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The Film

Leading to Glory is the story of five Louisiana men who volunteered to fight for the freedom they sought and cherished. Their stories have often been forgotten, shared only by word of mouth or hidden deep within public and private archives, but the impact of their lives is still felt to this day. 

Website:  Leading to Glory

The First, Second, and Third Native Guards were units of the Union Army during the American Civil War that were made up of African Americans from Louisiana. These units played a significant role in the Union’s efforts to recapture the state from the Confederacy. Their service was an essential step toward ending slavery in the United States.


The First Native Guard was formed in 1861, shortly after Louisiana seceded from the Union. It was made up of free African Americans who had previously served in the state militia. Despite facing discrimination and segregation, the First Native Guard proved to be a capable and dedicated unit, and they saw action in several battles during the early years of the war.


The Second Native Guard was formed in 1862 after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This unit was made up of formerly enslaved people who had been freed due to the proclamation. Like the First Native Guard, the Second Native Guard faced discrimination and segregation, but they were determined to fight for their freedom and the Union cause.


The Third Native Guard was formed in late 1862 and comprised free African Americans and formerly enslaved people. This unit saw significant action during the Union’s efforts to retake Louisiana, and they played a crucial role in the capture of Fort Hudson and the Siege of Port Hudson.


The service of the First, Second, and Third Native Guards was crucial to the Union’s efforts to win the Civil War and end slavery in the United States. These units faced many challenges and overcame numerous obstacles, and their bravery and dedication to the cause of freedom played a significant role in the war’s eventual outcome.