The hidden ‘significant military role’ of African Americans; during the American Civil War

15 Jun
black_cavalryAfrican American soldiers after the Civil War
Lincoln Emancipipation Statue gives a misleading messageThis Emancipation statue gives a misleading message. It gives the impression that African Americans did nothing; to gain their freedom from slavery.1864_07_02_escaped_slave_image2
Major Delaney USCTMajor Delaney was the first African American Field Grade officer in the United States Army. He was commissioned near the end of the Civil war
Below are pictures of African American soldier in Cuba, during the Spanish-American war.Liberators_of_Cuba Buffalo soldiers Buffalo soldiers I
,,,,,,,,,,,1883 Buffalo soldiersAfter the Civil War ended, for the first time in USA’s history; men of African descent were allowed to stay in the military. Out West they were called “Brunettes” by the Caucasian soldiers in other regiments. When Hollywood movies were made about these soldiers; Caucasians were cast to play the roles; but the soldiers were referred to as ‘Brunettes‘ in many of these movies.

The American Civil War

It is unfortunate that an historical event, that is so very important in the history of African Americans, and in which their ancestors played a very significant military role; which led to the defeat of the Confederate States of America; has been so neglected by the majority of African Americans today. 

Not just African Americans, but the majority of all Americans don’t know anything about the American Civil War, other than two things:

1) the North fought against the South,

2) and President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves by signing the Emancipation Proclamation (EP).

The Emancipation Proclamation was a war strategy of the Civil war.

It only free the slaves under the Confederacy. Not the slaves in states that supported the North.

And many of these freed male slave were enlisted into the Union Army.

According to an historical researcher name Jerry Young:

Abraham Lincoln said that without these men we could have very easily lost the war.”

Pres Abraham Lincoln President Abraham Lincoln

Fighting in the American Civil War, is African Americans greatest achievement on this continent.

Nothing African Americans have done both before or after the American Civil War, right up to the present day, is as significant as what their ancestors did during the Civil War.

By the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 men of African descent (10% of the Union Army) served as soldiers in the U.S. Army and another 19,000 served in the Navy.

Nearly 40,000 African American soldiers died over the course of the war—30,000 of battle related infections.

Without the participation of African American soldiers and sailor the North most likely would have lost the American Civil War.

This excerpt is from mrlincolnandfreedom.org:

(I have change ‘black to African American when it is written)

African American men and women were a vital part of the war effort, both in and out of uniform. By the end of the Civil War, one in 12 soldiers who served in the Union Army was African American.

About 10,000 African American soldiers died in battle and three times as many died from illness.

Historian Robert B. Edgerton wrote: “Their death rate was proportionately much higher than that of ‘white’ soldiers in the Union Army, in part because they were so often used as assault troops and in part because their medical care was usually even worse than that given ‘white’ troops.”

(end of excerpt)

The vital military role played by African American soldiers during the American Civil War have been kept hidden.

For whatever reason those in power don’t want the American people to know that it was through the effort of African American soldiers during the Civil War; is the reason why slavery, ended in the USA.

The aggressive fighting ability of African Americans soldiers on many battlefields during the war; is one of the primary reasons why the Northern states were victorious over the Confederate states; and slavery came to an end.

 The signing of the Emancipation Proclamation (EP) was a strategy of the Civil War 

During the very first year of the war, the recruitment of men to join the army and fight for the Union (North) had dropped.

Many people in the North had expected the war to last only a few weeks.

They were totally unaware of the military strength and determination of the Confederate Army.

When the conflict didn’t end when they thought it should have; their enthusiasm for the war declined.

Many Caucasian men in the North then refused to join the military.

This created a serious problem for the Northern military commanders on the battlefields in the South.

They were desperate for new recruits.

Free men of African descent all over the country, tried desperately to join the military; but they were denied entry.

This is an excerpt from mrlincolnandfreedom.org:

Historian Susan-Mary Grant wrote “that when hostilities commenced between North and South in 1861 African Americans throughout the North, and some in the South too, sought to enlist.

However, free African Americans in the North who sought to respond to Abraham Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers found that their services were not required by a North in which slavery had been abolished but racist assumptions still prevailed.

Instead they were told quite firmly that the war was a ‘white man’s fight’ and offered no role for them.

The notable northern African American leader, Frederick Douglass, himself an escaped slave, summed the matter up succinctly:”

“Colored men were good enough to fight under (George) Washington.

(But) they are not good enough to fight under (General) McClellan.

They were good enough to fight under Andrew Jackson.

They are not good enough to fight under Gen. Halleck.

They were good enough to help win American Independence but they are not good enough to help preserve that independence against treason and rebellion.

They were good enough to defend New Orleans (in the war of 1812) but not good enough to defend our poor beleaguered Capital.”

(end of excerpt from mrlincolnandfreedom)

A draft law was finally passed almost 2 years after the war began; to help fill the need of the Union Army.

All eligible Caucasian men in the North; would be forced into military service. 

After the draft law was passed; riots took place in many northern cities.

The worse riot took place in New York City. 

The rioters were against the draft and blamed African Americans as the cause of the Civil War.

Answer.com reported on one of these riot:

The New York Draft Riots showed all northern states weren’t anti-slavery.

The German and Irish immigrant communities in New York were targeted by the Democratic, or pro-slavery party.

They told the immigrants that they were being drafted so that African Americans people could stay behind and take their jobs.

As a result, one of the ugliest events in New York City history happened.

African American men, women and children were assaulted and even killed by mobs of immigrants.

(End of report)

People of African descent were robbed, beaten, and killed.

Terror mobs roam the streets looking for people of African descent.

