Army Life in a Black Regiment

Army Life in a Black Regiment

and Other Writings

Written by: Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Introduction by:
Notes by:

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140436211
  • 368 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


A stirring account of wartime experiences from the leader of the first regiment of emancipated slaves

Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a Unitarian minister, was a fervent member of new England’s abolitionist movement, an active participant in the Underground Railroad, and part of a group that supplied material aid to John Brown before his ill-fated raid on Harpers Ferry. When the Civil War broke out, Higginson was commissioned as a colonel of the black troops training in the Sea Islands off the coast of the Carolinas.

Shaped by American Romanticism and imbued with Higginson’s interest in both man and nature, Army Life in a Black Regiment ranges from detailed reports on daily life to a vivid description of the author’s near escape from cannon fire, to sketches that conjure up the beauty and mystery of the Sea Islands. This edition also features a selection of Higginson’s essays, including “Nat Turner’s Insurrection” and “Emily Dickinson’s Letters.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Table of Contents

Introduction by R.D. Madison
Suggestions for Further Reading
A Note on the Texts

Army Life in a Black Regiment
CHAPTER I. Introductory
CHAPTER II. Camp Diary
CHAPTER III. Up the St. Mary’s
CHAPTER IV. Up the St. John’s
CHAPTER V. Out on Picket
CHAPTER VI. A Night in the Water
CHAPTER VII. Up the Edisto
CHAPTER VIII. The Baby of the Regiment
CHAPTER IX. Negro Spirituals
CHAPTER X. Life at Camp Shaw
CHAPTER XI. Florida Again?
CHAPTER XII. The Negro as a Soldier
CHAPTER XIII. Conclusion

A. Roster of Officers
B. The First Black Soldiers
C. General Saxton’s Instructions
D. The Struggle for Pay
E. Farewell Address

A Visit to John Brown’s Household in 1859
Nat Turner’s Insurrection
Letter to a Young Contributor
Some War Scenes Revisited
Emily Dickinson’s Letters