Research Black Confederates, how many ?

Dixie Boy

Private
Joined
Oct 17, 2019
I have read and studied this for quite some time and they did indeed exist and it seams silly to me that anyone deny that. I've read many accounts and they were brave and many wanted to fight for their cause, many felt and were treated as family and friend by masters. So some sources say 50,000 to 60,000 and others say 80,000 and 90,000. Now I would rather this be a discussion of numbers not an all out debate over wether they existed because clearly they did, many black men contributed such as Silas Chandler, Rev. Mack Lee, Levi Carnine, Horace King, Holt Collier. I've read accounts and quotes from slaves and free men who loved their home and were glad they fought and accounts and photos of UCV reunions. But numbers is the target because I know they existed and I've heard the weak argument they were all forced to fight which wasn't at all the case but if you want to say that then look at the big picture of what about who else was forced to fight, like drafted men for example. Interesting fact from Horace Greeley a Union Abolishionist "
“For more than two years, Negroes had been extensively employed in belligerent operations by the Confederacy. They had been embodied and drilled as rebel soldiers and had paraded with white troops at a time when this would not have been tolerated in the armies
of the Union." (Horace Greeley). So numbers ladies and gents, numbers.
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Location
Kingsport, Tennessee
I have read and studied this for quite some time and they did indeed exist and it seams silly to me that anyone deny that. I've read many accounts and they were brave and many wanted to fight for their cause, many felt and were treated as family and friend by masters. So some sources say 50,000 to 60,000 and others say 80,000 and 90,000. Now I would rather this be a discussion of numbers not an all out debate over wether they existed because clearly they did, many black men contributed such as Silas Chandler, Rev. Mack Lee, Levi Carnine, Horace King, Holt Collier. I've read accounts and quotes from slaves and free men who loved their home and were glad they fought and accounts and photos of UCV reunions. But numbers is the target because I know they existed and I've heard the weak argument they were all forced to fight which wasn't at all the case but if you want to say that then look at the big picture of what about who else was forced to fight, like drafted men for example. Interesting fact from Horace Greeley a Union Abolishionist "
“For more than two years, Negroes had been extensively employed in belligerent operations by the Confederacy. They had been embodied and drilled as rebel soldiers and had paraded with white troops at a time when this would not have been tolerated in the armies
of the Union." (Horace Greeley). So numbers ladies and gents, numbers.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/wh...-the-csa-military.138201/page-10#post-1809435
 

Dixie Boy

Private
Joined
Oct 17, 2019
Black Confederate combatants? Less than 1000.
I'm pretty sure it was a lot more, plus many would do both roles cook and fight and so on, but enlsited or combat troopsI thought the numbers for that was much higher.
“Over 3,000 Negroes must be
included in the number. . . . They had arms, rifles, muskets, sabers,
bowie-knives, dirks, etc. They were supplied, in many instances, with
knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, etc., and they were manifestly an
integral portion of the Southern Confederacy army. They were seen
riding on horses and mules, driving wagons, riding on caissons, in
ambulances, with the staff of generals and promiscuously mixed up with
all the Rebel horde”. (Capt. Isaac Heysinger).
And this was just Jacksons Army in the lead.
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
I'm pretty sure it was a lot more, plus many would do both roles cook and fight and so on, but enlsited or combat troopsI thought the numbers for that was much higher.
“Over 3,000 Negroes must be
included in the number. . . . They had arms, rifles, muskets, sabers,
bowie-knives, dirks, etc. They were supplied, in many instances, with
knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, etc., and they were manifestly an
integral portion of the Southern Confederacy army. They were seen
riding on horses and mules, driving wagons, riding on caissons, in
ambulances, with the staff of generals and promiscuously mixed up with
all the Rebel horde”. (Capt. Isaac Heysinger).
And this was just Jacksons Army in the lead.
I'm aware of the disagreement over this, and that some interpret slaves and black support personnel as combatants. I'm sure there were some black confederate combatants, but not many.
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
"A review of the applications for Confederate pensions in Mississippi—about 36,000—reveals 1,739 applications from African Americans in MDAH files." - "Looking for Bob: Black Confederate Pensioners After the Civil War," Journal of Mississippi History, p306.

There's that 5%.
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
This was Hardee's army at Savannah, Ga., December 1864. I don't know if the blacks were servants or impressed labor or both. Whatever the case, it was a significant element of the army.

