We see all sorts of chatter and discussion about the presence of African Americans accompanying Confederate forces on the march and in combat. We've even read the occasional story about a black man picking up a weapon to defend himself when he's under attack, or tales of blacks being forced to service cannon and the like. I for one don't doubt that African Americans were to be found with Confederate forces. Nor does it surprise me that they were put to work digging trenches, preparing food, and the like (otherwise, why the First Confiscation Act?). And yes, I've read plenty about the last-ditch efforts of the Confederacy to enroll blacks in the Confederate army, and the Alabama creoles and free New Orleans free blacks in the Native Guard. Let's stipulate that all this is true. All that said, do we have any evidence that a substantial number of Africn Americans served as soldiers (enrolled, etc.) in the Confederate armed forces? Are they mentioned, for example, in the letters of Confederate soldiers home? Moreover, does any of this really have a discernable impact on our understanding of the war, its causes, the role of slavery, etc.? In other words ... so what? Thanks in advance.