This Day in History

Jan. 26, 1863: Black Troops Recruited for the Union Army

Time Periods: Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
54th Massachusetts | Zinn Education Project

The 54th Massachusetts, the first Black regiment of the Union Army, 1863 Boston.

On Jan. 26, 1863, the U.S. War Department authorized the governor of Massachusetts to recruit Black troops to the Union Army in the Civil War.

Learn more about this history at the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum in Washington, DC.

The lesson, “A War to Free the Slaves?” addresses the Civil War, President Lincoln, the 54th Regiment, and the abolition of slavery.

See the Massachusetts Historical Society for more photos.