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

Prof. Knupfer's has helpfully clarified his original intervention. Prompted by my discussion in "Freedom National" of the way slaves were recruited into the Union army in the southern states, Prof. Knupfer asked whether in fact any blacks were ever drafted. I replied by pointing out that recruitment in the slave states was organized very differently than the way it was organized in the northern states. I was arguing the very point that Prof. Knupfer now makes: that conscription and impressment were hard to distinguish in the South, and that it was controversial for just that reason.

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

I really appreciate the contributions so far and will dig into the references that are coming in.

I'm grateful to Prof. Oakes for his clarification about the discussion of "drafting" blacks into the Union Army.  But I fear he misunderstands me, so I'll try to be a little clearer, if possible.

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

I have done a little research on this in Kansas. To my knowledge, no, there were no black draftees in 1863.

Though, in Kansas and Missouri, some who served in USCI regiments had been impressed into service and many in the 1st and 2nd Kansas Colored had previously served in Lane's Brigade. James Lane recruited black regiments under the Militia Act of 1862 (despite protests from higher ups that this was illegal). They were not formally mustered into service until 1863. This was not a draft, however.

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

This legislative language looks like the Enrollment Act of March, 1863. This addressed federal conscription and was passed after the problems of the Militia Act of 1862, which passed around June or so. This earlier act specified a state operated draft for militia units to meet any call-ups by the President. In August, 1862, Lincoln called up 300,000 nine month state militia. Partly this call up was to goad more men to volunteer for the previous call for 300,000 3-year service men for the volunteer regiments.

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