Union soldier comments on his dislike for black soldiers being recruited

Head Quarters
Commissary Department

Camp Parapet,
Louisiana,

2 Aug 1862,
from LT Boyd, to his mother Mrs. J. R. Boyd, care of John Boyd, West Winsted, Connecticut,

I am seated in the office thinking of home and friends and wishing myself with them this evening, but that is impossible … I am now better contented than when I was with the Regiment, as I don’t have as many to tell me what, ‘I can do and what I cannot do.’  I am more my own master and live it better than the drilling in this hot sun … there is considerable hard feelings among our soldiers and officers in regard to GEN [John W.] Phelps … [recruiting] the Negroes. They are now encamped but just below us in better tents that our soldiers have and GEN Phelps is determined to arm them They are now drilling, learning the military movement and you cannot imagine the feelings that exists between our officers and soldiers. They say that if the North has come so long and think … that it is right to bring them down to the level with the Negroes, they will not fight and if possible return home. I must say that if they arm the Negroes, I cannot stay in the service that cannot furnish white soldiers enough to do their fighting, for I cannot, as yet, bring myself to think that is right and just … I could tell you many things that you would be surprised at the manner that things are conducted … do you think it is right to arm the Negroes, take them from their masters, many of them Union men … I cannot, as well as many others, think it is right. They live as well as the soldiers and better as they have women to cook for them … I do not know how it will come out and what the consequences will be. I sometimes feel discouraged and I don’t think the War is much near a close than it was when we left home … We have not had any mail of consequence …”
‘I am paying to have my picture taken and send to you all soon  … I wish we could have a mail oftener. There must be some mismanagement somewhere, for there are steamers enough from the North … My brother Lieut. in this Department is a very fine fellow and we get along nicely together. His name is Wells. I think he has some connections in Litchfield Conn. I have considerable to do now, as the clerk of the Commissary Department is sick, but will be back soon and then it will be better. I look at it so much better than to have anything to do, but to the regular company business …”

Your own Son

3c87_3
Source: eBay, November 2008

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