''[[Portal:United States of America|United States
]] > [[African American Research|African American Research ]] > Military Records''<br>
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.
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.