Letter to the (Newspaper) Editor "From a Colored Soldier" (11/9/1865)


Mar 30, 2015
DuPage Cnty, IL
The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL), November 9,1865, Page 2 Column 1
(All misspellings are as they were published.)

Letter from a Colored Soldier.
Camp of the 29th U. S. C. I.,
Ringgold Barracks.,Texas.
Sept. 14th, 1865.

Mr. Editor:—As a Union soldier, and a man sacrificing the comforts of home, and society of friends, by
yielding to the patriotic motives which led him to fight against a slaveocratic rebellion, I request a short
hearing through the columns of your influential journal.

Not for myself alone is this request made, but that others, too, may know how the colored portion of the
army feel towards those whose homes and hearthstones we have bled to protect, as well as seeking the
protection of American Liberty.

The regiment to which I belong is an Illinois organization, a fact well known to you I make no doubt. That
as an Illinois volunteer regiment, our treatment compared with other regiments of that State is exceptional
and that you know. Can this be so on account of our organism being of Illinois's, more sable sons, so do those
in power fail to carry out the wises of the people. Colored Soldiers—volunteer soldiers—men of free birth
and high aspirations responded to their country’s call to see the day when justice, according to merit, and
not predjudice according to color, would be their reward. Oh my wounded country! suffering, lacerated,
from slavery’s bloody knife, when will the penalty of injustice teach them how to deal justly with those, the
fruits of whose hands and loins have been thy source of much of the great riches.

In the name of God and the bloody fields of battle, over which we have marched in thirst and hunger,
rain and mud, wilderness and darkness, I inquire, why have we not been restored, as volunteer troops to the
bosom of our families and friends? Will not our Illinois friends inquire into the condition of one of the
regiments that has never dishonored the State from whence she came, and see to it that she
fares and be treated as other of her regiments are treated? As one of her soldiers I beg a hearing, and I know
I represent the feelings of almost the entire regiment who have suffered with me, when I make, these my
humble requests. If we remain in this unhealthy country, disease will finish our decimation.

We, however, as soldiers, feel bound to submit to our superior officers, and appeal only to their charity for

The publication of this article will oblige hundreds of patriotic soldiers, and very greatly oblige your friend

Wm. McCoslin,
Serg’t Maj. 29th U.S.C.I.


Oct 24, 2019
Thanks for posting. The sentence about "disease will finish our decimation" rings with me.

The 4th Michigan lost 119 men to disease and only 1 to action while in Texas. At Greenlake the men fought off mosquitoes and drank filthy water which had in it the feces of cattle. A 19th Ohio medic is thought to have committed suicide there because he couldn't help the men. Philip Sheridan is often quoted saying "If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell."

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