14 April 1864: “There are about 100 Rebel prisoners here, to day they are out under guard (negroes) at work on the Fort.”

Item Description: Letter, written 14 April 1864 from Columbus, Kentucky, Fort Halleck. Edward Allen reports to his parents of a failed attempt of confederates to take the fort and African American union troops guarding Confederate prisoners of war.

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Item Citation: Folder 1, Edward W. Allen Papers #03737-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Fort Halleck, April 14th, 1864

Columbus Kentucky

Dear Parents,

You will be surprised probably to see that we are here a little over a week we received orders at Cairo immediately and were this far on our way when landing here we found the town in a great state of excitement the rebs had been in with a flag of truce giving the commander a few hours to surrender fortunately we landed just in time we marched up and entered Fort Halleck which has been garrison by the 3rd regular colored Regt as we marched up the cannons from the Forts were firing and we anticipated a battle right along on leaving Black River  I turned my gun over the be carried with others but on leaving the boat I left my knapsack with one of the boys on the boat. borrowed a gun of a sick boy and started we waited anxiously all day but “nary reb” There are a great many rumors circulating as to the rebs but can place no dependence upon any thing we hear in camp. There are about 100 Rebel prisoners here, to day they are out under guard (negroes) at work on the Fort

It gives these Darkies a great deal of satisfaction to stand over their former masters and compel them to work. One of them said to 2 or 3 of the rebs that were digging and seemed inclined to shirk a little. “Come,” he says, “get about something down dar”, “be doin somethin” and these once haughty chins had to come to time.

I had nearly finished you a long letter but left everything aboard. almost left my overcoat damn glad I did not for we find as we get north. the air is cooler. Lt Tinker? left everything and had been sick too but the negro’s let no occupy their quarters so we manage to get along pretty well with out our tents and blankets. It has a long time since I received a letter from home and it may be sometime longer get before I get one for your letters will go to Vicksburg and back again I hope in a day or two to get to Cairo for we go in to Camp here and wait for the Regt

My love to you all Direct immediately to Cairo Edward for we may not stay there long



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