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Black Battalion: Speech of Hon. Joseph B. Foraker of Ohio in the Senate of the United States, 1908

  Corporal Franklin testified (S. Doc. 402, p. 122) that he thought all
his relief was present, but wasn't certain whether they were present or
absent.  He  had dozed off when the firing began.   The relief was
formed double rank in front and held for fifteen or twenty minutes, he
testifies, before being thrown into skirmish line lying down.
  Corporal Burdett testifies (S. Doc. 402, p. 121) that he was asleep,
but doesn't remember how many privates were in the guardhouse.
  Musician Hoyt Robinson is equally uncommunicative.  He was asleep
in the entrance to the guardhouse.  Was awakened (S. Doc. 402. p.
145: S. I., p. 567) by Sergeant Reid and Corporal Wheeler and told to
sound the alarm. Went back into the guardroom before doing so to see
the time by the clock; found it was 12 o'clock.  Saw Privates Johnson
and Battle, but doesn't remember any others. (Johnson was sentinel in
front of the guardhouse. post No. 1.)
  Privates Lawrence Daniels, Bounsler, Mitchell, and Battle gave very
brief testimony at Brownsville and were not examined thereafter. They
all stated that they were asleep in the guardhouse, but made no state-
ment as to the other members of the relief.
  Pvt. Joseph Rogers first testified that he was asleep (S. Doc. No. 402,
p. 130), but at the Macklin trial (Macklin, p. 153) and at the Senate
investigation (S. I., pp. 984-985) claims that he was awake, reading a
novel; doesn't remember what novel or what it was about; was sent to
awake Captain Macklin, but told several conflicting stories of what he
did, and is discredited by the officers of the battalion. He didn't know
how many men or who were present, but said "they were supposed to
be there."  He admitted at the Macklin trial that he had been court-
martialed at least five times, yet was discharged with "character good"
at each of his first two enlistments.
  Summarizing the testimony as to the presence of the privates of the
relief guard in the guardroom, it is extremely noncommittal and uncer-
tain as to who were there and who were absent when the alarm was
sounded.  In justice to the commissioned officers of the battalion it
should be stated that for weeks they conducted a painstaking, personal,
searching investigation and examination of the soldiers in their endeavor
to ferret out the guilty parties, but the seal of secrecy had been put on
the mouths of the men. The few soldiers who conscientiously tried to
aid the officers were called "dog robbers," and made to feel the dis-
 pleasure of their fellows.  Pvt. Elmer Brown, Company B, who slept
   in the corral the night of the raid, testifies to this.
                           THE SENTINELS.
  Pvt. B. F. Johnson, Company D, on post No. 1, in front of the guard-
house, is personally sufficiently accounted for.  He retreated behind a
dense cloud of ignorance when interrogated at Brownsville. He didn't
know anything; didn't even know who was the corporal of his detail;
heard seven shots together, and knew nothing more.  Didn't know what
corporal posted him; what corporal rel eved him, who came in or went
out. He was not further examined and was finally discharged under a
general court-martial November 22, 1906.
  Pvt. Joseph H. Howard, of Company D, on post No. 2. around the
barracks, has been thoroughly examined.  Following the first shots of
the raiders he fired the alarm signal, retreating between B and C bar-
racks, of three shots aimed generally over the officers' quarters, and
perhaps thereby explaining the bullets which several witnesses testified
to having heard whistling over the post. His several statements differ
widely as to the place where the first shots of the raiders were fired
from down near the Allison saloon, several hundred yards east of him,
to a point near the Cowen alley, and in time from four minutes to two
seconds before he called the alarm and fired his rifle. In better posi-
tion than any other private to see, hear, and know what actually oc-
curred in and near the rear of the barracks, he succeeded in demon-
stating how much he could say and how little he could tell in four
examinations--at Brownsville, at the Macklin and Penrose courts-
martial, and before the Senate committee.
  Pvt. Charley Hairston, Company B, on post No. 3, around the officers'
quarters, throws considerable light on several mooted questions.  At the
Macklin trial he stated (pp. 79 and 89) that he had carried out Major
Penrose's instructions to have the call to arms sounded, had then lis-
tened to the roll call of Company B, and had gone back to his post
before Private De Saussure came up and told him that Sergeant Reid
wanted him to call Captain Macklin, the officer of the day.  This
places De Saussure's mission considerably later than his own testimony
would indicate and increases sufficiently the margin of time needed
for De Saussure to have participated in the raid and returned to the


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Black Battalion: Speech of Hon. Joseph B. Foraker of Ohio in the Senate of the United States, 1908



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