From H. M. Turner to General Butler

Head Quarters 1st U.S.C Troops near Fort Fisher

From: Marshall, Jessie. Private and Official Correspondence of General Benjamin Butler During the Period of the Civil War, Plimpton Press, 1917

February 9th 1865

Turner writes a letter to the departed General Benjamin F. Butler to tell him that despite rumors, that African American appreciated his leadership. 
Honored Sir: I avail myself of this opportunity to tax your kindness to read a letter from one who, notwithstanding his humble sphere in life, desires was created and circulated for malicious designs. I have only had the pleasure of reading two newspapers since we captured this place, one of which is an editorial relative to removal from your late command, went on to say among many other abominable falsehoods, “that even the colored troops received the intelligence with joy.” And the said editorial went on in a lying train of arguments to use several other phrases in giving vent to its miserable spleen, in which it tried to thread colored soldiers hate, and which to my knowledge were unpardonable misrepresentations. 

Sir, permit me to inform you that there never was a man more beloved than you were by the colored troops. They not only regarded you as their friend, but as a benign father, one in whose hands their interests and rights were safe. And when the news of your removal reached us at the landing near Fort Fisher, it gives rise to more bitter expressions than I ever heard before among these men. To say nothing of the frightful of the frightful oaths and desecrations, which were uttered without stint or measure. Some even became despondent, and many remarked that everything looked gloomy,- yes, I could say a great deal more, but prudence forbids me. But be assured, Sir, that the oppressed and degraded sons of Africa are not blind to their benefactor, they know what Maj. General has done more to raise them to manhood than all the other Generals who lived since the nation breathed its existence. Your name, like Jesus of Nazareth, will stand chiseled in the principles of justice and righteousness as long as God shall revolve this world. For prosperity, a thousand ages to come, will only remember General Butler to worship at his shrine. You need not care whether your historian inks his paper in malice or friendship, for the black men of the South will transmit pure, undefiled, and garland with eternal honors upon the pages of tradition. I could say a great deal about the prohibities and the impossibilities of you capturing Fort Fisher on Christmas day. But as I only intended to assure you of our high esteem, and correct those newspaper misrepresentations, I forbear to go any farther. I am, General,

Your obedient Servant

H. M. Turner, Chaplain 1st U.S.C Troops.     

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