negro troops gave striking evidence of both
benevolence and frugality with the money
they received. They needed but to be
shown an opportunity to contribute to some
object, when they quickly responded.
Frequently, too, they fell easy victims to
the crafty camp bummers and speculators, who
were ever collecting means for some
charitable object for the benefit of the
negro race. However, here it will be a
pleasing duty to name some of the more
conspicuous instances where their charity
was well and nobly bestowed. At the
same time they deposited a vast aggregate
sum of savings in different
banks established for this purpose.
The 62nd Regiment contributed to a commendable project
gotten up by its officers, who gave,
themselves, $1,034.60, the regiment giving
$3,966.50. With this money the
founding of a school was commenced, which
eventually became a college known as the
Lincoln Institute, situated at Jefferson
City, Mo. To this sum of $5,001.10,
the 65th Regiment contributed $1,379.50,
through the efforts of their officers.
The sum was soon increased to $20,000, and
the Institute stands to-day a monument to
the 62nd and 65th Phalanx Regiments.
Professor Foster, in his history of this
Institute, gives these interesting details:
"Dr. Allen, a man of high
character and influence, gave the scheme
standing ground by declaring that he would
give $100. Both our field officers,
Colonel Barrett and
Lieutenant-Colonel Branson, though
U. S. PAYMASTERS PAYING OFF PHALANX SOLDIERS
[Pg. 510] - BLANK PAGE
neither was with us at the time, afterwards
subscribed a like amount. Others
responded in the same spirit. Officers
and men entered into the work with
enthusiasm. The lieutenants gave $50
each; officers of higher rank, $100.
First Sergeant Brown, Co D, gave $75;
Sergeants Curd, Bergamire, Alexander and
Moore each gave $50, while the number
who gave 25, 20, 15, 10, and 5 dollars
apiece is too great for me to recall their
names on this occasion, but they are all
preserved in our records. The total result
in the 02nd Regiment was $1,034.60,
contributed by the officers, and $3,960.50
by the colored soldiers. The soldiers
of the 65th Regiment afterwards added
$1,379.50. One of them, Samuel
Sexton, gave $100 from his earnings
as a private soldier at $13 per month, an
example of liberality that may well
challenge comparison with the acts of those
rich men who, from their surplus, give
thousands to found colleges.'"
Colonel David Branson,
late of the 62nd Regiment, in his dedicatory
speech, said :
FRIENDS: - This, with one exception, has
been the happiest 4th of July in my life.
That exception was in 1863, when I saw the
rebel flag go down at Vieksburg. I
felt the exultation of victory then, and I
feel it to-day as 1 look upon this splendid
building. Looking in the faces of my
old comrades of the 62nd Regiment here
to-day, memory goes back to the past, when
hundreds of you came to me at Benton
Barracks, ragged, starving, and
freezing—some did freeze to death—and
emotions fill me that no language can
express. I cannot sit down and think
of those scenes of suffering without almost
shedding tears. But happily those days
are passed. No more marching with
sluggish step and plantation gait through
the streets of St. Louis, Mo., amid the
jeers of your enemies; no more crossing the
Mississippi on ice; no more sinking
steamers, and consequent exposure on the
cold, muddy banks of the river; no more
killing labor on fortifications at Port
Hudson, Baton Rouge and Morganza; no more
voyages over the Gulf of Mexico, packed like
cattle in the hold of a vessel; no mere
weary marches in the burning climate of
Texas; no more death by the bullet, and no
more afternoons on the banks of the Rio
Grande, deliberating on the future education
of yourselves when discharged from the army
; but peace and
prosperity here with the result of those
deliberations before us. Our enemies
predicted, that upon the disbanding of our
volunteer army— particularly the colored
portion of it—it would turn to bands of
marauding murderers and idle vagabonds, and
this Institute was our answer."
