This is Gooding ’s ninth letter to the Mercury:

Mercury, April 27, 1863 [OAF]
Camp Meigs, Readville, April 25

Messrs. Editors:

—The past week’s report of the 54th is encouraging, if not stirring. The number of recruits for the past week is 66 making a total of 740 men. Indeed, to see the men on dress parade, one would think there was a full regiment, when there is not more than 630, the balance being required for guard or fatigue duties. The most of the companies are now quite proficient in the manual of arms, and perform the evolutions with as much precision as a great many older troops. Soldiers and officers from other camps say they never thought it possible for men to learn in so short a time as much as these men have. The camp was visited by several members of the Legislature the past week, who expressed themselves highly pleased with the efficiency, discipline and cleanliness of the men; and one gentleman paid us a compliment by saying our barracks looked neater than those on the other side of the railroad. But the praise for that is due to Col. Shaw, whose quick eye detects anything in a moment out of keeping with order or military discipline. It is the best way to begin, saving a deal of trouble in the end; without order, the best men on earth would be worthless for military  purposes.

Rev. Mr. Jackson is still with us, laboring for the soles, if the uppers are neglected — because there are men in this regiment who forget that there are other combs besides Combe on the understanding.  Now Messrs. Editors, we want some more New Bedford men; if they don’t make up their minds very soon, the gate will be shut; every week the number wanted becomes less, and will our New Bedford men see those from other States earning their right to manhood? Where are all the loud orators, whose patriotic appeals said go to the war, we are with you? Come out, ye brave men, we want to see ye. And where, oh! where are the leaders of men? Why don’t they send one representative to the war? so they can say, “We filled our quota.” Don’t let the Journal of Commerce, and other powerful organs, have a chance to tell the truth about you, when they say “The colored man don’t know what’s good for him.” Rise up from your lethargy, and prove by your works that they know not what they say, or else — go and bag your heads.

J. H. G.