Freedom by the Sword

by William A. Dobak. U.S. Army Center of Military History. 2011. 553p. illus. maps. SuDoc# D 114.19:SW 7. GPO Stock# 008-029-00542-5. $38.

The book cover of "Freedom by the Sword: The U.S. Colored Troops 1862-1867" by William A. Dobak features a photograph of nine men who are among those whose contribution to the war effort is detailed.


In what may be the definitive “operational history” of black troops in action during the Civil War, Dobak describes the differences in how freedmen and runaway slaves were recruited, how they lived, and how they were trained. Most important, it considers how gallantly these men performed in combat at a time when many of their own leaders questioned whether they would be willing to fight for their own freedom and for that of their families. Much of the documentation comes from the “War of the Rebellion” ­series.

Awards Won

Title Year
image for GODORT awards Notable Government Documents

To recognize excellence in government publications, identify documents of distinction, and commend
individual works of superlative nature.

2011 - Selection(s)