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Thomas Wentworth Higginson (search for this): chapter 10
fresh from my own State, and I had relatives and acquaintances among its officers. Governor Andrew, who had formed it, was an old friend, and had begged me, on departure from Massachusetts, to keep him informed as to our experiment. I had good reason to believe that my reports had helped to prepare the way for this new battalion, and I had sent him, at his request, some hints as to its formation. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, Boston, February 5, 1863. To Col. T. W. Higginson, Commanding 1st Regt. S. C. Vols., Port Royal Island, S. C. Colonel,--I am under obligations to you for your very interesting letter of January 19th, which I considered to be too important in its testimony to the efficiency of colored troops to be allowed to remain hidden on my files. I therefore placed some portions of it in the hands of Hon. Stephen M. Weld, of Jamaica Plain, for publication, and you will find enclosed the newspaper slip from the Journal of February 3d, in which
ce in being ordered on active service, where a few strokes of the pen will dispose of all this multiplicity of trappings as expended in action or lost in service. For one, the longer I remained in service, the better I appreciated the good sense of most of the regular army niceties. True, these things must all vanish when the time of action comes, but it is these things that have prepared you for action. Of course, if you dwell on them only, military life becomes millinery life alone. Kinglake says that the Russian Grand-Duke Constantine, contemplating his beautiful toy-regiments, said that he dreaded war, for he knew that it would spoil the troops. The simple fact is, that a soldier is like the weapon he carries; service implies soiling, but you must have it clean in advance, that when soiled it may be of some use. The men had that year a Christmas present which they enjoyed to the utmost,--furnishing the detail, every other day, for provost-guard duty in Beaufort. It was
L. W. Metcalf (search for this): chapter 10
Commission Fair in Boston; but it spoiled on the passage. These quadruped allies were not originally intended as dogs of war, but simply to detect fugitive slaves, and the men were delighted at this confirmation of their tales of dog-companies, which some of the officers had always disbelieved. Captain Bryant; during his scouting adventures, had learned to outwit these bloodhounds, and used his skill in eluding escape, during another expedition of the same kind. He was sent with Captain Metcalf's company far up the Combahee River to cut the telegraphic wires and intercept despatches. Our adventurous chaplain and a telegraphic operator went with the party. They ascended the river, cut the wires, and read the despatches for an hour or two. Unfortunately, the attached wire was too conspicuously hung, and was seen by a passenger on the railway train in passing. The train was stopped and a swift stampede followed; a squad of cavalry was sent in pursuit, and our chaplain, with L
's company far up the Combahee River to cut the telegraphic wires and intercept despatches. Our adventurous chaplain and a telegraphic operator went with the party. They ascended the river, cut the wires, and read the despatches for an hour or two. Unfortunately, the attached wire was too conspicuously hung, and was seen by a passenger on the railway train in passing. The train was stopped and a swift stampede followed; a squad of cavalry was sent in pursuit, and our chaplain, with Lieutenant Osborn, of Bryant's projected regiment, were captured; also one private,--the first of our men who had ever been taken prisoners. In spite of an agreement at Washington to the contrary, our chaplain was held as prisoner of war, the only spiritual adviser in uniform, so far as I know, who had that honor. I do not know but his reverence would have agreed with Scott's pirate-lieutenant, that it was better to live as plain Jack Bunce than die as Frederick Altamont; but I am very sure that he wo
Rufus Saxton (search for this): chapter 10
officers and the thorough discipline of its men, for all subsequent corps of the like material. Please present to General Saxton the assurances of my respectful regard. I have the honor to be, respectfully and obediently yours, John A. Acumstances of his death, and many of them had subscribed towards a monument for him,--a project which originated with General Saxton, and which was finally embodied in the Shaw school-house at Charleston. So it gave us all pleasure to name this camp for him, as its predecessor had been named for General Saxton. The new camp was soon brought into good order. The men had great ingenuity in building screens and shelters of light poles, filled in with the gray moss from the live-oaks. The off; said they. The darkeys are on guard to-night, and we must look out for our lives. Even after a Christmas party at General Saxton's, the guard at the door very properly refused to let the ambulance be brought round from the stable for the ladies
