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List of Colored Regiments that did active Service in the Spanish-American War, and Volunteer Regiments
Regulars.–Section 1104 of the Revised Statutes of the United States Congress provides that “the enlisted men of two regiments of Cavalry shall be colored men,” and in compliance with this section the War Department maintains the organization of the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry, both composed of colored men with white officers.
Section 1108 of the Revised Statutes of Congress provides that “the enlisted men of two regiments of Infantry shall be colored men;” and in compliance with this section the War Department maintains the organization of the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Infantry, both composed of colored men with white officers.
The above regiments were the only colored troops that were engaged in active service in Cuba. There is no statute requiring colored artillery regiments to be organized, and there are therefore none in the regular army.
A List of the Volunteer Regiments
Third North Carolina, All colored officers.
Sixth Virginia, White officers, finally, the colored officers resigned “under pressure,” after which there was much trouble with the men, as they claimed to have enlisted with the understanding that they were to have colored officers.
Ninth Ohio. All colored officers; Col. Chas. Young, graduate of West Point.
Twenty-third Kansas, Colored officers.
Eighth Illinois, Under colored officers, and did police duty at San Luis, Cuba.
Seventh U.S. Volunteers.
Tenth U.S. Volunteers.
Eighth U.S. Volunteers.
Ninth U.S. Volunteers.
The conduct of the colored volunteers has been harshly criticized, and it is thought by some that the conduct of the volunteers has had some influence in derogation of the good record made by the regulars around Santiago. This view, however, we think unjust, and ill-founded. There was considerable shooting of pistols and drunkenness among some regiments of volunteers, and it was not confined by any means to those of the colored race. The white volunteers were as drunk and noisy as the colored, and shot as many pistols.
The Charlotte Observer has the following editorial concerning some white troops that passed through Charlotte, N.C.:
|“Mustered-out West Virginia and New York volunteer soldiers who passed through this city Saturday night, behaved on the train and here like barbarians, disgracing their uniforms, their States and themselves. They were drunk and disorderly, and their firing of pistols, destruction of property and theft of edibles was not as bad as their outrageous profanity and obscenity on the cars in the hearing of ladies. Clearly they are brutes when sober and whiskey only developed the vileness already in them.”By a careful comparison of the reports in the newspapers, we see a slight excess of rowdyism on the part of the whites, but much less fuss made about it. In traveling from place to place if a white volunteer company fired a few shots in the air, robbed a fruit stand, or fussed with the by standers at railroad stations or drank whiskey at the car windows, the fact was simply mentioned in the morning papers, but if a Negro company fired a pistol a telegram was sent ahead to have mobs in readiness to “do up the niggers” at the next station, and at one place in Georgia the militia was called out by a telegram sent ahead, and discharged a volley into the car containing white officers and their families, so eager were they to “do up the nigger.” At Nashville the city police are reported to have charged through the train clubbing the colored volunteers who were returning home, and taking anything in the shape of a weapon away from them by force. In Texarcana or thereabouts it was reported that a train of colored troopers was blown up by dynamite. The Southern mobs seemed to pride themselves in assaulting the colored soldiers.While the colored volunteers were not engaged in active warfare, yet they attained a high degree of discipline and the CLEANEST AND MOST ORDERLY CAMP among any of the volunteers was reported by the chief sanitary officer of the government to be that of one of the colored volunteer regiments stationed in Virginia. It is to be regretted that the colored volunteers, especially those under Negro officers, did not have an opportunity to show their powers on the battlefield, and thus demonstrate their ability as soldiers, and so refreshing the memory of the nation as to what Negro soldiers once did at Ft. Wagner and Milikin’s Bend. The volunteer boys were ready and willing and only needed a chance to show what they could do.|
Policed by Negroes
White Immunes Ordered out of Santiago, and a Colored Regiment Placed in Charge.
Washington, D.C., August 17, 1898.
Editor Colored American: The Star of this city published the following dispatch in its issue of the 16th inst. The Washington Post next morning published the same dispatch, omitting the last paragraph; and yet the Post claims to publish the news, whether pleasing or otherwise. The selection of the 8th Illinois colored regiment for this important duty, to replace a disorderly white regiment, is a sufficient refutation of a recent editorial in the Post, discrediting colored troops with colored officers. The Eighth Illinois is a colored regiment from Colonel down. The Generals at the front know the value of Negro troops, whether the quill-drivers in the rear do or not.
