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Heroes Etched in Stone!

Celebrating Juneteenth

The most important reason to celebrate Juneteenth is:  Juneteenth represents the military victory by both White and Black Union soldiers over the confederacy! In the three years that Black men fought in the Civil War, they will save the Union and emancipate themselves at the same time. Their victory ended the Confederacy’s treacherous system of chattel slavery forever. The greatest accomplishment won from the Civil War was that no man could ever own another man or woman again!

The Confederate government and the Confederate soldiers of the South fought an unjust and reactionary war, not a progressive war. Thousands of Africans fought in the ranks of the Union Army of the North; over 200,000 fought in the Union Army; and of that number, over 24,000 came from the Mississippi river parishes here in Louisiana. 

During the Civil War (1861-1865), the Confederate government and its Confederate Army marched into battle for one reason: to keep and defend slavery, by keeping the Africans enslaved and horribly oppressed. At the time Louisiana seceded or separated from the Union, 47% percent of the state’s total population was enslaved. There were 350,373 persons of African descent in the state with 18,647 of them free persons. The Emancipation Proclamation did not apply to the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John the Baptist, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans (…… Because). The Emancipation Proclamation was a political and military tactic by President Abraham Lincoln to persuade the Confederacy to end its rebellion. The proclamation, actually, did not free anyone. There were over thirty infantry, one cavalry, and one artillery unit of United States Colored Troops regiments organized in Louisiana. (The Book of Names, Vol. 2: The Southern States, published by the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation Museum, Washington, D.C.)

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The first two regiments composed of men of African descent were mustered into service in New Orleans in August and October of 1862. They were called the 1st and 2nd Louisiana Native Guards. Until February 1863, all line officers, captains and lieutenants, were men of African descent. These units were redesignated as 1st and 2nd Corps d’ Afrique in the summer of 1863 (and the 73rd and 74th USCT’s in 1864). The Corps d’ Afrique was composed of thirty-one regiments organized in Louisiana. All of the Corps d’ Afrique regiments were redesignated as United States Colored Troops regiments in 1864. (Ibid)

 

These Louisiana regiments served in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Texas. At Milliken’s Bend and Port Hudson, Louisiana they engaged in very significant battles with Confederate forces in the spring of 1863. Captain Andre Cailloux, one of the more than seventy commissioned officers of African descent, led the assault on Port Hudson, LA., on May 27, 1863.

At Port Hudson, Cailloux and eight African regiments displayed unmatched heroism and courage in the face of fire to capture Confederate positions. Though they were not successful in capturing the enemy positions, they and their white comrades, did greatly stretch the enemy’s forces and laid the foundation for the eventual defeat of the Confederates. In the May 27th battle, Captain Cailloux of the 1st Louisiana Native Guards displayed enormous courage and calm under fire. After being shot and seriously wounded he struggled to his feet and led his men in another bold assault. He was then hit again, yet he found the fortitude to continue. A third time he was shot; this time it was fatal. He died a glorious death for the cause of freedom.

But there were many more revolutionary fighters like Cailloux. Many of these Black Civil War heroes came from the plantations of St. John the Baptist and St. Charles.  Some of them were:

Augustus Walker: served in Co. H 10TH Regiment U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery; from the Prospect plantation, St. Charles Parish.

Bazile Johnson: served as Private in Co. E 87th Regiment and Co. F 84th Regiment U.S. Colored Volunteer Infantry.

Benjamin Duncan: served in Co. E 16th Regiment Infantry of the Corps d’ Afrique, later changed to Co. E 87th Regiment of U.S. Colored Infantry.

Benjamin Hawkins: served in the 16th Regiment Louisiana Infantry Corps d’ Afrique; which became Co. E 87th Regiment of the U.S. Colored Infantry; and he later served in Co. F 84th U.S. Colored Infantry.

Edmund Hollingsworth: served in Co. H 10th Regiment U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery (formerly a.k.a., Edward Hollingsworth) former enslaved from the Roseland plantation (today Bonnet Carre’ spillway), former slaveholder –Charles & Martha Kenner Oxley.

Hannibal Waters: served in the 1st Heavy Artillery Corps d’ Afrique later renamed Co. H 10th  Regiment U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery; a run away slave, a maroon, from the Roseland plantation (today Bonnet Carre’ Spillway); former slave holder-Charles & Martha Kenner Oxley.

Harrison Alexander: served as Quartermaster Sergeant in Co. H 10TH Regiment U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery.

