The Philadelphia Press
19 May 1863

Great Excitement—The Negro Brigade and Uncle Tom's Cabin

Washington, Special Dispatches to "The Press"

  The large common, near the Bethel Church and south of the Capitol grounds, presented a busy scene this morning. The first colored regiment of the brigade now forming was mustered into the service of the Union by officers of the regular army, in the presence of a crowd of ladies and gentlemen, white and black. The utmost enthusiasm prevailed among the troops, and they were generally strong, healthy-looking fellows. They manifested an eager disposition to understand the art of war. No attempt was made to interrupt them. What would have occasioned a mob two years ago is now hailed by the whites as just and proper, particularly when they see that the more colored men are mustered into the service the less white men will be required. The wildest excitement prevails among the colored population, and the contrabands are particularly anxious to go into the army. To-night Uncle Tom's Cabin is to be performed for the first time here, at the Washington Theatre. Who will deny that we have fallen upon new times, and the spirit of liberty is abroad in the land?