Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Daniel Herman

Second Committee Member

Roxanne Easley

Third Committee Member

Rex Wirth


Through the use of Union courts-martial records, this paper will examine the ways in which black women who had been assaulted by white men were denied justice in military courts. Although the Union Army was often perceived of as an army representing freedom and higher moral purpose, the court martial records reveal a darker side. They reveal that sometimes black women found no safety behind Union lines; rather, they found themselves victims of sexual violence by white men and had little recourse to justice. Although outwardly the Union Army was devoted to abolishing slavery, the inner workings of its courts reveal that black women, supposedly protected by Lincoln’s Lieber Code, were often sexually dehumanized by Union soldiers and military judges.

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