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.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.