Friday, February 19, 2010

Some Required Reading

I have an essay in the works that traces the historiography of African American troops in the Civil War, but while I’m working on that I thought I’d post a few books that are required reading for the subject. I figured I’d post 10 general histories that one should consider and then some unit histories and memoirs that stand out as well. Here goes.

General Works

1.) The Black Phalanx: African American Soldiers In The War Of Independence, The War Of 1812, And The Civil War by Joseph T. Wilson (1887)

2.) The Negro in the Civil War by Benjamin Quarles (1953)

3.) The Sable Arm by Dudley Taylor Cornish (1956)

4.) Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation 1861-1867, Series II: The Black Military Experience edited by Ira Berlin (1982)

5.) Forged in Battle: The Civil War Alliance of Black Soldiers and White Officers by Joseph T. Glatthaar (1990)

6.) A Grand Army of Black Men: Letters from African-American Soldiers in the Union Army 1861-1865 by Edwin S. Redkey (1992)

7.) Like Men of War: Black Troops in the Civil War, 1862-1865 by Noah Andre Trudeau (1998)

8.) Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era, edited by John David Smith (2002)

9.) Campfires of Freedom: The Camp Life of Black Soldiers during the Civil War by Keith P. Wilson (2002)

10.) After the Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans by Donald R. Shaffer (2004)

Unit Histories

1.) A Brave Black Regiment: The History of the 54th Massachusetts, 1863-1865 by Luis F. Emilio (1891)

2.) Eagles on Their Buttons: A Black Infantry Regiment in the Civil War by Versalle F. Washington (1999)

3.) Strike the Blow For Freedom: The 6th United States Colored Infantry in the Civil War by James M. Paradis (2000)

4.) A Regiment of Slaves: The 4th United States Colored Infantry, 1863-1866 by Edward G. Longacre (2003)

5.) Freedom For Themselves: North Carolina’s Black Soldiers in the Civil War Era by Richard M. Reid (2008)


1.) Army Life in a Black Regiment by Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1870)

2.) Out of the Briars: An Autobiography and Sketch of the Twenty-Ninth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers by Alexander H. Newton (1910)

3.) As if it were Glory: Robert Beecham's Civil War from the Iron Brigade to the Black Regiments edited by Michael E. Stevens (2007)

Keep in mind this is only skimming the surface – but if you’re interested in researching this topic this is a good place to start.

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