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  --  EDUCATIONAL INTERESTS.   Table of Contents     APPENDIX.

Rollin, Frank [Frances] A.
Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delany



The order for mustering out the remaining volunteer officers was long anticipated, and anxiously looked for by these officers, and by none more than by Major Delany, who, as sub-assistant commissioner of the Bureau district of Hilton Head would be affected by this. At last it was received, as will be seen by the following document. While upon this subject, a humorous anecdote, bearing on this subject, may be related.

While awaiting the order, about the middle of December, he visited the headquarters of the assistant commissioner at Charleston.

On entering the departments of the adjutant general, a group of officers surrounded the desk of the acting adjutant, who, at the time, was reading out the names of the officers mustered out by special orders, which had just been received from the war. department that morning, erasing them from the roster suspended on the wall before him, among which was his own name.

"How is this, major?" asked the chief clerk; "I do not see your name among them. Do you report regularly?"

"I do; my report for this month was sent on now more than ten days," he replied.


"HOW is it that you are not among these named in the special order just received?" inquired the acting assistant adjutant general, with much interests.

"I suppose," said the major, very quaintly, "that I am in the position of the old black man, a devoted Second Adventurer, during the Millerite excitement, who, disposing of his earthly effects, betook himself to a cellar, with simply food and fuel sufficient to sustain him comfortably, the season being winter. While waiting, a snow storm came on, the drift completely embanking that side of the street, burying everything beneath it.

"Thus isolated, and enveloped in darkness for several days, except the light of his little fire, without the sound of a footstep or voice above, the old man believed that the final consummation of all things had taken place, and he was actually left in his tomb.

"Presently the scavengers reached his cellar door, when, first hearing footsteps, succeeded by scraping and prying, then light ushering in through the cracks as the snow was removed. Suddenly bursting up the cellar door, the old man exclaimed, "Is de end come?' Being answered in the negative, O!' said he, `I thought de end was come, an' all you white folks was gone up, an' forgot dis old black saint.' Now," concluded the major turning to the assistant adjutant general, "I suppose de end is come, an' all you white folks is gone up, an' forgot dis black saint," amidst a roar of laughter among the officers.

A few days after this an order came from Washington, retaining Brevet Major General Scott in the service, as assistant commissioner, on the staff of Major General Canby, commanding the Second Military District,

by whose advice and generous indorsement the retention of Major Delany was recommended to General Canby, and by which he has been retained in the service.

Thus, in addition to the established duties of his office, he is now the disbursing officer of soldiers' claims for the sub-district of Hilton Head.

This is another testimony, as exhibited by different commanders, of the ability and usefulness of this officer in retaining him. But while fully appreciating these repeated recognitions of his service to the government by these high officials, giving it the full value of its civil and political worth, construing it to a desire of recognizing the true status of the colored race as American citizens by the continuance of their only representative, as an incumbent and military officer in this prominent and honorable position of the government, Major Delany says, "By this change or modification in its jurisdiction the Bureau loses nothing, but otherwise its status and prestige is thereby enhanced.

"Previous to this an important difficulty presented itself. A large force of volunteer officers must be kept up in a time of peace--which is contrary to the jurisprudence of all highly civilized nations,--for the volunteer officers must be mustered out, and thus leave an important arm of the war department without the necessary administrative government.

"To impose the duties of the Bureau on the officers of the regular army, would be to entail duties which they could not care to have upon them, and, therefore, for the most part, neglect. To employ civilians, would bring them directly under the military men,

wholly ignorant of the details, import, and meaning of military orders and duties. To employ those who have been commissioned officers in the service, competent for the duties, would involve an expense equal, at least, to that already incurred by the volunteer officers now on duty.

"The only course left the government in carrying out the well-regulated custom of reducing the army to a true peace basis, by doing away with an independent volunteer force in time of peace, was to place the bureau under the regular army.

"This virtually places Major General O. O. Howard on the staff of General Grant; Brevet Major General R.K. Scott, and all other assistant commissioners, de facto on the staffs of the major generals commanding the military districts; brings the entire volunteer officers, retained in the service, under and subject to, without being in, the regular army; and cements a perfect harmony between these two branches of the government which nothing can detract.

"In this stride of statesmanship, will it be presumed that the American army, or the military branch of the government, has no statesmen as competent counsellors of the executive?"

Headquarters Second Military District,
Charleston, S.C., December 4, 1867.

General Orders. No. 140.

The following general orders, from the headquarters of the army, are republished for the information and guidance of all concerned.


Headquarters of the Army, Adjt. Gen. Office,
Washington , November 26, 1867.

General Orders. No. 101.

The following orders have been received from the War Department, and will be duly executed:--


Par. III. All volunteer officers now retained in service will be mustered out, to take effect January 1, 1868, except the commissioner and the disbursing officers of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.

By command of General Grant

E. D. Townsman.

Asst. Adjt. Gen

By command of Brevet Major General ED. R.S. Canby.

Official. Louis v. Caziarc

Aid-de-Camp, Act'g Asst. Adjt. Gen.

Headquarters Second Military District,
Charleston, S.C., December 6, 1867

General Orders. No.145.

The following arrangement of the troops in this district will be carried into effect with as little delay as possible.


In addition to duties with which they are charged by existing orders, commanding officers of posts are designated as sub-assistant commissioners of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, for the districts embraced within the territorial limits of their commands, and will exercise all the functions of officers of that bureau, except so far as relates to the administration and control of the funds or property of the bureau.