They chased and murdered any person of African descent whom they encountered.

Business and orphanages were robbed and burnt. 

lynch-mob in NYC during draft riots

new-york-draft riot 1863-300x257  orphan Asylum on 5th avenue burning Orphanage robbed and burnt

(Also from Wikipedia on this brutal riot)

The exact death toll during the New York Draft Riots is unknown, but according to historian James M. McPherson (2001), at least 120 civilians were killed.

Estimates are that at least 2,000 more were injured.

Total property damage was about $1 million. 

Historian Samuel Morison wrote that the riots were “equivalent to a Confederate victory.

(End of Wikipedia report)

Ironically

One year later, one of the largest gathering in New York city; was for the: Presentation of The Colors to the 20th United States Colored Troop, March 1864.

I am sure that some of the rioters were also in the crowd.

Edward Lamson Henry - Presentation of the Colors to the 20th US Colored Troops

African American soldiers Union Square NYC

26th USCT at Rikers

BEFORE THE DRAFT SOME COMMANDERS BEGAN TO USE…..

Some of the Northern military commanders stationed in the Confederate States; wanted to use the males slaves who had ran away from servitude.

Many of these runaway slaves were camped around the Yankee (Northerners) bases in the south.

These commanders wanted to use these runaway slaves in some kind of military capacity.

One general in South Carolina; General Rufus Saxton, organized the first regiment of African American men.

They were called the “1st South Carolina Volunteers.”

They were not issued weapons, but they were taught to drill (marching).

It had been reported by those who saw them; that they excelled in the art of drill (marching movements).

This general who had personally seen African soldiers under the French command outside the USA; wanted to prove that African American men could also be excellent soldiers.

French African soldiers French soldiers in the 19th century

Unfortunately he made them wear red trousers; just like he had seen some French colonial soldiers wear.

Many of the men hated it; because they said the “Rebs” could easily spot them during combat.

Since the General had not received approval from Washington DC to organize this regiment, these men never received any pay for their service.

Many in President Lincoln’s administration and his advisers in Washington DC; were against what General Saxton, had done.

He was ordered him to disband the regiment.

(These were the men that the movie Glory ridiculed)

Many of President Lincoln’s Cabinet strongly opposed the enlistment of African Americans “contraband” into the Union Army.

They didn’t want to be seen as supporting runaway slaves.

President Lincoln’s Cabinet believed that using slaves to fight; would justify what the South had been saying about him.

That his sole intention for being President of the USA was to destroy slavery.

The politicians also believed that the slaveholders (in Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, Missouri and some Parishes in Louisiana) who were supportive of the North in the war, would change their allegiance to the Confederates; if slaves were used in some military capacity.

This is what mrlinolnandfreedom said:

Mr. Lincoln was clearly worried about the reaction among ‘white’ soldiers – particularly those soldiers from Border States.

In the spring of 1862, Mr. Lincoln met with a group of Republican Senators including Iowa’s James Harlan.

Historian Ida M. Tarbell wrote: “The senators went to Mr. Lincoln to urge upon him the paramount importance of mustering slaves into the Union army.

They argued that as the war was really to free the Negro, it was only fair that he should take his part in working out his own salvation.

Mr. Lincoln listened thoughtfully to every argument, and then replied:

“Gentlemen, I have put thousands of muskets into the hands of loyal citizens of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Western North Carolina.

They have said they could defend themselves, if they had guns.

I have given them the guns.

Now, these men do not believe in mustering in the Negro.

If I do it, these thousands of muskets will be turned against us. We shall lose more than we should gain.”

(end of mrlinolnandfreedom excerpt)

Also, to use slaves as soldiers, would be against the Constitution of the United States.

The government could not confiscate someone else’s property without their permission.

DESPERATION  FOR THE UNION ARMY

But things became worse for the North on many battle fields.

The Army of the Union was not dominating in the field of battle.

Many of the battles and skirmishes were won by the Confederates. 

Although the draft was in place; the Yankee commanders still suffered from lack of new recruits.

The problem was solved with the argument that the President being the Commander In Chief during a time of war have the power to temporarily go against the Constitution.

That is the primary reason why The Emancipation Proclamation (EP) was drafted.

There was even a Preliminary Warning to the South that an EP was being drafted to free the Confederates’ slaves in September 1862.

The Confederates, were warned that if, they didn’t end their rebellion against the United States of America, then the EP would become a reality.

That Lincoln would free their slaves

The EP became effective on January 1, 1863.

The EP gave the commanders in the field the right to forcibly take male slaves from the plantations and used them for whatever military necessity they had. 

READ THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION AGAIN

Look at what it said about using the ex-slaves:

“And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.” 

The North was desperate for new recruits and the EP solved that problem.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis called the Emancipation Proclamation “the most execrable measure in the history of guilty man” and promised that black prisoners of war would be enslaved or executed on the spot.

After the EP became official, many Northern commanders in the South; began raiding slave plantations and enlisted all the able-bodied slaves they could find. 

Many of the slaves were willing to enlist but there were others who didn’t like it.

Many slaves were very loyal to their masters’ family.

We may find this hard to believe because we have only heard about the brutality of American slavery.

Many slaves and their parents before them had spent their whole lives, belonging to the same Caucasian family.

The majority of slave owners were not brutal with their slaves. If they had been; then there would have been many more violent slave revolts in our history. 

Many slaves had emotional attachment to their slave masters and their families.

And many slave masters and their families had also developed an emotional attachment to many of their slaves.

The majority of these Caucasian slave masters and their families, believed in the superiority of the Caucasian race over other races; but nevertheless, they treated their slaves kindly.

