THE BLACK BRIGADE. 11
tioned in the Mississippi Valley. I have before me a letter
written by one of them-a rough, straight-forward soldier's
letter. It is written with a pencil, with a fallen tree for a
desk; for he and another member of the Brigade are doing
picket duty in the everglades of Florida. He recounts the
the deeds of his regiment, the 54th Massachusetts, in the bloody
fight of Olustee; speaks modestly, as a true soldier does, of his
own deeds, but we know that he stood by his flag, for in the
report of the losses of Company I, 54th Massachusetts, we
read: "Thomas Bowman shot through the leg." Many have
met the glorious death of the soldier on the battle-field; some
languish in the prisons of Richmond or Charleston; some sleep
in that pit where Robert Gould Shaw lies "buried with his
niggers." There let them rest; their burial place will be a resort
of pilgrims of a redeemed race, in those glad days, when free
black children shall sing songs of Liberty and Union, over the
tombs of John C. Calhoun and Preston S. Brooks.
One does not wonder at the heroism of Lytle, Jones, Whit-
comb, L'Hommedieu, and others of our city's sons, who have
gone forth and sacrificed their lives for their country. Them
she loved, strewed their youthful pathway with flowers, encour-
aged their opening manhood, and stood ready to crown their
riper years with the honors she accords to those who have served
her well. But these poor outcasts, what has she done for them?
Slavery, social and political proscription, these were her gifts to
them; yet they hope for more: they wish to be numbered among
the children of the nation, to be invested with the privileges
wherewith she endows her sons, to feel the heart throb when
gazing upon the country's flag; to say with proud joy: we too
are American citizens! Is this too much to hope for?
On the afternoon of Saturday, September 20, the Brigade
was ordered into line, to return to their homes; their work was
done. Judge Dickson had won the esteem of the men by his
numerous acts of kindness, by the prompt vindication of their
rights, by his incessant and efficient supervision of their labors.
They had determined to present a sword to him as token of
their regard. When all was ready, Mr. Marshall P. H. Jones
stepped forward and addressed the commander as follows:
"COL. DICKSON: The 2d day of September will ever be mem-
orable in the history of the colored citizens of Cincinnati.