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Portrayal of Private William Webb, Civil War Soldier of the 29th Connecticut Volunteers

But we served with a gentleman, from Middletown, Sergeant Alfred Powers, who stood about 6’4” maybe 225 lbs. So, he was a big man. And, we used to sit around the encampment and we would have our hardtack and drink our coffee and Sergeant Powers would come on the scene. And the men starting saying, “Here comes Sergeant Powers, here comes Sergeant Powers, here he comes.” See Sergeant Powers represented to us what freedom was all about. To see an African American as an Officer at that time, gave us much hope that one day America would change.

Image of African-American soldiers, State Archives

It also reminded me of what the great abolitionist, Frederick Douglas said to our men before we marched into war.
Frederick Douglas said:
Portrait of Frederick Douglas

“Once let the Black man get upon his person the brass letters “US”, and a eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder, and a bullet in his pocket, there is no power on earth that can deny that the black man has earned the right of citizenship in the United States.”

Photo of 29th Connecticut Volunteers Brass Buckle

So, seeing all of that gave us that chance and opportunity to bring about a change.

Freedom! Said it sounds good and it sounds nice. Got to be free!

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