to be duped and misled into a feeling of distrust and a course of antagonism to their former owners, and the people of the South
generally, which came very near causing a rupture that might have resulted in the destruction of all confidence, the severance of all ties and creating a permanent animosity between them.
I do not envy the men, or fiends, who could take advantage of the ignorant negroes and turn them against the white people and expose them to the possible dangers and evils of a bloody race conflict.
The infamies practiced by the carpetbagger engendered the feeling of hatred in the negro's breast, and I firmly believe that but for this we would not have felt the horrors of the so-called ‘Reconstruction,’ and that we would have no negro question now. I do not believe that the effect those teachings had on the negroes then will ever be eradicated from the present or future generations, but whatever the future may develop, we must remember the loyalty of our good slaves.
I cannot better explain or illustrate what I desire than by repeating a conversation I had just after the great reunion at Richmond
with a distinguished citizen and gentleman, whom I met at the Exposition, Dr. W. S. Christian
, of Urbana, Va.
was colonel of the 51st Virginia Infantry, and was captured after the battle of Gettysburg
, while the army was crossing ‘Falling Waters
,’ and sent to Johnson's Island
, where the officers from Port Hudson
were also imprisoned.
Said the Doctor
My recollection is that there were thirteen negroes who spent the dreadful winter of 1863-4 with us at Johnson's Island, and not one of them deserted or accepted freedom, though it was urged upon them time and again.
You remember that Port Hudson was compelled to surrender after Vicksburg had fallen.
The officers were notified they would not be paroled as those at Vicksburg had been . They were told, however, they could retain their personal property.
Some of the officers claimed their negro servants as personal property, and took them along to prison with them.
Arriving at Johnson's Island, the Federal authorities assured the negroes they were as free as their masters had been, and were not prisoners of war; that they would give them no rations