No guns for black men


G. P. Miller, a black physician from Michigan, wrote this letter to U.S. Secretary of War Simon Cameron in October 1861. He proposed to raise a regiment of “sharp shooters” to fight against the Confederacy. The War Department praised Miller’s “patriotic spirit and intelligence” but declined his offer because of orders that “authorize the arming of colored persons only in cases of great emergency.”

National Archives, Records of the Office of the Secretary of War