March 13, 1865 – The Confederacy Approves Recruitment of Black Soldiers

On this day in history, the Confederate States of America, fighting for the right to keep blacks in a permanent condition of enslavement, passed an Act of Congress authorizing the President “to ask for and accept from the owners of slaves, the services of such number of able-bodied negro men as he may deem expedient, for and during the war, to perform military service in whatever capacity he may direct.”

The concluding section of Article I of the Act was careful to add:

SEC 5. That nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize a change in the relation which the said slaves shall bear toward their owners, except by consent of the owners and of the States in which they may reside, and in pursuance of the laws thereof.”

You can read the entire Act here.

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