Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!

Friday, April 6, 2012

F is for First Kansas Colored Volunteers

For me, the most fascinating unit in the Civil War west of the Mississippi is the First Kansas Colored Volunteers. Most of the soldiers for this Union unit were runaway slaves from Missouri and Arkansas, many of them "stolen" on raids by Kansas guerrillas and given their freedom in Kansas. These raids were often led by abolitionist Kansas senator Jim Lane. It was Lane who created the unit in 1862, against the direct orders of President Lincoln, who was still waffling on the issue of black soldiers.

The regiment got its "first taste of powder" on 26 October 1862 when they fought and defeated a much larger force of rebel guerrillas at the Battle of Island Mound. Until then, most white people North and South assumed that blacks wouldn't make good soldiers. The First Kansas Colored Volunteers started to change this racist mentality.

I'm shopping around a book proposal about the First Kansas and am having trouble finding a publisher or agent to take it on. This seems strange to me considering that I already have more than ten books published, including two on the Civil War. I'm no stranger to book rejections, it's part of the business, so I'll keep trying. It's a story worth telling.


  1. Best wishes for telling your story! The Civil War offers so many great tales. Such a troublesome time for our country. Its amazing we survived.

  2. I so hope you get a publisher. This seems like one of those stories that needs to be told.
    A2ZMommy and What’s In Between


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