Would the Union Have Lost the War Without the Addition of the USCT? (poll)

Would the Union Have Lost the War Without the Addition of the USCT?

  • Yes

    Votes: 4 12.9%
  • No

    Votes: 22 71.0%
  • Don't Know

    Votes: 5 16.1%

  • Total voters


2nd Lieutenant
Oct 26, 2012
Would the Union Have Lost the War Without the Addition of the USCT (United States Colored Troops) ?
Last edited:

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Aug 25, 2012
The Union could have lost the War without the USCT but I am not sure they would have. The Union had the manpower it needed to win but it is possible that the political fallout from drafting the manpower could have caused them to negotiate a peace. This in no way should be taken as a lack of respect for the USCT and they played a major role in the Union winning the war, but the numbers were there for the Union to win without the USCT. Judging the political will without the USCT is much harder.


Regimental Armorer
Retired Moderator
Feb 20, 2005
South of the North 40
Would the Union Have Lost the War Without the Addition of the USCT (The United States Colored Troops) ?
That is a very good and very tough question to answer. While I decided to vote no it was rather thought provoking to imagine the US victory without the USCT.

The influx of 180,000 soldiers on one side of any conflict is going to have an impact and in the 19th century a rather significant one. Would 180,000 additional soldiers have made the difference for the CS? No, because they could not have armed equipped or fed them. The US not only could they did which is in itself a statement. The social and political ramifications of the USCT altered the path of the US permenantly. While it took a long time it helped pave the way for the civil rights movement and the eventual racial equality of the US. While we may still not quite be there without the USCT I believe we would be a lot farther away than we are today.

Good lord, I hope that makes sense...


May 26, 2017
I don't think you will find any historian that would support the claim that the Union would have lost the Civil War without the USCT. In the few cases where these units were deployed in combat their performance tho aggressive and courageous, wasn't pivotal to any particular victory (Nashville?). They simply were not given the full opportunity to participate in combat in enough instances to truly measure their value in that role.


Lt. Colonel
Apr 4, 2017
Denver, CO
The African-American sailors probably had a bigger impact. The navy was able to assemble crews much faster than they otherwise would have, and the naval operations went more smoothly.
Sherman did not like USCT but he was critically dependent on his black pioneers. Bridges had to built quickly and efficiently and swamps had to be crossed. People who were equipped and experienced in that work were essential.


Jul 28, 2015
New York City
Interesting question. The addition of about 190,000 black soldiers and sailors to the union ranks was certainly an important source of manpower, particularly during the later stages of the war. So I think that their service, while significant, is only one of many, many building blocks that contributed to the northern victory.