Pennsylvania Grand Review

Honoring African American Patriots 1865 / 2010

Grand Review in Harrisburg, PA – November 14, 1865

Posted by: sailerd

After African American soldiers were not allowed to participate in the Union army’s Grand Review in Washington DC in May 1865, Harrisburg residents organized their own event on November 14, 1865 for those who served in the United States Colored Troops. While this earlier post provides an overview, several other newspaper articles offer interesting accounts about the event. “No day could have been chosen more propitious for the occasion,” as the correspondent for the Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer observed that November 14 was “one of the finest of this most pleasant Indian summer.” After Simon Cameron delivered a speech, letters from those who could not attend were read aloud. General Benjamin F. Butler explained that he had “witnessed…[African American soldiers’] bravery and good conduct on the battle-field, and, above all, their devotion and unswerving loyalty to the flag and government.” Even “when their offers of service in the beginning of the way were rejected with contumely,” George L. Stearns noted that they still “promptly volunteered at the call of their country when she needed them to help conquer a relentless foe.” Others used the event to argue for equal rights. “All constitutional privileges, all laws, all ordinances, all regulations of States, discriminating against colored men, must be made null and void,” as Senator Henry Wilson proclaimed. The event ended with “the John Brown Song,” which as the Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer correspondent described, “the assemblage sang…with great zeal.” You can also read more about the ceremony in an excerpt from Ceremonies at the Reception of Welcome to the Colored Soldiers of Pennsylvania (1865)

Posted in Grand Review, 1865 Monday, November 1st, 2010 at 9:30 am.

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