African American Soldiers Feed

The men of the 108th

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) – It’s history in our own backyard. The southwest corner of the National Cemetery on Arsenal Island is where 50 Union soldiers from the 108th U.S. Colored Infantry are buried. Civil War historian Ed Reiter calls it hallowed ground. The final resting place for black soldiers who guarded Confederate prisoners on the Island during the Civil War.

Most of the headstones are original and so are the stories behind them. The soldiers enlisted in the Union Army. Most were from Kentucky. They joined the military to fight against the system that had kept them enslaved for so many years.There were 980 Black Soldiers in the 108th.

Ed Reiter says generally they would walk a guard post for about four hours.Then, they were relieved by other guards.Often, disease was rampant. Death rate for the prisoners was 17 percent. Many Confederate soldiers also had smallpox.

This year is a milestone. One hundred fifty years ago, fifty of the Black Union Soldiers were buried in the original post cemetery. Ed Kreiter says the men  gave up their newly won freedom to become soldiers fighting for what they believed in and establishing their important place in history.



A fallen soldier

Tumblr_nk356pygBm1rs5g28o1_540A Fallen Soldier

"This skull belonged to a soldier of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers, an African-American unit that took part in a July 1863 assault on Fort Wagner in Charleston Harbor. The regiment sustained 272 killed, wounded, and missing during the attack.

By examining the skull, researchers determined how this soldier died. The size of the wound and the remains of the projectile indicate that he was killed by an iron canister ball from one of the fort’s two 12-pound field howitzers. The ball entered behind his left ear and traveled upwards through the lower part of the brain.”

(Photo and Caption taken from display at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Washington DC)


Group brings honor to Civil War soldiers.

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Link to video

Art Holliday, KSDK

ST. LOUIS - A local genealogy organization is pleasantly surprised it successfully lobbied the Department of Veterans Affairs for a group of soldiers who no longer have a voice.

Newschannel 5 first met Sarah Cato in April 2013 at a meeting of the St. Louis African American History and Genealogy Society. The group's goal: come to the rescue of the 56th U.S. Colored Infantry, Missouri slaves who fought for the Union Army in the Civil War.

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Buffalo Soldiers


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 Buffalo Soldiers-Painting By Don Stivers 

Troop A Tenth Cavalry led by Captain Nicholas A. Nolan at the Battle of Rattlesnake Springs,Texas August 6, 1880. Rattlesnake Springs is 40 miles north of present day Van Horn, Texas.

Troopers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry served with honor and distinction in the protection of settlers and stage coaches, stringing of telegraph lines and the mapping and exploration of Texas.

When the Plains Indians first saw the men of the 10th Cavalry wearing with their dark skins, curly hair and wearing fur overcoats they referred to them as “Buffalo Soldiers.” The nickname “Buffalo Soldiers” was originally given to the 10th Cavalry by Cheyenne warriors out of respect for their fierce fighting in 1867. The Cheyenne Native American term used was actually “Wild Buffaloes”, which was translated to “Buffalo Soldiers.” In time, all African American Soldiers became known as “Buffalo Soldiers.” Despite second-class treatment these soldiers made up first-rate regiments of the highest caliber and had the lowest desertion rate in the Army.

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African-American Savannah woman takes her place among United Daughters of the Confederacy

Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News United Daughters of Confederacy member Georgia Benton.
A Savannah native, Georgia Benton grew up hearing about the Civil War service of her great-grandfather, a slave from Sumter, S.C., who followed his master to the battles of Sharpsburg, Gettysburg and Petersburg, and then brought his body home for burial when he was struck down by artillery fire and slain during the conflict’s final days.

“He was fighting for his land and his people,” Benton said of George W. Washington, who was 16 when he entered Confederate service in 1862 as the body servant of Lt. William Alexander McQueen, who was 22.

To honor Washington and his three years of wartime service, Benton took an audacious step: She decided to join the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

“I have every right to membership in the UDC, which along with the Sons of Confederate Veterans, remembers and recognizes the men who fought for and rendered service to the South during the Civil War,” said Benton.

