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war. There is no doubt about his disposition to work and take care of himself, now he is free.” When I spoke of the great difference existing between different African races, he replied, “ There is more ability and fidelity in these apishlooking negroes than you suppose”; and he proceeded to relate the following story:
"I had a servant of the kind you speak of during the war. I saw him first at a hotel in Danville, Kentucky; he waited on me a good deal, and attracted my attention because he looked so much like a baboon. He took a liking to me, from some cause, and in order to be near me, engaged in the service of one of my staff-officers. I saw him occasionally afterwards, but gave him little attention, and had no suspicion of the romantic attachment with which I had inspired him. At length I had the misfortune to lose a very valuable servant, and did not know how I should replace him: servants were plenty enough, but I wanted one who could understand what I wished to have done without even being told my wishes, and who would have it done almost before I was aware of the necessity. I happened to name these qualities of a perfect valet in the presence of one of my aides, who said to me, • I have just the man you want; and though I would n't part with him for any other cause, you shall have him.' I accepted his offer ; and what was my surprise when he introduced to me the baboon. I at first thought it a jest; but soon learned that he had conferred upon me a great favor. I never had such a servant. In a week's time he understood perfectly all my habits and requirements, and it was very rare I ever had to give him a verbal order. We had difficulty in getting our washing and ironing properly done, in the army; but one day I noticed my linen was looking better than usual. The fellow had anticipated my want in that respect, and learned to wash and iron expressly to please me. . He soon became one of the best washers and ironers I ever saw ; I don't think a woman in America could beat him. As soon as his newly acquired art became known, it was in demand; and he asked permisRion to do the linen of some of my officers, which I granted. GENERAL FISKE'S ACCOUNT.
He was industrious and provident; he supported a family, and, during the three years he was with me, laid by two thousand dollars."
Among other prominent men I saw was General Fiske, of the Freedmen's Bureau, Assistant-Commissioner for the States of Tennessee and Kentucky. There were in his district six hundred thousand freedmen. He was issuing eight hundred rations daily to colored women and children, and three times as many to white refugees. “During the past four years," said he," between Louisville and Atlanta, we have fed with government charity rations sixty-four white to one colored person." The local poor he refused to feed. “I told the Mayor of Nashville the other day that if he did not take care of his poor, I would assess the whiskey shops for their benefit. There are four hundred and eighteen shops of that kind in this city; and eighteen thousand dollars a day are poured down the throats of the people."
The colored people of Nashville had organized a provident association managed exclusively by themselves, the object of which was the systematic relief of the poor, irrespective of color.
Speaking of the differences arising between the freedmen and the whites, General Fiske said, “In thirteen cases out of fifteen, the violation of contracts originates with the whites.” Since the defeat of the Negro Testimony Bill in the legislature, he had taken all cases, in which freedmen were concerned, out of the civil courts, and turned them over to freedmen's courts, where alone justice could be done them.
“In my work of elevating the colored race," said he, “I get more hearty coöperation from intelligent and influential Rebel slave-holders, than from the rabid Unionists of East Tennessee."
Speaking of the laziness with which the negroes were charged, he said, “ They are more industrious than the whites. You see young men standing on street corners with cigars in their mouths and hands in their pockets, swearing the negroes won't work; while they themselves are supported by their
own mothers, who keep boarding-houses. The idle colored families complained of are usually the wives and children of soldiers serving in the Federal army; and they have as good a right to be idle as the wives and children of any other men who are able and willing to support their families. In this city, it is the negroes who do the hard work. They handle goods on the levee and at the railroad ; drive drays and hacks ; lay gas-pipes; and work on new buildings. In the country they are leasing farms; some are buying farins ; others are at work for wages. Able-bodied plantation hands earn fifteen and twenty dollars a month ; women, ten and twelve dollars; the oldest boy and girl in a family, five and nine dollars. Hundreds of colored families are earning forty dollars a month, besides their rations, quarters, medical attendance, and the support of the younger children.”
The schools of General Fiske's district, under the superintendence of Professor Ogden, were in a promising condition. There were near fifteen thousand pupils, and two hundred and sixty-four teachers. Many summer schools, which for want of school - houses were kept under trees, had been discontinued at the coming on of winter. Rebels returning home with their pardons were also turning the freedinen out of buildings used as school-houses. The consequence was a falling off of nearly one third in the number of pupils since September.
In Nashville there was a school supported by the United Presbyterian Mission, numbering eight hundred pupils ; and another by the Pennsylvania Freedmen's Relief Association, numbering three hundred and fifty. The American Missionary Association and Western Freedmen's Aid had united in purchasing, for sixteen thousand dollars, land on which had been erected, twenty-three government hospital buildings, worth fifty thousand dollars, which, “ by the superior management of General Fiske," said Professor Ogden, “ have been secured for our schools.” It was proposed to establish in them a school, having all grades, from the primary up to the normal. There was a great need of properly qualified
289 colored teachers to send into by-places; which this school was designed to supply.
General Fiske had introduced a system of plantation schools, which was working well. Benevolent societies furnished the teachers, and planters were required to furnish the schoolhouses. A plantation of one hundred and fifty hands and forty or fifty children would have its own school-house. Smaller plantations would unite and build a school-house in some central location. These conditions were generally put into the contracts with the planters, who were beginning to learn that there was nothing so encouraging and harmonizing to the freedmen as the establishment of schools for their children.
BY RAILROAD TO CORINTH.
I LEFT Nashville for Decatur on a morning of dismal rain The cars were crowded and uncomfortable, with many passengers standing. The railroad was sadly short of rollingstock, having (like most Southern roads) only such as happened to be on it when it was turned over to the directors by the government. It owned but three first-class cars, only one of which we had with us. The rest of the passenger train was composed of box-cars supplied with rude seats.
We passed the forts of the city ; passed the battle-ground of Franklin, with its fine rolling fields, marked by entrenchments; and speeding on through a well-wooded handsome section of country, entered Northern Alabama. As my observations of that portion of the State will be of a general character, I postpone them until I shall come to speak of the State at large.
It was raining again when I left Decatur, ferried across the Tennessee in a barge manned by negroes. Of the railroad bridge burned by General Mitchell, only the high stone piers remained ; and freight and passengers had to be conveyed over the river in that way. I remember a black ferryman whose stalwart form and honest speech interested me, and whose testimony with regard to his condition I thought worth noting down.
“I works for my old master. He raised me. He's a right kind master. I gits twenty dollars a month, and he finds me. Some of the masters about hyere is right tight on our people. Then thar 's a heap of us that won't work, and that steal from the rest. They ’re my own color, but I can't help saying what's true. They just set right down, thinking they 're