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.
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.
*Unites States Army Dept. of the Tennessee, General Superintendent of Freedmen. ''[http://www.archive.org/details/reportofgenerals02unit 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[http://books.google.com/books?id=_9M3AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Cheerful+yesterdays&hl=en&ei=kFOaTczdAcbfiAKeorSdCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false Google ]and [http://www.archive.org/details/cheerfulyesterd00higggoog Internet Archives.] Book at [http://www.worldcat.org/title/cheerful-yesterdays/oclc/274064&referer=brief_results WorldCat].
=== Indian Wars ===