Books [Andrew Johnson]
A special train came through one day in October and I said good-bye to my family and climbed aboard, with eight other colored men from my town. Every town the train passed through contributed its quota of young men, so that when we reached Admiral, Maryland, the train was crowded with wildly cheering, excited heroes-to-be.
Alighting from the train, we were told to line up and follow several military-appearing men. The contingent, composed of men dressed in old clothes and carrying suitcases, straggled up the road several miles until we came to a cantonment called Meade, named after a Civil War general.
Here we were lined up again, told to file into a large mess hall where we found that the Army ate other vegetables besides beans. After mess we lined up again for medical inspection, then marched off to a supply station and issued Army uniforms and equipment. Dress shoes and heavy hob-nailed field shoes, an O. D. tunic, shirt, trousers, underwear, socks, a necktie, handkerchiefs, towels and soap. Also two tightly rolled bundles of wool called spiral [puttees?]. This last almost made me quit the Army.
We marched back to some dormatories and were assigned a cot, blankets, and told to report to the parade grounds after changing into uniform.
The building I was in had about [25o?] men, and each one of them was struggling with tunics with too-tight collars, or complaining about too-large shoes, hardly any one had been lucky enough to get a perfect fit. But every one was troubled by the spiral [puttees?]. How to get what looked like a roll of O. D. bandage wrapped around one's leg! That was the question.