[addressing the 54th before battle] I ain't much about no prayin', now. I ain't never had no family, and... killed off my mama. Well, I just... Y'all's the onliest family I got. I love the 54th. Ain't even much a matter what happens tomorrow, 'cause we men, ain't we?Trip
And what are you? So full of hate you want to go out and fight everybody! Because you've been whipped and chased by hounds. Well that might not be living, but it sure as hell ain't dying. And dying's been what these white boys have been doing for going on three years now! Dying by the thousands! Dying for YOU, fool! I know, 'cause I dug the graves. And all this time I keep askin' myself, when, O Lord, when it's gonna be our time? Gonna come a time when we all gonna hafta ante up. Ante up and kick in like men. LIKE MEN! You watch who you callin' nigger! If there's any niggers around here, it's YOU. Just a stupid-ass, smart-mouthed, swamp-runnin' nigger! And if you not careful, that's all you ever gonna be!Rawlins
John Rawlins: Where about you from?
Trip: I'm from around Tennessee. I ran away when I was 12 years old and I ain't never looked back.
Sharts: What ya doin' since then?
Trip: I run for President.
Trip: I ain't winning, though.
Short contraband: Hey, where from?
Cpl. Thomas Searles: Massachusetts.
Tall contraband: You walk like the bukra soldier, even talk like him!
Cpl. Thomas Searles: [to Rawlins] What'd he say?
John Rawlins: He says we march like white soldiers. How you like the Army, contraband?
Tall contraband: Oh, we love it! We thank the Lord every day for da good vittles and these beautiful clothes! Every day like kismis!
Cpl. Thomas Searles: [to Rawlins] What?
John Rawlins: Like Christmas.
Cpl. Thomas Searles: Oh.
Cpl. Thomas Searles: Who are these ragamuffins?
John Rawlins: Contraband soldiers, straight from the field.
Short contraband: Hey, we slaves in the field when the Yankee man come. Say we soldiers.
Sharts: I wonder when they gonna give us the blue suits.
Trip: [laughs] Where you from, boy?
Sharts: South Carolina.
Trip: South Carolina? Well then you ought to know better than that, boy.
We fight for men and women whose poetry is not yet written but which will presently be as enviable and as renowned as any.Colonel Robert G. Shaw
Sgt. Mulcahy: No shame, son, get up... I SAID GET UP!
Trip: Nigger forgot to duck, that's all!
Colonel Robert G. Shaw: Sergeant, deal with that man!
Tear it up! Tear it up! TEAR IT UP!Trip
Its not true is it? I mean about not being allowed to fight. The men are living for that day. I know I am.Cpl. Thomas Searles
If you men will take no pay, then none of us will.Colonel Robert G. Shaw
Dear Mother, They learn, learn quickly, faster than white troops it seems to me. They are almost grave and sedate under instruction and they restrain themselves. But the moment they are dismissed from drill every tongue is relaxed and every ivory tooth is visible and you would not know from the sound of it that this is an army camp. They must have learned this from long hours of meaningless, inhuman work too set them free so quickly. It gives them great energy. And there is no doubt we will leave this state as fine a regiment as any that as marched. As ever, your son, Robert.Colonel Robert G. Shaw