Cover image for Forged in battle : the Civil War alliance of Black soldiers and White officers
Forged in battle : the Civil War alliance of Black soldiers and White officers
Glatthaar, Joseph T., 1956-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, 2000.

Physical Description:
xiii, 370 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
Originally published: New York : Free Press ; London : Collier Macmillan, c1990.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E540.N3 G53 1990C Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E540.N3 G53 1990C Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E540.N3 G53 1990C Adult Non-Fiction Black History Non-Circ

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Sixteen months after the start of the American Civil War, the Federal government, having vastly underestimated the length and manpower demands of the war, began to recruit black soldiers. This revolutionary policy gave 180,000 free blacks and former slaves the opportunity to prove themselves on the battlefield as part of the United States Colored Troops. By the end of the war, 37,000 in their ranks had given their lives for the cause of freedom.

In Forged in Battle, originally published in 1990, award-winning historian Joseph T. Glatthaar re-creates the events that gave these troops and their 7,000 white officers justifiable pride in their contributions to the Union victory and hope of equality in the years to come. Unfortunately, as Glatthaar poignantly demonstrates, memory of the United States Colored Troops' heroic sacrifices soon faded behind the prejudice that would plague the armed forces for another century.

Author Notes

Joseph T. Glatthaar , professor of history at the University of Houston, is also the author of Partners in Command: The Relationships Between Leaders in the Civil War and The March to the Sea and Beyond: Sherman's Troops in the Savannah and Carolinas Campaigns.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Relying on many hitherto unused personal letters as well as government documents, Glatthaar (University of Houston), author of The March to the Sea and Beyond (CH, Dec'85), very adroitly explores the uneasy balance between some 180,000 Afro-Americans who served in the US Colored Troops and the 7,000 white officers who volunteered, against ridicule and abuse, to transform them into an effective fighting force. Divided by racial tension and racist ideology yet united by the bonds of war, black and white fought side by side to achieve a record of valor at many battlegrounds during the Civil War. Better than any other study, this one clearly demonstrates how the war to save the Union gave way to a war for freedom and equal rights. Yet this is not a complete success story, as Glatthaar poignantly demonstrates, for in the war's aftermath the gallant efforts of black troops slowly faded as the racism of the Reconstruction era provoked a troubling selective memory on the part of many Americans, North and South. This is a fine study and should be a part of all college and university collections. -J. H. Silverman, Winthrop College