Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
A career Air Force officer who taught history at the Air Force Academy and has published two Civil War books since retirement, Miller now chronicles the single black Civil War regiment from Illinois. Drawing on sources in the National Archives, both wartime documents and pension records, Miller provides data concerning black soldiers once believed forever lost to history. Miller extends his coverage to include information about the background of the troops and also their postwar lives. Recruited late in 1863, incompletely trained, and still lacking a full complement by midsummer 1864, the Twenty-ninth US Colored Infantry first fought at the disastrous battle of the Crater on July 30, 1864. A last-minute decision to employ white troops for the initial assault placed an incompetent division commander in charge--black troops were belatedly thrown into a battle already lost. Confederate treatment of blacks wounded or attempting to surrender ranked among the most appalling wartime atrocities. Service of the Twenty-ninth after the war, although far less dramatic, affords additional insightful glimpses of the metamorphosis from slavery to freedom. Miller's combination of military and social history will become an important library resource. All levels. J. Y. Simon; Southern Illinois University at Carbondale