Black Civil War soldier's letter

Explore the letters written during the Civil War by both the Black men who served in the United Stated Colored Troops and U.S. Navy and by their white officers. Most of the letters are transcribed from newspapers, but there are also links to transcribed private letters. Use the links below or you can use the drop-down menu above.

Letters from Black Soldiers and Sailors

Civil War Letters from White Officers in the United States Colored Troops

 Do you know of any other letters to add to this list? If so, use the “Contact Me” page to let me know. Thank you!Read more

Soldiers, you have lady friends in Cleveland

The Anglo-African, September 3, 1865


CLEVELAND, O., August, 1865.

DEAR EDITOR: Permit me to make your excellent paper the medium of giving credit to the ladies of the Cleveland Soldiers Aid Society, with a semi-annual report of their labors. I hope that you had not drawn the conclusion that silence indicated a relaxation in the great work they began for the welfare of the soldiers; but rather, I shall frankly acknowledge, remissness on my part in writing to you, for which I am exceedingly sorry, and fear that the imperfectness of my report will subject me to the severest reprimanding I have ever received from that sex, within the bounds of my recollection.… Read more

In the News: Oneonta Herald, February 10, 1864

RIKERS ISLAND, Jan. 29, 1864.

SIR i must Tell you a little a bout the Camp a fairs & how thing Goes here   last nite we had a mobe fite bee twixt the Clord & white But the ofesers sune stop it   But if they had let the nigs goe they wood Not have benn a sun of the Eemeral Ile left here for the Colord Trupes at Rikers Island & i for my self am Just as well as Ever i was & As tuff   But when i First a Rived i thought it hard but now i am Natueralised to the Camp Lif   there is a Bout 2000 Colord troups here and one Ridgiment Will Leave sune   that Is the 20 Ridg   I thout Colord men wood not Make good Solgers but I was greatly mistaken For they are as fine as is here & learn Just as fast as the whites & More Promp & spunkey   The wether is mild & warm Spring like   Mine to the oneonte herald untill a Beter one or Beter ComPosed & more time   i have got to bee a Coprill and will sune get to Bee a sarjant   i make the Boys stand a Round as fare as my athorety.… Read more

Civil War Letters from Officers in the U.S. Colored Troops

Officers of the 4th US Colored Troops
Photo credit: Officers 4th U.S. Colored Infantry, Fort Slocum, April 1865, Library of Congress.
Click on the names below to read letters written by the White commissioned officers who led regiments of Black soldiers during the Civil War

Editorial methods for the transcribed letters

Col. Delavan Bates, 30th USCI

Capt. Charles P. Bowditch, 55th Mass & 5th Mass Cav

 Capt. Orlando P. Brockway, 5th USCI 

Lieut. Jacob Bruner, 9th LA Inf., AD (5th USCHA)

Lieut. Benjamin F. Burnham, 84th USCI

Sgt. Lewis P. Cleaveland, 55th USCI

Capt. George B. Cock, 5th USCI

James B. F. Curtis, 102 USCI, Hospital Stewart

Capt.… Read more

In the News: Anglo-African, May 6, 1865


FAISON’S STATION, W. & W. R.R., April 2, 1865.

MR. EDITOR: Perhaps the people would like to know where we are and what we are doing.

We, i.e. the Third Division of the Twenty-fifth Army Corps, are encamped at present at the above-named place guarding the railroad, and supplies now being sent along this line to the Western army now lying in our front. This division was detached from the main corps in the front of Richmond on the 3d of January and transported to North Carolina, where we with the Second Division of the Twenty-fourth Corps have been operating up to this date.… Read more