A photo of former slave Peter Thomas
Peter D. Thomas
Peter Thomas was a 14-year old slave when Wisconsin troops liberated the Tennessee plantation where he lived in 1862. Thomas joined the 15th Wisconsin Infantry as a servant because black soldiers were not allowed to join the Union army early in the war. When this rule changed, Thomas joined the 18th U.S. Colored Infantry. Thomas moved to Wisconsin after the war and was later interviewed about his experiences for an article available elsewhere in Turning Points in Wisconsin History.