Rations issued, December 16, 1864:
  • Issues to Confederate Troops, . . . . .11,291
  • Issues to Militia, . . . . .3,249
  • Issues to Officers detailed,
  • Issues to Hospitals, etc., . . . . .1,282
  • Issues to Negroes, . . . . .923
  • Total, . . . . .16,745
https://docsouth.unc.edu/fpn/jonescharles/jones.html (pages 89-91)

923 / 16,745 = 5.5%
 

C.W. Roden

Formerly: SouthernFriedOtaku
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Location
South Carolina, USA, Earth
Quoted from the article Busting The Myth Of Black Confederate Denial The Common Sense Defense of Confederate Veterans of Color, By C.W. Roden (April 8, 2019):

Depending on who you listen to and what sources you site the number of Black Confederates who preformed the duty of soldier ranges from a few hundred to around 100,000 -- though neither one is completely accurate.

Now obviously the 100,000 number is an exaggeration, but the few hundred number is also in dispute.

Historians estimate that the aggregate for the size of the Confederate military during the four years of the war totaled between 750,000 - 800,000 soldiers, sailors and home guard (state militias). Of this number about 25% of these men were under the command of General Robert E. Lee in the Army of Northern Virginia, which reached it's peak strength of around 90,000 in June of 1862.

Now its possible that a hundred thousand Southern black men (again slaves and freemen alike) could have been in service in those roles over those four years collectively -- possible, though not likely.

However, keep in mind that not every one of these African-American in Confederate service was necessarily a Southern loyalist by any stretch of the imagination -- again I site the story of Robert Smalls as the best example. Loyalty to masters, neighbors and friends is more of a common factor, and each level of loyalty different for every individual person.

Some of the slaves and "body servants" would not come back after their master was killed and wounded, and almost certainly some took advantage of being close to Union lines to head North to Canada and freedom; while others would return and stay with their former master's units and continue to serve as they saw fit.

In fact, on occasions when Black Confederates were captured by Union soldiers and imprisoned in POW camps, many of them refused to turn coats, or abandon their fellow Confederates.

No, the true number would likely be in the 10,000 - 60,000 range for such services themselves, but not so much the act of performing soldiers' work, or taking part in battle. The actual number who might have served on the battlefield over four years collectively might be best estimated at 5,000 at the most.

Also keep in mind that, with a couple of exceptions (the escorts who rode with General Forrest's cavalry, or the 30-40 man group of Black Confederates of the 4th Tennessee Cavalry who took part together in a couple of fights mentioned previously) there were no whole regiments, or large units of Black Confederates as soldiers until just before the close of the War itself.

Ultimately we will likely never know the true number since their service was largely only recognized by the men they served with, and most official records often didn't list every single act of heroism that "official" soldiers preformed, let alone what a black drummer boy, or wagoner, or cook who picked up a fallen rifle and joined the battle line would have done.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
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Location
South Carolina
Here's a good post by Viper21 on this topic: https://civilwartalk.com/threads/dont-deny-black-confederate-valor.157941/page-9#post-2057049

Approx 1% of the total surviving Confederate Veterans.

8992_o-jpg-_nc_cat-105-_nc_ht-scontent-fphl2-2-jpg.jpg




In 1890, the US Census documented who were Confederate Veterans (Soldiers, & Sailors), & thier widows. A total of 382,089 identified as Confederate Veterans. This number would equate to anywhere from 1/2 to 1/3 of the total number of soldiers, & sailors who served in the Confederate military based on the best guestimates of 750,000 - 1,000,000 in service.

Of particular interest are the, "total colored". 3,193 men self identified as Confederate Veterans, & 334 widows. That is over 3,500 Soldiers, & widows or roughly, 1% of the those remaining 25yrs after the war.

Tell us again, how there were no Black Confederates. The US Government via the Census Bureau, recognized them, why shouldn't we..? Yet folks in this very thread refuse to call any black man wearing grey a Confederate.

In 1890, 3193 black men self identified as Confederate veterans, and there were 334 widows of black Confederate veterans. The census was taken 25 years after the war ended. How many had died in those 25 years? The number would certainly have been greater at the time of the war's ending. The question is, how much greater?
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Number of Black Confederates

Enlisted (about 10,000)
Enlisted in "white" units, 1861-65: 3,000*
Conscripts (labor), 1864-65: 4,000-5,000
Militia, 1861-62: 2,000
Troops raised March & April 1865: 500-1,000

*Private, Musician, Cook, Teamster and a few with the unusual ranks of Artificer (craftsman, carpenter, etc) and Farrier (blacksmith).

Non-Enlisted (50,000+/-)
Servant, Musician, Cook, Teamster, Hostler, Laborer (earthworks, placement of artillery, etc)
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
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Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
There is a desperate need for a high number of "black Confederate soldiers" in order to reduce or hide the plain huistorical fact that slavery brought on the American Civil War.

