Black Troops, White Commanders and Freedmen During the Civil War

Front Cover
SIU Press, Sep 9, 2008 - History - 208 pages
0 Reviews

Recounting the experiences of black soldiers in the Civil War

In the ten probing essays collected in this volume, Howard C. Westwood recounts the often bitter experiences of black men who were admitted to military service and the wrenching problems associated with the shifting status of African Americans during the Civil War.

Black Troops, White Commanders, and Freedmen during the Civil War covers topics ranging from the roles played by Lincoln and Grant in beginning black soldiery to the sensitive issues that arose when black soldiers (and their white officers) were captured by the Confederates. The essays relate the exploits of black heroes such as Robert Smalls, who singlehandedly captured a Confederate steamer, as well as the experiences of the ignoble Reverend Fountain Brown, who became the first person charged with violating the Emancipation Proclamation.

Although many thousands were enlisted as soldiers, blacks were barred from becoming commissioned officers and for a long time they were paid far less than their white counterparts. These and other blatant forms of discrimination understandably provoked discontent among black troops which, in turn, sparked friction with their white commanders. Westwood's fascinating account of the artillery company from Rhode Island amply demonstrates how frustrations among black soldiers came to be seen as "mutiny" by some white officers.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Selected pages


Lincolns Position on Black Enlistments
Grants Role in Beginning Black Soldiery
Benjamin Butlers Enlistment of Black Troops in New Orleans in 1862
Generals David Hunter and Rufus Saxton and Black Soldiers
Mr Smalls A Personal Adventure
Captive Black Union Soldiers in CharlestonWhat to Do?
Sherman Marchedand Proclaimed Land for the Landless
The Cause and Consequence of a Union Black Soldiers Mutiny and Execution
Company A of Rhode Islands Black Regiment Its Enlisting Its Mutiny Its Pay Its Service
The Reverend Fountain Brown Alleged Violator of the Emancipation Proclamation

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

The late Howard C. Westwood was a senior partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm Covington & Burling. He published carefully documented articles on the Civil War for more than thirty years and served as a director of the Ulysses S. Grant Association.

Bibliographic information