In an earlier post, I mentioned that I was searching through the Internet to determine the number and location of monuments to US Colored Troops. I’ve now found at least nine, in CT, DC, FL, KY, KS, MD, MS, PA, and TN, and there might be one or two more than that. When I feel I’ve gotten a good list, I will share it in a blog entry.
One thing that has disappointed me is that it seems there are no USCT memorials in Louisiana. That state provided the most black soldiers to the Union (24,052 men) of any state, and its role of providing one of the first groups of blacks to serve in the federal army has been well documented. (James G. Hollandsworth, Jr.’s book The Louisiana Native Guards: The Black Military Experience During the Civil War is a great read for those who are interested in this history. I refer to the Native Guards in this blog entry.)
If any readers are aware of USCT monuments or memorials in Louisiana, please make a reply with the information. Thanks!
FYI, this is the count of US Colored Troopers by state:
|COUNT OF US COLORED TROOPS|
|Union Free States & Territories||Number|
|District of Columbia||3,269|
|Union Slave States||Number|
|Confederate (Slave) States||Number|
|State or Territory Unknown||5,896|
|GRAND TOTAL – USCT||178,975|
Source: Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867, Volume 1, The Black Military Experience: Series II, p 12
In the main, these numbers indicate the state where the soldier enlisted. In the free states especially, it was not uncommon for a (Negro) person to leave his home state to enlist in another. So, for example, many black soldiers from other parts of the North enlisted in Massachusetts, which embraced blacks as soldiers more than, or sooner than, states like New York or Ohio. Some soldiers who enlisted in Kansas are thought to be slaves from Arkansas and Missouri. It is known that at least 5,052 men in the count of soldiers from the free Union states were recruited from Confederate states.
Why do Confederate states such as Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee have such large numbers of colored troops compared to others? It reflects the fact that, due to early Union military successes in the western parts of the Confederacy (which led to Union occupation and control in the states mentioned), the slaves in those states were free and able to enlist in the Union army sooner than those in the southeast.