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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum

The CIA Black Dispatches in the Civil War

Dear AfriGeneas Military Researchers:

I'm sure that the CIA's presentation on the invaluable Civil War intelligence by enslaved and free women and men has been discussed here.

Because we are commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the article underlines the importance of an untold number of Blacks whose reports helped the Union Army defeat the Confederates.

The majority of them were called Contrabands, thousands of slaves who fled to Union Army and Navy Lines. Historian Bennie McRae named them “FORGOTTEN HEROES AND HEROINES OF THE CIVIL WAR.”

While some of us can proudly point to an ancestor who served in the US Colored Troops, it’s more difficult for us to identify the thousands of nameless slaves or free people who served the Union Army.

Perhaps in our discussions about the Civil War, we’ll remember the contribution of African Americans who provided strategic intelligence to the Union.

If your ancestors like mine, lived near the Atlantic and Gulf seacoasts, you’ll find in your research that Blacks often told the Union Navy where the Confederate salt beds, works were located. Without salt, one could not preserve food to feed their military.

For more histories on the service of Black Dispatches, please click on the link below.

Enjoy this important history of the Civil War.

K Wyer Lane

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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