Several residents of The Hills enlisted in 1863, serving in the aforementioned regiments of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. By the end of the war, approximately 300,000 black men had served in the Union Army. Black soldiers who gave their lives in the war died most often of disease. Ten black soldiers died of disease for every one soldier who died in combat. The corresponding ratio for white soldiers was two dead of disease for every one dead in battle.
Some of this discrepancy can be accounted for by racial prejudice; black soldiers were not used in combat as often as white soldiers, and so were given a disproportionate amount of fatigue duty. (Fatigue duty included building forts and barracks and digging latrines.) Sergeant Simeon Tierce, a Westchester resident from the Hills who enlisted in the 14th Regiment Rhode Island Colored Heavy Artillery, worked for a month with his regiment in New Orleans on fatigue duty before becoming sick and dying of disease several months later.
However, when U.S. Colored troops did fight, they fought with distinction in battles such as Millikens Bend, LA; Port Hudson, LA; Petersburg, VA; Nashville, TN and Fort Wagner, SC.