Xenia Sentinel, Xenia, Ohio
September 8, 1863
A Visit to the Colored Soldiers at Camp Delaware.
The town which borders R. R. navigation on the west side is famous for its school of churches with their snow white steeples piercing the sky from a dozen hills in the eastern horizon of the village. From this mountain-sheet of churches may be seen many thousand feet of the diamond-cut white pailing below, encircling the neat cottages richly decorated on all sides with various vines and summer flowers. One mile from town, in a northerly direction, on an elevated plain, is situated Camp Delaware, a tract of land known by the village boys as “Delaware Grove.” At the base of this elevated land is a beautiful spring of as fine and healthy water as can be found in the State. In a straight line on each side forming a narrow street in the center, are about fifty neatly constructed tents. In the rear of these on a more elevated spot is situated the Colonel’s tents, overlooking the tents below and better known about the camp as Headquarters; and at its top may be seen the stars and stripes flying in the breeze. At the right of this is the Postoffice, attended by an intelligent and faithful colored soldier. Having friends at the camp, I of course had access to the different tents, and it is with pleasure that I say I found them neat and clean; in every tent there seemed to be a place for everything and everything seemed to be in its place. I found the boys cheerful and full of fun. The men are well clad and seem to enjoy good health. The names on the rolls, when called, amount to about 800 men. When drilling I found them active, quick, obedient, and Colonel McCoy says well disciplined in military tactics. They seem ready and willing to maintain any post of honor that may be assigned to them. For the present the different companies are commanded by colored Captains. As yet officers of the day at camp have been all colored. I believe the time is not far distant when colored men continue to distinguish themselves in the art of war, the Government will throw aside the barrier and they may aspire to military positions of distinction. Let colored men volunteer, fill up the regiment and go forth with the brave Colonel McCoy to win the laurels of victory. They are already green on the brow of the brave 54th (colored) – let the white stripes in our glorious flag be crimsoned red with the blood of the colored Ohio braves; let us do this and we transmit the blessings of untarnished liberty to our children, and like the brave colored men who fell at Port Hudson, we go to our graves colored with the richest garlands of undying glory. Yours,
Ohio State Journal, Columbus, Ohio
June 22, 1864
Our Va. Correspondence.
The Experiment with Colored Troops.
Correspondence of O. S. Journal.
CAMP CASEY, VA., June 16th, 1864.
According to promise, I now seat myself to drop you a few lines, from “South of the Potomac,” giving you my views in regard to “Colored Troops,” and whatever other thoughts may be suggested by a newspaper correspondence.
Since my transfer to this branch of service, I think I am enabled to form something like a correct view of the soldierly qualities of the negro.
I conclude that, to take them as a company, we have few companies of white soldiers in the service that will surpass the, in military drill, with the same amount of practice, and none more ambitious to try to learn. In no branch of the service is it so easy to exercise military discipline, and as proved in several well contested trials, since Grant’s advance, they have proved themselves,
Conquerors, who leave behind,
Nothing but ruin wheresoe’er they rove.”
For they go into the contest with the cry, “Fort Pillow,” neither asking or giving quarters.
The oddities and excentricities of the negro afford us plenty of fun from morning till night, by the month. When told to do any duty, they will do it. No one dare trifle with a guard after night, unless he prizes life lightly, for they will shoot a great deal sooner than white soldiers, their discretion not being as good as white soldiers.
There is unbounded admiration among the soldiers of the “Army of the Potomac” over the renomination of “Old Abe.” Since he is the nominee, no other man in the nation can get more than a good “corporal guard” vote in the army. With Lincoln at the head of the Government, and Grant at the head of the army, both prompted by high an holy motives, and looking to God for guidance, we must eventually succeed.
Those who are at home are not at all prepared to judge the magnitude of General Grant’s task, and are apt to thing at the present, he is progressing slowly. Les such but look back but once year ago to the siege of Vicksburg. When despondency was setting down upon the people, Grant was getting ready for the final stroke. It will be some time before Richmond will be taken, yet we need not grow “faint-hearted,” for it is only a question of time. There are movements going on in the “Army of the Potomac,” which will not be known until the result is produced. I will write you again as soon as anything important transpires. Yours, &c.,
First Lieut., Co H, 27th U.S.C.T., Camp Casey, Va.
Ohio State Journal, Columbus, Ohio
October 27, 1864
From the 27th U.S.C.T.
Special Correspondence of the Ohio State Journal.
NEAR “PEEBLE’S HOUSE,” VA.,
October 18, 1864
I have failed to write for the JOURNAL until the present, as you have such an able correspondent in our Quartermaster, Lieut. N. A. Gray. I will not refer to the various “army movements,” as these you will know up to the present, ere my letter reaches you. A few words, however in regard to the 27th, as it was raised in Ohio. We now number 1,100 men – over the maximum, and plenty more wanting to come into the regiment. We have an order to transfer the excess. Absent, sick and wounded, 250; so you see we have a strong regiment, and I believe, for the same amount of experience and opportunity so far, one of the best in service.
For the benefit of the boys’ friends in Ohio, I will say that I do not think there is a regiment in service in which the boys enjoy themselves more than in the 27th. This is not only comforting to themselves, but betokens a great deal as to their soldierly qualities.
Although they are on either picket or fatigue almost daily, and many days every man fit for duty in the regiment, yet they have taken pains to fix up what is acknowledged by all to be the most “fancy” camp of any ever seen within hearing distance of the Johnnies, as we now are. The boys appear to be well satisfied with the army and with their officers. After fixing the camp the other day, they concluded to have an “illumination” at night, and procuring candles, placed them burning in arches they had formed in the cedar bushes posted, and even in the tops of cedar trees; then the had their merry dance and “jollification.”
We daily see good reasons for confidence in soldierly qualities of colored troops. They possess endurance and good will, especially, to a greater degree than even white soldiers. We are ready for a fight when called on, which we expect will before many days. You may expect a decisive engagement ere long. We hope t be as successful in whipping Johnnies as you were last week in whipping their Copperhead abettors, at the election. We cast 20 votes in our Regiment, all for the Union. We rejoice over nothing more than the defeat of Cox and Long, and the success of Hon Jno. A. Bingham in the 16th District, a man whom all soldiers want to see back in Congress in place of his “wooden” substitute, during the past term. Now, for Abe and Andy! Do your duty at home, and you may count Ohio soldiers at the front as “all right.”