richmond opened to us. This is no
     conjecture. The testimony of a rebel staff-officer on duty
     at Fort Gilmer, and that of our own officers who were
     captured, fully substantiate the statement.

     "About noon on the following day, the 30th, the regiment
     moved a mile to the left and went into the rifle-pits to the
     left of Fort Harrison. Soon after, the rebel Maj.-Gen.
     Field, who had commanded the Ft. Gilmer line the day
     previous, made a determined assault on Fort Harrison from
     one side, while Hoke's division attacked on the other; but
     the attack was not made simultaneously and was repulsed with
     heavy loss. While this charge was being made, Col. Shaw was
     struck on the head by a rifle bullet, but was uninjured. The
     next morning the rebels opened their batteries on our line.
     During the cannonade, Lieut. Bjornmark was wounded in the
     foot by the fragment of a shell.

     "The following is the report of Capt. Weiss to the
     commanding officer of the regiment, announcing his arrival
     in Richmond:

     "'LIBBY PRISON, RICHMOND, VA., September 30, 1864.

     "'_Sir_:--I respectfully inform you that the following
     officers of the Seventh U. S. C. T. are here, prisoners:
     Capts. Weiss and McCarty, Lieuts. Mack, Sherman, Eler,
     Ferguson and Spinney. Lieut. Ferguson and myself are wounded
     in the head, but doing well.

     "'Please inform our friends of the above, and oblige,

         "'Yours, on the part of my associates,

             "'JULIUS A. WEISS,

                 "'_Capt. Seventh U. S. C. T._"

     "On the 5th of October, the regiment was relieved from duty
     in the trenches by the Eight, and moving a short distance to
     the rear, went into camp near division headquarters.

     "On the 6th, Gen. Birney divided the regiments of his
     command into two brigades. The First Brigade, composed of
     the Seventh, Ninth and One Hundred and Twenty-seventh, was
     placed under command of Col. Voris, of the Sixty-seventh
     Ohio, although each regiment had a colonel serving with it;
     and the Second, composed of the Eighth, Twenty-ninth and
     Forty-fifth, under Lieut.-Col. Armstrong, of the Ninth.
     Capt. Rice returned from sick-leave the same day and was
     assigned to the command of Company A, his own company (K)
     having disappeared in the _melee_ of the 29th of September.

     "During the forenoon of the 7th, the enemy attacked in force
     on the right, driving in Kautz's cavalry and capturing
     Elder's battery of the First United States Artillery, but
     was checked and driven back by the First Division of the
     Tenth Corps. The regiment was moved to the right, and after
     changing positions several times, went into the trenches
     near the New Market road.

     "On the afternoon of the 12th, orders came for the regiment
     to be ready to move in light marching order, and later it
     moved out about half of a mile to the front and right, and
     deployed two companies as skirmishers. Shortly after dark it
     was withdrawn to the position it held earlier in the day. A
     cold rain was falling, and as the men were without
     overcoats, they suffered considerably.

     "About 3 o'clock on the morning of the 13th, our own
     division (Third), together with the First, moved out of camp
     and marched to the right until it reached the Darbytown
     road. Here it formed line, and advancing through the thick
     undergrowth finally lay down in front of the enemy's works
     to await developments. At 10 o'clock the First Division,
     which, with the cavalry, had gone to the right, charged the
     enemy's line, but failed to break it and had to withdraw
     with considerable loss. About noon the regiment relieved the
     Eighth on the skirmish line. Capt. Dickey, of the Eighth,
     was killed during the movement. Here it remained until about
     4 o'clock, when, the remainder of the division having been
     withdrawn, it fell back covering the movement of the corps
     and returned to its old camp on the New Market road. * * *

     "The regiment remained in camp until the 26th, furnishing in
     the meantime a large picket detail, together with details
     for fatigue, employed in the construction of earthworks,
     abattis, etc. On this date Col. Voris was relieved from
     command of the brigade by Col. Shaw, Lieut.-Col. Haskell
     taking command of the regiment.

     "On the evening of this day orders were received for the
     regiment to be ready to move on the following morning, with
     three days' cooked rations, and in light marching order. At
     5 A. M. we moved out of camp and took the road toward the
     right. The Eighteenth, as well as our own corps, was in
     motion. The orders were for the Tenth Corps to threaten the
     enemy's line near the Darbytown road, while the Eighteenth
     moving by the rear to the right, was to strike their left
     flank. If they weakened their line in its front, the Tenth
     Corps was to advance. The whole movement being made to cover
     the advance of the Army of the Potomoc against the rebel
     lines covering Hatcher's run and the Boydtown plank-road.

