Morgan Freeman: Sgt. Maj. John Rawlins
[Trip and Searles are about to fight when Rawlins steps in]
Rawlins : Look, goddamn it! The whole world gotta stomp on your face?
Trip : Nigger, you better get your hands off me!
Rawlins : Ain't no niggers around here! Understand?
Trip : Oh, I see, so the white man give you a couple a stripes, and suddenly you start hollerin' and orderin' everybody around, like you the massa himself! Nigger, you ain't nothin' but the white man's dog!
[He starts to walk away, Rawlins stops him and slaps him]
Rawlins : 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 call a nigger! If there's any niggers around here, it's YOU. Just a smart-mouthed, stupid-ass, swamp-runnin' nigger! And if you not careful, that's all you ever gonna be!
John Rawlins : [part of the prayer group] Lord, we stand before you this evening, to say thank you! And we thank you, father, for your grace, and your many blessings! Now I run off, leaving all my young'uns and my kinfolk, in bondage. So I'm standing here this evening, Heavenly Father, to ask your blessings on all of us. So that if tomorrow is the great getting-up morning, if that tomorrow we have to meet the Judgement Day, O Heavenly Father, we want you to let our folks know that we died facing the enemy! We want 'em to know that we went down standing up! Amongst those that are fighting against our oppression. We want 'em to know, Heavenly Father, that we died for freedom! We ask these blessings in Jesus' name. Amen!
John Rawlins : That's right, Hines. Ain't no dream. We runaway slaves but we come back fightin' men. Go tell your folks how kingdom come in the year of jubilee!
[Col. Shaw approaches Rawlins after having Trip horse-whipped for deserting]
Colonel Robert G. Shaw : Mr. Rawlins... this morning, I... it would be a great help to me if I could talk to you from time to time about the men. That's all.
[turns to leave]
John Rawlins : Shoes, sir.
Colonel Robert G. Shaw : [Shaw turns around]
John Rawlins : The men need shoes, Colonel.
Colonel Robert G. Shaw : Yes, I've been after the quartermaster for some time.
John Rawlins : No, sir. Now. That boy ran off to find him some shoes, Colonel. He wants to fight. Same as the rest of us. More, even.
[the 54th has just been attached to Col. Montgomery's regiment in the hope of seeing combat. The troops are marching through the regiment's camp]
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.
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.
Col. Montgomery : [ordering the burning of Darien, Georgia] Prepare your men to light torches and prepare to burn the buildings!
Colonel Robert G. Shaw : I will not!
Col. Montgomery : That is an order! You will obey it or you will be charge with Disobeying your Superior Officer!
Colonel Robert G. Shaw : It is an *immoral order*, and by the Articles of War, I am not bound to obey it!
Col. Montgomery : Then, you can explain that at your court-martial... after your men are placed under my command!
[Shaw looks at his men, who give him a look indicating their distaste for serving under Montgomery]
Colonel Robert G. Shaw : First Squad, Second Platoon! Fall out to set torches. Prepare to fire the town!
John Rawlins : First Squad, Second Platoon! FALL OUT!
[they do so]
[seeing the brawl between the 54th Mass. and the 10th Conn. soldiers]
Maj. Cabot Forbes : WHAT THE *HELL* IS GOING ON HERE!
Sgt. Maj. John Rawlins : [to 54th soldiers] Attention!
[Everyone comes to attention]
Maj. Cabot Forbes : [to 10th Conn. soldier] What's your name! YES, *YOU*! I'm having you brought up on CHARGES!
Sgt. Maj. John Rawlins : Oh, there ain't no cause for that, sir.
Maj. Cabot Forbes : What's that, Sergeant?
Sgt. Maj. John Rawlins : I mean, sir. That it's just a soldiers' fight, sir.
[Forbes nods understandingly]
Maj. Cabot Forbes : [to 10th Conn. soldiers] Alright, you men move along.
[they leave slowly]
Maj. Cabot Forbes : *MOVE IT*!
[they leave faster]
Sgt. Maj. John Rawlins : [to 54th Mass. soldiers] Alright, men. Back to work. BACK TO WORK!
[Rawlins interposes himself between Trip and the 10th Connecticut soldiers]
10th Connecticut soldier : Stripes on a nigger... that's like tits on a bull!
[the Connecticut soldiers laugh]
John Rawlins : You're looking at a higher rank, Corporal. Now you'll obey, and you'll like it!
10th Connecticut soldier : [sneers] Make me.