Learn more about African-American soldiers in the Civil War

Learn more about African-American soldiers in the Civil War

African-Americans were ready to fight for freedom when the Civil War started, and before it ended they were recruited to take up arms. The CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center will explore that process in the program, “African American Troops in Eastern North Carolina,” followed by a Wyse Fork Battlefield tour Saturday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The program fee is $10.

The Black History Month presentations will feature historian Alexander “Chris” Meekins of the N.C. Office of Archives and History at 11 a.m., and Earl Ijames, curator of the N.C. Museum of History, at noon.  

Meekins will speak on the recruitment of the African Brigade in New Bern in 1863; the unit was one of the first raised for the Union Army that sanctioned African-American service in the army. He will address Gen. Wild’s 1st N.C. Colored Volunteers (NCCV) who, along with soldiers from the 55th Massachusetts, were reinforcements for Union forces in an attack on Charleston.

Ijames will speak on the 36th U.S. Colored Troops (as they were then called) and the 135th U.S. Colored Troops. The 36th USCT evolved from the African Brigade in New Bern. The 135th USCT was created in Goldsboro in March 1865, two days after the Battle of Bentonville.

Folks can learn more about black soldiers’ recruitment, training and missions at this program, have a boxed lunch and take a tour of the battlefield around Kinston. Reservations are required. For reservations or information, contact Rachel.kennedy@ncdcr.gov, or call 252-526-9600, ext. 222.

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