Missouri Black Soldier to the Secretary of War

Chattanooga Ten.  August th 22 1865

Sir   I have the honor of Reporting Sevral condishtion to you about difference Circumstance   the Colored Men of these 44th & 16th & 18th there Wives is Scatered abut over world without pertioction in Suffernce condishtion & there Husband is here & have not seen there Faimlys for 2 years & more   we would be under ten thousand obligations to you if pervid Some plain for Our benfit   the greats Duites that is performed at this Place is Poleasing Ground   Some of us has not heard from our Wivies for 2 & a half [years] & Some of theses Familys I am very sure that is worse then I Repersent them to be   the all says the would be willing to fight there Enemy but at the present time is no fighting on this side of the Rior Grand   the says that dont want to go their whilce thire Familys is in a Suffernce condishtion but to Fight in the U.S.A. the all say the will do it without Truble   the think under the present [circumstances] of their Familys the ought to be permitt to go & see after Familys   I was late from Mo. & Ka. & anoumber of them that I saw all most Thread less & Shoeless without food & no home to go   sevral of there Masters Run them off & as fur as I can see the hole Race will fall back if the U.S. Goverment dont pervid for them Some way or ruther   the is noumbers of them here at this place suffering for the want of Husband Care   the Ration is giving to them dose not degree very well with Childern   recording to there Enlistments there times is out for the war is over   the Enlist 3 years or during [the war]   well the war is over   the is some talk of consolidating Regiments   Some of the Officers says if the men will Stack ther Arms1 the will Stand at the head of there Companys until the fall   I glorys in there Spunk   I am a friend to the U.S. Goverment but [not] to Col. L. Johnson of the 44th U.S.C.I   please reply to this   Col Johnson if he Don't look out he will git apple cart tumbled   he has been kicking some of the Boys but the say the will stop that or stop his life & I am will to report the case before hand   I am very respectful and & &

these three Regiments that I Speak of has a very notion to Stack there Armys because there times of Enliting is out   the say the Enlited 3 years or during the War & the war is over & there times is out.

Unsigned to Mr. E. M. Santon, 22 Aug. 1865, A-345 1865, Letters Received, series 360, Colored Troops Division, Adjutant General's Office, Record Group 94, National Archives.

1. Stacking arms signified collective refusal to perform duties and was tantamount to mutiny.

Published in The Black Military Experience, pp. 773–74, and in Free at Last, pp. 528–29.