Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Booknotes: An We Ob Jubilee

New Arrival:
An We Ob Jubilee: The First South Carolina Volunteers by John Saucer (America Through Time, 2019).

If you google 'first black civil war regiment' you still get page after page of 54th Massachusetts links, but the First South Carolina Volunteers (later designated 33rd USCT) preceded them. John Saucer's An We Ob Jubilee: The First South Carolina Volunteers is the most extensive history of the unit that I've encountered, and this volume is apparently only the beginning. 

First published back in 2014, the 2019 reprint edition has a new publisher. The preface and introduction don't mention what changes were made between editions, but clearly note that this is the first installment of a planned multi-volume treatment. At 268 pages in length, the narrative is a densely detailed account of the regiment's organization and early-war operations in the Department of the South.

Initial chapters cover the regiment's creation on abolitionist general David Hunter's unsanctioned initiative. As we all know, recruitment of black soldiers was highly controversial in mid-1862, and the regiment was disbanded and reformed in turn before finally being officially mustered into U.S. service in January 1863. The bulk of the remaining text covers at length the several Georgia and Florida raids and expeditions the regiment participated in through around April 1863.

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