The Civil War was one of America’s most brutal battles in history. Majority of which being white, male soldiers. Over the years, many historians have argued the actual involvement of blacks during the civil war era. Many claiming that they were doing nothing more than assisting the actual, white soldiers in combat such as, nurses, and wagon drivers, not actually picking up the gun and shooting alongside in battle. Most people look over the fact that almost ten percent, or 180,000, of the Union army were African American. Though a small fraction of the amount of total soldiers during the war, their involvement is still significant. These soldiers recruited and voluntarily, committing the same acts of bravery of any Caucasian solider, due to the prejudice against them, they were pushed to the back burner and treated with disrespect, virtually diminishing their extensive courageous acts. Nevertheless these soldiers made an impact in world changing war.
The federal government placed many restrictions and discriminatory actions on the black troops. At the beginning of the Civil War, African Americans were not allowed to serve in the U.S. military. By the summer of 1862 it was clear that additional troops were needed. To meet the need, Congress passed two bills that allowed the participation of black soldiers in the Union Army. The Government established segregated units called The Bureau of Colored Troops. The measure lacked popular support and the U.S. Army did not begin recruiting black soldiers until 1863.
Racial ideas and violence would deter black officers from achieving a higher status in the Union army. Blackness being associated with feminine qualities was the factor that made black officers fight to prove their manhood and achieve their freedom. Even though the wage discrepancy would become a problem that was solved as the war went on, black soldiers would leave the army because of the financial stress that their family endured. All in all, black soldiers proved their abilities but were not able to achieve equality status as their white
Throughout my research about the importance of African Americans in the American Civil War, I realized how our modern society underappreciates the involvement of African American soldiers in the Civil War. Although the involvement of African American soldiers in the American Civil War is depicted in various ways in multiple sources. The main difference is the amount and the thoroughness each source provides. However, what they do have in common is that during the Civil War, African Americans played a huge role in the victory of the Union. In an article by Thavolia Glymph, she quotes Henry L. Abbot about what it means to be an soldier in war. He wrote that the authority and symbol of a soldier is a gun, not a shovel. Despite the fact of being full-fledged soldiers, African American soldiers were often ignored and extremely mistreated by white soldiers. They were given menial tasks such as digging trenches and were constantly degraded by Union soldiers. They scarcely held guns, but rather held shovels and sent to noncombat labor As a result, African
The average soldier in the Civil War was about 5’8” and weighed about 143 pounds. The age of the average soldier ranged from 18 to 39 years old. Soldiers carried as much as 80 pounds of a load. Soldiers got really homesick once they first joined the army. Before the army soldiers were mostly farmers. Soldier’s religions were mostly Christian and some were Jewish. There were also some blacks that were in the Civil War and the blacks made less money than the whites. The blacks made around 11 dollars a month. In the army there were more than 300 different career options.
The white soldiers thought that African Americans were less intelligent than them and would be better suited as cooks and cleaners for the war effort than fighting in complex battles ("Black Soldiers in the U.S Military During the Civil War"). This was not the only way that black soldiers faced discrimination. Black soldiers were not paid equal to the white. Black soldiers were paid $10 per month and from that $10, $3 was automatically taken out to pay for the soldier's clothing. White soldiers on the other hand were paid $13 per month and did not have to give any of that amount for clothes ("Black Soldiers in the U.S. Military During the Civil War). When the black soldiers found out about their discriminatory and unfair pay they were very upset. Many protested and fought for equal pay. Their fight was successful. Finally, in June 1864 Congress passed an equal pay to U.S Colored Troops. Black soldiers would now receive the same rations and supplies, as well as better medical care ("Black Soldiers in the U.S Military During the Civil
Slavery was a complicated issue for Northern whites. As pointed out by historian Kevin M. Schultz (2011), Northerners were generally in agreement that slavery was wrong, yet they were very uneasy with the idea of creating a large, free black population in the U.S. The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 was a step toward that idea. The Proclamation did not free all slaves, since the border states of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware were exempted, as were Tennessee and areas of Virginia and Louisiana already under Union occupation (Schultz, 2011, p. 265). An important provision, however, was that black Americans would now be allowed to join the military. In the two years following the Emancipation Proclamation, 180,000 black men enlisted (Schultz, p. 265). They were poorly treated but eager to fight for a cause in which they had a high stake. Their numbers and their passion for the cause made African-American soldiers a powerful asset to the Union.