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Black Confederate grave in Charleston Neck a curiosity

Brad NettlesPolly Sheppard, a member of Emanuel AME Church, pulls weeds away from the gravestone of Louis B. Middleton on Friday. Middleton, who was black, was a cook in the Confederate Army.

Six months ago, Polly Sheppard was wandering through her church’s cemetery, taking inventory of the stone markers. A couple of steps in, she noticed a military-style headstone. Carved on its weather-worn face was the name Louis B. Middleton Confederate Soldier.

The stone seemed out of place to her, given that the burial ground belongs to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Charleston, regarded as the oldest black AME church in the South.ook.

A check of the state’s archives showed it wasn’t so strange after all: A Louis Middleton from Montague Street (the street was spelled with an “e” in the documents) worked as a cook during the war, and he applied for a South Carolina pension in 1923.

While the South and the nation are in the middle of celebrating the Civil War Sesquicentennial, historians say the involvement of the small percentage of blacks who participated in the Southern war effort is widely going unnoticed, largely because their role has become so politicized today.

“I think there are a lot of Confederate sympathizers who exaggerate the role of blacks in the Confederate military,” said Don Doyle, the McCausland professor of history at the University of South Carolina. “And a lot of skeptics who dismiss the idea that it was even possible.”

Read more at the Post and Courier

Preserving memories of Civil War Soldiers


St. Louis County (KSDK)--An estimated 180,000 African Americans fought in the Civil War, many of them newly freed slaves who literally fought for their freedom while in the military.

There is a local effort to properly recognize a group of Missouri Civil War soldiers.

The 56th Infantry Regiment, U-S Colored Troops was made up of Missouri slaves who enlisted to fight in the Civil War for the Union.

There will be a recognition and remembrance service next month at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery for the members of the 56th who are buried there.

The service will include a reading of the names of all 175 soldiers who died in the cholera epidemic of 1866.

That service takes place August 16th at 10:00 a.m. at Jefferson Barracks.

From: KSDK


Black Confederate soldiers



Silas Chandler has become the focal point for the claim that thousands of Black Southerners fought for the Confederacy. Kevin Levin and Mira Chandler-Sampson, a descendant of Silas Chandler, were recently interviewed on the Voice of Russia. Myra's stories are a poingant reminder that history is, at its heart, always deeply personal. 

History or Internet myth?  Listen to the Voice of Russia interview and decide for yourself.
Magazine cover from Civil War Memory

Investigating that controversial civil war photo

Controversial 1861 tintype photo of Andrew Chandler (L) and Silas Chandler (R). Did Silas fight for the Confederacy? Courtesy of Chandler Battaile via PBS.


Los Angeles Times

The image on the Civil War tintype is at once both simple and striking: Two armed men in Confederate uniforms pose unsmilingly side by side, so close their legs touch.

But a closer look reveals something more startling. One of the soldiers is African American. The photograph reignites a long-standing historical debate: Did African Americans take up the Confederate cause, which defined them as slaves?

That question is at the center of Tuesday's episode of PBS' "History Detectives," which investigates the tintype and the identity of the two soldiers - Andrew Chandler, who was white, and Silas Chandler, who was black.

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Battle Lines, Slavery Divide D.C. Man’s Civil War Ancestry

Battle Lines, Slavery Divide D.C. Man’s Civil War Ancestry
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2011 :: Staff infoZine


Lee Jackson, 60, is a descendent of both a white Confederate and a black Union soldier. He has been researching their participation in the Civil War. SHFWire photo by Rebecca Koenig

By Rebecca Koenig - When he was a ninth grader in Natchez, Miss., Lee Jackson’s American history textbook did not mention slavery.

Washington, D.C. - infoZine - Scripps Howard Foundation Wire - The Civil War, it explained, was caused by a Northern misunderstanding of the Southern way of life. It certainly did not reference the 200,000 African Americans, many of them former slaves, who fought for the Union during the conflict that began 150 years ago. 

It wasn’t until after Jackson, 60, moved away from Mississippi to become a lawyer in Washington that he started talking to his grandmother about his family history and learned that his great-great-grandfather, Buck Murphy, was one of those black Union soldiers. She also told him his great-great-great-grandfather, Jack Murphy, was a white slave owner and Confederate soldier – and Buck’s master. 

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