Black American Soldiers in the Civil War by Matthew Elliott

During the five years of civil war that this great nation indured, there were many, many different battles. In total there was around 391 battles between the Union and Confederate forces. Of those battles, black soldiers played their role in many of them, including: The Skirmish at Island Mound where a black militia was able to defeat a superior force of Confederate Calvary (Island Mound), the Battle of Port Hudson where a colored regiment bravely marched against Confederate sharp shooters, the Battle of Fort Wagner where the 54th Massachusetts Colored Regiment stormed the walls of the Confederate fort, the Battle of Fort Pillow where black soldiers were massacred in the name of oppression (The Battle of Fort Pillow), and in the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm where a colored regiment beat all odds and stormed New Market Heights in a vicious battle with Confederate troops. In these battles regiments of Black soldiers led the charged and, whether they won victory or suffered defeat, played a huge role (African American Registry).

Widely considered a Rebel massacre. Over 200 Union black soldiers were killed. Most reportely after they surrended.

Widely considered a Rebel massacre. Over 200 Union black soldiers were killed. Most reportely after they surrended.

During the war there were several acts of valor committed by the black Americans that fought. The most famous of these stories is that of the 54th Massachusetts who marched against the Confederate forces in fort Wagner. Despite marching against a hail of musket and cannon balls, the 54th Mass. Was able to storm one of the walls of the fort and even capture a portion of the inner complex, before being driven back in defeat. During this battle a man named William Carney charged head long, alone, towards the fort, carrying an American flag as he went. Before making it back to Union lines, William was shot four different times. When you came back to the lines he still carried the Flag, telling his fellow soldiers “I only did my Duty.”

First black soldier to recieved the Medal of Honor Earned during Battle of Fort Wagner, July 1863 Sergeant, Company C, 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry

First black soldier to recieved the Medal of Honor Earned during Battle of Fort Wagner, July 1863 Sergeant, Company C, 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry

He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions and was the first African American to receive this award. Another such act came from the 1st Colored Company of the Eighteenth Regiment during the battle of Chaffin’s Farm. During the battle the group last every one of its white officers to a artillery strike that lasted thirty minutes. Even after this, they managed to rally together and charge up the Heights and engage the Confederates in an hour long battle. Fourteen of its )members received the Medal of Honor for their actions (Civil War Trust).