Someone once asked me what is the difference between a trivia junkie and a historian. My answer is simply that I am gather bits of information and groups of related information that collectively are of interest. The same techniques as a stamp collector or any other collector uses for enjoyment.
I have recently been interested in the US Colored Troops that were military organizations for free men of color and freedmen. About 180,000 served in the army units formed as the war progressed. Black sailors were not uncommon prior to the war and many served on the Federal blockading fleets. The pre-war Regular Army only had jobs for blacks in the catagories of cook and teamster. Only one African-American name is on Battle Monument at West Point and that is CC (colored cook) Jackson Kelly of the 4th US Cavalry, Regular Army.
With that as a background, there were 26 black men awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in the Civil War. Eight in the Navy and 18 Army. Of the soldiers, 14 of the 18 were awarded for combat at Chaffin’s Farm (a.k.a. New Market Heights) on 29 September 1864. One was awarded for Ft Fisher, one for The Petersburg Crater, one at Ft Wagner and one at Honey Hill, South Carolina. Four of the Navy were awarded for the Battle of Mobile Bay. Interestingly, one sailor was not African-American but Native American. Native Americans were considered as colored men for enlistment purposes. Private Bruce Anderson of the 142nd New York Infantry was the only instance of an award to a black man in an all white unit, which was truly rare. One sailor had his award revoked for desertion.
This information would not have struck me had I not made a list of all the awardees and the battle actions for which they were decorated.