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People/Characters: Samuel Watson Vannuys

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Uncommon Valor: A Story of Race, Patriotism, and Glory in the Final Battles of the Civil War by Melvin Claxton

Character description

Samuel Watson Vannuys was a native of Indiana and a Union soldier who fought at Gettysburg and died a Captain at New Market Heights.  His letters to his parents were preserved and present an interesting account of the evolution of his attitude, very common among white soldiers, towards African-Americans.  He did not initially approve of the Emancipation Proclamation, and, in spite of his ambitions to be an officer, refused to consider applying to be an officer of Colored Troops.  Reconsidering, he became a Lieutenant (later Captain) with the 4th U.S. Colored Troops.   He eventually regarded them as the equals to any soldiers in the army.

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