Criscuolo Park in 1863 was a very different place than it is today. In the fall of that year, in the midst of the Civil War, more than 900 black recruits for the 29th Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers mustered and trained to fight for their country on those grounds. One year earlier, the governor opposed enlisting black troops, but as the war wore on, it became difficult to meet enlistment demands. As the first all-black regiment in Connecticut, the troops of the 29th endured racism and discrimination. They received lower pay than white troops and were often ordered to the back of the corps. Still, the Regiment fought valiantly in several engagements in Virginia and the men of the 29th were the first infantry units to enter Richmond after it was abandoned by the Confederate Army. A few days later, they witnessed history when President Lincoln visited the city and the bloody war was over. Dedicated in 2008, the monument at Criscuolo Park commemorates the soldiers of the Connecticut 29th Colored Regiment C.V. Infantry. The memorial was designed by sculptor Ed Hamilton, who also created the Amistad Memorial in downtown New Haven.
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