By Connie Egan
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – The Third Regiment Infantry United States Colored Troops Re-enactors will visit Camden County College at 4 p.m. Nov. 14 to give everyone a chance to see into the life of a colored soldier during the Civil War and discover the hardships these soldiers faced once they had been freed from slavery and fighting for the U.S. military.
If you know your history, then you remember at this time Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation Jan. 1, 1863 that freed all slaves, also allowing them to join the military. Colored soldiers faced threats from the Confederate Army with fear of being imprisoned or executed if caught. Despite the threats they stood up and fought, mostly for the Union Army, fighting for their country and freedom.
The re-enactors who will visit the school have a portable exhibit that displays flags and equipment along with brief lectures on the regiment, camp life and Civil War music.
“We selected (the event) because few people understand the important role played by African-Americans in the Union Army during the Civil War. One hundred eighty thousand served in the Army and about 20,000 in the Navy,” said the director in charge of the event, Jack Pesda. “Many scholars believe that their contributions guaranteed a Union victory.”
Re-enactments have a long history in the United States, gaining in popularity in the 1980s and 1990s. Those who participate in these events often brave the elements to re-enact the country’s proud history. Just like the Third Regiment Infantry United States Colored Troops Re-enactors do, the goal is to take people back in time.
The college and the re-enactors want to share Civil War history for anyone who is interested in attending to learn about the men many may consider the unsung heroes of the Civil War. You may learn a new fact, like did you know 16 black soldiers won the Congressional Medal of Honor for their service in the Civil War?
The re-enactment at Camden County College will take place in Civic Hall on the Blackwood campus. For more information about the event, you can visit http://www.camdencc.edu/civiccenter, email CCLRregistrations@camdencc.edu or call (856) 227-7200, ext. 4333.