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´╗┐Title: A Sketch of the 29th Regiment of Connecticut Colored Troops
Author: Hill, J. J.
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Sketch of the 29th Regiment of Connecticut Colored Troops" ***

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 BY J.J. Hill,


 A Full Account of its Formation; of all the Battles through
 which it passed, and its final Disbandment.

 Printed by Daugherty, Maguire & Co.


The author of this has for a long time been greatly concerned for
this land and nation, and for the human family in general, but more
particularly for the unfortunate African, both in this and every other
part of the world. I was born in Selings Grove, Union County, Pa., in
the year 1826, the 2nd day of June, and was the youngest son of four
brothers. My father's name was Isaac, and my mother's, Rachel. The
family consisted of thirteen in number. My father being a poor man, I
was put out to a gentleman of Louisville, Kentucky, at the age of six
years; I was brought up with a limited education, not being permitted
to go to school, for it was against the laws of the State for a white
person to teach a colored child; but having kind friends to live with
and being beloved by white boys, I gained some information in spelling,
and with diligent study I learned to read and write. I never had the
opportunity of going to school a day in my life, when it became known
to the citizens that I could not write, I was sent home to Pennsylvania
in the year 1840, then 17 years of age. I embraced religion in the year

I was called to the ministry in the year 1852, in which position I
studied; when the war broke out in 1861, I went out with the 3rd
Pennsylvania Cavalry, under Col. Emory, I was in the charge at Falls
Church, Va., and Fairfax Court House. When the rumor reached me that
the Government was enlisting colored men, I then left the Regiment
and went home, and in 1863 enlisted in the 29th Connecticut Regiment,
January the 7th, 1863.

The author's desire and prayer is, that tranquility, peace and
happiness may cover the earth, as the waters cover the great deep.
Forasmuch as there has been a great deal of confusion in relation to
my afflicted nation, and different parties holding opposite opinions
have come forward with a desire to alleviate their condition; their
good intentions have taught us: First, that it is necessary to become
christians, to love and fear God and keep his commandments, to have
patience and faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, then we shall
be delivered in due time. Secondly, the reader is referred to the pages
of this work; please read it impartially and carefully, and you will
see plainly that the author's sole aim is to promote the happiness of
the human family, here and hereafter; therefore, I pray that those who
will read this book may be forever blessed in this world, and receive
endless happiness in the world to come.


_Woodbury, New Jersey, 1866._






 8th.  RICHMOND, VA.

Col. W.B. Wooster led us on, he had no right to fear, there
was not a faint heart in the 29th Volunteers.



29th Connecticut Colored Regiment.

The 29th Connecticut Colored Regiment was gotten up by Colonel Pardee,
and encampted at Grape Vine Point, New Haven, Connecticut. The
recruiting was commenced in August, 1863. The inducements held out to
men to join this Regiment were these: they were to receive a bounty of
$310 from the State, $75 from the County from which they enlisted, and
$300 from the United States. The $310 from the State we received, the
other bounties we did not receive.

There were several men who took an active part in recruiting for this
Regiment, among them Lieutenant Brown of New York, to whom great credit
is due. There were others, both colored and white, who did very much
towards filling up the Regiment. Sergeant Archie Howard, Orderly of
Company C, recruited more men than any other excepting Lieut. Brown,
but I am sorry to say, that after all he did the parties failed to pay
him according to promise, and he was ordered to his Regiment without
receiving a just compensation for his labors.

The first of January, 1864, the 29th Regiment was filled up. The writer
of this narrative was in the last squad of men that enlisted for this
Regiment, and out of the forty men I was the only one that was admitted
into the 29th, the balance of the recruits being put into the 30th
Regiment, that was then recruiting in the same camp. We remained at New
Haven until the 8th of March, and nothing of interest happened up to
that date, when we received orders from Colonel Pardee's Headquarters,
stating that the 29th Regiment was to move to Annapolis, Maryland.

March 8, 1864. We broke camp to leave New Haven for Annapolis, Md. At
10 o'clock the whole Regiment was drawn up on the old parade ground,
with their knapsacks, to receive the flag, Col. W.B. Wooster in
command. The flag was presented by the Rev. Dr. Mott. On account of
the Regiment not receiving the $75 which was promised them at their
enlistment, they made no response to the presentation, and the Colonel
gave them no command to do so. The order was given to "forward, march,"
and the Regiment paraded through the principal street of New Haven;
at 2 o'clock it halted in the public square, where we were visited by
our friends, also by some of the first families in the city. After
resting two hours, the word was given "attention," and every Company
was brought into line, and at the command "forward, march," the
Regiment moved down Chapel street to State st., and then to the long
wharf, where it halted and awaited the near approach of the transport,
that was still out in the stream. At 5 o'clock the troops commenced
embarking, Company A taking the lead, and at half past 6 o'clock all
were on board, excepting a few, with the writer of this journal, who
were detailed for duty at the Regiment's previous headquarters. On
my way from the long wharf I met the crowd of citizens that was not
permitted to go to the wharf with the Regiment. Never did my ears hear,
or my eyes perceive, or my heart feel the strong yearnings of nature as
they did at that moment; mothers weeping for their sons, and wives for
their husbands, and sisters for their brothers, and friends for their
friends, that were then on their way to the scene of conflict. White
and colored ladies and gentlemen grasped me by the hand, with tears
streaming down their cheeks, and bid me good bye, expressing the hope
that we might have a safe return. My heart felt the sobbing impulse for
the first time, and although I had no mother, no wife, and no sisters
there to greet me, yet strangers ministered unto me, and never shall I
forget their kind attentions to me. At 8 o'clock in the evening I went
on board the transport, and received an introduction to Col. Wooster as
Regimental Orderly Hill. The Colonel met me very kindly, and put his
state-room, which was letter K, into my care.

At 10 o'clock I learnt the transport would not move anchor until next
morning at 6 o'clock; after gaining this information, I had a desire
to go ashore, but could form no excuse for doing so. While I was in
doubt what to do about it, one of the officers, Lieut. Leonard, came
to me and said. "Orderly Hill, can't you go to the post office for
me, as I can't go ashore?" My answer was, "I will try and go for
you." I had never spoken to the Colonel, and felt somewhat delicate
about approaching him, but as I had never been refused a favor by a
commanding officer, I took heart, adopting for my motto, "Without a
trial, there can be no denial," and started for the Colonel, and found
him in his berth. I said, "Colonel, can I go ashore?" He remarked, "If
I grant you permission, except on business, others will expect the
same favour." I said, "I have letters to carry to the post office."
He said, "Well, you can go." I left him, and went to Lieut. Leonard,
of company D, and asked for Dr. Bigbee, whose family was living in New
Haven. The lieutenant passed him outside the guards with me, and we
felt it to be a great favor, for which we were very grateful. When my
errand was done, we proceeded to the residence of Dr. Bigbee, and found
his wife had retired, but on learning who had arrived she arose, and a
friend who was stopping with her, and they prepared us a good supper.
We enjoyed it--still we were saddened with the thought that we might
not meet again for three long years. We remained there until 2 o'clock,
and then bid the last farewell to our friends in New Haven, and went on
board the transport again, and laid down to sleep, but sleep had fled
from me entirely, and daylight found me as I laid down, wide awake.
Sabbath morning at 6 o'clock, we weighed anchor, and the stream bore us
down its rapid tide until New Haven was lost in the distance. The day
was spent very pleasantly, and at 3 o'clock we passed New York; and as
we passed the city, our drummers assembled on deck and played, at which
flags were displayed by the citizens, and cheers given in response. At
12 o'clock, the same night, we passed Cape May.

I fared the same as the officers. The great anxiety now was to see
Annapolis, Maryland, which place we reached on Tuesday at 10 o'clock.
As we approached the place all became disheartened at the appearance of
things. Officers and men were much disappointed when we learned that we
should have to camp three miles from the town. Now, for the first time,
we had to pitch tents--the clouds threatened a storm, and the boys went
eagerly to work and most of them had their tents up before night.

I spent the night in the Colonel's tent, and the next morning we found
the earth covered with snow to the depth of eight inches. We found the
people very inferior at this point; and a great many of the colored
people had caught the distemper from the whites, their so-called
masters. It was hard to find a pleasant family of colored people in the
place; they appeared to be afraid to speak to us. The first Sabbath I
spent in camp, and had the pleasure of listening to a very interesting
sermon from a reverend gentleman that paid us a visit for that purpose.
The text was, "And on him they laid the cross." He handled the subject
with great credit to himself, and great applause was given by the
soldiers. On the next Sabbath, which was the 27th of March, I visited
the Methodist church at Annapolis. At 11 o'clock I preached to a
crowded house, from Joshua, 3d chap. 11th verse. I preached at Zion's
church in the afternoon, from Revelations, 3d chap. 4th verse, and
truly the good Lord was with us. At 5 P.M. I returned to camp, and
accompanied the Colonel to dress parade, and after it was over, I was
informed that an appointment was made for me to preach in the camp at 7
P.M. Feeling much exhausted from the severe labors of the day, yet at
the time appointed I was there, and endeavored to preach from the text,
"The wages of sin is death." It was listened to by the officers and men
with the utmost attention. The week following the Colonel was absent on
business at Washington, D.C.; and according to frequent rumors in camp,
our regiment was to spend the summer at this point. I had cherished the
hope of greeting my dear family, whom I had left quite unwell at home;
but on Friday my hopes were blasted by a general order, stating that
the 29th Regiment should break camp at 7 o'clock on Saturday morning,
and embark on the transport then lying in the stream opposite the navy
yard, bound for Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Saturday morning found me up at 4 o'clock, and in the best of spirits,
and as usual in a pleasant mood, but still I thought of home, sweet
home--it was lost to my sight, but not to my memory--and although
I was very busy, I did not forget the dear ones there; and while I
was waiting for the cars to come and take the officers' baggage, as
a soldier, the rail track was my chair and the cross-beam was my
writing desk, I wrote to my wife at this last moment. I went by rail
to Annapolis, and when I arrived there, I joined those who had gone by
boat. My lot was cast to the steamer Swallow. I went on board and put
the Colonel's things in his state-room and mine also, and then went
on shore and spent the day until 5 o'clock in the afternoon, when the
transport was launched out into the stream, and I was left ashore with
the Colonel, Adjutant and Lieut. Colonel. All kinds of rumors prevailed
on board. Some said I had deserted--others, that I was taken up for
carrying arms, but 5 o'clock found me in a life-boat with the Colonel
and his staff, bound for the Swallow, that was waiting our arrival.
When the boys saw me, they gave three hearty cheers for Orderly Hill.
We remained all night, and the next morning at 6 o'clock the Swallow
started down the stream, and Annapolis was soon lost to view. The
Swallow took the lead, and we soon lost sight of the other boats.
Monday morning at 9 o'clock we arrived at Fortress Monroe and the pilot
went ashore, and after remaining a few moments we set sail again for
Hilton Head, South Carolina.

