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I believe that it was entirely appropriate for you to publish “The Black and the Gray” (7/17). After the film Glory, last year’s exhibition of the gloriously restored Shaw Memorial at the National Gallery of Art, the well-publicized unveiling of the new memorial in the Shaw neighborhood, and the publication of Noah Trudeau’s fine book Like Men of War, it is at last widely known that African-Americans fought hard and well for the Union. It’s much less well-known that some blacks had good reasons—or felt they had good reasons—to fight for the Confederacy.

You—and the re-enactors to whom your reporter introduced us—have done us a service. Not by “resurrecting the Lost Cause,” as Mr. Shea complains (The Mail, 7/31), but by reminding us that history and human motivation are complicated. It’s too bad that some of your readers—even the knowledgeable Bryce Suderow, credited by Trudeau as his “principal researcher”—feel that the blacks who wore gray should be swept under the rug.

University Park, Md.