The brave African-American Civil War soldiers who fought for the Union in segregated units under white officers


These images show the very first black soldiers that signed up to the Union Army during the American Civil War.

The brave men that stepped forward, did this despite the Confederate army promising death if they were captured – and even prejudices from their own side, such as unequal pay.

The enlistment of black troops, most commanded by white officers, was made possible by Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation made on New Year’s Day, 1863.

The Bureau of Colored Troops opened in May that year to facilitate the recruitment of African-American soldiers, as well as Native Americans and Asian Americans.

Men from the 4th United States Colored Infantry Regiment, a part of the United States Colored Troops. The regiment was raised in Maryland and saw action in Virginia and North Carolina, taking part in the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, the capture of Fort Fisher and Wilmington, North Carolina

An unknown regiment of the United States Colored Troops. The enlistment of African American troops was made possible by Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation made on New Year's Day, 1863. They were mostly commanded by white officers though some were commissioned 

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