in their simple hearts until their black faces go down to the grave. . . . The stranger died shortly after.
What was written on page 97 regarding Nelson Mitchell
was gleaned largely from Harper's Weekly of April 8, 1865, from which the following extracts are also taken.
It is headed ‘A South Carolina
Hero,’ and certainly will serve to bear the historian out in what was written, as well as serving to give the reader another glimpse of the noble defender of the prosecuted negro soldiers.
After reciting that the information is derived from a private letter written in South Carolina
, it says:—
‘There was a man in Charleston, Nelson Mitchell by name, who died about eight months ago, leaving, I believe, a wife and two children, poor and uncared for. . . . From the beginning he had reasoned with the people, and that openly about the matter.
Twice he was sentenced to be hung by a secret military court, but the authorities never could find a man to do the work.
[The article then goes on to say that he was the counsel for our men who were tried, and was successful in his efforts.
It continues] To do this, you can imagine how fearlessly this brave soul must have worked.
An intelligent quadroon told me that he was present during the last ten or twelve sessions, and that Mitchell's eloquence was perfectly startling. . . . He has never been publicly mentioned at Charleston since then, except in very doubtful terms.
They did not dare to touch him, he seemed to be so thoroughly in earnest; and he died from the effects of poverty and want.
Every night, before going to bed, Nelson Mitchell took his wife and children to his room, and having locked the door and shut the blinds, hung an American flag out over his mantel, and sat there in conversation with his family.
The evening that he died his home was struck by one of our shells from Cummings Point, and his family thus left more destitute than before.
They are being well looked after now, and I don't think they will be allowed to suffer much hereafter. . . . For all this service he had the displeasure of the authorities, and the coldness of the people; but the way in which the negroes talk of him is very tender.’
It is disclosed by the correspondence of Bonham
that ‘the court, after hearing evidence and argument, decided that they had no jurisdiction of the case.’
It does not appear that they were tried by any other court, Governor Bonham
The correspondence referred to is as follows:—