THE BLACK BRIGADE.
"I charge you, Men of the Black Brigade of Cincinnati, remember that for
you, and for me, and for your children, and your children's children, there is
but one Flag, as there is but one Bible, and one GOD, the Father of us all."
For nearly three weeks the Black Brigade labored upon the
fortifications, their services beginning, as we have seen, Septem-
ber 2, and terminating September 20. At first, by compul-
sion, and under the control of vile men who sought to degrade
its members below their own bestial level, at a later period
under kind and competent leaders, they always labored cheer-
fully and acceptably. The shame meant to be inflicted upon
them rebounded upon their enemies, and the members of the
Black Brigade returned to their homes with the proud conscious-
ness that, while the fortifications erected by their own hands
had deterred the enemy from attacking in front, their uniform
good conduct had completely routed the horde of rebel sympa-
thizers in the rear, who had vented upon the Brigade the spite
they felt toward the Union and Liberty.
But one serious accident occurred during the period of their
service. On the 17th, Joseph Johns was killed by the falling of
a tree. The blow fell heavily upon his wife, who with an infant,
was left to mourn the loss of a loving husband and father.
That they were not molested by the enemy was due to
their good fortune, and not to any prudence on the part of the
military authorities. General Wallace, having first ordered
their impressment for a work in which they would have proudly
volunteered, next placed them far in advance of the Union lines
with nothing but spades in their hands, this, too, at a time
when an attack was momentarily expected. So far in advance
were they, that they were once mistaken for the enemy; and if
the officers serving underCol. J. R. Taylor, of the 50th Ohio,
had not possessed more courage and prudence than their com-
mander, serious consequences would have ensued. If Col. Taylor
did not obtain one of Gov. Tod's squirrel-hunting medals, he
should apply for one, and wear it, as a perpetual reminder that
his prowess is terrible to squirrels only.
Members of the Black Brigade have since proved themselves
men on bloodier fields. When Massachusetts called on the
free colored men of the North to fill her regiments, they
responded with joy. Others are enrolled in regiments sta-