     "Marching about two miles to the right we struck the
     Darbytown road, when line of battle was formed to the left,
     and moved forward through the woods, and, in places, almost
     impassable undergrowth--the Seventh having the left of the
     division as well of the line. Our ears were soon greeted
     with the scattering fire of our skirmish line, interspersed
     by the crashing of an occasional shell through the
     tree-tops. After an advance of half a mile the division
     halted to await the result of the attack on the right. The
     irregular skirmish fire soon swelled out into long, heavy
     volleys, deepened by the hoarser notes of the artillery.
     From 8 A. M. until 8 P. M. we lay and listened to this
     concert of diabolical sounds, momentarily expecting the
     order would be passed along the line to advance. About 11 A.
     M. it began to rain, which continued until far into the
     night. At 8 P. M. we fell back out of the woods, behind an
     old line of rebel rifle-pits, and bivouacked for the night
     near Kell's House.

     "At 3 o'clock the following morning we were ordered in to
     relieve the Twenty-ninth on the picket-line. The clouds had
     cleared away and the air was keen and cold. We felt our way
     through the dense, dripping undergrowth to the musical
     accompaniment of rebel bullets singing above our heads. By
     daybreak we were in position along the edge of a belt of
     woods, something less than a quarter of a mile from the
     rebel works. Their skirmishers kept up a lively fire all
     through the forenoon, and as a consequence we lost some
     thirty odd men, killed and wounded, from their fire. About 3
     P. M. orders were given to fall back, but through some
     misunderstanding, the two companies holding the extreme left
     of the line failed to receive the order, and held their
     ground until their retreat was nearly cut off by the rebel
     advance, when they fell back without orders, meeting on
     their way the remainder of the brigade coming to their
     rescue. The same evening the troops returned to their camps.

     "Here ended our fighting for the fall. * * *

     "On the 28th, Gen. Birney returned and relieved Gen. Hawley
     in command of the division, which he had held during the
     absence of the former in Philadelphia, where he had gone
     about the 21st to attend the funeral of his brother,
     Maj.-Gen. D. B. Birney. Col. Shaw was placed permanently in
     command of the First Brigade, and Col. Wright, Tenth U. S.
     C. T., of the Second.

     "About the 30th, a general order was received from Gen.
     Butler thanking Capt. Weiss and the officers under him for
     their gallant conduct on the 29th, and saying that their
     absence in prison alone prevented their promotion.

     "On the 1st of November, the division was reviewed by Gen.
     Birney, and the proclamation of the Governor of Maryland,
     announcing the adoption of the constitutional amendment
     abolishing slavery in that State, was read to the command.
     This paper, which conveyed to the men the knowledge that
     their wives and children were no longer slaves, produced an
     effect more easily imagined than described.

            *       *       *       *

     "On the 5th, Capt. Cheney and Lieut. Teeple, with companies
     H and I, were detached from the regiment to garrison Fort
     'No. 3,' at Spring Hill--a work on the right flank of the
     Army of the James--where they remained until the 6th of

     "On the 1st of December, the reorganization of the Tenth and
     Eighteenth Corps was determined upon. The white troops of
     the two corps were consolidated and formed the
     Twenty-fourth Corps, under Gen. Foster; and the colored
     troops of the Ninth, Tenth and Eighteenth Corps, with other
     colored troops not assigned, formed the Twenty-fifth Corps,
     under Gen. Weitzel. Its three divisions were commanded by
     Gens. Wild, Birney and Paine, respectively. The First
     Brigade of Birney's division was made up of the Seventh, One
     Hundred and Ninth, One Hundred and Sixteenth and One hundred
     and Seventeenth, under Col. Shaw. The Forty-first
     Forty-fifth and One Hundred and Twenty-seventh had at
     different times been attached to the brigade--_to learn our
     ways_, as they said at headquarters. Eventually, however,
     the One Hundred and Fifteenth was substituted for the One
     Hundred and Seventeenth in the brigade.

     "On the 4th, a general re-assignment of positions was made.
     The Seventh moved from the New Market road to Fort Burnham
     (Harrison), which was garrisoned by the First Brigade. The
     Second Brigade, under Doubleday, was on our right, and the
     Third on our left. The Second Brigade joined the
     Twenty-fourth Corps, near the New Market road, and Paine's
     division was on our left and extended to the river. The
     other division was in reserve to the rear. The Seventh was
     under command of Lieut.-Col. Pratt, and so remained during
     the remainder of our stay in Virginia."

The prolonged but decisive struggle began to draw near. General Grant
had pushed the troops nearer and closer, at every opportunity, to the
beleaguered cities, until they were well-nigh completely invested.
General Sherman's splendid victories influenced the veteran corps lying
before these places, and filled them with the spirit of sure success.
The intrepid commander, having reached North Carolina, visited Grant at
the latter's headquarters at City Point, where he also found President
Lincoln, and received their congratulations for his successful march to
the sea, which achievement had not been surpassed by any of the
undertakings of either Hannibal or Bonaparte in point of daring and
strategy. An important conference then took place, and on the 28th of
March Sherman returned to his command.


