• Letter Mentions Negro Regiment; African Americans Proved Invaluable To The Civil War Effort

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    2 pp, 5 ¼ x 8, Hartland, March 13th, 1864, P.S. Pierce writes to his brother.  The letter mentions Charles Hitchcock, who was in charge of a Negro regiment, the 58th in Natchez, Mississippi.


     “Yours of February 17th was received. We were all very much blessed to hear that we were not forgotten. It found us all well as could be expected.  Mother’s age is such that she cannot be expected to be very [well[ but is able to be round and enjoy herself...I have thought of visiting the east and perhaps I may after this war is over (if that should ever be) and we can once more hire help to carry on our business so that we can leave. If I should I shall try and see you...You wanted to know about Charles and family. Arthur is somewhere in the eastern Army, the last I heard Fortress Monroe. Charles Junior is at Pachuta [Mississippi]. He is in captain of a Negro company...P.S. Pierce


    “C. Hitchcock, your brother Charles Address, Elliota, Filmore County, Minnesota, Capt. Chas Hitchcock, Co. H. 58 Regiment, Col. Natchez, Miss.”


    The 58th U.S. Colored Infantry was composed of African American enlisted men commanded by white officers and was authorized by the Bureau of Colored Troops, created by the U.S. War Department on May 22, 1863.


    More than 160,000 African American soldiers served in the Union Army, though this has often been obscured in history.


    Leading abolitionist and ex-slave Frederick Douglass once wrote: “Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letter, U.S., let him get an eagle on his button and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket, there is no power on earth that can deny he has earned the right to citizenship.” As the war raged on, the inclusion of African Americans in federal forces would prove both imperative to the Union war effort and to African Americans’ struggle for freedom.


    Letter is in very good condition. Our writer, Pierce’s handwriting is somewhat challenging to read.  Punctuation added and spelling corrected in the transcription to allow for clarity.


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