The North’s version of the war includes the myth of fighting to free the black man and the attendant stories of equality. More often than not, the Northern troops had little use for the Negro other than menial laborers and guards; officers for the colored troops were normally found only among radical abolitionist officers.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com
Pennsylvanian Happy as a Private
“On August 16, 1862, in the battle of Deep River Run, Virginia, Company F of the 85th Pennsylvania assaulted and drove the Confederates from their entrenchments, and Ed Leonard, of said company, had fired at the retreating color bearer, who was unknown to him.
When his gun was empty, he ordered the ensign to halt, which he refused to do. He threw his gun at him thinking he would knock him down with it; but he was just far enough away for the gun to turn once, and the bayonet went through the body of the color bearer, killing him.
Leonard picked up the flagstaff, tore the flag from it, and concealed it about his person, intending to send it home; but it was discovered and he was required to turn it into headquarters. For this act of bravery Leonard was commissioned a captain. When he was assigned to his command, he found it was a Negro company; he returned the commission and went back to his company as a private.”
“Wouldn’t Command Negroes in Service,” W.T. Rogers, Knoxville, Tennessee; Confederate Veteran Magazine, May 1912, page 213)