The Importance of Black Soldiers in the Civil War

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The American Civil War is perhaps the most important event in U.S. history since the American Revolution. Over half a million men would perish between the Union and Confederate Armies. It is important to know that Ulysses S. Grant was an important figure (perhaps the most important behind Abraham Lincoln) in the war. Many will see him as the hero of the American Civil War. Nevertheless there were others who would play an important role to help the Union win the Civil War. The implementation of black soldiers was crucial to the Union in order to achieve victory against the Confederate Army. Yet, the contributions and accomplishments of black soldiers during the Civil War were overlooked for nearly a century following the Civil War. However, within the last 30 years, many scholars and historians have begun to publish books on the history of black soldiers and their contributions to the Civil War. During the Civil War, free blacks were permitted to serve in the Union Army. But it was not until 1863, that black soldiers would see combat and charge against the confederate armies. It is estimated that around 186,000 African American served the Union Army throughout the war, with the creation of 163 colored regiments. My research paper will focus on the Black regiments of the American Civil War and their importance to U.S. history. Some of the important issues that will be discussed in this paper will include the struggles of black soldiers during the Civil War, from their wage earnings (where most made less money than white soldiers); the clothes they wore (most had no uniforms at all). Also, many of these soldiers had trouble getting the basic necessities like shoes, socks and soap. Other areas I will discuss will be the discriminatio... ... middle of paper ... ...ward G. A Regiment of Slaves: The United States Colored Infantry, 1863-1866. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole, 2003. Preisser, Thomas M. “The Virginia Decision to Use Negro Soldiers in the Civil War, 1864-1865.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 83, no. 1 (January 1975): 98-113. Accessed April 14, 2014. Smith, Michael O. “Raising a Black Regiment in Michigan: Adversity and Triumph.” Michigan Historical Review 16, no. 2 (October 1990): 22-41. Accessed April 25, 2014. Ward, Geoffrey C. The Civil War: An Illustrated History. London: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990. Wilson, Keith. “Black Bands and Black Culture: A Study of Black Military Bands in the Union Army during the Civil War.” Australasian Journal of American Studies 9, no. 1 (July 1990): 31-37. Accessed April 5, 2014. http://jstor.or/stable/41054165.

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