Charles R. Douglass
The following is the dispatch referred to by Major Douglass. The headlines of the Star are retained.
Immunes Made Trouble–General Shafter Orders the Second Regiment Outside the City of Santiago–Colored Troops from Illinois Assigned to the Duty of Preserving Order and Property.
Santiago de Cuba, Aug. 16.–General Shafter to-day ordered the Second Volunteer Regiment of Immunes to leave the city and go into camp outside.
The regiment had been placed here as a garrison, to preserve order and protect property. There has been firing of arms inside of the town by members of this regiment, without orders, so far as known. Some of the men have indulged in liquor until they have verged upon acts of license and disorder. The inhabitants in some quarters have alleged loss of property by force and intimidation, and there has grown up a feeling of uneasiness, if not alarm, concerning them. General Shafter has, therefore, ordered this regiment into the hills, where discipline can be more severely maintained.
In place of the Second Volunteer Immune Regiment, General Shafter has ordered into the city the Eighth Illinois Volunteer Regiment of colored troops , in whose sobriety and discipline he has confidence, and of whose sturdy enforcement of order no doubt is felt by those in command.
Sketch of Sixth Virginia Volunteers
The Sixth Virginia Volunteer Infantry, U.S.V., consisted of two battalions, first and second Battalion Infantry Virginia Volunteers (State militia), commanded respectively by Maj. J.B. Johnson and Maj. W.H. Johnson. In April, 1898, the war cloud was hanging over the land. Governor J. Hoge Tyler, of Virginia, under instructions from the War Department, sent to all Virginia volunteers inquiring how many men in the respective commands were willing to enlist in the United States volunteer service in the war against Spain.
How many would go in or out of the United States.
Commonwealth Of Virginia
Adjutant-General’s Office, Richmond, Va., April 19th, 1898.
General Order No. 8.
I. Commanding officers of companies of Virginia Volunteers will, immediately, upon the receipt by them of this order, assemble their respective companies and proceed to ascertain and report direct to this office, upon the form herewith sent and by letter, what officers and enlisted men of their companies will volunteer for service in and with the volunteer forces of the United States (not in the regular army) with the distinct understanding that such volunteer forces, or any portion thereof, may be ordered and required to perform service either in or out of the United States, and that such officer or enlisted man, so volunteering, agrees and binds himself to, without question, promptly obey all orders emanating from the proper officers, and to render such service as he may be required to perform, either within or beyond the limits of the United States.
II. The Brigade Commander and the Regimental and Battalion Commanders will, without delay, obtain like information and make, direct to this office, similar reports, to those above required, with regard to their respective field, staff and non-commissioned staff officers and regimental or battalion bands, adopting the form herewith sent to the regiments.
III. By reason of the necessity in this matter, this order is sent direct, with copies to intermediate commanders.
By order of the Governor and Commander-in-Chief. Wm. Nalle, Adjutant-General.
The companies of the First Battalion of Richmond and Second Battalion of Petersburg and Norfolk were the first to respond to the call and express a readiness to go anywhere in or out of the States with their own officers, upon these conditions they were immediately accepted, and the following order was issued:
Commonwealth of Virginia, Adjutant-General’s Office, Richmond, Va., April 23, 1898. General Orders No. 9.
The commanding officers of such companies as will volunteer for service in the volunteer army of the United States will at once proceed to recruit their respective companies to at least eighty-four enlisted men. Any company volunteering as a body, for such service, will be mustered in with its own officers.
By order of the Governor and Commander-in-Chief. (Signed) W. Nalle, Adjutant-General.
Under date of June 1, 1898, S.O. 59, A.G.O., Richmond, Va., was issued directly to the commanding officers of the First and Second Battalion (colored), who had been specially designated by the President in his call, ordering them to take the necessary steps to recruit the companies of the respective battalions to eighty-three men per company, directing that care be taken, to accept only men of good repute and able-bodied, and that as soon as recruited the fact should be reported by telegraph to the Adjutant-General of the State.
