(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
Headquarters 1st Reg. S.C.V.
Camp Saxton March 1, 1863.
Thank you for the
Eveg Gazette which I shld. not otherwise
have seen. I don't wonder that people
think the account of my Expedition must be overstated
but in truth is is understated; & my
officers reproach me with having
omitted some for the most telling things
for fear they would seem exaggerated.
Gen. Saxton answers all inquiries
about these people by the phrase "intensely
human" which is the whole story. I
suppose they fight for their liberty very
much like other oppressed races; only
perhaps there is a tropical gap in
their veins, which when once stirred
flows like lava. If you could see
them charge bayonets, on drill; it is
hard to stop them; Even with Gen
Contact us for information about using this image.
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. Camp Saxton was in Beaufort, South Carolina, on the site where a large celebration was held on New Year's Day, 1863, in honor of the Emancipation Proclamation. After the Proclamation was read, the First South Carolina Volunteers [Colored] received their national and regimental colors [flags]. Higginson wrote, "Just think of it! - the first day they had ever had a country, the first flag they had seen which promised anything to their people." The regiment had been formed in August, 1862, when President Lincoln authorized General Rufus Saxton, military governor of the Department of the South, to recruit and train a regiment of former slaves. Higginson says in this letter, dated March 1, 1863, that the regiment is under marching orders and, in fact, they left Camp Saxton on March 6 for a march to Florida. The importance of news from home to soldiers on the front is evident in Higginson's comments about the newspapers. The soldiers not only wanted to see what was being reported, they often wrote letters home telling their loved ones not to believe everything they read.
top of page
Civil War letter from Thomas Wentworth Higginson to his brother, Stephen
| author Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911)
| date Mar 1, 1863
| location South Carolina
| height 8.0"
| width 5.0"
| process/materials manuscript, paper, ink
| item type Personal Documents/Letter
| accession # #L10.012
Send an e-Postcard of this object