Grant throughout the winter had been preparing for the spring campaign.
The Phalanx regiments heretofore in the 9th, 10th and 18th Corps had
been consolidated, and formed the 25th Corps, under the command of
Major-General Godfrey Weitzel, who at New Orleans refused to command
negro troops. The Corps was divided into three divisions, with
Brigadier-Generals Wilde, Birney and Paine as commanders. Major-General
Ord had succeeded to the command of the Army of the James, then
numbering about 28,000 effective men, and was to take part with three
divisions of his command in the onward movement to commence on the 29th
of March, while Weitzel was to command the remainder of the troops north
of the James and at Bermuda Hundreds.

Lee, as though he had knowledge of Grant's intention and meant to
frustrate his plans by taking the initiative, attacked the 9th Corps at
Fort Steadman on the 25th, with signal success. He was finally repulsed,
however, and Grant began moving the Union troops. On the morning of the
29th, General Birney with the 2nd Division of the 25th Corps was near
Hatcher's Run, with General Ord's command. The division consisted of
three brigades of Phalanx Infantry, commanded by Colonels James Shaw,
Jr., Ulysses Doubleday and William W. Woodward. A brigade of artillery
commanded by Captain Louis L. Langdon was attached to the Corps; but,
owing to the country being wooded, it was of little use, and most of it
was left on the north side with General Weitzel.

On the same day Sheridan reached Dinwiddie, and the next morning he
encountered the confederates near the Court House. Here were W. H. F.
Lee's Cavalry, Picket's and Bushrod Johnson's divisions of Infantry, and
Wise's brigade. Sheridan made the attack. His men, on account of the
marshy ground, had to dismount. The confederates fought desperately, but
Sheridan's men contested every inch of ground, and at night fell back to
Dinwiddie Court House and bivouacked. The 5th Corps came up during the
night to attack the confederates in the rear; but at daylight it was
found that they had fallen back to Five Forks. Here was found the
cavalry of W. H. F. Lee and Fitzhugh Lee, with Ross', Picket's, Wise's
and Johnson's divisions of infantry. On the morning of the 1st of April,
Sheridan advanced the 5th Corps toward Five Forks. That afternoon it
fell upon Picket's rear, and now began the decisive battle. The roar was
deafening. Night was coming on, and Sheridan was anxious to carry out
Grant's order and "end the matter if possible to do so." He gave the
order, "Charge bayonets!" In five minutes Picket's outer line was in
possession of the federals. Crawford's division struck them in the
flank, and, with McKenzie's brigade, routed and sent the confederates
flying. The 5th Corps rallied and captured the enemy's entire force in
their front. General Sheridan says in report:


A Phalanx guard refusing to allow General U. S. Grant to pass by the
commissary store-house till he had thrown away his cigar.]

     "The enemy were driven from their strong line of works,
     completely routed, the Fifth Corps doubling up their left
     flank in confusion, and the cavalry of General Merritt
     dashing on to the White Oak Road, capturing their artillery,
     turning it upon them, and riding into their broken ranks, so
     demoralized them that they made no serious stand after their
     line was carried, but took flight in disorder."

The writer well remembers the eagerness of the Phalanx brigade of
Colonel Shaw, composed of the 109th, 116th and 7th Regiments, as they
waited orders near Hatcher's Run. The sound of distant guns fell upon
their ears; Colonel Shaw was impatient; all seemed to feel the end was
near, and wanted to lend a hand in the consummation. Oh, what suspense!
The brigade lay upon their arms in a state of great agitation, all that
night, waiting for orders to advance upon the foe. Who can tell the
thoughts of those brave black soldiers as thus they lay upon the
rumbling earth. Fathers, mothers, sisters, wives and children, yet
slaves, behind the enemy's guns: precious property they are, and guarded
like dearest treasure and even life itself, by an army of
slave-holders--Lee's men, who, with the desperation of demons, vainly
attempted to check the advance of the men of the North, who, with their
lives, defended the Union. The black brigade wanted to strike one more
blow for freedom--for the freedom of their wives and children--to make
one more charge, and the confederate banner should go down; one more
charge, and the light of Liberty's stars should blazon over the ramparts
of the confederate forts. At length, with the dawning of day, came the
order; then the black brigade went forward, but to find the enemy gone
and their works deserted.