July 15th, 1898, Company “A,” Attucks Guard, was the first company to arrive at Camp Corbin, Va., ten miles below Richmond. The company had three officers; Capt. W.A. Hawkins, First Lieutenant J C Smith, Lieutenant John Parham.
The other companies followed in rapid succession.
Company “B” (Carney Guard), Capt. C.B. Nicholas; First Lieutenant L.J. Wyche, Second Lieutenant J.W. Gilpin.
Company “C” (State Guard), Capt. B.A. Graves; First Lieutenant S.B. Randolph, Second Lieutenant W.H. Anderson.
Company “D” (Langston Guard), Capt. E.W. Gould; First Lieutenant Chas. H. Robinson, Second Lieutenant Geo. W. Foreman.
Company “E” (Petersburg Guard), Capt. J.E. Hill; First Lieutenant J.H. Hill, Second Lieutenant Fred. E. Manggrum.
Company “F” (Petersburg), Capt. Pleasant Webb; First Lieutenant Jno. K. Rice, Second Lieutenant Richard Hill.
Company “G,” Capt. J.A. Stevens; First Lieutenant E. Thomas Walker, Second Lieutenant David Worrell.
Company “H,” Capt. Peter Shepperd, Jr.; First Lieutenant Jas. M. Collins, Second Lieutenant Geo. T. Wright.
The regiment consisted of only eight companies, two battalions, commanded respectively by Major J.B. Johnson and Maj. W.H. Johnson, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Rich’d C. Croxton, of the First United States Infantry. First Lieutenant Chas. R. Alexander was Surgeon. Second Lieutenant Allen J. Black, Assistant Surgeon.
Lieutenant W.H. Anderson, Company “C,” was detailed as Adjutant, Ordinance Officer and Mustering Officer.
Lieutenant J.H. Gilpin, Company “B,” was detailed as Quartermaster and Commissary of Subsistence.
On Monday, September 12, 1898, the command left Camp Corbin, Va., and embarked for Knoxville, Tenn., about 10 o’clock, the men traveling in day coaches and the officers in Pullman sleepers. The train was in two sections. Upon arrival at Knoxville the command was sent to Camp Poland, near the Fourteenth Michigan Regiment, who were soon mustered out. A few days after the arrival of the Sixth Virginia the Third North Carolina arrived, a full regiment with every officer a Negro. While here in order to get to the city our officers, wagons and men had to pass the camp of the First Georgia Regiment, and it was quite annoying to have to suffer from unnecessary delays in stores and other things to which the men were subject.
After the review by General Alger, Secretary of War, the Colonel of the Sixth Virginia received permission from headquarters of Third Brigade, Second Division, First Army Corps, General Rosser commanding, to move the camp to a point nearer the city, which was granted. Soon after the arrival of the Third North Carolina Regiment the First Georgia seemed disposed to attack the colored soldiers, so on a beautiful September evening some shots were fired into their camp by the First Georgia men and received quick response. After the little affair four Georgians were missing. The matter was investigated, the First Georgia was placed under arrest.
After the removal to a new portion of Camp Poland orders were received from the headquarters First Army Corps, Lexington, Ky., ordering a board of examiners for the following officers of the Sixth Virginia: Maj. W.H. Johnson; Second Battalion, Capt. C.B. Nicholas, Capt. J.E. Hill, Capt. J.A.C. Stevens, Capt. E.W. Gould, Capt. Peter Shepperd, Jr., Lieutenants S.B. Randolph, Geo. T. Wright and David Worrell for examination September 20, 1898, each officer immediately tendered his resignation, which was at once accepted by the Secretary of War.
Under the rules governing the volunteer army, when vacancies occurred by death, removal, resignation or otherwise, the Colonel of a regiment had the power to recommend suitable officers or men to fill the vacancies by promotions, and the Governor would make the appointment with the approval of the Secretary of War. Many of the men had high hopes of gaining a commission; many of the most worthy young men of the State, who left their peaceful vocations for the rough service of war, for they were, students, bookkeepers, real estate men, merchants, clerks and artists who responded to their country’s call–all looking to a much desired promotion. But after many conflicting stories as to what would be done and much parleying on the part of the recommending power, who said that there was none in the regiment qualified for the promotion. And thereupon the Governor appointed white officers to fill the vacancies created. A copy of the following was sent to the Governor of Virginia through “military channels” but never reached him; also to the Adjutant General of the army through military channels:
Sixth Virginia Volunteer Infantry,
Second Battalion, Colored,
Camp Poland, Tenn.,
October 27th, 1898.
