• MA 44th Soldier Reports Black Soldiers Frightened At Newbern

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    4 pp, 5 x 8, ALS, Newbern, Feb. 14, 1863, signed J.M., very likely John H. Myers of the 44th Massachusetts Regiment Infantry. Very fine content relating to his impression of Southern black soldiers as highly timid.

     

    He begins with a narrative with a description of the hospitals and his illness.

     

    “The Doctor says, I may have my clothes tomorrow and if anyone is glad you may be sure that I am. As to beds, I am perfectly sick of them. Shan’t want to see another one till I get home. Boards will be hard I suppose, but will be satisfied of old Rheumatics does not give me another call.

     

    “I am sorry that I cannot say the same of all Hospitals as I can of ours, of course. There is not the same interest in all of them. The 44th Hospitals has a great many friends that others has not. While I was there they had some eight long boxes of wines, liquors, books and various other articles, all for the Hospital, sent by the ladies of the 44th.

     

    “The Hospitals in Newbern are very well conducted as there is considerable interest excited, but in other places I am told are rather poor in accommodations for the sick on the whole. They are fair in North Carolina...

     

    “With regard to Black Soldiers, I have no doubt but what they can drill, but all Southern darkies I ever saw you could frighten almost out of their senses by pointing the butt of a pistol at them, and in all of our marches just as soon as we heard cannons fire, all the darkies would make for the rear and be two or three miles away at the battle, I can’t seem to have the confidence in them. Hope they will do better than I think they will. [I] think the white soldiers would be willing to have the blacks fight all the battles and let them go home...

     

    “J.M.”

     

    The 44th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was an old state militia unit dating back to the Revolutionary War. After President Abraham Lincoln’s August 1862 call for 300,000 men to serve for nine months, the 4th Battalion was given permission to recruit to a full regiment. The regiment was assigned to Maj. Gen. John G. Foster’s Department of North Carolina, stationed at New Bern, NC.  The men saw their first combat during the Battle of Rawl’s Mills, NC.  In December 1862, the regiment took part in the Goldsboro Expedition. During the following spring, they participated in the Siege of Washington, NC.

     

    Light toning. Folds. Very easy to read.

     

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