Armed and Ready
Grooms’s newest Civil War painting is a tribute to the contribution of African American soldiers to the Civil War. Starting in 1862, the United States Army recruited men for the United States Colored Troops (U.S.C.T.). One of the most famous of the regiments, the 54th Massachusetts, suffered grave casualties attacking Fort Wagner in Charleston. Their story was told in the 1989 movie Glory. About 180,000 Black soldiers wore Union blue, with 40,000 giving their lives. By 1865 even the Confederates, facing certain loss and unable to replace casualties, attempted, with much less success than the Unionists, to recruit enslaved and free Blacks to fight.