James Madison Bell

What Shall We Do With the Contrabands?

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Shall we arm them? Yes, arm them! Give to each man
A rifle, a musket, a cutlass or sword;
Then on to the charge! let them war in the van,
Where each may confront with his merciless lord,
And purge from their race, in the eyes of the brave,
The stigma and scorn now attending the slave.


I would not have the wrath of the rebels to cease,
Their hope to grow weak nor their courage to wane,
Till the contrabands join in securing a peace,
Whose glory shall vanish the last galling chain,
And win for their race an undying respect
In the land of their prayers, their tears and neglect.


Is the war one for Freedom? Then why, tell me, why,
Should the wronged and oppressed be debarred from the fight?
Does not reason suggest, it were noble to die
In the act of supplanting a wrong for the right?
Then lead to the charge! for the end is not far,
When the contraband host are enrolled in the war.

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James Madison Bell