To the Adjutant General, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.
Sir–We, the undersigned officers of the Sixth Virginia Volunteer Infantry, stationed at Camp Poland, Knoxville, Tenn., have the honor to respectfully submit to you the following:
Nine officers of this command who had served the state militia for a period ranging from five to twenty years were ordered examined. They resigned for reasons best known to themselves. We the remaining officers were sanguine that Negro officers would be appointed to fill these vacancies, and believe they can be had from the rank and file, as the men in the various companies enlisted with the distinct understanding that they would be commanded by Negro officers. We now understand through various sources that white officers have been, or are to be, appointed to fill these vacancies, to which we seriously and respectfully protest, because our men are dissatisfied. The men feel that the policy inaugurated as to this command should remain, and we fear if there is a change it will result disastrously to one of the best disciplined commands in the volunteer service. They are unwilling to be commanded by white officers and object to do what they did not agree to at first. That is to be commanded by any other than officers of the same color. We furthermore believe that should the appointments be confirmed there will be a continual friction between the officers and men of the two races as has been foretold by our present commanding officer. We express the unanimous and sincere desire of seven hundred and ninety-one men in the command to be mustered out rather than submit to the change.
We therefore pray that the existing vacancies be filled from the rank and file of the command or by men of color. To all of which we most humbly pray.
J.B. Johnson, Major 6th Va. Vol. Inf.
Pleasant Webb, Capt. 6th Va. Vol. Inf.
Benj. A. Graves, Capt. 6th Va. Vol. Inf.
Jas. C. Smith, 6th Va. Vol. Inf., 1st Lt.
L.J. Wyche, 1st Lt. 6th Va. Vol. Inf.
Chas. H. Robinson, 1st Lt. 6th Va. Vol.
John H. Hill, 1st Lt. 6th Va. Vol. Inf.
Jno. K. Rice, 1st Lt. 6th Va. Vol. Inf.
Edwin T. Walker, 1st Lt. 6th Va. Vol..
C.R. Alexander, 1st. Lt. And Sarg. 6th Va. Vol. Inf.
John Parham, 2nd Lt. 6th. Va. Vol. Inf.
Jas. St. Gilpin, 2nd Lt. 6th Va. Vol. Inf.
W.H. Anderson, 2nd Lt. 6th Va. Vol. Inf.
George W. Foreman. 2nd Lt. 6th Va. Vol. Inf.
Frederick E. Manggrum, 2nd Lt. 6th Va. Vol. Inf.
Richard Hill, 2nd Lt. 6th Va. Vol. Inf.
James M. Collin, 2nd Lt. 6th Va. Vol. Inf.
Headquarters 6th Va. Vol. Inf.
Second Battalion, Colored,
Camp Poland, Tenn., Oct. 28,
I have explained to the officers who signed this paper that their application is absurd, but they seem unable to see the points involved.
The statement within that 791 men prefer to be mustered out rather than serve under white officers is based upon the alleged reports that each First Sergeant stated to his Captain that all the men of the company were of that opinion. The statement that the men “enlisted with the understanding that they would be commanded entirely by Negro officers,” seems to be based upon the fact that when these companies were called upon by the State authorities they volunteered for service, etc., “with our present officers.” These officers (9 of them) have since resigned and their places filled by the Governor of Virginia with white officers.
These latter have not yet reported for duty.
Further comment seems as unnecessary as the application itself is useless.
(Signed) R.C. Croxton,
Lt. Col. 6th Va. Vol. Inf. Com’d’g.
Headquarters Third Brigade,
Second Division, First Army Corps,
Camp Poland, Tenn., Oct. 29, 1898.
Respectfully forwarded. Disapproved as under the law creating the present volunteer forces the Governor of Virginia is the only authority who can appoint the officers of the 6th Va. Vol. Inf.
(Signed) James H. Young
Col. Third N.C. Vol. Inf. Com’d’g. Brigade.
Headquarters Second Division,
First Army Corps,
Camp Poland, Knoxville, Tenn., Oct. 31, 1898.
