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Re: Were African Americans drafted under the 1863 Militia Act?

My sincere thanks to contributors for the care and attention they've given to my query which, contra Oakes, never "narrowed."  This thread got to the current point by dealing with the same question it started with: whether African Americans were drafted "under the procedures detailed in the Militia Act of 1863."  Oakes points out in his first reply that Congress knew that slave states would not draft free blacks via local draft boards and therefore "empowered the War Department to raise black troops on its own."  As we've seen in Crane's and Oakes's research, "raising" troops cover

Re: Were African Americans drafted under the 1863 Militia Act?

Excellent discussion of conscription! In early October 1863 the Lincoln administration, over the strong objection of some border state Unionists, instituted a remarkable and little-known policy of compulsory emancipation of enslaved men, with compensation to their previous owners, in most of the border states, and of their enrollment in the army, effectively extending the draft to slaves and providing the essential foundation for the extension of full citizenship. The policy was kept secret for a time and not applied in Kentucky at first because it was so potentially explosive.

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