edited by George Stephens and Donald Yacovone
University of Illinois Press, 1997
Paper: 978-0-252-06790-7 | Cloth: 978-0-252-02245-6
Library of Congress Classification E513.5 54th.S74 1997
Dewey Decimal Classification 973.7415

      George E. Stephens, the most
        important African-American war correspondent of his era, served in the
        famed black Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment, subject of the film Glory.
        His letters from the front, published in the New York Weekly Anglo-African,
        brilliantly detail two wars: one against the Confederacy and one against
        the brutal, debilitating racism within his own Union Army. Together with
        Donald Yacovone's biographical introduction detailing Stephens's life
        and times, they provide a singular perspective on the greatest crisis
        in the history of the United States.
      Stephens chronicled the African-American
        quest for freedom in reports from southern Maryland and eastern Virginia
        in 1861 and 1862 that detailed, among other issues of the day, the Army
        of the Potomac's initial encounter with slavery, the heroism of fugitive
        slaves, and the brutality both Southerners and Union troops inflicted
        on them.
      From the inception of the
        Fifty-fourth early in 1863 Stephens was the unit's voice, telling of its
        struggle against slavery and its quest to win the pay it had been promised.
        His description of the July 18, 1863, assault on Battery Wagner near Charleston,
        South Carolina, and his writings on the unit's eighteen-month campaign
        to be paid as much as white troops are gripping accounts of continued
        heroism in the face of persistent insult.
      The Weekly Anglo-African
        was the preeminent African-American newspaper of its time. Stephens's
        correspondence, intimate and authoritative, takes in an expansive array
        of issues and anticipates nearly all modern assessments of the black role
        in the Civil War. His commentary on the Lincoln administration's wartime
        policy and his conviction that the issues of race and slavery were central
        to nineteenth-century American life mark him as a major American social