Respectfully returned to the Commanding General, Third Brigade.
The enclosed communication is in form and substance so contrary to all military practice and traditions that it is returned for file at Regimental Headquarters, 6th Va. Vol. Infantry.
By command of Colonel Kuert
(Signed) Louis V. Caziarc,
Headquarters Third Brigade,
Second Division, First Army Corps.
Respectfully transmitted to C.O., 6th Virginia, inviting attention to
By order of Colonel Young.
(Signed) A.B. Collier,
Captain Assistant Adjutant-General.
A New Lieutenant for the 6th Virginia
October 31st, 1898, the monthly muster was in progress. There appeared in the camp a new Lieutenant–Lieut. Jno. W. Healey–formerly Sergeant-Major in the regular army. This was the first positive evidence that white officers would be assigned to this regiment. This was about 9 o’clock in the morning, and at Knoxville later in the day, there were more arrivals. Then it was published that the following changes and appointments were made:
Company “D,” First Battalion, was transferred to the Second Battalion;
Company “F,” of the Second Battalion, transferred to the First Battalion.
Major E.E. Cobell, commanding Second Battalion.
Captain R.L.E. Masurier, commanding Company “D.”
Captain W.S. Faulkner, commanding Company “E.”
Captain J.W. Bentley, commanding Company “G.”
Captain S.T. Moore, commanding Company “H.”
First Lieutenant Jno. W. Healey to Company “H.”
First Lieutenant A.L. Moncure to Company “G.”
Second Lieutenant Geo. W. Richardson, Company “G.”
First Lieutenant Edwin T. Walker transferred to Company “C.”
November 1st officers attempted to take charge of the men who offered no violence at all, but by their manner and conduct it appeared too unpleasant and unsafe for these officers to remain, so tendered their resignations, but they were withheld for a day.
The next day, November 2, 1898, it was thought best that the colored Captains and Lieutenants would drill the companies at the 9 o’clock drill. While on the field “recall” was sounded and the companies were brought to the headquarters and formed a street column. General Bates, commanding the Corps and his staff; Col. Kuert, commanding the Brigade and Brigade staff; Maj. Louis V. Caziarc, Assistant Adjutant-General: Lieut. Col. Croxton and Maj. Johnson were all there and spoke to the men. Colonel Kuert said: “Gentlemen, as commanding officer of the Brigade, I appear before you to-day asking you to do your duty; to be good soldiers, to remember your oath of enlistment, and to be careful as to the step you take, for it might cost you your life; that there are enough soldiers at my command to force you into submission should you resist. No, if you intend to accept the situation and submit to these officers placed over you, at my command, you come to a right shoulder, and if you have any grievance imaginary or otherwise present through proper military channels, and if they are proper, your wrongs will be adjusted.”
“Right shoulder, Arms.” Did not a man move. He then ordered them to be taken back to their company street and to “stack arms.”
Before going to the company streets Major Caziarc spoke to the men as follows: “Forty years ago no Negro could bear arms or wear the blue. You cannot disgrace the blue, but can make yourselves unworthy to wear it.”
Then Maj. J.B. Johnson spoke to the men and urged upon them to keep in mind the oath of enlistment (which he read to them), in which they swore that they would “obey all officers placed over them;” that since the appointments had been made there was nothing for them to do but to accept the situation. At the conclusion of Maj. Johnson’s talk to the men, Private Badger, Regimental Tailor, stepped to the front and gave the “rifle salute” and asked permission to say a word. It was granted. He said: “When we enlisted we understood that we would go with our colored officers anywhere in or out of this country, and when vacancies occurred we expected and looked for promotion as was the policy of the Governor of Virginia toward other Virginia Regiments.” He was told that if the men had any grievance they could present it through military channels and it would be looked into. They never accepted Maj. Johnson’s advice–returned to their company streets and were allowed to keep their guns. The Ordnance Officer was ordered to take all ammunition to the camp of the Thirty-first Michigan and place it in the guard-house.
The men had the freedom and pass privilege to and from the city.
November 19th the command was ordered to Macon, Ga., arriving at Camp Haskell next day, with 820 men and 27 officers.
Near the camp of the Sixth Virginia was that of the Tenth Immune Regiment, in which were many Virginia boys, some of whom had been members of some of the companies of the Sixth.
