Illustration 1: The charge of the
African-American troops at Port Hudson.
On May 27, 1863, the Union army's African-American troops charged against the Confederate earthworks. Although the artist wrote "2nd Louisiana" on the flag, the units were in fact the 1st and 3rd Louisiana Native Guards.
Questions for Illustration 1
1. Modern research indicates that the Confederates, in fact, suffered no casualties during this action. Casualties among African-Americans, however, were high. How does that information compare with the version of the attack that the drawing presents?
2. What is happening in this drawing? Why would someone create an inaccurate picture of the scene? Who might benefit from this version of the siege?
3. This drawing, and supporting newspaper accounts, helped change the opinions of the fighting abilities of African-American soldiers. Considering the conditions many African-Americans endured before the war, what may have been the impression the general public had of African-American fighting capabilities? How might illustrations such as this one change general public perception?
* The illustration on the screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a high quality version of the illustration, but be aware that the file will take as much as 60 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.