Many slaves did not want to join the Union army.

They felt that they were being forced by the Yankees; into replacing one slave master for another.

The Yankee government was now their new master.

THE NEW RECRUITS BROUGHT ABOUT A CHANGE FOR THE UNION ARMY

Without the use of African American men fighting on the side of the Union; the Confederates would most likely have won the war. 

The United States would have been permanently divided. 

The Confederate States of America would have become a reality.

After the EP was signed the North started a vigorous campaign, to recruit free African Americans men, living in the Northern states and certain Parishes in Louisiana; into the military. 

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And free men of African descent in the North responded enthusiastically to joining the military.

Many of the most prominent African American leaders’ sons joined up.

The first regiment from the Northern states was created.

It was called the 54th Massachusetts Regiment.

54 mass regA small group of the 54 Massachusetts Regiment members

Two of Frederick Douglass’ sons were in the 54 Massachusetts Regiment; a fact the movie Glory failed to mention.

The movie Glory was filled with many inaccuracies.

That movie was really a dis-service to the 54th Mass regiment.

The 54 Mass Regiment had some of the most intelligent African American soldiers.

It was made up of the sons of many prominent and wealthy African American families.

The majority of them were articulate, and well educated.

fig52FIRST SERGEANT STEPHEN SWAILS OF THE 54TH MASSACHUSETTS FIRST BLACK SOLDIER TO BE COMMISSIONED AN OFFICER IN A MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT. (LC)
fig53Second Lieutenant William H. Dupree of the 55th Massahusetts Infantry Regiment (USAMHI)

It was even said by the detractors of the 54th; that they would not fight as well as the other regiments made up of slaves; because they had never been enslaved.

They would not fight with the same intensity as those who understood by personal knowledge the brutality of a slave’s life.

During the attack on Fort Wagner these naysayers were proved wrong.

The movie Glory gave the impression that only one person in the regiment was educated and he was shown as a crying wimp.

Crying negro in movie Glory

He was nothing like the numerous intelligent soldiers who were in the 54th Mass. 

Many people were so happy to see a movie that showed that African Americans participated in the Civil War; that they missed all the negative things in that movie.

And believe me the majority of what was in it, was negative.

As I have said before; the movie ‘Glory should be placed side by side with the racist movie; ‘Birth of a Nation‘.fig73THE 55TH MASSACHUSETTS COLORED REGIMENT MARCHES INTO CHARLESTON. (HARPER’S WEEKLY)

After the 54 Mass Regiment was created all the major Northern states started forming their own regiments of ‘Colored’ soldiers.

cleveland colored troops reemberedCleveland, Ohio’s Colored troops

The 1st Louisiana Native Guard (later became the 73rd Regiment Infantry U.S. Colored Troops) was one of the first all-African Amerian regiments to fight in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Many of the 1st Louisiana’s officers were wealthy men of African descent.

1st Louisianna officers of African desent

This is what Wikipedia says about these men:

The Union commissioned several African-American line officers of the Guard. Former Confederate Lt. Andre Cailloux, a Creole of color (free man of color) in New Orleans, was named captain of Company E.

 P. B. S. Pinchback, also a free man of color, was appointed as captain of Company A, and later was reassigned as company commander of the 2nd Regiment. (He later served as governor of the state, as a US Representative and Senator.) 

James Lewis, a mixed-race, former steward on the Confederate river-steamer De Soto, was commissioned as captain of company K.

During this period, some slaves who escaped from nearby plantations joined the regiment, but the Union Army’s official policy discouraged such enrollments(the EP had not been issued then).

In November 1862, the number of escaped slaves seeking to enlist became so great that the Union organized a second regiment and, a month later, a third regiment

The 1st Louisiana was based in New Orleans, Louisiana, and played a prominent role in the Siege of Port Hudson.

During the battle the beloved Captain Andre Cailloux was killed.

Here is what Wikipedia says about him:

Andre Cailloux (1825 – May 27, 1863) was one of the first African American officers in the Union Army to be killed in combat during the American Civil War.

He died heroically during the unsuccessful first attack on the Confederate fortifications during the Siege of Port HudsonLouisiana.

Accounts of his heroism were widely reported in the press, and became a rallying cry for the recruitment of African Americans into the Union Army.

His reputation as a patriot and martyr long outlived him.

In an 1890 collection of interviews, Civil War veteran Colonel Douglass Wilson said,

If ever patriotic heroism deserved to be honored in stately marble or in brass that of Captain Caillioux deserves to be, and the American people will have never redeemed their gratitude to genuine patriotism until that debt is paid.

Cailloux’s remains were recovered and returned to New Orleans. The story of the captain’s heroism had preceded this.

When his funeral was held in the city on July 29, 1863, Cailloux was honored by a long procession and thousands of attendees.

Andre Cailloux funeralCaptain Cailloux’s funeral

Later the 2nd Louisiana guards was formed.

2nd Louisiana Native-Guard-Company-Formation-on-Ship-Island2nd Louisiana Guards

The movie Glory ridicules the members of the 33rd USCT (first called the 1st South Carolina Volunteers).

The movie showed them as being un-disciplined and poor soldiers. Which was far from the truth.

It brought to my mind scenes from that lying, racist movie Birth of a Nation.

Colonel Higginson

Read the book “Army Life ion a Black Regiment by Thomas Wentworth Higginson” who was the commander of the 33rd United States Colored Troops; when the 54 Mass. Regiment was stationed in South Carolina.

BELOW IS ARE EXCERPTS FROM COLONEL HIGGINSON’S BOOK:

“The question was often asked, whether the Southern slaves or the Northern free blacks made the best soldiers.

