How Dinah Got a Companion for Life.
"Mack," writing from Lexington (Ky.) to the Cincinnati Commercial, says:
Mr. Harlan, the conservative candidate for the Legislature in the Frankfort District, made a speech a few days ago, in which he took ground that there was no hope for the passage of the Constitutional amendment, but that Kentucky would abolish slavery by State action, though it would require at least seven years to do it. There happened to be quite a number of darkies listening to him, and the idea of seven years more of slavery was so distasteful to them that they concluded immediately to take the short cut to freedom via the army. Accordingly, they not only want themselves, but got all their neighbors to join them in a stampede for the nearest recruiting station, and the result was an accession of more than a hundred sable recruits to the Army of Uncle Sam.
One negro girl, about twenty years old, happened to be among Mr. Harlan's auditors, and she was so badly frightened at hearing the hour of her freedom, which she had long consoled herself was immediately at hand, was yet seven years distant, that she started in hot haste, to the office of the post commandant, to know if he would not give her a pass to go North. The officer, who commands a colored regiment, said he could not do it; that if she was a slave she must stay with her master until slavery was abolished by law. “but,” said Dinah, “lots o’ gals have gone Norf, slaves too.” “Ah yes,” said the Colonel, but they did not go away till they had become free by marrying soldier. They married some of my boys, and them they were free by the laws of Congress, and had a right to go where they pleased. If you will marry one of these darkey boys dressed in blue, you can go North or stay here, just as you please.” Dinah was tickled almost to death, as the saying is at this good news, and told the Colonel that she always intended to marry a “soger” any how. After some further conversation between the two, the colonel agreed to send for a squad of the best looking colored warriors in his command, and very soon the swarthy lady was confronted by about twenty as likely looking African descenters as can be found this side of the Atlantic. It took her about five minutes to select her companion for life, from the group, and the bargain was immediately ratified by the chaplain of the regiment, who united the twain in the holy bonds of wedlock. This may be laughed at as an impossible case of marrying in haste, but I can assure the reader that it is strictly and literally true.
"How Dinah Got a Companion for Life," New Orleans (LA) Times, June 19, 1865, p. 3.