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Civil War letter from Thomas Wentworth Higginson to his brother Stephen
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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In 1862, Thomas Wentworth Higginson was chosen to lead the First South Carolina Volunteers, the first regiment of former slaves organized by the Union Army. In July, 1863, Higginson received an injury which he described as "a knock on the side ... I don't know from what...but it doesn't amount to the dignity of a wound..." When he didn't recover quickly, Higginson took a month's furlough and went home to recuperate. He was quite eager to return to his regiment, however, and in this letter, refers to the fact that he came back too quickly and had not yet recovered. He goes on to talk of his regiment and of the Massachusetts 54th - a regiment composed of African Americans. The injury spoken of in this letter would eventually be the cause of Higginson's discharge from the army in October, 1864.
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