Some irresponsible persons cut down a tree upon which several men had been lynched. The blame naturally fell upon the Sixth Virginia. The regiment was placed under arrest and remained so for nineteen days. The first day the Third Engineers guarded the camp, but General Wilson, the Corps commander, removed them and put colored soldiers to guard them. On the night of November 20th, at a late hour, the camp was surrounded by all the troops available while the men were asleep and the regiment was disarmed.
While all this was going on the Thirty-first Michigan Regiment had been deployed into line behind a hill on the north and the Fourth Tennessee had been drawn up in line on the east side of the camp ready to fire should any resistance be offered.
The men quietly submitted to this strange procedure, and did not know that Gatling guns had been conveniently placed at hand to mow them down had they shown any resistance. The Southern papers called them the mutinous Sixth, and said and did every thing to place discredit upon them.
They were reviewed by General Breckinridge, General Alger, Secretary of War, and President McKinley, who applauded them for their fine and soldierly appearance.
Comments on the Third North Carolina Regiment
Of all the volunteer regiments the Third North Carolina seemed to be picked out as the target for attack by the Georgia newspapers. The Atlanta Journal, under large headlines, “A Happy Riddance,” has the following to say when the Third North Carolina left Macon. But the Journal’s article was evidently written in a somewhat of a wish-it-was-so-manner, and while reading this article we ask our readers to withhold judgment until they read Prof. C.F. Meserve on the Third North Carolina, who wrote after investigation.
The Journal made no investigation to see what the facts were, but dwells largely on rumors and imagination. It will be noted that President Meserve took the pains to investigate the subject before writing about it.
The Atlanta Journal says:
A Happy Riddance
The army and the country are to be congratulated on the mustering out of the Third North Carolina Regiment.
A tougher and more turbulent set of Negroes were probably never gotten together before. Wherever this regiment went it caused trouble.
While stationed in Macon several of its members were killed, either by their own comrades in drunken brawls or by citizens in self-defense.
Last night the mustered-out regiment passed through Atlanta on its way home and during its brief stay here exhibited the same ruffianism and brutality that characterized it while in the service. But for the promptness and pluck of several Atlanta policemen these Negro ex-soldiers would have done serious mischief at the depot. Those who undertook to make trouble were very promptly clubbed into submission, and one fellow more obstreperous than the rest, was lodged in the station house.
With the exception of two or three regiments the Negro volunteers in the recent war were worse than useless. The Negro regulars, on the contrary, made a fine record, both for fighting and conduct in camp.
The mustering out of the Negro volunteers should have begun sooner and have been completed long ago.
What President Charles Francis Meserve says
President Charles Francis Meserve, of Shaw University, says:
“I spent a part of two days the latter part of December at Camp Haskell, near Macon, Ga., inspecting the Third North Carolina colored regiment and its camp and surroundings. The fact that this regiment has colored officers and the knowledge that the Colonel and quite a number of officers, as well as many of the rank and file, were graduates or former students of Shaw University, led me to make a visit to this regiment, unheralded and unannounced. I was just crossing the line into the camp when I was stopped by a guard, who wanted to know who I was and what I wanted. I told him I was a very small piece of Shaw University, and that I wanted to see Col. Young. After that sentence was uttered, and he had directed me to the headquarters of the colonel, the regiment and the camp might have been called mine, for the freedom of everything was granted me.”
“The camp is admirably located on a sandy hillside, near pine woods, and is dry and well-drained. It is well laid out, with a broad avenue in the centre intersected by a number of side streets. On one side of the avenue are the tents and quarters of the men and the canteen, and on the opposite side the officers’ quarters, the hospital, the quartermasters stores, the Y.M.C.A. tent, etc.”
“Although the weather was unfavorable, the camp was in the best condition, and from the standpoint of sanitation was well-nigh perfect. I went everywhere and saw everything, even to the sinks and corral. Part of the time I was alone and part of the time an officer attended me. There was an abundant supply of water from the Macon water works distributed in pipes throughout the camp. The clothing was of good quality and well cared for. The food was excellent, abundant in quantity and well prepared. The beef was fresh and sweet, for it had not been “embalmed.” The men were not obliged to get their fresh meat by picking maggots out of dried apples and dried peaches as has been the case sometimes in the past on our “Wild West Frontier.” There were potatoes, Irish and sweet, navy beans, onions, meat, stacks of light bread, canned salmon, canned tomatoes, etc. These were not all served at one meal, but all these articles and others go to make up the army ration list.”
