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[32] their characters, to be as distinct as those of whites. It is very interesting the desire they show to do their duty, and to improve as soldiers; they evidently think about it, and see the importance of the thing; they say to me that we white men cannot stay and be their leaders always and that they must learn to depend on themselves, or else relapse into their former condition.

Beside the superb branch of uneatable bitter oranges which decks my tent-pole, I have to-day hung up a long bough of finger-sponge, which floated to the river-bank. As winter advances, butterflies gradually disappear: one species (a Vanessa) lingers; three others have vanished since I came. Mocking-birds are abundant, but rarely sing; once or twice they have reminded me of the red thrush, but are inferior, as I have always thought. The colored people all say that it will be much cooler; but my officers do not think so, perhaps because last winter was so unusually mild,--with only one frost, they say.


December 20, 1862.
Philoprogenitiveness is an important organ for an officer of colored troops; and I happen to be well provided with it. It seems to be the theory of all military usages, in fact, that soldiers are to be treated like children; and these singular persons, who never know their own age till they are past middle life, and then choose a birthday with such precision,--“Fifty year old, Sah, de fus' last April,” --prolong the privilege of childhood.

I am perplexed nightly for countersigns,--their range of proper names is so distressingly limited, and they make such amazing work of every new one. At first, to be sure, they did not quite recognize the need of any variation: one night some officer asked a sentinel whether he

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