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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment, Chapter 1: Introductory. (search)
seniority till later. See Appendix. These were the only colored regiments recruited during the year 1862. The Second South Carolina and the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts followed early in 1863. This is the way in which I came to the command of this regiment. One day in November, 1862, I was sitting at dinner with my lieutenants, John Goodell and Luther Bigelow, in the barracks of the Fifty-First Massachusetts, Colonel Sprague, when the following letter was put into my hands :-- Beaufort, S. C., November 5, 1862. My dear Sir,--I am organizing the First Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers, with every prospect of success. Your name has been spoken of, in connection with the command of this regiment, by some friends in whose judgment I have confidence. I take great pleasure in offering you the position of Colonel in it, and hope that you may be induced to accept. I shall not fill the place until I hear from you, or sufficient time shall have passed for me to receive your
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment, chapter 2 (search)
Chapter 2: camp diary. Camp Saxton, near Beaufort, S. C. November 24, 1862. Yesterday afternoo, and the broad river rippled duskily towards Beaufort. The shores were low and wooded, like anygraceful, though low, and as we steamed up to Beaufort on the flood-tide this morning, it seemed almins, last Sunday, heard a colored exhorter at Beaufort proclaim, Paul may plant, and may polish wid that he was about to be married to a girl in Beaufort, and would I lend him a dollar and seventy-fi. January 8, 1863. This morning I went to Beaufort again, on necessary business, and by good luce, and in old times was the crack coachman of Beaufort, in which capacity he once drove Beauregard fst time, I marched the whole regiment through Beaufort and back,— the first appearance of such a novight nor to de leff. I did n't see notin‘ in Beaufort. Eb'ry step was worth a half a dollar. And ve appeared nearly so well as on its visit to Beaufort. I suppose I felt like some anxious mamma wh[3 more...]<
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment, Chapter 3: up the St. Mary's. (search)
china, glass-ware, mahogany, pictures, all were here. And here were my men, who knew that their own labor had earned for their masters these luxuries, or such as these; their own wives and children were still sleeping on the floor, perhaps, at Beaufort or Fernandina; and yet they submitted, almost without a murmur, to the enforced abstinence. Bed and bedding for our hospitals they might take from those store-rooms,--such as the surgeon selected,--also an old flag which we found in a corner, at Fernandina, our decks being full, coal nearly out, and time up, we called once more at St. Simon's Sound, bringing away the remainder of our railroad-iron, with some which the naval officers had previously disinterred, and then steamed back to Beaufort. Arriving there at sunrise (February 2, 1863), I made my way with Dr. Rogers to General Saxton's bedroom, and laid before him the keys and shackles of the slave prison, with my report of the good conduct of the men, _ as Dr. Rogers remarked, a
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment, Chapter 4: up the St. John's. (search)
e morning when, after some preliminary correspondence, I steamed down from Beaufort, S. C., to Hilton Head, with General Saxton, Judge S., and one or two others, to s may be best seen in the instructions which guided it. Headquarters, Beaufort, S. C., March 5, 1863. Colonel, You will please proceed with your command, thance and comfort about the town, quite alien from the picturesque decadence of Beaufort. The town rose gradually from the river, and was bounded on the rear by a h the aid of a gunboat (I had left many of my own regiment sick and on duty in Beaufort, and Colonel Montgomery had as yet less than one hundred and fifty); but to ho, 1863. It is Sunday; the bell is ringing for church, and Rev. Mr. F., from Beaufort, is to preach. This afternoon our good quartermaster establishes a Sunday-scsoon to follow. On Friday, March 27th, I wrote home: The Burnside has gone to Beaufort for rations, and the John Adams to Fernandina for coal; we expect both back by
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment, Chapter 5: out on picket. (search)
as a sort of military picnic by the regiments stationed at Beaufort, South Carolina; it meant blackberries and oysters, wild roses and magnolipire and behold our home. The only thoroughfare by land between Beaufort and Charleston is the Shell Road, a beautiful avenue, which, about nine miles from Beaufort, strikes a ferry across the Coosaw River. War abolished the ferry, and made the river the permanent barrier betwee by the Shell Road, two miles from the ferry, and seven miles from Beaufort. Our first picket duty was just at the time of the first attack ocame dashing in with the particulars. Forwarding these hastily to Beaufort (for we had then no telegraph), I was soon at the scene of action,ng spread rapidly thither, and brought four regiments to reinforce Beaufort in a hurry, under the impression that the town was already taken, ar resort while we were there. It was the one agreeable ride from Beaufort, and we often had a dozen people unexpectedly to dinner. On such
