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terrible battle, under the wing of night, more cavils in respect of the quality
of negro manhood were set at rest than could have been during a century of
ordinary life and observation. After that assault we heard no more of sending
negroes to garrison forts and arsenals, to fight miasma, yellow fever, and
small-pox. Talk of his ability to meet the foe in the open field, and of his
equal fitness with the white man to stop a bullet, then began to prevail. From
this time (and the fact ought to be remembered) the colored troops were
called upon to occupy positions which required the courage, steadiness, and
endurance of veterans, and even their enemies were obliged to admit that
they proved themselves worthy of the confidence reposed in them. After the
54th and 55th Massachusetts colored regiments were placed in the field, and
one of them had distinguished itself with so much credit in the hour of trial,
the desire to send more such troops to the front became pretty general.
Pennsylvania proposed to raise ten regiments. I was again called by my
friend Mr. Stearns to assist in raising these regiments, and I set about the
work with full purpose of heart, using every argument of which I was capable,
to persuade every colored man able to bear arms to rally around the flag,
and help to save the country and save the race. It was during this time that
the attitude of the government at Washington caused me deep sadness and
discouragement, and forced me in a measure to suspend my efforts in that
direction. I had assured colored men that once in the Union army they would
be put upon an equal footing with other soldiers; that they would be paid,
promoted, and exchanged as prisoners of war, Jeff. Davis' threat that they
would be treated as felons to the contrary notwithstanding. But thus far, the
government had not kept its promise, or the promise made for it. The following
letter which I find published in my paper of the same date will show the
course I felt it my duty to take under the circumstances:

"ROCHESTER, August 1st, 1863.


"My Dear Sir — Having declined to attend the meeting to promote enlistments,
appointed for me at Pittsburgh, in present circumstances. I owe you
a word of explanation. I have hitherto deemed it a duty, as it certainly has
been a pleasure, to cooperate with you in the work of raising colored troops
in the free States to fight the battles of the Republic against slaveholding
rebels and traitors. Upon the first call you gave me to this work I responded
with alacrity. I saw, or thought I saw a ray of light, brightening the future of
my whole race as well as that of our war-troubled country, in arousing colored
men to fight for the nation's life. I continue to believe in the black man's

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