22441Re: [civilwarwest] Letter from a USCT
- Oct 30, 2000To: <adco@...>
From: "Bob Huddleston" <adco@...>
Date sent: Sun, 29 Oct 2000 18:10:27 -0700
Send reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: [civilwarwest] Letter from a USCT
Thanks for the great post.
> When doing research every now and then one stumbles across something
> so powerful that you are taken aback and just sit and stare at it.
> This is one of those times. I was sitting Friday in the Old Army
> Records room at the National Archives. A professor from the University
> of Detroit was being introduced to the Civil War CMSR and Pension
> records of the United States Colored troops from a couple of staffers
> who have been working extensively with the files.
> The letter pasted below is in the file of Private Samuel Cabel (or
> Cabelle as he spelled it), Co. G, 55th Massachusetts Volunteer
> Infantry (Colored). He enlisted on June 5, 1863 at Readville, MA and
> was described on the company records as being 21 years old, light
> complexion, grey eyes, and black hair. Cabel told the Massachusetts
> people that he was from Keokuk, IA, but in reality he was an escaped
> slave from Brunswick, MO. His occupation was given as a waiter.
> On August 29, 1865, Pvt. Cabel was mustered out at Charleston, SC.
> Included in his service file is a letter to his wife back in Missouri.
> As you read it, remember that it was illegal for slaves to learn to
> read and write.
> But not only could Cabel write but obviously his wife could read and
> write. And Cabel's handwriting is very clear and readable, even if he
> is a little original in his spelling!
> I questioned if someone else might have written the letter for him and
> the NARA staffers informed us that they think the literacy rate among
> the soldiers was a lot higher than has been previously thought. Almost
> all of the men from slave states signed their enlistment papers with
> an X perhaps at that moment their trust level with whites was not
> very high.
> But, the staff said, very quickly the men are writing letters and
> signing documents. Now that Uncle Sam had actually put them in a blue
> uniform and handed them a Springfield, the rules had changed.
> The letter is undated but must be from June or July 1863.
> It is reproduced as written and my spell check did not like that one
> little bit!
> Take care,
> JUDY AND BOB HUDDLESTON
> 10643 Sperry Street
> Northglenn, CO 80234-3612
> 303.451.6376 adco@...
> Fax: 303.452.3051
> Dear wife i have enlisted in the army i am now in the state of
> Massachusetts but before this letter reaches you i will be in north
> carolina and though great in the present national difficulties yet i
> look forward to a brighter day when i shall have the opertunity of
> seeing you in the full enjoyment of freedom i would like to no if you
> are still in slavery if you are it will not be long before we shall
> have crushed the system in that now opreses you for in the course of
> three months you shall be at liberty. great is the outpouring of the
> colored people that is now rallying with the hearts of lions against
> that very curse that has separated you and me yet we shall meet again
> and oh what happy time that will be when this ungodly rebellion shall
> be put down and the curse of our land is trampled under our feet i am
> a soldier endeavry to strike at the rebellion that so long has kept us
> in chains. write to me just as soon as you get this letter tell me if
> you are in the same cabin where you use to live. tell eliza i send her
> my best respects and love ike and sully likewise i would send you some
> money but i now it is impossible for you to get it i would like to see
> little Jenkins now but i no it is impossible at present so no more but
> remain your own afectionate husband until death
> Samuel Cabble
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