More Colored Troops Training at Camp William Penn August 1863 Black History Month


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#4
Goes to show the Civil war on both sides had issues...such a lesson can be learned today, if only those who want to condemn the Civil War now because of it racist participants would stop being offended and want to examine it more closely. We truly need to teach today's Americans to stop looking at the CW from a modern day lens to extract what to do not for it to happen again. They didn't have access to vast social media back then to quell the hate among everyday citizens on both sides of the Mason Dixon line. Especially considering a vast majority didn't even know how to read the papers anyway! Hearsay was, and still is, dangerous!
 

Pat Young

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#5
Guessing more outrage than this whipped up? Philly immersed itself in the war more comprehensively than any city I've come across ( no desire to argue the point, not a negative comment on other cities, Phiily was just astonishing ).
Parading out of Philly could be problematic. I recall that when the Irish 69th Pa paraded out of the city there were incidents in which they were “insulted” by anti-immigrant bystanders.
 
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#6
Goes to show the Civil war on both sides had issues...such a lesson can be learned today, if only those who want to condemn the Civil War now because of it racist participants would stop being offended and want to examine it more closely. We truly need to teach today's Americans to stop looking at the CW from a modern day lens to extract what to do not for it to happen again. They didn't have access to vast social media back then to quell the hate among everyday citizens on both sides of the Mason Dixon line. Especially considering a vast majority didn't even know how to read the papers anyway! Hearsay was, and still is, dangerous!
And your point is...

Seems to me the folk who claim:"teach today's Americans to stop looking at the CW from a modern day lens" are ones who cannot accept that people back then actually believed that slavery was an abomination to the country, that secession, and war to gain independence for perpetuating slavery forever, was folly.


Kevin Dally
 
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#7
FYI, this is the marker/monument at the Camp Penn site today.

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There was a Sesquicentennial Celebration of the camp 7 years ago. These are some scenes:

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Entrance to the Camp site.

This past weekend (September 20-21, 2013), the 150th Anniversary of Camp William Penn was commemorated with a number of events held in Cheltenham, PA, which is just outside of northwest Philadelphia. Camp William Penn was the first federal facility dedicated to training African Americans who enlisted in the United States Army during the American Civil War. Just under 11,000 men of African descent were trained at the site, and they formed 11 regiments in the United States Colored Troops (USCT), the part of the army which contained almost all of the US army’s black enlistees. Among the Union’s free states, more USCT regiments were organized in Pennsylvania than in any other state. At the time, Pennsylvania had the largest black population of any state outside the South (that is, states that did not allow slavery). These regiments also included men from nearby Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey.

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Reenactors/Living Historians at the Commemoration events for the 150th anniversary of Camp William Penn. The Camp trained 11 regiments of just under 11,000 men that were part of the United States Colored Troops.

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Mel Reid explains hardtack and camp life to a family of visitors.

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- Alan
 
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#8
Guessing more outrage than this whipped up? Philly immersed itself in the war more comprehensively than any city I've come across ( no desire to argue the point, not a negative comment on other cities, Phiily was just astonishing ).
At the time, a lot of cities were immersed. In the North though, there just hasn't been a sustained, ongoing, effective historical memory of the war that persists into today. I don't want to say it's ignored in the North, but given how momentous the war was in US history, the average person in "the North" doesn't much dwell on it.

- Alan
 
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#9
Goes to show the Civil war on both sides had issues...such a lesson can be learned today, if only those who want to condemn the Civil War now because of it racist participants would stop being offended and want to examine it more closely. We truly need to teach today's Americans to stop looking at the CW from a modern day lens to extract what to do not for it to happen again. They didn't have access to vast social media back then to quell the hate among everyday citizens on both sides of the Mason Dixon line. Especially considering a vast majority didn't even know how to read the papers anyway! Hearsay was, and still is, dangerous!
This is off-topic, but I think that if they had social media back then, it would have intensified people's feelings, e.g., their anger, and not quelled them.

- Alan
 
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From the Washington Post:
Harrisburg held grand review of the Union’s black troops 150 years ago and will do it again Nov. 14
By Linda Wheeler | November 7, 2015


Harrisburg, Pa., put on a grand event for the U.S. Colored Troops (USCT) seven months after white troops had marched in a victorious parade through Washington D.C. to mark the end of the Civil War. Whether the black troops were specifically excluded from the national, two-day celebration is still being debated, but on Nov. 14, 1865, the USCT did get to march on the streets of Pennsylvania’s capital past an admiring and enthusiastic crowd of both black and white citizens. Estimates vary as to how many troops participated that day; depending on the source the number was a few hundred or up to 7,000.

Residents of Harrisburg and visitors again get a chance to watch the USCT — this time as reenactors — march through the capital on Nov. 14, 2015, at 11:15 a.m. on the anniversary of that first celebration, followed by a commemoration ceremony and a wreath laying. The event is free.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on the Nov. 14, 1865, celebration in Harrisburg, saying it was “gotten up mainly at the expense of the colored men of the State Capital [and] was worthy of the occasion, and is truly a compliment to the Committee of Arrangements.” The story went on to say, the event was well attended by both black and white residents and visitors: “In the streets, through which the parade passed, crowds of white citizens, ladies and gentlemen, block up the sidewalks to view the procession. The regular marching of the soldiers in line was admired by all.”


