Edward A. Wild and the African Brigade in the Civil War

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About the Book

Edward Wild, the controversial Union general who headed the all-black African Brigade in the Civil War, was one of the most loved and most hated figures of the 19th century. The man was neither understood nor appreciated by military or civilian, black or white, Northerner or Southerner. After enlisting at the outbreak of the war, Wild was promoted to Brigadier General and placed in charge of the United States Colored Troops. In fulfilling his assignment to free slaves and gain recruits, he took three women as hostages and ordered a great deal of property destruction. He freed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of slaves and settled them safely on Roanoke Island. Wild then not only recruited the newly freed blacks but trained them and gave them the opportunity to prove their worth in battle. Nobody, it seems, was happy about serving with them, but the African Brigade performed courageously in several battles. Wild did some inexplicable things. Were his actions typical of the 19th century or did he act outside the norm? Was the criticism he suffered from his fellow Union officers valid—or was it due to personality conflicts? Did he deserve to be arrested, court-martialed, and even wiped from the history books—or was he the victim of discrimination? This work draws its answers from extensive research and includes many rare letters to and from Wild, including one from one of the North Carolinian hostages.

About the Author(s)

The late Frances H. Casstevens wrote frequently about the American Civil War and North Carolina history. She was retired from Wake Forest University and lived in Yadkinville, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Frances H. Casstevens
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 335
Bibliographic Info: photos, maps, chronology, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005 [2003]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2443-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0704-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Abbreviations      viii
Introduction      1

I. Family History and Early Life of Edward Augustus Wild      5
II. Captain Wild, United States Army, 1861      19
III. Colonel Wild, 35th Regiment, United States Army, 1862      34
IV. Brigadier General Wild, United States Volunteers (Colored)      55
V. Charleston, South Carolina, 1863      73
VI. Wild’s Raid on Northeastern North Carolina and Its Results      93
VII. Retaliation and Repercussion      117
VIII. Miss Nancy White and the Wead-Draper Dispute      127
IX. The Clopton Whipping and Other Civilian Incidents      146
X. January to June 1864: Fort Powhatan, Wilson’s Wharf–Fort Pocahontas, and Other Battles in Virginia      161
XI. Court-Martial of General Wild      183
XII. The Final Months of the War, July 1864 to May 1865      194
XIII. The Freedmen’s Bureau in Georgia and the Chennault Affair      211
XIV. Post-War Years: The Search for Silver      245

Epilogue      264
Appendix: Tables for Chapter VI      267
Notes      271
Bibliography      311
Index      319

Book Reviews & Awards

“excellent biography…important study”—The Civil War Courier; “what a volume…meticulously researched…excellent background information…extensive notes and sources”—Colorado Libraries; “well researched…worth reading”—Military Review; “prolific research…a good book”—Civil War News.