Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for Army letters of Oliver Willcox Norton.

Army letters of Oliver Willcox Norton.

July 1, 2015

Army letters of Oliver Willcox Norton (Eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers)

July 1, 1865.

Dear Sister L.:—

I send you another “boarder.” The time for distinction of color per se is past. The face you see is the counterfeit presentment of the “American citizen of African descent,” Jefferson Chisum Brown, called for short (or surnamed) Jeff. Mr. Brown belongs to a numerous and highly respected family. The fact that his name is not descriptive of his condition is not uncommon, or at all remarkable. Though he is Brown, he is also “black as the ace of spades.” That is a camp simile, which you will not understand, but it means very black. Mr. Brown’s former residence was Charleston, and he belonged to the aristocracy there. He came over from there with Robert Small on the Planter, and though his trip will be an event commemorated in history, Mr. Brown himself can claim little credit for it, because as he acknowledges—”he didn’t know whar dey was a fotchin’ him to.” Mr. Brown is at present employed as a polisher of metal (cleans the sword) and an artist (handles the boot brush) under the auspices of my friend Burrows.

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