Harrison Roe: served in Co. H 10th Regiment U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery (formerly a.k.a. Robert Taylor); last place of residence, Sellers, Louisiana; former minister of Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 13 East Street, Norco, LA. 

Harry Harrison: served in Co. H 10th Regiment U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery; former enslaved from the Roseland plantation (today Bonnet Carré Spillway); former slave holder-Charles & Martha Kenner Oxley.

John B. Alcee: served in Co. H 10th Regiment U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery; former enslaved property of slaveholder, John Alcee from Ascension parish; enlisted under his owner’s name; the letter ‘B’ was placed in his name by the mustering officer to distinguish him from his owner.

Joseph Duncan: served in Co. E 16th Regiment Louisiana Infantry of the Corps d’ Afrique; later the Co. E 87th Regiment U.S. Colored Infantry.

Octave Johnson: served in Co. C 15th Regiment Corps d’ Afrique; mustered in at Camp Parapet; a runaway who organized a maroon colony of runaways in St. James parish.

Pierre Sylvain: served in the 1st Regiment U.S. Native Guards (Colored) later renamed Co. B 1 Regiment Infantry Corp d’ Afrique and then called Co. B 73rd Regiment U.S. Colored Infantry. He was martyred on May 27, 1863 in the battle for Port Hudson (May-July 1863). He served under the command of the famous Andre Cailloux.

Sanders Royal: served in Co. H 10th Regiment U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery; former enslaved from the Roseland plantation (today Bonnet Carre’ Spillway); former slave holder-Charles & Martha Kenner Oxley.

Sidney Smith: served as a Private in Company H, 10th Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops Heavy Artillery; Discharged as a Sergeant.

 

The first two regiments composed of men of African descent were mustered into service in New Orleans in August and October of 1862. They were called the 1st and 2nd Louisiana Native Guards. Until February 1863, all line officers, captains and lieutenants, were men of African descent. These units were redesignated as 1st and 2nd Corps d’ Afrique in the summer of 1863 (and the 73rd and 74th USCT’s in 1864). The Corps d’ Afrique was composed of thirty-one regiments organized in Louisiana. All of the Corps d’ Afrique regiments were redesignated as United States Colored Troops regiments in 1864. (Ibid)

 

These Louisiana regiments served in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Texas. At Milliken’s Bend and Port Hudson, Louisiana they engaged in very significant battles with Confederate forces in the spring of 1863. Captain Andre Cailloux, one of the more than seventy commissioned officers of African descent, led the assault on Port Hudson, LA., on May 27, 1863.

At Port Hudson, Cailloux and eight African regiments displayed unmatched heroism and courage in the face of fire to capture Confederate positions. Though they were not successful in capturing the enemy positions, they and their white comrades, did greatly stretch the enemy’s forces and laid the foundation for the eventual defeat of the Confederates. In the May 27th battle, Captain Cailloux of the 1st Louisiana Native Guards displayed enormous courage and calm under fire. After being shot and seriously wounded he struggled to his feet and led his men in another bold assault. He was then hit again, yet he found the fortitude to continue. A third time he was shot; this time it was fatal. He died a glorious death for the cause of freedom.
 

Many of these noble men were the descendants, the children and grandchildren of Louisiana’s Heroic 1811 Slave Revolt where the main theater of the revolt took place here in St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes.

Many of you here today probably have a Civil War hero in your family tree.

Although Black soldiers in alliance with White Union troops defeated chattel slavery and the Confederacy, the ideology of white supremacy was not defeated. Today, Black people suffer double oppression in two different forms. Economically, Black people suffer from wage slavery or poverty wages that are critically low minimum wages which are insufficient for anyone to live on. And additionally, is the foul ideology of white supremacy which promotes the arrogant and erroneous assumption that whites are superior to Blacks. This dual form of oppression is the root of the economic, political, social, and military oppression that Black people suffer from today. That is why the suppression of Black peoples’ voting rights is not surprising. That is why the police killings of Black people is escalating. That is why the greed of the rich petrochemical and industrial polluters and the seizure of Black people’s cemeteries is going unabated.  That is why the accurate teaching of Black history in schools is under attack. We are under attack today because of the greed of the rich white oppressor class. And this oppression has to stop . . .stop now!

We as Black people, as African Americans, as a nation of people trapped in the clutches of the rich billionaires-millionaires are not completely free. To get out of this trap, we have to rebuild the militant, radical, revolutionary movement of the 60’s & 70’s to win our complete freedom today! 

For the Complete Emancipation of the African American Nation!

Including the Right to Political Secession for the Black Belt South!

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