SEPTEMBER 2014: The Voices of the Civil War is a five-year film series dedicated to celebrating and commemorating the Civil War over the course of the sesquicentennial. Each month, new episodes cover pertinent topics that follow the monthly events and issues as they unfolded for African Americans during the Civil War. Within these episodes there are various primary sources – letters and diaries, newspaper reports, and more - to recount various experiences of blacks during this period. We encourage your feedback and commentary through our Voices of the Civil War web blog.
On the morning of September 29, 1864, Union troops, including several black regiments, crossed the James River and surprised the Confederate troops at Chaffin’s Farm. Some historians consider the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm and New Market Heights as the defining moment in African American military history. To honor African American troops who fought during the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm and New Market Heights, Major General Benjamin F. Butler commissioned a special medal officially known as the Army of the James Medal.