African-American Troops in the Civil War: The 54th Massachusetts The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts was organized in early 1863 by Robert Gould Shaw, twenty-six year old member of a prominent Boston abolitionist family. Shaw had earlier served in the Seventh New York National Guard and the Second Massachusetts Infantry, and was appointed colonel of the Fifty-fourth in February 1863 by Massachusetts governor John A. Andrew. As one of the first black units organized in the northern states, the Fifty-fourth was the object of great interest and curiosity, and its performance would be considered an important indication of the possibilities surrounding the use of blacks in combat. The regiment was composed primarily of free blacks from throughout the north, particularly Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Amongst its recruits was Lewis N. Douglass, son of the famous ex-slave and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass.
A month before Appomattox President Davis signed the "Negro Soldier Law" authorizing slave enlistments. The act was too little too late, the war was already lost for the south. Blacks in the Union Army For Negroes the road to the battle fields of the civil war was hard fought for. Abolitionists and prominent blacks in America such as Frederick Douglass effectively campaigned for the enlistment of black soldiers as early as Fort Sumter. Once enlistment began 185,000 black union soldiers were organized into 166 all black regiments (145 infantry, seven cavalry, 12 heavy artillery, one light artillery, and one engineer).1 Black soldiers participated in 449 battles, 39 of them being major engagements.2 Of these engagements Frederick Douglass' own two sons were with the 54th Mass... ... middle of paper ... ...ice.
On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves in the rebelling territories of the confederacy and authorizing Black enlistment in the Union Army. Since the beginning of the Civil War, free Black people in general, , were ready to fight on behalf of the Union, yet they were prevented from doing so. Popular racial stereotypes and discrimination against Blacks in the military contributed to the prevailing myth that Black men did not have the intelligence and bravery necessary to serve their country. By the fall of 1862, however, the lack of White Union enlistment and confederate victories at Antietem forced the U.S. government to reconsider its racist policy. As Congress met in October to address the issue of Black enlistment, various troops of Black volunteers had already been organized, including the First South Carolina and the Kansas Colored Troops.
Congress aloud them to enlist them because they thought they might as well have more soldiers. By the Spring of 1863, African Americans were fighting in many wars. They were a very big help to the Union. About 10 percent of the Union's navy was African Americans. There were estimated about 190,000 African Americans fought in the Civil War.
Black soldiers, who continued to serve in segregated units, were involved in protest against racial injustice on the home front and abroad. The introduction of black troops left a profound effect on Europe. More than Page 4 350,000 African Americans served in segregated units during World War I, mostly as support troops. Several units saw action alongside French soldiers fighting against the Germans, and 171 African Americans were awarded the French Croix de Guerre or Legion of Honor for their heroic actions. In response to the mistreatment and discrimination from the black community, several hundred African American men received officers` training at Des Moines Iowa.
With the war just beginning, ex-slaves and other African Americans wanted to get in on the action. They wanted to fight against those who had enslaved them and their families for generations. They began volunteering and trying to enlist, but everywhere they went they were rejected. "In general, white soldiers and officers believed that black men lacked the courage to fight and fight well'; (History of African-Americans in the Civil War). Even some abolitionists believed putting them in the battlefield would be putting African Americans higher than they should be.
African Americans joined and fought willingly (Doc B) and bravely now that they had a cause to fight for—the removing of slavery. More than thirty-eight thousand died in war for the Union, suffering in the Fort Pillow Massacre and serving in units such as the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts regiments and other black military units. Due to prejudice and ideas, the Confederacy did not enlist slaves into the army until the war was nearly over; confederate slaves worked on farms while white men joined the army. The novel idea of African Americans engaged in the war, marching and fighting for the Union, changed many whites’ view and treatment of blacks. ... ... middle of paper ... ...rstand God’s words (Doc E).
The Blacks in the Civil War For the beginning, in the middle and in the ending of the Civil War in the United States, the Black Americans were central as soldier and civilian. At first, people tried hard to get around this fact. Even President Abraham Lincoln administration sent Black volunteers home with an understanding that the war was a ''White man's war". The policy was eventually changed not because of humanitarianism but because of the Confederation's battlefield brilliance. The South brought the North to a realization that it was in a real brawl that it needed all the weapons it could lay hands on.
African Americans in the Civil War About 180,000 African American people comprised 163 units that served in the Union Army, during the time of the Civil War, and many more African American people had served in the Union Navy. Both the free African-Americans and the runaway slaves had joined the fight. On the date of July 17, in the year of 1862, the U. S. Congress had passed two very important acts that would allow the enlistment of many African Americans, but the official enrollment had occurred only after the September, 1862, issuance of the, Emancipation Proclamation. In general, most white soldiers and officers, had believed that most of the black men, who had served in the Civil War, lacked the courage, and the will to fight and the power to fight well. In October, in the year, 1862, many African American soldiers, who were a part of the, 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers, had silenced their critics by repulsing the numerous attacking Confederates at the battle of Island Mound, in Missouri.
In Boston disappointed would-be volunteers met and passed a resolution requesting that the Government modify its laws to permit their enlistment. The Lincoln administration wrestled with the idea of authorizing the recruitment of black troops, concerned that such a move would prompt the border states to secede. When Gen. John C. Frémont (photo citation: 111-B-3756) in Missouri and Gen. David Hunter (photo citation: 111-B-3580) in South Carolina issued proclamations that emancipated slaves in their military regions and permitted them to enlist, their superiors sternly revoked their orders. By mid-1862, however, the escalating number of former slaves (contrabands), the declining number of white volunteers, and the increasingly pressing personnel needs of the Union Army pushed the Government into reconsidering the ban. As a result, on July 17, 1862, Congress passed the Second Confiscation and Militia Act, freeing slaves who had masters in the Confederate Army.