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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

February 14, 1865

Soldier Willing to Concede Arming Slaves

A Georgia soldier wrote to his father that he was willing to see blacks armed and fighting for the Confederacy, to help win Southern independence and to obtain their own freedom.

“… What is your opinion about our present situation? It appears gloomy enough, but I hope and think we will yet be independent. Our only hope is to fight until we conquer a peace. There is none in negotiations, state conventions or interventions. It is on the fortitude, courage and patriotism of our soldiers we must depend, and as we have few of them in comparison to the enemy, we should foster and protect them as much as possible. This is only to be done by putting men of heart and feeling in command, like Johnston who can feel for the suffering of the private soldiery and appreciate the life of a man. I regard the Negro as the prime cause of our separation from the old Union, and it is humiliating to have to surrender one of our greatest institutions, both for the prosperity of our country and protection and civilization of the black race, to popular opinion of other nations. Yet, I think this will have to be done, sooner or later, and I believe Congress is of the same opinion. If so, why not make the Negro useful to us in achieving our independence? We can put 100,000 in service and discipline them so they will do good fighting… .” Source: Mills Lane (ed.), “Dear Mother: Don’t grieve about me. If I get killed, I’ll only be dead.”: Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), pp. 344-345.