“. . . In the face of heavy odds, black troops had proved once again their courage, determination, and willingness to die for the freedom of their race”
Approximately 180,000 Negros served in the Union during the Civil War. The Negro Soldier was overall a good one. One example was at the Assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina. The 54th Massachusetts Colored troops led the assault and scaled the fort’s parapet and were only driven back after brutal hand-to-hand fighting. The Negro faced some discrimination in the Union Army in areas such as pay. It wasn’t until June 15th, 1864 that the Congress granted equal pay to Negro troops. Several Negro soldiers earned the Medal of Honor. The North attitude towards Negro troops was mainly positive, while the South did not want Negros to serve in the Confederate Army. It wasn’t until the Confederates were running low on men did they allow Negros to serve. The Negros serving in the North felt it as their duty to serve and support the cause for their own freedom.
Enrollment began in September of 1862 (Allen 225). Thousands of black men enlisted. They would be commanded, led, and trained by all white officers. There were not to be any black officers commissioned and all African American soldiers were to be regarded as laborers. They would receive less pay than a white soldier. Instead of $13 plus clothing expenses, they would only receive $10 without clothing expenses (The American Civil War: A Multicultural Encyclopedia 55).
With the various ways slavery was spread throughout the geography of the United States, these variations formed different cultures and conflicting laws on slavery. Due to inconsistent systems of slavery, it resulted in the Civil War, dividing the North and the South over the issues of slavery. In the end of the Civil War, many individuals with every sense of positive intentions gave opportunities and support to freed slaves developing into beneficial members for the nation. The United States came together as a nation to solve the issues of slavery, freedom, and the reorganization problems particular to African Americans. It is seen throughout our history all efforts to solve these issues but sadly African Americans still face many of the these problems today. These problems and issues of the 20th century needed to be solved by the leadership of African Americans, for their African American community. W.E.B Du Bois is a tremendous example of an African American leader for what was best for the United States at that time.
As of the mid-19th century and on was when African Americans and women were beginning to gain somewhat equal rights or were still disputing them. It is also well know that both have suffered in vastly different manners, but in some cases are very similar in certain struggles. African American men and women had to survive the terrors of the Ku Klux Klan in the southern states, managing life with the Black Code looming over their every move. They were basically fighting for something that a lot of people take for granted, their right to live as a regular citizen. White women on the other hand had their fair share of discrimination as well, when it came to labor, labor organizations and, equal wages.
Although many of the Negro soldiers had proved themselves as very reputable soldiers, the discrimination in pay, and in many other areas, had remained very widespread. According to the notable Militia Act of 1862, all soldiers of any African descent, were to only receive $10.00 a month, plus
Prejudice was also very evident towards African Americans in the Union forces in that they were usually assigned to labor duties, such as cleaning camps, building defenses and garrison duty, and in many cases not allowed to fight. Up until 1864, there was even a difference in pay for black soldiers, and they were not allowed to be commissioned officers.
Black soldiers, as well as their commanders, would be in deep trouble if captured during the battle. For this reason, blacks were kept safe by staying out of the front lines, this was the number one way to ensure everyone's safety. Though it was obvious which of the soldiers (black or white) would be treated more harshly. As Elsie, Wynell Burroughs Schamel, and Jean West. mentioned in “The Fight for Equal Rights” “one of the most heinous known examples of abuse, Confederate soldiers shot to death black Union soldiers captured at the Fort Pillow, TN, engagement of 1864. Confederate General Nathan B. Forrest witnessed the massacre and did nothing to stop