By Edwin S. Redkey
The Civil struggle stands bright within the collective reminiscence of the yankee public. There has consistently been a profound curiosity within the topic, and in particular of Blacks' participation in and reactions to the conflict and the war's final result. nearly 200,000 African-American infantrymen fought for the Union within the Civil warfare. even though such a lot have been illiterate ex-slaves, a number of thousand have been good informed, loose black males from the northern states. The 129 letters during this assortment have been written via black squaddies within the Union military throughout the Civil warfare to black and abolitionist newspapers. they supply a different expression of the black voice that used to be intended for a public discussion board. The letters inform of the men's stories, their fears, and their hopes. They describe intimately their military days--the pleasure of strive against and the drudgery of digging trenches. a few letters supply bright descriptions of conflict; others protest racism; nonetheless others name eloquently for civil rights. Many describe their conviction that they're battling not just to loose the slaves yet to earn equivalent rights as electorate. those letters supply a rare photo of the warfare and likewise display the brilliant expectancies, hopes, and finally the calls for that black squaddies had for the future--for themselves and for his or her race. As first-person files of the Civil conflict, the letters are robust statements of the yank dream of justice and equality, and of the human spirit.
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Extra resources for A Grand Army of Black Men: Letters from African-American Soldiers in the Union Army 1861-1865
Confederate States of America. M. 20 A Grand Army of Black Men Everything being ready our fleet sailed. , anchored for the night. March 12. ; made sail. , entered the mouth of the river; eight o'clock, let our anchor go. We have had a fine sail today. March 13. , disembarked with safety in Hallow's Creek, our landing being covered by the guns of the gunboats. Eleven o'clock, we succeeded in driving in the enemy's pickets. We are moving on to New Bern. The rebels retreated from their first battery, without discharging a gun.
I think I hear someone asking, what was that? I will tell you. As I passed near the place of the regimental graveyard, I could not help thinking how many of our number we were leaving behind, whom we would never more see on this earth; those who had left their homes and home comforts at the same time that I did, the young, the noble, and the brave, to fight for their country, and to avenge the country's wrongs. . Jones, Sergeant-Major, 8th USCI, Jacksonville, Florida, March 20, 1864; CR, April 16, 1864) The 8th USCI suffered heavily in the Battle of Olustee: More than three hundred men were killed, wounded, or missing, including its slain commanding officer.
He was beloved by all who knew him. His name was John Thompson, and he was attached to the 24th Regiment Mass. Volunteers, and when at home, resided with his mother, at 11 Myrtle street, Boston; he was accidentally shot with a pistol bullet, which passed completely through his body, and he died the same afternoon. The young man who shot him was one of his comrades, and this fact rendered the fact more painful. His funeral took place on the morning of the 27th. It was largely attended by delegates from the several regiments attached to the divisions, and the burial service, which was conducted by the chaplain of the 24th Regiment, was very imposing.