War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0175 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.- UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

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HDQRS. FORTY- FOURTH U. S. COLORED INFANTRY,

Chattanooga, Tenn., February 3, 1865.

Brigadier General L. THOMAS,

Adjutant- General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to forward inclosed the statement of an enlisted man of the Forty- fourth U. S. Colored Infantry, captured at Dalton, Ga., October 13, 1864, who subsequently escaped and is on duty in his company now.

I have already forwarded reports* stating that although I surrendered my command at the place named above "as prisoners of war," their treatment was not that accorded to prisoners of war generally. They were, even under my own eyes a day after their capture, forced to tear up the railroad track between Dalton and Tunnel Hill. Since, I have heard from every man who escaped captivity and returned to the regiment, that they were not only deprived of their clothing, barbarously treated, and when sick sometimes shot down, but constantly worked in a most brutal manner that even surpassed the harshest treatment they had ever received while in bondage.

I believe it to be my duty to the officers and men under my command to call your attention to this matter and to respectfully request you to have some measures adopted to relieve the sufferings of these unfortunate men of the Forty- fourth Regiment in captivity. The offices and soldiers who have experienced and witnessed this degrading and inhuman treatment feel it deeply, and they an only look to the Government in whose service they have volunteered, whose uniform they wear,and which has promised them the protection afforded to other soldiers, to avenge the insults offered and the outrages perpetrated upon them.

I am, general, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. JOHNSON,

Colonel, Commanding.

[Inclosures.]

CAMP FORTY- FOURTH U. S. COLORED INFANTRY,

Chattanooga, Tenn., February 3, 1865.

[Colonel L. JOHNSON:]

COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following statement: I, with the regiment, was captured at Dalton, Ga., October 13, 1864. The enlisted men of the regiment were compelled by the rebels to tear up the railroad track in that vicinity. We, the captured men of the Forty- fourth U. S. Colored Infantry, were marched from Dalton to Selma, Ala. From thence we were forwarded to Corinth, Miss., at which place we were compelled to labor on railroads. The number of men of the Forty- fourth delivered to their owner masters, or men who claimed to own them, thereby returning these men to slavery. The Forty- fourth arrived at Corinth, Miss.,a nd commenced labor on or about the 1st of December, 1864, at which labor i remained until I effected my escape about the 25th of December, 1864, and arrived at Memphis, Tenn., and from thence i reported to my command at Chattanooga, Tenn.

When I left the rebels there were about 125 men of the Forty- fourth still laboring on these railroads, the remainder having either been sent to the hospital to die, or turned over to

civilians as slaves, or effected

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*See Series I, Vol. XXXIX, Part I, pp. 717- 724.

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