"We hear complaints of [colored troops] performing the tasks of common laborers" at Vicksburg Feb. 1864 Black History Month

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First Sergeant
Mar 18, 2011
Clinton, Mississippi
In a letter dated November 3, 1864, Captain O.J. Wright wrote about the very heavy labor required of the 50th and 52nd Colored Infantry regiments at Vicksburg. He said,

"The bad condition of clothing, arms and accoutrements is mainly attributable to the heavy guard and fatigue duty that is required of these troops, giving them no chance for improvement in discipline, instruction and the duties of a soldier, or time to clean and take proper care of their arms and accoutrements...Out of eight hundred and forty-two privates for duty, seven hundred and eighteen are on duty." -Quoted in "Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation," edited by Ira Berlin, page 504.

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