New York Black Soldier to the President

New Orleans  Camp Parpit Louisiana  [August] 1864

My Dear Friend and x Pre   I thake up my Pen to Address you A fiew simpels And facts   We so called the 20th u.s. Colored troops we was got up in the state of New York so said By A grant of the President.  we Dont think he know wether we are white or Black   we have not Bin Organized yet And A grate meney Brought Away without Being Musterd in, and we are treated in a Different maner to what others Rigiments is Both Northern men or southern Raised Rigiment   Instead of the musket It is the spad and the Whelbarrow and the Axe cuting in one of the most horable swamps in Louisiana stinking and misery   Men are Call to go on thes fatiuges wen sum of them are scarc Able to get Along the Day Before on the sick List And Prehaps weeks to And By this treatment meney are thowen Back in sickness wich thay very seldom get over.  we had when we Left New York over A thousand strong   now we scarce rise Nine hundred the total is said to Be   we lost 1.60 men who have Left thire homes friends and Relation And Come Down hear to Lose thire Lives in For the Country thy Dwll in or stayd in   the Colored man is like A lost sheep   Meney of them old and young was Brave And Active. But has Bin hurrided By and ignominious Death into Eternity.  But I hope God will Presearve the Rest Now in existance to Get Justice and Rights   we have to Do our Duty or Die and no help for us   It is true the Country is in A hard strugle   But we All must Remember Mercy and Justice Grate and small.  it is Devine.  we All Listed for so much Bounty Clothing and Ration And 13 Dollars A month.  And the most has fallen short in all thes Things   we havent Recived A cent of Pay Since we Bin in the field.  Instead of them Coming to us Like men with our 13 Dollars thay come with only seven Dollars A month wich only A fiew tuck it   we stand in Need of Money very much indeed And think it is no more than Just an Right we should have it   And Another thing we are Cut short of our Ration in A most Shocking maner.  I wont Relate All now But we Are Nerly Deprived of All Comforts of Life   Hardly have Anough Bread to Keep us From starving   six or 8 ounces of it to Do A Soldier 24 hours on Gaurd or eney other Labor and About the Same in Meat and Coffee   sum times No meat for 2 Days  soup meat Licqour with very Little seazing the Boys calls hot water or meat tea for Diner   It is A hard thing to be Keept in such a state of misery Continuly   It is spoken Dont musel the ox that treads out the corn.  Remember we are men standing in Readiness to face thous vile traitors an Rebeles who are trying to Bring your Peaceable homes to Destruction.  And how can we stand them in A weak and starving Condition

Unsigned to My Dear Friend and x Pre., [Aug.] 1864, filed with R-268 1864, Letters Received, series 360, Colored Troops Division, Adjutant General's Office, Record Group 94, National Archives.

Published in The Black Military Experience, pp. 501–2, in Free at Last, pp. 477–79, and in Freedom's Soldiers, pp. 126–28.