Tag: USCT

Outdoor funeral procession

The Case for Posthumously Awarding André Cailloux The Congressional Medal of Honor

Now that a brigade of Confederate commanders has been hauled down from their pedestals, there’s scant consensus about what should take their place. In Richmond, Virginia, monumentalizing social justice activists is all the talk.  Kentucky leans toward a rotating cast of deserving figures from across the spectrum.[1] But in my ...
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Group of Black men sitting on lumber and standing in pose for a group photograph.

“I remember that Jasper Gray told me that he had herded sheep in Australia”

In 1906, Oscar Nelson, a local African American living in Tennessee, provided testimony on the extraordinary life of Jasper Gray, a United States Colored Troops (USCT) veteran, of the Thirty-First United Colored Infantry (USCI). Gray was a man whose entire life—in bondage and freedom—was one of constant physical movements and ...
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Portrait of William Welsh standing with hand over breast in uniform.

Retracing Hallowed Grounds From the Battle of the Crater

For Black men during the Civil War, military service in the U.S. Colored Troops (USCT) offered a hopeful pathway towards citizenship and equality. Freedom would be theirs by the sword. However, to temper prejudicial Northern attitudes concerning the arming of black men, the U.S. War Department’s Bureau of Colored Troops ...
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Group of African American in outdoor setting

Contested Freedoms: Black Life in Texas During Juneteenth

On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden, with the stroke of a pen, cemented Juneteenth as a federal holiday in the United States. The momentous occasion was long overdue. Modern advocates, including Ralph Abernathy Lula Briggs Galloway, publicly reignited attention to the importance of Juneteenth to honor the lives of ...
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Black Virginians in Blue: A Digital Project Studying Black Union Soldiers and Sailors from Albemarle County, Virginia

Black Virginians in Blue: A Digital Project Studying Black Union Soldiers and Sailors from Albemarle County, Virginia

For the last four years, the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History at the University of Virginia has been working to uncover the untold story of Albemarle County, Virginia’s Black men who served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT) or Union navy. Our project, which we ...
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Black Families’ Unending Fight for Equality: Teaching Civil War Pension Records

Black Families’ Unending Fight for Equality: Teaching Civil War Pension Records

When teaching the history of the United States Colored Troops (USCT), students often ask how we can find historical records from these historically marginalized people? Since many of the soldiers were working poor and formerly enslaved, they did not have (for various reasons) the time, resources, or (in some cases) ...
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Responding to the Call: Engaging the Public in Conversations about African American Civil War Participation

Responding to the Call: Engaging the Public in Conversations about African American Civil War Participation

Located at the edge of the Great Dismal Swamp, refuge to runaway slaves for over two centuries of American slavery, and connected to North Carolina’s coastline by a complex series of waterways, Elizabeth City and its surrounding rural counties present a verdant landscape filled with unknown, unspoken, or unwritten African ...
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Welcoming Holly Pinheiro to the Muster Team

Welcoming Holly Pinheiro to the Muster Team

We are pleased to announce the addition of a new correspondent to our Muster team, Holly Pinheiro, Jr. Holly is an Assistant Professor at Augusta University in the Department of History, Anthropology, and Philosophy. His research focuses on the intersectionality of race, gender, and class in the military from 1850 through the 1930s ...
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The Most Heroic Day You’ve Never Heard Of

The Most Heroic Day You’ve Never Heard Of

When I first heard of the Civil War Day of Action led by the Journal of the Civil War Era, I was ecstatic and excited at the prospect of bringing forgotten and ignored history to people. I also knew my location. It would be 156 years almost to the day ...
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Newspaper print text

Civil War Day of Action: Filling Historical Silences

On the Journal of the Civil War Era national Day of Action. I am planning to join my former colleagues and community members in Elizabeth City, NC. Together, we are shedding light on the silenced diverse Civil War experiences, specifically freedpeople, USCT veterans and Grand Army of the Republic comrades ...
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Poetry Not Yet Written: Revisiting Glory Thirty Years Later

Poetry Not Yet Written: Revisiting Glory Thirty Years Later

Glory begins as so many Civil War films do: the sun rises on a vast battlefield, brave Union men march into war, and a ferocious battle ensues, American and Confederate flags billowing in the background. Despite its adherence to well-worn tropes, however, Glory tells a tale that is often obscured ...
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Author Interview: Caroline Janney

Author Interview: Caroline Janney

Our special issue in March 2019 on Civil War veterans includes an article by Caroline Janney, titled “Free to Go Where We Liked: The Army of Northern Virginia After Appomattox.” Janney is Professor of History at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Burying the Dead but Not ...
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Editor’s Note: December 2018 Issue

We are pleased to present the editor's note for our December 2018 issue, chock full of fascinating articles. To subscribe, please visit our subscriptions page. This issue features essays on the political and social contexts of the sectional crisis, looking carefully at what Americans read and how they voted—and for ...
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"Better men were never better led”: October 1864 and the Crisis in the Union Armies at Petersburg

“Better men were never better led”: October 1864 and the Crisis in the Union Armies at Petersburg

In early October 1864, Gen. U. S. Grant planned a trip to Washington. He believed that 30,000 to 40,000 troops were gathered in “depots all over the North” and wanted to "see if I cannot devise means of getting [them] promptly into the field.” Although he canceled the trip, his ...
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Calls to Action: The Civil War Era Songs of Joseph R. Winters

Calls to Action: The Civil War Era Songs of Joseph R. Winters

Black History Month is currently underway. The 2018 Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) theme for this year’s celebration, “African Americans in Times of War,” offers the perfect opportunity for scholars to showcase the diverse African American experiences during the Civil War. This post examines ...
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Author Interview: Dale Kretz

Author Interview: Dale Kretz

Today we share an interview with Dale Kretz, who published an article in our September 2017 issue, titled “Pensions and Protest: Former Slaves and the Reconstructed American State.” The article is available for journal subscribers and also on Project Muse. Dale is an assistant professor of history at Texas Tech ...
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