The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden Person interviewed: James Spikes 2101 Bell Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas Age: 91
"Good morning. Yes'm I remember the Civil War. I was a soldier. I was between sixteen and seventeen when I enlisted in the war.
"'Why did you enlist?'
"I didn't know no better. I thought I would be took care of. They told us the war was sposed to set the darkies free. My old master didn't want me to go-cose not. But they was very good to me. I regard them just the same as myself.
"I enlisted in the 55th regiment of colored soldiers. Then I went off with the Yankees. I was with them when they had the battle at Corinth, Mississippi.
"I was with them when the Yankees taken Corinth and whupped. The rebels tried to take it back and the Yankees whupped 'em again. The regiment I was with whupped 'em away from several places and kept 'em runnin'.
"When we was in Fort Pickens I 'member they had a poll parrot-some of the officers had trained it to say 'Corporal of the guard, Jim Spikes, post No. 1." Sometimes I would draw my gun like I was going to shoot and the poll parrot would say, 'Jim, don't you shoot me!' They got plenty a sense.
"The war was funny and it wasn't funny. Well, it was funny for the side that won when we had scrummishes (skirmish). I never was captured but I hoped capture a lot.
"I stayed in the war till I was mustered out in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I was a good big fellow then. Oh Lord yes, I knowed most anything.
"After that I went to Memphis and then I come to Arkansas and went to farming with some white fellows named French. The river overflowed and we lost 'bout all the cotton.
"The government gives me a pension now cause I was a soldier. Yes'm it comes in right nice-it does that."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives