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The Bureau of Colored Troops was created by the United States War Department on May 22, 1863, under General Orders, No. 143, during the Civil War, to handle "all matters relating to the organization of colored troops." Major Charles W. Foster was chief of the Bureau, which reported to Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas. The designation United States Colored Troops replaced the varied state titles that had been given to the African American soldiers.[1][2]


  1. Dudley Taylor Cornish, The Sable Arm: Negro Troops in the Union Army, 1861-1865 (1955; New York: W.W. Norton, 1965), pp. 129-131.
  2. James M. McPherson, The Negro's Civil War (New York: Pantheon Books, 1965), p. 170.