By Edwin S. Redkey
The Civil conflict stands shiny within the collective reminiscence of the yankee public. There has continuously been a profound curiosity within the topic, and particularly of Blacks' participation in and reactions to the warfare and the war's consequence. virtually 200,000 African-American squaddies fought for the Union within the Civil warfare. even if such a lot have been illiterate ex-slaves, a number of thousand have been good knowledgeable, unfastened black males from the northern states. The 129 letters during this assortment have been written by means of black infantrymen within the Union military through the Civil struggle to black and abolitionist newspapers. they supply a special 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 combating not just to unfastened the slaves yet to earn equivalent rights as electorate. those letters provide a rare photograph of the conflict and likewise display the brilliant expectancies, hopes, and eventually 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 yankee dream of justice and equality, and of the human spirit.
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Additional info for A Grand Army of Black Men: Letters from African-American Soldiers in the Union Army 1861-1865
The Confederates built a ring of forts on the islands to fight off attacks by navy ships. One of the most important was Fort Wagner, a large pile of sand and logs that aimed many guns at both the main channel and the narrow, swampy sand of Morris Island. After attacks by sea failed to capture Charleston, Union generals and admirals set about taking Morris Island in July 1863. On July 30 A Grand Army of Black Men 16, the army made a diversion at James Island while the main force massed on the southern end of Morris Island.
It was on the 12th inst. our Col. received orders for the 55th to break up our then very pleasant camp on Folly Island. We were not in the least sorry, I assure you; for the ever memorable 54th Reg. Mass. Infantry, had left some time before for the same place; and as we are so much alike in disposition, and both being from the same state, it is natural to suppose we would hail with joy the time when we should join them. The camp was soon broken up, and everything scattered hither and thither, resembling the western country after one of those awful storms that sometimes recur.
Blockade-running ships brought weapons, supplies, and medicines 1. New York Tribune, December 23, 1863. 2. Ira Berlin, Joseph P. Reidy, and Leslie Rowland, The Black Military Experience, series II, Volume I of Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 18611867 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1982) 534-538. Peter Burchard, One Gallant Rush (New York, St. Martins Press, 1965) 130-131. , 1894) passim. William Wells Brown, The Negro in the American Rebellion (Boston, Lee & Shepard, 1867) 209.
A Grand Army of Black Men: Letters from African-American Soldiers in the Union Army 1861-1865 by Edwin S. Redkey