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Forged in Battle: The Civil War Alliance of Black Soldiers and White Officers Reprint Edition

4 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0807125601
ISBN-10: 0807125601
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This study, using information garnered from personal letters and official documents, explores the racial tension encountered by and the unsung heroism of the 180,000 African-Americans who fought in the Union Army during the Civil War. Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Fascinating ... one of the most revealing contributions to the literature of the Civil War". -- New York Times
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: LSU Press; Reprint edition (March 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807125601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807125601
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #937,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joseph T. Glatthaar is Stephenson Distinguished Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is author of numerous books and articles, including: The March to the Sea and Beyond: Sherman's Troops in the Savannah and Carolinas Campaigns (New York University Press, 1985), Forged in Battle: The Civil War Alliance of Black Soldiers and Their White Officers (The Free Press, 1989), Partners in Command: Relationships Between Leaders in the Civil War (The Free Press, 1994), Forgotten Allies: The Oneida Indians in the American Revolution (Hill & Wang, 2007) with James Kirby Martin, General Lee's Army: From Victory To Defeat (The Free Press, 2008), and Soldiering in the Army of Northern Virginia: A Statistical Portrait of the Troops Who Served under Robert E. Lee (University of North Carolina Press, 2011). He is currently President of the Society for Military History.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is one of the most important books on the Civil War that needs to be read by every student of the war. When published in 1989, Forged introduced the United States Colored Troops to the general reading public. While books that are more detailed would follow, notably "Like Men of War" in 1998, this remains the best introduction to the USCT published. This is a very readable and informative book, with no agenda. The 11 chapters each cover an important part of this history. "Breaking Down the Resistance" and "The White Man's War" set the stage with a discussion of how the Civil War was being fought and the decision to form the USCT. "Recruiting the Officers" is a frank discussion of the decision to use White Officers, the men that volunteered and their motivates. "Filling the Ranks", "Coping with Racism" and "Training and Discipline" cover the experience of the Black men who filled the ranks of these regiments. Slave or free, from the North or South, they stood in the face of racism. They preserved and prevailed over official indifference, apathy and hopes that the USCT would fail. "Proving their Valor" and "Leaving Their Mark on the Battlefield" show how the alliance of Black soldiers and White officers worked in combat. The USCT gained acceptance as equals on the battlefield by acts of courage and self-sacrifice that went way past what the movie "Glory" showed. The last chapters deal with official prejudice, occupation and the lives of the men after the war.
Appendix 1 is a statistical sampling of the officers and enlisted men that gives us an idea how varied the backgrounds were.
Appendix 2 is a list of the men in the USCT, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Appendix 3 is a list of black men that became officers in the Union Army.
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Format: Paperback
The United States Civil War has garnered great attention amongst American scholars. While the subject of African American soldier's role in the Civil war has received serious scholarly attention Joseph T. Glatthaar's Forged in Battle: The Civil War Alliance of Black Soldiers and White Officers builds upon the works of those such as Dudley T. Cornish by taking a fresh look at the war though the lens of the relationship between black troops and their white officers. Glattharr argues that by examining how white officers and black troops before, during and after the civil war came to reconcile their preconceptions of each other provides a deeper insight into society and culture of the time and is important in that it paints a far different picture than the more common histories of conflict centered on the north and the south.

Glatthaar in his first three chapters provides background on the use of African American forces in the Civil War and the various perspectives of white officers who spanned the gambit of outright racists to committed abolitionists. Glatthaar in his first chapter discusses the general resistance, at first, to the use of blacks in the military and how some white officers such as Brigadier General Benjamin Butler `confiscation' of slaves from Confederate forces and employment in assist the military helped pave the way for emancipation (pg 4). Others like Big Jim Lane, the Kansas senator who resigned to become a Brig. General, ignored War Department rules and raised black units on his own accord (pg 7). Many white officers though were skeptical of colored troops although the Union seemed to have little trouble finding the necessary officers.
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Format: Paperback
Each chapter could have been parsed into three more...fascinating study of a generally ignored part of Civil War history ("Glory" aside). I wish someone would really delve into the USCT records and give a more thorough account of what was touched upon in the appendices.
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