|At first, black Union
soldiers were unfairly treated, given inferior arms, relegated to fatigue
duty, and paid less than half of what white soldiers were. Some black
soldiers refused any pay for 18 months to protest the unfair treatment, and
were eventually granted equal pay and improved conditions.
|The demeaning expectations
of some white officers about the ability of soldiers assigned to the 54th are
brought to light. Many saw these men as simple children who were unable to
perform in the same way as traditional white soldiers because of a lower mental
capacity. Some officers simply did not believe they were equal to whites as
|After the war, Congress
passed an act after long debate, stating that black soldiers would be issued
the same uniform, weapons, equipment, rations, medical and hospital
attendance, pay, and emoluments, other than bounty, as other soldiers.