Massachusetts Colored Regiment II

Lead: The opportunity for blacks to serve in the Federal armed forces during the Civil War was a novel idea and was resisted by skeptical and prejudiced whites. Many minds were changed on the deadly slopes of Battery Wagner.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Getting official permission for blacks to fight for the Union was one thing, making it happen was much harder. Massachusetts formed the 54th Colored Regiment in early 1863, but the Commonwealth did not have enough resident African-Americans to fill it. The Governor, a committed abolitionist, issued a national call for volunteers and, led by activist Frederick Douglass, who contributed time and energy as well as two sons to the regiment, the ranks of the 54th gradually filled. They were led by a white man, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who turned down the Governor’s offer at first but later accepted and was glad he did.

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Massachusetts Colored Regiment I

Lead: During the Civil War, the South was not the only region of warring America where blacks faced a struggle to overcome racism. One way they fought for their place as citizens was to fight.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the early days of the Civil War African Americans in the north and in areas liberated by Union armies were not allowed to fight for the Federal cause. When a group of blacks tried to form a local militia in Cincinnati they were told, “we want you damned niggers to keep out of this, this is a white man’s war.” The vast majority of Northerners were just as bigoted, just as prejudiced as Southerners. Yet, slowly this began to change. Abraham Lincoln grew in his understanding of the nature of conflict in which the nation was locked. White abolitionists worked tirelessly for full citizenship participation for Africans. In addition, many blacks were willing to sacrifice their lives on the battlefield. As a result, stereotypes were destroyed, prejudice was challenged, and free blacks and freedmen contributed much to the defeat of the Confederacy and the end to slavery.

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A House Divided: Overland Campaign II

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: West of Fredericksburg, Virginia is a dreary stretch of scrub oak and pine known as the Wilderness. There at Chancellorsville, a year before, Robert E. Lee had virtually executed Joseph Hooker’s Army in perhaps Lee’s most spectacular victory of the war, but Ulysses Grant was no Hooker. He crossed the Rapidan with 115,000 men and plunged into the Wilderness fully aware that Lee would try his magic once again. On May 5, 1864 Lee pitched into Grant’s flank, but in savage fighting in the smoke-clouded woods the two armies fought to a standstill.

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A House Divided: Overland Campaign I

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: President Lincoln would say it later but he understood a fundamental fact as spring turned to summer 1864. “Upon the progress of our arms, all else chiefly depends.” His re-election, emancipation and the restoration of the Union would not at any point be achieved by negotiation. In his message to Congress outlining discussions with Jefferson Davis that lamentable summer, he wrote that “Davis does not attempt to deceive us. He cannot voluntarily reaccept the Union, we cannot voluntarily yield it. Between him and us the issue is distinct, simple and inflexible. It is an issue which can only be tried by war, and decided by victory.

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City Point Explosion II

Lead: In the dank summer of 1864 what appeared at first to be a huge accidental explosion rocked the wharves and storehouses of the Union Army at City Point, Virginia.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In mid-1864 General Ulysses S. Grant established his headquarters and supply depot in the village of City Point at the confluence of the Appomattox and James Rivers 10 miles northeast of Petersburg, Virginia. From there he conducted siege operations in front of Petersburg, which guarded the vital rail links between Confederate capitol Richmond and the rest of the beleaguered South.

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City Point Explosion I

Lead: On a hot sultry August afternoon in 1864 a huge explosion wracked the wharves at City Point, Virginia, filled as they were with goods supplying Union forces at Petersburg. The Federals thought it was an accident.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: City Point was a quiet and peaceful village roughly 10 miles northeast of Petersburg. Today it is a part of Hopewell, Virginia, but for a brief period in 1864 and 1865 it seemed the center of the American universe. Determined to break the supply line between the rest of the Confederacy and its capital at Richmond, General Ulysses S. Grant, had besieged Petersburg which lay at the head of that vital web of railroads spreading south and west. City Point became Grant’s headquarters and its wharves, old and improvised, soon filled with Union food, medicines, supplies and, dangerously, as it would develop, munitions, guns, armament, and gunpowder in huge quantities.

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Robert the Bruce II

Lead: Some wag has said that treason is often a matter of timing. He could not have found a better example of that truism than the conflicted career of Scotland’s liberator, Robert the Bruce.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the 1290s English King Edward I was meddling in Scottish affairs. He forced the Scottish nobles to heel and to accept his candidate for the empty throne, John de Balliol. This was a bit too much for the Scots who rebelled and took up with the French. Edward invaded in 1296 and beat them badly, confiscating the sacred Stone of Scone on which Scottish kings had been crowned. Edward also crushed William Wallace’s popular rebellion at Falkirk in 1298, but the English king, despite prodigious campaigning, could not completely subdue the Scots.

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Robert the Bruce I

Lead: During the late medieval period, English imperial ambitions in Scotland provoked a long and bitter time of warfare and savage cross-border conflict. This gave rise to the successful revolt and triumph of Scottish liberator, Robert the Bruce.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Since ancient times, Scotland has often been the suffering unfortunate in a long and troubled relationship with its southern neighbor, England. The Scots are a hearty race, independent and at times fierce in defense of home and hearth, but they also inhabit a wild and rugged country, not particularly rich in natural resources. The population was always smaller than England’s and suffered a climate that is severe during much of the year. The Clan structure of the Highlands and internal disputes generally prevented Scotland from mounting a united front when facing challenges from the south, a circumstance the English were all too happy to exploit.

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