The Tenth Connecticut (white) and Fifty-fourth Massachusetts (black) were on picket. The rebels came down at daylight with five regiments of infantry, one of cavalry, and two pieces of artillery, attacking our whole picket-line simultaneously. The Tenth Connecticut being a small regiment, and somewhat detached from the rest of the line, gave way almost immediately, firing but very few shots. Not so, however, with the darkeys. They stood their ground and blazed away until almost surrounded. One company of them was completely cut off from the rest and surrounded by a rebel regiment formed in square. The poor niggers plainly heard the rebel colonel give the order,Take no prisoners! “and well knowing that that was equivalent to” Give no quarter, “clubbed their muskets and make a desperate effort to break the rebel lines, in which they succeeded, with a loss of five killed and six or eight wounded. Nine out of ten white companies under the same circumstances would have surrendered; but the darkeys, knowing their lives were forfeited any way, concluded to die fighting like brave men (as they are) rather than give up. The” sympathizers “of the North may say and think what they please about the fighting qualities of the negro; but as for myself, I would as soon fight alongside of a negro regiment as of any white one; and, besides, I believe, as a general thing, they will fight more desperately. and hold out longer than most of our white troops. I am not a disciple of Henry Ward Beecher, so you need not accuse me of Abolitionism because of that last sentiment. It is the honest conviction of my heart, strengthened by actual experience. Give me my choice, to fight beside a darkey or a” sympathiser, “and I will take the gentleman of color every time, both because he is more of a gentleman, and a more loyal man.”
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