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From Freedpeople to Soldiers

The Union occupation of eastern North Carolina provided many enslaved men and women the opportunity to find freedom and protection by fleeing to the Union lines.  With the influx of African Americans into coastal Carolina, there were some former slaves that began finding ways to assist the Union army.  One way in which they did this was through arming themselves to fight on behalf of the Union.  Before there was any official policy regarding black enlistment, the idea incited much opposition from white Northerners.  Despite this, many African Americans still took it upon themselves to begin mustering a black regiment.  Once official Union policy allowed the enlistment of black men, recruitment began and former slaves begin enlisting and becoming Union soldiers.