hardly to long for ease and comfort. I wish I could do my share; i. e. that I had as much talent and ability to give to it as I want. . . . . Now that the conflagration policy is settled, I don't mind your speaking of what I wrote about it. Though I would never justify such acts for a moment, there is a spark of truth in the reasoning that, if we are to be treated as brigands if captured, we are not bound to observe the laws of war. But I think now, as I did at the time, that it is cruel, barbarous, impolitic, and degrading to ourselves and to our men; and I shall always rejoice that I expressed myself so at the time of the destruction of Darien.
St. Helena Island, July 6.We don't know with any certainty what is going on in the North, but can't believe Lee will get far into Pennsylvania. No matter if the Rebels get to New York, I shall never lose my faith in our ultimate success. We are not yet ready for peace, and want a good deal of purging still. I wrote to General Strong this afternoon, and expressed my wish to be in his brigade. I want to get my men alongside of white troops, and into a good fight, if there is to be one. Working independently, the colored troops come only under the eyes of their own officers; and to have their worth properly acknowledged, they should be with other troops in action. It is an incentive to them to do their best. There is some rumor to-night of our being ordered to James Island, and put under General Terry's command. I should be satisfied with that.
James Island, July 16.. . . . You don't know what a fortunate day this has been for me, and for us all, excepting some poor fellows who were killed and wounded. Two hundred of my men on picket this morning were attacked by five regiments of infantry, some cavalry, and a battery of artillery. The Tenth Connecticut were on their left, and say they should have had a bad time if the Fifty-fourth men had not stood so well. The other regiments lost, in all, three men wounded. We lost seven killed, twenty-one wounded, six missing, supposed killed, and nine unaccounted for. General Terry sent me word he was highly gratified with the behavior of my men, and the officers and privates of other regiments praise us very much. All this is very gratifying to us person ally, and a fine thing for the colored troops. I have just come in from the front with my regiment, where we were sent as soon as the Rebels retired. This shows that the events of the morning did not destroy the General's confidence in us.
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Ode recited at the Harvard commemoration, July 21 , 1865 .
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