final part in a series
Going forward, I know that I have two more years of many events to go before the end of the Sesquicentennial. I have two main objectives that I want to accomplish:
- To reenact the 23rd’s march from the Chancellorsville ruins to the intersection of Catharpin and Old Plank Roads and form a battle line–with at least 100 Union soldiers, mostly USCTs, and have a living history program at those Chancellorsville ruins, once the march is completed. This would be in commemoration of the encounter at that intersection on May 15, 1864, between the USCT and Tom Rosser’s Confederate cavalry—the first time black troops engaged in combat against the Army of Northern Virginia.
- To have a statue erected of the 23rd USCT, preferably on the Chancellorsville Battlefield, either at the ruins or on the way down Old Plank Road. Since we have been in existence, we have helped with the installation of an exhibit marker on the Catharpin Road at the Wilderness Elementary School grounds–telling the story of the 23rd USCT, as a portion of the Spotsylvania County African American History Trail.
I still have to go out to speak about the USCT in general and the 23rd specifically, so that everyone knows that many black people fought for our freedom during the Civil War. Our freedom was not handed to us, as many people have been taught.
This has been a labor of love, and I think that I was destined to do my part: from my first memory of being on top of Marye’s Heights in the Fredericksburg Battlefield in 1958, to my coming to work at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, to my most recent talk to the Sons of the Union Veterans on May 23rd, 2013, to me completing this post. I think that I was placed here–at this time–to represent and tell the story of the 23rd Regiment United States Colored Infantry!