Private Freeman S. Dunklee, Co. A, 36th Illinois Infantry, to his family at home in Barrington, IL.
A ringing condemnation of slavery, southern agriculture, southern food, the southern dialect and the general short comings of the southern educational system are all expounded on in Private Dunklee’s letter of August 3rd, 1864 from Nashville, TN.
He relates that “a Negro soldier on guard ordered a citizen not to cross his beat.” He was told that a “southern gentleman was not to be imposed upon by a nigger if he was a soldier.” Obeying his orders the soldier shot the citizen. A loud fuss was raised with the soldier arrested and taken to General Millroy. The General released him saying he liked to see a soldier doing his duty whether black or white. Private Dunklee wrote “This is very different to what it was here a few short years ago. One can hardly believe that so great an evolution could take place in so short a time…the institution [slavery] has been sapping the South; for it has ruined its morals, encouraged ignorance, overthrew it politics and in short degraded the whole population in every way.” Dunklee states “he stands ready to welcome the day when slavery shall be wiped out. And to do this we must see that Lincoln is President for the next term.”