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In Their Own Words

August 09, 1864

Use of Blacks Encouraged

From City Point, Va., Gen. Grant wrote Sherman encouraging him to use as many blacks as he could get for non-combat duties:

“… Your views about showing no despondency, but keeping the enemy, with his last man now in the field, constantly employed, are the same I have often expressed. We must win, if not defeated at home. Every day exhausts the enemy at least a regiment, without any further population to draw from to replace it, exclusive of the losses in battle. I would suggest the employment of as many negroes as you can get for teamsters, company cooks, pioneers, &c., and keep the enlisted men in the ranks, and the shipment to Nashville of every unemployed negro, big and little… . I think no troops have gone from here to Hood.”

Source: U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (originally printed 1891, reprinted by The National Historical Society, 1971), Part 5, Vol. 38, pp. 433-434.