Even before the fighting ended, Civil War soldiers started memorializing their contributions to their respective causes. Initial monuments, such as the Hazen Brigade Monument at Stones River in Tennessee, erected in 1863, and the Bull Run Monument in Virginia, constructed just a couple of months after Appomattox, both bear early evidence of soldiers’ wishes to be remembered. A new surge of Civil War memorialization appeared in the last decades of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. This commemoration movement saw the emergence of hundreds of monuments on battlefields, in cemeteries, and on courthouse squares. However, other than a handful of exceptions, a large void in the memorial landscape remained for the men who fought in the United States Colored Troops (USCT).
Over the last quarter century or so, a wave of long-awaited memorialization has appeared across the United States honoring the men who served in USCT regiments during the Civil War. Artistic and informative monuments in Washington D.C.; Hartford, Connecticut; Vicksburg, Mississippi; St. Louis, Missouri; Nashville, Tennessee; among many others, add depth to the Civil War narrative by reminding us of the contributions of African American Union soldiers. At the same time, and regardless of race, these new monuments inspire a sense of pride and spark interest in learning more about the service, sacrifice, and accomplishments of USCT soldiers.
Now, a new and exciting USCT monument effort is underway. This memorial, honoring the men who fought at the Battle of New Market Heights, will commemorate their courageous deeds. Placing the monument at the site of the battle, where on September 29, 1864, 14 African American soldiers, and two white officers performed acts of heroism that eventually earned them the Medal of Honor, will finally help bring much needed recognition to this important victory and the men who battled there. The Battle of New Market Heights monument is just entering the conceptual phase. As the Battle of New Market Heights Memorial and Education Association (BNMHMEA) board members discuss designs, communicate with artists, and finally commission the monument, updates will be shared through this website. Please join us in our efforts by becoming a member of BNMHMEA and making a donation to this worthy effort.