In March 1863, nine hundred black Union soldiers, led by white officers, invaded Florida and seized the town of Jacksonville. Among the first African American troops in the Northern army, their expedition was like no other in the American Civil War: an assault on slavery with the intention of freeing thousands.At the centre of the story is abolitionist Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who led one of the regiments. After three weeks, Higginson and his men were mysteriously ordered to withdraw, their mission a seeming failure. Yet, their successes in resisting the Confederates and collaborating with white Union forces persuaded Abraham Lincoln to begin full-scale recruitment of black troops. Using long-neglected primary sources, Stephen V. Ash re-creates this nearly forgotten event with insight, vivid characterisations and a keen sense of drama.
Publisher: WW Norton & Co