July 8, 1865
THE CHRISTIAN RECORDER
For the Christian Recorder.
Headquarters, Post of Jacksonville,
June 22, 1865.
MR. EDITOR: - As some considerable time has elapsed since I last wrote to you and other dear friends at home, and thinking that you would like by this time to hear something further from the Third Regt. U.S.C. Troops, I accordingly seat myself to pen you a few lines, hoping that they may prove of interest to yourself and your numerous readers.
Our regiment was ordered to Tallahassee on the 19th of May. On the evening of the 20th we marched to Baldwin, and on the morning of the 21st took the cars at Baldwin Station, en route for Tallahassee. Nothing of note occurred until we arrived at Olustee Station, where, one year before, we fought the Confederate forces. The cars stopped for wood, when the platforms of the cars were immediately crowded with white and colored persons, all eager to catch a glimpse of the "black soldiers." Some deep dyed villain made the remark that all the niggers should be in --- (a place of not very moderate temperature.) A moment afterward, twenty guns were pointed at his heart; and one man, more angry and revengeful than the rest, discharged his piece, the ball grazing the speaker's cheek; and if it had been a little closer, Johnnie would have been no more, and would, in all probability, have received a through-ticket for the locality which he named.
For a period of about half an hour, the wildest excitement prevailed around the immediate vicinity. Finally, Brigadier-General B.C. Tilghman made his appearance upon the scene, and hastily demanded the cause of so much disorder and confusion, and in a little while I saw him lead the wounded man aside, with but little grace, and bid him depart in peace, lest a worse evil came upon him.
About half-past ten o'clock, the same evening, we arrived at the Capitol. The place was wrapped in slumber, and a quietness as profound as that which brooded o'er Goldsmith's Deserted Village reigned around. No sound arose to break the dead silence, save the soft hissing of the steam as it escaped through the valves of the reposing engine.
In the morning, however, we had plenty of visitors, and among them the most inhuman and brutal man that ever lived, in the person of the Hon. Benjamin Cheers, of Tallahassee; and if ever there was a demon in human form, he is one. The day before we came up, he took one of his slaves, a boy of twelve years, and laid upon his naked back Three Hundred Lashes! But, thank God, to-day he stands awaiting his trial. Three cheers for General B.C. Tilghman; he has resigned and gone home, and we are left alone. He was a man much beloved and respected by the men in his command. He possesses in an eminent degree the qualities of soldier and gentleman. May prosperity ever attend him.
The rebs here seem to die very hard at the idea of having black troops to guard them, but they keep very quiet, and do not have much to say. How true is the saying that we know not what a day may bring forth! Great changes are being wrought.On Monday last a man calling himself General Myers stabbed a colored man. He was immediately arrested, and is at this time awaiting his trial.
I must now draw my letter to a close. Remember us most kindly to the ladies of the Sanitary Commission. Tell them we thank them for the noble cause in which they are engaged. Fully do we appreciate the earnest labors of these modern Good Samaritans, and may we all soon be enabled to meet again. The war is over, the supremacy of the Government has been amply vindicated, our flag waves in triumph on land and sea, we have all done our duty, and we now want to go home. More anon.
Yours very respectfully,
WM. B. JOHNSON,
Col. A., 3d U.S.C.T.
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