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The Civil War not only brought freedom to slaves, but it also brought military duty for many American blacks at the front lines of the warring armies. The drama of the military involvement of black soldiers comes to life in this volume. The extraordinary and virtually unknown documents in this book - written by slaves and masters, blacks and whites, soldiers and citizens - make vivid the monumental struggles of the 1860s. Drawn from the extensive records of the National Archives. this unprecedented written record came about through the intense involvement of Union and Confederate military officers and policy makers in the process of emancipation. The documents, together with the interpretive essays, offer a panoramic view of a central event in American history, as well as a unique look at revolutionary change in the day-to-day lives of men and women who experienced it.
Acknowledgements; Introduction; Editorial method; Symbols and abbreviations; The Black Military Experience 1861-1867: Part I. Black Enlistment and the Collapse of Chattel Bondage: 1. Early recruitment: lowcountry South Caroline, Georgia and Florida, Louisiana, and Kansas; 2. Recruitment in the free states and free-state recruitment in the occupied South; 3. Recruitment in tidewater Virginia and North Carolina, the Mississippi Valley and Tennessee; 4. Recruitment in the Border states: Maryland, Missouri and Kentucky; 5. Confederate recruitment; Part II. The Structure of Black Military Life: Limits and Opportunities: 6. Black officers; 7. Fighting on two fronts: the struggle for equal pay; 8. Black soldiers and their officers; 9. Military discipline, punishment and justice; Part III. Black Military Life: On Duty: 10. Duties: 'instead of the musket it is the spad and the wheelbarrow and the axe'; 11. Combat: 'to strike a manly blow for the liberty of your race'; 12. Prisoners of war; Part IV. Black Military Life: Off Duty: 13. Camp life; 14. Education; 15. Health; 16. A brothers' war: black soldiers and their kinfolk; Part V. Black Soldiers in Postwar America: 17. Black soldiers in the postwar Army of occupation; 18. Home from the war: discharged black soldiers; Index.