Not long before posing with their cannon, these black artillerymen were slaves. They were among thousands of escaped slaves who were organized into army regiments late in the war. Many of them could neither read nor write. Because of this, they were trained by white troopers or officers, who read aloud to them from military manuals and then drilled them repeatedly. In this way, these blacks were able to memorize great amounts of material, and many of them became crack soldiers.
Colonel Robert Gould Shaw
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