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Negro recruiting in Kentucky.--“Going to try soldiering, are you?” I inquired of an intelligent contraband whom I met in the road, hurrying on to the rendezvous.

“Yes, boss, I thought I'd go ‘long with the rest of the boys.”

“Why did you leave your home? Didn't your master treat you kindly?”

“Yes, sah, master allus treated his people very well. Plenty to eat, and good doze. But you see, boss, it's mighty hard for poor nigger to work from one year's end to another, and nothina to show for it. [36] We didn't used to think nothina of it; but, you see, there's been so much talk lately, we got to thinkina about it. Our master told us he'd give us all a boss apiece and a new suit oa doze if we'd stay with him, and I thought I'd stay; but, you see, the others left mor'n a week ago, and it was kind oa lonesome like, and I cut out too.”

“Do you think it was right to leave your master, who always treated you kindly, with no help?”

“Well, boss, it does look like a----trick; but then, you know, we must look out for number one. White folks does it, and nigger will too. We's done got in the crop, and the women and children must take it off. Besides, nigger's been at the bottom of this fuss from the start, an' it's nothina more'n right for nigger to have a hand in the fightina.”

“Suppose you get killed? A grape shot would make an ugly hole in that hide of yours.”

“Well, I've thought oa that; I'll have to run the chances. But if I stay at home, a tree might fall on me.”

My shining colored friend smiled audibly at this sally of fatalistic wit, displaying a formidable row of ivories, competent to the pulverization of the hardest of hard tack, and I passed on. In a few moments I was arrested with:

I say, boss, has you been a soldier man?

I pleaded guilty to a limited military experience, when my colored friend was urgent in his request that I should “tell a poor nigger all about it.” I gave him an idea of what he might expect, for which he expressed his thanks, and struck off for the rendezvous, expressing a determination to see it through.

I asked another recruit if all the negroes in Kentucky were going soldiering. “Pretty much all of 'em that are able, sah,” was the reply. “There ain't none left in our neighborhood.”

People who don't own slaves, and are subject to the draft, appear to be delighted with the movement. “No more draft in Kentucky!” is the gratified exclamation with which they accompany the rubbing of their hands. Slave owners are generally sullen, and have little to say. One, however, whom I have met, appears to take a rational and philosophic view of the matter.

“Confound their black hides,” said he, “let 'em go. If they want to go and get riddled with canister or filled full of buckshot, why, let 'em. Mine have been more bother than they were worth for the last three years, and I am glad they're gone. They think there's hell now; but wait till the shells begin to fly around their ears, and they'll wish they was back on the old farm. I'd a sight rather a nigger would be killed than me, any how, and I wouldn't care if every nigger in. Kentucky, male and female, would go.” And he gave a gratified snort of self-approval, a look out of the stage window at a passing flock of blackbirds en route for Camp Nelson, and felt in his coat pocket for a small package of Bourbon.

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