Title Page, Copyright, Frontispiece, Dedication

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Introduction to the Fordham University Press Edition

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pp. ix-xxxvi

Historians remember George Washington Williams (1849–1891) as an enigmatic nineteenth-century black intellectual who wrote historical nonfiction that underscored African American accomplishment, . . .

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Preface

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pp. xxxvii-xl

I have undertaken to write a military history of Negro troops in the War of the Rebellion. I have written only of the military services of Negro troops; and I have used the generic word Negro because, while many mulattoes were in the . . .

Contents

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1. Introductory: Negro Soldiers in Ancient Times

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pp. 1-6

The Negro appears in the military history of Egypt for the first time in the Inscriptions of Una, who was crown-bearer, or Secretary of State, under King Pepi during the Sixth . . .

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2. Negro Soldiers in Modern Times

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pp. 7-39

It was about fifteen centuries from the time the Negro disappeared from the page of the world’s history until his reappearance. The Gospel of Peace had rendered the potent arms of his victorious warfare impotent and obsolete. . . .

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3. Antecedent Facts—Foreshadowing Events

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pp. 40-44

The two years immediately preceding the Rebellion were teeming with unprecedented events. Almost every question of public interest was directly or indirectly connected with one phase or another of the slavery . . .

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4. Military Rendition of Slaves

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pp. 45-54

At first the faintest intimation that Negroes should be employed as soldiers in the Union Army was met with derision. By many it was regarded as a joke. The idea of arming the ex-slaves seemed ridiculous . . .

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5. The Negro Volunteer—Military Employment of Negroes

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pp. 55-101

The South took the initiative in employing Negroes as soldiers; but they were free Negroes, and many of them owned large interests in Louisiana and South Carolina. During the latter part of April, 1861, a Negro . . .

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6. Military Status of Negro Troops

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pp. 102-117

The legal status of the Negro soldier ought never to have been a mooted question. Ancient and modern history furnished safe and noteworthy precedents for the guidance of the Government in the War of the . . .

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7. Negro Idiosyncracies

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pp. 118-119

The Negro is a strong man physically; Nature has endowed him with marvellous strength of limb and constitution. The color of skin, texture of hair, solidity of cranium, and perfect teeth are his safeguards against . . .

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8. The Outlook

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pp. 120-127

Even after the Negro had obtained the uniform and musket of a Union soldier he was persistently denied public confidence. His enslavement by the dominant race for centuries furnished no illustration of racial valor. . . .

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9. Negro Troops in Battle—Department of the South (1862–1865)

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pp. 128-151

South Carolina had set the other States a dangerous example in her attempts at nullification under President Jackson’s administration, and was not only first in seceding, but fired the first shot of the slave-holders’ . . .

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10. In the Mississippi Valley (1863)

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pp. 152-162

By some fateful fortuitous circumstance the first fighting of Negro troops in the Mississippi Valley was as severe and fruitless as that of their brethren and comrades in the Department of the South. Port Hudson and . . .

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11. The Army of the Potomac (1864)

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pp. 163-181

Virginia, the mother of Presidents, was the mother of slavery, and within the limits of this ancient commonwealth the principal battles of the war were fought. Its history, traditions, institutions, topography, its . . .

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12. The Fort Pillow Massacre (1864)

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pp. 182-195

Fort Pillow was in Tennessee, about forty miles from Memphis. It occupied a high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, flanked by two deep and precipitous ravines slightly fringed with light timber. The garrison . . .

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13. In the Army of the Cumberland (1864)

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pp. 196-208

Although the recruitment of Negro soldiers began in the early autumn of 1863, at Nashville, Tennessee, there was little disposition to bring them into conflict with the enemy in the Department of the . . .

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14. The Army of the James (1865)

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pp. 209-216

During the winter of 1864–65 twenty-five regiments of Negro troops were concentrated on the James River, confronting the Confederate capital. With but few exceptions, those troops had seen severe service . . .

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15. As Prisoners of War

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pp. 217-229

The capture and treatment of Negro soldiers by the enemy is a subject that demands dispassionate and judicial scrutiny. No just judge of historical events would seek to tear a single chaplet from the brow of any . . .

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16. The Cloud of Witnesses

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pp. 230-247

Testimony to the martial valor of the Negro soldier comes from the lips of friend and foe alike. He disappointed his enemies and surprised his friends. He was not only impetuous in the onset, but cool and stubborn . . .

Index

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pp. 248-257

Further Reading

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pp. 259-260