Civil War - African Americans
African Americans were involved in all aspects of the American Civil War. They served as soldiers in the Union Army and laborers on both sides. African Americans in the South helped to spy on Confederate troops and passed the information to the North.
When slaves escaped to the North during the Civil War, they were protected by the Union Army and called "contrabands." They were often given work (and paid) to support the army in the fight against the South.
African American soldiers
Around 180,000 African American soldiers fought for the Union. African American soldiers for the Union would be executed or sold into slavery if they were captured by the Confederates. These soldiers from 4th United States Colored Infantry were assigned to guarding Washington, D.C. during the Civil War. The regiment saw fighting action in Virginia and North Carolina.
Storming Fort Wagner
The 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment was one of the first African American regiments that fought for the Union during the Civil War. They became famous for their role in charging Fort Wagner at the Second Battle of Fort Wagner.
William Harvey Carney
William Harvey Carney was shot multiple times while holding the flag during the attack on Fort Wagner. He was the first African American to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Escaped slave Harriet Tubman worked as a conductor on the Underground Railroad and then as a spy for the Union during the Civil War.
Alexander Thomas Augusta
Alexander Thomas Augusta was the first African American surgeon in the U.S. Army. He served the Union during the Civil War.
William Jackson was the coachman and slave of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Jackson spied on Jefferson and then escaped to the Northern lines passing on information regarding Southern troops.
The Gun-boat "Planter"
Southern slave Robert Smalls stole this gunboat from the Confederacy and sailed it North to freedom. He later convinced Abraham Lincoln to allow African American soldiers to fight for the North.
Major Martin R. Delaney
Major Martin R. Delaney was the only African American to reach the military rank of major during the Civil War.
Burying the Dead at Cold Harbor
African American laborers burying the dead after the Battle of Cold Harbor.
See It History
>> Battle of Antietam
More pictures of the American Civil War:
Battle of Fort Sumter
Battle of Antietam
Battle of Gettysburg
Harpers Ferry Raid
Confederate States of America
African Americans During the Civil War
Women During the Civil War