The Negro Volunteer—Military Employment of Negroes

George Washington Williams

in A History of the Negro Troops in the War of the Rebellion, 1861–1865

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780823233854
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823240807 | DOI:

Series: The North's Civil War (FUP)

The Negro Volunteer—Military Employment of Negroes

Show Summary Details


During the War of the Rebellion, the South took the initiative in employing Negro soldiers. However, they were free Negroes, and many of them owned large interests in Louisiana and South Carolina. A law was passed on June 28, 1861 conferring upon the black man military privileges and duties. It was the first law enacted by any State, whether in or out of the Union, and before the United States Congress or the Confederate Congress had entertained any proposition contemplating the military employment of Negroes. While the Confederate States did not use Negroes to any great extent, they had learned the value of the Negro in a time of war as well as in a time of peace. Although the Confiscation Act of August 6, 1861, and the order of the War Department to the commanding general at Port Royal, warranted and justified the employment of fugitive slaves in a military capacity, no direct legislation had been secured to enroll the Negro as a soldier. Nevertheless, a number of Negro surgeons and chaplains were commissioned during the war.

Keywords: War of Rebellion; South Carolina; Negroes; Negro soldiers; Confederate States; military employment; Confiscation Act; slaves; law

Chapter.  19792 words. 

Subjects: Military History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Fordham University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.