When: November 9, 2013 at 3:00 PM
What: First North Carolina Regiment, Colored Volunteers (NCCV)
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Unveiling Ceremony
Where: Academy Green on Hancock & New Streets in New Bern, NC
Exactly 150 years ago in New Bern, North Carolina, during May and June of 1863, formerly enslaved men from New Bern and across eastern North Carolina were responding to the appeals of Federal officials to join the Union infantry as part of the First North Carolina Colored Volunteers (NCCV). On June 30 a sufficient number of men had signed up to form the 1st regiment, which was led by Col. James Beecher under General Edward A. Wild. At a ceremony held on July 24, 1863 at the city green, freedwoman Mary Ann Starkey on behalf of the “Colored Ladies Relief Association of New Bern” presented a silk regimental flag made in Boston with the association’s contributions and with the aid of Beecher’s sister Harriet Beecher Stowe, for the “first North Carolina Colored regiment,” to General Wild, who received it graciously and handed it to Colonel Beecher, to the cheers of the hundreds of black soldiers and citizens gathered for the occasion. The regiment was the first completed in “Wild’s African Brigade.” Wild’s regiment conducted raids in eastern NC, served in South Carolina, fought bravely in Olustee Florida and elsewhere, despite many losses through the war. As some of the first southern black volunteers among what would become thousands, including more than 5,000 from North Carolina, the 1st NCCV had been pioneers in demonstrating to the nation the importance of black soldiers to the preservation of the Union. On August 26, 1863 President Lincoln wrote to a political friend in Illinois that some of his field commanders "who have given us our most important successes, believe the emancipation policy, and the use of colored troops, constitute the heaviest blow yet dealt to the rebellion; and that, at least one of those important successes, could not have been achieved when it was, but for the aid of black soldiers." Join us and the descendants of these brave soldiers in New Bern on November 9, 2013 as we celebrate this historic event. For further information contact Bernard George at (252) 633-5001.