Black Regulars and Militiamen in the War of 1812


The Black American soldier was a rarity between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. When Congress passed the Militia Act of 1792, it required that “every free able-bodied white male citizen” join his state militia. It is implied that non-whites could not participate in the militia but it left open the possibility that non-whites could join the U.S. Army. The U.S. Army did permit Blacks to serve in the army, but only as cooks or officer’s servants between the two wars. Cracks in these restrictions appeared for a short time during the War of 1812. Congress passed An Act for Completing the Existing Military Establishment on 24 December 1811 in which it was stated that only “able bodied men” may be recruited in the army. No restrictions for race appear in any military legislation passed during the War of 1812. Without proper rules and regulations governing this issue of recruiting Black soldiers, some commanders in the army did recruit Blacks.

This work identifies 455 Black men who enlisted in the U.S. Army during the War of 1812 and another 662 Blacks who served as militiamen in a number of state militias. This book is an expanded version of the author’s original book, Black Regulars in the War of 1812, which was first published in 2015.

Mr. Johnson is a lineal descendant of five veterans of the War of 1812 and he is the past president of the Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Ohio (2008-2011). He is currently the Archivist General for the General Society of the War of 1812 and has served as the Historian General for this society.

Eric Eugene Johnson

2017, 8½x11, paper, alphabetical, 94 pp.

ISBN: 9780788457722