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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/373

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The Army Negro. 365

[From the New Orleans Picayune, September 6, 1903.]

THE ARMY NEGRO.

Captain George Baylor, in Writing the Story of "The Bay- lor Light Horse," Pays the Following Tribute to "The Army Negro."

When the witness is called to the box his entrance is usually sol- emnized with the oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Having" undertaken to recall and record the actions and doings of the Baylor Light Horse, I feel that I would be guilty of dereliction of duty if I failed to chronicle the part played by our colored com- rades.

When Company B (i2th Virginia Cavalry) was first organized, the company wagon, a pair of mules and a trusted colored driver were furnished by the captain. Among the young negroes at my home were three boys Carter Robinson, Phil Williams, and Tom Langford near the ages of my brother Richard and myself, play- mates in our boyhood, whose presence with us was deemed essential to our comfort and welfare.

These boys were eager to accompany us, and their wish was duly gratified. Uncle John Sorrell, an aged man, was the wagon-driver, Carter our mess cook, Phil and Tom our hostlers.

With such a retinue we felt thoroughly equipped for the war. It may surprise our opponents, but the Confederate officer had no orderly or the like, but officers and men ranked as social equals.

The Timberlakes also brought with them into camp as part and parcel of their contingent a negro boy by the name of Overton, who cooked for them and looked after their wants and necessities. The quartette formed a social group of their own, and seemed happy and contented.

They shared with us our hardships, and at times even our dan- gers, entered into our sports and jests, and never were more joyous than when taking part with us in our horse races.

Uncle John had rendered himself very obnoxious to the Yankees by taking an active part in tolling them over the Potomac river at Harper's Ferry and into a trap laid for them by a posse of our men, and ever after stood in great awe and dread of capture by them.