Soldiers in Hagerstown were among the first black men in Maryland to join the ranks of the Union during the Civil War, and were involved in the siege of Petersburg, Va., during the conflict.
Among the first local blacks who joined the Union were members of Moxley’s Band, a Hagerstown-based black brass band that became known as the 1st Brigade Band, U.S. Colored Troops, according to local historian Steve Bockmiller.
The unit’s work during the war included performances as a way to encourage others to join the Union cause, said Bockmiller, who added the musicians were later sent to the front lines.
Many of the local black Union soldiers were members of Lyon Post No. 31 of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization similar to the American Legion. (Herald Mail)