The broken logic of slaves helping the South to fight began to change my mind about slavery as a military act. But what changed my heart? What changed my heart was a young mulatto girl named Zela.

Zela was the child of a master who abused his slaves in the most despicable way, as was common practice in the South. Her father then sold her to another master who would abuse his daughter in the same way he had abused the mother. A most wicked sin! He sold his own daughter, his own flesh and blood into slavery, knowing she would be the concubine of her new master! When we marched on Jackson, Tennessee, Zela was able to escape the wretched abuse of a young planter and cross enemy lines. Her great beauty and tender form were safe within the Union encampment where she found gainful employment as a laundress, working for the Provost Marshall. When her master found she was working for the Union he was outraged. Knowing he could sell her for $1000 dollars, he made several efforts to retrieve what he thought was his property. He finally struck on the idea of secreting a message to her telling her he was sick and dying. He wanted to see her one more time before he left this world. I told her it was a lie, a mean trick to get her back into his clutches. But she would not listen to me, because she had already listened to me, when I told her she was a free woman, free to make up her own mind. She went back to him. And just as you might suppose… it was a trick. Once she was back in his possession there is little doubt the abuse continued. He then sold her in Holly Springs, Mississippi to another planter. 

It broke my heart. It changed my heart! When I saw this abomination against humanity that was slavery in the South… I vowed that I would do everything in my power to end it… and my power is great! I had seen enough of their accursed institution and would not sheath my sword until it was thoroughly wiped out.


10. Emancipation & Colored Troops