When Colonel Shaw, of the 54th
Regiment, fell at Fort Wagner, the brave
soldiers of that regiment gladly
contributed to a fund for a monument to his
memory, but which, upon reflection, was
appropriated to building
the Shaw School at Charleston, S. C.
And yet all these sums sink into
insignificance when compared to that
contributed by the negro soldiers to the
erection of a monument to the memory of
President Lincoln, at the capitol
of the nation; seventeen hundred of
them gave ten thousand dollars. But
let the record speak for itself, for it is
only a people's patriotism that can do such
AND STATEMENTS OF JAMES E. YEATMAN,
PRESIDENT OF THE WESTERN SANITARY
TO THE EMANCIPATION MONUMENT.
"ST. LOUIS, April 26th, 1865.
"James E. Yeatman, Esq.
MY DEAR SIR; A poor negro woman,
of Marietta, Ohio, one of those made free by
President Lincoln's proclamation,
proposes that a monument to their dead
friend be erected by the colored people of
the United States. She has handed to a
person in Marietta five dollars as her
contribution for the purpose. Such a
monument would have a history more grand and
touching than any of which we have account.
Would it not be well to take up this
suggestion and make it known to the freed
T. C. SMITH"
Mr. Yeatman says:
"In compliance with General Smith's
suggestion I published his letter, with a
card, stating that any desiring to
contribute to a fund for such a purpose,
that the Western Sanitary Commission would
receive the same and see that it was
judiciously appropriated as intended.
In response to his communication liberal
contributions were received from colored
soldiers under the command of General J.
W. Davidson, head-quarters at Natchez,
Miss., amounting in all to $12,150. his was
increased from other sources to $16,242.
"MARIETTA, OHIO, June 29th,
Mr. James E. Yeatman,
President Western Sanitary Commission, St.
"MY DEAR SIR: I have
learned, with the greatest satisfaction,
through Brigadier-General T. C. H. Smith
and the public press that you are devoting
your noble energies in giving tone and
direction to the collection and
appropriation of a fund for the erection of
the Freedmen's National Monument, in honor
and memory of the benefactor and savior of
"The general also informs me that you desire, and have
requested through him that the five dollars
deposited with the Rev. C. H. Battelle,
of this city, by Charlotte Scott,
should be used as the original and
foundation subscription for this most
praiseworthy purpose; and Mr.
Battelle assures me that he will most
cheerfully remit it to you this day.
As a slave-holder by inheritance, and up to
a period after the outbreak of the
rebellion, and as an ardent admirer of our
lamented president, the author of universal
emancipation in America, I feel an
enthusiastic interest in the success of the
Freedmen's National Monument. I hope
it may stand unequalled and unrivalled in
grandeur and magnificence. It
should be built essentially by freedmen, and
should lie emphatically national.
Every dollar should come from the former
slaves, every State should furnish a stone,
and the monument should be erected at the
capital of the nation. Nothing could
be better calculated to stimulate this
downtrodden and abused race to renewed
efforts for a moral and national status.
"Charlotte Scott, whose photograph
General Smith will forward, was
born a slave in Campbell County, Virginia.
She is about sixty years old, but is very
hale and active. Her reputation for
industry, intelligence, and moral integrity,
has always been appreciated by her friends
and acquaintances, both white and colored.
She was given, with other slaves, to my
wife, by her father, Thomas H. Scott.
When we received the news of Mr.
Lincoln's assassination, the morning
after its occurrence, she was deeply
distressed. In a conversation with
Mrs. Rucker, she said: 'The
colored people have lost their best friend
on earth, Mr. Lincoln was our
best friend, and I will give five dollars of
my wages towards erecting a monument to his
memory.' She asked me who would be
the best person to raise money for the
purpose. I suggested Mr.
Battelle, and she gave him the five
"I am, my dear sir, truly and respectfully,
"WILLIAM P. RUCKER."
"MARIETTA, OHIO, June 29th, 1865.
"Mr. J. E. Yeatman.
