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Reports on Two Iowa Conventions

1857IA.3.pdf

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The soldiers of the 60th U.S. Volunteers (colored regiment) held an impromptu meeting in convention last Tuesday at Camp McClellan, at which an address was delivered by Mr. Alex Clark of Muscatine, and resolutions were adopted expressive of the satisfaction at the results of the war in the overthrow of slavery and defeat of the rebels, and requesting from the Legislature of Iowa an inauguration of the proposed amendment to our State Constitution, through which equal political rights may be secured in our State. An address is to be prepared embodying these views. Of which more anon.

Nov. 4, 1865–Davenport Daily Gazette–Editorial entitled “The Appeal of the Colored Soldier of Iowa” accompanying the long article transcribed below on the convention of black soldiers held at Camp McClellan on October 31, 1865:

We trust no one of our readers will fail to give careful attention to the simple and calm appeal of the colored soldiers of Iowa printed in this issue of the GAZETTE, and accompanied by an account of the proceedings had at the regimental convention at which the preparation of the appeal was suggested and authorized. These Iowa soldiers address their appeal to the people of the State for whom and in whose stead they have been to the field and there faithfully served their country at the cost of personal peril and personal hardship. Each one of these seven hundred colored soldiers represented in the field a white citizen, who but for the proxy of that negro soldier would have been compelled to enter the ranks and incur the risk of battle. Having thus given two years of faithful service to the common cause they, with a calm respect which must command universal admiration, ask that that service shall have due appreciation and reward. They have nobly performed their duty of citizens in the field; they ask for recognition as citizens at home. Does any intelligent and candid man–be he Republican or Democrat, negro- admirer or negro-hater–honestly believe that this request ought to be denied or disregarded? Is there in all our State a citizen who denies that these appealing soldiers have not earned all they ask for? Is there one who doubts that in granting the boon for which these soldiers so humbly plead, the State would suffer the slightest damage or the safety of the “white man’s country” be at all imperilled? Can any one anywhere tell us why the ballot should not be placed in the hands of these Iowa soldiers who have so faithfully used the bullet in the Nation’s defense?

It is to conjecture the answers to these queries to be given by two classes of our voting population–the copperheads and the whiskey-heads. These colored soldiers volunteered to swell the army of “Lincoln’s hirelings” sent to “subjugate our Southern brethren.” If allowed to vote they will certainly throw their ballots just as they did their bullets–to hurt sympathizers with rebellion and slavery. They have resolved against the use of whiskey and the frequenting of saloons. If allowed a voice in elections they will most likely be fanatical on the Temperance question and won’t vote for drunken men to hold office. Of course, then, copperheads and whiskey-heads will unite in declaring that “no nigger ought to be allowed to vote.” But what do loyal and sober men say? Let all such read this appeal and answer our queries as to God and their conscience.

Nov. 4, 1865–Davenport Daily Gazette–Long news article entitled the “Convention of Colored Soldiers at Camp McClellan”:

In accordance with the earnest desire of numerous members of the regiment, the enlisted

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