Remembering the Civil War’s United States Colored Troops

It’s when Maurice Imhoff dons his vintage Union Army soldier uniform that he feels most connected to history. With his navy blue wool jacket, a wooden rifle with a bayonet fixed into the muzzle, and a gold eagle breastplate across his chest, he represents an often forgotten group of soldiers — the United States Colored Troops.

“These men, once they got the opportunity, they stood up and took the call to action,” Imhoff said. “They picked up the rifle, picked up the flag, and they led the way towards freedom and to free others.”

Though Civil War reenactors are most often thought of as older men, Imhoff, 19, is a high school senior who graduates in June. He is a member of the 102nd U.S. Colored Troops Company C, a reenactment group in Jackson, Michigan composed of mostly high school students.

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