The Black Regulars, 1866-1898

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University of Oklahoma Press, 2001 - History - 360 pages
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Black soldiers first entered the regular army of the United States in the summer of 1866. While their segregated regiments served in the American West for the next three decades, the promise of the Reconstruction era gave way to the repressiveness of Jim Crow. But black men found a degree of equality in the service: the army treated them no worse than it did their white counterparts.

The Black Regulars uses army correspondence, court martial transcripts, and pension applications to tell who these men were often in their own words: how they were recruited and how their officers were selected; how the black regiments survived hostile Congressional hearings and stringent budget cuts; how enlisted men spent their time, both on and off duty; and how regimental chaplains tried to promote literacy through the army’s schools. The authors shed new light on the military justice system, relations between black troops and their mostly white civilian neighbors, their professional reputations, and what veterans faced when they left the army for civilian life.


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How Would You Like to Command a Colored Regiment?
To the Colored Man the Service Offers a Career
A Minimum Number Which Should Be of the Best
So Long a Service in the Wilderness
To Promote the Moral and Intellectual Welfare of the Men
Not So Varied and Filled with Pleasure
Serious Breaches of Discipline and Morality
A Trial Will Bring Out the Whole Matter
The Result of Outrageous Treatment
The Colored Troops Have Made a Favorable Impression
Some Regular Army Prejudice to Overcome
Just Chored around and Did Whatever He Could Get to Do
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About the author (2001)

William A. Dobak, retired from the National Archives, Washington, D.C., is the author of Fort Riley and Its Neighbors: Military Money and Economic Growth, 1853-1895 and Freedom by the Sword: The U.S. Colored Troops, 1862-1867.

Thomas D. Phillips holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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