Editor’s note: In which we learn that the idea of enlisting negro soldiers in the Union Army was not initially popular in some quarters at this point in the war.
Camp Lincoln, Va
June 22nd, 1862
I will again try to write a few lines, but the heat makes it doubtful whether I can sit still long enough. It my be my fancy, but it seems hotter to me now than it did in Fort Cobb two years ago when the thermometer rose to 115 degrees in the shade. I know it aint (sic) so hot here but it seems hotter.
We have had no rain for several days and the roads are getting very dusty. The secesh profit by this as every movement of our troops is marked by clouds of dust, which makes it easy for them to annoy us with their conchology offerings. As a general thing the Rebels have the firing all to themselves but last night they “put their foot in it,” our shovels have about got their part in the siege “played out” and I am a false prophet if this week passes by without a grand battle. Perhaps before you receive this you will hear of battles lost or won in this part of the country.
I see that some amalgamating senator has introduced a bill to have niggers enlisted in the army. If such a thing is ever done, I can only say with Othello, “my occupation’s gone.” My worst wish for this officious senator is that he may be a private in some company where a sable son of Ethiopia is orderly sergeant, that’s all.
I have to succumb to the heat, or laziness, or both but shall write again soon. Give my love to all. I remain in health.
Your Affect. Son
Charles E. Bates