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At port royal.

In November, 1861, a Union force under Commodore Dupont and General Sherman captured Port Royal, and from this point as a basis of operations, the neighboring islands between Charleston and Savannah were taken possession of. The early occupation of this district, where the negro population was greatly in excess of the white, gave an opportunity which was at once seized upon, of practically emancipating the slaves and of beginning that work of civilization which was accepted as the grave responsibility of those who had labored for freedom.

the tent-lights glimmer on the land,
     The ship-lights on the sea;
The night-wind smooths with drifting sand
     Our track on lone Tybee.

At last our grating keels outslide,
     Our good boats forward swing;
And while we ride the land-locked tide,
     Our negroes row and sing.

For dear the bondman holds his gifts
     Of music and of song:
The gold that kindly Nature sifts
     Among his sands of wrong;

The power to make his toiling days
     And poor home-comforts please;
The quaint relief of mirth that plays
     With sorrow's minor keys.

Another glow than sunset's fire
     Has filled the west with light,
Where field and garner, barn and byre,
     Are blazing through the night.

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