President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation which actually contained 2 executive orders. The first was on September 22, 1862 which declared freedom for all slaves in the Confederate States and the second order was put into effect on January 1, 1863 that named 10 States that did not comply to the first order. This document implemented the freedom of 4 million slaves during the Civil War. Many of these freed men joined the Union in its fight for the reunification of our divided country. In all there were about 200,000 blacks in the army and navy. These brave African Americans fought valiantly not only to preserve their new freedom but to protect and keep whole this divided nation that was their home too. Black soldiers were paid $10 a month as compared to $13 a month paid to white soldiers. The reason for this was that originally the black soldiers were to used as laborers and not as combat troops.
The United States Colored Troops (USCT) as they were called played an intricate part in the successful conclusion of the American Civil War. Many of these brave men served as garrison troops and never engaged in any action. Those that did see action participated in some of the most gruesome of battles of the war. On July 18, 1863 the 54th Massachusetts Regiment began an assault on Fort Wagner in Charleston, South Carolina. Under heavy fire this all black regiment lead by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw attacked Fort Wagner. These brave soldiers held their positions for awhile but were overcome by Confederate reinforcements. By the battle’s end Colonel Shaw together with almost half his men were killed. This battle proved the bravery and determination of the black soldiers’ resolve in fighting for their freedom and their country.
It was shortly after this battle on January 1884 that Congress enacted a law that gave equal pay to the USCT. The participation and sacrifice of these brave African-Americans during our darkest days as a nation is and will always be a big part of our history.
Celebrate these great American patriots and the brave men and women who serve in all our military branches and honor all the heroes of our armed forces. If you know anyone that served their country during war or is a member of the armed forces serving in the states show your appreciation for their devotion and their steadfastness to stand with their country in defending its freedoms. Visit Mall4Men and check out the military clocks, military watches and men’s military rings that they offer at reasonable prices. They also have a Gifts4Her Department for that special lady in your life.