Proving Themselves in Battle - In October 1862, African American Soldiers of the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers Silenced Their Critics
Blacks were permitted to join the Union Army in 1863, and some scholars believe this infusion of soldiers may have turned the tide of the war.
In general, white soldiers and officers believed that black men lacked the ability to fight and fight well. In October 1862, African American soldiers of the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers silenced their critics by repulsing attacking Confederate guerrillas at the Skirmish at Island Mound, Missouri in October 1862. By August, 1863, 14 Black Regiments were in the field and ready for service.
At the Battle of Port Hudson, Louisiana, May 27, 1863, the African American soldiers bravely advanced over open ground in the face of deadly artillery fire. Although the attack failed, the black soldiers proved their capability to withstand the heat of battle.
General Banks recording in the his official report; “Whatever doubt may have existed heretofore as to the efficiency of organizations of this character, the history of this days proves…in this class of troops effective supporters and defenders.”