United States Colored Troops during the Civil War
MSG Ernest S. Peterson
United States Army Sergeants Major Academy
SGM Denson and Mr. Rodriquez
13 January 2013
Throughout history, many would argue the involvement of African American males during battle. Wars in the past prior to the American Civil War were often begin fought and dominated by white males, and with very little participation by black men. The American Civil War lasted for four years within the United States. It was a war fought between the Southern States, which later known as the Confederacy, and the Northern States or the Union. Although blacks had very little presence during battle, however, it would make it presence known during this conflict with the establishment of an all Black Regiments, called the United States Colored Troops. Many believed these soldiers were the ancestors for the Buffalo Soldiers. This essay will not only give you the foundation of the U.S.C.T, but also prove that they would contribute to determining the overall outcome of certain battles throughout the war.
Role of the United States Colored Troops
The American Civil War was a bloody and gruesome conflict between the North and the Confederate South. This four year battle from 1861-1865 would have a remarkable impact on American history. Battles often fought in the North far as Pennsylvania and as far West as Arizona. With the majority of these battles fought by white males, and with help from African American Males, the United States Colored Troops Regiments were a force of proud black men ready to fight for its’ freedom. With little training and no education, these men were call to fight and defend in any way possible. Life within these black regiments would be difficult. Many believed that these men were too ignorant, and lacked the heart and courage to fight, and they had no place within the ranks. However, as the war progress battle after the battle, the USCT would not only have to prove their selves worthy, they would have to earn the respect from their white counter partners. Accomplishing these would be no easy tasks; it would come with immeasurable sacrifice.
Establishment of the U.S.C.T.
War became a burden for the white men fighting on the battlefield, burdens such as performing their everyday camp duties and any other labor-intensive activity to sustain them. In order to relieve the strain and pressure of the allocated tasks, the federal the government considered it would be sensible to start a law that would allow the use of black men to service within the military. Section 12 of the Second Confiscation and Militia Act of July 17, 1862, prior to the establishing of the Bureau of Colored Troops, would mark the first official authorization, allowing the use of African-American males in the military. This act of the president would provide strict guidance. For the sole purpose of performing any labor-intensive duties, or any government service in that they qualified to be competent to perform. However, for their acts of service, they were to be paid, Section 15 of the act stated, “that persons of African descent (of any rank) who under this law shall be employed will receive $10 a month and one ration, $3 of which monthly pay may be in clothes.” (Second Confiscation and Militia Act, 1862) This eventually would be resolved, because of the white privates receiving $13 per month plus $3.50 in clothing allowance. In June of 1864, Congress decided to grant equal pay for colored soldiers and made this action apply to past decisions made. An addition they received equal rations and supplies, and medical attention. Fighting in the war was an act engaged by white males while most black males were fighting for their freedom; they also wanted to serve their country. The Emancipation Proclamation, a federal document signed by the President of the United States, authorizing the freedom of slaves...
References: Gladstone, W. (1990). United States Colored Troops
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