Conduct of the colored troops.
There has been much dispute and many exaggerations and misstatements in relation to the efficiency of the colored troops in the war. While one party have contended that they were all and always heroes, another have insisted that “Niggers wouldn't fight-they couldn't be made to — they had seen too much of them to believe that they wouldn't run at the very first sight of a hostile white man,” etc.
Both were in the wrong.
, in a review of the whole course of the war, asserts that there has been no perceptible difference between the conduct of the colored and the white troops; both have often displayed extraordinary bravery at some times, and at others, under incompetent leaders, have been affected by panic, and retreated, and in proportion to their numbers, one race have acted thus as much as the other.
This testimony is remarkably creditable to the negroes.
When we reflect that the greater part of the colored troops had been field hands, slaves, subject to the irresponsible will of their masters, till within a few weeks, and, in many instances, a few days of their entering the service, that they were almost entirely uneducated, and had no previous military drill or knowledge, it is astonishing that they should have done so well.
There was, indeed, a material difference between the intelligent free negro regiments of the North
, and those composed of freedmen recently emancipated in the South
, just as