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Black Sailors in the Union Navy

Black sailors aboard the USS Miami during the Civil War at Plymouth, NCDuring the course of the War Between the States, there were hundreds of black men that joined the Union fleet stationed here at Plymouth under various commanders during Union occupation. They represented a part of the more than 18,000 Black sailors, (including more than a dozen women), who served in the Union Navy during the Civil War. The Navy was not segregated like the army, and there were black sailors on almost every one of the almost 700 Union vessels.

There were eight Black sailors who received the Medal of Honor. One of those eight sailors received the distinguished award for saving a Union ship near Elizabeth City, NC when the ship caught fire in battle and he covered an open powder keg with his body to keep it from being exposed to flames or sparks and exploding.

 

Above is a picture of Black sailors here at Plymouth aboard the USS Miami.