The confederate lines were broken, and Sheridan's troopers, McKenzie and
Merritt, with their cavalry, although it was night, had followed up the
fleeing foe, capturing them by thousands. The brigade pushed on along
the captured works. The federal batteries, from every mound and hill,
were showering shot and shell into the enemy's inner works; while the
gleaming bayonets of the thousands of infantry could be seen as far as
the eye could reach, their proud banners kissing the stifling air, and
the bugles sounding the "forward march," leaving in their rear smoking
camps and blazing dwellings. What a Sunday morning was that, with its
thunders of terrific war, instead of the mellow chimes of church bells
and the repose of peace.

It was late in the afternoon, and huge, black clouds of smoke rolled up
out of the city of Petersburg, and then a loud report, told that the
confederates had evacuated it. Away to the left, the huzzas of Colonel
Doubleday's Phalanx brigade (2nd) were heard. Now came a race to reach
the city, between the 7th and 8th Phalanx regiments. No matter which was
first, they were among the troops which took possession of the city, and
gladdened the hearts of the negro population, as they marched through
the streets singing their battle song:

    "We will hang Jeff Davis on a sour apple-tree as we go marching on."

It was a glorious victory, bringing freedom to thousands of slaves,
though it cost as many lives and millions of treasure. It was the
beginning of the end. The confederates deserted their army by thousands.
The South Side Railroad was in the hands of the federals, and starvation
threatened the enemy. Lee, says a historian, was no longer himself: he
rode wildly through his camps hither, and thither, trying to save his
shattered and routed soldiers from annihilation.

The defeat at Five Forks settled the fate of the Army of North Virginia.
Grant had almost the entire federal army actively engaged; he stopped
the exchange of prisoners, invited President Lincoln, then at City
Point, to come out and see the army advance, which he did. He met Grant
in the city of Petersburg, amid the exultations of the troops and the
joyous demonstrations of the negro population. General Lee made no stop
at Richmond; he had informed Jefferson Davis that he must give up the
city. The latter, with his aids and all the money he could collect,--not
the confederate paper, but the gold of the United States,--stampeded.

General Weitzel, with Kautz's division of the 24th Corps and Thomas' and
Ashborne's division of the 25th Corps, on the north side of the James
river, lay quietly upon their arms during the fight on the south side.
Grant kept Weitzel informed as to the results of the attack, and warned
him to be on the alert and take every advantage offered, to press the
confederates. General Longstreet's forces had been in Weitzel's front,
but were partly withdrawn to defend Petersburg; therefore the latter
kept unceasing vigil upon the fortifications before him.

Sunday evening the bands were ordered out to play, and it was late into
the night when their melodious strains ceased to float through the air.
It was a night long to be remembered, the hearts of the black soldiers
of the 25th Corps, gladdened by the reports of the victories of the
troops before Petersburg, were jubilant, and with vigilant watch each
looked for morning. They were impatient for the light, and ere it dawned
they were ready for the onset which they believed must come with it. The
enemy whom they supposed were preparing to give them battle, was
silently stealing away to the enchanting strains of the Federal
musicians. It was near the morning hours when a sudden report startled
the sleeping soldiers; an explosion, another, and yet another followed
in rapid succession.

General Weitzel soon became satisfied that the enemy was moving, the
continuous sound of distant cannonading away to the south, told that the
combat still raged. From the signal tower bright lights were
discernable at Richmond. The city appeared to be on fire; a confederate
picket was captured, but he knew nothing; he had got astray from his
comrades and command. A deserter came in with intelligence that the city
was being evacuated, and half an hour later a negro drove into camp and
gave information that the enemy was flying.

The ground in front was thickly set with torpedoes, and the troops dared
not move. Day came and Colonel Draper's black brigade of the 25th Corps
went forward. The road was lumbered with all manner and sort of military
gear and munitions of war. Keeping clear of the red flags which marked
the torpedoes, the troops pushed on; they soon reached the defences of
the city to find them untenanted; the negro had told the truth and the
Phalanx brigade entered the city welcomed by thousands of happy
kinsfolks. Badeau says:

     "The sun was an hour up, when suddenly there rose in the
     streets the cry of 'Yankees! Yankees!' and the mass of
     plunderers and rioters, cursing, screaming, trampling on
     each other, alarmed by an enemy not yet in sight, madly
     strove to extricate themselves and make an opening for the
     troops. Soon about forty men of the Fourth Massachusetts
     Cavalry rode into the crowd, and, trotting straight to the
     public square, planted their guidons on the Capitol.
     Lieutenant De Peyster, of Weitzel's staff, a New Yorker
     eighteen years of age, was the first to raise the national
     colors, and then, in the morning light of the 3d of April,
     the flag of the United States once more floated over

     "The command of Weitzel followed--a long blue line--with
     gun-barrels gleaming, and bands playing 'Hail Columbia' and
     'John Brown's Soul Goes Marching On.' One regiment was
     black.[33] The magistrates formally surrendered the city to
     Weitzel at the Capitol, which stands on a hill in the centre
     of the town, and overlooks the whole country for miles. The
     national commander at once set about restoring order and
     extinguishing the flames. Guards were established,
     plundering was stopped, the negroes were organized into a
     fire corps, and by night the force of the conflagration was
     subdued, the rioting was at an end, and the conquered city
     was rescued by the efforts of its captors from the evils
     which its own authorities had allowed, and its own
     population had perpetrated."


