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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

Re: Ninteenth Century Black Military Heroes

I wouldn't want to make such a comparison. There were incredible heroes in both areas-and many USCT became members of the regular army after the Civil War-of the 24-25th, 9-10th. Thousands of them were stationed in Texas after the Civil War-

Rather, I would simply say that there are literally uncounted heroes by the thousands among the Black military of the 19th century. Don't forget that there were Black soldiers in the war of 1812-including members of the New Orleans Black militia, that included several thousand Haitians at the Battle of New Orleans.

It's just a matter of where you want to start, and how deeply you want to go. Many people know the most famous heroes-the Medal of Honor winners, or those whose names are connected with famous deeds-like Robert Smalls and the capture of the "Planter"-but how many followed his history into Congress and beyond? While there are many students who could identify Ossian Flipper-how many of them are aware of Martin Delany, Cpt. Andre Cailloux (whom I FIRMLY believe should be awarded a Medal of Honor, posthumously) Allen Allensworth, Sgt. William Walker, James Henry Gooding, Richard Etheridge, Thomas Morris Chester?.....Literally, their names are legion.

Who or what constitutes heroism? The identifiable individual whose name we may be able to research-or the thousands who gave up their lives at Port Hudson, Ft. Wagner, Petersburg, New Market Heights? How about the soldiers who pulled a train several miles through Florida to save their wounded comrades? Or soldiers with some education who served as the voice for their unlettered comrades in the seeking of equal pay, rights as a soldier, rights for their families?

In the West, as Tony has clearly shown, the Black military presence was only ten percent of the whole. Did that make their isolation and sacrifice any less?

Who are the greatest heroes? No, that is a question that I could never answer.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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