When the war began I was quoted as saying I was fighting to save the Union and if those abolitionists were aiming to set the coloreds free then I am coming home! But when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, I was reluctantly for it as a military strategy; if it meant shortening the war and saving a few lives I was for it. I saw the way Southern officers used their slaves to build embattlements, dig trenches and throw up defenses, it made no sense to me. Think about this: If you were a slave and building these defenses to help your master win the war meant you remained in slavery, would you do it? And how can the Southern Officers march off to war without their slaves tending the plantation back home? How can they even fight without slaves growing their food and doing the labor to build their wealth? We must hurt the rebels in every way possible. Shoot them with shot and shells and minnie balls, and damn them, shoot them with free blacks… And my old ‘Dirty-first’ they were willing even a colored man should shield them from rebel bullets. So we’ll unite on this policy, putting the one who is the innocent cause of this war in the front rank and we did press on to victory. I have also seen black soldiers fight with as much bravery and courage as any other man.


11. A Pony for my Daughter.