Abraham Lincoln riding through Richmond, April 4th, 1865, after the
evacuation of the city by the Confederates.]

Lee and his famishing host were fleeing towards Danville, hotly pursued
by the Federal Army. Resting there until the 5th they resumed the march,
fighting and running, until, at Appomattox they gave up and surrendered.
Major Alexandria S. Johnson of the 116th Phalanx Regiment thus relates
the story in part which the Phalanx brigade took in the memorable
movement of the two armies to Appomattox. He says:

     "As a participant in these events I will speak merely of
     what came under my own observation. The One Hundred and
     Sixteenth (colored) Infantry, in which I commanded a
     company, belonged to the Third Brigade, Second Division of
     the Twenty-fifth Army Corps, and during the winter of
     1864-65 held the lines on Chapin's farm, the left resting on
     Fort Burnham. The division was commanded by Major-General
     Birney. The winter was passed in endeavoring to get the
     troops in as high a state of discipline as possible by
     constant drill and watchful training. When the spring opened
     we had the satisfaction of feeling that they were the equal,
     as soldiers, of most of the white troops. They were a
     contented body, being well fed and clothed, and they took
     delight in their various duties. The news of the capture of
     Savannah by Sherman and the defeat of Hood at Nashville had
     a cheering effect upon the whole command, and we looked
     forward with confidence that the end was drawing near.

     "On the night of the 26th of March our division silently
     left the lines on Chapin's farm, and marching to the rear
     some three miles went into bivouac. On the night of the 27th
     we crossed the James on muffled pontoons, and after a weary
     march arrived at Hatcher's Run at daybreak of the 28th.
     Crossing the original lines of breastworks we built new
     breastworks some two hundred yards in advance and bivouacked
     in the pine woods awaiting events. Sheridan at this time was
     operating on the Confederate right flank. The news of his
     decisive victory at Five Forks and of the complete turning
     of the enemy's flank was the immediate cause of a verbal
     order, given to company commanders by our colonel on the
     afternoon of April 1st, to advance on the lines in our front
     at dawn on the following day. That night the Union artillery
     opened along the whole line. Hissing and bursting shells
     from Appomattox river to Hatcher's Run filled in a scene
     never to be forgotten by those who witnessed it. It was as
     if demons incarnate were holding a jubilee. As far as the
     eye could reach there was one blaze of fiery shot. The world
     has seldom seen its like. Where our brigade was to operate
     was a dense wilderness of pines with matted underbrush, but
     in the morning it looked as though a sirocco had kissed it.

     "With the dawn of day the brigade was in line of battle. Not
     a breath of air was stirring. A misty vapor shed its gloom
     and hung like a pall among the tree-tops. The silk covers
     were taken from our flags, but their folds hung lazily along
     the staff when the command, 'Forward! guide centre! march!'
     was given. At first slashed timber and brush obstructed our
     way, but as the obstruction began to cease an obstacle in
     the shape of a long line of abattis met our gaze. The dusky
     line broke through the abattis, however, as if the stakes
     had been so many reeds, and charged over the breastworks and
     into the Confederate camp. The rush must have been a
     surprise, as the enemy offered little resistance. In front
     of one of the tents a Federal sergeant (white) lay dead, his
     right arm extended to the full length, and firmly clenched
     in his hand was a piece of fancy soap. A bullet had entered
     his forehead, the blood from the wound was trickling down
     his face, but the hue of health was still on his cheek. How
     he came to be there is to me a mystery, as that part of the
     line was forced by colored troops. Swinging by the right
     flank we kept our way along the Boydton road. A Confederate
     light battery in position alongside of a cottage, which
     stood in a hollow, shelled the column as it advanced, and so
     accurate had the gunners got the range that almost every
     shell did damage. A couple of shells burst together above my
     company. The flash blinded me for a few seconds. I heard a
     scream of pain and just then was ordered to lie down. Not
     twenty yards from me was a wounded soldier. His leg was
     shattered badly. He prayed and sang hymns alternately, but
     his voice gradually grew weaker until it ended in death. One
     of our batteries was brought into position, and engaging the
     Confederate battery, the latter was silenced, when the
     column again resumed the march, arriving in front of
     Petersburg about noon.

