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''{{breadcrumb| link1=[[Portal:United States of America]]|link2=[[United States&nbsp;Military Records|U.S. Military]] &gt; | link3=[[African American ResearchGenealogy|African American Genealogy]]| link4=|link5=[[African American Research&nbsp;Military Records|Military Records]] &gt}}{{AfrAm-sidebar}}{| style="margin-left: auto; Military margin-right: auto; border: none;"|{{TOC left}}<div id="fsButtons"><span class="online_records_button">[[African American Online Genealogy Records'']]</span><br/div>Americans with African ancestry have served in United States military units since the arrival of the first black slaves in 1619. No war has been fought by the United States in which the African American soldiers did not participate. African Americans fought and served valiantly in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, the World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the current War in Iraq.
Americans with African ancestry have served in United States military units since the arrival of the first black slaves in 1619*[ Jonathan D. No war has been fought by the United States in which the African American soldiers did not participateSutherland. '' African Americans fought and served valiantly in the Revolutionary at War. An Encyclopedia.'' 2 volumes. Santa Barbara: California:ABC-CLIO, 2004. FHL 973 M26sj volume 2]*[ War -afro-american-or-the-colored-man-as-a-patriot?offset=33 James M. Guthrie.'' Camp Fires of 1812, the Civil WarAfro-American; or, the Spanish The Colored Man as a Patriot.''Philadelphia: Afro-American WarPub Co., the World Wars1899 reprint New York: johnson Reprint Corporation, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the current War in Iraq1970. Digital Book]
See also ''[[Imagehttps:Boston Massacre2//|thumb|right|490px|African American Crispus Attucks was the first martyr html?fq=place%3A%22United+States%22&resultListItem=1 Ancestors Season 2: Military Records]'' in the Patriot cause at the Boston Massacre leading up the the American RevolutionFamilySearch Learning Center.]]
=== Revolutionary War (1775-1783)===
[[Image:{{BosMas}}]] African-Americans, slaves and free blacks, served on both sides during the war. Black soldiers served in northern militias from the outset, but this was forbidden in the South, where slave-owners feared arming slaves. Lord Dunmore, the Royal Governor of Virginia, issued an emancipation proclamation in November 1775, promising freedom to runaway slaves who fought for the British; Sir Henry Clinton issued a similar edict in New York in 1779. Tens of thousands of slaves escaped to the British lines, although possibly as few as 1,000 served under arms. Many of the rest served as orderlies, mechanics, laborers, servants, scouts and guides, although more than half died in smallpox epidemics that swept the British forces, and many were driven out of the British lines when food ran low. Despite Dunmore's promises, the majority were not given their freedom. Many Black Loyalists descendants now live in Canada.
In response, and because of manpower shortages, Washington lifted the ban on black enlistment in the Continental Army in January 1776. All-black units were formed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts; many were slaves promised freedom for serving in lieu of their masters; another all-black unit came from Haiti with French forces. At least 5,000 black soldiers fought as Revolutionaries.
Peter Salem and Salem Poor are the most noted of the American Patriots during this era.[===[Imagehttps:Sgt Major Christian Fleetwood//en.jpg|thumb|right|300px|Sgtwikipedia. Major Christian Fleetwood, United States Colored Troops (USCT), Medal of Honor recipientorg/wiki/Boston_Massacre Boston Massacre - March 5, U.S. Civil War.]1770] ===
=== Civil War ===*[ Cripus Attucks]
The history of African Americans in the U.S. Civil War is marked by 180,000 African Americans comprising 163 units served in the Union Army during the Civil War, Peter Salem and many more African Americans served in the Union Navy. Both free African Americans and runaway slaves joined Salem Poor are the fight. Substantially smaller numbers most noted of blacks are recorded to have served on the Confederate side including two units formed in Richmond, Virginia in 1865, however records are scarce and an exact number is not knownAmerican Patriots during this era.
