WILMINGTON -- Anyone can see Fred Johnson lives his life in another era. He spends his time studying and reliving the Civil War and the contribution African-Americans made while serving. Johnson said, "There were thousands of black troops, black US troops as well as Confederate troops" Three out of the 200,000 colored troops are Johnson's direct descendants. His great, great grandfather Peter Quomony, his brother Abraham and their brother-in-law Edward Ford were all freed slaves who served in the Union army during the Civil War. After spending years researching his family history Johnson found a way to re-live it by joining a local re-enactment group. He's been a member for 13 years. "I enjoy being active in this re-enactment to tell the story and happy to have the records that I can pass on to my family and hope that they hopefully will cherish and remember," Johnson said. Johnson tracked down many of his ancestors by writing to the national archives in Washington DC. He encourages others to learn about their families; the New Hanover Public Library downtown can be a great resource. It houses an extensive collection of records of both the Union and Confederate armies. Local historian Joe Sheppard said, "It's first of all remarkable to find your soldier. It's an act itself. There's lots of people that come in to do research and they try to find their ancestor and it's sometimes difficult." Johnson says after you've learned where your family's history lies the effort it took is well worth it. To honor the United States colored troops, Wilmington's Cameron Art Museum will be hosting a symposium February 22-24.
Cameron Art Museum February 22-24 Third Annual Civil War Living History Weekend: United States Colored Troops Symposium February 22-24 For more information: 910-395-5999