Learning Lincoln On-line
FROM-- SET FOUR, CIVIL WAR STUDIES
UNION ARMY DESCRIPTION DATA DETAILS
Blacks in the Army
From Wikepedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_African_Americans_in_the_American_Civil_War
The inclusion of blacks as combat soldiers became a major issue. Eventually, it was realized, especially after the valiant effort of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in the Battle of Fort Wagner,that blacks were fully able to serve as competent and reliable soldiers. This was partly due to the efforts of Robert Smalls , who, while still a slave, won fame by defecting from the Confederacy, and bringing a Confederate transport ship which he was piloting. He later met with Edwin Stanton , Secretary of War, to argue for including blacks in combat units. This led to the formation of the first combat unit for black soldiers, the 1st South Carolina Volunteers. Regiments for black soldiers were eventually referred to as United States Colored Troops . The blacks were paid less than white soldiers until late in the war and were, in general, treated harshly. Even after the end of the war, they were not permitted (by Sherman's order) to march in the great victory parade through Washington, DC. For information about African-American Troops in the Civil War, visit United States Colored Troops in the Civil War United States Colored Troops in the Civil War at https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/United_States_Colored_Troops_in_the_Civil_War
The Confederate Army Make-up
For comparison, the Confederate Army was not very diverse: 91% of Confederate soldiers were native born and only 9% were foreign-born, Irish being the largest group with others including Germans, French, Mexicans (though most of them simply happened to have been born when the Southwest was still part of Mexico), and British. Some Southern propaganda compared foreign-born soldiers in the Union Army to the hated Hessians of the American Revolution . Also, a relatively small number of Native Americans (Cherokee , Chickasaw , Choctaw , and Creek ) fought for the Confederacy.