*[ Patriots of Color]. Free database at Includes details about thousands of black Americans in the Revolutionary War.<ref>Dick Eastman, " to Publish the Patriots of Color Database," ''Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter,'' 24 February 2012,</ref> ''' Additional Sources ''' *[ Debra L. Newman, comp. ''List of Black Servicemen Compiled from the War Department Collection of Revolutionary Records.'' Special List No. 36. WAshington: National Archives and Records Service. General Services Administration, 1974.] Digital Book*[ Robert Ewell Greene. ''Black Courage, 1775-1783:documentation of black participation in the American Revolution.'' Washington,D.C.: National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1984. FHL 973 M2gb]*[ Mrs. Frank Ross Stewart.'' Black Soldiers of the American Revolutionary War.'' Centre, Alabama: Stewart University Press, 1978. FHL 973 M254s]*[ William Cooper Nell. '' The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution.'' New York,New York: Arno Press, 1968. FHL 973 F2amL]*[ Sidney Kaplan and Emma Nogrady Kaplan. ''The Black Presence in the era of the American Revolution.'' Amhert, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts, Press, 1908. FHL 973 H2kap]*Debra Newman Ham. ''Guide to Records about Black Participants in the American Revolution from the War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records at the National Archives.'' Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. 22, No.1 (2003):12-26. FHL 973D25j*The University of Sydney/Cassandra Pybus, Kit Candlin and Robin Petterd, [ Black Loyalists]. Information about African Americans who joined the British during the Revolutionary War.*Canada Digital Collections, [ Black Loyalists: Our History, Our People]. Project describing the lives of African Americans who joined the British during the Revolutionary War and fled to Nova Scotia. ''' National Archives ''' *[ Inspection Roll of Negroes No. 1 Miscellaneous Papers of the Continental Congress. RG 360]*[ Inspection Roll of Negroes No. 2 Miscellaneous Papers of the Continental Congress. RG 360] |} ===War of 1812 (1812-1815)=== African Americans served in the Regular Army during the War of 1812, primarily in the 26th Infantry. In [ NARA's Appendix III] a "B" follows the names of those whose physical description indicates black or mulatto skin color. People whose skin was described as "dark" were probably "dark" caucasians, not African Americans. The "blacks" and "mulattos" noted while records were being arranged are:<ref>National Archives and Records Administration, [ War of 1812 Discharge Certificates], (accessed 4 April 2012).</ref>  *4th Infantry = Richard Boyington.*14th Infantry = George B. Graves.*26th Infantry = Hosea/Hossea Conner, John Cooper, Joseph Freeman, Charles Mathias, Samuel Morris, John Peters, and William Smith. <br> Other African Americans may be in these or other records of the Regular Army or in the records of state militias.  *[ Eric E. Johnson. ''Black Regulars in the War of 1812.'' Berwyn Heights, Maryland: Heritage Books, 2015. FHL 973 M2jee] During the War of 1812, many African Americans fought in the U.S. armed forces, especially in the Navy. Many others fought on the side of the British.  *Van Thienen, Erik, [ The War of 1812, 1812-1815], (Yahoo! Answers, accessed 29 May 2012), has a good explanation of the role of African Americans in the War, including the names of over 20 soldiers. It also gives several sources for more information. ''' National Archives Catalog - [ Domestic Claims Commission RG 76]''' *[ Definitive List of Slaves and Property, ca. 1827-ca. 1827. NAID 1174162] Names of 3,608 slaves*[ Slave Lists, 7.10.1827 - 8.31.1838. NAID 1174163] ===Mexican War (1846-1848)=== ===Civil War (1861-1865)=== [[Image:{{SMCF}}]] The history of African Americans in the U.S. Civil War is marked by 180,000 African Americans comprising 163 units served in the Union Army ('''United States Colored Troops''') during the Civil War, and many more African Americans served in the Union Navy. Both free African Americans and runaway slaves joined the fight. Substantially smaller numbers of blacks are recorded to have served on the Confederate side including two units formed in Richmond, Virginia in 1865, however records are scarce and an exact number is not known.  On July 17, 1862, Congress passed two acts allowing the enlistment of African Americans, but official enrollment occurred only after the September 1862 issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. However, state and local militia units had already begun enlisting blacks, including the Black Brigade of Cincinnati, raised in September to help provide manpower to thwart a feared Confederate raid on Cincinnati.  ''' United States Colored Troops Sources '''  *[[United States Colored Troops in the Civil War|United States Colored Troops in the Civil War]]*[ William A. Dobak. ''Freedom by the Sword: the U.S. Colored Troops, 1862-1867.'' Washington,D.C.: Center of Military History. United States Army, 2011]*[ Joseph B. Ross, comp. '' Tabular Analysis of the Records of the U.S. Colored Troops and Their Predecessor Units in the National Archives of the United States.'' Special List No. 33. Washington, National Archives and Records Service. General Services Administration, 1973.]*[ United States, Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops, 1863-1865] FamilySearch Historical Records*[ United States Colored Troops Pension Files from the International African American Museum's Center for Family History]
In general, white soldiers and officers believed that black men lacked the ability to fight and fight well. In October 1862, African American soldiers of the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers silenced their critics by repulsing attacking Confederates at the Battle of Island Mound, Missouri. By August, 1863, 14 Negro Regiments were in the field and ready for service. At the Battle of Port Hudson, Louisiana, May 27, 1863, the African American soldiers bravely advanced over open ground in the face of deadly artillery fire. Although the attack failed, the black soldiers proved their capability to withstand the heat of battle.
