Military Status of Negro Troops

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)

Military Status of Negro Troops

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The legal status of Negro soldiers ought never to have been a mooted question. Ancient and modern history furnished safe and noteworthy precedents for the guidance of the government in the War of the Rebellion. The words of the Constitution descriptive of persons eligible to military service are clear. In the matter of the pay and bounty of Negro soldiers, the action of the government was manifestly unwise and unjust. In every army, the Negro had served in—ancient and modern, Christian and Pagan—he had always received the same wages and allowances awarded to other soldiers. In the Revolutionary War, it was sometimes said that slaves made expensive soldiers because they were purchased at public expense, and were then paid the same as white soldiers. The enemies of the Negro and the obstructionists in Congress sought by every means and upon all occasions to prevent the passage of every appropriation bill that contained an item for the maintenance of the Negro troops already accepted by and in the service of the government.

Keywords: Negroes; legal status; Negro soldiers; War of Rebellion; Constitution; Congress; army; military service; slaves; wages

Chapter.  7392 words. 

Subjects: Military History

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