South Carolina was declared an "independent commonwealth." BLACKS IN CONFEDERACY: Confederacy was the first to recognize that Blacks were major factors in the war. South impressed slaves to work in mines, repair railroads and build fortifications, thereby releasing a disproportionately large percentage of able-bodied whites for direct war service. A handful of Blacks enlisted in rebel army, but few, if any, fired guns in anger. Regiment of fourteen hundred free Blacks received official recognition in New Orleans but was not called into service. It later became, by a strange mutation of history, the first Black regiment officially recognized by the Union army.