George - Slave of Thomas Pollack

George - Slave of Thomas Pollack

Esteemed member John Gross contributes:

Beth Long wrote:

> > Does any one know anything about black Confederates at Gettysburg? I do > have a copy of Richard Rollins essay on the subject. > Depends what you mean by "black Confederates."
If you mean were there large numbers of black combat troops or massed regiments for the South the answer is no. If you wish to know if individual blacks may have fought in scattered regiments about the field I would say yes. The majority of blacks present would have served in some type of combat support role. Teamsters, ambulance drivers, musicians, etc.

The following letter was written by a slave named "George" on March 30, 1864, while in Greenville, North Carolina. It is addressed to Mrs. Thomas G. Pollack in Warrenton, Virginia. In it George tells of the death of his master at Gettysburg.

John Gross

I received your very kind letter of the 24th of last month yesterday and it made me feel very happy to hear from you and through you from all my friends and acquaintances, and to learn that you were all well. You ask me to tell you all I know of my late dear master. I am very sorry that I cannot tell you all that you would like to learn. The last I saw of him was just before the battle commenced at Gettysburg and he told me to take off his overcoat from his horse and to take care of it. He then left me and I saw him no more. I was informed that he had been wounded by a shell and wounded in three places, in the head, arm and breast. He fell from the mare he was riding and we were forced to leave him on the field. I would have gone back if I could, but I could not and even if I had gone, I could not have done any good as his spirit had fled and his soul gone up to Him who gave it.

I need not tell you my dear young mistress how I felt. I loved him so much having been with him so long. I could not for a long time bring myself to believe that he was gone, but at last the reality burst forth, and I felt lonesome indeed. You ask if he left any relics, any clothes. I am very happy to be able to inform you that his trunk is just as he left it with is new uniform in. It is Major Traylor's--near Hanover Junction where it was left for safe keeping. I have his bed clothes with me which I use myself. I have his horse and mare in my charge, and I take good care of them.

His saddle was robbed on the field of battle. The mare was wounded in one of the forelegs, and she could hardly get back to Virginia but is now nearly well. She got very thin but seems to be picking up now. The horse is in fine trim.

After the battle, I staid with Lieutenant K. Nelson until September when I came to Col. Joseph Mayo of the 3rd Regiment, and I am still with him. I like him very much, and he is very kind to me indeed. I forgot to tell you that the horse was shot over the right eye, but it did not impair the sight.

Please thank your ma for having put herself to the trouble of getting clothes for me. I shall not forget her kindness. I hope that you will not cease to write. I have been expecting a letter from you for a long time. Please let me hear from you all once in a while. I spent 3 days last Christmas with my Mother, and she sends her love to you all. I saw two sisters of mine nearly grown; one named Virginia and the other Martha. I have a fine place now. We live in town. Colonel Mayo has command of this post. I am well satisfied as I can be anywheres away from home. We are not far from the Yankees.

We expect to have a fight soon. We had a skirmish last Saturday with some of them. They killed one of our officers and wounded one man. We had 60 men and they had nearly one hundred, but they did not stay long. They ran off just as we got ready to meet them. If you are so kind as to write to me please address your letter to the care of Col. Jos. Mayo, 3rd Reg't Virginia Infty Kempers Brigade Pickets Division Greenville, N.C...." Forgotten Confederates, page 33-34, with the notation; "Contributed by Lewis Leigh, Jr., of Fairfax, Virginia."