American Civil War for Kids - Slaves and Racism in Camps
Racism existed in both the Union and Confederate armies.
The South: Some slaves loyally followed their masters. In the Confederate army camps, they led lives similar to their life on the plantations. They cleaned their master's boots, polished his sword, foraged for food, cooked and served his meals, cleaned his uniform, and in some cases, fought alongside him in battle. Some masters left their slaves on their farms to take care of things while they were away. When Rebel forces raided farms in the South, slaves were rounded up, tied with rope, dragged along with other stolen goods like pigs and chickens, and put to work back in the Rebel camps cleaning latrines and doing other menial tasks.
The North: Some slaves in the South were Union spies and Union scouts. They risked their lives to bring valuable information to Union camps. They were rarely thanked for their efforts. After the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, when black soldiers were allowed to serve in the Union army, many white officers and enlisted men resigned. African American soldiers were harassed and beaten, given the worse weapons, and often treated with contempt.