- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 2, 2002

A portion of a dispatch from Thomas Morris Chester:



… Those [black soldiers] before Petersburg have the good fortune to be commanded by good men though there are some black sheep among them who are laboring to bring this branch of the service to the highest state of perfection. The kindness of the officers is reflected in the unflinching mettle of the men in the trying positions where duty calls them.

There is not a day but what some brave black defender of the Union is made to bite the dust by a rebel sharpshooter or picket, but his place is immediately and cheerfully filled by another under the inspiring glance of such commanders as Colonels Wright, Pratt, and Acting Brigadier General A.G. Draper. They are ever on the alert to catch a glimpse of a rebel, to whom they send their compliments by means of a leaden messenger.

Between the negroes and the enemy it is war to the death. The colored troops have cheerfully accepted the conditions of the Confederate Government, that between them no quarter is to be shown. Those here have not the least idea of living after they fall into the hands of the enemy, and the rebels act very much as if they entertained similar sentiments with reference to the blacks. Even deserters fear to come into our lines where colored troops may be stationed. …

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