The selection and preparation of white officers for the command of black troops in the American Civil War: A study of the 41st and 100th U.S. Colored Infantry
Renard, Paul D.
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American Civil War officer preparation activities were rooted in the broader practices of antebellum military education as applied at West Point, other military academies, and the state militia system. The arrival of black troops in the Union Army led to a radical, if temporary, transformation in the Armyâ s process for the selection and preparation of officersâ but only for the white officers who served with black regiments. Overtly political or casual processes of the early Civil War were replaced in many cases by formal examinations and the centralized review of results, operating in parallel with more traditional political patronage systems of appointment. This study uses the experiences of officers from several black infantry regiments, and particularly the 41st U.S. Colored Infantry from the East and the 100th U.S.C.I. from the West, to illustrate how leaders for black units were chosen, prepared, examined, commissioned, and continued their military education. It focuses on the experiences of the officers, along with the contextual environments of antebellum education, slavery, racism, tactics, and bureaucracy in which they served.
- Doctoral Dissertations