Regarding African Americans in the Civil War


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Viewpoints on the use of enslaved African Americans as soldiers in the Civil War.

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Regarding African Americans in the Civil War

  1. 1. Regarding African Americans in the Civil War Dr. Bruce Clary Friday, July 8, 2011
  2. 2. “I think that the proposition to make soldiers of theslaves is the most pernicious idea that has beensuggested since the war began. You cannot makesoldiers of slaves, or slaves of soldiers. The day youmake a soldier of them is the beginning of the end ofthe revolution. And if slaves seem good soldiers, thenour whole theory of slavery is wrong.” Former U.S. Senator and Confederate General Howell Cobb of Georgia
  3. 3. “Once let the black man get upon his person thebrass letters, ‘U.S.,’ let him get an eagle on hisbuttons and a musket on his shoulder and bullets inhis pocket, and there is no power on earth which candeny that he has earned the right to citizenship inthe United States.” Frederick Douglass
  4. 4. “Resolved: More effective remedies ought now to bethoroughly tried, in the shape of warm lead and coldsteel, duly administered by two hundred thousandblack doctors.” Poughkeepsie Convention of Free Blacks Summer 1862
  5. 5. “I have had the question put to me often, ‘Is not anegro as good as a white man to stop a bullet?’ Yes:and a sand-bag is better; but can a negro do ourskirmishing and picket duty? Can they improvisebridges, sorties, flank movements, etc., like the whiteman. I say no.” Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman
  6. 6. “I have given the subject of arming the Negro myhearty support. This, with the emancipation of theNegro, is the heaviest blow yet given theConfederacy.… By arming the Negro we have addeda powerful ally. They will make good soldiers andtaking them from the enemy weakens him in thesame proportion they strengthen us.” Gen. Ulysses S. Grant
  7. 7. “You say you will not fight to free Negroes. Some ofthem seem willing to fight for you. [When victory iswon] there will be some black men who can rememberthat, with silent tongue and clenched teeth, and steadyeye and well-poised bayonet, they have helped mankindon to this great consummation; while, I fear, there willbe some white ones, unable to forget that withmalignant heart and deceitful speech, they strove tohinder it.” President Abraham Lincoln
  8. 8. “The arm of the slaves is the best defense against thearm of the slaveholder. Who would be freethemselves must strike the blow.… I urge you to fly toarms and smite to death the power that would burythe Government and your liberty in the samehopeless grave. This is your golden opportunity.” Frederick Douglass
  9. 9. “Will the slave fight? If any man ask you, tell him No.But if anyone asks you will a Negro fight, tell himYes!” Wendell Phillips