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



THE interest in recruiting had in no wise abated, and the major's headquarters gave evidences daily of this fact. At every public gathering the movement concerning the new troops was discussed. But in the midst of the most active preparations and hopeful anticipation's news reached Charleston simultaneously with that of the national calamity, that Lee had surrendered. At this moment, when the recollection of that important epoch of the war returns to the mind, it is difficult to determine which regretted it the most -- the southern blacks or whites, but from altogether different motives. In the new battalion the new feeling was anything but joyful, as they were just preparing for the contest. The major, on receiving the news, announced to them, "Gentlemen, Lee has surrendered! Thank God, the war is over!" without meeting a response of approbation from the men or officers. It was difficult to convince these soldiers that the surrender of the South to conquering North and they still looked forward hopefully for orders approving the continuance of the camp. They were not kept in this state of doubt as to the intention of the department, for

soon the order came from Washington discontinuing the raising of troops, succeeded by the special order which follows below:--

Head Quarters of Superintendent Recruiting and
Organization Colored Troops,
Department of the Soothe,
Beau Fort, S.C. June 7th 1865

Special Orders No. 36

I. Major M.R..Delany, 104th United States Colored Troops, is hereby relieved from further duty at Charleston, S. C., and will report without delay to these headquarters, prior to assignment to duty with his regiment.

By order of Brevet Major General R. Saxton

Gen. Supt Rect. & Org. Col. Troops, D.S.

Stuart M. Taylor , Asst. Adjt. Gen.

Major M.R. Delany , 104 th U. S. C. T.

On the reception of this order a general depression was felt by the colored people, the freemen, especially regarding it in the light of a preparatory abandonment of the service: naturally they felt this order sorely; their best friend and faithful counsellor leaving them without an apparent cause, was by no means comprehensible to them. And soon after its promulgation, the Major's quarters were beset by an eager crowed anxious for explanations from this own lips, but as the most satisfactory answer or explanation would only elicit from them a sorrowful shake of the head, it was evident nothing would content them except the order being recalled for the major's departure. Having many imperative duties connected with the enlistment of the troops unfinished, he immediately wrote to the general for an extension of time, and while

awaiting the required authority, the time solicited expired. He left Charleston June 26, reporting the forenoon of the next day at Hilton Head, and received the following special, order--

Headquarters Superintendent of Recruiting
and Organizing Colored Troops,
Department of the South,
Beaufort, S.C ; June 29 1865.

Special Orders, No. 47

III. Major M. R. Delany, 104th United States Colored Troops, having reported at there headquarters in obedience to Special Order No. 36, par. I, current series, from these headquarters, will remain in Beaufort until instructions in regard to the duties to be assigned to him are received from the war department.

By order of Brevet Major General R. Saxton. Stuart M. Taylor ,

Brevet Major and Asst. Adjt. Gen.

Major M. R. Delany , 104th U. S. C. T.

Major Delany met the general on Tuesday morning at Hilton Head, while en route for New York. The 104th-- the major's regiment-- was then at Camp Duane, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Wilson. Colonel Douglass Frazer being in command at Hilton Head, in expectation of seeing him, but adhering strictly to his instructions received from the department at Washington, the basis of his own cherished principles, did not join his regiment, awaiting further orders from the department.

While awaiting instructions, he was necessarily unemployed, and there being many duties connected with

the welfare of the freemen, he was compelled daily to witness their imperfect performance. Just across the river from him rumors would reach him of the dissatisfied state of the people; and as he was anxious to aid in restoring the industry and labor of the South, be went to St. Helena Island to use is influence with them, and instruct them as to their duty on the subject.

The next day, to his surprise, he was informed that his mission to St. Helena's was for the purpose of urging the freemen to insurrection, and it was thus reported at the general's and post headquarters; but the malice of his enemies, blinded by prejudice, was of no avail with his official superiors, with the exception of its being somewhat annoying to him, as a rumor augmenting as it extended: it passed off without an official notice.

While this incendiary character was falsely assigned to him, the following order from Washington was received, and the current of speculation as to the black major's role was turned in another direction--

War Department, Adjutant General's Office,
Washington, D.C ; July 15, 1865.
Special Orders. No. 372.


46. The following named officers of the 104th United States Colored Troops are hereby relieved from duty with that regiment, and assigned to duty in the bureau of refuges, freedmen, and abandoned lands.

They will report in person without delay, to Brevet Major

General R. Saxon, assistant commissioner for the States of South Carolina and Georgia

E.D. Major Martin R. Delany

By order of the Secretary of War

E.D. Townsend,

Asst. Adjt. Gen

Official E.D. Townsend,


Headquarters Asst. Comr. Bureau Refugees
Freedman, and Abandoned Lands, S.C., Geo., and Fl.,
Beaufort, S.C. , July, 26, 1865

Official Stuart M. Taylor

Asst. Adjt. Gen