Harper’s Weekly – March 14, 1863

Some of the first Black soldiers in the Union army were South Carolina Sea Island Negroes who were freed as contrabands in November 1861. The official report of a colonel of the First Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers (colored) praised their valor in various victories in interior Georgia and Florida: “There is a fiery energy about them beyond anything of which I have ever read . . . It requires the strictest discipline to hold them in hand.” Nast imagined and depicted A Negro Regiment in Action in a double-page illustration accompanying the Harper’s article.