Return to Port Royal Experiement
See also General David Hunter
Letter from Jas. A. McCrea
May 12, 1862
AMA Records
All headings in bold have been added by the editor for the ease of readers.

Jas. A. McCrea

Beaufort Port Royal SC
May 12, 1862

Dear Bro:

I will endeavor to give you a big report of how I am employed among our poor down trodden Colored
Brethren. Shortly after I came her I got appointed to my care, a Church, called the African Church, a
praise house. On Sabbath morning we have prayer meeting at Sunrise, in this Church I have opened
a second Sunday School (the one opened before is in operation under the Rev. Dr. Peck). It is
opened at 9 a.m. and averages about 75 scholars, mostly young people I am ably and willingly
assisted by the officers and privates of the several Camps, I hold service at 10 ½ at 3 p.m and at 7
p.m. these meeting average each from 200 to 300, mostly Colored people. I have also opened a
Bible Class about 6 weeks ago, on Wednesday Evenings at 7 p.m. It is attended by about 60 adults
and sometimes more. Thursday Evenings we have our regular weekly prayer meetings. I have been
assisted at these meetings by the most intelligent of our colored brothers and on Sabbath several
times by Miss Johnson Nicholes which assistance was very grateful to me, as my throat is becoming
very sore through attending so many meetings but as there is a wide field her for those who really
wish to do good I am urgent to do my utmost amongst them, and I am strangely led to believe that my
efforts are far from being ? I pray to God that the time may soon arrive when the whole south will be
open to the free Dissemination of Truth and Godliness among the poor slaves. There is a very
perceptible change taking place among the young; there are so many opportunities for improving
their minds, the Rev. Dr. Peck has 2 daily schools, the Rev B. r. Johnston, are now taught by W.
Nichols together with the Ladies Industrial and Elementary Schools, and the Sunday Schools, and
they are all diligently and faithfully attended to and conducted.

A Soldier's Story
I will mention one incident which came under my notice lately at one of our prayer meetings a soldier
got up and addressed the meeting. He said when he left home he had little or no thoughts about
religious matters, nor was it till he came here to South Carolina, and conversed with one of our
colored brethren that he began to realize that he had a soul in danger and that he had need of a
Savior to save him from the Wrath to come. And this colored brother was, through the providence of
God, the instrument of opening his eyes to his lost condition. and causing him earnestly to bow to
the throne of Grace for pardon and remission of his sins. At the close of the meeting I was
introduced to this Colored brother, and he informed me that he was one of the first to whom I had
given books and lessons, when I first came here. This incident, with many similar ones, shows that
God is rewarding our humble efforts for the spread of the Gospel, nor is it a rare sight to see the
soldiers giving lessons to the children, when the meet them book in hand in the open air.

General David Hunter's Emancipation Proclamation
When it was announced to them in the prayer meeting, that the slaves of South Carolina, Georgia
and Florida was Emancipated. the scene was touching in the extreme. Never did they listen with
more rapt attention; never did they pray with more earnestness, and I am sure  were their hearts so
happy or thankful before and in the prayer offered up by one of them he did not forget to pray that
their souls also might be emancipated from the power of fire and Satan.

Attitude of General Stevens
You alluded to some persons being interested in opposing right operations; that there are such
persons may be true but for any complaint I believe there is no foundation for my own part as far as I
am individually concerned. I have experienced nothing but kindness and encouragement from any
person in authority here I can only speak with great praise of General Stevens and all the officers
under him, down to the privates, Instead of being opposed I have uniformly got any assistance which
I had occasion to ask for. General Stevens, I believe to be a truly Christian gentleman. It is shining to
the hearts of the Lords people who to hear the colored children singing “There is a happy land I
see. And the meeting generally closes with “Jesus lives and Reigns for ever. The children have
learned a great many hymns which they can repeat and sing, beside a great deal of other scriptural
knowledge., the Rev. Mr. Nichols preached for me yesterday to a large and attentive Congregation,
he will write to you and give you a more detailed account of our proceedings, I remain dear sir your
bother in the Lord

J. A. McCrea
General David Hunter
General Isaac Stevens