In Voices of the Civil War, Episode 5, A White Man's War, we will learn about the first African American men who were prepared to fight in the Civil War. Many northerners were determined to keep their conflict with the South a ‘white man’s war’. Whenever recruiting offices were opened, black men offered themselves and were rejected. Nonetheless, they were confident that the opportunity to serve the Union was a matter of time. The Lincoln administration, Republican press and even some anti-slavery newspapers stated that the goal of the war was the restoration of the Union and that the issues of slavery and blacks had nothing to do with the conflict. Such actions dampened the rising enthusiasm of African Americans for the Union cause.
Image Credit: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History