A Grand Army of Black Men: Letters from African-American by Edwin S. Redkey

By Edwin S. Redkey

The Civil warfare stands brilliant within the collective reminiscence of the yank public. There has constantly been a profound curiosity within the topic, and in particular of Blacks' participation in and reactions to the warfare and the war's end result. nearly 200,000 African-American squaddies fought for the Union within the Civil battle. even though so much have been illiterate ex-slaves, a number of thousand have been good expert, unfastened black males from the northern states. The 129 letters during this assortment have been written through black infantrymen within the Union military through the Civil battle to black and abolitionist newspapers. they supply a distinct expression of the black voice that was once intended for a public discussion board. The letters inform of the men's reviews, 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 shiny descriptions of conflict; others protest racism; nonetheless others name eloquently for civil rights. Many describe their conviction that they're scuffling with not just to unfastened the slaves yet to earn equivalent rights as electorate. those letters supply a unprecedented photo of the conflict and likewise show 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 records of the Civil struggle, the letters are robust statements of the yankee dream of justice and equality, and of the human spirit.

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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.

There is much talk in high places and by leading men, of a call being made for the blacks of the North; for Africa to stretch forth her dusky arms, and to enter the army against the Southern slaves, and by opposing, free them. Shall we do it? Not until our rights as men are acknowledged by the government in good faith. We desire to free the slaves, and to build up a negro Nationality in Hayti; but we must bide our own time, and choose the manner by which it shall be accomplished. LETTER 2 (William H.

This law of supply and demand regulates itself. And so this question of the colonization of the negro; it will be settled by laws over which war has no control. Now is the time for you to finish the crowning work of your life. Go to work at once and raise a Regiment and offer your services to the government, and I am confident they will be accepted. They say we will not fight. I want to see it tried on. You are the one to me of all others, to demonstrate this fact. I belong to company G, 95th Regiment Illinois volunteers Captain Eliot N.

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