Passed alongside the Second Confiscation Act on July 17, 1862, the Militia Act of 1862 amended the Militia Act of 1795, making it legal for African-American men to enlist in the United States army "for the purpose of constructing intrenchments, or performing camp service or any other labor, or any military or naval service for which they may be found competent." The law also offered emancipation to any slaves willing and able to serve as well as their families, with the stipulation that their owner be disloyal to the Union.
- How did Section 12 amend the original 1795 militia law, which was "an act to provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions; and to repeal the Act nor in force for those purposes"?
- What incentive did Congress provide in Section 13 to encourage African Americans to volunteer for the Union army?
- How would border-state slaveholders and their slaves be affected by this law?
- Use evidence from Sections 12 and 15 to explain the assumptions Congress made about African-American soldiers when drafting this law. At the time, white soldiers were paid $13 per month with no deductions for clothing.
"Chap. CCI - An act to amend the Act calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections, and repel Invasion, approved February twenty-eight, seventeen hundred and ninety-five, and the Acts amendatory thereof, and for other Purposes," U.S. Congress, pp. 597-600, 17 July 1862. Courtesy of Library of Congress