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Black Brigade of Cincinnati: Being a Report of Its Labors and a Muster-Roll of Its Members; Together with Various Orders, Speeches, Etc. Relating to It.
                    THE BLACK BRIGADE.                     17
night, and had already been commended by the engineer in
charge, for efficient work. They were, however, weary from
long labor, and anxious about their families. They were also
alarmed because of the treatment they had received from the
regiments of soldiers near them. These seemed to look upon
the colored men as abandoned property, to be seized and appro-
priated by the first finder. They detailed squads of soldiers,
who appeared among the negroes at work, selected from them
the number they wanted, and, at the point of the bayonet,
marched them off to the camps of the regiments, there to be
employed as cooks, or in some menial capacity, for the officers.
A corporal's guard was engaged in this business when I reached
Fort Mitchel. The colored men objected to this. They justly
apprehended that they might be carried off with the regiments,
or abandoned in Kentucky, where their presence as freemen
was one of the most grievous crimes known to that State's
laws, punishable with the enslavement of them and their pos-
terity forever. They expressed entire willingness to labor on
the fortifications under proper protection, but they desired to
first return to their families and make preparations for camp-life.
  My first care was to visit the camps of all the regiments in
the vicinity, and to bring from them the kidnapped colored
men. Having done this, and assembled them together, I
marched them back to the city to the intersection of Sixth
Street and Broadway, where I established head-quarters, reach-
ing there about dusk. I then explained to them that I de-
signed forming them into a "Black Brigade," for fatigue duty;
that they should be kept together as a distinct body, and have
assigned to them a given part of the fortifications for their
work; that they should receive protection and the same treat-
ment as white men; that the necessities of the hour required
of them constant and severe labor; that I expected this would
be cheerfully rendered, and that their sense of duty and honor
would cause them to obey all orders given, and thus prevent
the necessity of any compulsion; that, at all events, I would
try them, and would, therefore, dismiss them to their homes,
expecting every one of them to meet me next morning promptly
at five o'clock, to proceed to the fortifications, there to remain
until their labors were ended.


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Black Brigade of Cincinnati: Being a Report of Its Labors and a Muster-Roll of Its Members; Together with Various Orders, Speeches, Etc. Relating to It.



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