By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Today Philadelphia’s Union League is unveiling a painting that pays tribute to African-American troops during the Civil war.
The painting by Don Troiani depicts the rescue of the regimental colors during the Battle of New Market Heights Virginia in September of 1864.
The unit being depicted is the 6th United States Colored Troops.
James Mundy, the Director of the Library and Historical Collections at the Union League, says members of the then-brand-new league helped organize the unit.
“In May of 1863, when the War Department issued a general order creating the Department of Colored Troops, there was a letter sent from 276 Philadelphians to the Secretary of War, Edwin McMaster Stanton, almost 90% were Union League members and the club was only six months old at that point. Stanton replied, yes, you have permission to raise colored troops in Philadelphia,” Mundy says.
The painting’s unveiling is invitation only, but there will be some public displays shortly.