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The Black Brigade of Cincinnati was a military unit that was organized during the Civil War when the city of Cincinnati was in danger of being attacked by the Confederates. The men that were a part of the Black Brigade were among the first of their race to be employed by the military of the North.

Cincinnati did not allow black males to join their volunteer militia. On September 2, 1862, many blacks were rounded up by the local police and impressed into service to help construct emergency fortifications around the city. Labor was hard, and the police guards at times oppressed the workers by force. Soon after, Federal officer Colonel Dickson was placed in charge, and he treated the men fairly. These black men worked on the fortifications until September 20. The Brigade had 1 fatality-Joseph Johns killed in a accident 17 September 1862

The Black Brigade was later recognized as the first formal organization of Northern Colored People for military reasons.

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Further reading[]

  • Peter H. Clark, Black Brigade of Cincinnati: Being a Report of Its Labors and a Muster-Roll of Its Members etc., 1864, accessed at Ohio Historical Society [1] Jan 22, 2007