Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Booknotes: U.S. Colored Troops Defeat Confederate Cavalry

New Arrival:
U.S. Colored Troops Defeat Confederate Cavalry: Action at Wilson's Wharf, Virginia, 24 May 1864 by Edwin W. Besch (McFarland, 2017).

On May 24, 1864 at Wilson's Wharf in Virginia, the 1st and 10th USCT regiments under General Edward Wild, with the support of the U.S. Navy, repulsed an attack by General Fitzhugh Lee's Confederate cavalry. "This book describes the action in detail and in the larger context of the history of black U.S. servicemen, including the British recruitment of runaway slaves during the Revolutionary War, the black Colonial Marines who joined the British in torching Washington in the War of 1812, and the South's attempts to enlist slaves in the final months of the Civil War." The wider issue of black service (civilian vs. military) in the Confederate Army is also discussed in the volume.

The book concludes with a supplemental chapter on the archeological work being done at Fort Pocahontas. A pair of appendices discuss casualty figures from the battle. The bibliography suggests extensive manuscript research and the casting of a suitably wide net over other primary and secondary sources.

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