The forgotten history and service of the 135th U.S. Colored Troop was celebrated this weekend with re-enactments, a symposium and pop-up museum in downtown Goldsboro.
The 135th USCT Living History Weekend: The Lost Troop began Friday with an encampment of re-enactors on Center Street along with a presentation of "Musical Drama of the Civil War" at the Paramount Theatre.
Events continued into Saturday with a day full of information sessions at the Paramount Theatre, with the weekend expected to be capped with the keynote speaker Hari Jones, a well-known professional Civil War historian.
Recognizing the 135th USCT has been a long time in the making. The weekend is a product of three years of work by Jay and Amy Bauer who pieced together details of the lost troop of 1,154 men -- 30 soldiers estimated to be from Wayne County and 220 from North Carolina -- who joined the Union forces in 1865.
The Bauers wanted to share the forgotten work of the soldiers.
"They enlisted here so this is where the 135th formed, right here in Goldsboro, probably downtown on Center Street," Amy Bauer said in a March as the event was being promoted.
"You put your hand up and you pledge your life to the military -- you deserve to be honored. And this troop was forgotten."
Mildred Johnson and her niece, G. Raquel Mitchell, both of Baltimore, Maryland, said their great-great grandfather, Mars Evans, served in the 135th USCT.
"We had no idea that we had a family member that served in this troop," Johnson said.
"It has been eye-opening to learn of our family member involvement during the Civil War. We want to give respect to the men who died so we can have freedom, we stand on their shoulders," Johnson said.
Harvey Gooding, who is one of the re-enactors said after watching the movie "Glory" that he was inspired to participate living history events.
In full and true Civil War-era garb, re-enactors set up tents, cooked food and fired cannons during the weekend-long event.