ssing. The train was stopped and a swift stampede followed; a squad of cavalry was sent in pursuit, and our chaplain, with Lieutenant Osborn, of Bryant's projected regiment, were captured; also one private,--the first of our men who had ever been taken prisoners. In spite of an agreement at Washington to the contrary, our chaplain was held as prisoner of war, the only spiritual adviser in uniform, so far as I know, who had that honor. I do not know but his reverence would have agreed with Scott's pirate-lieutenant, that it was better to live as plain Jack Bunce than die as Frederick Altamont; but I am very sure that he would rather have been kept prisoner to the close of the war, as a combatant, than have been released on parole as a non-resistant. After his return, I remember, he gave the most animated accounts of the whole adventure, of which he had enjoyed every instant, from the first entrance on the enemy's soil to the final capture. I suppose we should all like to tap t
R. G. Shaw (search for this): chapter 10
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 aShaw 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 he had been actually under fire with them. That, doubtless, removed all his anxieties, if he really had any. This interview had occurred on the 4th of June. Shaw and his regiment had very soon been ordered to Georgia, then to Morris Island; Fort Wagner had been assaulted, and he had been killed. Most of the men knew about
Combahee (South Carolina, United States) (search for this): chapter 10
poiled on the passage. These quadruped allies were not originally intended as dogs of war, but simply to detect fugitive slaves, and the men were delighted at this confirmation of their tales of dog-companies, which some of the officers had always disbelieved. Captain Bryant; during his scouting adventures, had learned to outwit these bloodhounds, and used his skill in eluding escape, during another expedition of the same kind. He was sent with Captain Metcalf's company far up the Combahee River to cut the telegraphic wires and intercept despatches. Our adventurous chaplain and a telegraphic operator went with the party. They ascended the river, cut the wires, and read the despatches for an hour or two. Unfortunately, the attached wire was too conspicuously hung, and was seen by a passenger on the railway train in passing. The train was stopped and a swift stampede followed; a squad of cavalry was sent in pursuit, and our chaplain, with Lieutenant Osborn, of Bryant's project
Edisto (South Carolina, United States) (search for this): chapter 10
Chapter 10: life at camp Shaw. The Edisto expedition cost me the health and strength of several years. I could say, long after, in the words of one of the men, I'se been a sickly person, eber since de expeditious. Justice to a strong constitution and good habits compels me, however, to say that, up to the time of my injury, I was almost the only officer in the regiment who had not once been off duty from illness. But at last I had to yield, and went North for a month. We heard much said, during the war, of wounded officers who stayed unreasonably long at home. I think there were more instances of those who went back too soon. Such at least was my case. On returning to the regiment I found a great accumulation of unfinished business; every member of the field and staff was prostrated by illness or absent on detailed service; two companies had been sent to Hilton Head on fatigue duty, and kept there unexpectedly long: and there was a visible demoralization among the rest,
Hilton Head (South Carolina, United States) (search for this): chapter 10
ot once been off duty from illness. But at last I had to yield, and went North for a month. We heard much said, during the war, of wounded officers who stayed unreasonably long at home. I think there were more instances of those who went back too soon. Such at least was my case. On returning to the regiment I found a great accumulation of unfinished business; every member of the field and staff was prostrated by illness or absent on detailed service; two companies had been sent to Hilton Head on fatigue duty, and kept there unexpectedly long: and there was a visible demoralization among the rest, especially from the fact that their pay had just been cut down, in violation of the express pledges of the government. A few weeks of steady sway made all right again; and during those weeks I felt a perfect exhilaration of health, followed by a month or two of complete prostration, when the work was done. This passing, I returned to duty, buoyed up by the fallacious hope that the w
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