Essay on African Americans in the Civil War
William H. Carney of the 54th Mass. Volunteers received the Congressional medals of Honor for bravery during the assault on Fort Wagner. John H. Lawson also won the Congressional medals of Honor for his heroism in the battle of Mobile Bay.4 Scores of other Negro soldiers fought bravely in combat and many were recognized for their heroism. Over 100 black soldiers were commissioned officers during the Civil War.5 Although many things had changed for blacks many things still remained the same. Black soldiers earned ten dollars a day. This was three dollars less than normal compared to their white comrades who made at least 13 dollars a day.6 One black regiment stacked arms in front of their commanding officers tent and refused to pick them up again until paid fairly.6 Lincoln's response to the action was, "The employment of colored troops at all was a great gain to the colored people."8 Despite the unequal pay, unequal treatment, and relatively unchanged status Negroes from all walks of life slave and free man alike flocked to take up arms against the system that had oppressed them for a century.
Blacks in the Union Navy
On out of every four Union sailors was black.9 Of the 118,044 sailors in the Union navy, 29,511 were blacks.10 At least four black sailors won Congressional medals of Honor.11
Blacks in the Confederacy
The Confederacy was the first to recognize that blacks were major factors in the