By John David Smith
Encouraged and educated by way of the newest study in African American, army, and social background, the fourteen unique essays during this publication inform the tales of the African American infantrymen who fought for the Union reason. jointly, those essays probe the wide army, political, and social value of black infantrymen' armed carrier, enriching our realizing of the Civil battle and African American existence in the course of and after the clash. The individuals are Anne J. Bailey, Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr., John Cimprich, Lawrence Lee Hewitt, Richard Lowe, Thomas D. Mays, Michael T. Meier, Edwin S. Redkey, Richard Reid, William Glenn Robertson, John David Smith, Noah Andre Trudeau, Keith Wilson, and Robert J. Zalimas, Jr.
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Extra resources for Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era
As the Northern regiments ﬁlled up with free blacks, Stanton authorized free state governors to send more than one thousand agents to Louisiana, North Carolina, and the Mississippi Valley to recruit slaves and fugitive slaves. 52 In March Stanton dispatched Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas to the Mississippi Valley not only to recruit blacks but also to identify white oﬃcers to command them. Overcoming all manner of racism within the ranks, Thomas succeeded brilliantly in recruiting freedmen, encouraging white noncommissioned oﬃcers to apply for commissions in black units, and in popularizing the employment of black soldiers.
Reﬂecting on the meaning of this bill, historians James G. Randall and James M. McPherson have emphasized its serious limitations as an instrument of emancipation. In practice it liberated only those slaves who belonged to ‘‘traitors’’ as determined on a case-by-case basis by the federal courts. ’ ’’ The act was, however, as historians Benjamin P. Thomas and Harold M. ’’ Though the act ‘‘gave Lincoln legal authorization to use Negroes in any capacity he saw ﬁt,’’ the president believed that the time was not yet right to arm the blacks.
Lincoln needed more men to ﬁll depleted Union regiments. To a signiﬁcant degree the Confederacy’s military successes had depended on slavery. Bondsmen provided the agricultural and industrial labor that equipped, fed, and supplied the Confederacy’s armies. Slaves constructed fortiﬁcations, repaired railroads, and freed up white men to serve in the ranks. ‘‘Slavery has been, and is yet the shield and helmet of this accursed rebellion,’’ Douglass remarked in January . ’’ ‘‘We are all liberated,’’ by the Emancipation Proclamation, Douglass said.
Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era by John David Smith