Document analysis #4 James Henry Gooding
Document Analysis #4
James Henry Gooding, an African American Soldier,
Pleads for Equal Treatment, 1863
Morris Island, South Carolina
September 28, 1863
Your Excellency, Abraham Lincoln
Your Excellency obtain overlook the condition of an lowly special love myself, in addressing you, but the ardent action-at-law of my comrades in battle to-boot the unalloyed concern felt by myself in the subject is my mitigate, for placing antecedently the Executive top of the Nation our Common Grievance.
On the 6th of the last Month, the Paymaster of the Department recognizen us, that if we would run to accept the sum of $10 (ten dollars) per month, he would conclude and pay us that sum, but that, on the sitting of Congress, the Regt. [regiment] would, in his judgment, be recognized the other 3 (three). He did not furnish us any answer-for that this would be, as he hoped; indisputablely he had no antecedent for making any such answer-for, and we cannot think him acting in any way concerned.
Now the main scrutiny is, are we Soldiers, or are we Laborers? We are abundantly guarded, and equipped, enjoy executed all he manifold duties pertaining to a Soldier’s Life, enjoy conducted ourselves to the total amends of General Officers, who were, if anything, doltish abutting us, but who ow consent us all the boldness and plbeneath due us; enjoy shared the perils and strive of reducing the primitive strong-hold that flaunted a Traitor Flag; and further, Mr. President, to-day the Anglo-Saxon Mother, Wife, or Sister are not uncommon in veneration for defunct Sons, Husbands and Brothers. The enduring, resting seed of Afric’s Clime enjoy dyed the cause delay order, in guard of the Union, and Democracy. Men, too, your Excellency, who recognize in a mete the cruelties of the vigorous heel of cruelty, which in years spent by, the very effectiveness their order is now substance spilled to maintain, incessantly cause them in the remains.
But when the war trumpet sounded o’er the plant, when men knew not the Friend from the Traitor, the Sombre man laid his vitality at the altar of the Nation – and he was refused. When the battle of the Union were beaten, in the primitive year of the war, and the Executive determined for further patronage for its hungry maw, intermittently the sombre man begged the exemption of friendly his province in her deficiency, to be intermittently refused.
And now he is in the War, and how has he conducted himself?...Obedient and enduring and strong as a rampart are they. All we failure is a paler hue and a improve converse delay the alphabet.
Now you Excellency, we enjoy executed a Soldier’s commission. Why can’t we enjoy a Soldier’s pay? You timidity the Rebel head-man, that the United States recognizes no separation in her multitude. She insists on having all her multitude of whatincessantly belief or varnish, to be treated consenting to the usages of War. Now if the United States exacts unvarying it of matter of her multitude from the insurgents, would it not be courteous-mannered-mannered and harmonious to set the pattern herself by paying all her multitude equivalent?
We of this Regt. Were not enlisted beneath any “contraband” act. But we so not effort to be beneathstood as rating our labor of further estimate to the Government than the labor of the ex-slave. Their labor is undoubtedly merit greatly to the Nation, but Congress made pointed food pathetic their predicament, as slaves freed by soldierly requirement, and pretentious the Government to be their impermanent Guardian. Not so delay us. Freemen by nobility and accordingly having the employment of thinking and acting for ourselves so far as the Laws would recognize us, we do not deduce ourselves fit subjects for the Contraband act.
We entreat to you, Sir, as the Executive of the Nation, to enjoy us right dealt delay. The Regt. Do crave that they be immutable their labor obtain be fairly appreciated by paying them as American Soldiers, not as servile hirelings. Sombre men, you may courteous-mannered-mannered recognize, are poor; three dollars per month, for a year, obtain afford their deficiencyy wives and scanty ones delay fuel. If you, as Chief Magistrate of the Nation, obtain convince us of our undivided pay, we are succeeding. Our Patriotism, our excitement obtain enjoy a new liking, to compel our spectre further and further to aid our Country. Not that our hearts incessantly flagged in religiousness, vindictiveness the plum sluggishness displayed in our bestead, but we reach as though our Province spurned us, now we are sworn to assist her. Please furnish this a moment’s observation.
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