previous next

[414] credited with considerably more intelligence and skill than you have been willing to accord me. But the reputation of a soldier is not based on the opinions of gentlemen of your profession nearly so strongly as upon those of mine; and by these last only am I content to be judged.

There are a few points, however, upon which it is proper you should be correctly informed.

First. You state that I was once sent from the Department of the South by General Hunter, for “unruly conduct and language.” Your information here was worse than imperfect, it was simply untrue. I left the department upon my own application, upon that solely, and for entirely different causes than differences with General Hunter.

Second. You assert that I “planned and urged” the assault on Fort Wagner of the eighteenth of July last.

That is much more credit than I deserve. I had too steadfastly advocated, as a principle, that intrenchments defended by the rifle had not been successfully assaulted in this war, to urge or to plan this assault as an exception. Secessionville and its lesson were too close at hand to be forgotten.

But this assault was virtually successful. Our men entered the work, held a part of it for hours, took prisoners from the garrison. And before attributing any failure to me, would it not have been well for you to have learned the whole truth from the few who know it, (and very few know the entire facts concerning any engagement whatever,) before charging me with so many personal, political, and military crimes, because there was final failure?

Briefly, your statement concerning my connection with that assault is utterly incorrect.

Third. For my opinions upon non-professional matters, I presume, the public cares very little. But as you positively state that I am an “habitual contemner of the race,” (colored,) also of “negro troops,” and a “virulent pro-slavery man,” I am justified in pronouncing you quite as wrong as upon the preceding points. Pro-slavery sentiments — even in a moderate form — I never entertained. But I despise and scorn the hypocritical and sanctimonious philanthropy of some who are fattening — personally, pecuniarily, and politically — upon the wrongs of the black, but who have been very careful never to set him an example on the battle-field. And that I have faithfully carried out the desires and commands of the Government — so far as I have had command of colored troops — the following letters will best show:

camp Third South-Carolina colored troops, Jacksonville, Fla., March 28, 1864.
Lieutenant R. M. Hall, First United States Artillery;
sir: We have noticed in one of the New-York papers some observations reflecting upon General Seymour's supposed prejudices against, and unfair treatment of colored troops. Speaking from our own knowledge in relation to our own regiment, we have seen no signs of such prejudice, and have experienced no such treatment at any time during the expedition to Florida. We have been treated precisely in the same manner as the white troops; we have frequently been brigaded with them; and have uniformly received the same attention to the wants and comforts of both officers and men.

Very respectfully, your obedient servants,

>B. C. Tilghman, Col. Third U. S. C. T. U. Doubleday, Lieut.-Col. Third U. S. C. T. F. W. Bardwell, Major Third U. S. C. T.
Official Copy: W. H. Bradshaw, Lieutenant and A. D.C,

headquarters Thirty-Fifth U. S. C. T., Jacksonville, Fla., March 30, 1864.
General: Will you, at your departure from this district, accept a line of cordial good — will from an officer of your command?

I am personally, and in behalf of my regiment, under obligations to you for a kindly consideration and fairness of treatment which will doubtless, after a time, become general in all departments and districts, but Which to ourselves has been peculiarly gratifying. We, of the colored organizations, have not and do not ask for special favors, but only for such military equality as may be earned; a fair share of fatigue and field-work, and equal consideration from the quartermaster, commissary, and ordnance departments. To the extent of your power, (speaking for my own regiment,) we have had such equality, and are content.

Wishing you a safe and prosperous passage, and with assurance of kindly remembrance, I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

James C. Beecher, Colonel Commanding. Copy: W. H. Bradshaw, Lieutenant and A. D.C.

Headquarters colored brigade, Jacksonville, Fla., March 20, 1864.
Brigadier-General Seymour, Commanding District of Florida:
General: I have the honor to give testimony to the kind, just, and impartial treatment my command has received at your hands. It has been my fortune to command six of the colored regiments under you, and I know of no instance where a different line of policy has been pursued toward the colored men than the white. While speaking of this, I wish to say, that I am continually receiving from the North all sorts of complaints in relation to the abuse of the colored soldier, how they are treated in the field, etc. This is all wrong, the spirit which circulates them is bad, and the statements are not true. The welfare of these men demands that less should be said, and more be done. To all who are so solicitous for the colored soldier, I say: Turn your fire upon the Congress of the nation, that the great injustice which has been done to them by not allowing pay enough to clothe themselves, may be remedied, and we will take care of the remainder; we have no complaints to make but this, and the

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
T. Seymour (2)
Nathan Hunter (2)
W. H. Bradshaw (2)
B. C. Tilghman (1)
R. M. Hall (1)
U. Doubleday (1)
James C. Beecher (1)
F. W. Bardwell (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March 30th, 1864 AD (1)
March 28th, 1864 AD (1)
March 20th, 1864 AD (1)
July 18th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: