On January 1st, 1863, as the Civil War entered another hellish year, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in areas under rebellion and allowing the federal government to recruit African Americans into the Union Army, was enacted. At the time, thirty-year-old Oscar Barton was living in Vestal, New York. A descendent of free-blacks from Rhode Island, Barton’s grandfather had been a soldier during the American Revolution and Oscar would follow in his grandfather’s footsteps.
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Photos Courtesy of:
Tioga County Historical Society
Library of Congress