Colored Battery at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas
Photo: Kansas Historical Society.
This photograph shows the men of the Independent Battery, U.S. Colored Light Artillery, positioned in front of the guard house at Fort Leavenworth. The battery, organized in June 1864, was one of just a handful of Union units led by African American officers. Its commander, Captain H. Ford Douglas, worked tirelessly to better the conditions under which his men served. Of the 208 enlisted men in the battery, more than 160 were recruited from Leavenworth. Others came from Fort Scott, Kansas, and the Wyandotte and Quindaro communities in what is now Kansas City, Kansas. As the federal troops occupied the South, similar Black batteries were organized in Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Virginia.