Letter from William H. Leslie, Company B 11th Massachusetts Infantry “Camp near Budd’s Ferry, March 21st, 1862” – “We have a lot of Blacks here and we amuse ourselves by setting them to butting their heads together. They butt like two rams”
This 3-page letter in ink is easily read. Leslie began his military career at the battle of Bull Run where the 11th Mass. was decimated. His residence was North Andover, Mass. and he was a 31-year old shoe cutter by trade. In this letter to his uncle, he describes the hard drills they are having and complains that “I see by some of the papers that we soldiers have a very easy time of it and too much pay. Oh I should like to have some of those old croakers out here and drill them a spell and stand on guard when it rains so splendidly and have our whole stock of worldly goods on our backs. Knapsacks, canteen, haversack, 40 round of cartridges and everything, just as though we were on a march, and to work the road, rain or shine, chop wood for our fires and keep our guns in good order, and they would find that the poor soldier does not get too much pay and then he is not his own man. He belongs to someone else…”

Of course Leslie final lines are the most amazing as they show how the poor Negro in camp is used for entertainment.

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