"'One of them, particularly, came under my notice, who, although, badly wounded in the face, continued to load and fire, in the coolest manner imaginable.
"'Every one of them acted like veterans.
"'Acting-Lieutenant Commanding Potomska.
"'To the Rev. M. French, Chaplain, U.S.A.'
"On reaching his ship, Captain Budd led our retreat. It had been agreed, after full consultation on the subject, that, in our descent down the river, it was best to burn the buildings of Captain Hopkins and Colonel Brailsford. Both of these places were strong picket-stations, particularly the latter. Brailsford had been down with a small force a few days before our arrival at St. Catharine's, and shot one of our contrabands, wounded mortally, as was supposed, another, and carried off four women and three men. He had also whipped to death, three weeks before, a slave for attempting to make his escape. We had on board Sam Miller, a former slave, who had received over three hundred lashes for refusing to inform on a few of his fellows who had escaped.
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"On passing among the men, as we were leaving the scenes of action, I inquired if they had grown any to-day. Many simultaneously exclaimed,--"'Oh, yes, Massa, we have grown three inches!' Sam said,--'I feel a heap more of a man!'
"With the lurid flames still lighting up all the region behind, and the bright rays of the smiling moon before them, they formed a circle on the lower deck, and around the hatchway leading to the hold, where were the women and children captured during the day, and on bended knees they offered up sincere and heartfelt thanksgivings to Almighty God for the mercies of the day. Such fervent prayers for the President, for the hearing of his Proclamation by all in bonds, and for the ending of the war and slavery, were seldom, if ever, heard before. About one hour was spent in singing and prayer. Those waters surely never echoed with such sounds before.
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"Our steamer left Beaufort without a soldier, and returned, after an absence of twelve days, with one hundred and fifty-six fighting colored men, some of whom dropped the hoe, took a musket, and were at once soldiers, ready to fight for the freedom of others."
It is conceded on all sides, that, wherever our armies have had occupancy, there slavery has been practically abolished. The fact was recognized by President Lincoln in his last appeal to the loyal Slave States to consummate emancipation.
Another noticeable act of our Government in behalf of Liberty is the official provision it makes for the wants of the thousands of helpless human beings thus thrown upon our care. Taxed with the burden of an immense war, with the care of thousands of sick and wounded, the United States Government has cheerfully voted rations for helpless slaves, no less than wages to the helpful ones. The United States Government pays teachers to instruct them, and overseers to guide their industrial efforts. A free-labor experiment is already in successful operation among the beautiful sea-islands in the neighborhood of Beaufort, which, even under most disadvantageous circumstances, is fast demonstrating how much more efficiently men will work from hope and liberty than from fear and constraint. Thus, even amid the roar of cannon and the confusion of war, cotton-planting, as a free-labor institution, is beginning its infant life, to grow hereafter to a glorious manhood.