|The first use of African
American troops in combat involved a 225-man detachment from the 1st Kansas
Colored Volunteer Infantry. These troops fought in a 2-day engagement
(October 27-28, 1862) at Island Mound, Missouri. A total of 10 men were killed and 12 were
wounded. Accounts of the battle praised the black soldiers’ martial skills
|In response to the North’s
use of African American troops, Confederate President Jefferson Davis
"raised the black flag" against the North. On
December 23, 1862 he signed a proclamation ordering the execution
of any white Union officers of black troops.
|Davis also said that
"all negro slaves captured in arms" were to be turned over to the
authorities "of the respective States to which they belong, and…dealt
with according to the laws of said States."
|This decision was
subsequently endorsed in May 1863 by a resolution passed by the Confederate
|After the massacre at Fort
Pillow in April 1864, President Lincoln responded by announcing an equal
exchange of executions and hard labor sentences for Confederate officers and
enlisted men being held prisoner by the Union.