It was a compliment to both classes that each officer usually preferred those whom he had personally commanded.

I preferred those who had been slaves, for their greatest docility (easily trained or taught) and affectionateness, for the powerful stimulus which their new freedom gave, and for the fact that they were fighting, in a manner, for their own homes and firesides.

…………….Inexperienced officers (Caucasians) often assumed that, because these men had been slaves before enlistment, they would bear to be treated as such afterwards.

Experience proved the contrary. The more strongly we marked the difference between slave and the soldier the better for the regiment.

One half of military duty lies in obedience, the other half in self respect.

A soldier without self respect is worthless.

……………I had to caution the officers to be more than usually particular in returning the salutations of the men; to be very careful in their dealings with those on picket or guard duty; and on no account to omit the titles of the non-commissioned officers (usually African Americans).

So, in dealing out punishments, we had carefully to avoid all that was brutal and arbitrary, all that savored (reminded of the behaviour) of the overseer.

…………A system of light punishments, rigidly administered according to the prescribed military forms, had more weight with them than any amount of angry severity.

To make them feel as remote as possible from the plantation, this was essential.

By adhering to this, and constantly appealing to their pride as soldiers and their sense of duty, we were able to maintain a high standard of discipline,….,,,”

fig69THESE African American soldiers in South Carolina were taught to read and write. (LC)

A CHANGE IN THE SPIRIT OF THE WAR

The entry of African American men to the fight, brought about a change in the spirit of the war. 

The Gettysburg Address referenced to a new birth of freedom for America; was because the people of African descent would be freed from slavery.

The beginning and ending of the Gettysburg Address: 

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.……

……that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The freeing of African American slaves are who President Lincoln was primarily referring to in the Gettysburg Address.

The ending of slavery would bring about a new birth of freedom; for all Americans.

Lincoln was saying that once our nation was freed from having slaves; then the whole nation would experience a ‘new birth of freedom.”

The moral stain of slavery would be removed from the United States of America forever. 

As Fredrick Douglass was reported to have said, “It seem like the  All-Mighty Creator was blessing the North to be victorious in their battles after the EP was issued.” 

At first some racist Northern commanders didn’t want African American men under their command; but after they learned of their fighting ability; they couldn’t get enough of them in their regiments.

Again from mrlincolnandfreedom:

Lincoln biographers Nicolay and Hay wrote: “If a single argument were needed to point out President Lincoln’s great practical wisdom in the management of this difficult question, that argument is found in the mere summing up of its tangible military results.

At the beginning of December, 1863, less than a year after the President first proclaimed the policy (EP), he was able to announce in his annual message that about 50,000 late slaves were then actually bearing arms in the ranks of the Union forces.

A report made by the Secretary of War on April 2, 1864, shows that the numbers of Negro troops then mustered into the service of the United States as soldiers had increased to 71,976.

And we learned further, from the report of the Provost Marshal General that at the close of the war there were in the service of the United States, of colored troops, 120 regiments of infantry, 12 regiments of heavy artillery, 10 companies of light artillery, and 7 regiments of cavalry; making a grand aggregate of 123,156 men.

This was the largest number in service at any one time, but it does not represent all of them.

The entire number of commissioned and enlisted in this branch of the service during the war, or more properly speaking, during the last two years of the war, was 186,017 men.”

President Lincoln repeatedly emphasized the important contributions of African American soldiers to the war effort.

He wrote in August 1864: “Drive back to the support of the rebellion the physical force which the colored people now give and promise us, and neither the present nor any coming Administration can save the Union.

Take from us and give to the enemy the hundred and thirty, forty, or fifty thousand colored persons now serving us as soldiers, seamen, and laborers and we cannot longer maintain the contest.

The party who could elect a President on a War & Slavery Restoration platform, would, of necessity, lose the colored force; and that force being lost, would be as powerless to save the Union as to do any other impossible thing.

It is not a question of sentiment or taste, but one of physical force, which may be measured, and estimated as horsepower, and steam power, are measured and estimated.

And by measurement, it is more than we can lose, and live. Nor can we, by discarding it, get a ‘white’ force in place of it.

There is a witness in every ‘white’ mans bosom that he would rather go to the war having the Negro to help him, than to help the enemy against him.

It is not the giving of one class for another. It is simply giving a large force to the enemy, for nothing in return.”

Biographers Nicolay and Hay wrote that President Lincoln took many opportunities to remind northerners of the debt they owed to African American soldiers:

“So also in an interview with John T. Mills he said: ‘But no human power can subdue this rebellion without the use of the emancipation policy and every other policy calculated to weaken the moral and physical calculated to weaken the moral and physical forces of the rebellion.

Freedom has given us 200,000 men, raised on Southern soil. It will give us more yet.

Just so much it has subtracted from the enemy…Let my enemies prove to the country that the destruction of slavery is not necessary to a restoration of the Union; I will abide issue.’”

(end of excerpt from mrlinolnandfreedom)

colored soldiers at Brady Station
African American soldiers and Caucasian officers at Brady Station

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The following is from quod.lib.umich.edu : 

(Once again I change ‘black‘ to African American)

In early August, (Pres) Lincoln wrote to (Gen) Grant, congratulating him upon his magnificent military achievement, but also noting: Gen. Thomas has gone again to the Mississippi Valley, with the view of raising colored troops.

I have not reason to doubt that you are doing what you reasonably can upon the same subject.

I believe it is a resource which, if vigorously applied now, will soon close this contest.

It works doubly, weakening the enemy and strengthening us.

