Wednesday, December 19, 2012



December 18, 1959

BLACKS IN UNION ARMY: The 185,000 Black soldiers in the Union army were organized into 166 all Black regiments (145 infantry, 7 cavalry, 12 heavy artillery, 1 light artillery, 1 engineer). Largest number of Black soldiers came from Louisiana (24,052), followed by Kentucky (23, 703) and Tennessee (20,133). Pennsylvania contributed more Black soldiers than any other Northern state (8,612). Black soldiers participated in 449 battles, 39 of them major engagements. Sixteen Black soldiers received Congressional Medals of Honor for gallantry in action. Some 37,638 Black soldiers lost their lives during the war. Black soldiers generally received poor equipment and were forced to do a large amount of fatigue duty. Until 1864, Black soldiers (from private to chaplain) received seven dollars a month whereas white soldiers received from thirteen to one hundred dollars a month. In 1863 Black units, with four exceptions (Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry, Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers and twenty-ninth Connecticut Volunteers), were officially designated United States Colored Troops (USCT). Since the War Department discouraged applications from Blacks, there were few commissioned officers. The highest ranking of the seventy-five to one hundred Black officers was Lt. Col. Alexander T. Augustana, a surgeon. Some 200,000 Black civilians were employed by Union army as laborers, cooks, teamster and servants.


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