James Henry Gooding, an African-American soldier fighting on Morris Island, South Carolina, writes to President Lincoln asking for better pay. Initially, black soliders in the Union Army were paid only $10 a month, from which $3 was deducted for [...]
John F. Shorter, an African-American solider writing on behalf of his fellow members of the Massachusetts 55th Regiment, addresses President Lincoln over the issue of unfair pay. Shorter charges that he and his fellow soldiers have received no pay [...]
This 1864 poster was used to recruit African-American soldiers for the 20th Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops, a Union Army regiment based in New York state. The poster offers the lure of an up-front payment of $375 plus an additional $10 for anyone [...]
This Civil War photograph shows Private Hubbard Pryor, an escaped slave from Georgia, before and after his enlistment in the 44th U.S. Colored Troops, a Union Army regiment of African-American soldiers. Congress passed legislation allowing some [...]
This stereograph (an early form of the 3-D image) showing three Union soldiers with "contraband" was produced and sold by the E. & H. T. Anthony & Co. company of New York sometime between 1861 and 1865. "Contraband" was the term used to [...]
This letter was written by an African-American soldier of the Massachusetts 55th Regiment in the midst of a heated battle to take the Confederate fortifications on Folly Island, South Carolina. It conveys the determination of black soldiers in the [...]
In this 1863 editorial, Frederick Douglass calls all able-bodied African Americans to take up arms in defense of the Union. He encourages them to travel to Boston in order to join one of the first regiments of black soldiers forming there.
In the testimony that follows, a general tells Congress how contraband slaves served his army and had a dramatic impact on the way Union soldiers thought about slavery and freedom.
In this journalistic sketch, a group of African American soldiers liberates a plantation in eastern North Carolina. The troops were the so-called "African Brigade" composed of black recruits from Massachusetts and newly freed contraband slaves from [...]