The wind was tolerably high, and the officers and men felt somewhat
concerned in reference to passing Cape Hatteras that night, but God
was in the wind, and when we passed the cape at midnight it was quite
calm; and Tuesday morning found us on the blue sea, out of the sight
of land. This was the first time in my life that I was ever out to sea,
and it seemed very strange. All this time I had not been sea-sick, and
began to think I should entirely escape, as I had been on the water two
days. But at 3 P.M. I was very sick, and in company with many of the
old seamen I had to cast up accounts for relief. It was very rough, and
poor me! I thought I could not live, but the utmost attention was given
me by the Colonel and officers. The same night the boat took fire, and
being too sick to sleep, I was enabled to give timely warning of the
accident, or we should have perished by the flames or a watery grave;
but God was with me, and I got up in the midst of smoke and called the
first mate, and then went to the Colonel's state-room and told him what
had happened, and we put out the flames without arousing the other
officers and men.

Wednesday morning I felt better. The first sail we had seen for two
days was that of a brig, which passed us this morning on our right. The
sea was quite calm, but as the day wore away the wind began to rise,
and 3 P.M. found me sick in the Colonel's berth. At 6 P.M. we were
in sight of land, and this, the last night we spent at sea, was the
hardest time we had, but joy came in the morning as we neared Hilton
Head. When we came to the landing, the Colonel and Adjutant went on
shore, and we waited their return. When they came aboard, the Colonel
told the Captain of the Swallow that he was ordered to Beaufort,
where we arrived at 10 A.M. and were received on the wharf by a large
crowd of people. We disembarked the same day, which was April 16th,
and marched through the main street, and went up to the camp of the
New York 26th U.S.V., and encamped on the right of Beaufort. We found
Beaufort a pleasant place of about five thousand inhabitants.

May 20th, 1864. Nothing of importance had occurred up to this date. I
passed up the line of tents, and saw the Major in a wagon--he informed
me that the Paymaster had arrived. When I made this known to the 29th
Regiment the boys were much pleased, for they had not received any
money since their enlistment, but soon their spirits fell when they
learned they would receive only $7 per month. Company A took the lead
in the dissatisfaction, it being the first company, and company B next,
company K next, company C next, and so on till company D, it being
the last company and the one to which I belonged. After the companies
all expressed their indignation at the small sum of $7 per month, the
officers called them in line and told them they would receive $16 the
next pay day, and they had better take this--at the same time promising
them, that in the future they should receive full pay. They did as he
wished. This has been the failing with the colored race--they are
always ready to comply with wrong teachings of strange gods, especially
when they come from white men, and that is the reason we cannot be a
united nation. I would not and did not accept of the $7 per month, and
I stood entirely alone. All in my company took that sum but myself,
and when I was called up my response was, if the government could not
afford to pay me a soldier's wages I would peril my life and die for
my country without it. When I consider the sacrifice I have made of
my beloved family, and think that the general government does nothing
for them, and then to insult me with the sum of $7 per month! No, as
I have given my life I will become a martyr and die before I will
accept that sum. But I am happy to relate that when they found there
were some that felt the dignity of their manhood, the Paymaster Major
endeavored to make apology to me in reference to the affair, but there
was no compromise in me. I would accept nothing but $16 per month.
"Well," said he, "you will get the balance next pay day." My answer
was, "Whether I do or not, I will not accept of less than $16 this
time." I was brought to think of the psalmist David, when he said "Many
are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord will deliver them
out of them all." Notwithstanding our troubles, on Sabbath morning,
the 22d inst., my mind was very much relieved at 6 P.M. While at dress
parade, the General rode along the line, and the Colonel brought the
companies up in broken columns in front of the flag. At the command
of the Colonel, the regiment came to "order, arms"--and at this point
General Saxton dismounted, and gave me his horse. Taking off his hat he
commenced some brief remarks by saying, "Boys, I have come to greet you
with an order I have received that you are to be considered soldiers of
the United States and receive your pay as white soldiers, and I hope
you will consider yourselves men. Although your skins are dark, you
have the same muscle as white men, and the same courage to fight. It is
for you to get the same skill by strictly attending to your duty, not
from fear of punishment, but because you are soldiers. Two years ago I
came here to Beaufort and raised the first colored regiment. They were
all slaves, and their masters were in the rebel army. One day a flag of
truce came in from the rebel line, and the colored troops were out on
picket. Before these colored men became soldiers they could not look a
white man in the face, but at this time they began to feel like men.
One of the so-called masters came over, and seeing his so-called slave,
he exclaimed, using his own language, 'There is my negro in arms,'
but the colored soldier looked him square in the face, and as I never
make use of the word negro, I said to him, if he was once a slave he
is free now, and God has made him so, and there is not a regiment in
the department I would sooner go into the field with than the first
Southern, now called the 33d United States troops." He concluded by
saying, "Boys, if you ever want to make good soldiers you must look a
white man straight in the face, and let him know that you are a man."

I spent the morning at the first colored church, and at 3 P.M.
preached from the 14th chapter of Job and the 14th verse. My theme was
"Death--an important change, not annihilation. It does not reduce us to
nothing, but alters our frame of being."

At 7 P.M. the elder spoke from the text "Strive to enter in at the
straight gate," and I closed the meeting.

The next Sabbath we had service in the camp in which I took part. The
Rev. Edward Scott preached. At 7 P.M. I preached from Revelations the
7th chapter and 9th verse. My theme was "The society and happiness of
the heavenly state. Life is a journey. Christians are but travellers to
the unseen world. The world to which we are going is unknown to us."
Truly we had a good time.

May 25th. A general order, stating that a part of the 29th regiment
was ordered out on picket duty. Company D was asked for, but owing to
one of the officers being sick, and the Captain on detached service,
it could not go, so Co. E was substituted, and for the first time they
commenced packing to face the enemy in the field. When they were all
ready to move the boys started off cheerfully. As the officers looked
dejected, my prayer was, may God go with you and give you strength
to face the enemy. The camp was unusually quiet at this time. The
Colonel and Adjutant had orders to go to the front, and it left the
camp without a line officer, excepting the Major, and he looked quite
lonesome. The rumors were that the rebels intended to attack Beaufort
the 25th instant, but the day passed of all quiet along the line.

August 9th--we broke camp at Beaufort and embarked on board the
transport Trade Wind bound for Hilton Head, where we arrived at 10 A.M.
The Colonel went ashore and received orders to go to Fortress Monroe.

At 6 P.M. we weighed anchor and soon found our bark stemming the rapid
tide, and when night came on I was soon in the arms of sleep and
forgot all earthly care. The morning of the 10th instant I rose at 5
o'clock and gazed upon the glorious sun as he rose out of the sea;
truly it was a grand sight to one as ignorant of such things as myself.
The day passed pleasantly, and the transports stemmed the rapid tide
three in number. When I stood on deck and took an observation of the
surrounding scenery, I was lost in wonder at the profound immensity
of the great waters, and I came to the conclusion that the hand of
God had formed all these things; in this profound thought the morning
passed gently. After dinner, I had some talk with the boys on board
in reference to their fare, and they informed me they would be glad
to boil their coffee with the coals that the fire-man raked from the
furnace, but even that was denied.

The night of the 10th came, and all retired to their sleeping places,
(and you may imagine they were not feather beds,) officers and men,
with the exception of Col. W.B. Wooster and a few Captains, who had
state-rooms, and they were the most miserable I ever saw, and dirty
accordingly, but they were the best they could have, therefore they
were contented. The night passed rapidly, and the morning of the 11th
inst. found all on board well and ready for breakfast. We found hard
tack and raw pork were not as agreeable as the fare we had been used
to, but hunger made it very palatable. After breakfast I went on
deck and amused myself by talking with the boys generally. I met the
Sergeant Major, and after inquiring of his health, he informed me that
he was on board with nothing to eat. I went to the Colonel's state-room
and brought my haversack with some cheese, cakes and pies, that my
friends in Beaufort put up for me, and I said, "Here is enough for you;
help yourself;" he looked up and said, "Mr. Hill, I never shall forget
your act of kindness to me in this hour of suffering."

In the evening at 6 o'clock we came in sight of the light house off
Fortress Monroe. I went to the Captain and asked him when we should get
to the Fort, he said "In the morning about 8 o'clock." I retired and
went to sleep. The morning of the 12th found me up at 5 o'clock, and
looking around me I saw the land on my left. We arrived at Fortress
Monroe at 10 A.M. and dropped anchor, and the Colonel went ashore and
remained until 1 P.M. When he came on board he informed the officers
that he must proceed to Bermuda Hundred, Va. At 4 P.M. we weighed
anchor and left for our destined place. I was much pleased with the
scenery up the James river. The first thing that attracted my attention
was Jamestown in its desolation--nothing but a shattered wreck--the
only building is that of a brick church that stands in the midst of
green trees lifting their heads high and lofty, looking down on a city
doomed as Sodom was for sin. When we reached City Point within five
miles it was night, and the captain of the Trade Wind stated that he
did not think it safe to run up that night, as the rebels had guns
planted on the shore. We dropped anchor and waited the approach of
day. The boys slept soundly, but sleep had fled from my eyes. The
morning of the 13th came, and we weighed anchor, and at 6 A.M. we found
our little transport safe at the wharf at Bermuda Hundred. We passed
City Point, and the troops went ashore and took up the line of march
for the General's headquarters. The day was intensely warm, and the
regiment marched five miles into Virginia, and not being accustomed
to marching they became weary, and most of the men threw away their
blankets. Being Regimental Orderly, I was detailed at Bermuda Hundred
till four o'clock, and then started for the regiment, which I reached
at 6 P.M. and found it encamped in the woods close to General Birney's
headquarters. The boys cheered me as I passed along the line on my way
to the Colonel's quarters. We remained there until 11 P.M. and received
an order to proceed to Deep Hollow. We marched until 2 A.M. and crossed
the pontoon bridge, and proceeding two miles farther passed----;
halted in a corn field in the rear of the advanced pickets, and for the
first time laid on our arms in the open field. I lay near the Colonel,
with the reins of my horse tied to my wrist, my gun in my arms half
cocked, and in this position rested the night--the rebels being quite
close to us--within a stone's throw.

