Rochester African American Civil War Veterans Commemorated on the 150th Anniversary of a Historic Battle

ROCHESTER, NY (07/16/2014)(readMedia)-- WHAT: July 18, 1863, a bloody, yet glorious chapter was added to the horrific saga that was the American Civil War. On that day, a mixture of ex-slaves, and the sons of men who had taken their freedom on the Underground Railroad, would write a stirring chapter in American history. This Friday, July 18, one hundred and fifty-one years later, "On Behalf of those Who Lie in Yonder Hallowed Ground," will raise the names of veterans with Rochester connections.

After an exhausting day-long march, and as they readied themselves for the ill-planned assault on the Confederate held, Fort Wagner the men of color, readied themselves for the ill-planned assault on the Stronghold. Victory eluded them, but unflinching display of courage by the first formal unit composed entirely of African American enlisted men, shattered stereotypes and doubts about their manliness. Their commander, Colonel Robert Shaw, had initially held them in low regard. Experiencing their determination and pride during training and early battles, he had come to respect them, and they he. He knew them, now, and would lead them on the ill-planned assault. He would be buried along the many who would be killed.

Among the survivors were Sergeant Major Lewis Henry Douglass. Although raised in Rochester, the remains of the 23 year old son of Frederick and Anna Douglass Lewis Douglass's remains are interred in Washington, D.C.. However, the regiment's "Principal Musician," Thomas J. Platner, who also survived the war, spent much of his postwar days in Rochester. His remains are buried at Rochester's Riverside Cemetery, on Lake Avenue.

WHEN: Friday, July 18 at Riverside Cemetery: at 4:30 p.m., 2650 Lake Avenue

Participants will salute Thomas J. Platner, Principal Musician, 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. The tribute will occur at about the same time, July 18, 1863, when the regiment heralded in the 1988 motion picture Glory, arrived at Morris Island, in South Carolina.

This collaboration between Nazareth College, Rochester-Monroe County Freedom Trail Commission, Pennington-Moye VFW Post 9251, and others, is also an effort to build a curriculum to support the objective of engaging families in researching their own family's role in that most horrific war that freed the nation from slavery.

Contact: David Anderson, Ph,D. Visiting Community Scholar, Nazareth College

Telephone: 389-5140.