During the Civil War, many African Americans were eager to strike a blow for freedom long before American public opinion was ready to support the fighting efforts of the Sable Arm. The 6th Regiment of United States Colored Infantry fought a war against prejudice as well as the Confederacy. At first, their mission brought them little recognition and glory as they struggled through rain and mud in a series of grueling marches and faced the arduous task of digging the infamous Dutch Gap Canal, moving tons of earth by hand as Confederate shells fell among the workers. At last, the regiment became involved in the crucial campaigns against Petersburg and Richmond, and took part in the assault against the Confederate Goliath, Fort Fisher, North Carolina. The African Americans' greatest ordeal and demonstration of courage came during the battle of New Market Heights, where their charge through withering opposing fire resulted in frightful casualties and the winning of the Congressional Medal of Honor by three soldiers.