From the Richmond Whig, 8/4/1865, p. 2, c. 5
Chimborazo. – At the eastern end of Broad street is a hill, flat on the top, surrounded by a ravine, and thickly studded with shanties. That is Chimborazo – Hospital for Confederates during the war, and abiding place of unemployed and no-account negroes now. A guard of “colored” infantry keeps watch and ward there; stops you at the head of the long stretch of wooden steps which climb up the face of the steep, and tells you you cannot enter into Nubia “widout de permission of de officer in charge of de place.” Once in, you can ramble where you please, provided you look like “a gemman;” and assuredly, if you be of a reflecting turn of mind, you will leave the place with thoughts which may be described by the saying: “The least said the soonest mended.”
Male and females, old and young, the children of Africa abound there, for the most part taking their ease, without apparent concern for the future, lolling and loafing, lazzaroni-like, all the day long. Approach some of these, and ask them are they for hire, and they will avoid a direct answer, if they can, gazing at you with a half-lazy, half-insolent look the while. Approach that old man. ‘Tis a sad sight – very sad. With head bowed down, a tear in his eye, his hands resting on his knee, in quaint but touching phrase, he tells his yearning after his old home. He would like to go back again. He was very old now, and very lonely. – Many cases are there of like character. And then there are children whose fathers have gone off and left them, and wives who have been abandoned by their husbands, ever since the day of emancipation set in. Approach some of the able-bodied young girls and women, and, in almost every instance, their express an unwillingness to hire themselves out as house servants, while, on the other hand, many go into the city to get what they call day’s work, which is an engagement of but twelve hours. Some of the officers in charge propose to make application to the proper authorities to see if some compulsory system cannot be introduced, which will save the Government the expense of supporting the drones. If the parents be sent to work in the country, or even in the city, then results separation of mother and child – a thing which used to be complained of mightily by certain philanthropists. In the hands of the authorities is the case of the negro, and the cure for his condition, if any there now be. We believe that those whose special charge it is are doing what they can to devise remedies and remove difficulties. It is a hard nut to crack.