The Yankee journals are unanimous in denouncing the negro troops for their cowardice at Petersburg
, and Grant
for putting them in front.
Some of them qualify their denunciation of Grant
by accusing Lincoln
, in complaisance to whom, they say, the experiment was made; but they all agree that the duty upon which the negroes were ordered was such as demanded the service of the bravest and most thoroughly-tried regiments in the whole army, and that the most indifferent and least experienced were thrust upon it. So, it seems, this is all that the poor negro gets from his new masters.
He is first pushed forward upon the most dangerous service that can possibly be required of a soldier — he takes the bullets and bayonets which his better disciplined white comrades should receive — he acts as a living rampart to shield them from danger — and when he is compelled, by a fire which no troops on earth could stand, to break and run, he gets nothing but curses and jeers in return for his devotion! --This is Yankee all over, and is the attempt to prove that, had the place of the negroes been filled by white regiments, the event would have been different.
There is nothing in the history of "The Army of the Potomac
" to prove the truth of this assertions or to show that the best of its white troops would not have been beaten quite as effectually as were the unfortunate negroes, whom they forced into their ranks in spite of their wishes and remonstrances.
This trial of the negro, however, seems to have effectually dispelled the last illusion with regard to the services expected from that race.
Before the war commenced, the Abolitionists, totally mistaking the character of the negro, and the condition in which he existed, were constantly in the habit of representing him as an oppressed captive, ready to take vengeance upon his oppressors at the first signal of a liberating army.
The most glowing pictures were drawn of midnight murders and conflagrations; of huge slaves brandishing axes and torches; of Southern women and children massacred upon their hearthstones, or fleeing to the woods for safety.
The negro was represented as the very incarnation of the fabled Nemesis
—— the Avenger
of the wrongs of whole generations — the Fate
of the unfortunate white race.
The progress of the war soon dissipated all these idle imagining. --Except in a very few instances, the negro manifested no hostility whatever to his master, for the simple reason that he had never been oppressed, as the Yankees
presumed he had been — presumed so because, if they had been in his master's place, they would have wrung the last possible exertion from his tortured limbs — and that he had nothing to avenge.
Thus they got rid of one delusion, only to fall into another.
The negro, from the very law of his origin in a tropical climate, is indolent, and will not work if he can avoid it. He is, moreover, ignorant, credulous, and peculiarly open to temptation.
A band of tolerably good music can allure thousands of them to any exodus that the performers may desire.
They will follow it through field and forest, through bog and mire, to the end of the world. --Having become aware of this, the Yankees
have employed this expedient with astonishing success.--A band in any neighborhood is sufficient to attract all
the negroes from all the plantations in five miles around.
Other temptations were added; and thus thousands have been tolled off from homes better and happier than they will ever see again; and this circumstance gave rise to the greatest delusion of all; namely, to the belief that the negroes could be made soldiers of.
The negro is patient, enduring, and by no means vindictive.
He is, naturally, a respecter of authority, and is the most acute person in the world in distinguishing the real
gentleman from the pretender.
Neither fine clothes nor fine airs can impose upon him. He knows a gentleman by instinct, and he respects him though he be in rags, while he has no respect, for the vulgar pretender, though clad in purple and fine linen.
But he cannot be made a soldier of, especially by the Yankees
, for whom he has no respect and whom he cannot be induced to treat otherwise than as an equal.
He knows that a white man ought not to put himself on a level with him, and he despises him for doing it. He will not respect his Yankee officers, and therefore Mr. Lincoln
's hopes are blasted.
He will hardly be able to conquer the South
by means of the negro, and he has found it out. This is his last card.
He has tried every other, and each has failed him in its turn.
About a year before the war began, Mr. Hickman
, of Pennsylvania
, declared, in a speech, "18,000,000 can beat 8,000,000." It has not turned out so. If the Yankee
nation had a proper sense of the attitude in which they stand, they would hang their heads in shame.
They are three or four times more numerous than we are. They had, at the beginning of the war, all the old army and old navy, while we had not a soldier or a ship.
They have now six hundred war vessels afloat, armed with the heaviest guns known to naval science.
They had all the arsenals and all the manufactories that belonged to the old United States
They had the seas free and the arsenals and manufactories of Europe
at their service.
They had a population of 25,000,000 from which to raise and recruit their armies.
They had free access to Ireland
, from which they have been drawing troops at the rate of nearly 40,000 a year.
They had access to Germany
, whence they have imported quite as largely.
They have called into the field 2,800,000 troops, and have actually put in 1,800,000, according to their own showing.
They have run themselves in doubt to the tune of five thousand millions.
They are everlastingly boasting of their honor and their determination to wipe us out of existence.
And yet, with all these advantages, they have been compelled to call for help on the poor negro — to tear him from his home and force him into the ranks — to put him forward as a living rampart for their white troops — to teach him war cries which they know must add ten-fold to his dangers — to see him slaughtered without mercy, and without daring to reinforce him. It is the most shameful, the most humiliating, picture ever presented by a nation to the world.
And yet the Yankees
boast of it — absolutely glory in their own shame — so utterly destitute are they of all the feelings which ennoble man and tend to redeem what is least commendable in his character.
They cease not to boast, though the Confederacy
, everywhere successful, stands to give the lie to their vain-glory; for what a poor, pitiful, miserable set of poltroons, and liars, and braggarts, must compose that nation, when it is not able, with all its advantages, even backed by our own negroes, to reduce us to submission!