The Black Phalanx; A History of the Negro Soldiers of the United States in the wars of 1775-1812, 1861-’65.
The intense love of country and liberty…
History and hardships of African American soldiers in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War written by an African American veteran. Author Joseph T. Wilson served during the Civil War in the 2nd Regiment, Louisiana Native Guard Volunteers and with the celebrated 54th Massachusetts Regiment. After the war he was aide-de-camp to the commander of the Union veterans organization, the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.).
The bulk of Wilson’s book concerns African Americans military service during the Civil War, including the free Blacks who fought in the Confederate army:
Descriptions of a number of the battles in which negro troops took part in the late war of the Rebellion, are given to call attention to the unsurpassed carnage which occurred, and to give them proper place in the war’s history rather than to present a critical account of the battles. My aim has been to write in the spirit which impelled the soldiers to go forth to battle, and to reverse the accounts given in the popular histories which ascribe to the generals and colonels who commanded, instead of the soldiers who did the fighting, victory or defeat. … I acknowledge it has been a labor of love to fight many of the battles of the war of the rebellion over again, not because of a relish for blood and destruction of human life, but for the memories of the past; of the bondage of a race and its struggle for freedom, awakening as they do the intense love of country and liberty, such as one who has been without either feels, when both have been secured by heroic effort. (Preface)
Separate chapters in the section devoted to the Civil War describe African Americans’ military service in various places and theaters, a list of “Negro Military Organizations in all branches of the Service, with their Chief Commanders—Battles—Dates of Organization and Dismissal,” and to Confederate service.
A concluding section is devoted to the efforts of black soldiers to educate themselves, personal economy and public benevolence (Lincoln Monument and the Freeman’s Bank), and a bibliography of sources. An appendix provides a “History of the 29th Connecticut Negro Volunteers.”
Description: The Black Phalanx; A History of the Negro Soldiers of the United States in the wars of 1775-1812, 1861-’65.
Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing Company, 1888. Frontispiece, [1–20], 21–528pp. First Edition. Large 8vo. Publisher’s pictorial maroon cloth with gilt and black stamping. Illustrations, most full page. Spine sunned; mottling to cloth spine and boards; very good in a tight binding.