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The New York Public Library, Humanities and Social Sciences Library, General Research Division

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, March 7, 1863

Native Guards

With the Union occupation of New Orleans in 1862, free Afro-Creole volunteers formed three regiments of Native Guards under Union commanding general Benjamin F. Butler. Roudanez's L'Union newspaper insisted that military service entitled the new Union soldiers to political equality. Their Haitian ancestors, the paper declared, had volunteered their services in the American Revolution in support of the principles proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. An Afro-Creole of Haitian heritage, Captain Henry Louis Rey, exhorted free men of color to join the U.S. army and take up the "cause of the rights of man." Black New Orleanians flocked to the training camp daily to watch the Native Guards in their afternoon dress parades and drills.

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