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 teachers from the North and success crowned his efforts. In February, 1864, while there were about two thousand freed people in the villages outside of the New Berne, North Carolina, intrenchments, an enterprising Confederal general, George E. Pickett, with a division of troops, attempted to retake that city. Concerning his approach an eyewitness wrote that every man, woman, and child from these negro camps came rushing wildly into town, and felt as keen a sense of danger as if they had been actually returned by force to their old masters. Negroes, to the number of nine hundred, were then put into the trenches with the white soldiers, and were highly complimented for their uniformly brave conduct during the assault. The attempt of General Pickett failed, and the negro defenders received a due proportion of credit for the repulse. After this the several negro settlements, for safety, had to be consolidated within the fortified lines. Lots were now assigned and about eight hundred houses erected, which at one time sheltered some three thousand escaped slaves. Though such a village was not productive of the best fruits in all respects, yet even there under the thorough system of police instituted and the daily drill of the men, the schools taught by excellent teachers steadily increased in numbers and the freed people improved rapidly in intelligence, in cleanliness, and order. It was altogether a new life to the late slaves. The capture by our navy of the forts at its mouth, November 7, 1861, had brought into our possession Port Royal Harbor, S. C. Such cotton as was found on the islands tributary to this region was at once taken possession of by treasury agents.
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