The Importance Of Black Soldiers In The Civil War

2449 words - 10 pages

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 discrimination black soldiers had to endure, like racism within the Union Army. Other areas of this paper will focus on some important battles that were fought by black regiments and the struggles many of these black soldiers had to endure after the war.
When the Civil War began, former slave Fredrick Douglas asked President Abraham Lincoln to create a Black regiment of around 10,000 men. Douglas’ hope was to have the regiment created within thirty days. Douglas quoted, “One black regiment alone would be, in such a war, the full equal of two white ones.” In the first year of the American Civil War, no black men served in the Union Army. The war department had no intention to recruit black soldiers even if they were willing to fight. The war department saw no need for black soldiers because they thought the war would only last months. The United States Congress would eventually authorize the enlistment of black soldiers in 1862 but would not see combat until 1863. Most Americans (In the North and South) were not ready to accept black men as soldiers. America was deemed a white powerful nation. The “No Negroes Need Apply” policy came to effect. Not until President Abraham Lincoln signed the Second Confiscation Act (1862) and the...

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