"DEAR SIR: I was
providentially called upon by Charlotte
Scott, formerly a slave of Dr. W. P.
Rucker, now living in this place, to
receive the enclosed $5, as the commencement
of a fund to be applied to rearing a
monument to the memory of Hon.
"I received her offering, and gave notice through
the press that I would receive other
donations, and cheerfully do what I could to
promote so noble an object. Other
persons have signified their willingness to
give when the measure is fully inaugurated.
"By the advice of General T. C. H. Smith I
herewith forward you her contribution, and 1
hope to here from you upon its receipt, that
I may show to Charlotte and others
that the money has gone in the right
direction. After hearing from you 1 hope to
be able to stir up the other colored folks
on this subject.
"I rejoice, dear sir, that I have some connection with
this honorable movement in its incipiency.
I shall not fail to watch its progress with
thrilling interest, and hope to live until
the top stone shall be laid amid the
jubilant rejoicing of emancipated millions
crying 'Grace, grace unto it.'
Very Respectfully Yours,
"C. D. BATTELLE."
publication of the note of Mr.
Yeatman, and the first communication
received concerning the colored woman's
proposed offering, brought the following
letters and contributions, showing how
generously the proposition of Charlotte
Scott was responded to by the colored
troops stationed at Natchez, Miss.
These contributions have been duly
deposited for safe keeping towards the
Freedmen's National Monument to Mr.
HEAD-QUARTERS 6TH U. S. COLORED HEAVY
"FORT McPHERSON, Natchez, May 19th, 1865. }
"James E. Yeatman,
President Western Sanitary Commission, St.
"DEAR SIR: I hereby
transmit to you, to be appropriated to the
monument to be erected to the late
President Lincoln, the sum of
four thousand two hundred and forty-two
dollars, the gift from the soldiers
and freedmen of this regiment. Allow
me to say that I feel proud of my regiment
for their liberal contribution in honor of
our lamented chief.
Please acknowledge receipt.
"Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
"JOHN P. COLEMAN.
"Lieutenant-Colonel commanding 6th U. S. Colored
"Amounts as donated by their respective companies:
"Company A, $515; Company B, $594; Company
C, $514; Company D, $464; Company E, $199;
Company F, $409; Company G, $284; Company H,
$202; Company I, $423; Company K, $231;
Company L, $142; Company M, $354.
"HEAD-QUARTERS 70TH U. S. COLORED INFANTRY
"RODNEY, MISS, May 30th, 1865.}
"Brevet Major-General J. W. Davidson,
commanding District of Natchez, Miss.:
"GENERAL: I have the honor to enclose the sum of
two thousand nine hundred and forty-nine
dollars and fifty cents as the amount
collected, under your suggestion, for the
purpose of erecting a monument to the memory
of President Lincoln. Every dollar of this
money has been subscribed by the black
enlisted men of my regiment, which has only
an aggregate of six hundred and eighty-three
men. Much more might have been raised,
but 1 cautioned the officers to check the
noble generosity of my men rather than
stimulate it. Allow me to add that the
soldiers expect that the monument is to be
built by black people's money exclusively.
They feel deeply that the debt of gratitude
they owe is large, and any thing they can do
to keep his 'memory green' will be done
cheerfully and promptly.
" If there is a monument built proportionate to the
veneration with which the black people hold
his memory, then its summit will be among
the clouds—the first to catch the gleam and
herald the approach of coming day, even as
President Lincoln himself
first proclaimed the first gleam as well as
glorious light of universal freedom.
"I am, general, most respectfully, your obedient
"W. C. EARLES,
United States Colored Infantry."
"DISTRICT OF NATCHEZ, May 21st, 1865.
"Hon. James E. Yeatman:
seeing your suggestions in the Democrat I
wrote to my colonels of colored tropps, and
they are responding most nobly to the call
Farrar's regiment, 6th United States
Heavy Artillery, sent some $4,700.
