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Calling for More Black Troops in the Union Army: Criticizing NY for Turning Away African American Soldiers and Praising a Tennessee Regiment
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“These volunteers who were not permitted to volunteer happened to have black skins, and for that reason they were refused. Is it not almost time to have done with this absurd superstition, this fanatical folly?”

[CIVIL WAR]. Broadside. New England Loyal Publication Society No. 143. Boston, Mass., December 2, 1863. 1 p., 9½ x 15 in.

Inventory #23625       Price: $950

An important broadside regarding the recruitment of African American soldiers in the Union Army. The first missive discusses the turning away of black men in New York: “The men were young, stout, able-bodied, in every way good material for soldiers. When the rebels in Richmond read that these volunteers were turned away, they will rejoice at the steadiness with which the Governor of New York is trying to help them.

These volunteers who were not permitted to volunteer happened to have black skins, and for that reason they were refused. Is it not almost time to have done with this absurd superstition, this fanatical folly? What does Governor Seymour, what do the people of New York gain by refusing to permit colored men to fight for the Union?”  

A report of a 1,000-man regiment of black soldiers raised in Nashville, Tennessee: “These men look and move as though they felt that on their broad shoulders rested the responsibility of terminating this rebellion...”

And a letter addressed to President Lincoln urging him to allow blacks in the southwest to join the US army.

And a discussion of the great desire of the recently-freed slaves to learn despite a lack of resources “Many just struggling out of slavery, and laboring constantly for a subsistence, pay readily a dollar per month for instruction. The crowds about their school-rooms indicate a large attendance. Intelligent Unionists of Nashville say that the colored schools are better attended and more liberally sustained than the ordinary white schools. But the schools for the poor quondam slaves were not started without opposition. The former rulers of Nashville endeavored to resuscitate the laws against teaching the negroes and to enforce them against these schools, but they did not succeed.”

Historical Background

The Boston-based New England Loyal Publication Society (and the Loyal Publication Society of New York) was founded in 1863 to bolster public support by disseminating pro-Union news articles and editorials to newspapers around the country. At first, the two groups read newspapers to identify particularly useful articles and editorials and contact the editors to request that additional copies be printed. These items would then be distributed to Union soldiers or to newspapers. As the war progressed, the societies began to write and publish their own broadsides.

Condition

Repaired hole in masthead resulting in the loss of the “c” and half of the “i” in “Society. Two or three unobtrusive small stains. Several small edge tears with no loss to text. Otherwise fine.


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