With few exceptions, many military age young men of African heritage suffered before, during and after the war in cause, course and after-math of emancipation for four million enslaved men, women and children, ... including ancestors of men like Clarence Thomas who likely sent no young men or woman to fight for the right to be free. Indeed, the price and process of freedom was not free for many families that ought to care by now the proclamation of terrorism by ex-confederate soldiers targeted the young men they had fought and hated during the war.
As predicted by Frederick Douglass, the Emancipation Proclamation issued as a military necessity by Abraham Lincoln as Commander-In-Chief of the United States, not only motivated 200,000 military aged Black young men to join the Union Army and Navy but also to flee the rebel owned plantations of the confederate states totally dependent upon slave labor for sowing, harvesting and shipping of cash crops like cotton, corn and tobacco. Among the four million slaves on southern plantations were approximately 400,000 military age young men, and of that number over 90,000 would run away to join the Union Army and Navy; and at least that number of others would escape to work as civilians for the conquering Union forces building fortifications, railways, telegraph lines, burial of the dead, transport, food supply and a host of other necessary logistics tasks.
The 200,000 African-American volunteers in the Union military forces allowed it to achieve the nearly two to one military advantage over the approximately 650,000 confederate rebels. Abraham Lincoln visited Richmond and reviewed the tens of thousands of U.S. Colored Troops that had helped rout the former confederate capital; and, during the review raised the question to his victorious generals, "What do you suppose will happen to these men."
It was this military advantage achieved by the Union that helped exhaust and defeat the confederate forces led by men like Robert E. Lee; and when the fighting was formally ended, ... all the generals on both sides understood how it had occurred. One such general was Nathan Bedford Forrest who had been a slave trader before the war and afterwards organized the Ku-Klux-Klan composed of former confederate soldiers to terrorize southern Blacks who had been freed of slavery; and, especially so those who had served in the Union military. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to comprehend that most of the people terrorized and murdered by the Klan in early years of its existence were young Black men who not only defied them but also had helped defeat them in the Civil War.
The number of able bodied young Black men left available for slave labor in the confederacy dwindled to near nothing by time of war's end in Texas, and during 1866-1867, confederate veterans would reorganize to seek a very bloody revenge. Jefferson Davis, their rebel President had proclaimed that Blacks escaping slavery to enlist in the Union cause were "traitors"
with questions or comments about this web site.