They money here spoken of has been turned
over to Major W. C. Lupton,
Pay-master U. S. A., for you. Please
acknowledge receipt through the Missouri
Democrat. The idea is, that the
monument shall be raised to Mr. Lincoln's
memory at the national capital exclusively
by the race he has set free.
Very truly yours,
" J. W. DAVIDSON,
DEPARTMENT, NATCHEZ, MISS., June 15th, 1865.
"James E. Yeatman, Esq., President
Western Sanitary Commission, St. Louis:
colored soldiers of this district, Brevet
Major-General Davidson commanding,
feeling the great obligations they are under
to our late president, Mr. Lincoln,
and desiring to perpetuate his memory, have
contributed to the erection of a monument at
the national capital, as follows:
|70th United States
Colored Infantry, Colonel W. C.
|Three Companies 63d
U. S. Colored Infantry - A, C, and E
|Freedmen of Natchez
"Added to this Major John P. Coleman, of the
6th United States Colored Heavy Artillery,
(those that Forrest's men did not murder at
Fort Pillow), stationed here, has sent you
nearly five thousand dollars for the same
fund, and the 57th United States Colored
Infantry desire me, at the next pay-day, to
collect one dollar per man, which will swell
the amount to nearly ten thousand dollars.
This is a large contribution from not quite
seventeen hundred men, and it could have
been made larger— many of the men donating
over half their pay, and in some instances
the whole of it—but it was thought best to
" Will you please publish this, that the colored
soldiers and their friends may know that
their money has gone forward, and send me a
copy of the paper.
"I am, sir, with regard,
"W. C. LUPTON,
Pay-master United States
"These noble contributions are a striking
evidence of the favor with which this
movement is regarded by the colored people,
and especially the brave soldiers (the
Phalanx who fought to maintain their
freedom) of this oppressed race who have
been fighting to carry out the proclamation
of their benefactor, securing them their
There is still another evidence of the
appreciation of freedom by the negro
soldiers in their frugality. After the
enlistment of colored troops became general,
and they began to receive pay and bounties,
the officers commanding them readily
discovered the necessity of providing a
better place for keeping the money paid them
than in their pocket-books and in the
soldier's knapsack. Every pay day
these soldiers would carry sums of money to
their officers for safe keeping, until
thousands of dollars were thus deposited,
which were often lost in battle. In
August, 1804, General Rums
Saxton, military governor of South
Carolina, after mature deliberation as to
the best means to be adopted for the safe
keeping of these soldiers' monies,
established a bank in his department.
General Butler established a similar
one at Norfolk, Va., about the same time.
At the organization of the Freedmen's
Savings and Trust company, chartered by act
of Congress, these institutions transferred
to the Freedmen's Bank all the monies on
deposit in them, as the war had ceased, and
the troops and officers were being mustered
out of the United States service. The
Butler Bank at Norfolk in July, 1865, trans
ferred $7,890. In December the Saxton
Bank at Beaufort transferred $170,000. Thus
the sum of $177,890, belonging to soldiers
in two departments only, was placed to their
credit, subject to their order, in the new
national bank, called into existence by like
motives. This bank had branches at
these places. Had similar banks been
established in the other departments an
enormous sum would have been collected.
The Freedman's bank, how ever, took the
place of these military banks, and had the
confidence of the soldiers who continued to
deposit in its various branches throughout
the south. When that institution
collapsed in 1874, of the many millions of
dollars deposited in it, it is estimated
that two-thirds of the amount was the
savings of the Phalanx. There is now
in the vaults of the national government
more than a quarter of a million of dollars
belonging to the Phalanx, held as unclaimed
bounty and pay—an ample sum from which to
erect a suitable monument to commemorate the
heroic devotion and patriotic endeavor of
those who fell in Freedom's cause.
This money doubtless belongs to those who on
the battle-fields and in hospitals died for
the country's 'honor. These are some
of the lessons taught by the history of the
[Pg. 517] -
CHAPTER III. - BIBLIOGRAPHY