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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

Civil War "Negro Army"

February 4, 1863
The New York Herald

THE ORGANIZATION OF A NEGRO ARMY. - HOW THIS MAY BEST
BE DONE. - The bill for the formation of a negro army, which
passed the United States House of Representatives on Monday
last, has created considerable discussion and excitement, and
Mr. Stevens, of Pennsylvania, the Mephistopheles of Congress,
seems to be particularly worried about it. He thinks that
negro soldiers should be employed under any circumstances, and
fears that unless a nigger army be hurried up there will be no
soldiers at all to fight the battles of the Union. Now we have
a nigger army after all. We withdraw all opposition to the
project, and advise the conservative democrats of Congress to
do so likewise. Let the negro army be enrolled at once, but
only upon one condition. This is that there shall be a general
draft of negroes all through the free States and of as many of
those in the South as the federal authorities can reach. Let
them be taken everywhere, from the ages of fourteen to fifty,
and the government may thus within a brief period put a black
army of over four hundred thousand men into the field. This is
the only plan by which such an army can be raised, and it would
be the easiest way to get rid of the troublesome negro
question. That no objection might possibly be raised about
taking negroes of from fourteen to fifty, it must be borne in
mind that the black race comes to maturity much more rapidly
than the white, and if the younger negroes cannot be made
serviceable immediately as active soldiers, they can be turned
to account in the camp as cooks, scavengers, wood splitters,
officers'bootblacks, and in a variety of other useful
occupations.

Therefore, let the black army be raised by all means; but
let it be borne in mind that the African soldiers must be
officered by white men. This is the invariable practice of
every nation that employs the services of black troops. Their
intellectual and educational capacities do not fit them for
command. The immense armies called out by the rebellion have
carried off a large number of the rowdies of our principal
cities; but there are plenty of the roughest kind still on
hand, who can be got to officer these negro regiments. A
rowdy, when brought into proper military training, will make a
sharp officer, and he is just the kind of fellow to look after
the welfare of black regiments and brigades. When the nigger
army is drafted there will be plenty of white rowdies to take
command and drill the new soldiers; and we hope that, while
they will treat their commands with a proper degree of
consideration, these officers will not spare their recruits,
but make good soldiers of them, per fas aut nefas.

This, we trust, will satisfy the most earnest longings of
Mephistopheles Stevens. His nigger army will soon be marching
along, and will kick up such a cloud of dust as has not been
seen for a long time. Let the democrats, therefore, withdraw
all opposition, as we now do. Our time is coming, and is not
very far off, and we can afford to wait. In the interim, let
the radicals have plenty of rope, and, what they like better,
plenty of nigger.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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