Saturday, February 04, 2012

African American troops who won the Medal Of Honor during the Civil War

Many African Americans served in the Union Army during the Civil War as part of the United States Colored Troops. These troops were some of the first into Richmond, Virginia, after its fall in April 1865. The 41st USCT regiment was present at the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox. Following the war, USCT regiments served among the occupation troops in former Confederate states.

Two of the USCT were awarded the Medal Of Honor. They were:

Sergeant William Harvey Carney of the 54th Massachusetts (Colored) Volunteer Infantry was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Fort Wagner in July 1863. During the advance, Carney was wounded but still went on. When the color-bearer was shot, Carney grabbed the flagstaff and planted it in the parapet, while the rest of his regiment stormed the fortification. When his regiment was forced to retreat, he was wounded two more times while he carried the colors back to Union lines. He did not relinquish it until he handed it to another soldier of the 54th.

Sergeant Major Christian Fleetwood was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions with the 4th USCT in the Battle of Chaffin's Farm in Virginia in September 1864, during the campaign to take Petersburg. Fleetwood took up the regimental colors after 11 other USCT soldiers had been shot down while carrying them forward.

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