From Library Journal
Stephens was a black reporter for the black newspaper Weekly Anglo-African when the Civil War broke out. He joined the 54th Massachusetts, the first black Union regiment. Promoted to sergeant, he stormed Battery Wagner with his regiment. Surviving the Union defeat, Stephens served with the 54th through the end of the war. He corresponded regularly with his newspaper, detailing life in the Union army for a black soldier. Proud to fight to end slavery, he protested the federal policy of paying black soldiers less than whites and described white soldiers' terrible treatment of blacks. Stephens provided a rare literate black point of view of the war, and Yacovone (coeditor, Witness for Freedom, Univ. of North Carolina, 1993) gives very detailed background to his life as revealed in each of his letters. Arranged by topic, the letters illustrate his views on emancipation, military life, and the role of blacks in postwar America. This thoroughly researched book belongs in research libraries and public libraries with Civil War collections.?Grant A. Fredericksen, Illinois Prairie Dist. P.L., Metamora
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.