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River Run Red, by Ward

Story of the Battle of Fort Pillow where 550 Union were attacked by General Forrest and half were killed. It was called a massacre because most of those killed were black soldiers enlisted from West Tennessee.

(See description below.)

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The Battle of Fort Pillow was called a massacre because half of the 550 men were killed by the Confederate cavalry. The Union troops were made up of the 13th Tennesse Cavalry, which was raised from West Tennessee. The other half of the garrison were troops of the 6th Heavy Artillery(Colored) and 2nd Light Artillery(Colored) also raised from former slaves of Tennessee and Mississippi. The Confederates who attacked were mainly from Tennessee and Mississippi and not only dispised their former slaves taking up arms to fight but they hated the whites who armed them.

The black soldiers were at a disadvantage because of this. If they surrendered, then they knew that their fate was to return back to slavery---or worse---execution because of their insurrection. There was not surrender in many cases, even though some blacks did survive the Battle of Fort PIllow.

This would mean that the black soldiers could not accept a surrender of the fort. They would be compelled to fight harder. But the end result of this was that the Confederates became even more determined to exact punishment on the former slaves and ensure that the fort was taken.


There are too many to describe. Here are some that I have come across in years of book reading and research:

Black soldiers were payed less money per month then white troops because the clause in which they signed up put them in the same position as militia soldiers and not volunteer regiments. This clause stated that they were only to be paid $10 a month with 3 dollars of that being put towards uniforms and equipment. white troops received $13. That within itself was not necessarily bigoted. What was bigoted was the fact that the states would not allow most black soldiers to form STATE designated regiments. Thus requiring most black soldiers to join United States Colored Troops Regiments that were signed up under the clause that allowed them to be paid less. The states did not want their state "soiled" with the image of black troops representing them. Even though many of those troops were probably born in that state and grew up in the same towns.

Black troops served under white officers only and it was extremely rare for a black solider to be promoted beyond Sergeant Major. Non Com Officer was the limit despite educational background or knowledge of military doctrine by black solidiers.

A large portion of Black Troops tended to be used for menial labor,guard duty and garrison duty. The thought being that :

A) they freed up more white troops for the fighting at the front.

B) there was little confidence in the mental capacity and fighting capabilities of the black troops by white officers and enlisted men.

C)Some officers felt that menial labor best befit the talents of black troops being that many were former slaves and would respond well to orders while working.

ALSO.. there were many regiments of color that fought valiantly as well when given the oppurtunit. They fought in over 400 engagements during the war from 1862-65.

The most famous examples of bravery of these troops usually are battles in which they are used to "charge" a fortified position. Charging a fortified position casues alot of casualties, and in those days you weren't a brave regiment unless you suffered alot of casualties.

Here are The famous Charges of the Colored Troops:

May 1863-Port Hudson, Lousianna- Lousianna Native Guards (73rd/74th United Staes Colored Troops. Union Loss

July 1863- Fort Wagner,(Charleston,SC) - 54th Mass Vols

Union Loss

June 1864 -2nd Assault of Petersburg,VA (June 15th)- 8th,22nd,4th,5th United States Colored Troops. Marginal Union Victory.

July 1864-The CRATER (Petersburg,VA)- 19th,23rd,28th,29th,30th,31st,39th and 43rd USCT. Union Loss

September 1864-Chaffin's Farm (Richmond,VA)- 1st,22nd,37th 5th,36th,89th,4th

,6th,7th,8th,9,45th USCT and 29th Connecticut (colored) regiment. Union Victory.

December 1864-The Battle of Nashville, TN- 12th,13th 14th,16th,17th,18th,44th,100th U.S. Colored Troops. Union Victory.

Officers some times held the false notion that black troops were only good for charges because they were not capable of complex battlefield maneuvers, yet were determined enough to take a position by storm. They hoped to appeal to the alleged "animal side" of the black troops and hope they would stop at nothing to take a position.

Black troops at first were brigaded with white troops but towards the end of the war you see them being put in all black brigades, divisions and even Corps.

Finally at the end of the war black soldiers were not allowed to march victoriously through Washington with the other white troops. It may have been perceived negatively by some people that blacks could march through victoriously, as the equal of whites, and the vanquishers of other white men. Instead they were sent to Texas for months to watch the borders against King Maximilian in Mexico. Although it was a fairly important mission, it was dumped primarily on the USCTs. Some didn't make it home until late 1865 or 1866. Months after the war was over!

After the war white troops held reunions with their officers and commanders and came together to celebrate their service and union victory. Black troops almost never had reunions. white officer and black enlisted men relationships generally lasted as long as the war lasted. After that there was not as much association. Even in the officers memoirs they never mentioned individuals by names, but only as "the negro". Most definitely this was a product of the underlying racism that infected even the noblest of white intentions in those days.

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โˆ™ 2010-10-06 13:12:03
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Q: During the Civil War how were black soldiers treated differently from white soldiers?
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How were black soldiers treated differently then white soldiers during the civil war?

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How were soldiers treated during the civil war.

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Dysentery killed most soldiers in the Civil War.

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Slaves during the civil war were treated very cruelly.

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Soldiers, you racist.

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the soldiers lived in camps.

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Soldiers during the Civil War had a great many jobs. They had to drive vehicles and maintain weapons for example.

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How African Americans were treated during the civil war varied based on where they were living. Some were treated horrible and were even killed, while others were treated as equal human beings.

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The black soldiers were not treated or paid equally. At first the black soldiers were paid as laborers.

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the soldiers lived in camps.

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