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Condolence Letters from the United States Colored Troops with Dr. Kelly Mezurek
February 19, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EST| FREE
COVID-19 and closures won’t stop us from sharing the incredible lessons we can learn from studying medical care during the Civil War!
Join us on Friday, February 19 at 1:00 PM on Facebook Live for a virtual program hosted by the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. You can tune in live by visiting facebook.com/civilwarmed/live at the scheduled time.
Director of Interpretation Jake Wynn will talk with historian Dr. Kelly D. Mezurek about her research on death notifications for the soldiers who served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT). In addition to the official paperwork required by the Adjutant General’s office, officers, hospital surgeons, agents from the United States Sanitary Commission, clergy representing the United States Christian Commission, as well as fellow soldiers often wrote condolence letters to families of the deceased men. Collectively, these letters demonstrate that the health care provided to the USCT, although often inferior and discriminatory, was not always without sincere concern and attention. Letter writers shared how they attempted to procure physical and spiritual care for the injured and sick, and honored the soldiers for their military contributions and sacrifice. The epistolary exchanges also show how Black family members sought evidence of their loved ones’ last experiences on earth and demonstrate that many white northerners applied the same social importance to a “good death” for African American soldiers as deemed necessary for other Union citizens.
Kelly D. Mezurek, author of For Their Own Cause: The 27th United States Colored Troops, has researched African American Civil War soldiers and sailors for over twenty years. In addition to published essays on Black soldiers who served as guards in Union prisons and African American veterans in Midwestern soldiers’ homes, she shares her findings on the “Black Men in Lincoln Blue” on Twitter, Facebook, and her website, KellyDMezurek.com. Mezurek is a Professor of History at Walsh University.
Like these programs? Consider supporting our efforts by becoming a member or donating to the Museum! Your efforts ensure that we can continue sharing the story of Civil War medicine in this crucial time. In history, we can find hope amid our struggle against COVID-19.