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[192]

He himself wrote of it thus:—

steamer de Molay, off Cape Hatteras, June 1, 1863.
The more I think of the passage of the Fifty-fourth through Boston, the more wonderful it seems to me. Just remember our own doubts and fears, and other people's sneering and pitying remarks, when we began last winter, and then look at the perfect triumph of last Thursday. We have gone quietly along, forming the regiment, and at last left Boston amidst a greater enthusiasm than has been seen since the first three months troops left for the war. . . . . Truly, I ought to be thankful for all my happiness, and my success in life so far; and if the raising of colored troops prove such a benefit to the country and to the blacks as many people think it will, I shall thank God a thousand times that I was led to take my share in it.


The following extracts will give some idea of his short experiences in South Carolina and Georgia. After visiting some of the deserted plantations and talking with the negroes, he writes:—

June 13.

A deserted homestead is always a sad sight; but here in the South we must look a little deeper than the surface, and then we see that every such overgrown plantation and empty house is a harbinger of freedom to the slaves, and every lover of his country, even if he have no feeling for the slaves themselves, should rejoice.


June 26.

The only persons responsible for the depravity of the negroes are their scoundrelly owners, who are, nevertheless, not ashamed to talk of the Christianizing influence of slavery. Whatever the condition of the slaves may be, it does not degrade them as a bad life does most people, for their faces are generally good. I suppose this is owing to their utter ignorance and innocence of evil ....

We landed on this island [Port Royal Island] last night, and today are bringing everything to our camp, a mile from the landing, by hand. Having a great many stores, it is a long job. I am sitting on a box in the middle of a field of sand, under a tent-fly, and writing on my knee.


Sunday, June 28.

. . . . Shall we ever have a home of our own, do you suppose? I can't help looking forward to that time, though I should not; for when there is so much for every man in the country to do, we ought


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