The morning of the 14th inst. the Colonel sprang to his feet at 4
o'clock and gave the order "Attention." The boys all arose from their
dusty beds, waiting for the order to load, expecting to take the
advance pickets, but at this juncture the General sent an order for him
to fall back to the fort at Malvern Hill. We got breakfast and the men
were stationary. All was quiet until one P.M., when the rebels attacked
the pickets that were stationed on the outposts. The Colonel gave the
order "Fall in." For the first time the boys put on their equipments
and fell in; and when the order was given "Forward," they rushed to
the battle in good order. Quite a battle took place, at which time a
number were killed and wounded on both sides, and we took a number of

On the 15th inst. we remained quiet, with the exception of some
skirmishing. The 16th, we received orders to move the regiment and join
the 3d division 10th army corps, General Birney's brigade having at
this time fallen in with the 22d, 7th, 8th and 9th U.S. C. Troops, and
with the 29th they numbered 5,000. At 2 P.M. we took up our line of
march for Jones' landing. We crossed the pontoon bridge and marched up
the valley in a drenching rain, and in the midst of the deep mud the
boys were cheerful. We arrived at our place of destination at 7 P.M.
and rested in an open field in the rear of the advance pickets. The
boys stacked their arms and commenced putting up their shelter tents.
I took my tin cup and coffee, and prepared supper for the Colonel,
Lieut. Colonel, Major and Adjutant. After this I was at my wits end to
find a place for them to sleep; at last I formed this plan: I got nine
rails and laid three abreast and spread the blankets on them, and the
Colonel and Major laid down. The Lieut. Colonel laid on the ground. I
slept on the third tier, and being tired rested comfortably. The night
passed swiftly, and the morning of the 17th we rose early and got
breakfast, and awaited the order to advance to the front. At 10 A.M. we
halted in the woods, and the boys commenced clearing up to pitch their
tents, and while they were at work the General rode up at one P.M. and
told the Colonel to draw the division back to its former position,
which they did in good order. We got dinner and remained but a short
time, when the rebels commenced driving in our pickets, and the order
was given to "fall in," and the men fell in in good order, and rushed
to the battle; the 29th had the right centre, the 22d formed next to
the 29th on the right of the centre, the 7th on the left of the centre,
and the 9th in the centre. At the command "left flank," the whole
column marched at double quick. They halted at the woods, and quite
a battle took place, at which time our Lieut. Colonel was wounded in
the leg and his horse was shot from under him; he has since recovered.
We remained in line of battle till 12 o'clock, and to the surprise of
officers and men not a soldier of the 29th was killed or wounded, I
being the only one that a ball struck. While standing on an elevated
spot a rebel ball struck my hat and caused me to look around.

On the 17th inst. the whole column moved back and remained all day
where Gen'l McClellan retreated from in the fall of 1861, twelve miles
from Richmond. We remained there until the 18th instant, and at 8
P.M. the whole corps and 3d division moved down the valley. We halted
in an open field for two hours opposite the pontoon bridge crossing
the Chickahomney, at which time the order was given "Attention." The
whole regiment came in line, and when the order was given "Forward,"
the column marched towards the bridge and halted on the bridge, on
account of a broken plank. The bridge being repaired, which detained
us an hour, we again took up the line of march and passed the general
headquarters, almost to our original position, and halted for the day
in an open field.

The 19th instant we remained quiet. The 20th we started for the
front of Petersburg, and marched in a drenching rain to the forts on
the right of the Point of Rocks hospital. The 21st--came near being
flanked by the rebels, and marched back to Malvern Hill and repaired
breastworks. The 22d had quite a skirmish with the rebels, when we
were quite successful, killing and taking 75 prisoners, and had as
yet lost none of the 29th regiment in killed or wounded. We left on
the day of the 23d for the front of Petersburg again, and at 10 A.M.
crossed the James river on the pontoon bridge, and passed the heights
where the first New Jersey battery was stationed. We arrived in front
of Petersburg at 2 P.M. and were amused looking at the doomed city. The
rebels sent a shell, which passed over the regiment, and fell close to
the Colonel, who was sitting on his horse at the right of the brigade;
he gave the order "Attention," and countermarched the regiment and
fell back to the woods, and waited the order from the General, which
he received at 5 P.M. to fall back to the fort four miles distant,
to protect the pontoon bridge opposite the Point of Rocks, where we
arrived at 6 P.M. coming at almost double quick. On our return the
roadside was strewn with stragglers from different regiments, and
when the column met them they inquired the cause of our return, and
the reply of the boys was "the rebels are after us." It was a source
of laughter to us to find the stragglers falling in, and many of them
could out walk the well soldiers when they heard the rebels were
coming. We remained the night of the 23d at the fort in a drenching
rain, and the Johnnies did not come.

On the morning of the 24th I found quite a number of my white friends
from home--Dr. Clark from Woodbury, N.J., and others. We were glad
to meet again alive, and talked of beloved friends at home, and the
morning passed rapidly and pleasantly to all. At one P.M. the order
came for the regiment to return to the front of Petersburg, when the
white soldiers seemed to regret that the 29th were going to leave the
fort. We took up our line of march and at 3 P.M. were again in front of
the land of Destruction, which was Petersburg. We halted in the rear
of Gen. Birney's headquarters and got supper, after which the regiment
moved to the rifle pits, with the exception of a few detailed men, of
which I was one. I was attracted by the remarks of a white soldier as
we left the fort. He looked at the colored troops and said, "Well,
they are taking those colored men to their slaughter pen in front of
Petersburg." Truly his saying was correct, for on the first night Co.
H felt the first stroke, having the first man killed out of the 29th
regiment. It was private Henry Mings, a native of Africa, who emigrated
to this country in 1862, and joined the 29th Connecticut Volunteers
Jan'y, 1864. He was very broken in speech, being a regular African, and
was, as is too often the case among soldiers, a very wicked man. He
died as he lived, a rebel to his God but true to this country.

On the 25th, Co. K felt the horrors of war. Private Samuel Burton was
killed, being shot through the head while moving the company; he was a
resident of Hartford, Conn. On the 26th Co. D felt the blow. Private
George Porter was shot in the shoulder, and died at the hospital four
days after. On the 27th Col. Wooster was brought in from the rifle pits
quite sick. The 28th we lost our first officer, a worthy man, who was
captured while out strengthening the pickets on the outpost. On the
29th we had two men killed, I could not ascertain their names, but they
belonged to Co. A. On the 30th we had two killed, one out of Co. B, and
one out of another company. The 31st we lost two men out of Co. E, and
one out of Co. K, private Chester Phillox.

Sept. 1st, we struck tents in front of Petersburg, and took up our line
of march for our place of destination, unknown to all but the Generals.
When the line was drawn up, the colored troops of the 3d division, 10th
army corps, numbered 75,000, the 29th forming the centre. At 3 P.M. we
started on the main road leading direct to City Point, thinking we were
going by transport to some place of rest, but about 12 o'clock the same
night our hopes were blasted, when we took the left hand road leading
to Broadway Landing, and we soon found ourselves crossing the pontoon
bridge that brought us in the rear of Petersburg. Daylight found us on
the Old Market road leading direct to the front of Richmond. We marched
all night.

Eight o'clock, on the morning of the 2d inst. found the whole brigade
engaged in front of the enemy; we drove them five miles, and at 1 P.M.
were inside the rebels' first line of works surrounding Richmond. We
had a hard battle, commencing at 2 P M., and had been engaged three
hours when a charge was made on two of the rebel forts. The left of the
line was charged by the 8th U.S.C. troops, supported by the 29th. The
centre was charged by the 9th Maryland, supported by the 7th U.S.C.
troops. The day was one long to be remembered; the rebels fought
hard, but the colored troops carried the day, and night found us in
the rebels' line of works. We lost quite a number of brave men and
among the wounded of the 29th was Capt. Thorpe and Lieut. McDonald;
we greatly regretted their loss, but to the surprise of all not one
of the 29th was killed; they all came out of the fight well. When I
looked upon the dead and wounded, it was awful to see the piles of legs
and arms that the surgeons cut off and threw in heaps on the ground.
We lay in front of the works all night, and the morning of the 3d we
had quite a warm reception. The bombarding was heavy on both sides,
and we could frequently see rebels carrying their dead and wounded out
of their trenches and forts. We had several wounded but none killed.
The Colonel being unable for duty, Major D. was in command, who was a
worthy and careful commander, and gained high praise from both officers
and men. The Colonel, officers and men generally, regretted the absence
of Lieut. Col. J.C. Ward, who was at that time sick at Fortress Monroe.

The morning of the 4th inst. we moved on the left of the line, and
planted our flag under the rebel fire of grape and canister, bombshell
and musketry. When the rear guards came over the field the dead lay
strewed on the ground, but to my surprise we could find none of the
29th killed. The 5th inst. we rested in the rifle pits, with the
advance pickets thrown out in front of the third fort of the rebels;
nothing went on of importance, except the artillery fought a duel with
the rebel fort at long range. On the 6th instant, we remained still
in the breastworks. On the 7th we received orders to fall back to the
general headquarters to rest. The 29th had just reached their resting
place when a fight broke out in the centre, and they were ordered back
to the breastworks on double quick. On the 8th we remained at the
breastworks until 3 P.M. and then received orders to move on the right
to support the 45th at the fort on Lookout mountain. We arrived at
Lookout at 6 P.M., tired and weary, and hoped to encamp for the night,
but at 10 o'clock our hopes were blasted by an order, stating that the
29th must return to the front to support the 8th U.S. C. troops, then
laying in the breastworks. We remained at this post six days, when the
General ordered a scout to explore the woods in front of the rebels.
We left camp in front of the breastworks at two P.M. on the 14th inst.
and as we were accustomed to have it rain, the rain fell in torrents,
but General Birney gallantly led his band of the 3d division, 10th army
corps, numbering 75,000 colored troops. We arrived at our destination,
and the General ordered out the skirmishers, but whether he saw any
rebels, or saw too many of them to engage in a fight is yet a profound
secret, but the night of the 14th inst. found us back in camp in the
rear of the breastworks. The rain kept falling. The men were ordered
to have two days' rations and be ready to fall in at one A.M. in light
marching order, without knapsacks. Col. Ward, then in command of the
29th, said to me, "Hill, I would like you to be close to me, as I shall
want you early in the morning." At this I spread my blanket on the wet
ground and lay down to rest; sleep had fled from me, and as I looked at
the Colonel I could see a change in his countenance. Adjutant Spalding,
who had but lately rejoined the regiment, was also with us. There
seemed to be an uneasiness among the field officers. The morning of
the 15th inst. rolled round, and at 3 o'clock the line was formed and
gradually moved off to the right, and as we marched along the Captain
of Co. D commenced singing "Are there no foes for me to face? Must I
not stem the flood? Is this vain world a friend to grace, to help me
on to God?" These sublime words oftentimes cheered the moving column
as it marched through the dreary roads of Virginia. When the glorious
sun arose it found us on the extreme right of the front, three miles
from Richmond, where the white troops were repulsed on the 6th inst.
The column was halted and drawn up in line of battle in front of the
woods, the white troops on the right, and the colored troops on the
left, the 8th and 29th forming in the centre, the 29th supporting the
8th. They entered the woods, and immediately attacked the enemy, and at
8 A.M. the battle became general along the whole line, and many a brave
soldier fell, killed or wounded. Among them were thirteen of the 29th.
The Adjutant fell wounded early in the engagement; Corporal George
Burr, Co. L, Corporal Sidney of Co. H, private Joseph Halstead of Co.
D, killed instantly. George E. Peters wounded in the side, Sergeant
James Evans wounded in the foot by a piece of shell. To my regret,
George Halstead was left on the field dead.

