Did you know that William Henry Johnson, the first African-American from Connecticut who volunteered to serve in the Civil War, enlisted in the all-white Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry in September 1861? Later African-American volunteers from Connecticut generally joined the all-black Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment. It wasn’t until November 1863, as the North’s insatiable need for soldiers intensified, that the Twenty-ninth (Colored) Connecticut Regiment Volunteer Infantry was formed.
Our collections include the publication “Connecticut’s African-American Soldiers in the Civil War, 1861-1865,” written in 2000 by Diana Ross McCain. You can read it in its entirely on our digital repository.