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[176]

The lighter side: Sambo's right to be kilt

This effusion has a curious historical value. Charles Graham Halpine, an Irishman in birth and training, had established himself in literary work in New York when the war broke out. He enlisted in a three months regiment and continued on the staff of different officers, where he attracted attention for his executive ability. In 1862 he was on the staff of General David Hunter at Hilton head, South Carolina. General Hunter organized the first regiment of negro troops to be mustered into the Federal service. This proceeding created serious alarm in Congress, and great excitement over the country. Halpine contributed this humorous treatment of the contested subject to the New York Herald over the signature of ‘private miles O'Reilly.’


Some tell us 'tis a burnina shame
To make the naygers fight;
Ana that the thrade of beina kilt
Belongs but to the white:
But as for me, upon my sowl!
So liberal are we here,
I'll let Sambo be murthered instead of myself
On every day in the year.
On every day in the year, boys,
And in every hour of the day;
The right to be kilt I'll divide wid him,
Ana divil a word I'll say.

In battle's wild commotion
I shouldn't at all object
If Sambo's body should stop a ball
That was comina for me direct;
And the prod of a Southern bagnet,
So ginerous are we here,
I'll resign, and let Sambo take it
On every day in the year.
On every day in the year, boys,
And wid none oa your nasty pride,
All my right in a Southern bagnet prod
Wid Sambo I'll divide!

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