There is also a desperate need to misread and misinterpret sources for those numbers.

"A review of the applications for Confederate pensions in Mississippi—about 36,000—reveals 1,739 applications from African Americans in MDAH files." - "Looking for Bob: Black Confederate Pensioners After the Civil War," Journal of Mississippi History, p306.

There's that 5%.

And yet when reading the above article, the author is mainly reporting the LACK of numbers when reporting "soldiers' not slaves filling out certain functions in the Confederate army who were never considered soldiers by their white counterparts.

Steiner report: "The most liberal calculations could not give them more than 64,000 men. Over 3,000 Negroes must be included in the number."

5%.

Steiner has been called into question if he had observed black soldiers or merely black slaves carrying white soldier's gear and weapons. Odd that this number of blacks were NEVER reported being on the battlefield at Gettysburg when the 3-day battle took place.

This was Hardee's army at Savannah, Ga., December 1864. I don't know if the blacks were servants or impressed labor or both. Whatever the case, it was a significant element of the army.

Rations issued, December 16, 1864:
  • Issues to Confederate Troops, . . . . .11,291
  • Issues to Militia, . . . . .3,249
  • Issues to Officers detailed,
  • Issues to Hospitals, etc., . . . . .1,282
  • Issues to Negroes, . . . . .923
  • Total, . . . . .16,745
https://docsouth.unc.edu/fpn/jonescharles/jones.html (pages 89-91)

923 / 16,745 = 5.5%

And because it is unknown if the blacks were "servants or impressed labor or both," it is impossible to know if the 5.5% computation has any meaning whatsoever.

How many of the "negroes" listed were forced to be there or had no say being there?

To call these men "black Confederates" bestows on them a title they were never given during the Civil War. They were slaves and were never elevated to such a status that was given to them in the late 20th century in order to give a false impression that the war did not concern itself with slavery.

It is a modern, and entirely, false view of their status and of history.

Unionblue
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Enlisted (about 10,000)
Enlisted in "white" units, 1861-65: 3,000
Conscripts (labor), 1864-65: 4,000-5,000
Militia, 1861-62: 2,000
Troops raised March & April 1865: 500-1,000
Non-Enlisted (50,000+/-)
Servant, Musician, Cook, Teamster, Hostler, Laborer (earthworks, placement of artillery, etc)
How many is it possible to identify? 12,000-15,000 - maybe more depending on how extensive the research is.

How many can be easily identified right now? About 7,000.
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Here's a good post by Viper21 on this topic: https://civilwartalk.com/threads/dont-deny-black-confederate-valor.157941/page-9#post-2057049



In 1890, 3193 black men self identified as Confederate veterans, and there were 334 widows of black Confederate veterans. The census was taken 25 years after the war ended. How many had died in those 25 years? The number would certainly have been greater at the time of the war's ending. The question is, how much greater?
The largest number (veterans and widows) residing in a city was New Orleans with 44.
https://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/1890a_v1p2-14.pdf
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
What was the total population of free blacks in the CSA in 1861? If I recall correctly, Virginia had a little short of half and they totalled around 55,000 or so. How many of those were males between 18 and 45?
 

Viper21

Brigadier General
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Location
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There is a desperate need for a high number of "black Confederate soldiers" in order to reduce or hide the plain huistorical fact that slavery brought on the American Civil War.

There is another desperate need in play. The need to deny BC's existed, or to hide the historical fact that they did. It isn't just folks posting in forums, we see well known authors actually ignore evidence of such, in books supposedly dedicated to the subject..?! :O o:

To call these men "black Confederates" bestows on them a title they were never given during the Civil War. They were slaves and were never elevated to such a status that was given to them in the late 20th century in order to give a false impression that the war did not concern itself with slavery.

It is a modern, and entirely, false view of their status and of history.

Unionblue
They weren't all slaves. How about the Freemen who volunteered..? Why are they so routinely ignored..? Could it be to give a false impression to a preferred narrative..?
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Aug 25, 2012
So much depends on the definition of "black Confederate". If you only include combatants perhaps a couple thousand. If you include every black in every Confederate state you can get a couple million.

One should not include every black who did a task that modern soldiers do. For example in the modern Army laundry companies do laundry for other soldiers. If you include Civil War laundress as soldiers, then there were thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of female soldiers in the Union and Confederate Armies. The problem with this is females doing laundry for soldiers during the Civil War were not normally considered to be soldiers. Although one could make a good argument, based on the tasked they did, that these Civil War female laundress should be considered Civil War soldiers. The same could be said of Civil War enslaved cooks and servants.
 
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