Pressure From Congress: After the Union Army suffered a series of military defeats in 1861 and 1862, pressure mounted on Lincoln to use African Americans as soldiers. Once again African American soldiers came to the rescue of America. As Charles Summer put it: I do not say carry the war into Africa, but carry Africa into the war. As desertions from Union Army increased, and whites enlisted plummeted, Congress passed the Confiscation Act on August 6, 1861, which authorized the president to enlist African Americans in the Army. Lincoln still refused. Then in October 1861, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton authorized General Thomas W. Sherman to use all loyal persons offering their services for the defense of the Union.