Who was Turner anyway?

Who was Turner anyway?

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A Turner Bugler, 2004

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The Negro Regiment in Kansas.


January and February 1863

From The Missouri Democrat, Saturday, January 17, 1863.


The celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, &c., &c.

FORT SCOTT, Kansas, January 5, 1863.

Editors Missouri Democrat:

For some time past little has been said pro or con with reference to our regiment, or its recognition by the government. Thus we have passed far into that obscurity so congenial to the nature and complexion of our men, and many are doubtless anxiously watching our destiny.

To all such I would say, that in spite of all the efforts that have been made to crush our little band, we are all here and able to eat our rations. For five months we have served our government faithfully, guarding her prisoners, protecting her forts and fighting her enemies. And while we have been doing all this, and much more, at the cost of life, blood, and suffering to our brave men, the Government has thus far refused to appreciate our services or fully recognize our organization. But we feel that the day star of our success is rising. Abe Lincoln has stuck to his proclamation, and the black man feels that his rights are being vindicated.

A demonstration of this was forcibly made on Thursday last, in the celebration of the black man’s day of Jubilee. New Year’s day in camp inaugurated a new era in our history. That day’s events and the memory of them have touched a chord in the sympathetic nature of our soldiers, which is stirring the hopes, stimulating the nerves, and invigorating the courage of the whole camp. The day was celebrated in a manner becoming the nature of its great importance.

A barbecue was given by our gallant and deservedly popular unit leader, Col. J. M. Williams, each company being furnished at a separate table. The tables were abundantly loaded with the best edibles the market could afford; and officers and men all partook with the hearty relish of true soldiers. Then followed the toasts and their successive responses. The first toast, “The right man in the right place, Abe Lincoln, President of the United States,” was responded to by Col. C. C. Willets in a decided and fitting manner.

The next – “The day we celebrate – the beginning of war and the dawn of victory” – was responded to by Col. Williams in his peculiar style of earnest and emphatic eloquence. His speech was received with immense applause by all. His men are devotedly attached to their daring commander, and his presence alone always inspires them with enthusiasm.

Several other speeches were made, and the celebration closed with an eloquent attribute to the martyrs of freedom, by our Adjutant, R. J. Hinton. The whole was nicely interspersed with many of the befitting songs of freedom; including, of course, the loud hallelujahs of “John Brown.” It would be impossible for me to do either the speakers or occasioned justice; suffice it to say, that the celebration proved [a]n entire success; and the whole time was well spent, until the sound of retreat drove us all to our quarters.

I see that Gen. Lane has given notice in the Senate that he will shortly introduce a bill to authorize the raising of 200 regiments of negroes. To the result of this scheme we all look with deep interest; for, in the event of its success, we become soldiers in every sense of the term. But, more than this, we will then consider the redemption of our country sure. Take two hundred thousand brave and hardy men from that side put them on this, and the balance-weight will surely fall with sufficient force to dash the bogus Confederacy in pieces.

The policy of permitting the rebels to play both sides of the game is becoming too palpable to be much longer continued. It is evident that the prosecution of this war must become more vigorous and radical, else this government, once the boasted pride of her people, must crumble in pieces, and leave us only the sad memory of the disgraceful error and public corruption which left us desolate and caused our downfall.
Fort Scott is becoming one of the fast places of Kansas. Business of every kind is large and growing; and improvements, both of the public and private character are continually going on. Through the energetic supervision of Captain Insley, Assistant Quartermaster, the guard-house delegation, composed of whites, blacks, and frequently red men, are being made quite effective in the work of building a safe and substantial bridge across the Juarmiton, which bids fair for early completion. More anon.

W. H. S.