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Fanny Wright (search for this): chapter 12
this officer wished to adopt her, but the mother said, I would do anything but that for oonah, --this being a sort of Indian formation of the second-person-plural, such as they sometimes use. This same officer afterwards saw a reward offered for this family in a Savannah paper. I used to think that I should not care to read Uncle Tom's cabin in our camp; it would have seemed tame. Any group of men in a tent would have had more exciting tales to tell. I needed no fiction when I had Fanny Wright, for instance, daily passing to and fro before my tent, with her shy little girl clinging to her skirts. Fanny was a modest little mulatto woman, a soldier's wife, and a company laundress. She had escaped from the main-land in a boat, with that child and another. Her baby was shot dead in her arms, and she reached our lines with one child safe on earth and the other in heaven. I never found it needful to give any elementary instructions in courage to Fanny's husband, you may be sure.
Henry Wilson (search for this): chapter 12
or so many months together. As well might he who has been wandering for years upon the desert, with a Bedouin escort, discuss the courage of the men whose tents have been his shelter and whose spears his guard. We, their officers, did not go there to teach lessons, but to receive them. There were more than a hundred men in the ranks who had voluntarily met more dangers in their escape from slavery than any of my young captains had incurred in all their lives. There was a family named Wilson, I remember, of which we had several representatives. Three or four brothers had planned an escape from the interior to our lines; they finally decided that the youngest should stay and take care of the old mother; the rest, with their sister and her children, came in a dug-out down one of the rivers. They were fired upon, again and again, by the pickets along the banks, until finally every man on board was wounded; and still they got safely through. When the bullets began to fly about th
Henry Ward (search for this): chapter 12
and the sublime impudence in which he culminated. He got a series of passes from me, every week or two, to go and see his wife on a neighboring plantation, and finally, when this resource seemed exhausted, he came boldly for one more pass, that he might go and be married. We used to quote him a good deal, also, as a sample of a certain Shakespearian boldness of personification in which the men sometimes indulged. Once, I remember, his captain had given him a fowling-piece to clean. Henry Ward had left it in the captain's tent, and the latter, finding it, had transferred the job to some one else. Then came a confession, in this precise form, with many dignified gesticulations:-- Cappen! I took dat gun, and I put him in Cappen tent. Den I look, and de gun not dar! Den Conscience say, Cappen mus' hab gib dat gun to somebody else for clean. Den I say, Conscience, you reason correck! Compare Lancelot Gobbo's soliloquy in the Two gentlemen of Verona! Still, I maintai
Charles T. Trowbridge (search for this): chapter 12
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 offind 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 heightommissions 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
Jamaica, L. I. (New York, United States) (search for this): chapter 12
uliar temperament of the races, in their religious faith, and in the habit of patience that centuries had fortified. The shrewder men all said substantially the same thing What was the use of insurrection, where everything was. against them? They had no knowledge, no money, no arms, no drill, no organization,--above all, no mutual confidence. It was the tradition among them that all insurrections were always betrayed by somebody. They had no mountain passes to defend like the Maroons of Jamaica, -no impenetrable swamps, like the Maroons of Surinam. Where they had these, even on a small scale, they had used them,--as in certain swamps round Savannah and in the everglades of Florida, where they united with the Indians, and would stand fire-so I was told by General Saxton, who had fought them there — when the Indians would retreat. It always seemed to me that, had I been a slave, my life would have been one long scheme of insurrection. But I learned to respect the patient self-
Surinam (Surinam) (search for this): chapter 12
th, and in the habit of patience that centuries had fortified. The shrewder men all said substantially the same thing What was the use of insurrection, where everything was. against them? They had no knowledge, no money, no arms, no drill, no organization,--above all, no mutual confidence. It was the tradition among them that all insurrections were always betrayed by somebody. They had no mountain passes to defend like the Maroons of Jamaica, -no impenetrable swamps, like the Maroons of Surinam. Where they had these, even on a small scale, they had used them,--as in certain swamps round Savannah and in the everglades of Florida, where they united with the Indians, and would stand fire-so I was told by General Saxton, who had fought them there — when the Indians would retreat. It always seemed to me that, had I been a slave, my life would have been one long scheme of insurrection. But I learned to respect the patient self-control of those who had waited till the course of eve
Savannah (Georgia, United States) (search for this): chapter 12
ers in the regiment named Miller. Their grandmother, a fine-looking old woman, nearly seventy, I should think, but erect as a pine-tree, used sometimes to come and visit them. She and her husband had once tried to escape from a plantation near Savannah. They had failed, and had been brought back; the husband had received five hundred lashes, and while the white men on the plantation were viewing the punishment, she was collecting her children and grandchildren, to the number of twenty-two, in always betrayed by somebody. They had no mountain passes to defend like the Maroons of Jamaica, -no impenetrable swamps, like the Maroons of Surinam. Where they had these, even on a small scale, they had used them,--as in certain swamps round Savannah and in the everglades of Florida, where they united with the Indians, and would stand fire-so I was told by General Saxton, who had fought them there — when the Indians would retreat. It always seemed to me that, had I been a slave, my life
Atlantic Ocean (search for this): chapter 12
ing to complain of, since there were no surgeons in the army for whom I would have exchanged my own. And this late arrival on the scene affected not only the medical supervision of the colored troops, but their opportunity for a career. It is not my province to write their history, nor to vindicate them, nor to follow them upon those larger fields compared with which the adventures of my regiment appear but a partisan warfare. Yet this, at least, may be said. The operations on the South Atlantic coast, which long seemed a merely subordinate and incidental part of the great contest, proved to be one of the final pivots on which it turned. All now admit that the fate of the Confederacy was decided by Sherman's march to the sea. Port Royal was the objective point to which he marched, and he found the Department of the South, when he reached it, held almost exclusively by colored troops. Next to the merit of those who made the march was that of those who held open the door. That
Washington (United States) (search for this): chapter 12
reatened mutiny; they seemed to make it a matter of honor to do their part, even if the Government proved a defaulter; but one third of them, including the best men in the regiment, quietly refused to take a dollar's pay, at the reduced price. We'se gib our sogerin‘ to de Guv'ment, Cunnel, they said, but we won't ‘spise ourselves so much for take de seben dollar. They even made a contemptuous ballad, of which I once caught a snatch. Ten dollar a month! Tree ob dat for clothin‘! Go to Washington Fight for Linkum's darter! This Lincoln's daughter stood for the Goddess of Liberty, it would seem. They would be true to her, but they would not take the half-pay. This was contrary to my advice, and to that of their other officers ; but I now think it was wise. Nothing less than this would have called the attention of the American people to this outrageous fraud. See Appendix. The same slow forecast had often marked their action in other ways. One of our ablest sergeants, <
Jacksonville (Florida, United States) (search for this): chapter 12
Certainly this indifference did not proceed from any want of personal affection, for they were the most affectionate people among whom I had ever lived. They attached themselves to every officer who deserved love, and to some who did not; and if they failed to show it to their masters, it proved the wrongfulness of the mastery. On the other hand, they rarely showed one gleam of revenge, and I shall never forget the self-control with which one of our best sergeants pointed out to me, at Jacksonville, the very place where one of his brothers had been hanged by the whites for leading a party of fugitive slaves. He spoke of it as a historic matter, without any bearing on the present issue. But side by side with this faculty of patience, there was a certain tropical element in the men, a sort of fiery ecstasy when aroused, which seemed to link them by blood with the French Turcos, and made them really resemble their natural enemies, the Celts, far more than the Anglo-Saxon temperam
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