Militia Act Law and Legal Definition

The Militia Act of 1862 is a law enacted during the American Civil War that allowed African Americans to participate as war laborers and soldiers.

The act empowered the U.S. President to employ persons of African descent in military or naval service. The act expressly provided that black soldiers would be paid significantly less than white soldiers.

According to the Militia Act of 1862, soldiers of African descent were to receive $10 a month with an additional reduction of three dollars for clothing. However, a black soldier's pay would be almost half as much as the white's wage of $13. In 1864, Congress vacated that portion of the Militia Act and granted equal pay for all black soldiers.