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Flag Presentation to Confederate Blacks

"The Richmond Daily Dispatch: April 27, 1861.

A Dusky Regiment.

The Petersburg Express has an account of the departure of 100 free negroes from that city for Norfolk, to work on the fortifications. They were addressed in an appropriate manner, by Messrs. John Dodson and Wm. Fenn, and the last-named gentleman presented them with a beautiful Confederate States flag, made by the true and noble-hearted ladies of Bollingbrook street, as a token of their appreciation of the generous efforts they were about to make, to achieve a successful defence of Virginia soil and principles.

Charles Tinsley, one of their number, stepped forward to receive the flag, and in reply said--"We are willing to aid Virginia's cause to the utmost extent of our ability.--We do not feel that it is right for us to remain here idle, when white gentlemen are engaged in the performance of work at Norfolk that is more suitable to our hands, and of which it is our duty to relieve them. There is not an unwilling heart among us, not a hand but will tell in the work before us; and we promise unhesitating obedience to all orders that may be given to us." In referring to the flag, he said-- "I could feel no greater pride, no more genuine gratification, than to be able to plant it first upon the ramparts of Fortress Monroe."

This was truly a patriotic speech, coming from the source it did, and was received with a general outburst of cheering and applause.

The men were then marched down Sycamore street to the tune of "Dixie," to the depot, where, in the presence of an immense crowd of darkeys, they took their departure."

Petersburg Va. Federal Census, 1860, Charles Tinsley, Age 28, Mulatto, Bricklayer.

David Upton

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