Unknown Drummer Boy
The Emancipation Proclamation called for African-Americans to join the Union Army as soldiers. An estimated 200,000 African-Americans fought in the Army and Navy in the struggle against the Confederacy. Young men served as drummer boys, who would play drum rolls to let the troops know the battle was beginning. This photograph shows a drummer boy from 78th Regiment, U.S.C.I. (United States Colored Infantry).
Another image of African-American soldiers can be found in Document 47. For more about drummer boys, see Documents 26, 27, 28, and 104.
Citation - Document 60
Courtesy National Archives, photo no. 139 (war and conflict collection)