Steward Henderson

Leading African American historian, past president, and co-founder of the 23rd Regiment United States Colored Troops.

Meet Steward Henderson

As one of our area’s leading African American historians, Steward Henderson is the past president and co-founder of the 23rd Regiment United States Colored Troops. Joining other Civil War historians, he is an author with the Emerging Civil War website. He is a battlefield guide with Battlefield Tours of Virginia, formerly Fredericksburg Tours.

Steward is a seasonal interpretive park ranger at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Arriving at the park in February 2005, as a volunteer and becoming an interpretive park ranger in May 2007 to the present day. Other memberships include the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Co. B Reenactors, African American Civil War Memorial and Museum, American Battlefield Trust, and Central Virginia Battlefield Trust.

Steward retired in January 2005, as a Senior Vice President and Area Manager for Retail Banking, at SunTrust Bank (now Trust Bank) Greater Washington Region, after a 35-year career in the financial services industry. Mr. Henderson attended Howard University, the American Institute of Banking, and the Consumer Bankers Association Graduate School of Retail Bank Management(renamed Consumer Bankers Association Executive Banking School).

His presentation of Fighting for Their Freedom discusses the history of African Americans fighting in the Civil War, with emphasis on the 23rd USCT and the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. He will present a few of the famous battles of the USCT, in which they played major roles. He will discuss the people involved in recruiting soldiers and a general who praised their fighting during the war, to the Congress of the United States. He has presented this program as a 45-minute talk for Civil War roundtables, as well as a 2-hour program for the Mary Washington Elder Study in Fredericksburg. This program was one of the featured talks in the Emerging Civil War Virtual Symposium on C-SPAN 3 in 2021, titled the United States Colored Troops.

The presentation African Americans During the Civil War discusses various events involving slavery, which led to the Civil War. Specific African Americans who played important roles during and after the Civil War are mentioned. Slavery is an important topic and is prominently discussed as the cause of the Civil War and the actions taken by the enslaved to fight for their freedom. His most important lecture on this topic was presented in a Black History Month program for the Stafford County Virginia Tourism Department at the historic Rowser Building, where he was the featured speaker.

As a reenactor and living historian, Steward appeared in the short film, The Spy Within, which is shown in the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum. He also has participated in several reenactments, parades, speaking engagements, and over one hundred events, since 2011.

Learn more from Steward

Take a private Virginia battlefield tour with Steward Henderson

Battle of Fredericksburg

This tour goes beyond the stone wall at Marye’s Heights. We’ll spend time around the town of Fredericksburg as well as Slaughter Pen Farm & Prospect Hill.

Battle of Chancellorsville

One of Robert E. Lee’s greatest victories. Hear about Stonewall Jackson’s Flank Attack & the bloodiest morning in the Civil War.
African American Civil War

From Enslaved to Soldier: African American Civil War Tour

Hear about the life of the enslaved people & the Emancipation Proclamation. See where U.S. Colored Troops fought against Robert E. Lee’s Army for the very first time.

Published Articles

What If…USCT Led The Attack at the Battle of the Crater
Emerging Civil War
August 2022

Book Review: Slavery: Interpreting American History
Emerging Civil War
March 2022

The 30th Anniversary of Glory, Celebrated by the 54th Mass, Co. B
Emerging Civil War
January 2020

Significant USCT Sites in the Eastern Theater: Virginia and Washington, DC
Emerging Civil War
May 2019

What Was So Wrong with Slavery?
Emerging Civil War
April 2019

War Comes to St. George’s (part one)
Emerging Civil War
December 2017

Fredericksburg, My Favorite City in Virginia (part one)
Emerging Civil War
August 2016

Black Confederates: Laborers or Soldiers? (part one)
Emerging Civil War
May 2016

My Life as a Black Civil War Living Historian—part one
Emerging Civil War
May 2013

Featured Videos

Over 100 5 Star Reviews

Took a full day tour of Jacksons Valley Campaign a few weeks ago and it was outstanding. The tour guide was well prepared and provided an in-depth overview of the multiple battles that make up this campaign.


We are big Civil War buffs, and even after reading about the battles and previously visiting some of the battlefields, we STILL learned so much. Highly recommend this tour for anyone, it’s well worth it.


We would highly recommend taking as much of the tour as you can. I learned so much and appreciate how he explained each battle. My husband has always been very interested in the civil war and now I am too. Can’t wait to go on more tours.


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