All officers and agents of the bureau, who may be on duty within the territorial limits of any post, will report to its commander, and will be governed by his instructions in all that relates to the protection of persons and property, under the laws of the United States, the regulations of the bureau, and the orders of the district commander. In all that relates to the details of administration, they will report as heretofore to the assistant commissioner for the state in which they are stationed. The assistant commissioners for the States of North and South Carolina, respectively, will furnish the commanders of posts with the names and stations of the officers and agents of the bureau on duty within the limits of their respective commands, and with a statement of any special duties they may have been charged with in relation to the protection of person and property. They will also, by conference or correspondence with the post commander, determine what officers or agents of the bureau can be relieved or discharged, and report the same to district headquarters.

By command of Brevet Major General Ed. R.S. Canby


Louis V. Caziarco,

Aid-de-Camp, Act'g Asst. Adjt.Gen.

Headquarters Asst. Comr. Bureau Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, District of S.C. Charleston, S.C. , December 19, 1867.

Major M.R. Delany , Asst. Sub-Asst.Comr.

Major: In accordance with the provisions of general orders No. 145, C. S., Second Military District, I am directed by the assistant commissioner to inform you that your designation and limits of your district are as follows:--

You will hereafter be designated as Assistant Sub-Assistant Commissioner for Hilton Head, Savage, Bull, Dawfuskie, Pinckney, and Long Pine Islands, and will report to Brevet Brigadier

General H.B. Glitz, port of Charleston, and sub-assistant commissioner, subject to existing orders and instructions.

I am, major, very respectfully,

Your most obedient servant,

Edward L. Deane

Brevet Major, A.D.C., & A. A. A. Gen.

Headquarters Asst. Cour. Bureau Refugees ,
Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, Dist. of S.C., Charleston, S.C. , February 8, 1868.

Major M.R. DELANY Acting Sub-Assistant

Commissioner, Hilton Head, S.C.

Major: The following copy of indorsement from War Department, Adjutant General's Office, dated January 28, 1868, is respectfully furnished for your information.

Respectfully returned to Major General O. O. Howard, Commissioner. Major M.R. Delany, 104th United States Colored Troops, having been reported in your letter of November 30, 1867, as on duty in the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, as a disbursing officer, was retained in service under the provisions of General Order 101, November 26, 1867, from this office.

(Signed) Thomas M. Vincent ,

Asst. Adjt. Gen.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. Neide,

Brevet Major, 1st Lieut. 44th Infantry,

Act'g Asst. Adjt. Gen.

With this last order we will bring this volume to a close. We have endeavored to narrate the career of an individual of our time, living and still working in our midst, the extent of whose labors, and the great ability demonstrated in their execution, cannot be thoroughly understood or felt, without first having known

the great struggle and anxiety entailed in its accomplishment. This we have attempted to give, but found it no easy task; therefore we have simply narrated the events of his singularly active life, allowing the reader to deduce his own comments.

At this writing, Major Delany is still in the service of the government, as sub-assistant commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, while many of the volunteer officers have been mustered out, under order of the department at Washington.

In his retention, is shown the recognition and the thorough appreciation of the indefatigable zeal and great ability displayed by the black officer, especially as in conjunction with his former duties others, in which greater responsibilities are entailed, are assigned to him. His efficient labors in the department reader him a distinct character from his surroundings, while his administrative qualities attract the attention of friends and foes alike, as unprecedented in the history of his race in this country. While comments may vary, they unite in saying, "There is still a latent amount of greatness within the man, which has not yet been called forth."

To his lofty aspirations, and great originality of thoughts, together with his real earnestness in everything he undertakes, and his iron will to pursue to completion, we trace the secret of his success in this field.

Illustrating in his career entire personal sacrifice for the accomplishment of a grand purpose, no character has been produced by our civilization in comparison with which this remarkable man would be deemed

inferior. Men have died for the freedom and elevation of the race, and thereby have contributed more to advance the cause than would their living efforts, while others have lived for it, and under circumstances where death would have been easier. Such describes Martin Delany. Nature marked him for combat and victory, and not for martyrdom. His life-long service, from which neither poverty nor dangers could deter him, his great vitality and energy under all and every circumstance, which have never abated, proclaim this truth. His life furnishes a rare enthusiasm for race not expected in the present state of American society, occasioned by his constant researches into anything relative to their history. No living man is better able to write the history of the race, to whom it has been a constant study, than he; as it is considered by the most earnest laborers in the same sphere that few, if any among them, have so entirely consecrated themselves to the idea of race as his career shows. His religion, his writings, every step in life, is based upon this idea. His creed begins and ends with it--that the colored race can only obtain their true status as men, by relying on their own identity; that they must prove, by merit, all that white men claim; then color would cease to be an objection to their progress--that the blacks must take pride in being black, and show their claims to superior qualities, before the whites would be willing to concede them equality. This he claims as the foundation of his manhood. Upon this point Mr. Frederick Douglass once wittily remarked, "Delany stands so straight that he leans a little backward."

Such is the personal history of an individual of the

race, whose great strength of character, amid the multitudinous agencies adverse to his progress, has triumphantly demonstrated negro capability for greatness in every sphere wherein he has acted.

The late revolution has resulted in bringing the race to which he belongs into prominence. They have begun their onward march towards that higher civilization promised at the close of the war. Let no unhallowed voice be lifted to stay their progress; then, with all barriers removed, the glorious destiny promised to them can be achieved. And then our country, continuing to recognize merit alone in her children, as shown in the appointment of the black major of Carolina, will add renewed strength to her greatness. Be girt with loyal hearts and strong arms, the mission of our revolution shall embrace centuries in its March, securing the future stability of our country, and proclaiming with truthfulness the grandeur of republican institutions to the civilization of Christendom.


  --  EDUCATIONAL INTERESTS.   Table of Contents     APPENDIX.