You are here

Muster Roll #1230 for Jasper Yowns, Civil War, 1865

Civil Roll muster roll abstract for Jasper Towns of the 31st United States Colored Troops
New York State Archives, NYSA_13775-83_USCT_0031_1230_Towns_Jasper
Document Description
A muster roll for Jasper Yowns of the U.S. Colored Troops, Civil War, 1865.
This is a combat record for a soldier. Why would it be important to have these types of records?
Is this an enlistment paper for the Confederacy or the Union? Why do you think that?
How do you think people felt when African Americans were fighting in the Civil War? Why would these opinions vary?
Historical Challenges
There are some very-well-known African American regiments of the Civil War. Choose one New York regiment and research its actions. Use the website listed below and others you may find.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: If 36,000 African Americans out of 178,975 total soldiers died, what percentage of African American soldiers died in the Civil War?
Science: What were some common non-combat killers during the Civil War?
English Language Arts: Create a poster recruiting African Americans to the Union cause.
Bellerophon Books and Alan Archambault. Black Soldiers in the Civil War Coloring Book. Bellerophon Books, 1995. ISBN: 0883882027.
Black, Wallace B. Slaves to Soldiers: African American Fighting Men in the Civil War. New York: F. Watts, 1998. ISBN: 0531202526.
Collier, James Lincoln. With Every Drop of Blood. New York: Delacorte Press, 1994. ISBN: 0385320280, 0440219833 (pbk.).
Hansen, Joyce. Which Way Freedom? New York: Walker, 1986. ISBN: 0802766234, 0802766366.
Taylor, Susie King. A Black Woman’s Civil War Memoirs: Reminiscences of My Life in Camp with the 33rd U.S. Colored Troops, Late 1st South Carolina Volunteers. New York: M. Wiener Pub., 1988. ISBN: 0910129851.

About this Activity


Lesson Topic:


Historical Context
African Americans have fought in every war in which the United States was involved; the Civil War was no exception. In July of 1862, Congress passed two acts that allowed for the enlistment of African Americans into the Army. However, it was not until after the Emancipation Proclamation in September of that year that enlistments officially began. Around 180,000 African Americans fought in 163 units for the Union.  

The African American soldier faced discrimination in the Union Army. Many white soldiers believed that African Americans lacked the courage to fight. African American soldiers were at first paid less than their white counterparts. Some African American regiments refused to accept any pay until it was equal to what the white soldiers received. In June of 1864, Congress approved equal pay for all soldiers.

In all, African Americans made up 10% of the Union Army. Casualties were high, and approximately one-third of all enlisted African American soldiers died in the war.


Essential Question
How does war impact a society?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the information contained in this document and evaluate the impact of the Civil War on Jasper Yowns life.