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Black Civil War Substitutes

Black Civil War Substitutes


By 1862, the Union Army’s need for new recruits could no longer be met by volunteers; in March 1863, U.S. Congress passed the Enrollment Act authorizing a national draft.  Drafted or enrolled men of means could hire substitutes to serve in their stead.  Many substitutes were African Americans fleeing war or slavery and seeking a source of income and citizenship.


Indiana did not meet July 1864 troop quota.  For December troop call, over 1,200 Hoosiers obtained substitutes; nine southern-born African Americans joined 8th Regiment U.S. Colored Infantry as substitutes for white Gibson County men.  The 8th Regiment, part of African American 25th Corps, took part in campaign leading to Lee’s surrender and war’s end, April 1865


Submitted by

Bryan Arnold


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