We were not fully ripe for it until the river was opened (recruitment of African Americans into military service).” 

On August 26, (Pres) Lincoln wrote to a political friend in Illinois (saying) that some of his field commanders who have given us our most important successes, believe the emancipation policy, and the use of colored troops, constitute the heaviest blow yet dealt to the rebellion; and that, at least one of those important successes, could not have been achieved when it was, but for the aid of African Americans soldiers.”

He could have recited the practical, some might say cynical, reasons given for bringing African Americans into the Army—saving the lives of ‘white’ soldiers.

Yet, said Lincoln, “Negroes, like other people, act upon motives. Why should they do any thing for us, if we will do nothing for them?

If they stake their lives for us, they must be prompted by the strongest motive—even the promise of freedom.

And the promise being made, must be kept.

One day peace would come. “And then, there will be some African American men who can remember that, with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this great consummation; while, I fear, there will be some ‘white’ ones, unable to forget that, with malignant heart, and deceitful speech, they have strove to hinder it.

(End of excerpt from quod.lib.umich.edu)

Over 40,000 African American soldiers and sailors died fighting for the Union army.

Near the end of the Civil War, the Confederate leaders finally authorized the forming of a regiment of African American soldiers.

However, it was too late.

The Confederate government had rejected doing so earlier.

They believe it would be a contradiction to the statement made by the Vice-President of the Confederate States at the birth of the Confederacy about ‘the superiority of white men over Negroes’.

But in 1864-65 they were desperate. They knew they were going to be defeated.

The men of African descent in the Union army, had been decimating the Confederate soldiers on many battlefields.

fig72AN ILLUSTRATION MOCKING THE IDEA OF THE CONFEDERACY ATTEMPTING TO FORM BLACK REGIMENTS. (FW)

Men of African descent from the South, had also fought on many occasions, alongside their slave masters and their fellow Caucasian southerners during the war.

There had always existed a close relationship between many Caucasian slave masters families and some of their African American slaves.

Many of them had played together when they were children.

During the war many would fight if necessary beside their masters who were in the Confederate Army.

That is why it has been recently erroneously reported; that there were regiments of ‘negroes’ fighting for the Confederacy.

They were not part of any military unit.

Just some slaves fighting by the side of their slave masters.

GA-57-georgia-regiment

38d4afb828907749ebcb654eb2475653

 BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC

The words and the title of the song  “*John Brown’s Body,” which was a popular song among every African American regiment during the Civil War, was later changed and called “The Battle Hymn Of The Republic. 

The African American soldiers were the only ones who sung this song during the Civil War.

So every time you heard the song The Battle Hymn Of The Republic you should be reminded that your ancestors were the ones who played a significant role in the fight to end slavery in America.

Slavery did not end in the United States of America; just because of the Emancipation proclamation.

When the Northern soldiers march into the Confederate capital in Virginia, near the end of the war; the inhabitants were surprised to see an African American Cavalry regiment among the first to enter. 

Then an African American Infantry entered with a marching  band playing John Brown’s Body and the spiritual song, Babylon Has Fallen. 

fig74A SKETCH OF AFRICAN AMERICAN SOLDIERS MUSTERING OUT OF SERVICE IN ARKANSAS. (LC)
Civil war soldier and wifePhoto of soldier and his wife

We all need to read about the participation of our ancestors in the Civil War. 

We were not just freed by President Abraham Lincoln signing the EP but because of the courageous fighting ability of our ancestors on many battlefields during the civil War. 

Our ancestors have made more sacrifices for this country than any other Americans.

It is one thing to be a patriot when everyone loves and respect you, and welcome you with open arms.

But to be patriotic, when the majority of your fellow citizens hate you and treat you like garbage; is the greatest mark of a true patriot.

Our patriotism have always been rejected by those who hate us.

13245405_10153995039521928_3361578328369350154_n fig76AFTER SERVING BRAVELY IN THE CIVIL WAR, AFRICAN AMERICANS WON THEIR FREEDOM BUT NOT EQUALITY IN THE EYES OF MANY. (FW)

Our patriotism and love for the United States of America, should be for OURSELVES; not to show anyone else that we love this country.

We MUST stake our claim for success in the United States of America.

Our ancestors gave their blood, sweat and tears; for the day when we will have the same rights as every other American citizen.

We need to remember that despite the terrible situation that our ancestors endured during the past centuries here in the so-called ‘New World;’ their achievements are unparalleled by any other group of people in the recent history of the world. 

We need to be inspired by them.

fig67A composite photograph of Civil War Medal of Honor recipients: From top, left to right: ROBERT A. PINN, MILTON N. HOLLAND, JOHN W. LAWSON; JOHN DENNY, ISAIAH MAYS, FOWHATAN BEATY, BRENT WOODS; WILLIAM H. CARNEY, THOMAS R. HAWKINS, DENNIS BELL, JAMES H. HARRIS; THOMAS SHAW, ALEXANDER KELLY, JAMES GARDINER, CHRISTIAN A. FLEETWOOD (LC)

BLACK MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS

In March of 1863 Congress established the Medal of Honor as the United States’s highest award for military valor. Eventually 23 black servicemen—16 soldiers and 7 sailors—would receive the prestigious decoration for gallantry in action during the Civil War, a striking testament to the service and sacrifice of African American volunteers in our nation’s bloodiest conflict.

Perhaps the best-known of these deeds of valor occurred on July 18, 1863, during the desperate night assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina.

Twenty-three-year-old Sergeant William H. Carney of the 54th Massachusetts raised the unit’s fallen banner and carried the flag across the moat of the fort and up the corpse-strewn ramparts.

