By John David Smith
Encouraged and trained through the most recent study in African American, army, and social heritage, the fourteen unique essays during this e-book inform the tales of the African American infantrymen who fought for the Union reason. jointly, those essays probe the huge army, political, and social importance of black squaddies' armed provider, enriching our knowing of the Civil conflict and African American lifestyles in the course of and after the clash. The participants 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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Conkling, also reiterating a point he had made and would make many times—that no matter what happened during and after the war, emancipation would stand. Military and political events would not undo the Union’s commitment to emancipation. Blacks, he explained, ‘‘like other people, act upon motives. Why should they do anything 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. ’’ ‘‘Thus,’’ Ira Berlin explains, in ‘‘ the Lincoln administration had tied the question of slavery to the larger issues of the nature of the war, the impact of emancipation on American society, and the role of blacks in the war eﬀort.
Lee at the Battle of Antietam on September provided the breakthrough Lincoln desperately needed. Not only had the timing become right, but circumstances rendered such action crucial. The war had turned into a military stalemate, and morale was low in the North. England threatened to recognize President Jeﬀerson Davis’s new government. 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.
These issues could not be easily separated, and the insatiable demand for soldiers forced the question of black enlistment to the fore. 50 Despite its newfound commitment to black recruitment, Lincoln’s administration continued to move casually and ineﬃciently—according to historian Fred A. Shannon, it was ‘‘slow, uncertain, halting, and timid’’— in organizing African American units. Historian W. E. Burghardt Du Bois described the Northern government as taking ‘‘perplexed and laggard steps’’ toward emancipation and black enlistment.
Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era by John David Smith
Categories: African American Studies