     "It was the intention of General Birney to carry by assault
     the main fort which commanded the city, and he deployed the
     division in line of battle for that purpose, but General
     Ord, coming up in time, ordered him to retire his division
     out of range and await further orders. We went into bivouac
     for the night, and at early dawn of the 3d we entered the
     city, the Confederates having evacuated the forts during the
     night. The field music played "John Brown's Body," and a
     tiny Union flag in the hands of a girl of ten years waved us
     a welcome. Resting an hour in the city the division started
     in pursuit of the Confederates. For a mile or two outside of
     the city the road was strewn with plug tobacco. Blood could
     be seen also at intervals in patches along the road. We
     bivouacked some fifteen miles from the city. A few of our
     officers took supper in a house close to our camping ground.
     Our fare was "corn pone," scraps of bacon, sorghum molasses,
     and a solution of something called coffee, for which we each
     gave our host, a middle-aged Virginian, one dollar. The
     colored troops being encamped on his farm his indignation
     was stirred and he exclaimed, while the tears trickled down
     his cheeks, 'Poor old Virginia! poor old Virginia! that I
     should have lived to see this day!'

     "At dawn of the 4th the column resumed the pursuit. It is
     needless for me to tell in detail how our cavalry destroyed
     and burned over five hundred Confederate wagons on the 5th
     and 6th, and how Ewell's command was defeated and captured
     at Sailor's creek on the 6th. Our brigade having arrived at
     Farmville on the afternoon of the 6th and encamped for the
     night, some of the citizens poured forth pitiful tales to
     our officers. They told how our cavalry had entered their
     houses and ripped open their feather beds, how the rude
     troopers had broken open bureaus and chests in search of
     valuables, and how they had carried away with them what they
     could find. Nothing of interest took place until the 8th,
     which was noted for the forced march made by the brigade,
     starting at daybreak and going into bivouac at twelve
     midnight. The morning of the 9th broke calm and serene. It
     was a lovely morning, the sun had not yet gotten above the
     horizon when the brigade was on the march again, but it went
     only a short distance when it was halted. To the right of
     the road, in a clearing, was a portion of the Twenty-fourth
     Corps, with arms stacked and the men cooking breakfast.
     Sides of bacon at intervals hung from their bayonets.
     Although the woods were full of our cavalry and three
     divisions of our infantry were in close proximity, all was
     as quiet as a Sabbath morning. One of our batteries, some
     six hundred yards to the right, broke the stillness by
     fitfully throwing a shell once in a while, but to a
     looker-on all seemed inaction. Such was the situation at
     Appomattox at sunrise on the morning of the 9th.

     "Our brigade, after resting some thirty minutes, resumed the
     march. It soon filed to the right. In a few minutes the
     command was given--'Right shoulder, shift arms! double
     quick, march!' Onward we went, the objective point being the
     Lynchburg pike. Dismounted cavalry retreating from the front
     broke through the column, saying as they passed us, 'Give it
     to them, boys! they are too many for us!' In a few minutes
     the head of the column reached the pike, when it halted and
     faced to the front. The command--'Unsling knapsacks!'--was
     given, and then we knew we were stripping for a fight.
     Skirmishers were deployed on our front, and as we advanced
     the Confederate skirmishers retired before us. After
     advancing some eight hundred yards the brigade was ordered
     to halt and form in line of battle. It formed into column of
     companies. Some eight hundred yards away was the Army of
     Northern Virginia, with its three lines of battle awaiting

     "We had not been at a halt more than twenty minutes when the
     news of Lee's surrender reached us. Our brigade celebrated
     the event by firing volleys of musketry in the air. Officers
     hugged each other with joy. About four hundred yards to the
     rear was a portion of the Twenty-fourth Corps, which had
     been marching to our support. The men in that long line
     threw their caps upwards until they looked like a flock of
     crows. From wood and dale came the sound of cheers from
     thousands of throats. Appomattox will never hear the like
     again. The brigade moved forward a short distance and went
     into camp some three hundred yards from the Confederate
     camp. In the afternoon I strolled over the ground we had
     traversed in the morning. I came across the body of a dead
     Confederate soldier, covered with a blanket. Some one had
     taken the shoes from his feet. Uncovering him I found that a
     shot had pierced his right breast. His white cotton shirt
     was matted with blood. A small bag was attached to the
     button-hole of his jacket. Undoing the bag I found it
     contained sixty ounces of corn meal. He was not over
     twenty-six years of age, and was of fair complexion. Who
     knows but he was the last soldier who fell belonging to the
     Army of Northern Virginia?"