Although black soldiers proved themselves as reputable soldiers, discrimination in pay and other areas remained widespread. According to the Militia Act of 1862, soldiers of African descent were to receive $10.00 a month, plus a clothing allowance of $3.50. Many regiments struggled for equal pay, some refusing any money until June 15, 1864, when Congress granted equal pay for all black soldiers.
African American soldiers participated in every major campaign of 1864–65 except Sherman's Atlanta Campaign in Georgia. The year 1864 was especially eventful for African American troops. On April 12, 1864, at Battle of Fort Pillow, Tennessee, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest led his 2,500 men against the Union-held fortification, occupied by 292 black and 285 white soldiers. After driving in the Union pickets and giving the garrison an opportunity to surrender, Forrest's men swarmed into the fort with little difficulty and drove the Federals down the river's bluff into a deadly crossfire. Casualties were high and only sixty-two of the [[United States Colored Troops in the Civil War|U.S. Colored Troops survived ]] the fight. Many accused the Confederates of perpetrating a massacre of black troops, and the controversy continues today. The battle cry for the Negro soldier east of the Mississippi River became "Remember Fort Pillow!"
The propaganda which sprang from the allegations of a "massacre" at Fort Pillow was useful in convincing United States Colored Troops to become suicide forces which entered battle shouting "No quarter! No quarter!," never surrendered and who themselves perpetrated murders of surrendered Confederate forces in Florida and at Fort Blakley, Alabama, on April 9, 1865, at which battle they also shot two white Union officers who tried to stop them, killing one.
The barracks Forrest's men were accused of burning were actually burned under orders by a Union officer. Lieutenant Daniel Van Horn, Sixth U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery, whose report is contained in the Federal Official Records, documented that Lieutenant John D. Hill, U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery, set fire to the barracks under orders of the Union commanding officer.
Forrest took 39 [[United States Colored Troops in the Civil War|United States Colored Troops]] (USCT) as POWs and sent them up the chain of command. Forrest even transferred the 14 most seriously wounded USCT to the U.S. Steamer Silver Cloud where they could get better care than that which he could provide.
Allegations of a "massacre" continue to be controversial because historians remain either willfully or blissfully unaware of the Federal Official Records and the 1871 Congressional investigation conclusion.
Blacks, both slave and free, were also heavily involved in assisting the Union in matters of intelligence, and their contributions were labelled Black Dispatches.
*John David Smith, ''Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era'' (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002). [ WorldCat entry].
'''Confederate States Army'''
Black Southerners served as combat soldiers often with some of the most celebrated and feared Confederate commands and commanders:
Federal Official Records, Series I, Vol XVI Part I, pg. 805, Lt. Col. Parkhurst's Report (Ninth Michigan Infantry) on General Forrest's attack at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, July 13, 1862: "The forces attacking my camp were the First Regiment Texas Rangers [8th Texas Cavalry, Terry's Texas Rangers, ed.], Colonel Wharton, and a battalion of the First Georgia Rangers, Colonel Morrison, and a large number of citizens of Rutherford County, many of whom had recently taken the oath of allegiance to the United States Government. There were also many negroes Negroes attached to the Texas and Georgia troops, who were armed and equipped, and took part in the several engagements with my forces during the day."
In January 1864, General Patrick Cleburne and several other Confederate officers in the Army of the Tennessee proposed using slaves as soldiers in the national army since the Union was using black troops. Cleburne recommended offering slaves their freedom if they fought and survived. Confederate President Jefferson Davis refused to consider Cleburne's proposal and forbade further discussion of the idea.
One of the units accompanied General Lee's retreat toward Appomattox and fought at the battle of Amelia, Virginia two days before Lee's surrender.
*Unites States Army Dept. of the Tennessee, General Superintendent of Freedmen. ''[ Report of the General Sperintendent of Freedmen]. ''Memphis, Tennessee: n.p., 1865.Free digital copy.*Higginson, Thomas Wentworth. ''Cheerful Yesterdays ''(New York, Arno Press, 1968), 374 pages. Series: The American Negro; his history and literature. Digital copies at[ Google] and [ Internet Archives.] Book at [ WorldCat]. ''' National Archives '''  *[ A&IGO -- Register of Slaves Impressed, 1864-1865. RG 109 War Department Collection of Confederate Records. NAID 7970737] See also: &nbsp;[ Black Prisoners in Confederate Prisons During the Civil War with Bob J. O'Connor] (Blog Talk Radio) === Indian Wars (1780s-1890s)===
From the 1870s to the early 20th Century, African American units were utilized by the United States Government to combat the Native Americans during the Indian Wars. Perhaps the most noted among this group were the Buffalo Soldiers.
