Response of the Confederates
The Confederates were obviously outraged by the North’s use of black troops. Treating the Colored Troops as soldiers or rebellious slaves became the major dilemma of the South. Most Southerners decided to treat colored soldiers as rebel slaves. President Davis came to the decision in 1862 that all slaves captured on the field of battle were to be returned from where they came and to be punished by state laws(#2, p. 268). The Northern government contested this decision and pleaded that black troops be treated as prisoners of war. The Confederates would only reject this proposal. Some captured black soldiers were sold back into slavery while others were killed. Leaders of the Confederate felt by killing black troops would make an example of them and deter others from enlisting. The worst incidence of this cruelty was at the battle of Fort Pillow. On April 12, 1864, Confederate forces overcame the Union fortification. Black troops were not permitted to surrender, while most were shot and others buried alive(#3, p. 232). It was almost impossible to calculate how many black soldiers lost their life during the Civil War. Loses among the African-Americans were very high. Some estimates state that nearly one-third of all colored soldiers were killed, but there can be no dispute that black regiments made a considerable impact towards winning the war.
Massacre at Fort Pillow