and skill that may be found largely among the non-commissioned officers and privates of the white regiments.
III. Industry and perseverance with reference to the quantity of the work done.
I think they will do more than the whites; they do not have so many complains and excuses, but stick to their work patiently, doggedly, obediently, and accomplish a great deal, though I have never known them to work with any marked spirit or energy. I should liken the white man to the horse (often untractable and balky); the black man to the ox.
IV. If a certain work were to be accomplished in the least possible time, i. e., when enthusiasm and direct personal interest are necessary to attain the end, would whites or blacks answer best?
I cannot make up my mind that it is impossible to arouse the enthusiasm of the blacks, for I have seen enough of them to know that they are very emotional creatures; still, though they might have more dash than I have seen and think possible, it is unquestionable to my mind that were the enthusiasm and personal interest of both aroused, the white would far surpass the black.
It seems to me that there is a hard, nervous organization at the bottom of the character of the white, and a soft, susceptible one at the bottom of the character of the black.
V. What is the difference, considering the above points, between colored troops recruited from the free States, and those from the slave States?
I should say that the free State men were the best. They have more of the self-reliance, and approximate nearer to the qualities of the white man, in respect to dash and energy, than those from the slave States.
Summary.- To me they compare favorably with the whites; they are easily handled, true and obedient; there is less viciousness among them; they are more patient; they have great constancy. The character of the white, as you know, runs to extremes; one has another pure and noble. The phases of the character of the white touches the stars and descends to the lowest depths. The black character occupies the inner circle. Their status is mediocrity, and this uniformity and mediocrity, for military fatigue duty, I think answers best.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain New York Volunteer Engineers.
Major T. B. BROOKS,
Aide-de-Camp, and Asst. Eng., Dept. of the South.
MORRIS ISLAND, September 16, 1863.
Major T. B. BROOKS,
Assistant Engineer, Department of the South:
SIR: I have the honor to state that I have received from you a circular of inquiry respecting the comparative merits of white and black soldiers for fatigue duty, requesting my opinion, as derived from observation and actual intercourse with them, on several specified points, which I subjoin with the respective answers.
I. Courage, as indicated by conduct under fire.
I have found that black troops manifest more timidity under fire than white troops, but they are, at the same time, more obedient to