From 1866 to the early-1890s these regiments served at a variety of posts in the southwest United States and Great Plains regions. During this period they participated in most of the military campaigns in these areas and earned a distinguished record. Thirteen enlisted men and six officers from these four regiments earned the Medal of Honor during the Indian Wars. In addition to the military campaigns, the "Buffalo Soldiers" served a variety of roles along the frontier from building roads to escorting the U.S. mail.
==== Buffalo Soldiers ====
On July 28, 1866, Congress passed and act that authorized the army to raise six regiments of '''African-American '''soldiers.&nbsp; These six regiments became known as the '''Buffalo Soldiers''', men who served with distinction on the Western frontier.&nbsp; They were named Buffalo Soldiers by the Indians because their curly hair resembled that of a buffalo.
The six regiments became:
*9th and 10 Calvaries Cavalries - ''United States Army Cavalry10th, Troop H, 1866-1898 (stationed at Fort Davis, Texas)'' . by Harold R. Sayre FHL book 973 M2sw
*38th, 39th, 40th and 41st Infantry Regiments
'''*''' In 1869 the Infantry Regiments&nbsp;were reorganized:
*38th and 41st became the 24th Infantry Regiment
*39th and 40th became the 25th Infantry Regiment
{{Template:African American Military Microfilms}}
=== Spanish -American War (1898)===
Segregated company during the Spanish-American WarAfter War after the Indian Wars ended in the 1890s, the regiments continued to serve and participated in the Spanish-American War (including the Battle of San Juan Hill), where five more Medals of Honor were earned. They took part in the 1916 Punitive Expedition into Mexico and in the Philippine-American War.
Volunteer Army:
*7th United States Volunteer Infantry (Colored Troops) *8th United States Volunteer Infantry (Colored Troops) *9th United States Volunteer Infantry (Colored Troops) *10th United States Volunteer Infantry (Colored Troops)
*11th United States Volunteer Infantry (Colored Troops)
National Guard:
*3rd Alabama Volunteer Infantry (Colored Troops) *8th Illinois Volunteer Infantry (Colored Troops) *Companies A and B, 1st Indiana Volunteer Infantry (Colored Troops) *23rd Kansas Volunteer Infantry (Colored Troops) *3rd North Carolina Volunteer Infantry (Colored Troops) *9th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (Colored Troops)
*6th Virginia Volunteer Infantry (Colored Troops)
Of these units, only the 9th U.S., 8th Illinois, and 23rd Kansas served outside the United States during the war. All three units served in Cuba and suffered no losses to combat.
=== World War I (1917-1918)===
Officers of the 366th Infantry Regiment returning home from WWI service.The U.S. armed forces remained segregated through World War I. Still, many African Americans eagerly volunteered to join the Allied cause following America's entry into the war. By the time of the armistice with Germany on November 1918, over 350,000 African Americans had served with the American Expeditionary Force in on the Western Front.
Most African American units were largely relegated to support roles and saw little combat. Still, African Americans played a major role in America's war effort. One of the most distinguished units was the 369th Infantry Regiment, known as the "Harlem HelfightersHellfighters," which was on the front lines for six months, longer then any other African American regiment in the war. One hundred seventy-one members of the 396th were awarded the Legion of Merit.
Corporal Freddie Stowers of the 371st Infantry Regiment was posthumously awarded a Medal of Honor—the only African American to be so honored for actions in World War I. During action in France, Stowers had led an assault on German trenches, continuing to lead and encourage his men even after being twice wounded. Stowers died from his wounds, but his men continued the fight and eventually defeated the German troops. Stowers was recommended for the Medal of Honor shortly after his death, but the nomination was, according to the Army, misplaced.
Some of the most notable African American units which served in World War I were:
*92nd Infantry Division *366th Infantry Regiment *93d Infantry Division *369th Infantry Regiment (Harlem Hellfighters)
*371st Infantry Regiment
*[ ''Complete History of the Colored Soldiers in the World War;... New York City: Bennett & Churchill, 1919'']
'''Second Italo-Abyssinian War'''
'''Spanish Civil War'''
African-American activist and World War I veteran Oliver Law, fighting in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, is believed to have been the first African-American officer to command white American troops. ''' Related Projects ''' *[ George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War. Park University]*[ Valor Medals Review] ''' Related Sources ''' *Adam P. Wilson.''African American Army Officers of World War I.'' Jefferson, North Carolina:McFarland and Company, 2015.*W. Douglas Fisher and Joann H. Buckley. ''African American Doctors of World War I.'' Jefferson, North: McFarland and Company, 2016.