It was Palm Sunday, celebrated by many of the followers of Christ as the
day of his triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, a day of great rejoicing
among Christians, known in our annual calendar as the 9th day of April,
1865. The morning broke clear and bright in the neighborhood of
Appomattox Court House, and there was every evidence of spring. The
birds chirped in the trees half clad with the early foliage, which
trembled in the soft breeze. Along the roadside yet untrod by the
hostile feet of man or steed, the tiny floweret buds had begun to open
to the warmth of genial nature, and the larger roses, red and white,
cast their fragrance to the lingering winds. Here the half clad, sore
footed soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia, were trembling with
dread impatience for the onset,--the inevitable--which would decide
their fate and their prospect of reaching the mountains just beyond. In
front of them the federal cavalry awaited their coming.

It was yet grey in the morning when General Lee sent word to his
Lieutenant Gordon to cut his "_way through at all hazards_." With the
impetuosity of a cyclone, his shattered corps rushed upon the dismounted
cavalry in their front, the Federal line quivered, and bent to the gale.
On and on they came, pressing closer and closer upon the cavalry. The
struggle was becoming desperate, it was the last hope of the
confederates they must go through the lines, or perish in the attempt.
Again the confederate yell rose above the din of the battle's roar, and
soon the cavalry fell back. Where was their leader Sheridan? He came,
galloping at break-neck speed, his men cheering him as he rode to the
front. He had been to the rear some five miles away. He saw at a glance
the daring object of the foe, and ordered his men to fall back slowly.
The confederates followed up the wavering line with brightened hopes,
but hopes that were to be dissipated; soon the bristling bayonets, and
glistening musket barrels of the Army of the James gleamed in their
front; then the pressure ceased, and Sheridan's bugle sounded the order
to mount, and his troopers dashed themselves against the enemy's left
flank. Then, one bearing a white flag--a flag of truce, rode to the
front of the confederate lines. Capt. J. D. Cook of General Mile's staff
went forward to meet him. It was Colonel Taylor of General Lee's staff;
he bore a note from Lee, asking a suspension of hostilities, and an
interview with General Grant. Now let us go back to the night of the
6th, and trace the flying columns to this point. Badeau says:

     "That night once more the rebels evacuated their works, this
     time in front of Meade, and when morning dawned were far on
     their way, as they fondly thought, to Lynchburg, and Lee
     defiantly informed his pursuer that the emergency for the
     surrender had not yet arrived. But he reckoned without his
     host. He was stretching, with the terrific haste that
     precedes despair, to Appomattox for supplies. He need hardly
     have hastened to that spot, destined to be so fatal to
     himself and his cause. Grant's legions were making more
     haste than he. The marvelous marching, not only of Sheridan,
     but of the men of the Fifth and Twenty-Fourth Corps, was
     doing as much as a battle to bring the rebellion to a close.
     Twenty-eight, thirty-two, thirty-five miles a day in
     succession these infantry soldiers marched, all day and all
     night. From daylight until daylight again, after more than a
     week of labor and fatigue almost unexampled, they pushed on
     to intercept their ancient adversary, while the remainder of
     the Army of the Potomac was at his heels.

     "Finally Lee, still defiant, and refusing to treat with any
     view of surrender, came up to his goal, but found the
     national cavalry had reached the point before him, and that
     the supplies were gone. Still he determined to push his way
     through, and with no suspicion that men on foot could have
     marched from Rice's Station to his front in thirty hours, he
     made his last charge, and discovered a force of infantry
     greater than his own before him, besides cavalry, while two
     corps of the Army of the Potomac were close in his rear. He
     had run straight into the national lines. He was enclosed,
     walled in, on every side, with imminent instant destruction
     impending over him. He instantly offered to submit to Grant,
     and in the agony of alarm, lest the blow should fall, he
     applied to Meade and Sheridan also for a cessation of
     hostilities. Thus in three directions at once he was
     appealing to be allowed to yield. At the same moment he had
     messengers out to Sheridan, Meade, and Grant. The emergency,
     whose existence he had denied, had arrived. He was
     out-marched, out-fought, out-witted, out-generaled--defeated
     in every possible way. He and his army, every man, numbering
     27,516, surrendered. He and his army, every man, was fed by
     the conqueror."

From the date of Lee's surrender, the confederates, from Virginia to the
Mississippi, began to lay down their arms. Howell Cobb surrendered at
Macon, Ga., on the 21st; Johnston surrendered to General Sherman on the
26th, in North Carolina; Dick Taylor, east of the Mississippi, on the
4th of May, and on the 26th Kirby Smith surrendered his forces west of
the Mississippi. Jeff. Davis had been captured, disguised as a woman,
and thus the cause, which originated in treason, based on the
enslavement of a race, and which derived its only chance of success from
men who were false to their oaths, collapsed. The mightiest blow given
the confederacy was struck by the immortal Proclamation of Emancipation,
giving freedom to four millions of slaves; more than two hundred
thousand of whom, with dash and gallantry excelled by no other race,
tore down the traitor's banner from their deemed impregnable breastworks
and planted in its stead the national flag. That emblem, whose crimson
folds, re-baptised in the blood of liberty's martyrs, invited all men,
of all races, who would be free, to gather beneath the effulgent glare
of its heaven-lighted stars, regardless of color, creed or condition.
The Phalanx nobly bore their part all through the long night of
war, and at last they occupied Charleston,--the traitors'
nest,--Petersburg,--their eastern Gibraltar,--and Richmond--their
Capitol. They marched proudly through the streets of these once
impregnable fortresses, in all of which many of the soldiers of the
Phalanx had been slaves. Oh! what a realization of the power of right
over might. What a picture for the historian's immortal pen to paint of
the freemen of America, whose sufferings were long, whose struggle was
gigantic, and whose achievement was a glorious personal and political

