Discussion U. S. Colored Troops Burials

Ole Miss

Sergeant Major
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Dec 9, 2017
North Mississippi
There has been a few harsh comments lately regarding secession and the war which resulted. Many have discussed with pride the role their ancestors played in the ACW and were they are honored as well as the monuments erected in their honor. We are familiar with the quote usually attributed to George Orwell:
"We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." We as a people and nation know this to be true yet we often forget the men who served in the United States Colored Troops were "rough men" and deserve the honor they earned.

This information below is from the The Center of Civil War Research at Ole Miss and is a list of the burial sites of of USCT soldiers. I highly going to the site and read about these brave men's burial sites.

"Despite critical contributions to the Union war effort, USCT troops faced discrimination and segregation not only in the conditions of their service, but also in their treatment after death. Although the inclusion of USCT dead into the national cemeteries marked the beginnings of the integration of American cemeteries, USCT graves were often left neglected in remote, segregated plots. Despite the indiginty accorded these interments, USCT burials left to the enemy were particularly undignified--the most notrious example of which is the shallow mass-grave the dead of the 54th Massaschusetts were consigned to after the battle of Ft. Wagner.

Despite thier exclusion from the honors afforded to white Civil War dead, African-Americans nevertheless insisted on the equal treatement of their fallen soldiers, demonstrating their desire for recognition not only as equal participants in the war, but also of their rights as newly minted American citizens.

What follows is an incomplete listing of USCT cemeteries and burial plots across the United States. Again, this page is a work in progress and we would be happy to hear of any burials not yet included."

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Sep 24, 2018
For the sake of historical accuracy I would like to correct a misconception in the above statement by the Center of Civil War Research at Ole Miss. While it certainly is possible, if not probable, that "USCT burials left to the enemy were particularly undignified," the burial of the of the dead of the 54th Massachusetts was no more undignified than burials on other Civil War battlefields. Mass graves were common forms of interment used by both sides where large numbers of bodies had to be disposed of rapidly. Burial in a shallow mass-grave was not a "notorious example" of the way African-Americans were treated. A more historically correct example should have been selected to make the point.

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