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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment, Chapter
: the negro as a soldier. (search)
Chapter 12: the negro as a soldier. There was in our regiment a very young recruit, named Sam Roberts, of whom Trowbridge used to tell this story. Early in the war Trowbridge had been once sent to Amelia Island with a squad of men, under direction of Commodore Goldsborough, to remove the negroes from the island. As the offi
nd a flat-boat which had been rejected as unseaworthy, got on board,--still under the old woman's orders,--and drifted forty miles down the river to our lines.
Trowbridge happened to be on board the gunboat which picked them up, and he said that when the flat touched the side of the vessel, the grandmother rose to her full height ommissions for him and several others before I left the regiment, had their literary education been sufficient; and such an attempt was finally made by Lieutenant-Colonel Trowbridge, my successor in immediate command, but it proved unsuccessful.
It always seemed to me an insult to those brave men to have novices put over their hea
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment, Appendix B: the
First black soldiers. (search)
Appendix B: the First black soldiers. It is well known that the first systematic attempt to organize colored troops during the war of the rebellion was the so-called Hunter regiment. The officer originally detailed to recruit for this purpose was Sergeant C. T. Trowbridge, of the New York Volunteer Engineers (Col. Serrell). His detail was dated May 7, 1862, S. O. 84 Dept. South. Enlistments came in very slowly, and no wonder. The white officers and soldiers were generally opposed to the experiment, and filled the ears of the negroes with the same tales which had been told them by their masters,--that the Yankees really meant to sell them to Cuba, and the like. The mildest threats were that they would be made to work without pay (which turned out to be the case), and that they would be put in the front rank in every battle. Nobody could assure them that they and their families would be freed by the Government, if they fought for it, since no such policy had been adopted.
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment, Appendix E: farewell address of