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[407] should they unfortunately fall into the hands of the enemy. The sergeant told me that they were surprised to find a friend in a relative of ex-Governor Pickens, of South Carolina. The governor himself was true to Southern principles . . . ; but this friend to the oppressed remained firm to the cause of his country. ... He came to them and offered to plead their cause before the sham tribunal that was to decide their fate. When he first revealed his intention to act in their behalf, he was regarded as an impostor, a government detective, whose only object was to learn their history; that is, to ascertain if they had been slaves, to whom they belonged, and under what circumstances they had left their masters. But he persisted, and gave them money to purchase little necessities (for nothing but cornmeal was issued to them, and this in very small quantities), and left them with the promise that he would soon return and report the progress of his investigations; but when he came he found them still doubting and unwilling to place confidence in him. But calling them together, he related that before the war he himself was a slaveholder, and was known and respected throughout the State. But at the commencement of this intestine strife, having proved true to the old flag, his property had been swept from him, calling him traitor and an abolitionist, and that now he was an outcast among his friends, and in constant danger of being assassinated. He also told them that he knew that this must be his fate from the first, if he remained true to his convictions; but that having counted the cost, it was as nothing when weighed in the balance against truth, and he was now prepared to do his work thoroughly and unhesitatingly, regarding only as friends those who were true to the cause of their country.

By this means he gained their confidence, for there is a higher language than the written. It is seen in the mute dropping of the tear, etc. . . . As the sergeant related to me how untiring were the efforts of this friend during their prolonged and doubtful trial, in combating error with firm, convincing truth, in proving their innocence even under laws that were made but for white men, he seemed at times to be completely overcome by his feelings, so unused was he to sympathy or kind words; but when their trial was over and their innocence was established, they returned to jail to be regarded as prisoners-of-war. It was after their return to the jail that their advocate and friend visited them for the last time. Their emotions were uncontrollable, and they seemed unable to give even a faint expression of their gratitude to him who had sacrificed so much for them. Their admiration for this devoted friend of the Union was so great that the mere mention of his name is sufficient to bring tears to the eyes of the swarthy sons, who have thus far had so little to be grateful for. This young man who thus came forward to defend innocent and unfortunate men, was to them, and is to us nameless, because his memory will be green

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