Kentucky Black Soldiers to the President

White Ranch [Tex.]  July 3rd 1866

Dear President   I have the honer to address the as followes   the few remarks i wish to say and to inform you of is this   the Condition of our familys in Kentucky and the Condition of our self   we Kentuckians are men that Came out in this great and noble cause   we did come out like men   we have stood up to geather with Comrades and have proved not only to the people but to the world that we have been faithfull and prompt to all dutys   we have fulfilled all posts that we have been put and then as for a Regiment Commander to treat the soldiers so mean as we have been treated i think it is out of the question   My President and vice i think as a dutyfull as the 116th Regiment of U.S. Coloured Infantry have not had no more quarters shown them then what as been i dont think it is right for i think that there are not the tenth part of quarters shown us that is intended for us for if our officers and field officers would take the Law as it is given to them and use it they have not the power to use such ill treatment   Mr President and vice we learn by the papers that the sum of three Hundred dollars that was promised us when we inlisted in the service we would not get it   but if the Govener should turn out the men of our standing barehanded i would like to know how you would expect for us to live ear after   we are a nation that was poor and had nothing when we came to the service   we had neather house nor money no place to put our familys   now these poor nation of colour have spent the best part of his days in slavery   now then what must we do   must we turn out to steal to get a start   we left our wifes and Children no place for them to lay there heads   we left them not counted on Eaqual footing as the white people   they where looked on like dogs and we left them with a willing mind to exicute our duty in the army of the United States war to eather to make us a nation of people eather in this generation or the next to come   now Mr President i wish you to ansure this letter and let us know we are to do as this Regiment is labouring under a great mistake untill you let us know what we are to do and you will releive our mind a great deal and we will remain your affectionate Brother Soldier   Direct to

1est Sargint Wm White
1 "      Do     Mc Meail
2 "      Do     Taylor
[Corpor]arl Thomass

Sargint Wm White et al. to Dear President, 3 July 1866, P-199 1866, Letters Received, series 360, Colored Troops Division, Adjutant General's Office, Record Group 94, National Archives. Endorsements referred the complaint through military channels to Colonel Charles Kireker, commander of the 116th U.S. Colored Infantry, who, on November 6, 1866, returned it with the remark that “there are no men of the names of the signers of the enclosed communication in this regiment.”

Published in The Black Military Experience, pp. 763–64, in Free at Last, pp. 538–39, and in Freedom's Soldiers, pp. 174–75.