A Michigan Colonel's view of servants being soldiers

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major bill

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This is how this Michigan colonel viewed the question about officer's servants were considered soldiers. This occurred in Michiagn before the regiment departed for the seat of war.

Headquarter 1st Michigan Cavalry, Camp Lyons September 27 1861.

“The commanding officer is surprised and mortified to learn that negroes – servants of officers, have the dare to parade this camp in the uniforms of soldiers. The honorable distinction which the soldiers uniforms confers, and of which every true soldier is justly proud, cannot, and in this command shall not be so dishonored and degraded. The negro thereafter found wearing the uniform of the soldier of this regiment, will be stripped at once, and if within the encampment summarily ejected.”

By order of T. F. Broadhead Colonel Commanding, , J.J. Daniels Acting Adjutant.
 

ExNavyPilot

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I get the feeling there are two factors working here; a) low status servants (i.e. non-soldiers) assuming the "honorable distinction" of a soldier, and b) low status negroes are assuming the higher status reserved for whites. Unfortunately, racism was rampant all across the US, both in the North as well as the South. The Union officially gave African-Americans the opportunity to have conferred upon them the honorable distinction of a soldier, but of course was unable to erase the stain of racism, which is still with us (hopefully at a much reduced level) today.
 

AndyHall

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FWIW, Confederate Army regulations expressly forbid any enlisted person acting as an officer's servant.
 
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