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment, Chapter 7: up the Edisto. (search)
d from my own regiment, under Captain James. The John Adams carried, if I remember rightly, two Parrott guns (of twenty and ten pounds calibre) and a howitzer or two. The whole force of men did not exceed two hundred and fifty. We left Beaufort, S. C., on the afternoon of July 9th, 1863. In former narrations I have sufficiently described the charm of a moonlight ascent into a hostile country, upon an unknown stream, the dark and silent banks, the rippling water, the wail of the reed-birdthe answering throb of our own guns. The kind Quartermaster kept bringing me news of what occurred, like Rebecca in Front-de-Boeuf's castle, but discreetly withholding any actual casualties. Then all faded into safety and sleep; and we reached Beaufort in the morning, after thirty-six hours of absence. A kind friend, who acted in South Carolina a nobler part amid tragedies than in any of her early stage triumphs, met us with an ambulance at the wharf, and the prisoners, the wounded, and the d
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment, Chapter 9: negro Spirituals. (search)
of the mode of composition. Allan Ramsay says of the Scotch songs, that, no matter who made them, they were soon attributed to the minister of the parish whence they sprang. And I always wondered, about these, whether they had always a conscious and definite origin in some leading mind, or whether they grew by gradual accretion, in an almost unconscious way. On this point I could get no information, though I asked many questions, until at last, one day when I was being rowed across from Beaufort to Ladies' Island, I found myself, with delight, on the actual trail of a song. One of the oarsmen, a brisk young fellow, not a soldier, on being asked for his theory of the matter, dropped out a coy confession. Some good sperituals, he said, are start jess out oa curiosity. I been a-raise a sing, myself, once. My dream was fulfilled, and I had traced out, not the poem alone, but the poet. I implored him to proceed. Once we boys, he said, went for tote some rice and de nigger-dr
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment, Chapter 10: life at camp Shaw. (search)
oyed up by the fallacious hope that the winter months would set me right again. We had a new camp on Port Royal Island, very pleasantly situated, just out of Beaufort. It stretched nearly to the edge of a shelving bluff, fringed with pines and overlooking the river; below the bluff was a hard, narrow beach, where one might gaces of my respectful regard. I have the honor to be, respectfully and obediently yours, John A. Andrew, Governor of Massachusetts. In the streets of Beaufort I had met Colonel Shaw, riding with his lieutenant-colonel and successor, Edward Hallowell, and had gone back with them to share their first meal in camp. I sho of some use. The men had that year a Christmas present which they enjoyed to the utmost,--furnishing the detail, every other day, for provost-guard duty in Beaufort. It was the only military service which they had ever shared within the town, and it moreover gave a sense of self-respect to be keeping the peace of their own
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment, Chapter 11: Florida again? (search)
ous narrative, our ups and downs of expectation in those days. Camp Shaw, Beaufort, S. C., February 7, 1864. Great are the uncertainties of military orders! Sintin washbasins, baby in bliss;--our usual run of visitors had just set in, two Beaufort captains and a surgeon had just risen from a late dinner after a flag of truce General Gillmore had sent an order that we should be ready for departure from Beaufort at any moment. Conjectures, orders, packing, sending couriers to outstatiohead of a battalion of more wobegone, spiritless wretches than I led back from Beaufort that day. When I march down to de landin‘, said one of the men afterwards, my e took place next day, and I add one more extract to show how the news reached Beaufort. February 23, 1864. There was the sound of revelry by night at a ball in BBeaufort last night, in a new large building beautifully decorated. All the collected flags of the garrison hung round and over us, as if the stars and stripes were d
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment, Chapter 13: Conclusion. (search)
tate Legislature. Both in that State and in Florida the former members of the regiment are generally prospering, so far as I can hear. The increased self-respect of army life fitted them to do the duties of civil life. It is not in nature that the jealousy of race should die out in this generation, but I trust they will not see the fulfilment of Corporal Simon Crum's prediction. Simon was one of the shrewdest old fellows in the regiment, and he said to me once, as he was jogging out of Beaufort behind me, on the Shell Road, I'se goin‘ to leave de Souf, Cunnel, when de war is over. I'se made up my mind dat dese yer Secesh will neber be cibilized in my time. The only member of the regiment whom I have seen since leaving it is a young man, Cyrus Wiggins, who was brought off from the main-land in a dug-out, in broad day, before the very eyes of the rebel pickets, by Captain James, S. Rogers, of my regiment. It was one of the most daring acts I ever saw, and as it happened under m
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