JANUARY 2014: The Voices of the Civil War is a five-year film series dedicated to celebrating and commemorating the Civil War over the course of the sesquicentennial. Each month, new episodes cover pertinent topics that follow the monthly events and issues as they unfolded for African Americans during the Civil War. Within these episodes there are various primary sources – letters and diaries, newspaper reports, and more - to recount various experiences of blacks during this period. We encourage your feedback and commentary through our Voices of the Civil War web blog.

Click here to visit the Voices of the Civil War blog to see previous episodes.

By the end of 1863, with the Confederate army lacking resources, funds, and manpower, it had become clear to Confederate General Patrick Cleburne that the south desperately needed to find ways to recruit new soldiers for the rebel cause. Calling it “a plan which we believe will save our country,” in January 1864, he called upon the leaders of the Army of the Tennessee and proposed the emancipation of slaves in order to enlist them in the Confederate war effort. In Episode 24 we explore the role of African Americans in the Confederate States Army.


1, 9, 10 National Archives and Records Administration

2, 3, 5-8, 11-14, 17-20, 22, 24 Library of Congress

4 Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

15 Alabama Department of Archives and History

16 Virginia Historical Society

21 New York Historical Society

23 Riddick’s Folly Museum House

25 Harper’s Weekly

26 Tom Farish Collection

27 Personal Collection of Andrew Chandler Battaile