previous next

[190] ability enough for the undertaking, and hoping that his refusal might not lower him in the opinion of the Governor. This letter never reached Governor Andrew, for the following reason: the morning after the father's arrival in New York, he received a telegram from his son.

Stafford Court-House, February 5.

Please destroy my letter and telegraph to the Governor that I accept.

Extracts from two letters written at this time show the state of his mind:—

February 4.

Father has just left here. He came down yesterday, and brought me an offer from Governor Andrew of the colonelcy of his new black regiment. The Governor considers it a most important command, and I could not help feeling, from the tone of his letter, that he did me a great honor in offering it to me. My father will tell you some of the reasons why I thought I ought not to accept it. If I had taken it, it would only have been from a sense of duty, for it would have been anything but an agreeable task.

February 8.

You know by this time, perhaps, that I have changed my mind about the black regiment. After father left, I began to think I had made a mistake in refusing Governor Andrew's offer. . . . . Going for another three years is not nearly so bad a thing for a colonel as for a captain, as the former can much more easily get a furlough. Then after I have undertaken this work, I shall feel that what I have to do is to prove that a negro can be made a good soldier, and, that being established, it will not be a point of honor with me to see the war through, unless I really occupied a position of importance in the army. Hundreds of men might leave the army, you know, without injuring the service in the slightest degree. . . . .

I am inclined to think that the undertaking will not meet with so much opposition as was at first supposed. All sensible men in the army, of all parties, after a little thought, say that it is the best thing that can be done; and surely those at home who are not brave or patriotic enough to enlist should not ridicule or throw obstacles in the way of men who are going to fight for them. There is a great prejudice against it, but now that it has become a government matter, that will probably wear away. At any rate, I sha'n't be frightened out of it by its unpopularity . . . .

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John A. Andrew (3)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
February 8th (1)
February 5th (1)
February 4th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: