Has there been a specific study that has dealt with how Union soldiers’ opinions concerning things like slavery, emancipation, ect., change as they transitioned from their homeland and descended South and witnessed, firsthand, the nature of slavery?
Additionally, how did their experiences going South, entering Rebeldom, change their point of view on Negro soldiers, and everything else that was involved in race issues, if at all? For example, here are some quotes from various soldiers from Indiana:
“Mother said she was afraid I would turn to an Abolitionist. If I had been one at home, I have seen enough to make me a Negro hater since I came here.” (Frankfort, Ky., Oct. 15, 1861)
“I suppose you hear plenty of talk about the free negroes I don’t know how the folks like it nor don’t kear [sic] if it will only bring the war to an end any sooner….We are in war and anything to beat the south.” (Jan. 8, 1863, Ft. Barnard, Va.)
“They [sic] is two or three Negro Regts here. They make good Soldiers and save the white soldiers a good deal of hard work. They make a fine appearance on drill. I am in for the Black Soldier. I say bring them on.” (Joseph Hollis, Folly Island, S.C., Sept. 9, 1863)
“Though I live in the negro country, I haven’t changed my opinion of them, only strengthened it. They are not good for anything, unless driven to work, so you don’t need to be afraid that I will fall in love with them, though it is the case with many soldiers.” (Winchester, Tenn., Nov. 6, 1863)
“I seen a new part of the ‘Elephant’ today viz. a squad of Negro soldiers drilling. They did a great deal better than many white troops I have seen with the same opportunities.” (Tullahoma, Tenn., May 31, 1864, p. 142)
“Nearly all the guards along the road are Negroes. They are fine looking soldiers. They always turn out at a present arms when the train passes. Their accouterments and guns are as bright as they can be, and the broad smile that marks their countenances attest their like of the change from Chattels to U.S. soldiers.” (Louisville, Ky., Sept. 17, 1864)
“Up to the time we landed I had not noticed any negro troops, but after we left Akins landing I saw nothing else…They flocked out to see us as we passed, and I never saw a blacker set of Negroes in my life. They beat the ‘Ace of Spades.’” (March 10, 1865)
With these quotes being from different soldiers it’s not possible to measure how they were impacted as they moved South and saw things such as slavery, Southern Women, Southern society, ect., and how that real life, face-to-face exposure impacted them.
If I took 100 or so soldiers and followed their evolution in thinking as they went South, that might make from interesting findings, would it not?
Oh, and if someone has done this please point me in that direction….