History In Full Color | Petersburg | 02010 - African American army cook; During siege of Petersburg, June 1864-April 1865 [LC-DIG-cwpb-02010]
Taken 28-Jun-12
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Keywords:African american, cook, petersburg, va, virginia
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Dimensions3500 x 1750
Original file size2.88 MB
Image typeJPEG
Color spaceUncalibrated
Date modified28-Jun-12 12:32
02010 - African American army cook; During siege of Petersburg, June 1864-April 1865 [LC-DIG-cwpb-02010]

02010 - African American army cook; During siege of Petersburg, June 1864-April 1865 [LC-DIG-cwpb-02010]

Taken at City Point Virginia, this image shows an African-American cook. Due to the size of the cooking pots he most likely was part of an officers' mess and was preparing meals for them. Enlisted soldiers were provided rations, but not means of preparation.

Officers on the other hand had their meals prepared by mess cooks or servants. With the large number of freed slaves that began travelling with the army it became common to use some of them as domestics. Since many of them had been trained and were working in that capacity prior to freedom it was the easiest way to take advantage of their skills.

While many African-American’s joined the ranks of the “colored soldiers” scenes such as this of blacks performing in a service role continued throughout the war in Union camps.