Civil War Parade Ground

During the Civil War, this area served as a parade ground for the 31st regiment of the United States Colored Troops, which had consolidated with the 30th Connecticut Colored Volunteers and a number of black Canadians and other foreign-born people of African descent who also served in the New York regiments. From Hart Island, the 31st regiment, under the command of Colonel Henry C. Ward, departed for Virginia, where it was active in several battles, including the siege of Petersburg. The Hart Island regiment was present at the Battle of the Crater and later fall of Petersburg, Virginia, to Union troops on April 2, 1865. It pursued Lee’s Army from April 3 through April 9 and was at Appomattox before, during and after the Confederate surrender on April 9, 1865.

Image: Illustrated London News, August 12, 1865