Though bleeding from several wounds, Carney maintained his grip on the bullet-riddled Stars and Stripes to the end of the fight and proudly declaimed to his surviving comrades, “Boys, the old flag never touched the ground.

Though Carney did not receive his Medal until 1900, his was the first battlefield exploit by an African American to earn the award.

fig64Sergeant Major Christian Fleetwood OF THE 4TH USCT RECEIVED THE MEDAL OF HONOR FOR HIS VALOR IN THE BATTLE OF CHAPIN’S FARM. (USAMHI)

The greatest number of medals presented to black soldiers for a single action came at the battle of New Market Heights, or Chapin’s Farm, one of numerous engagements during the nine-month-long siege of the Southern strongholds of Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia.

On September 29, 1864, three brigades of United States Colored Troops launched a determined attack against formidable Confederate defenses.

Their ranks thinned by a savage fire, the disciplined regiments pressed on through a maze of obstructions—fallen trees and sharpened stakes called abatis. 

When white officers fell dead or wounded, five black sergeants took charge of their respective companies, and led the onslaught toward the enemy position.

Sergeant Alfred B. Hilton was carrying the National Colors of the 4th USCT, when the man bearing the regimental flag was felled beside him.

Hilton raised the fallen banner and pressed ahead with both flags until a bullet in the right leg brought him down.

When Hilton shouted, “Boys, save the colors!” Sergeant Major Christian Fleetwood and Private Charles Veal leaped forward, picked up the flags, and pushed on to the earthworks.

“I have never been able to understand how Veal and I lived under such a hail of bullets,” Fleetwood recalled, “unless it was because we were both so little fellows.”

Veal was the only member of the Colored Guard to emerge from the fight unscathed, though his flagstaff was severed and the silk pierced with twenty-two bullets.

The gallant standard-bearers were among fourteen African American soldiers awarded the Medal of Honor for heroic conduct at New Market Heights.

Despite prejudice, unequal pay, and innumerable hardships, these brave black soldiers exemplified the idealism and sacrifice of men with a cause.

As Medal of Honor winner William Carney put it, “We continued to fight for the freedom of the enslaved and for the restoration of our country.”

—Brian Pohanka

USCT        USCT 11 fig68 fig66 fig63 fig61 fig65 fig62 fig60 fig59 fig57 fig56 fig55 Civil War vet and his family Civil War vet and family Civil War African American Civil War veterans wearing G.A.R. caps and uniforms and young women marching in procession, May 30, 1912 Civil War soldier gaither

Memorial Day began to remember African American soldiers who fought in the Civil War

For information on many of these historical photos and sketches go to https://http://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/civil_war_series/2/sec18.htm

Unfortunately; the majority of our people only know about the bad things (slavery, cruelty, racial discrimination, lynchings, segregation, lack of civil rights etc. etc.); in our history in the United States of America.

We hear little about their intelligence (many plantations owed their success to the knowledge of slaves who were farmers in Africa).

We hear little about the men and women who built the White House and the Capitol Building in Washington DC.

We hear little about their loyalty and faithfulness to kind and caring  ‘masters’ and their family.

Slave masters who would not allow anyone to mistreat their ‘slaves. 

We hear little about the numerous cruel slave masters and overseers killed by slaves. 

We hear little about African Americans’ patriotism (they fought in every military conflict in America from the 17th century until the present). 

Many African Americans fought in the American Revolutionary War against Britain.

Here is a brief bio of one of them:

James Armistead lafayette was a slave in Virginia owned by William Armistead.

After gaining permission to join the war effort from his master, he came upon the British Army in Virginia in 1781 to gather intelligence for the turncoat, Benedict Arnold.

In realty, Armistead was a double agent gathering intelligence for the Continental army under Maj. Gen. Lafayette.

Armistead was very successful; his reports were vital to the planning of the Siege at Yorktown. 

He was so good at fooling the British that Gen. Charles, Lord Cornwallis is said to have been stunned at seeing Armistead standing next to Lafayette after the British surrender.

Unable to secure his freedom because he had not technically served in the American army, William Armistead, along with the help of Lafayette, petitioned the Virginia assembly to free him.

He was granted his freedom, and took Lafayette’s name as a thank you.

In 1824, when Lafayette returned to the United States and toured Virginia, James Armistead Lafayette approached the tavern where the celebrated French general was receiving the cheers of the locals.

Upon entering the tavern, Lafayette recognized him, embraced him and offered his thanks for his service.

Armistead saluted the general one last time, and departed.

Gen. Lafayette, a former slave owner turned abolitionist, once said:

I would never have drawn my sword in the cause of America if I could have conceived that thereby I was founding a land of slavery.”

(bio from battlefields.org)

James Armistead Lafayette and General LafayetteJames Armistead Lafayette and General Lafayette

This war that freed the American colonies from Britain.

During the 17 and 18 century they were also very active in the struggle for the rights of slaves and indentured servants. 

At that time mixed marriages were common between indentured servants from the British Isles and Africans; until, the “rich landowners’ passed laws to stop this unity between the slaves and the indentured servants. 

Over the next centuries many of the children of these marriages (free because the mothers were Caucasians) eventually merged into the Caucasian race (there is a claim that Abraham Lincoln was one of the descendants of these mixed unions). 

It is also a fact that the wife of the Confederate President Jefferson Davis was a woman of African descent. 

Later in the 20th century many prominent Americans were also of African descent. 

