HIST 349 Final Paper.docx - BLACK SOLDIERS IN THE CIVIL WAR...

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BLACK SOLDIERS IN THE CIVIL WARThe Civil War gave the African-American enslaved men and women the opportunity to fight for their freedom to be recognized as American citizens. So how did African-Americans get
Baxley 1involved in the Civil War? What was the treatment like for black soldiers throughout the Civil War? What did Jefferson Davis threaten to do to with those captured as a prisoner of war? How did Lincoln respond to Jefferson Davis’s actions? Slavery was disregarded as a cause of the CivilWar until Union leaders recognized the need to finally break ground against the South, which would only be achieved by the African-Americans eager to fight for their freedom. African-American involvement in the Civil War begins the public demand for Abraham Lincoln to address slavery and allow black service in the Army. William Sprague was one of the many citizens and public officials demanding the government and Abraham Lincoln to address slavery and black service. Sprague sent a letter to Washington D.C. on September 9, 1862, to the Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, to address his proposal and support on the creation of black regiments in Rhode Island.1William Sprague hoped to persuade the War Department and Abra-ham Lincoln to allow the organization of colored regiments,2which he argued “the Negro ele-ment in the State will more readily bear the climate of the South than white soldiers.”3Sprague believed that black men were more willing to fight the South than white soldiers because they have their freedom at stake, and whites are exhausted by the continuous fighting that has ended in stalemate. Sprague further expressed a black regiment will prove to be equal as to any other white regiment sent to war.4Lastly, Sprague stated that the government can no longer refuse black men to serve in the war because the government is in need of manpower, which the blacks are eager to enlist upon the opportunity to do so.5Abraham Lincoln later wrote to William Sprague on September 20, 1862, which he denied Sprague’s request for Rhode Island’s creation 1William Sprague, “William Sprague to Edwin M. Stanton, September 9, 1862,” American Memory from the Library of Congress, accessed November 20, 2017, ?ammem/mal:@field([email protected](d1831800)).2Sprague.3Sprague.4Sprague. 5Sprague.
Baxley 2of a black regiment.6Lincoln was forced to respond to the public’s demand for addressing slav-ery, which he did so through his executive order called the Emancipation Proclamation.Abraham Lincoln issued hisEmancipation Proclamationon September 22, 1862, by Abraham Lincoln. The proclamation stated that on January 1, 1863 “all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be them thenceforward, and forever free.”7He also addressed the Union Army will “recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do not act or

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