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Dec 21, 1862

Dec 21, 1862

Poem on stationary on top of the following letter:


“At the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw,

And thrice o’er the morning I dreamt it again.

But sorrow return’d with the dawning of morn,

And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.”

Columbus, Ky. Dec the 21, 1862

Dear Wife, it is with plesure that i take my pen in hand to let you

know that i am well and hope you the same. i got your letter yesterday

and was glad to hear from you. i got to C ___ on friday and came here

yesterday to Columbus Ky. in the great key hole of the South and expect

to fight here to within a few days. there is a lot of ns(?) here now i

will tell you there is a lot of Negroes here now and and ofull set they

are to i tell you now it is an oful Country here. there was one of

Richlens(?) men got two of his fingers Shot off to day through

carelessness of another boy.

Tell William and Elisia to rite to me soon. no more at presant i

believe. give my love to all of my friends and believe me truly yours

John A. Loveless

Direct your letters to John A. Loveless

Co G 40 Reg

I Iowa Vol

Cario Ill

Care of Capt Jenkins

Freed black men had tried to enlist into the Union Army early in the war but had been turned away due to a law of 1792 prohibiting blacks from bearing arms in the US Army.    In July 1862, the Second Confiscation Act was passed by the US Congress in which slaves owned by Confederate soldiers were freed (and then likely recruited to fight for the Union) but this was only applicable to Confederate areas that had already been occupied by the Union Army.  The first all black troupe, 1st Louisiana Native Guard, was comprised of freed black and creole men.  They had wanted to serve for the Confederacy but the Confederacy refused – claiming their service would hurt agriculture.   The first unit was organized by Union Maj. Gen Benjamin Butler in Sept. 1862.  President Lincoln did not issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation until Sept. 1862 – and it didn’t go into effect until January 1863.  After the January issuance, the former slaves were recruited in earnest for the colored regiments.  In May of 1863, the Bureau of Colored Troops was created to help manage the growing numbers of black soldiers.  All told, over 180,000 black men served in the Union Army, which accounted for 10% of the total Army soldiers.  Approximately 40,000 black soldiers died during the wary – and 30,000 of them died from disease.   This was likely due to the discriminatory treatment of medical practices and the assumption that black soldiers were immune to all tropical diseases.


Image of the soldier above is of Sgt. Major Christian Fleetwood, Medal of Honor recipient.  Picture is in the public domain and was found on the Wikipedia site for United States Colored Troops.  


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