William H. Johnson letter, 1862

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  • William H. Johnson letter, 1862

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William H. Johnson letter, 1862


Correspondence Received, Executive Department / Governor, August, 1862


1862 August 10


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New Bedford Aug. 10, 1862
Respected Sir
You will pardon for
the securing liberty I have taken to write
you this stranger; but I trust welcome
epistle. I see by the public periodicals
of this day that the 6 Rhode Island
Regiment authorized by the Secretary
of War; under the advise of your
Excellency will consist of colored
soldiers; the same to be commanded
by yourself if that statement be true
I would inform you Excellency that
I am of that degraded Race, who
are charged with being the cause of
the present troubles of our Country
which if true could produce no
better reason why the heads of the
war department should arm us
for the purpose of putting down
our own troubles
Sir I have no time to go into the merits
or demerits of our Present Troubles the all
important subject presented for the
consideration of the lovers of the Constitu-
tion and the union; Should the rebel-
lion be put down; my answer to
that question is this; the rebellion
must be put down; and if colored
people are the true cause in bringing
about this trouble; then colored sol-
diers must assist in bringing the
same to a close.
Over one year ago I
called upon his Excellency Governor
John A. Andrews of this State and tendered
him my services with 400 colored
men from the City of New Bedford; who
were both ready and willing to go forward
and in the defense of this Country
not because the country was friendly
to us; but because we were friendly
towards the country; the governor
give us a very flattering reception
but has never called us into action.
My object in writing to your Excellency at
this time is to request that I may be no. 1
towards filing up the RI 6 Regiment.
I have the honor to inform you that
I was the Captain of a colored milit-
ary Company in the city from 1855 to
1860. If your Excellency wish to know
of my competency as a military man I
refer you to the Hon. John H. Clifford
Hon. T. D. Elliott & Lieut. Col. T. Ingra-
ham; who is now home and will give
your Excellency all necessary
Information in that direction. I
am fifty one years of age, my bill for
?electing the last 30 years 37 cents
was once a Slave in Richmond and
would feel highly gratified could
I have the opportunity to assist Gen.
McClelan in taking my old home.
Sir if you can and will comply with
this request you will greatly oblige
for Victory on the right side;
North of M & Ds Line
Wm. H. Johnson



"William H. Johnson letter, 1862," in Virtual Exhibits, Item #692, http://sos.ri.gov/virtualarchives/items/show/692 (accessed February 19, 2019).