A very striking instance came to my notice through the course of the
day of the 16th. A private of the 8th U.S.C. troops was wounded in the
head early in the engagement and brought to the rear. I found him lying
in his blood, and he would have died in this condition but I lifted him
up and raised his head. I went to my post, and at 1 P.M. returned, and
found him still alive, and when making some inquiries I learned that no
doctor had given him any attention, and inquired to know the cause of
this neglect. I made some stir about the case, and corn fodder and had
him laid on it and put by the fire. When the wounded were moved back he
was taken along and was soon in a condition to be sent to the hospital,
with hopes of his recovery. Many of like cases could be saved by a
little care and attention after the battle, but the complexion and rank
of a man has a great bearing. There was a great distinction made among
the wounded, so much so that it would make the heart of any christian
ache to see men treated so like brutes.

On the evening of the 15th, at 5 o'clock, the cannon was sounded
for the army to fall back while the artillery spoke destruction and
slaughter to the rebels; we fell back, the cavalry covering our
retreat. The colored troops wore the first to go into the fight and
the last to come off the field. With what eagerness I looked for the
flag of the 29th, and at last I saw it floating among the pines; and
truly my heart leaped with joy when I once more saw the colors of our
Regiment. The-night found us back in camp, in the rear of our former

All was quiet in front of Richmond, from the 15th until the evening of
the 28th inst., when we received the information that the 10th Army
Corps had light marching orders, and as it was in our former marches,
different rumors prevailed. The Companies left their knapsacks at their
company quarters, and the morning of the 29th, at 4 o'clock, we were
on the march for the field of battle, which we reached at 6 o'clock;
the 8th formed in line in front of the enemy, the 18th formed on the
right, the 10th Corps, to which my Regiment belonged, was in the
centre. The 29th Regiment was put out on a skirmish in the advance to
charge the rifle pits. At the time of this battle, the highest officer
in the 29th was a Captain; the Colonel was home on a sick leave; the
Lieut. Colonel, W.C. Ward, was promoted Colonel of the 41st U.S., and
the Major was sick in camp. We mourned the loss of our field officers,
but Captain Camp, of Co. D, took the position of Major and formed the
line, and said to us, "Boys, we have got to fight to-day; do the best
you can; do your duty and I will stand by you till the last; will you
stand by me?" The boys replied, "we will stand by you till the last."
The Captain said: "Be careful and keep in line and obey the orders,"
"Forward, double quick;" and the regiment charged the rebel rifle pits
and carried the works, and held them twenty-four hours. This was one
of the most desperate battles of the campaign. We lost in the fight
one hundred men killed and wounded. The 29th Colored Regiment covered
themselves with great praise given them from all the officers. General
Birney greatly complimented it for bravery in the battle. One of our
first Orderly Sergeants of Co. D, named Spencer, captured three rebel
prisoners. The fight lasted from 6 in the morning until 7 P.M.

The morning of the 30th, while the regiment lay on the rebel works,
they shot away a 50 pounder. They received forty rounds of cartridge
and rose up and stormed the rebels' main works, and then received
orders to fall back, which they did in good order, and the evening of
the 30th found us safe back again in front of Richmond. We were called
to mourn the loss of Mr. Charles Bentley of Co. A, who fell in the
early part of the engagement with a ball in his breast, a champion of
liberty and a noble christian; also James Spriggs of Co. F, and 13
others who fell asleep on the field of battle.

Oct. 16, 1864. All was quiet up to this date. 3d division 10th army
corps, 29th regiment, Gen. Birney's brigade. To the surprise of the
regiment we were presented with the United States national colors,
which greatly pleased the boys. The flag was presented by the Major
of the 45th U.S.C. troops to Lieut. Col. W.C. Ward in a pleasing
manner, and in his statement he spoke of the bravery of the 29th in the
battle of the 15th inst., to which Lieut. Col. Ward replied, "I am no
speech-maker, but I have 672 guns that will speak for me when occasion
requires better than I can, and they are ready whenever called for."
Notwithstanding this pleasant incident, quite a mourning sensation
occurred in the regiment on the 19th inst. While on dress parade Lieut.
Col. Ward made a very feeling and parting address to the 29th regiment,
and told them he was promoted to Colonel of the 41st U.S.C. troops. He
said, "I intend to leave you in 24 hours. I would rather stay with the
29th, but duty demands it and I must obey." Truly, these remarks fell
upon the ears of the boys with tremendous weight.

Col. W.C. Ward was generally beloved by the 29th regiment for his
gentlemanly and good discipline, and his careful protection of his
men. He was careful never to order the private to go where he was not
willing to go himself, and for these traits the men loved him. He was
in command of the regiment at the absence of Col. Wooster, and he led
it in and out of two battles with the loss of few men, and this made
us regard him as a leader we could look up to. While we were quartered
in the breastworks in front of Richmond, Col. Ward was mounted on
his horse, and I rode in the rear of him, and when we halted a rebel
sharpshooter shot at him just as he dismounted, and the ball went
through his hat. Col. Ward never flinched, but came to "attention,"
and said "Well, Hill, I believe that was meant for me, but he did not
get me this time." This was during the first day's fight, and he had
not had his boots off for five days, and slept on the ground with his
men, faring as they did. Sometimes I would get him to take my blanket
to keep him warm, as I would rather do without it myself than see my
officers uncared for. But he left us, and no one felt his loss more
than I, for I was his first Orderly. When he came to the 29th regiment
as Captain of Co. E, I was promoted by him to Regimental Orderly, and I
was the last to escort him to his regiment, and with reluctance I left
him Colonel of the 41st U.S. regiment, encamped in the rear of the 29th
in front of Richmond.

On the 5th of November I left camp in front of Richmond and went
on business to Bermuda Hundred, and to my surprise I received the
intelligence at 10 A.M. that the 29th regiment had moved to Malvern
Heights, one mile from Spring Hill, Virginia. After attending to the
business entrusted to my care I mounted my horse and started for
regiment, then laying at the fort, this being the first time the
regiment ever moved without my being with it. At 9 P.M. I found the
regiment in the forts on Malvern Hill in good spirits. The regiment
was divided in four different forts in the immediate front of the
rebels. All was quiet up to Nov. 8th, at which date we ranked in the
second division, 10th army corps, the 29th yet in the forts at Malvern
Hill. Nothing of importance occurred up to the 3d of December, when
we received moving orders at 4 P.M. and at that time the tents were
struck. This was on the Sabbath, and the relief did not arrive until
Monday. The 5th inst. at 10 A.M. we took up our line of march for a
destination unknown to us. All kinds of rumors prevailed among the
boys. Leaving comfortable quarters they had constructed, they did
not feel pleasant about going, but 2 P.M. found us on the left of
Fort Harrison in the centre of the line, the latter place being quite
inferior to our old company ground. When halted the boys went busily
to work at fixing up as usual, carrying timber and putting up their
cabins. They all worked busily until Tuesday evening at nine o'clock,
when there came an order stating that the 29th should pack up with
two days' rations. The hearts of the boys were sad enough before, but
when they heard of having marching orders they felt worse. We packed
up but did not start; and Wednesday, the 7th inst., found us still in
camp, in front of the rebs in a drenching rain. The same day found us
somewhat changed--the colored regiments all being consolidated in the
2d division, 3d brigade, 25th army corps. A number of detached men were
taken from the regiments. I was detailed at headquarters as Brigade
Postmaster. I felt somewhat strange in the new office, but I entered
upon my duties with a willing heart. All was quiet along the line, with
the exception of the Johnnies cheering. The evening of the 8th inst.
the advance pickets were fired on.

January 1st, 1865.--Fort Burmen, in front of Richmond. The closing of
1864 passed off up to this date with frequent picket firing, our boys
taking their regular turn. On the 8th of January the rebels fired on
the pickets on the left of the line; the 29th at the sound fell in line
in their entrenchments waiting to receive the Johnnies, but they failed
to make an attack. We lay under marching orders up to the 13th inst.
when Col. W.B. Wooster received orders to move his headquarters in the
rear of the 29th regiment.

All remained quiet up to the 23d, when at 8 P.M. the rebel fleet moved
down the James river towards the Dutch Gap, and commenced firing on
fort Bradley, which was kept up all night. On the 24th inst., at 2
P.M., the clerk came to me and stated that there was an order to go
out to the picket line, but neither of the Orderlies whose duty it
was, wished to go, and seeing their dissatisfaction, I volunteered and
went out to the advance picket line. 8 A.M. found the whole line drawn
up in their entrenchments, under cannonading at long range, with the
reinforcement in the rear in line of battle. The shelling was terrific
all day; I went into the basement of the house used for general
quarters at 2 P.M., where I formerly stayed. There was five of us in
the basement, and a stray shell from the rebel gunboat came through
the window and burst, passing over me and tearing out everything in
the basement, but to the surprise of all, none of us were killed or
wounded. This was a wonderful deliverance from God. The provost guard
in front of general quarters, having knowledge of my being in the
house at the time of the explosion, all exclaimed, "Hill is killed." A
very intimate friend of mine, Mr. Jordan Jones, said "Boys, Hill is in
the basement, and who will go in with me to bring out his remains." A
little boy by the name of Thomas Watson was with me, and when I heard
the shell coming I took him in my arms. After the explosion I shook
him to see if he were yet alive, when Tommy commenced kicking. I said,
"Boys, follow me;" and the next moment I made my appearance on the back
stoop facing the breastworks, just as they were coming in to see if we
were dead. As I came out the boys all cheered. I felt much stunned, and
found my hearing dull.