At the close of the war, the government, anticipating trouble in Texas,
ordered General Steele to the command of the Rio Grande, under these

                               "WASHINGTON, May 21st, 1865.

     "MAJ. GEN. F. STEELE, Commanding Rio Grande Expedition.

     "By assignment of the President, Gen. Sheridan takes general
     command west of the Arkansas. It is the intention to
     prosecute a vigorous campaign in that country, until the
     whole of Texas is re-occupied by people acknowledging
     allegiance to the Government of the United States. Sheridan
     will probably act offensively from the Red river. But it is
     highly important that we should have a strong foothold upon
     the Rio Grande. You have been selected to take that part of
     the command. In addition to the force you take from Mobile
     Bay, you will have the 25th Corps and the few troops already
     in Southern Texas.

     "Any directions you may receive from Gen. Sheridan, you will
     obey. But in the absence of instructions from him you will
     proceed without delay to the mouth of the Rio Grande and
     occupy as high up that river as your force and means of
     supplying will admit of.

     "Your landing will probably have to be made at Brazos, but
     you will learn more fully upon that matter on your arrival.
     We will have to observe a strict neutrality towards Mexico,
     in the French and English sense of the word. Your own good
     sense and knowledge of international law, and experience of
     policy pursued towards us in this war teaches you what will
     be proper.

                    "Signed, U. S. GRANT, _Lieutenant-General._

         "Official: Signed, GEO. K. LEET, A. A. G."

In the meantime General Grant sent the following dispatches to Generals
Halleck and Weitzel:

                      "WASHINGTON, May 18th, 1865, 12.40 P. M.,

     "MAJOR-GENERAL H. W. HALLECK, Richmond Va.

     "Please direct Major-General Weitzel commanding 25th Army
     Corps to get his corps in readiness for embarkation at City
     Point immediately upon the arrival of ocean transportation.
     He will take with him forty (40) days rations for twenty
     thousand men, one-half of his land transportation and
     one-fourth of his mules with the requisite amount of forage
     for his animals. All surplus transportation and other public
     property he may have he will turn over to the depots at City

     "By command of Lieutenant-General Grant.

                                "Signed, JOHN A. RAWLINS,

                     "_Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff._

         "Official. Signed, GEORGE K. LEET, A. A. G."

       *       *       *       *       *

                          "WASHINGTON, May 21st, 1865.

     "MAJOR-GENERAL G. WEITZEL, Commanding 25th A. C.

     "As soon as your corps is embarked you will proceed with it
     to Mobile Bay, Ala., and report to Major-General Steele for
     further orders.

     "In addition to rations, ammunition, and other articles
     which you have received directions to take with you, you
     should take a fair quantity of intrenching tools.

                  "Signed, U. S. GRANT, _Lieutenant-General._

     "Official, Signed, GEORGE K. LEET, A. A. G."

On the 24th of May the 25th Corps began embarking for Texas by way of
Mobile Bay. The troops, however, occupied Texas but a short time, the
confederate forces there surrendering upon the same terms as those of
General Lee. All fears having been dissipated, the troops were slowly
mustered out of the United States service. The men returned to their
wonted fields of labor to provide for their long-neglected families,
upon a new career of peace and happiness, rising, Phoenix like, from
the ashes of slavery to join the Phalanx of industry in upbuilding the
greatness of their country, which they had aided in saving from
desolation and ruin.

Such is the history of the negro in the wars of the United States.
Coming to its shores in the condition of slavery, it required more than
two centuries for the entire race to reach the estate of freedom. But
the imperishable records of their deeds show that however humble and
despised they have been in all political and social relations they have
never been wanting in patriotism at periods of public peril. Their
devotion has been not only unappreciated, but it has failed to receive a
fitting commemoration in pages of national history. It has been the
purpose of the writer of this volume to relate herein the patriotic
career of the negro race in this country in an authentic and connected
form. In the time to come the race will take care of itself. Slavery is
ended, and now they are striking off link by link the chains of
ignorance which the servitude of some and the humility of all imposed
upon them. If the past is the story of an oppressed race, th