August 12, 1863
---A newspaper called the Missouri Democrat reports on rumors of the mistreatment of black troops captured by the Rebels of the torture and mutilation of white officers who had commanded black troops in battle:
REBEL BARBARISM-HOW THE OFFICERS OF THE NEGRO REGIMENTS AND THE NEGROES THEMSELVES WERE TREATED.
The following is given us upon the authority of Lieutenant Cole, of the Mississippi Marine Brigade:
The day after the battle of Milliken’s Bend, in June last, the Marine Brigade landed some 10 miles below the Bend, and attacked and routed the guerrillas which had been repulsed by our troops and the gunboats the day previous. Major Hubbard’s cavalry battalion, of the Marine Brigade, followed the retreating rebels to Tensas Bayou, and were horrified in the finding of skeletons of white officers commanding negro regiments, who had been captured by the rebels at Milliken’s Bend. In many cases these officers had been nailed to the trees and crucified; in this situation a fire was built around the tree, and they suffered a slow death from broiling. The charred and partially burned limbs were still fastened to the stakes. Other instances were noticed of charred skeletons of officers, which had been nailed to slabs, and the slabs placed against a house which was set on fire by the inhuman demons, the poor sufferers having been roasted alive until nothing was left but charred bones. Negro prisoners recaptured from the guerrillas confirmed these facts, which were amply corroborated by the bodies found, as above described. The negroes taken were to be resold into slavery, while the white officers were consumed by fire. Lieutenant Cole holds himself responsible for the truth of the statement.
---George Templeton Strong, following up on his thoughts on the meaning of the war, makes a prophetic statement on the future:
We hardly appreciate, even yet, the magnitude of this war, the issues that depend on its result, the importance of the chapter in the world’s history that we are helping to write. In our hearts we esteem the struggle as the London Times does, or pretends to. God forgive our blindness! It is the struggle of two hostile and irreconcilable systems of society for the rule of this continent. Since Mahometanism and Christendom met in battle this side of the Pyrenees, there has been no struggle so momentous for mankind. I think that Grant and Rosecrans, Lee and Stonewall Jackson and Joe Johnston, and all the others, will be more conspicuous and better known to students of history A.D. 1963 than Wallenstein and Gustavus, Condé, Napoleon, Frederick, Wellington, and the late Lord Raglan; not as greater generals, but as fighting on a larger field and in a greater cause than any of them. So will our great-great-grandchildren look back on them a century hence, whatever be the result.