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American Civil War Essay

2434 words - 10 pages

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the American civil war during the periods of 1861 through 1865. This paper will look at how the war started, the purpose of the war. Who were the first soldiers, and who were allowed to fight and who were not. This paper will also look at blacks before the civil war, during the civil war and after the civil war. The writer will attempt to explain the treatment of blacks in the North and the South, during the civil war. A slave can be defined as, one who is the property of and bound to obedience to another. One who is entirely under the influence and, a helpless victim according to The Concise English Dictionary.The war was not against slavery, but a ...view middle of the document...

23 Immediately after defecting to the North these slaves are now defined as "contraband". These slaves escaped to the North with the hope that some day, they will be able to gain their freedom. Approximately half a million slaves left the south from the three and a half million slaves that worked and lived in bondage. These slaves that crossed the Union lines were able to gain their freedom. Most blacks hated slavery, and would rather risk their lives than spending the rest of it in bondage.23As stated by James M. McPherson "A young female slave who had escaped to freedom during the civil war years, to the North at Fort Paleskin, in Georgia in April 1862. Had quietly learned to read and write while in the South as a slave. During the war she was hired to work as a teacher of other free slaves and sometimes as a laundress in the Union camps".26 While the civil war was in progress, and after the Emancipation Proclamation most of the slaves continued to work in bondage until the civil was completely over. Slaves in the south worked in factories on railroads, dug trenches and prepared food for confederate armies. Some slaves went to war with their masters as "body servants". Others would transport the wounded soldiers while some would maintain their water supply, to avoid dehydration among the soldiers. As the war progressed the manpower decreased, forcing the army to start recruiting males under 18 years, and male over 45 years. Some southerners voiced their opinions, by saying that slaves should be draft.38 Black troops were not only fighting for their country, they were also fighting for their freedom, equality and fair treatment within the army. Blacks soldiers were given defected or inferior guns and ammunitions along with heavy workload. Their wages were far less, compared to the wages of white soldiers.91 Blacks were still angry while fighting front line in combat, because they were still being treated as second-class citizens while fighting. Which they interpret, would remain the same in post war. The blacks were hoping the treatment would be better while they were fighting together as soldiers, even through their causes might be different."Between 1863-1864 the Republicans introduced a bill for equal wages for black soldiers. The Democrats and some northerners rejected the bill, saying if black soldiers were given the same wages as white soldiers that would degrade the white soldiers".Some black soldiers who refused to work due to no wages or very little wages was court martialed and executed. After several protest by black soldiers, Congress passed a legislation on June 15, 1864 granting equal wages for black soldiers. Wages was also retroactive to January 1, 1864, and retroactive at the time of the enlistment for blacks who had been free prior to the war. Blacks were not promoted, regardless of their work or achievements within the army. "Contraband camps" were setup by soldiers who occupied Southern territory. These camps were setup to...

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