“LIKE A DROWNING MAN CATCHING AT STRAWS”
This chapter asks whether, and under what circumstances, the original project of arming and emancipating slaves might have proven viable and might even have altered the outcome of the war. Fierce opposition to emancipation stripped the original plans of inducements that Cleburne, Lee, Davis, and Benjamin had forcefully advocated. By refusing to guarantee the freedom of black volunteers — much less of their family members and of the slave population in general — the predicted swift recruitment of black soldiers by the hundreds of thousands, resulted in no more than two hundred and very likely considerably fewer forces being raised. The elan and commitment of even that small force also left much to be desired.
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