There was a duel fought at long range on the 28th, at which time a
shell sent from the rebel ram came through my quarters tearing out
everything in the room, but my life was spared through the mercy of
God. On the 7th of Feb'y my heart gladdened, for I received a furlough
of twenty days to return home to see my beloved family and many
precious friends. I started the same day on board the transport Weldon
for City Point. I went from there to Fortress Monroe, from Fortress
Monroe to Annapolis, and from there to Washington city by cars, where
I arrived on Friday the 10th inst. at 9 A.M. I remained there until 6
P.M. and then left in the cars for home; reaching Philadelphia at 12
o'clock: I put up with Mr. Samuel Williams until Saturday morning the
11th inst. At 3 P.M. I hit Philadelphia in a boat at Walnut street
wharf for Camden, and there took the cars for Woodbury, N.J., where I
arrived and had the pleasure of embracing my beloved family. Truly the
meeting was one long to be remembered, I remained at home four days,
and then visited Trenton, N.J., where I had many kind friends. On
Monday I returned home again and remained with my family and friends;
everything was delightful, and truly a great change from camp life,
where I had spent one year and one month in the service. On the 24th
instant at 8 o'clock I bid my beloved wife and two children adieu; one
of my children was three years and six months old, and the other six
months. When the last moment came never in my life did I experience
such emotions, and no one but a husband and father can imagine what
they were, as I looked upon my family as I supposed for the last time
in life. Never shall I forget that last farewell. The wagon that bore
me away began to move and my eyes were fastened on my home until it
was lost in the distance. I landed in Philadelphia at 10 o'clock, and
there bid my father-in-law good bye, with the intention of going to
Baltimore, but when I arrived in the city I was detained by my friends.
Mr. Brown, in South street, made a reception for me at 8 P.M. I went
there at the specified time, and found a great many of my devoted
friends to pay, as they supposed, the last tribute to one they loved,
and a defender of the country. I remained in the city until Tuesday
the 25th, and at one P.M. I left the residence of Mrs. Young for Broad
and Prime sts., where I took the cars for Baltimore, and arrived there
at 5 P.M. I was escorted to the soldiers' refreshment saloon, where
I partook of the hospitality of kind friends, after which I inquired
of the friends if any of them could take me to the residence of Rev'd
W.D. Schureman. One of the ladies kindly took me there, and I found he
had gone to a fair then going on in his church. I went there and found
him and his lady; they received me as a brother and introduced me to a
great many of his congregation. I spent the evening pleasantly, but in
the midst of the great throng I thought of my home and dear family that
I had left behind. After the fair closed I went home with Mr. Schureman
and his wife, and stayed all night. I spent the next morning with
Mr. Schureman in his library talking over old times until 9 o'clock,
when we went to the Provost Marshal's and got my transportation for
Fortress Monroe, where I arrived on Thursday the 27th, after a lonesome
ride with a burdened heart. I arrived in camp at the expiration of my

At 10 A.M. on the 29th inst. we moved from the breastworks on the
left of Fort Harrison to the hill in the centre, where we built a
tower overlooking the rebel works into Richmond. We remained there
four weeks, and on the 27th of March we moved again. Part of the 29th
rested in Fort Harrison and the 2d Brigade in the white house, known
as General Birney's headquarters. All was quiet here until the 1st of
April, when all was in readiness, and the order was given to strike
tents and move on to Richmond. During Sunday night the brigade was out
in line of battle, and at three o'clock in the morning the rebels blew
up three gun boats and commenced vacating their works in our front. At
5 A.M. the troops commenced to advance on the rebel works--the 29th
taking the advance, the 9th U.S.C. troops next. Soon refugees from the
rebels came in by hundreds. Col. W.B. Wooster passed them about, and
made them go before the regiment and dig up the torpedoes that were
left in the ground to prevent the progress of the Union army. They
were very numerous, but to the surprise of officers and men, none of
the army were injured by them. On our march to Richmond we captured
500 pieces of artillery, some of the largest kind, 6,000 stand of
small arms, and the prisoners I was not able to number. The road was
strewed with all kinds of obstacles, and men were lying all along the
distance of seven miles. The main body of the army went up the New
Market road. The 29th skirmished all the way, and arrived in the city
at 7 A.M., and were the first infantry that entered the city; they went
at double quick most of the way. When Col. Wooster came to Main st. he
pointed his sword at the capitol, and said "Double quick, march," and
the company charged through the main street to the capitol and halted
in the square until the rest of the regiment came up. Very soon after
the arrival of the white troops the colored troops were moved on the
out-skirts of the city, and as fast as the white troops came in the
colored troops were ordered out, until we occupied the advance. The
white troops remained in the city as guards. We remained on the outpost.

The 3d instant President Lincoln visited the city. No triumphal march
of a conqueror could have equalled in moral sublimity the humble
manner in which he entered Richmond. I was standing on the bank of
the James river viewing the scene of desolation when a boat, pulled
by twelve sailors, came up the stream. It contained President Lincoln
and his son, Admiral Porter, Captain ----, of the Army, Captain ----,
of the Navy, Lieut. W.W. ----, of the Signal Corps. In some way the
colored people on the bank of the river ascertained that the tall
man wearing the black hat was President Lincoln. There was a sudden
shout and clapping of hands. I was very much amused at the plight of
one officer who had in charge fifty colored men to put to work on
the ruined buildings; he found himself alone, for they left work and
crowded to see the President. As he approached I said to a woman,
"Madam, there is the man that made you free." She exclaimed, "Is that
President Lincoln?" My reply was in the affirmative. She gazed at him
with clasped hands and said, "Glory to God. Give Him the praise for his
goodness," and she shouted till her voice failed her.

When the President landed there was no carriage near, neither did he
wait for one, but leading his son, they walked over a mile to Gen'l
Weitzel's headquarters at Jeff. Davis' mansion, a colored man acting
as guide. Six soldiers dressed in blue, with their carbines, were the
advanced guards. Next to them came President Lincoln and son, and
Admiral Porter, flanked by the other officer right and left. Then came
a correspondent, and in the rear were six sailors with carbines. Then
followed thousands of people, colored and white. What a spectacle! I
never witnessed such rejoicing in all my life. As the President passed
along the street the colored people waved their handkerchiefs, hats and
bonnets, and expressed their gratitude by shouting repeatedly, "Thank
God for his goodness; we have seen his salvation." The white soldiers
caught the sound and swelled the numbers, cheering as they marched
along. All could see the President, he was so tall. One woman standing
in a doorway as he passed along shouted, "Thank you, dear Jesus, for
this sight of the great conqueror." Another one standing by her side
clasped her hands and shouted, "Bless the Lamb--Bless the Lamb."
Another one threw her bonnet in the air, screaming with all her might,
"Thank you, Master Lincoln." A white woman came to a window but turned
away, as if it were a disgusting sight. A few white women looking out
of an elegant mansion waved their handkerchiefs. President Lincoln
walked in silence, acknowledging the salute of officers and soldiers,
and of the citizens, colored and white. It was a man of the people
among the people. It was a great deliverer among the delivered. No
wonder tears came to his eyes when he looked on the poor colored people
who were once slaves, and heard the blessings uttered from thankful
hearts and thanksgiving to God and Jesus. They were earnest and
heartfelt expressions of gratitude to Almighty God, and thousands of
colored men in Richmond would have laid down their lives for President
Lincoln. After visiting Jeff. Davis' mansion he proceeded to the rebel
capitol and from the steps delivered a short speech, and spoke to the
colored people as follows:

"In reference to you, colored people, let me say God has made you
free. Although you have been deprived of your God-given rights by your
so-called masters, you are now as free as I am, and if those that claim
to be your superiors do not know that you are free, take the sword and
bayonet and teach them that you are--for God created all men free,
giving to each the same rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of

The gratitude and admiration amounting almost to worship, with which
the colored people of Richmond received the President must have deeply
touched his heart. He came among the poor unheralded, without pomp
or pride, and walked through the streets, as if he were a private
citizen more than a great conqueror. He came not with bitterness in
his heart, but with the olive leaf of kindness, a friend to elevate
sorrow and suffering, and to rebuild what had been destroyed. The 6th
inst. General Weitzel's headquarters were moved to a large mansion
on the north corner of Franklin and 4th streets. Here the hearts of
the detached men were made glad with the expectation of remaining
sometime, but our hopes were soon blasted when the General told me that
on Tuesday the 11th, we should move to Petersburg. On Tuesday morning
the 25th corps moved by regiments to the regret of all, both white
and colored. As we moved down Main street to Broad, I could hear what
the rebels said as they stood on the corners in the drenching rain.
They expressed their feelings freely, saying "We never were protected
until the colored troops came here. They treat us better than our
own troops did." We moved in the drenching rain and marched on the
Petersburg turnpike within two miles of Petersburg. Nothing of interest
occurred up to the 16th of April, when we received the terrible news
that President Lincoln was dead. He was stricken down by the hand of
the assassin on Friday evening, April 14th, 1865, while in company
with his family at Ford's Theatre, in Washington, D.C. The fatal shot
was fired by John Wilkes Booth. This was four years after the opening
shot was fired upon Fort Sumter, and on the very day when the same old
union flag that was then taken down again floated over the Fort. This
good and God-fearing President died on the morning of the 15th of April
at half-past seven o'clock, and he bore to heaven the fetters of four
millions of slaves, and I think I can hear him say to the Father of all
good spirits, "These are they that came up through great tribulation."
He was meek, like the Lord and Savior, and forgave his enemies to the
last. I fancy I can almost hear him say in his dying moments, "Father,
forgive them, for they know not what they do." No class of people feel
his death as the colored people do, for we have lost the best friend
we had on earth, our great deliverer. He has done all a President
could do for the poor colored race, and in speaking of him let me, in
conclusion, adopt the language of the poet:

 "Sleep brave warrior, sleep:
   Thy toils and fears are o'er;
 Around the living stream of bliss,
   May we meet where parting is no more."

