Part 12 (1/2)


President Charles Francis Meserve, of Shaw University, says:

”I spent a part of two days the latter part of December at Camp Haskell, near Macon, Ga., inspecting the Third North Carolina colored regiment and its camp and surroundings. The fact that this regiment has colored officers and the knowledge that the Colonel and quite a number of officers, as well as many of the rank and file, were graduates or former students of Shaw University, led me to make a visit to this regiment, unheralded and unannounced. I was just crossing the line into the camp when I was stopped by a guard, who wanted to know who I was and what I wanted. I told him I was a very small piece of Shaw University, and that I wanted to see Col. Young.

After that sentence was uttered, and he had directed me to the headquarters of the colonel, the regiment and the camp might have been called mine, for the freedom of everything was granted me.”

The camp is admirably located on a sandy hillside, near pine woods, and is dry and well-drained. It is well laid out, with a broad avenue in the centre intersected by a number of side streets. On one side of the avenue are the tents and quarters of the men and the canteen, and on the opposite side the officers' quarters, the hospital, the quartermasters stores, the Y.M.C.A. tent, etc.

Although the weather was unfavorable, the camp was in the best condition, and from the standpoint of sanitation was well-nigh perfect. I went everywhere and saw everything, even to the sinks and corral. Part of the time I was alone and part of the time an officer attended me. There was an abundant supply of water from the Macon water works distributed in pipes throughout the camp. The clothing was of good quality and well cared for. The food was excellent, abundant in quant.i.ty and well prepared. The beef was fresh and sweet, for it had not been ”embalmed.” The men were not obliged to get their fresh meat by picking maggots out of dried apples and dried peaches as has been the case sometimes in the past on our ”Wild West Frontier.” There were potatoes, Irish and sweet, navy beans, onions, meat, stacks of light bread, canned salmon, canned tomatoes, etc. These were not all served at one meal, but all these articles and others go to make up the army ration list.

The spirit and discipline of officers and men was admirable, and reflected great credit upon the Old North State. There was an enthusiastic spirit and buoyancy that made their discipline and evolutions well nigh perfect. The secret of it all was confidence in their leader. They believe in their colonel, and the colonel in turn believes in his men. Col. James H. Young possesses in a marked degree a quality of leaders.h.i.+p as important as it is rare. He probably knows by name at least three-quarters of his regiment, and is on pleasant terms with his staff and the men in the ranks, and yet maintains a proper dignity, such as befits his official rank.

[Ill.u.s.tration: PROF. CHARLES F. MESERVE, OF SHAW UNIVERSITY, RALEIGH, N.C. (Who investigated and made report on the Third N.C. Volunteers.)]

On the last afternoon of my visit of inspection Col. Young ordered the regiment drawn up in front of his headquarters, and invited me to address them. The Colonel and his staff were mounted, and I was given a position of honor on a dry goods box near the head of the beautiful horse upon which the Colonel was mounted. Besides Colonel James H. Young, of Raleigh, were near me Lieutenant Colonel Taylor, of Charlotte; Major Walker, of Wilmington; Major Hayward, of Raleigh; Chief Surgeon Dellinger, of Greensboro; a.s.sistant Surgeons Pope, of Charlotte, and Alston, of Asheville; Capt. Durham, of Winston; Capt.

Hamlin, of Raleigh; Capt. Hargraves, of Maxton; Capt. Mebane, of Elizabeth City; Capt. Carpenter, of Rutherfordton; Capt. Alexander, of Statesville; Capt. Smith, of Durham; Capt. Mason, of Kinston; who served under Colonel Shaw at Fort Wagner; Capt. Leatherwood, Asheville; Capt., of Charlotte; Capt. York, of Newbern; and Quartermaster Lane, of Raleigh. That highly respected citizen of Fayetteville, Adjutant Smith, was in the hospital suffering from a broken leg. I told them they were on trial, and the success or failure of the experiment must be determined by themselves alone; that G.o.dliness, moral character, prompt and implicit obedience, as well as bravery and unflinching courage, were necessary attributes of the true soldier.

The Y.M.C.A. tent is a great blessing to the regiment, and is very popular, and aids in every possible way the work of Chaplain Durham.

The way Col. Young manages the canteen cannot be too highly recommended. Ordinarily the term canteen is another name for a drinking saloon, though a great variety of articles, such as soldiers need, are on sale and the profits go to the soldiers. But the canteen of the Third North Carolina is a dry one. By that I mean that spiritous or malt liquors are not sold. Col. Young puts into practice the principles that have always characterized his personal habits, and with the best results to his regiment.

I had the pleasure of meeting Capt. S. Babc.o.c.k, a.s.sistant Adjutant General of the Brigade, who has known this regiment since it was mustered into the service. He speaks of it in the highest terms. I also met Major John A. Logan, the Provost Marshal, and had a long interview with him. He said the Third North Carolina was a well-behaved regiment and that he had not arrested a larger per cent of men from this regiment than from any other regiment, and that I was at liberty to publicly use this statement.

While in the sleeper on my way home I fell in with Capt. J.C. Gresham, of the Seventh Cavalry. Capt. Gresham is a native of Virginia, a graduate of Richmond College and West Point, and has served many years in the regular army. He was with Colonel Forsyth in the battle with the Sioux at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. I had met him previously, when I was in the United States Indian service in Kansas. He informed me that he mustered in the first four companies of the Third North Carolina, and the Colonel and his staff, and that he had never met a more capable man than Colonel Young.

The Third North Carolina has never seen active service at the front, and, as the Hispano-American war is practically a closed chapter, it will probably be mustered out of the service without any knowledge of actual warfare. I thought, however, as I stood on the dry goods box and gave them kindly advice, and looked down along the line, that if I was a soldier in a white regiment and was pitted against them, my regiment would have to do some mighty lively work to ”clean them out.”


Shaw University,

Raleigh, N.C., Jan. 25, 1899.




John C. Dancy, re-appointed Collector of Port Wilmington, N.C. Salary $3,000.

The appointment of Prof. Richard T. Greener, of New York, as Consul to Vladivistock.

Hon. H.P. Cheatham, appointed as Register of Deeds of the District of Columbia. Salary $4,000.

Hon. George H. White elected to Congress from the Second Congressional District of North Carolina, the only colored Representative in that body.