"To stand by the stars and stripes"

Michael Shiner (1805 – 1880). Diary entry for June 1, 1861. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

on the first Day of June 1861 on Saturday Justice Clark was Sent Down to the Washington navy yard For to administer the oath of allegiance to the mechanics and the Labouring Class of working men With out Distinction of Colour for them to Stand by the Stars and Stripes and defend for the union and Captain Dalgreen Present and I believe at that time I Michael Shiner was the first Colered man That had taken the oath in washington DC and that oath Still Remains in my heart and when I taken that oath I taken It in the presence of God without predudice or enmity to any man And I intend to Sustain That oath with the assistance of the Allmighty God until I die for when a man takes an oath For a Just cause it is more than taking a Drink of water Sitting Down to his Breakfast.

This blog complements the Library of Congress exhibition, “The Civil War in America.” This series of posts chronicles the sacrifices and accomplishments of those—from both the North and South—whose lives were lost or affected by the events of 1861–1865. To learn more about the object featured in this blog entry, visit the online exhibition.