African American Soldiers and Sailors, Saved the North During the American Civil War

15 Jun

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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 only African Americans, but the majority of Americans don’t know anything about the American Civil War; other than, the North fought against the South, and President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves by signing the Emancipation Proclamation (EP).

 The EP was a war strategy

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 would; their enthusiasm for the war declined.

Many Caucasian northerners refused to join the military.

The Northern military commanders on the battlefields in the South, were desperate for new recruits.

A draft law was finally passed to help with military enlistment.

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.

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

The rioters blamed African Americans, as the cause of the war and the draft. 

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.

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

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

Unfortunately he made them wear red trousers; just like he had seen the African 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.

But, the politicians in Washington DC were against what General Saxton, had done.

They ordered him to disband the regiment.

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, would change their allegiance to the Confederates; if slaves were used in some military capacity..

Also, to do that would be against the Constitution of the United States.

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

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

The Yankee army 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.

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. 

Many Northern commanders then started raiding slave plantations in the South 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 of them 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 were; then there would have been many uprising by the slaves. 

Many slaves had emotional attachment to their slavemasters and their families.

These slaves did not want to join the military.

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, living in the Northern states and certain Parishes in Louisiana. 

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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.

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

The movie Glory was filled with many inaccuracies.

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 families.  

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.

This would bring about a new birth of freedom; for all Americans.

Lincoln was saying that once they were freed from slavery; 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 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. 

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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.

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 besides their masters.

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 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. 

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 song Babylon Has Fallen. 

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

It is one thing to be a patriot when everyone loves, 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.

Our patriotism should be for OURSELVES; not to show anyone else that we love this country.

We MUST stake our claim for 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.

Unfortunately; the majority of our people only know about the bad things (slavery, cruelty, discrimination, segregation etc.). 

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; 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. 

FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was also a man of African descent. 

Clarke Gable the actor was also of African descent.

Jefferson Davis and his African American wife. Read about it at:

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 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 our people. 

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. 

(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
– Mustering Out of the Service

* ” I believe the reason for changing the lyrics and words of the song John Brown’s Body was to ‘whitewash’ it of it’s tie with slaves and slavery. 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.

(Chorus)

BUFFALO SOLDIERS MONUMENT

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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.

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

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

Cw1CW,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,signlanguageHere and below are 19th century drawings by Frederic Remington

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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/

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One Response to “African American Soldiers and Sailors, Saved the North During the American Civil War”

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

    Reblogged this on chiniquy.

    Like

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