Guard Honors African-American Civil War Soldier
MENANDS, NY-A New York Army National Guard Color Guard joins Civil War reenactors and members of the Patriot Guard, in honoring Civil War Soldier 1st Sgt. William Francis, a member of the famed 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first Black unit to fight in the Union Army. Local Civil War historians identified Francis' unmarked grave at historic Albany Rural Cemetery and arranged for the Veterans Administration to provide a new stone to mark his final resting place.
Francis, who enlisted as a private, served throughout the Civil War, including the 54th's assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina, made famous in the 1989 movie "Glory".