RALEIGH, N.C. -- A Civil War historical marker being unveiled in New Bern will honor the 1st N.C. Colored Volunteers, a unit of former slaves who fought for the Union.
The highway marker will be unveiled Saturday on the grounds of the historic New Bern Academy, where the unit had a farewell ceremony. The 1st NC Colored Volunteers later were renamed the 35th U.S. Colored Troops.
Mike Hill of the N.C. Office of Archives and History says about 5,000 former slaves from North Carolina fought with the U.S. Colored Troops. He says the soldiers of the 35th were noted for their bravery in the Battle of Olustee in Florida. The Union lost, but it helped change attitudes about the capabilities of black troops.