About the 25th instant we left camp near Petersburg for Camp Lincoln
near City Point, when we lead a sort of idle camp life until the 6th of
June, when the 25th corps, 1st division, 2d brigade, received orders to
march to the City Point wharf, and there we halted and laid down until
the morning of the 7th inst. and at 9 o'clock embarked on board the De
Molay, bound for Norfolk. General Russell and staff came on board and
bid our officers good bye. Col. W.B. Wooster also came and saw us off.
We left many kind and weeping friends standing on the wharf bidding us
God speed, and wishing us a safe return. As these friends stood on the
wharf they waved their handkerchiefs and cheered us until their voices
were lost in the distance, and we were gliding swiftly down the James.
We reached Fortress Monroe at 5 P.M., and then proceeded to Norfolk.
We spent the day quite pleasantly. Col. Sadrick and the officers
generally were in the best of spirits. The only lady on board was the
wife of Captain Smith. The 9th U.S. regiment was the regiment selected
by the commanding Colonel to accompany the 1st division, 2d brigade,
25th corps, but they greatly violated their trust in the harbor at
Norfolk, and endeavored to commit a mutiny. Some of the leaders of this
mutiny were arrested, and among than were Sergeant Daniel Elsley, and
six others. The men generally were unruly, and repeatedly threatened
my life, saying that I favored the officers taking them to Texas. The
general life of the men was swearing, gambling and dancing. We arrived
at Norfolk at 8 P.M. and anchored for the night. With a burdened heart
I laid down in the hinder part of the ship, while the starry decked
heavens formed my covering. While I lay thinking of my beloved family
and many kind friends I fell asleep, and had pleasant dreams of home
and loved ones there, which were very soon disturbed by a row among the
men in the forward hatch, who had been put under guard because they
refused to obey orders.

The morning of the 8th the sun rose beautifully. Everything was quiet
on board and the day past off pleasantly. The 9th found us still in
harbor, and the men again endeavored to be unruly. The cause of their
uneasiness and all the disturbance was this: they thought the officers
were going to take them to Cuba and sell them, and the reason they
continually threatened me was because they thought I knew all about it.
But I held my passion and allowed them to think as they pleased. I give
great praise to Col. Gennett of the 9th U.S. regiment for the manner
in which he endeavored to find out the leaders of the mutiny. I kept a
strict lookout and put my trust in God.

On the 10th instant I visited Norfolk, and found the colored people
generally doing well. I met with Rev. J.M. Brown, of the A.M. E.
Church, one of my old friends. He treated me very kindly, and we spent
a pleasant time together. He introduced me to some of the brethren of
the church. On the 11th, by general order, I went to Fortress Monroe
and got the mail and remained there all night at a boarding house.
The morning of the 12th inst. I returned to Norfolk and went on board
the transport De Molay in the evening, and found all glad to see me,
both officers and men. Sabbath I visited the churches in Norfolk,
and was much pleased to hear Elder J.M. Brown in the morning. I
was also greatly pleased to see the Sabbath School, numbering 800;
they sang beautifully. At 4 P.M. I preached on board the transport
to the officers and men of the 9th U.S. regiment; my text was "For
the wages of sin is death," and good attention was given by all. I
had an appointment to preach to Rev. J.M. Brown's people, but I gave
the appointment to Rev. Dr. Garnet of Washington. The officers and
Chaplain of the 9th Colored regiment went to hear him; he spoke most
delightfully from the passage "Run and speak to that young man." On
Monday, the 13th inst., I visited Portsmouth and found the colored
people there doing well and engaged in many ways to procure a living. I
found some of the 29th boys in the hospital. On Tuesday I again went to
Portsmouth and spent a part of the day, and then went over to Norfolk
and back to Fortress Monroe, where I met many of my old officers of the
29th, and as usual, all were glad to see me. The 29th was then on the
transport Blackstone, then laying in the harbor opposite the fort. When
I passed in the mail steamer the men gave me three cheers. At 7 P.M. I
returned to Norfolk and went on board the De Molay. On Wednesday, the
14th inst., we weighed anchor and soon the De Molay was stemming the
tide; we went to Fortress Monroe and joined the rest of the transports
of the fleet, five in number. We remained there two hours for me to
get the mail, and 2 P.M. found us bound for Texas, where we expected
to arrive in fifteen days. We passed Cape Hatteras light house at 5
P.M., and the ocean was calm and beautiful. We passed Cape Henry light
house at 4 P.M. Thursday morning, the 15th inst., found us out of sight
of land, and we were much amused at seeing the sun come up out of the
great waters. We had a pleasant sail, the sea was calm and beautiful
and the officers amused themselves by fishing, and caught some six feet
in length.

Friday morning, the 16th, all well on board, we were greatly impressed
with the wonderful power of God, as it was manifested on every hand. We
were sailing due east with a fresh breeze. The only thing that had been
visible for two day was a small schooner off to the right. The 17th
inst. was quite hot on board the transport as the sea was calm. In the
evening we had a shower. Saturday, the 18th, we were still out at sea
and out of sight of land. The day passed off nicely; the sea continued
calm, and as yet I had not been sea-sick, which was quite remarkable
for me. The night of the 18th was cool and clear, and we discovered a
light off to the right. After taps I soon lay me down on the deck.

Sabbath morning, the 19th inst., was beautiful and clear with a good
breeze, and the sailors put out all sail, and to the joy of both
officers and men, we were able to see the land of Newfoundland coast.
We passed Gibraltar light house at the inlet, at 9 o'clock on the
morning of the 19th inst. Amidst the pleasant scenery of the voyage,
my thoughts ofttimes turned to my beloved family and friends at home,
separated from me by the great waters rolling between. The 20th inst.,
it was still clear and calm, and found us sailing off the coast of
Florida Reefs.

We passed the 29th regiment, which was on board the transport
Blackstone that had been disabled and was laying at anchor, but when we
came alongside, they got up steam and followed us, and on the morning
of the 21st, she was close in sight. We saw a great many small sail
boats. The 22d found us off the coast of Alabama, and in the evening
we were out of sight of land. Notwithstanding we had been at sea only
seven days, we began to be anxious to get on land, which we expected
to gain in two days more. On the 23d the men began to get restless,
and complained bitterly when the water gave out and we had to drink
condensed water. Those being accustomed to sea-sickness were generally
well up to this date; there were only 10 sick out of 750 men and 25

The officers generally amused themselves by fishing, and they caught
some of the largest kind. The 25th found us still on the De Molay,
out of sight of land. The officers spent quite a time on board the
De Molay, the night of the 25th. Thinking it to be the last night
they gave vent to their feelings, and kept up until 3 A.M. They would
not sleep, and would not let any one on board sleep. The chaplain of
the 9th U.S. endeavored to get them to stop, but they went on more
vigorous, seeming to be gratified that they found some one they could
annoy. They went on until they finally fell asleep. The morning of the
26th found us in Mobile Bay in sight of Fort Warren. There were a great
many transports laying in the harbor.

We were glad to see land. Fort Gaines lay at our right and Fort Morgan
at our left. After we passed these forts we turned and anchored at
10 A.M. The scenery around the Fortress was beautiful. The gun boats
lay in the stream in great numbers. We hoped to gain camp here at
Mobile, but at 12 M. our hopes were blasted by an order from Colonel
Sadrick to go to New Orleans. We hoped to gain that place in two days
sail. We passed the light-house on the right and the scenery was most
delightful; we frequently saw groups of small trees growing by the edge
of the water. We glided down the stream and soon found ourselves wrapt
in the shades of night, which was beautiful to behold, and like nature
we were soon wrapt in the arms of sleep, and all cares of the world
were over.

The morning of the 27th found us generally well and in good spirits. We
were out of sight of land. The day was beautiful. Nothing of interest
occurred, but the usual sport of fishing by the officers. At 6 P.M.
we hove in sight of land and entered the channel leading up to New
Orleans. At 8 P.M. we anchored for the night. The morning of the 28th
was beautiful and clear. We passed a great many small vessels and at
9 A.M. came in sight of Fort Jackson and Fort Phillips. When a signal
was fired from the fort we had to come to until we were boarded by an
officer from the fort, who informed Col. Sadrick that the 2d division
could not go to New Orleans, neither could any of the officers or men
be permitted to go without a general order from General Grant. This was
quite a shock, as the officers and men had greatly anticipated spending
some time in New Orleans. The officers permitted us to go up to the
fort, but not to disembark without orders. There we were compelled
to lay on board until the Colonel could telegraph to Washington to
General Grant. We had run out of coal, wood and oil, and the transport
Blackstone was disabled, on which was the 29th colored regiment, and
could not go any farther.

Fort Jackson is a large construction, mounting seventy guns of the
largest calibre. The ravine round the fort is two miles long and very
strongly fortified. At this fort were a great many alligators, and we
went on shore and amused ourselves by catching them until prevented by
the guard around the fort. Fort Phillips lies opposite Fort Jackson
on the right of the Mississippi, and is the place where the rebels
committed the great outrage on the colored soldiers. It is a large
fort mounting sixty large guns and the small ones I did not number,
but there were a great many of them. The 10th U.S. heavy artillery was
guarding these forts and looked well. I could not help thinking of the
cruelty that had been done to the poor colored soldiers here at this
spot; although a month had passed it was fresh to me.

At 6 o'clock on the evening of the 29th the despatch came from General
Grant to Col. Sadrick to take the Blackstone and go to New Orleans
and get her repaired, and get coal and oil. Nothing but the staff
officers were allowed to go along. This caused some dissatisfaction,
but they had to submit. The 29th was landed at Fort Phillips, and on
Saturday the 30th inst. with Col. W.B. Wooster of the 29th, Lieut.
Col. Torance, Adjutant Spalding and lady, Lieut. Leonard and lady,
Capt. Griswell and lady, Lieut. M.D. Lee, and a few more of the 29th
officers, we proceeded up the Mississippi towards New Orleans. There
were but three colored men allowed to go; these belonged to Colonel
Sadrick's headquarters, and I was one of the lucky men. The day passed
very pleasantly--Col. W.B. Wooster having his string band on board; in
the evening the officers got up a dance, and amused themselves until
a late hour, when we laid down to sleep, resting securely in the arms
of hope. The morning of the 31st at six o'clock, found us at the wharf
in New Orleans. I proceeded with Col. Sadrick and staff to the St.
Charles hotel, where they took rooms. This was one of the largest and
best hotels in the city, and a great many officers stopped there. I was
much pleased with the hotel, but it being Sabbath I left and started to
find the house of God; that was the disposition of my mind. Very much
to my surprise when going up Congress st. I met a colored friend, and I
asked him if he could tell me where the minister of the A.M. E. Church
stopped. He pointed to a door and said "In there." I went in and to my
surprise and joy found Rev. William A. Dove, one of my old friends. He
treated me very kindly, and I took a seat and we had a chat over old
things, while he was getting ready for church. I told him I wanted a
place to board, and up to this time I had no breakfast. He took me to
sister Vance's and introduced me; she made me welcome and got me a good
breakfast; I found her to be much of a lady. I went to church and found
Rev. Mr. Dove on the stand and was much pleased with his discourse
from the passage of scripture, "But having faith we can withstand the
wiles of the Devil:" he did justice to the subject. In the afternoon I
went to the same church at 4 o'clock to hear one of the natives of New
Orleans; his text was in Numbers, "If God be God, serve him; if Baal,
serve him." He did well. The appointment was then given out for me to
preach in the evening at 7 o'clock. I went according to appointment
and found the house crowded to excess with all classes, both white and
colored, very eager to hear the soldier. I took my text in Isaiah, 3d
chap. 10th verse, "Say ye to the righteous that it shall be well with
him." We had a good time; surely the Lord was with us and blessed us,
and I felt the power of my station. When we adjourned I went to my
lodging place at Mrs. Vance's.

