Saturday, February 1, 2020

Major George L. Stearns, writing for Nashville, Tennessee, to John M. Forbes, October 18, 1863

Yours of the 11th is at hand. I don't wonder that you feel discouraged from your point of view, but let me tell you that the President, while apparently taking one step back, really takes two forward; as you will see by the order enclosed for your private use. If you have time to read all the letters I have sent to Mr. Wellman, you will understand some of the difficulties I have had to remove. There were others, which, as I could not make you understand unless you were here, I have not reported. All are now out of my way and the track clear. Let me sketch to you the policy of the leading slaveholding Union men of this state. They see clearly that their political and social existence here depends on the abolition of slavery and the control of the state by the Union men. Therefore they have entered most heartily into my plans for the organization of colored regiments and are daily in consultation with me.

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Urge the government to repeal all laws that create a distinction between the colored and white soldier, full pay being as necessary to enable the former to support his family as it is to the latter; to continue the present military government of this state until the change of public sentiment will enable them to control it. This control will be necessary if the state is declared a territory, and therefore nothing will be gained by such action, while it will shock the feeling of those who having fought for the perpetuity of the Union would find it virtually dissolved.

SOURCE: Preston Stearns, The Life and Public Services of George Luther Stearns, p. 314

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