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Book Release; The U.S. Colored Troops at Andersonville Prison…

December 31, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Press Releases

( Charles Town, WV…..Charles Town West Virginia national award winning author Bob O’Connor, a Civil War writer who has given us three historicalnovels about the conflict, has changed gears and published a non-fictioncivil war book called “The U.S. Colored Troops at Andersonville Prison.”

The book is a follow up of his fictional account “Catesby: Eyewitness to the Civil War” in which the main character is captured following the Battle of Olustee, Florida and taken to Andersonville Prison.

The new book gives the known biographical information on the 103 black soldiers incarcerated in the famous Confederate Prison at Andersonville, Georgia. The untold story of the USCT troops in the prison includesdocumentation on the origins of the U.S. Colored Troops.

“Of the 179,000 plus black soldiers who fought in the U.S. Army, only 776 are documented as having been in a Confederate prison,” O’Connor claims.“One hundred three of those were in Andersonville, including more thanhalf from either the 8th USCT (Pennsylvania) or the 54th Massachusetts, mostly captured at the February 20, 1864 battle at Olustee (also called Ocean Ponds).

Usually, O’Connor states, colored soldiers were often shot and killed oreven taken back to the South and sold into slavery. In several instances,the black soldiers were killed even while surrendering, with the reportsof the Battle of Fort Pillow being amongst the worst instances of thathappening.

The 103 prisoners include two white officers of the USCT who should havebeen taken to an officers prison. They held instead with the enlisted menbecause they were USCT officers. As such, they were also denied medicalhelp at the prison. Of the 103 prisoners, thirty-four died at the prison. Another 12 survived the prison and were transferred to Florence, South Carolina only to diewithin thirty days after their arrival.

The new book contains photographs of each headstone at the cemetery for 33of the 34. The other is in an unmarked grave. The book is well documentedand footnoted. O’Connor says it is remarkable that for soldiers who were starving, had noclean water, and were denied medical attention, they all have marked graves at Andersonville. By comparison, none of the twelve transferred to Florence have marked graves.

O’Connor, who has done programs on both slavery and the USCT at schools, libraries, historical societies, Civil War Round Tables, and museumsthroughout the U.S., has been named finalist twice in the national BookAwards by USA Book News and was named runner up in the National IndieExcellence Book Awards competition.

His other books include “The Perfect Steel Trap Harpers Ferry 1859” anaccount of John Brown’s raid, trial, execution and the seven raiders whogot away; “Catesby: Eyewitness to the Civil War” about a colored blacksmith and his attempts to become a free man; and “The Virginia WhoMight Have Saved Lincoln” an account of Ward Hill Lamon, Abraham Lincoln’spersonal bodyguard.

For additional information on the author or the books, please visit

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