“The spirit and discipline of officers and men was admirable, and reflected great credit upon the Old North State. There was an enthusiastic spirit and buoyancy that made their discipline and evolutions well nigh perfect. The secret of it all was confidence in their leader. They believe in their colonel, and the colonel in turn believes in his men. Col. James H. Young possesses in a marked degree a quality of leadership as important as it is rare. He probably knows by name at least three-quarters of his regiment, and is on pleasant terms with his staff and the men in the ranks, and yet maintains a proper dignity, such as befits his official rank.”
Prof. Charles F. Meserve, Of Shaw University, Raleigh, N.C. (Who investigated and made report on the Third N.C. Volunteers.)
“On the last afternoon of my visit of inspection Col. Young ordered the regiment drawn up in front of his headquarters, and invited me to address them. The Colonel and his staff were mounted, and I was given a position of honor on a dry goods box near the head of the beautiful horse upon which the Colonel was mounted. Besides Colonel James H. Young, of Raleigh, were near me Lieutenant Colonel Taylor, of Charlotte; Major Walker, of Wilmington; Major Hayward, of Raleigh; Chief Surgeon Dellinger, of Greensboro; Assistant Surgeons Pope, of Charlotte, and Alston, of Asheville; Capt. Durham, of Winston; Capt. Hamlin, of Raleigh; Capt. Hargraves, of Maxton; Capt. Mebane, of Elizabeth City; Capt. Carpenter, of Rutherfordton; Capt. Alexander, of Statesville; Capt. Smith, of Durham; Capt. Mason, of Kinston; who served under Colonel Shaw at Fort Wagner; Capt. Leatherwood, Asheville; Capt. Stitt, of Charlotte; Capt. York, of Newbern; and Quartermaster Lane, of Raleigh. That highly respected citizen of Fayetteville, Adjutant Smith, was in the hospital suffering from a broken leg. I told them they were on trial, and the success or failure of the experiment must be determined by themselves alone; that godliness, moral character, prompt and implicit obedience, as well as bravery and unflinching courage, were necessary attributes of the true soldier.”
“The Y.M.C.A. tent is a great blessing to the regiment, and is very popular, and aids in every possible way the work of Chaplain Durham.”
“The way Col. Young manages the canteen cannot be too highly recommended. Ordinarily the term canteen is another name for a drinking saloon, though a great variety of articles, such as soldiers need, are on sale and the profits go to the soldiers. But the canteen of the Third North Carolina is a dry one. By that I mean that spiritous or malt liquors are not sold. Col. Young puts into practice the principles that have always characterized his personal habits, and with the best results to his regiment.”
“I had the pleasure of meeting Capt. S. Babcock, Assistant Adjutant General of the Brigade, who has known this regiment since it was mustered into the service. He speaks of it in the highest terms. I also met Major John A. Logan, the Provost Marshal, and had a long interview with him. He said the Third North Carolina was a well-behaved regiment and that he had not arrested a larger per cent of men from this regiment than from any other regiment, and that I was at liberty to publicly use this statement.”
“While in the sleeper on my way home I fell in with Capt. J.C. Gresham, of the Seventh Cavalry. Capt. Gresham is a native of Virginia, a graduate of Richmond College and West Point, and has served many years in the regular army. He was with Colonel Forsyth in the battle with the Sioux at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. I had met him previously, when I was in the United States Indian service in Kansas. He informed me that he mustered in the first four companies of the Third North Carolina, and the Colonel and his staff, and that he had never met a more capable man than Colonel Young.”
“The Third North Carolina has never seen active service at the front, and, as the Hispano-American war is practically a closed chapter, it will probably be mustered out of the service without any knowledge of actual warfare. I thought, however, as I stood on the dry goods box and gave them kindly advice, and looked down along the line, that if I was a soldier in a white regiment and was pitted against them, my regiment would have to do some mighty lively work to clean them out.”
Charles Francis Meserve
Raleigh, N.C., Jan. 25, 1899.