of my respectful regard.
I have the honor to be, respectfully and obediently yours,
John A. Andrew, Governor of Massachusetts.
In the streets of Beaufort I had met Colonel Shaw, riding with his lieutenant-colonel and successor, Edward Hallowell, and had gone back with them to share their first meal in camp.
I should have known Shaw anywhere by his resemblance to his kindred, nor did it take long to perceive that he shared their habitual truthfulness and courage.
Moreover, he and Hallowell had already got beyond the commonplaces of inexperience, in regard to colored troops, and, for a wonder, asked only sensible questions.
For instance, he admitted the mere matter of courage to be settled, as regarded the colored troops, and his whole solicitude bore on this point,--Would they do as well in line-of-battle as they had already done in more irregular service, and on picket and guard duty?
Of this I had, of course, no doubt, nor, I think, had he; though I remember his sa
heir accustomed dusky silence, and I longed to ask them what they thought of our Florida disappointment now?
In view of what they saw, did they still wish we had been there?
I confess that in presence of all that human suffering, I could not wish it. But I would not have suggested any such thought to them.
I found our kind-hearted ladies, Mrs. Chamberlin and Mrs. Dewhurst, on board the steamer, but there was nothing for them to do, and we walked back to camp in the radiant moonlight; Mrs. Chamberlin more than ever strengthened in her blushing woman's philosophy, I don't care who wins the laurels, provided we don't!
But for a few trivial cases of varioloid, we should certainly have been in that disastrous fight.
We were confidently expected for several days at Jacksonville, and the commanding general told Colonel Hallowell that we, being the oldest colored regiment, would have the right of the line.
This was certainly to miss danger and glory very closely.
ght me was in finding them so little demoralized.
I had not allowed for the extreme remoteness and seclusion of their lives, especially among the Sea Islands.
Many of them had literally spent their whole existence on some lonely island or remote plantation, where the master never came, and the overseer only once or twice a week.
With these exceptions, such persons had never seen a white face, and of the excitements or sins of larger communities they had not a conception.
My friend Colonel Hallowell, of the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts, told me that he had among his men some of the worst reprobates of Northern cities.
While I had some men who were unprincipled and troublesome, there was not one whom I could call a hardened villain.
I was constantly expecting to find male Topsies, with no notions of good and plenty of evil.
But I never found one.
Among the most ignorant there was very often a childlike absence of vices, which was rather to be classed as inexperience than as innoc