The Civil War
Albert Jones, Portsmouth, Virginia
“For twenty years, I stayed with master, and I didn’t try to run away. When I was twenty one, me and one of my brothers run away to fight with the Yankees. Us left South Hampton county and went to Petersburg. There we got some food. Then us went to Fort Hatton where we met some more slaves who had done run away. When we got in Fort Hatton, us had to cross a bridge to get to the Yankees. The rebels had torn the bridge down. We all got together and builded back the bridge, and we went on to the Yankees. They give us food and cloths.”
The old man then got up and empied his mouth of the tobacco juice, scratched his bald head and continued. “You know, I was one of the first colored cavalry soldiers and I fought in Company K. I fought for three years and a half. Sometimes I slept out doors, and sometimes I slept in a tent. The Yankees always give us plenty of blankets.
“During the war some one us had to always stay up nights and watch for the rebels. Plenty of nights I has watched, but the rebels never attacked us when I was on.
“Not only was there men slaves that run to the Yankees, but some one the women slaves followed there husbands. They use to help by washing and cooking.
“One day when I was fighting, the rebels shot at me, and they sent a bullet through my hand. I was lucky not to be killed. Look! See how my hand is?”
The old man held up his right hand, and it was half closed. Due to the wound he received in the war, that was as far as he could open his hand.
Still looking at his hand Mr. Jones said, “But that didn’t stop me, I had it bandaged and kept on fighting.
“The uniforms that I wore was blue with brass buttons; a blue cape, lined with red flannel, black leather books and a blue cap. I rode on a bay color horse — fact every body in Company K had bay colored horses. I tooked my knap-sack and blankets on the horse back. In my knap-sack I had water, hard tacks and other food.
“When the war ended, I goes back to my master and he treated me like his brother. Guess he was scared of me because I had so much ammunition on me. My brother, who went with me to the Yankees, caught rheumatism doing the war. He dies after the war ended.”