These include Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter. 

cartermartin-luther-king-meets-with-president-dwight-eisenhower

Former FBI director (for over 27 years) J. Edgar Hoover was also a man of African descent. 

hove

Clarke Gable the actor was also of African descent.

william 'Clark Gable

Above is Jefferson Davis (Confederate State’s first and last President) and his African American wife. Read about it at:

President John Kennedy’s wife Jackie Kennedy was also of African descent.

jackie-kennedy

The American Civil War came to a swift conclusion after African American soldiers entered the war. 

Their courage and fighting ability were well known during and after the war. 

That is the reason why they were allowed to remain as members of the American military (9th and 10th Calvary Regiment and the 24th and 25th Infantry Regiment) after the war and unfortunately; they were sent out west to fight against the Native Americans.

During past military conflicts and wars in the USA; men of African descent were quickly removed from the military after the war was over.

That was the norm after the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

That changed after the Civil War.

My point is this article is to highlight that: not all of our history is about weeping and wailing. 

Some of the most courageous and wonderful Human Beings that the world has ever produced; existed among African Americans. 

We need to study their history and emulate them.

African Americans should stop believing and saying; our ancestors were freed because Abraham Lincoln signed the EP.

Our ancestors were freed from slavery; because they fought on many battlefields and on many battleships to ensure the Confederacy was defeated. 

Matthew Brady photo fo Afeican American soldiers outside Petersburg, Va photo Camp of the 27th Regiment of the U.S. Colored Troops, made up mostly of soldiers from Ohio, outside Petersburg, Va., sometime between June 1864 and April 1865. 
Field and Staff of 39th U.S. Colored Infantry in front of St. Petersburg Va., Sep. 1864Field and Staff of 39th U.S. Colored Infantry in front of St. Petersburg Va., Sep. 1864

(THE FOLLOWING IS FROM CIVILWAR.ORG)

Charles Trowbridge

by Lt. Colonel C. T. Trowbridge, 33rd U.S. Colored Troops, February 9, 1866

GENERAL ORDERS
HEADQUARTERS 33D U. S. C. T.
LATE 1ST SO. CAROLINA VOLUNTEERS
MORRIS ISLAND, S. C., Feb. 9, 1866

General Order
No. 1

        COMRADES: The hour is at hand when we must separate forever, and nothing can take from us the pride we feel, when we look upon the history of the ‘First South Carolina Volunteers,’ the first black regiment that ever bore arms in defense of freedom on the continent of America.

        On the 9th day of May, 1862, at which time there were nearly four millions of your race in bondage, sanctioned by the laws of the land and protected by our flag,–on that day, in the face of the floods of prejudice that well-nigh deluged every avenue to manhood and true liberty, you came forth to do battle for your country and kindred.

        For long and weary months, without pay or even the privilege of being recognized as soldiers, you labored on, only to be disbanded and sent to your homes without even a hope of reward, and when our country, necessitated by the deadly struggle with armed traitors, finally granted you the opportunity again to come forth in defense of the nation’s life, the alacrity with which you responded to the call gave abundant evidence of your readiness to strike a manly blow for the liberty of your race.

And from that little band of hopeful, trusting, and brave men who gathered at Camp Saxton, on Port Royal Island, in the fall of ’62, amidst the terrible prejudices that surrounded us, has grown an army of a hundred and forty thousand black soldiers, whose valor and heroism has won for your race a name which will live as long as the undying pages of history shall endure; and by whose efforts, united with those of the white man, armed rebellion has been conquered, the millions of bondsmen have been emancipated, and the fundamental law of the land has been so altered as to remove forever the possibility of human slavery being established within the borders of redeemed America.

The flag of our fathers, restored to its rightful significance, now floats over every foot of our territory, from Maine to California, and beholds only free men!

The prejudices which formerly existed against you are well-nigh rooted out.

Soldiers, you have done your duty and acquitted yourselves like men who, actuated by such ennobling motives, could not fail; and as the result of your fidelity and obedience you have won your freedom, and oh, how great the reward!

It seems fitting to me that the last hours of our existence as a regiment should be passed amidst the unmarked graves of your comrades, at Fort Wagner.

Near you rest the bones of Colonel Shaw, buried by an enemy’s hand in the same grave with his black soldiers who fell at his side; where in the future your children’s children will come on pilgrimages to do homage to the ashes of those who fell in this glorious struggle.

The flag which was presented to us by the Rev. George B. Cheever and his congregation, of New York city, on the 1st of January, 1863,–the day when Lincoln’s immortal proclamation of freedom was given to the world,–and which you have borne so nobly through the war, is now to be rolled up forever and deposited in our nation’s capital.

And while there it shall rest, with the battles in which you have participated inscribed upon its folds, it will be a source of pride to us all to remember that it has never been disgraced by a cowardly faltering in the hour of danger, or polluted by a traitor’s touch.

Now that you are to lay aside your arms, I adjure you, by the associations and history of the past, and the love you bear for your liberties, to harbor no feelings of hatred toward your former masters, but to seek in the paths of honesty, virtue, sobriety, and industry, and by a willing obedience to the laws of the land, to grow up to the full stature of American citizens.

The church, the school-house, and the right forever to be free are now secured to you, and every prospect before you is full of hope and encouragement.

The nation guarantees to you full protection and justice, and will require from you in return that respect for the laws and orderly deportment which will prove to every one your right to all the privileges of freemen.

To the officers of the regiment I would say, your toils are ended, your mission is fulfilled, and we separate forever.

The fidelity, patience, and patriotism with which you have discharged your duties to your men and to your country entitle you to a far higher tribute than any words of thankfulness which I can give you from the bottom of my heart.

You will find your reward in the proud conviction that the cause for which you have battled so nobly has been crowned with abundant success.

