No sooner had the tragic Civil War receded into history than the victorious Union backhanded some of its bravest and most dedicated soldiers. United States Colored Troops were not allowed to march in the Grand Review of the Armies in Washington in May, 1865. Shocked at such a display of ingratitude, the women of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's capital, decided to do what they could to remedy the injustice. The result was the Pennsylvania Grand Review, held in November, 1865, and welcoming U.S. Colored Troops and their families from 25 states.
That event will be recreated from November 4-7 this year, as part of the nationwide sesquecentennial observance of the Civil War. There will be pomp and parades, exhibits and lectures and parties. No matter what your color, you may want to take in part of it; it's part of our common history--and I, for one, am proud that the slight of May, 1865 should have been redeemed a few months later by Pennsylvania.
Are you a descendant of one of these brave African-American soldiers? Then you may be able to play a special role in honoring your ancestor. Pennsylvania is assembling what it calls "an army" of volunteers to reclaim if necessary, and to preserve, the graves of 24 U.S. Colored Troops who are buried in the Commonwealth. A number of gravesite preservation weekends are planned for this purpose. For more information on how to help, email www.visitPA.com/grandreview.
Or perhaps you want to become part of the network of descendants who will be coming to honor their ancestors in Harrisburg in November. To join without delay, just call (800) VISIT PA.