On Monday, the 1st of July, I was visited by some old friends from
Philadelphia--Dr. Rock, Prof. Seymore, Prof. Murray and the chorister.
We all met at Capt. Ingram's and spent some time together. I was glad
to meet them and they to meet me. We parted and met again at 3 P.M. at
dinner and spent a good time. After dinner I went out to visit the city
and made several very pleasant calls.

Tuesday, the 2d, I again met my friends at Mrs. Vance's, and spent
a part of the day. I often went to the St. Charles hotel to see my
officers; and Wednesday, the 3d, the Colonel informed me that we should
leave the next morning. Accordingly the next morning, 4th of July, we
went on board the Blackstone. The only demonstration made in honor of
the great national day was the firing of cannons on the gun boats. At
8 o'clock we were stemming the rapid tide down the Mississippi. When
we were six miles from New Orleans the transport took fire and caused
great confusion among both passengers and crew. The little life boats
were lowered and all the ladies got into them but Mrs. Torance, and she
stood on the deck to watch the result. When the word was given that the
fire was out, and when the confusion was over we got up steam and went
on our way rejoicing. We arrived at Fort Phillips at 5 P.M., got the
balance of the 29th regiment, and then went to the De Molay, laying at
the mouth of the inlet which we reached at 8 P.M., and went on board.
We waited until the morning of the 5th inst. and then got up steam and
started for Brazos Santiago, Texas. The gulf was very rough, and I was
taken sick soon after we started. The 6th inst. found me still sick.
The 7th we reached Brazos and disembarked, and the moment I got on
shore I was better. Brazos has a miserable sandy beach. At that time
the headquarters of the 25th corps were standing in water knee deep. We
remained at this post two days. It was the most miserable place I ever
saw. Here our suffering just commenced. The colored troops were landing
hourly almost famished for the want of water, and it was cruel no water
was provided but condensed water, and but little of that. The poor
soldiers suffered greatly, for the means of making condensed water were
so limited that not more than 5,000 could be applied at one time, and
there were more than 10,000 soldiers there, and for what we did have we
paid ten cents per canteen. The troops were kept on forage during their
two days stay at this point. The 8th inst. I went to the landing and
the Mexicans had got a boat and brought barrels of water out of the Rio
Grande, and the Provost Marshal had given them a guard of colored men
to sell the water to the soldiers for ten cents a canteen. Col. Sadrick
became indignant at the situation of his command and the fare they had
to put up with, and went to the commanding General, Weitzel, and asked
permission to move his troops from Brazos, which was granted, and in
the evening of the 8th inst. we took up our line of march for White
Rench on the Rio Grande, a distance of ten miles, where we arrived at 1
A.M. We had a hard march through mud up to our knees, and water in some
place four feet deep and a mile long. When we arrived at White Rench
the poor soldiers were almost famished for the want of water, and they
rushed on to the bank, it gave way, and seven of the third division
were drowned. The Rio Grande is noted for the rapidity of its waters
and is always muddy. We soon went to sleep and in the morning I arose
early, and the first object that attracted my attention was a drowned
man floating down the stream. When the sun rose I took a look over the
country and not a tree was to be seen as far as the eye could behold,
and in fact we had not seen a single one in our ten miles march from
Brazos to White Rench. We remained in camp the 9th inst. until 5 P.M.
when the order was given to the 2d division to get ready to move to
Brownsville, twenty-eight miles distant. At this time the sore trial
began with both officers and men, about their knapsacks and baggage;
not a horse could be furnished to the commanders or wagons either,
except one to each regiment. When the brigade was ready to move, Col.
Sadrick came up to me and said, "Hill, you had better stay here with
my things a few days as the roads are bad and very muddy: I will leave
Lieut. Hamilton with you, and you can come up on the boat." Being
somewhat fatigued I was glad to comply.

When the division moved I stood and looked after the column until the
line was lost to view, and then I returned to my lonely tent, and it
appeared as if I were the only living man in Texas. During the evening
some friends called on me from the 31st colored regiment and we spent
the evening as pleasantly as we could, the theme of our conversation
being our beloved friends at home and our dissatisfaction at what we
had seen of Texas. When my friends left for their camp I lay down on my
lonesome bed to sleep, having the starry decked heavens for my canopy
and the green earth for my pillow.

The morning of the 10th I arose at 4 o'clock, and as was my habit, I
took a walk up the river. The sun arose beautifully and clear with a
pleasant breeze. At 8 A.M. the Lieutenant took breakfast, and while at
the table said, "Mr. Hill, I am going to Brazos at 9 o'clock, and I
want you to take charge while I am absent." I complied. After he left
I began to feel more lonesome than ever and to think of my beloved
family, until I became quite home-sick, and the day appeared like a
week. In the evening, at 10 o'clock, the Lieutenant returned hungry and
tired; after he had supper he said to me, "We will not be able to get
away from here for a week. I can get no transportation." I enquired
the cause; he said, "The roads are so bad the wagons can't run, and we
have but one boat running to Brownsville, and it is loaded down with
rations for the men, as there are none at Brownsville." I thought this
singular, but did not reply until he was through, and then I said,
"Lieutenant, when did the brigade get to Brownsville?" he said, "They
will get there this evening sometime." I was a disbeliever in the 29th
not marching twenty-eight miles in two days when I knew them to march
sixteen miles from 4 in evening until 2 in the morning, and having
marching orders at that, and went into a fight the next morning at 6
o'clock. I had not forgotten their marching ability, therefore it was a
wonder to me why they should be so long going twenty-eight miles.

I had sent the mail ahead, consequently I made up my mind to walk up
next morning. In the evening there were a great many sick soldiers
returned that were unable to go through the mud and were therefore
compelled to turn back. They spoke very discouragingly of the journey.
I went for the doctor for some, and for others made tea and gave them
something to eat. When the poor soldiers that knew me found I was
there, I never saw men so glad in my life. They had met me on the
battle-field, and had seen the interest I had ofttimes taken in the
sick and wounded soldiers, therefore they were satisfied I would see
they were treated right and had something to eat. After I had seen them
all attended to, I laid down to rest, it being late at night.

The morning of the 12th inst. came. I arose at 5 o'clock and got my
breakfast and took my books and portfolio, bid the Lieutenant good-bye
and started on foot for Brownsville. I thought of getting to my post
that day, but I had not gone more than six miles before I saw my
expectations were blasted. It had not rained in this part of Texas
for six weeks, and yet the mud in the roads was in places up to a
man's knees and for miles hub deep. I was astonished to see the many
stragglers strewed all along the road. Many of them died and were
buried in the forest, with nothing to look at their graves but the wild
beasts of prey. I walked on until 1 P.M. and was only ten miles from
White Rench, the place I left. I sat down and ate my homely dinner
alone. I bowed to God and thanked him for his goodness and care over
me and committed my family to his care, I then started on my journey
again. Being accustomed to smoking after eating I got sick going
without it, not having any matches or fire with which to light my pipe.
In all my journey there was not a house to be seen. I went on wishing
in my mind that I had a light, and while I was walking I came to where
the troops had halted and had a fire in the road. There were two small
chunks lying in the road. I took one of them up and said, "I wish I had
got here before this went out." I blowed the chunk on the end, and to
my surprise, right in the heart was a live coal of fire about as large
as a hickory-nut. I lit my pipe and felt thankful. I carried the chunk
some ways, and thought the good Lord had provided this comfort of life
for me, when in a land of strangers and far from home.

When I left White Rench in the morning, I had two haversacks filled
with rations, but I had by this time reduced them down to two hard
tacks, for I had met so many poor soldiers sick and given out, left
behind with nothing to eat. I shared with them until the last was gone.
I found I would not be able to get to Brownsville that night, and I
said to myself, "What will I do for something to eat?" but I thought
the Lord would provide something for me; therefore, I trusted in him as
my provider and shield. The evening began to draw near and I was seven
miles from Brownsville and two of that was water waist deep. At 7 P.M.
I arrived at the first water, which was a run about eight rods wide and
four feet and a half deep. Here I met with a large number of sick, worn
and wearied soldiers; they were getting supper, and when they saw me
they were made up and gave me a nice supper. We all concluded to stop
there over night, and cross the run in the morning. We soon laid down
and I said "Boys, I don't think it proper for all of us to go to sleep,
and I will take the first watch. This country don't suit me." The men
soon fell asleep, and I lay on the ground and looked at the beautiful
moon, and listened to the many sounds of the great number of strange
beasts of the forest. I laid there until 2 o'clock and was thinking of
my home and beloved friends, when my attention was aroused by a drove
of dogs as I thought, coming through the bushes. I got up and then
they began to howl and I found them to be a drove of wolves. There was
a stream of water between them and us, and they would wade in a piece
and then go back and howl. I then called the boys to "attention," and
fifteen of them took their guns, and I gave the order "fire," and they
fired into the drove of wolves, and I never saw such scampering in all
my life. They howled and left, and the boys all staid awake the rest of
the night.