Officers and soldiers of the 33d U. S. Colored Troops, once the First So. Carolina Volunteers, I bid you all farewell!

By order of 

LT. COLONEL C. T. TROWBRIDGE
Commanding regiment

E. W. HYDE
1st Lieut. 33d U. S. C. T. and acting adjutant

Source:  Reminiscences of My Life in Camp with the 33rd US Colored Troops, Late 1st SC Volunteers, 

by Susie King Taylor

Susie TaylorSusie Tayor, Civil War nurse

– Mustering Out of the Service

The majority of Americans have no knowledge of the origin of the song ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

This is one of the more popular version before the song was ‘whitewashed.’ 

“John Brown’s body lies moldering in the grave;

While weep the sons of bondage whom he ventured all to save; But tho he lost his life while struggling for the slave,His soul is marching on. 

 (Chorus) Glory, glory hallelujah. Glory, glory hallelujah. Glory, glory hallelujah. His soul is marching on.

John Brown was a hero, undaunted, true and brave,

And Kansas knows his valor when he fought her rights to save;

Now, tho the grass grows green above his grave,

His soul is marching on.

(Chorus)

He captured Harper’s Ferry, with his nineteen men so few,

And frightened “Old Virginny” till she trembled thru and thru;

They hung him for a traitor, they themselves the traitor crew,

But his soul is marching on.

(Chorus)

John Brown was John the Baptist of the Christ we are to see,

Christ who of the bondmen shall the Liberator be,

And soon thru out the Sunny South the slaves shall all be free,

For his soul is marching on.

(Chorus)

The conflict that he heralded he looks from heaven to view,

On the army of the Union with its flag red, white and blue.

And heaven shall ring with anthems o’er the deed they mean to do,

For his soul is marching on.

(Chorus)

Ye soldiers of Freedom, then strike, while strike ye may,

The death blow of oppression in a better time and way,

For the dawn of old John Brown has brightened into day,

And his soul is marching on.”

Go to youtube and listen to the version sung by Paul Robeson of John Brown’s Body.

When you listen to him sing, you can feel the spirit of our ancestors who sang it during the Civil war. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP6cTO_OCMY

Every time you hear the ‘Battle Hymn of The Republic” think about what you have just read.

File written by Adobe Photoshop? 5.2 General Colin Powell

BUFFALO SOLDIERS MONUMENT

civil-war-memorial-statue-at-the-top-of-boston-common-at-the-base-bm4ahm

Statues in Boston of The 54th Mass Regiment with Colonel Shaw

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African American Marines in training during WWII and General Daniel ‘Chappie’ James, the USAF’s first African American 4 star General.

Read about them here:

https://chiniquy.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/african-american-marines-in-wwii/

http://www.nationalaviation.org/our-enshrinees/james-jr-daniel/

Cw1CW,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,signlanguageThis drawing and the ones below were done by Frederick Remington. He rode and reported on the Buffalo soldiers.WWII soldiers of African descentWWII artillery men
drawing below by Frederic Remington
frederick-remington

hellfighters-from-harlemHellfighters from Harlem, New York, USA.

The Harlem Hellfighters were not just great because of their fighting ability; they were also responsible for taking Jazz music to France and then to Europe.

Click below to ‘read’ the article.

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Pictures of Jesse Leroy Brown and his Naval comrades. Read about him at:

https://chiniquy.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/forgotten-african-american-naval-pioneer/

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1888: A contingent of African Americans or 'buffalo soldiers' of the US army make camp around a small fire during a scouting mission. Original Artwork: Drawing by Frederic Remington. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

1888: A contingent of African Americans or ‘buffalo soldiers’ of the US army make camp around a small fire during a scouting mission. Original Artwork: Drawing by Frederic Remington. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

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Read also: “The first American hero of WWII was an African American man. Dori Miller”     

https://chiniquy.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/the-first-american-hero-of-world-war-ii/

,,,,,,,,,,,1883 Buffalo soldiers,,,,,,,,,,,Buffalo_Soldiers_image,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,10thCavCharge,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Mexico

Below quote from nps.gov/parkhistory/online:

Saddest of all, though, with the passing of each decade, the ‘white’ population forgot more and more about ‘black’ military service in the (Civil) war. And by the time of the First World War, black’ Americans had to fight all the same stereotypes that their Civil War ancestors had battled half a century before.

13245405_10153995039521928_3361578328369350154_n

READ THE ARTICLE BELOW: 

The Hidden history of the military achievement of African Americans

https://chiniquy.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/the-plot-to-hide-the-military-participation-of-african-americans-in-the-usa/

READ THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY FIRST 13 YEARS LIVING IN AMERICA, AFTER LEAVING MY HOMELAND, JAMAICA

Confessions of a self-hating Negro

This is the story of one man’s journey to self-discovery.

Like so many others, Mujahid Abdullah learned behaviors and acquired beliefs of denigration about his culture, ethnicity, and physical appearance.

These beliefs came from his local surroundings as well as the wider society and would have a major effect on his entire life.

Within the pages of this book, not only do we see these effects, but we see how he was able to move beyond the messages that were so deeply ingrained from childhood.

This is an eye-opening story of cultural practices and family beliefs that others may keep hidden.

Paperback:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1659703654/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=mujahid+abdullah&qid=1585503456&s=books&sr=1-3

Kindle:

https://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Self-Hating-Uncle-Tom-Negro-ebook/dp/B086MKYN51/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=mujahid+abdullah&qid=1585745967&s=books&sr=1-4

One Response to “The hidden ‘significant military role’ of African Americans; during the American Civil War”

  1. chiniquy September 28, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

    Reblogged this on chiniquy.

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