Category Archives: Union

How the Men of ‘Glory’ Stood Up To the U.S. Government

Denzel Washington tears up his pay voucher in Glory

Head on over to the Atlantic for my most recent essay on the legacy of our Civil War’s African American soldiers and the movie, Glory.  The essay brings together a couple of posts that I recently did on how I teach the movie and how I utilize the history of the pay crisis try to give students a different perspective on the significance of what these men accomplished during the war [see here and here].  You can check out all of my Atlantic essays here.

The U.S. in U.S. Grant

Thanks to Scott Mackenzie for sending along the following notice from the New York Times, which was published on July 19, 1863.

At a torchlight procession in Belleville, Illinois, last week, one of the transparencies contained the following:

Major-Genernl U. S. Grant.

Unconditional Surrender Grant, Uncle Sam Grant, United States Grant, Unparalleled Success Grant, Unabridged Seizure Grant, Union-Saver Grant, Uudenlably Superior Grant. Uuflinching Surmounter Grant, Undaunted Soldier Grant, Understanding Secession Grant, Use Sambo Grant, Unshackle Slave Grant, Ultimate Subjugation Grant, Uncommon Smart Grant, Unequaled Smasher Grant, Utterly Solid Grant, Utmost Safety Grant, Unrivaled System Grant, Unexceptionable Scientific Grant, Undertake Sure Grant, Unbounded Spunk Grant, Universal Sanative Grant, Unadulterated Saltpetre Grant, Uniform Succeeder Grant, Undisputed Sagacity Grant, Unabated Siege Grant, Unbending Superexcellence Grant, Unexampled Skill Grant, Undoubtedly Spunky Grant, Usually Sober Grant, Unprecedented Sardine Grant.

Go in, U.S. — I see it now !

HEMINGER, SEN.

Getting to Know the Men of the 55th

Robert Gould Shaw Memorial

Just wrapped up another productive week at the Massachusetts Historical Society with collections related to the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.  There is something to researching real black Civil War soldiers as opposed to deconstructing silly claims about fictitious black Confederate soldiers.  The MHS has an impressive collection of correspondence among the unit’s officers.  In addition, I now have access to a number of black newspapers through a deal with Accessible Archives.  They include a large number of letters written by enlisted men and officers from black regiments, including the 55th.  I still haven’t decided what I plan on doing with this research beyond writing a couple of articles.  There is definitely a book in all of this, but we will have to see if I am the one who will write it.

I am coming to you from a cafe in downtown Boston as I make my way over to the North End for dinner. Rather than take the train I decided to walk it, which was really just an excuse to spend some time at the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial.  This was the first time I noticed that the line of men extends behind Shaw’s horse, which you can see in this photo.

Man, I love this city.