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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/227

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Negroes in Oar Army. 219

fully ask you to give us an expression of your views in the premises. We have now been fighting for nearly three years, have spilled much of our best blood, and lost, consumed, or thrown to the flames an amount of property equal in value to the specie currency of the world.


Through some lack in our system, the fruits of our struggle and sacrifices have invariably slipped away from us and left us nothing but long lists of dead and mangled. Instead of standing defiantly on the borders of our territory, or harrassing those of the enemy, we are hemmed in to-day into less than two-thirds of it, and still the enemy menacingly confronts us at every point with superior forces. Our soldiers can see no end to this state of affairs except in our own exhaustion; hence, instead of rising to the occasion, they are sink- ing into a fatal apathy, growing weary of hardships and slaughters, which promise no results.

In this state of things it is easy to understand why there is a grow- ing belief that some black catastrophe is not far ahead of us, and that unless some extraordinary change is soon made in our condition we must overtake it. The consequences of this condition are show- ing themselves more plainly every day restlessness of morals spread- ing everywhere, manifesting itself in the army in a growing disregard for private rights; desertion spreading to a class of soldiers it never dared to tamper with before; military commissions sinking in the estimation of the soldier; our supplies failing, our finances in ruins. If this state continues much longer we must be subjugated. Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation be- fore it is too late. We can give but a faint idea when we say it means the loss of all we now hold most sacred slaves and all other personal property, lands, homesteads, liberty, justice, safety, pride, manhood. It means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school-books their version of the war; will be impressed by all the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision. It means the crushing of Southern man- hood, the hatred of our former slaves, who will, on a spy system, be our secret police. The conqueror's policy is to divide the con- quered into factions and stir up animosity among them, and in train-