this and all other true reports of the freedmen in their new conditions-amid all their obstructions, and in spite of all, they have made constant progress and proved their right to be received into the full communion of freemen.
They have shown that they can appreciate freedom as the highest boon; that they will be industrious and provident with the same incitement which stimulates the industry of other men in free societies; that they understand the value of property and are eager for its acquisition, especially of land; that they can conduct their private affairs with sagacity, prudence, and success; that under freedom's banner these sea islands are not destined to become a howling wilderness, but will flourish more than ever when cultivated by freemen; that they are not ignorant from natural incapacity, but from the brutishness of their former condition; that they are intelligent, eager, and apt to acquire knowledge of letters, docile, and receptive pupils; that they aspire to and adopt as fast as means and opportunity admit the social forms and habits of civilization; that they quickly get rid of in freedom the faults and vices generated by slavery, and in truthfulness and fidelity and honesty may be compared favorably with men of an other color, in conditions as unfavorable for the development of those qualities; that they are remarkably susceptible of religious emotions and the inspirations of music; that, in short, they are endowed with all the instincts, passions, affections, sensibilities, powers, aspirations, and possibilities which are the common attributes of human nature.
They have given the highest proof of manhood by their bravery and discipline on many a battle-field where defeat, they well knew, had for them no mercy. They have conquered a recognition of their manhood and right to be free and vindicated the wisdom and justice of your first order to place arms in their hands (which I had the honor of receiving and executing). The senseless prejudices and bitter contempt against their race are disappearing before their peaceful and orderly conduct under their trials and provocations, their patient hope and heroism in war. Events for four years have been disciplining the mind of the nation to prepare it to give them full recognition and ample justice.
In this view it may be that the obstacles which beset their earlier path toward freedom were blessings, normal elements for the solution of the great problem of their manhood and their rights; as the atrocities and diabolism, the murders and martyrdoms, the countless sacrifice of noblest lives in this war, may have been necessary to convince the America people of the utter and irredeemable barbarism of slavery and to inspire them with a determined purpose to build themselves up into a new nation and a new Union upon the enduring foundation of justice, freedom, and equal rights of all men.
It has been my earnest endeavor to carry out to the extent of my ability your views and purposes with regard to the people committed to my charge, and to inaugurate in this department the wise and humane policy contemplated in your instructions to me.
In the hope that I have been in some degree successful,
I am sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers.