Battle of Nashville paper.docx - Table of Content...

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Table of ContentIntroduction-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1-2Lead Up to Battle----------------------------------------------------------------------------------3-5December 15, 1864--------------------------------------------------------------------------------5-7December 16, 1864--------------------------------------------------------------------------------7-9Conclusion-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10
IntroductionOn January 1, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued Proclamation 95 also known as the Emancipation Proclamation.1With this new law, President Lincoln cleared the way for slavesthat were residing in the states of the Confederacy to be freed by occupying Union forces. More importantly it made it possible for black men to enlist in the Union Army and fight for their own freedom. Even though black troops had proven themselves willing to fight to the death for the Union, Many of the Union General officers did not have any faith at all in the ability and would often avoid having them under there command. Even after the gallant performance of the 54thMassachusetts during their attack on Fort Wagner in June of 1863, many whites saw black soldiers as inferior to their white counterpart. This was never more apparent than during the Atlanta Campaign when General Sherman refused to allow his black troops to join the fight2. However, by December of 1864, the Union was running low on manpower and had no choice butto put their trust in their black troops.The Lead Up to Battle1 Fountain, Daniel. "Slavery, Civil War, and Salvation: African Americans and Christianity, 1830-1870." Baton Rouge:Louisiana State University Press, 2010. 302 Dobak, William A. “Freedom by the Sword: The United States Color Troops 1862-1867” Washington D.C. Center ofMilitary History United States Army,2011, 15-16
The commander of the black troops was Major General George Thomas. Known as the “Rock of Chickamauga”, General Thomas arrived in Nashville in November of 1864 with a fixedforce of about 55,000 men. Thomas, a Virginian was not reported to be racist, however he did believe that black troop were not suitable for combat and would flee at the first sight of their former owners. Thomas also chastised any of his subordinates that believed that black could fightin the open field. When Colonel Thomas Morgan, commander of the 14thUSCT, protested to General Thomas about his men only being used for manual labor and not being given a chance tofight, General Thomas threatened to relieve him of his command. Colonel Rueben Mussey, the officer appointed to organize USCT units stated “that the negro is to be made men by first being a soldier does not seem to be comprehended by the commanding generals” As a result of this statement, Colonel Mussey was stripped of his commission and placed under arrest until he apologized3.By December 2, 1864 Confederate General John Bell Hood had arrived in Nashville witha force of about 23,000 troops4. General Thomas, despite receiving direct order from President Abraham Lincoln to immediately attack Hood, decided to what until all of his troops were properly equipped and the weather was more favorable. While waiting for the right time to attackHood, General Thomas placed all of his black troops under the command of Major General James B. Steedman and called the “Provisional Detachment District of Etowah”5. General

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