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Emancipation and Black Troops

Abraham Lincoln

Emancipation proclamation. Madison, Wisc.: Martin & Judson, 1864.

This beautiful broadside containing the Emancipation Proclamation (center) depicts in the left column (starting at the bottom): Africans being taken by slave traders; being sold off into slavery; being harshly treated, whipped and separated from their families. The top tableau includes the American eagle and Justice, to the right an angel freeing the Black men from bondage. The right column illustrates life after Emancipation, where Blacks can earn wages, be treated with respect, receive an education and have families.

George Washington Williams

A history of the Negro troops in the War of the Rebellion, 1861–1865: preceded by a review of the military services of Negroes in ancient and modern times. New York: Harper & Bros., 1888, c1887.

George Washington Williams (1849–1891) was the first African–American elected to the Ohio State Legislature, serving one term 1880 to 1881. In 1863 he enlisted in the Union Army, in this volume he describes the battle experiences of the Black troops. Williams’ historiography contains official military records and commanding officers personal reflections.

Joseph T. Wilson

The black phalanx; a history of the Negro soldiers of the United States in the war of 1775–1812, 1861–’65. Hartford, Conn., American publishing company, 1888.

Joseph T. Wilson (1836–1891) was an African–American who served in the Civil War in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers and the 2nd Regiment Louisiana Native Guard Volunteers. This is a scarce and significant history of Black American soldiers who fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. It contains official dispatches and describes anti–Negro prejudice in the army.

Philadelphia (Pa.). Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments

Free military school for applicants for command of colored troops, no. 1210 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia: established by the Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments, John H. Taggart, late colonel 12th Regiment Pennsylvania Reserves, chief precepotr. Philadelphia: King & Baird, Printers, 1864.

As a result of the Emancipation Proclamation the Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments was formed by the Union League. The committee was charged with recruiting, enlisting and training African American soldiers. In 1863, The Supervisory Committee opened the Free Military School for Applicants for the Command of Colored Regiments in Philadelphia. By 1885, Black soldiers made up ten percent of the Union army.

Gideon Waples

Manumission, Milton, Delaware, 1834
Waples family papers [Left]

Joseph Carey

Manumission, Milton, Delaware, 1832
Waples family papers [Right]

Manumissions are legal document through which slaves are freed by their owners. The Delaware legislature passed specific guidelines to be adhered to in drafting manumissions. The manumission on the left, issued by Gideon Waples is freeing “Negro John” and on the right, Maria, is being freed by Joseph Carey.

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