B. G. Farrar Papers, 1863-1870
Brevet Brigadier General Bernard G. Farrar, Colonel of the 6th U.S. Colored Artillery (Heavy) enlisted in the 30th Missouri Infantry in 1862. In August 1863, while assigned to the post at Natchez, Miss., he recruited a regiment of African-American soldiers. This unit became the 6th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery. Farrar resigned from his post as the unit's colonel in May 1865, and took a position in St. Louis. Farrar also served alternately as the commander of forces at Vidalia, La., and Natchez.
The collection includes letters, orders, and affidavits related to the recruiting of African-American soldiers, anticipated attacks, and plundering of plantations in the Natchez and Vidalia area. A letter published in the Natchez Democrat give an account of an attack led by Farrar near Vidalia. An 1870 letter to Farrar from J.W. Alfvord, General Superintendent of Education, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands relates to the education of the freedmen.
Notes on the images:
1. Special Order No. 218, August 11, 1863, directing the 30th Regiment Missouri Volunteers to recruit African-Americans at Natchez for service in the Army. By this time, the actions of the Louisiana Native Guards at Port Hudson had proven the valor and commitment of African-American soldiers. Their success in battle tipped the opinion of the Northern public, Federal officials, and military strategists in favor of recruiting blacks for the Army.
2. Letter, January 19, 1864, ordering Lt. Col. H.A. McCaleb, commanding officer of the 2nd Mississippi Artillery, to conscript hands from W.Q. Surham's plantation. Includes McCaleb's reply.