A Black Woman's Civil War Memoirs: Reminiscences of My Life in Camp with the 33rd U.S. Colored Troops, Late 1st South Carolina Volunteers

Susie King Taylor, Author, Patricia W. Romero, Editor, Willie Lee Rose, Introduction by M. Wiener Pub. $9.95 (154p) ISBN 978-0-910129-85-5
Taylor was born a slave, gained her freedom early in the Civil War, and served as a nurse for the first black regiment of the Union Army. Her disappointing, fairly random recollections cover her flight to freedom in 1862, her regiment's expeditions along the Southeastern coast, the end of the war and, briefly, Reconstruction. The author does not demonstrate a capacity for observation and reflection or the descriptive skills necessary to bring her experiences to life for the reader. Of such a momentous occasion as the first time she heard the Emancipation Proclamation, her most significant comment is: ``It was a glorious day for us all, and we enjoyed every minute of it.'' She also makes little mention of her personal life, including her two marriages and the death of a son. In her reflections on the condition of blacks in 1902, the year the memoirs were originally privately published, Taylor's writing is at its strongest and most vivid as she decries the betrayal of the freedom and equality blacks and whites had fought for in the Civil War. Included here are excellent, illuminating footnotes by Romero, a research fellow at Johns Hopkins University. Containing historical facts and analysis and quotes from other Civil War memoirs, they supply not only the historical context, but also some of the human drama that Taylor's offering lacks. Photos. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
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