This image, which shows a black man from the waist up, dressed in a button-down cap and holding a rifle against his left shoulder, is undoubtedly of a Union soldier. An estimated 180,000 black soldiers served in the Union Army—10 percent of its total soldiers and 13 percent of the black population. “We know that so many of those soldiers were very young, quite ordinary, probably farmers, possibly illiterate, but we don’t know anything about him,” says Gates-Moresi.
Union poster, 1863: Men of Color - To Arms! (The Emancipation Proclamation authorized the enrollment of black troops. Altogether, 186,000 black soldiers served in the Union army and another 29,000 served in the navy, accounting for nearly ten percent of all Union forces and 68,178 of the Union dead or missing. Twenty-four African Americans received the Congressional Medal of Honor for extraordinary bravery in battle) #CivilWar