- Alan

> See here for scenes from the 2015 event.
 
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#14
And your point is...

Seems to me the folk who claim:"teach today's Americans to stop looking at the CW from a modern day lens" are ones who cannot accept that people back then actually believed that slavery was an abomination to the country, that secession, and war to gain independence for perpetuating slavery forever, was folly.


Kevin Dally
Wow, that was a turn I didn’t expect. I caught not so much as a hint of the “folly”.
I interpreted @Belle Montgomery ‘s post as speaking in pretty much the exact vein of that which you responded in.
I surely can’t speak for her (nor am I attempting to), but I see her saying: [The quotes are mine, and the words within are my interpretation] “Those who wished to see the abolition of slavery did so out of a moral obligation to bring an end to an “institution” that ran counter to everything they believed our nation was founded upon. I further believe the intent of her statement was to bow to the belief that those who fought for the the continuation of the institution of slavery, or states rights, or the protection of southern trade from “unfair” tariffs, was counter to everything they believed our country was founded upon.”
In short, I thought Belle was merely suggesting that we today, should look at, and make judgements on, the issues and the people of those times through the lens they used...today that means the lens of hindsight. AND that we cannot, and should not, make our observations/judgements based on the accepted norms or morals of today...to truly understand the issues, and the people of the time. And finally, that we should endeavor to “teach today's Americans to stop looking at the CW from a modern day lens”
Now I cower back to my corner to accept the bludgeoning from Belle Montgomery AND Tin cup for my poor, misunderstood interpretations of their statements above.
 
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MattL

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#15
Goes to show the Civil war on both sides had issues...such a lesson can be learned today, if only those who want to condemn the Civil War now because of it racist participants would stop being offended and want to examine it more closely. We truly need to teach today's Americans to stop looking at the CW from a modern day lens to extract what to do not for it to happen again. They didn't have access to vast social media back then to quell the hate among everyday citizens on both sides of the Mason Dixon line. Especially considering a vast majority didn't even know how to read the papers anyway! Hearsay was, and still is, dangerous!
Both sides certainly had issues and though I'm not suggesting you fully meant this (though others use similar words as yours and do, so I am more so addressing them), though that path can and often does lead to false equivalence. Basically a "see both sides had issues, so stop talking about racism". Unfortunately that is in itself a modern lens to view the past, defending the modern people by applying false equivalence to something that was indeed not equal. The ways racism was expressed and enacted upon and the impact upon the victims of such was objectively not equivalent and too many people try to defend modern day honor, heritage, or whatever and deny the reality of that. People on both "sides" were racist, but all actions expressing racism are not equally impactful and bad much like all crimes are not equally impactful and bad.

With that said I certainly agree that we should keep in mind that it wasn't a binary situation. that it was a spectrum and neither "side" were completely innocent. Then again such is a standard we should apply to anything involving humans, it rarely turns out so simple. There is no black and white, just shades of gray.
 
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#16
I think different people had different ways of looking at the war at the time. From the perspective of African Americans such as those from PA, they saw the war as a fight for freedom and equality; that's what they believed at the time.

Not everybody saw the war through their lens. But I tell people, it's not presentism to say that these men saw issues of race, freedom, and equality as front and center in this conflict. Confederates and many Union men had different ideas, of course.

- Alan
 
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#17
Both sides certainly had issues and though I'm not suggesting you fully meant this (though others use similar words as yours and do, so I am more so addressing them), though that path can and often does lead to false equivalence. Basically a "see both sides had issues, so stop talking about racism". Unfortunately that is in itself a modern lens to view the past, defending the modern people by applying false equivalence to something that was indeed not equal. The ways racism was expressed and enacted upon and the impact upon the victims of such was objectively not equivalent and too many people try to defend modern day honor, heritage, or whatever and deny the reality of that. People on both "sides" were racist, but all actions expressing racism are not equally impactful and bad much like all crimes are not equally impactful and bad.

With that said I certainly agree that we should keep in mind that it wasn't a binary situation. that it was a spectrum and neither "side" were completely innocent. Then again such is a standard we should apply to anything involving humans, it rarely turns out so simple. There is no black and white, just shades of gray.
Thank you!!! @MattL You understood what I meant to say and you said it much better than me! :thumbsup: Such is the case after me having a few glasses of wine :whistling:
 

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#18
I think different people had different ways of looking at the war at the time. From the perspective of African Americans such as those from PA, they saw the war as a fight for freedom and equality; that's what they believed at the time.

Not everybody saw the war through their lens. But I tell people, it's not presentism to say that these men saw issues of race, freedom, and equality as front and center in this conflict. Confederates and many Union men had different ideas, of course.

- Alan
Agreed.
 

MattL

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#19
I think different people had different ways of looking at the war at the time. From the perspective of African Americans such as those from PA, they saw the war as a fight for freedom and equality; that's what they believed at the time.

Not everybody saw the war through their lens. But I tell people, it's not presentism to say that these men saw issues of race, freedom, and equality as front and center in this conflict. Confederates and many Union men had different ideas, of course.

- Alan
Well said. Likewise plenty of White people did in fact think slavery was a moral failure/evil and the war was a vehicle for correcting that.

I think you bring up a good point, just because a perspective/view wasn't the dominant one doesn't mean it's presentism. Not all people were racist back then, some genuinely wanted equality, some vehemently argued for it more than many still to this day.
 



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