Posted by: Democratic Thinker | November 9, 2009


American Civil War

Lieutenant Charles Graham Halpine, writing as a common soldier, mocks the Democrats who were criticizing his commanding officer, General David Hunter. Hunter had organized Contraband volunteers into the 1st Regiment South Carolina Volunteer Infantry (African Descent).


Colored Troops.
Dutch Gap Canal, 1864.


Sambo’s Right To Be Kilt.


SOME tell us ’tis a burnin’ shame
To make the naygers fight;
An’ that the thrade of bein’ kilt
Belongs but to the white:
But as for me, upon my sowl!
So liberal are we here,
I’ll let Sambo be murthered instead of myself
On every day in the year.
On every day in the year, boys,
And in every hour of the day;
The right to be kilt I’ll divide wid him,
An’ divil a word I’ll say.

In battle’s wild commotion
I shouldn’t at all object
If Sambo’s body should stop a ball
That was comin’ for me direct;
And the prod of a Southern bagnet,
So ginerous are we here,
I’ll resign, and let Sambo take it
On every day in the year.
On every day in the year, boys,
And wid none o’ your nasty pride,
All my right in a Southern bagnet prod
Wid Sambo I’ll divide!

The men who object to Sambo
Should take his place and fight;
And it’s betther to have a nayger’s hue
Than a liver that’s wake an’ white.
Though Sambo’s black as the ace of spades,
His finger a thrigger can pull,
And his eye runs sthraight on the barrel-sights
From undher its thatch of wool.
So hear me all, boys darlin’,
Don’t think I’m tippin’ you chaff,
The right to be kilt we’ll divide wid him,
And give him the largest half!

—Charles Graham Halpine (as Private Miles O’Reilly),
New York Herald, 1862.