=== World War II (1941-1945)===
Despite a high enlistment rate in the U.S. Army, African Americans were not treated equally. Racial tensions existed. At parades, church services, in transportation and canteens the races were kept separate.
Some of the most notable African American Army units which served in World War II were:
*92nd Infantry Division *U.S. 366th Infantry Regiment *93d Infantry Division *555th Parachute Infantry Battalion *761st Tank Battalion *332d Fighter Group (Tuskegee Airmen)
*614th Tank Destroyer Battalion
Two segregated units were organized by the United States Marine Corps:
*51st Defense Battalion. (Composite)
*52nd Defense Battalion. (Composite)
The posthumous recipients were:
*Major Charles L. Thomas *First Lieutenant John R. Fox *Staff Sergeant Ruben Rivers *Staff Sergeant Edward A. Carter, Jr. *Private First Class Willy F. James, Jr.
*Private George Watson
Although the directive was issued in 1963, it was not until 1967 that the first non-military establishment was declared off-limits. In 1970 the requirement that commanding officers first obtain permission from the Secretary of Defense was lifted, and areas were allowed to be declared housing areas off limits to military personnel by their commanding officer.
=== Korean War ===
Jesse L. Brown became the U.S. Navy's first black aviator in October 1948. He was killed when his plane was shot down during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. He was unable to eject from his crippled F4U Corsair and crash-landed successfully. His injuries and damage to his aircraft prevented him from leaving the plane. A white squadron mate crash-landed his F4U Corsair near Brown and attempted to extricate Brown but could not and Brown died of his injuries. The U.S. Navy honored Jesse Brown by naming an escort ship after him — the U.S.S. Jesse L. Brown.
=== Vietnam War ===
The Vietnam War saw many great accomplishments by many African Americans, including twenty who received the Medal of Honor for their actions.
On December 10, 1968, U.S. Army Captain Riley Leroy Pitts became the first African American commissioned officer to be awarded the Medal of Honor. His medal was presented posthumously to his wife, Mrs. Eula Pitts, by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
=== Post-Vietnam to Present Day ===
In 1989, President George H. W. Bush appointed Army General Colin Powell to the position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, making Powell the highest ranking officer in the United States military. Powell was the first, and is so far the only, African American to hold that position. The Chairman serves as the chief military adviser to the President and the Secretary of Defense. During his tenure Powell oversaw the 1989 United States invasion of Panama to oust General Manuel Noriega and the 1990 to 1991 Gulf War against Iraq. General Powell's four-year term as Chairman ended in 1993.
General William E. "Kip" Ward was officially nominated as the first commander of the new United States Africa Command on July 10, 2007. He is currently Deputy Commander, United States European Command and the active military's only black four-star general. According to the Pentagon, Africa Command will help "promote peace and security and respond to crises on the continent." It will also coordinate military support for other diplomatic and development programs.
===Related FamilySearch Blog Articles=== *[ Remembering the Harlem Hellfighters of World War I]*[ Remembering World War I]*[ Discover Your Ancestors in World War I Records]*[ Accessing US Soldiers’ Records for World War I] === External Links === *[ Military Resources: Blacks in the Military]&nbsp;(National Archives)* ===References===
*http[ agencies Lisha Penn.'' Documenting African Americans in the Records of Military Agencies.'' Prologue 29 (Summer, 1997)]*http[https://www.rootswebfamilysearch.comorg/~flaframsearch/Militarycatalog/1009067?availability=Family%20History%20Library Mark R. Salser. ''Black Americans in Defense of their Nation.'' Portland, Oregon: National Book, 1992.htm FHL 973 M2smr]*http[ *http:servicesofcolore00nell_0/page/wwwn2 William C. Nell. '' Services of Colored Americans in the Wars of 1776 and 1812. '' Philadelphia, PA.: A.M.E.coloradocollegePublishing, 1894.html ]*http[https://wwwarchive.coax.netorg/details/peoplecoloredregularsi00stew/lwfpage/mil_recn8 T.G. Steward. ''The Colored Regulars in the United States Army. Sketch of the History of the Colored Americans, and an Account of His Services in the Wars of the Country, from the Period of the Revolutionary War to 1899.htm'' Philadelphia, A.M. E. Book Concern, 1904.] <references />
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