Washington Correspondence: June 20, 1863

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Washington Correspondence

Christian Recorder: June 20, 1863

*Turner also wrote under the pseudonym Uncle Sam

Mr. Editor: Grand and full of splendor are things in prospectiveness for the sons of oppressed humanity. A future that has too long wore the aspect of gloom, is now looming up in the effulgence of hope and dazzling glory. This fact is verified in the purchase of Wilberforce College in the reception of colored soldiers by a government which for so many years has been hostile to even a recognition of their own asserted rights. For the scrupulousness which we have hitherto held in relation to the government’s free acceptation to colored enlistments, need be no further barrier, for the war department had fully assured me that its hands are stretched out to received on equal terms every colored man who is disposed to take up arms. It has been supposed that Mr. Stanton the Secretary of War, is opposed to colored men: but sir he is not; he has done as much, if not more, to pork the government up to that point, than any man in the cabinet. The only difficulty about Mr. Stanton is that he is rather disposed to want his own way about things and his way is not at all times agreeable to the colored’s man idea of what should be granted to him. But after all, his plan circumambiently embodies all that ours do, and more too, if we could only see the point: and Mr. Stanton has not yet concluded to show us the point, as he should have done before this. But when he does speak it will be spoken, for Stanton is all right as certain as God lives.

The bravery displayed before Fort Hudson by the colored troops was applaudingly received here by persons who have not been looked upon as friendly to the movement and that is another star whose looming luster begins to aggrandize a frowning future. But need we attempt to enumerate that many prognosticatory evolutions which are being projected in hope by the hand of Almighty God for the encouragement of an oppressed people…..

General Bingham has just informed me of his hospitable reception by the white and colored population in the city of Philadelphia. He speaks of the editor of the Recorder in the most glowing terms and of the willingness of colored people to enlist….

On last Monday evening we had on the ground in front of the Israel Lyceum a large meeting of about 2500 colored and 500 white persons at which time several addresses were delivered by distinguished persons; the most respectable of whom was General Birney, who gave in detail the views of President Lincoln, relative to Colored Troops and the design of the government in forming a board of examination to examine officers to fill for the time being the most responsible positions in these new organizations. I have the authority of saying that while the object of the government is to make both the field and line officers men of military experience, yet it is not designed to shut out colored men, but as soon as colored men shall have become experimentally acquainted with military science, they will be promoted to any position in the gift of the government, if found competent to fill it.

There never was, nor there never will be a better opportunity for colored men to get what they want than now. Suppose 500,000 colored men were under arms would not the nation really be under our arms too. Would the nation refuse us our rights in such a condition? Would it refuse us our vote? Would it deny us anything when its salvation was hanging upon us? No! Never!

The first colored regiment of this city is filling up very fast. Three companies have been mustered in this week. I am glad to see such a reaction…..Notwithstanding, Colonel Birney, I am fearful, will not get the command.

We have had several fights this week between colored soldiers and white soldiers, or pretended citizens. But Mr. Colored Solider has come out triumphant every time. A colored corporal (Mr. Ross) drew his pistol on a policeman and would have killed him had it not misfired; however he and several white persons get to fighting on the street and Ross so fast as they came up till someone slipped up behind him and laid him out.

The parties were then arrested and tried, when Ross was released and started back to the camp. Another fellow began to call him a nigger, and although he had just got through one trial, nevertheless he walked up and knocked this fellow heals over head and thus had another trial and came out again; so they found out the best way to deal with Mr. Ross was to let him alone. If Mr. Ross keeps on, he will be the champion of Washington, sure.

The soldiers all ride in the street cars or any other cars they want to ride in; and you might just as well declare war against them as to declare they can’t ride there because they are colored.

The Christian Recorder has just come to hand, and I see an article headed, “Our Washington Correspondent,” in which the writer touches a great many points in so respect applicable to the correspondent. I do not know whether it is an editorial or not. It looks like an editorial but I do not think that the editor would write such an article, with any allusion to the above named correspondent; for there is not one of the points suggested in the article about which the writer complains, that the correspondent claims any affinity to; therefore we will hold on a while to see what the future unfolds and if it should turn out to be an attack upon my character, the writer may get sick of his own fun for the more he tickles me, the more I will laugh.

Mr. H.M. Webb of Baltimore gave a concert in Israel Church on Tuesday evening last, assisted by Mrs. Webb, Sarah Bowers, James Jenkins, and others. The turnout was very small. The concert was repeated on Wednesday evening at Smeed’s hall, but the audience was still smaller than the first.

Prof. Solomon G. Brown refuses all of his numerous invitations to lecture; but he will lecture during the summer months. He says that the mind in neither prepared to treat upon or listen to treatises on scientific subjects during the warm weather. None are better qualified to give a decision on that point than Prof. Brown.

Dr Thos. H.C. Hinton, the great war lecturer of Washington, delivered a lecture a few weeks ago two hours and a half in length. Mr. Hinton is proving himself a man of the times and handles his opponents as a storm handles chaff.

Sister Fields the wife of Henry Fields so well known to many a poor hungry preacher, is lying at death’s door. None who know her could fail to ask God for her restoration.

Uncle Sam