Event Title

"A Bitter Pill for Southern Men to Swallow": The 36th U.S.C.I. Regiment at Point Lookout

Date

April 2020

Description

Out of the thirty-two major camps set up during the American Civil War to hold prisoners-of-war, Point Lookout Prison was exceptional. Located on the coast of Maryland, it was the first prison camp to use a United States Colored Troop regiment, the 36th U.S. Colored Infantry (U.S.C.I.), as guards. These guards found themselves in a difficult situation when placed in charge of Confederate soldiers, many of whom were slave owners. Despite these trying circumstances, the conduct of the 36th U.S.C.I. proved that black men were valuable soldiers. The story of Point Lookout demonstrates the major role that race played in the war’s prison system and reveals shortcomings within the study of the American Civil War today. Black soldiers contributed to the fight for emancipation in ways besides fighting on the battlefield, often risking their freedom to do so. This presentation will highlight the experiences of the 36th at Point Lookout.

Comments

This oral presentation is based on an individual research project.

Presentation Type

Presentation

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"A Bitter Pill for Southern Men to Swallow": The 36th U.S.C.I. Regiment at Point Lookout

Out of the thirty-two major camps set up during the American Civil War to hold prisoners-of-war, Point Lookout Prison was exceptional. Located on the coast of Maryland, it was the first prison camp to use a United States Colored Troop regiment, the 36th U.S. Colored Infantry (U.S.C.I.), as guards. These guards found themselves in a difficult situation when placed in charge of Confederate soldiers, many of whom were slave owners. Despite these trying circumstances, the conduct of the 36th U.S.C.I. proved that black men were valuable soldiers. The story of Point Lookout demonstrates the major role that race played in the war’s prison system and reveals shortcomings within the study of the American Civil War today. Black soldiers contributed to the fight for emancipation in ways besides fighting on the battlefield, often risking their freedom to do so. This presentation will highlight the experiences of the 36th at Point Lookout.