TImeline Stephanie Woods Black Brigade in Civil War Cincinnati - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

TIMELINE: The Black Brigade of Cincinnati

Confederate John Hunt Morgan led his men on a raid across the Tri-state in 1863. Confederate John Hunt Morgan led his men on a raid across the Tri-state in 1863.
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

150 years ago President Lincoln first drafted the Emancipation Proclamation but just days before that, local black soldiers were already fighting for the Queen City.

Cincinnati may not stand today if it weren't for the Black Brigade, the first African-American military group in the north. The city originally forced black soldiers to serve but the Union Army later let them volunteer.

"As the story goes, they were herded into a pig pen on Plum Street at gun point and moved down into Northern Kentucky and made to work," said Dr. Charles Dillard. "That's the beautiful part of this story-that given the chance to volunteer, they did."

Dr. Dillard is a fourth generation Cincinnatian whose ancestors served in the Black Brigade.

While residents of the Tri-state can witness reenactments of battle in Sharon Woods, the soldiers of Cincinnati never fired a single shot during the Civil War.

In September of 1862 Confederate General Henry Heath marched north from Louisville and tried to invade the city of Cincinnati but there was one thing standing in his way - the Black Brigade.

"If the African Americans had not stood up at this time period, Cincinnati probably would have fallen to the Confederacy," said Richard Cooper of the Freedom Center.

Colonel William Dickson called for black volunteers to build batteries along the Licking River. Although they used shovels instead of pistols, over 1,000 African Americans jumped at the chance to serve in the Black Brigade.

"This was great for them, to become soldiers of the Union army," Cooper continued. "They fought for this, they wanted to become citizens of the United States."

The Black Brigade's defenses deterred the Confederate army. Dillard's great-great grandfather Samuel Lewis, his great-grandfather Archer Lewis and his great-grand uncle Samuel Lewis Jr. came home to a hero's welcome. Without knowing it, Dillard followed in his ancestors' footsteps.

"It's ironic that I've spent over 30 years in the military. I was a one-star General," said Dillard. "My family went from being forced into labor in the Civil War to being a General in Uncle Sam's peacetime army."

After the Black Brigade, Archer went on to work as a lumberjack while Samuel Junior worked for the city and even ran for Governor. 78-year-old Dillard knows how much times have changed and how his family helped change them.

"So that my relatives, my people were one of the first black groups fighting for themselves, fighting for their freedom."

Thanks to our heroes of the Black Brigade, the Civil War in Cincinnati is just make-believe.

On February 12, 2013, Dr. Dillard will celebrate his 45th anniversary of practicing medicine in Cincinnati, the same day that President Lincoln would have turned 204.

Be sure to check out the FOX19 Facebook Timeline for more photos and interesting facts about the Black Brigade during the Civil War.

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved

  • NewsMore>>

  • DPS: 1 dead, 1 critically injured after Henderson County wreck

    DPS: 1 dead, 1 critically injured after Henderson County wreck

    Thursday, February 22 2018 11:30 AM EST2018-02-22 16:30:11 GMT

    Last night at approximately 10:00 PM, Troopers responded to a two vehicle fatal crash on SH-31, approximately 3.3 miles west of the city of Brownsboro in Henderson County. 

    More >>

    Last night at approximately 10:00 PM, Troopers responded to a two vehicle fatal crash on SH-31, approximately 3.3 miles west of the city of Brownsboro in Henderson County. 

    More >>
  • Wreck clear on I-20 in Gregg County

    Wreck clear on I-20 in Gregg County

    Thursday, February 22 2018 10:32 AM EST2018-02-22 15:32:56 GMT

    Longview Fire is responding to a wreck on I-20 this morning. The wreck was reported just before 9:30 on I-20 at Exit 595-A in the eastbound lane. Injuries are reported. Details are limited at this time. Avoid the area if possible.  Copyright 2018 KLTV. All rights reserved.

    More >>

    Longview Fire is responding to a wreck on I-20 this morning. The wreck was reported just before 9:30 on I-20 at Exit 595-A in the eastbound lane. Injuries are reported. Details are limited at this time. Avoid the area if possible.  Copyright 2018 KLTV. All rights reserved.

    More >>
  • First Alert Weather Days extended through Saturday

    First Alert Weather Days extended through Saturday

    Thursday, February 22 2018 10:23 AM EST2018-02-22 15:23:21 GMT

    A cold front that moved through East Texas Wednesday has now stalled and will return northward over the same area today as a warm front. 

    More >>

    A cold front that moved through East Texas Wednesday has now stalled and will return northward over the same area today as a warm front. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly