Abraham Lincoln was a war criminal

Black regiments - ex-slaves fight for the Union

Freedom for the slaves

At first, President Abraham Lincoln had only saved the Union in mind as he advanced militarily against the south. But in the course of his tenure, the liberation of slaves became increasingly important to him.

There were not only human motives behind this, but also a political calculation with which he wanted to put pressure on the South.

On January 1, 1863, Lincoln proclaimed the freedom of all slaves in the "Emancipation Proclamation" in the countries that had formed the Confederation of the Southern States in 1861 and renounced the Union.

Since the breakaway states were not recognized under international law either by the Union or by any other state, federal laws were constitutionally binding on them.

The slaveholders themselves did not consider abiding by this new law. But many slaves saw this as their chance and fled north. The mass exodus of 500,000 blacks was favored by the advancing Union troops.

Lincoln's clever move

Lincoln was smart enough to restrict the new Slave Liberation Act. It was not yet to be enforced in the areas that had just been occupied by Union troops, nor in the states in which slavery was previously permitted, but which were loyal to the Union.

With this clever move, Lincoln succeeded in drawing the inhabitants of the conquered territories to his side and not snubbering the slave states loyal to the Union. He saw this as a legitimate war tactic, because after his "Emancipation Proclamation" it was only a matter of time before the freedom of slaves prevailed everywhere.

Lincoln admonished blacks to refuse nonviolently. He instructed his troops to respect the rights of the freed slaves and, if necessary, to defend them by force of arms. He also encouraged black men to fight for the Union cause in the civil war and to serve in the Northern Army.

people second class

Half a year before the "Emancipation Proclamation" some high-ranking military officers in the north had already started to set up regiments of free blacks and former slaves. They saw the new recruits as a welcome addition to their troops.

But the federal government put an end to this unauthorized decision and had the black regiments dissolved again. At this point in time, Washington did not see any military need for this step.

In addition, Lincoln did not want to anger the loyal slave states, let alone lose them to the south. In addition, the white population of the north was not very enthusiastic about the armament of the blacks. They were still viewed as second-class people and were afraid of the potential for violence they could emanate.

Fight for the Union

As the casualties on the war fronts grew, the number of deserters rose and the number of volunteers decreased, concerns about the recruitment of black soldiers faded.

They were completely inexperienced in handling weapons and they had to be taught how to drill, but the former slaves fought for the freedom they had gained, which they no longer wanted to give up at any price. Their fighting morale therefore often exceeded that of many white Union soldiers.

In addition, the blacks saw the service of arms for the Union as a form of equality.

The influx of the army was therefore enormous. As early as the summer of 1863, 30 black regiments could be set up. By the end of the war there were 179,000 black soldiers under arms for the north - around ten percent of the Union's armed forces.

Medals of bravery for morale

The chances of advancement of the black soldiers to higher ranks were, however, significantly lower than those of their white comrades. Discrimination was the order of the day.

There were no mixed regiments, which would have made sense from a military point of view, because it would have resulted in an exchange of experiences between long-serving white soldiers and the new black soldiers.

Blacks served in exclusively black regiments. Only their officers were whites, who often viewed it as a punitive expedition to train black recruits and lead them into combat.

Differences were also made between black and white in terms of pay: whites received a monthly salary of 13 dollars, blacks only ten dollars, of which three were deducted for the provision of uniforms and equipment.

They were also denied access to the military academies. After all, they were not denied the award of medals of bravery. 68,000 - and thus a third of the black soldiers - died in the war against the slave states.