The major focus of my blogs is the Medal of Honor stories touching on Canada. A mere drop in the bucket when you consider about 120 medals, compared to some 3,560 medals, possibly more since created back in 1863. (March 25th, and thus Medal of Honor Month in March, annually.)
But of that number of medals, and knowing that only about 100 went to men of colour, it is not difficult to assume race prejudice played a negative role on the recipient numbers. So too when looking at the total of about 1,370 Victoria Crosses and yet only about 3 dozen went to men of colour.
About 40 years ago the US Navy included about 30,000 men and women of colour, 600 of these at the officer level. In Civil War days the US Navy's total strength was about 30,000. And about 3200 of these became casualties. Some 800 were men of colour.
The Northern Army's Major Anderson, had been occupying Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island, (also shown above,) but as the south and the north kept rattling swords, it was felt that to best affect the blockade runners the Southerners so much depending on, Anderson ought to move his troops onto Fort Sumter.
Occupying the fort in the middle of the night, the troops would remain there for several months. It was a stronghold needed to keep Southerner blockade runners in check. And the Southerners needed those runners running to bring in their own supplies, including Black Ivory... slaves. About four of every ten landing on US soil arrived at this very harbour. One also critical for continued cotton shipments to England.
On April 13 the Confederates had enough and dropped their payload on the Fort, about 3000 cannon balls, and with dwindling supplies, Anderson had to surrender the fort. (It would be taken back by the Northerners years later.)
Eight months before the Sumter bombing, the US frigate San Jacinto, above, would capture the well known slave trader Storm King on 9 August 1860. Two months later they would catch the trader Bonito loaded with slaves. Crews and ships were seized and the slaves given their freedom. Internet searches can tell on the horrendous conditions the slaves suffered. One ship alone carried well over 600 of these men women and children.
Sam was part of the slave saving crews of the above ship, He would go on to serve on the navy in the civil war and beyond and ended up as a light-keeper for years, and as shown in this image. He would earn a MOH for bravery in trying with several others to rescue his mortally wounded officer in battle in Korea in October 1871. They were under intense fire but managed to rescue the officer and get him back to the ship but the officer later succumbed to his wounds.
Despite much on the net, Sam Rogers was born in Quebec, Canada, and no doubt for many a year told of his efforts to help save blacks being discriminated against and forced into slavery.
Still more on topic comes this Sunday.