Lo, the poor negro!
--A letter from a soldier who was at the Port Hudson
fight gives the following about the fate of the negroes there:
The negroes were put in the foremost ranks, that they fired away at the grim but desert breastworks with unsurpassed valor, and in a word filled the breasts of the Yankee
officers with hope and exultation.
But when they were close enough for our Confederates to distinguish their complexions, and the bullets began to whiz about their woolly heads, they hastily flung themselves flat upon the ground, from which position neither force nor entreaties could raise them.
At this moment a Louisiana and an Arkansas regiment, excited to an ungovernable pitch by the spectacle of their slaves in arms for their subjugation, burst from their entrenchments, and with savage cries of "no quarter for the niggers!
the black flag is raised!" ran forward to the attack.
In vain the black rascals fell upon their knees and begged for mercy; they were slain where they knelt, and out of a full regiment of nine hundred most valuable field hands, but two hundred survived to tell the tale.
The deserters say that next day, Banks
's "native Louisiana
" regiments did not come forward at reveille, but the hill and plains from Port Hudson
down for miles and miles below Baton Rouge
were thronged with flying darkies, speechless with fright and evincing an unconquerable unwillingness to return to the scene of their first trial at arms.
Another Confederate, who participated in the assault on Milliken's Bend
, where the 11th Louisiana (negro) regiment was stationed, writes:
In the fight yesterday, after we had completely routed the Yankees
and they were in full recreate to their boats, our men in pursuit of them, encountered a negro regiment, who, seeing the defeat of the Yankees
and afraid to fight themselves, immediately threw down their arms and ran toward our men for protection, a poor wretch was shot, others fled toward the river, pursued by our men, who got behind the levee and out of reach of the gun boats, and continued the slaughter with an unsparing hand.
As our troops had the advantage and the negroes were entirely cut off from retreat by the river, the slaughter among the negroes was terrible.
The ground was literally covered with them.
We have captured a great many.
Unfortunately, their officers (Yankees) all managed to escape.