During and after the Civil War, African Americans shaped the war and its consequences by fighting in the war directly, changing the idealism of the war from preserving the union to freeing the slaves, and by greatly increasing the power of the Republican party.

African Americans fought in the war

African Americans not only indirectly caused a change in the course and consequences of the Civil war but also did so directly by fighting in it.

Congress enacts Militia Act of 1862


Congress enacts Militia Act of 1862, which calls for a draft of 300,000, including “Colored Troops,” into the Union army.

First known engagement of Black troops in the Civil War


First Kansas Colored Volunteers repulse Confederates at Battle of Island Mound; the first known engagement of Black troops in the Civil War. Lasted from 10/27/1862 to 10/29/1862.

Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation takes effect


Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation takes effect, freeing enslaved Africans in Confederate areas and encouraging Black enlistment in the Union army.

Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment is mustered into the Union army.


Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment is mustered into the Union army. The fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment was the first all African American Regiment in history in America.

Failure at the Battle of Port Hudson


Black troops bravely advance under the command of Union general Nathaniel Banks but ultimately fail against deadly fire in the Battle of Port Hudson—the first major battle involving Black troops.

Assault of Fort Wagner by fifty fourth Massachusetts Regiment


Assault on Fort Wagner by the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment; the Fifty-fourth loses half its officers (including Robert Gould Shaw) and half its troops before being repulsed.

Siege of Fort Pillow


Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest leads 2,500 men against Fort Pillow, which was held by 292 Black soldiers and 285 White soldiers. As Blacks surrender, Confederates indiscriminately shoot and bayonet men, women, and children. In all, 200 Black people are killed.

Battle of New Market Heights


The Black division of the Eighteenth Corps heroically charges up the slopes against Confederate troops in the Battle of New Market Heights (Chaffin’s Farm); 14 Blacks receive the Medal of Honor.

Slaves are armed in the South


Richmond Confederate Congress passes and Jefferson Davis signs an order to arm slaves.

African Americans changed the idealism of or after the war

Crittenden Resolution


Congress approves the Crittenden Resolution, attesting that the war is being fought to preserve the Union and not to interfere with slavery.

First Confiscation Act


Congress passes the First Confiscation Act which allows the Union seizure of Rebel property which included slaves and said slaves were freed from their masters.

Congress forbids returning fugitive slaves


Congress forbids returning fugitive slaves to their masters during the war.

Congress abolishes slavery in Washington, D.C., and the territories.


Congress abolishes slavery in Washington, D.C., and the

Emancipation Proclamation


In the wake of the Battle of Antietam, Lincoln issues the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation that would free all enslaved Africans in Confederate territory as a matter of “military necessity.”

Lincoln suggests 15th Amendment


Lincoln expresses his wish that the new southern state governments being set up under his Reconstruction program grant at least some Blacks, including Union army veterans, the right to vote.



Union general Gordon Granger belatedly announces to enslaved Africans in Galveston that they are free, the event known as Juneteenth.

African Americans increased the power of the Republican party

Due to the idea of the Republican party freeing the African Americans, the Republican party at the time of the Civil war gained a lot of support from African Americans, making it vastly more powerful than the Democratic party.

Republican party gets Congress to grant equal pay to Black soldiers freed.


On June 15, 1864, Congress gave Black soldiers equal pay to white soldiers. Blacks influenced the Republican party to grant them equal pay as soldiers, showing the power Blacks gave the Republican Party.

Freedman's Bureau


On March 3, 1865, the Freedman's Bureau was created. Oliver O. Howard was the head of the Bureau. It was created to help former black slaves and poor whites in the South in the aftermath of the U.S. Civil War. It also provided food, housing and medical aid, established schools, and offered legal assistance. It also attempted to settle former slaves on Confederate lands confiscated or abandoned during the war. The Republican party was clearly gaining power from blacks, after being able to create the Freedman's Bureau that was designed to help blacks. It ceased operations in 1868.

Thirteenth Amendment Ratified


On December 6, 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery. This demonstrates Republican power gained by Blacks because they had the power to free the blacks, an extremely important step of the Republican Party.

African Americans join constitutional conventions in the South


265 Blacks are among the approximately 1,000 Republican delegates to new state constitutional conventions in the South making the Republican party a lot more powerful.

Blacks are involved in Congress and Government


In the south in 1866, about 265 Blacks are among the approximately 1,000 Republican delegates to new state constitutional conventions. Blacks are directly taking part in the Republican party, increasing their power immensely.

Civil Rights Act is passed over Andrew Johnson's veto


The Civil Rights Act was passed on April 9, 1866. The act declared that all persons born in the United States were now citizens, without regard to race, color, or previous condition. As citizens they could make and enforce contracts, sue and be sued, give evidence in court, and inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property. The Republican party had immense Power (due to Blacks) to be able to grant them true american citizenship.

Ku Klux Klan and Knights of the White Camellia murder 1,000 Republicans


Ku Klux Klan and Knights of the White Camellia murder approximately 1,000 Republicans to drive Republican voters away from southern polls.

Fourteenth Amendment is ratified.


With their increasing power, the Republicans got the Fourteenth Amendment ratified, giving African Americans
basic rights of citizenship, due process, and equal

Fifteenth Amendment is ratified.


The Republicans use their growing power to ratify the Fifteenth Amendment, giving black males the right to vote. Black voters in the south gave the Republicans a station in the south for their party and ensured the party votes in the south.

First African American accepted into the House of Representatives


Joseph Rainey becomes first African American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

First African American in Senate


Mississippi Hiram Revels becomes first African American chosen for the U.S. Senate.

Civil War

Civil War

4/12/1861 - 8/9/1865

The Civil war begins with the Battle of Fort Sumter and Robert E. Lee's surrender at the Appomattox Court House in Richmond, Virginia. This war had begun due to the issue of Lincoln winning presidency but slowly grows to a war for/against slavery.