before Port Hudson, May 30, 1863, writing to
Major-General Halleck, General-in-Chief at
AYashington: "The position occupied by the
Negro troops Avas one of importance and called
for the utmost steadiness and bravery in those
to whom it Avas confided. It gives me pleas¬
ure to report that they ansAvered every expec¬
tation. Their conduct Avas heroic. No troons
could be more determined or more daring."
" 'Charge!' Trump and drum awoke,
Onward the bondmen broke ;
Bayonet and sabre-stroke
Vainly opposed their rush, v
Through the wild battle's crush,
With but one thought aflush,
Driving their lords like chaff,
In the guns' mouths they laugh;
Or at the slippery brands
Leaping with open hands,
Down they bear man and horse,
Down in their awful course ;
Trampling with bloody heel
Over the crashing steel,
All their eyes forward bent,
Rushed the black regiment.
' Freedom ! ' their battle-cry—
' Freedom ! or leave to die !'
Ah! and they meant the word,
Not as with us 'tis heard.
Not a mere party-shout :
They gave their spirits out.