to freedom, increase its value hereafter to the Union
, and be a brilliant stroke of statesmanship, executed in the midst of war by military means and agencies.
These arguments, presented with great force, failed to produce a favorable response, either from the President
or the Secretary
The capture of Vicksburg
and Port Hudson
, a few months afterwards, by which the Mississippi River
was opened, were at that time objects sought to be obtained by the Government
As the climate of Louisiana
caused a great amount of sickness among the Massachusetts
regiments on duty in that State, this doubtless influenced the Governor
in his efforts to have them removed to Texas
The reports received from the three years regiments on duty there presented a fearful list of deaths, and of men sick in hospitals of malaria fever.
So great, indeed, was the fatality from this cause, that the Governor
wrote to the Secretary of War
in March, asking that the regiments of Massachusetts
troops which had passed the preceding summer in the Department of the Gulf might be replaced by others, and that they be brought North
, as two successive summers there might be very fatal to their unacclimated constitutions.
He asked this, not as a favor to himself or State, but as a measure of humanity and common prudence.
Accompanying these letters was a report which had been received by the Surgeon-General
of the Commonwealth
, from Captain Welles
, of the Thirtieth Regiment, which contained a very full and interesting account of the sanitary condition of that regiment, and expressed fairly the condition of the others.
It appears by Captain Welles
's report, that at times not more than seventy men of the entire command were free from sickness, and entirely well.
Feb. 15, 1863, the regiment had about four hundred men left for light duty, out of more than one thousand officers and men. From the time they had left the State
, six had died in battle, about one hundred had been discharged, and ‘nearly all the rest have died of fever or diseases resulting from fever.
gives us to the first of June, before we shall again become a burden to the service.
In my opinion, if we are not removed to some station free from malaria before fall, the remnant that may be left will come home utterly ’