I’ve been busy since we got home “loading” one of my blogs with articles from a book from the time of the American Civil War. The blog is Anecdotes & Images – Storys, Articles, Poetry, and Images @ Chronicles of the American Civil War and it generally has at least one post a day.
Today, I posted an interesting article that gives the view of one Union soldier, largely on his view of the war, but more importantly, slavery since he’s gone south into Virginia. The following is from the article, titled One of the Army of Martyrs.
“Before I came here, I was often told that I should not think so badly of slavery, if I had been in the Slave States. But I must say I have not yet seen any beauty in the system. When I do, I will inform you. While on picket duty, I often meet with slaves, and have opportunities of conversing with them. I said to one, who came into camp the other day, ‘How have you been treated, Robert?’ ‘Pretty well, sar.’ ‘Have you been well fed and clothed?’ ‘Pretty well, till dis year. Massa hab no money to spare dis year.’ ‘Were you contented?’ ‘No, sar.’ ‘You say you were pretty well treated, and pretty well supplied with food and clothes; why wasn’t you contented then?’ ‘Cause I wanted to be free, sar.’ ‘But what could you do to support yourself and your wife and children, if you were all free?’ His face brightened, and you could see his eyes sparkle, as he replied, ‘I’d hire a little hut, and hab a little garden, and keep a pig and a cow, and I’d work out by the day, and save money. I could save money. I’ve laid up eight dollars this summer; but if I couldn’t lay up a cent, I should like to be free. I should feel better.’ ‘Can you read and write?’ ‘No, sar. But massa’s mighty fraid to have us touch a paper; they say Massa Lincoln is going to free all the slaves.’ ‘Where did you hear that?’ ‘We used to hear massa say so, last fall, before Massa Lincoln was President.’ ‘Did you ever hear of John Brown?’ ‘Yes, indeed, sar. There was great times down here when he come to Harper’s Ferry. The folks was all akeered to death. They went from all round here to see him hung.’ ‘Do you think he was a good man?’ ‘Yes, sar, a mighty fine man.’