"Grant's Negro Troops," Chicago Tribune, April 8, 1865, p. 2.
John Osborne, Dickinson College
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
GRANT'S NEGRO TROOPS
Gen. Grant had with him forty-two regiments of black soldiers, constituting one complete army corps, commanded by Maj. Gen Weitzel. They were placed in the Army of the James under Gen. Butler, and after he was relieved, under his successor, Gen. Ord. Just previous to the late assault on the rebel lines in front of Petersburg, Gen. Ord was ordered to join the left wing of Grant's army with all of his white troops (excepting two brigades,) and sixteen regiments of his blacks. The remainder of the blacks - twenty-six regiments - and the two white brigades were left in charge of Gen. Weitzel, to hold the entrenchments confronting Richmond, at a distance of six or eight miles from that city. The sixteen regiments of blacks marched to the left, helped storm the rebel works in front of Petersburg, and fought steadily and bravely, capturing a battery with fourteen guns, five hundred prisoners, and two rebel flags, but losing largely in the grand charge. They joined in the pursuit as soon as the works were won, and have followed close on the heels of Lee's retreating columns.
The remainder of the colored corps in front of Richmond marched on Monday at 5 a.m., and entered the rebel capital at 8:30 a.m. with banners flying, drums beating, shouting the "Battle Cry of Freedom," and chanting "John Brown's Soul is Marching On." They remained but a few hours in the city and swept onward in the track of the retreating foe, leaving only a strong provost guard behind to put out the incendiary fires and preserve order. The black cops performed a highly honorable and useful part in the siege of Richmond and in its final capture, contributing their full quota to the labor and blood that achieved it.