The morning of the 15th came and they got breakfast and gave me mine,
after which we all started across the run and left our things; then
I went back and carried a sick man over. I bid the boys good bye and
then started on to Brownsville. I had travelled only two miles when I
came to a pond of water about two miles long and about knee deep; this
we had to wade through; it made me very tired; my limbs appeared as if
they were pulling out of the sockets, but I got through and arrived
in Brownsville at 12 M. I expected to find a town settled with people
and where the true God was worshipped, but to my surprise I could see
nothing but little huts made of mud. The natives are very inferior,
and dress very strangely. The men wear only a shirt and drawers, and
when at work they roll their drawers up to their hips, and also go
through the streets in that manner. The women go through the day with
nothing on them but a chemise and a thin skirt made of straw, their
bosoms open and breasts exposed, and when one looks at them they seem
to have no shame. I remained in the town until 2 o'clock and then put
off for headquarters, which were two miles to the right of Brownsville.
I reached there at 4 P.M. and all were glad to see me. I found Col.
Sadrick without a tent and laying on the ground; I got the men and
had him a tent put up that night, and I laid down out of doors. The
ground was covered with lizards, frogs, and what is called the horned
toad, which has horns like a goat, and a wreath of beads around its
body; they look bold and courageous. These reptiles were numerous,
with details of musquitoes like swarms of bees. The morning of the 4th
inst. found me quite sick, so much so that I had to call in a doctor.
He examined me and said I was ruptured from the strain of walking. I
began to decline until I was unable to get about, and I almost gave up
in despair when I looked at my condition, five thousand miles from home
and among strangers without a friend. My best friend, Jordan Jones, of
Co. K, was left behind. The company to which I belonged was at Brazos,
and I was left to the mercy of God and strangers. In the midst of my
illness I had a kind physician, Dr. Perry, of the 11th U.S. colored
regiment. He treated me kindly and gave me the best of attention. I
remained at my quarters until the 15th inst. and then my regiment came
up to Brownsville. The men were very much fatigued, Captain Clark being
an officer with very little feeling for a colored man, marched them
through in one day. Mr. Frank Walker died on account of the hard march
and great heat. Many more were sick and were obliged to be sent to the
hospital. Col. Wooster being a man of feeling, and one that looked to
the interest of the regiment and the welfare of the men, put Capt.
Clark under arrest and kept him there until the Col. resigned; but
three days after the Col. left he again took command of the company.
I remained sick at my quarters until August the 18th, when I was
recommended to the War Department for my discharge by Dr. Perry. Col.
Sadrick had an ambulance brought and I started to be mustered out, but
when I got to Brownsville I was so near dead that I was compelled to go
to the general hospital. This hospital was kept under the direction of
Dr. Major Stevens from Philadelphia, and belonged to the 29th colored
regiment. The doctor treated me with the utmost kindness and gave
me the best of attention. At this post I witnessed the most brutal
treatment (not to me but to others.) There were seven hundred sick in
this hospital, four hundred of that number in the ward with me.

The hospital stewards and nurses were men with no human feeling.
The poor sick were dying ten per day, and before they were cold the
hospital stewards would search them, and take any thing valuable that
they found about them before they reported them dead. On one occasion
there was a small boy, who had waited on some officer, that was quite
sick, and one morning he was quite fretful. One of the ward masters
went to him and struck him with a strap three blows, then took him
up and made him walk to the door leading to the street, and brought
him back again and laid him down, and in one hour he was dead, and
the spirit had flown to the God that gave it. It would be impossible
for me to tell the many instances of cruelty perpetrated on the poor
sick soldiers by the hands of these colored stewards. They acted more
like demons than human beings. The fare was also very bad; we had two
pieces of bread and a pint of coffee per day; this we were compelled to
put up with. I remained at this hospital two weeks and then asked the
doctor to let me go to my quarters, which he granted, and I took the
ambulance and again returned to the 25th headquarters. I remained there
until a general order came that all detached men unable for duty should
report to their regiments and be sent to the hospital. Therefore I
went to my regiment, and to my regret when I got there my best friend,
Col. W.B. Wooster had resigned and started home. I went and reported
to Adjutant J. Spaulding and he directed me to my company, where I
went and reported to my orderly, J. Spencer, of Co. D. He gave me my
quarters and I stayed there one week and then was put on detail to go
to New Orleans; I got ready and we went to Brownsville, and the order
was countermanded, and we returned to camp the next morning. There I
was again detailed at the headquarters of the corps, where I stayed
until the 20th of September, and then I had some words with one of the
General's waiters, and I would not stay any longer and again went to my
regiment, where I was at the time of writing this sketch.

At this period of my stay in Texas joy began to spring up. We had
just received news that the 29th regiment was ordered home. The men
began to have the home-fever and it became general. Every day the men
in camp had appointed to be mustered out of the U.S. service, but
without avail. At last the happy day arrived and all hearts were glad.
On the 14th day of October, 1865, at nine A.M., Co. K was mustered
out; Captain Thorpe was in command of Co. K at this time. Then came
Companies C, E, and D to which latter I belonged; H, G, F, B, and so on
until the last company was mustered out. The occasion was one of note.
Every man was orderly and sober. All were eagerly waiting the order to
strike tents for home, for that was the theme of every one's thoughts.
We now hoped to leave Texas for home and trusted in God for our safe

October 15th, the 29th regiment left camp Sadrick, Texas, for
Brownsville, on their way home and were escorted through Brownsville
by the 9th U.S. regiment, Col. Bailey in command. We marched to an
open field where the battalion was halted by Col. Torance, and the
officers and men of the 9th U.S. regiment took leave of the 29th. It
was an impressive scene. The 9th and 29th had shared the greatest
dangers together, and fought side by side, and now they were parting.
We shook hands and they bid us God speed. The headquarter band, Gen.
Smith's, escorted us through Brownsville. The line of march was taken
up again at 10 A.M. The band played "And beneath the starry flag we
shall breathe the air again," until the footsteps of the 29th were lost
in profound silence. The 43d U.S. left the same day. The day passed
off pleasantly, although the roads were bad and ofttimes the men were
compelled to wade in water and mud waist deep, the thoughts of going
home made the march seem easier than any other we had been in. No one
can experience the feelings of a returning soldier but one that has
been a soldier. I was left sick at Brownsville, unable to march when
the 29th left, consequently I went on the boat down the Rio Grande with
the sick. Wednesday the 15th, we left Brownsville. After sailing down
the Rio Grande, night overtaking us, we were compelled to land on the
Mexican side and stay all night. It stormed all night and we spent a
disagreeable time.

The next morning, the 17th, we passed Clarksville on the Mexican
side, and landed at Brazos, and camped on the sand all night; the air
was clear and cool. We had a rough time coming from Clarksville to
Brazos outside, and came near being lost, but we landed safely at 4
P.M. The 20th was clear and cold--the 22d U.S. troops left Brazos on
a transport for New Orleans. The 21st was pleasant. The 22d found us
still waiting for transportation. At this point I had a chance to see
all of our sick, numbering forty-eight. I was called at 2 o'clock to
go and see Chancey Douglas of Co. C, 29th regiment. He was very sick,
but I gave him good counsel and he got better and was able to come
along at 12 M. when we embarked on board the transport Alabama, and at
4 P.M. we weighed anchor, bound for New Orleans. The 24th, the gulf
was so rough that we could not sail, and were compelled to anchor on
account of the gale. We weighed anchor again at 8 A.M. on the morning
of the 25th, bound for Galveston, Texas, where we arrived at 12 M. We
found Galveston a splendid city, four hundred and fifty miles from New
Orleans. Here we took in wood and coal, and in the evening visited the
city and the churches there. One of the soldiers of Co. H died, by the
name of Davis; how true that "In the midst of life we are in death."
Dr. Hyde deserves great credit for the consideration he showed. He got
a nice plain coffin, the only one I had seen for four months for a
colored soldier. The night of the 20th we were in a dreadful gale off
Cape Horn, so much so that the pilot was compelled to lay by all night
in the harbor. It was the most severe storm I ever witnessed. We put
out to sea in the morning but were compelled to turn back. The soldiers
were quite unruly while we lay at Galveston, so much so that Col.
Torance was compelled to have the transport hauled off from the wharf,
and some of the men were left ashore that went off without leave. The
26th we started again for New Orleans, but we were compelled to come
back and lay in the harbor; we came near being lost, but God was with
us. The 27th we again started, bound for New Orleans, where we arrived
on the 28th inst. at 7 A.M. We had a hard time and often thought it
was our last, but the good Lord was with us. We went off the transport
Alabama the same day we arrived, and marched to the south side of the
city and encamped on an open lot, and put up our shelters the best
we could and laid on the ground. The night was cold and chilly; we
suffered a great deal and many took sick.

The 29th inst. was the Sabbath, a most beautiful day. I remained in
camp. On the 30th I visited the city of New Orleans and found a great
number of my old friends. The first annual session of the A.M. E.
Conference was in session, Bishop Campbell presiding. I spent a good
time with the brethren. The 31st was a pleasant day and I was in camp.
We remained in New Orleans two weeks. On the night of the 10th of
November a man of Co. K was shot. There was quite an excitement in camp
on account of it. We broke camp on the 11th inst. at 11 o'clock, and
marched through the principal streets of the city and halted at the
wharf, where the transport Champion laid to take us on board.

There was quite an excitement in the city of New Orleans. While the
drum corps played a national air; at 6 o'clock we commenced to embark
on the steamer Champion, and by 9 o'clock all were on board ready to
weigh anchor and stem the current of the Mississippi river. The morning
of the 12th found us at the mouth of the river, and we were overtaken
by a storm which lasted several days. On the 14th the sea was so rough
that it broke over the hurricane deck. On the 15th inst. we had a
pleasant sail; we passed the rebel ram Stonewall. Friday, 15th, head
wind. Saturday, 17th, was pleasant, and the first calm day we had.
Sunday, the 18th, was clear and cold. The 19th inst. we encountered a
storm off Cape Hatteras, which lasted until the 21st. At 12 o'clock the
wind changed and drove us ahead with great rapidity, and on the 22d,
at 9 A.M., to the joy of all on board, we arrived in New York Harbor.
We remained on board the Champion until 2 P.M. and then marched off
the transport and paraded through the principal streets of the city
and were received with gratitude amid great cheers from the citizens.
The boys of the 29th were feeling somewhat indignant in reference to
the treatment they received from their State, it not giving them their
rights. But we forgot it for the time, from the manner in which the
citizens of New York received us.

As we paraded down Broadway, opposite the St. Nicholas hotel, the City
Council run out the national and state colors, borne by a colored
man. When the boys looked up and saw the colors, they gave three
tremendous cheers. We went down Broadway to the Park and quartered in
the barracks, where we were decently accommodated with refreshments and

We remained in New York until the 23d; and at 7 A.M. we marched to
the steamboat landing where the steamer Granite State was waiting to
take us up the East River, to Hartford, a distance of one hundred
and fifty miles. The Granite State struck on a bar and was unable to
arrive at Hartford until the morning of the 24th inst. The villages
were illuminated on our way. On the morning of the 25th we arrived at
Hartford, and a great reception was made for us. We paraded through the
principal streets and encamped on an open lot in the south part of the
city, until the morning of the 26th inst., at 8 o'clock, when we were
ordered to "fall in," and were paid off in part. Afterwards the men
broke ranks and returned in their homes.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Sketch of the 29th Regiment of Connecticut Colored Troops" ***

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