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Historical Era



To Colored Men!

To Colored Men!

ca. 1861 - 1865
Records of the Adjutant General’s Office

This poster was used to recruit recently freed slaves to fight in the Civil War for the Union Army. The men were recruited for military duty with the promise of freedom, protection and pay.

Additional Details from our Exhibits and Publications:

“And retaliation will be our practice now . . .”

After President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the U.S. Army began recruiting black men in earnest. The Confederate government regarded captured black soldiers as fugitive slaves, not prisoners of war. It threatened to execute or sell them into slavery. This broadside reassured potential black recruits that the U.S. Government would treat all of its troops as soldiers and retaliate in the event of Confederate mistreatment of black U.S. soldiers.

Text adapted from “The Fight for Equal Rights: A Recruiting Poster for Black Soldiers in the Civil War” in the February 1992 National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) publication Social Education.

Document contains: 2 pages.