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Black Confederates: So What?

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by contestedground, May 14, 2017.

  1. contestedground

    contestedground Corporal

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    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.
     

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  3. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    No, the Confedercy forbid it. Although all armies need support personnel, I have not seen much to convince me they were solders and not slaves working in support rolls. I would use the term served with the Confederate army, not served in the Confederate army.
     
  4. johan_steele

    johan_steele Colonel Retired Moderator

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    Don't expect an honest answer from those espousing the CS as some sort of racial utopia. There are many claims but request records of paroles, pay records etc all you get are crickets.
     
  5. Youngblood

    Youngblood Sergeant

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    Im of the camp-

    If there were, fine.
    If there werent, fine.

    Funny thing around here is the suppression squad that scrambles to squash any mention of black service in the CS.
     
  6. captaindrew

    captaindrew Corporal

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    Your post did bring a question to me. The CS black regiment formed in Virginia right at the end of the war, were they volunteers? conscripts? forced into it? Were they offered any compensation for their service? Freedom from slavery? I don't know and never thought about it before. Is there even much known about it?
     
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  7. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    Very small regiment and more like a company or two. They were to be paid, but existed such a shot time it is doubtful they were paid. The law did not give them freedom for becoming soldiers, however a Army General Order said their owner must free them as far as the owner could before the slave could be accepted as a soldier. We do not know if they were to be re enslaved after their service. General Orders are not the law of the land and the law stated the status of the slave would not be altered because they became soldiers. We are not sure how many were free blacks and how many we slaves
     
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  8. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    To be fair, Confederate soldiers hadn't been paid in months by March 1865.

    Ryan
     
  9. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    In fact, as far as the historical record is concerned 'Black Soldiers' in confederate armies is a myth, and should, in the absence of any New historical proof, should be rejected as having any historical import, every time it is introduced as serious subject for historical discussion., especially on a board dedicated to the history of the CW, since the myth, itself, was mainly the project of those post-war apologists for secession(during the war it was mainly a providence of newspaper reports).

    The claim as a myth, can be matter of serious discussion, as an indicator of a certain mindset, that can help clarify, what people were saying before the war and what were saying after the war, as justification for secession and war. But that, as I have said, is for the history of the Union, after the CW, when the myth really took hold.
     
  10. johan_steele

    johan_steele Colonel Retired Moderator

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    What frustrates me is that I once believed the myth of thousands of black confederate soldiers. Then I made the mistake of doing my own research. I dislike being deceived and I hold s grudge. My own research showed yes some black men willingly and eagerly picked up arms. How many? Probably on par with the number of women who disguised themselves as men

    The Confederate soldiers, their officers, the politicians & the people at home were certainly unaware of masses of black men serving the CS. The whole concept of the armed black confederate is a relatively new thing.

    The UCV certainly had no wide membership of black men and the SCV still doesn't have a wide membership of black descendants.

    Over the best part of my time on this site I have watched people edit, misquote and outright invent sources. It's to the point that certain posters on this site have no credibility. If they are willing to lie there I have to ask myself what else will they eagerly lie about?
     
  11. johan_steele

    johan_steele Colonel Retired Moderator

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    Quite true but I wager any man who compared a CS veteran to a slave might have a problem which at the very least might require the attention of a dentist.
     
  12. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    Agreed. It would not have been a complimentary comparison for the Confederate soldiers.

    Ryan
     
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  13. civilken

    civilken 2nd Lieutenant

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    no no 1000 times no really. Stick a fork in it!!!!
     
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  14. Burning Billy

    Burning Billy Corporal

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    "So what" pretty much sums up my thoughts on the matter.

    In most of the discussions where I've seen the issue of black Confederates brought up, it was mentioned as an attempt to paint the Confederacy as something less racist than it actually was, or as an argument that the Union did not have the moral high ground.

    Forgive the Godwin, but hundreds of thousands of Slavs served in German military units during the Second World War and as many as 150,000 Germans of at least partial Jewish descent may have served in the German military, despite both groups being considered something less than human by the German state. Just as that in no way lessens Nazi Germany's many war crimes, or makes the government of wartime Germany any less racist, even a million African soldiers enlisted by the Confederacy would not change one bit that it was founded on a bedrock of white supremacy and went to war to protect slavery.

    In any case, evidence for black Confederate soldiers so far seems to be lacking.
     
  15. Stiles/Akin

    Stiles/Akin Sergeant

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  16. contestedground

    contestedground Corporal

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  17. Burning Billy

    Burning Billy Corporal

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    This.

    The Confederacy employed slaves to cook, do laundry, groom horses, and do other menial tasks for the army. They were not soldiers.
     
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  18. Stiles/Akin

    Stiles/Akin Sergeant

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    So what? is probably the best question of all. Its one that most Southern Detractors and groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center don't want to answer. Everyone wants a cut and dry answer to the War between the States. By leaving out certain facts it makes textbook publishing much easier. Just ask James Loewen. Whether you choose to recognize their service or not is your prerogative but they did indeed serve either as slave or free negro. As you can see with P.M.B Young and Wade Hampton ,slaves served early on in the war and UCV originations fought to get black soldiers pensions after the war. as with Eli Puckett and Amos Rucker.
    As you see from above many folks don't want their convenient history clouded with facts. I could fill this whole forum up with info on Black Confederates but your server simply cant handle the load. As supported by the above comments people simply don't care.
    Of course my question is this. If you are content with your view of the South and the Confederacy then why travel to my state and more specifically my South and try to take down my monuments to my ancestors?
    After all, you won, we should just get over it? Never mind the Union soldiers who owned slaves or slavery in the North. Forget about it its in the past.
    Its convenient to accuse the South of racism. It seems Sherman gets a free pass on his racist statements since he lived in the South for a while and it made him that way. Of course it does not explain the mystery of his brother John being that way but I digress.
    Simply put its all mind over matter. If you don't mind it does not matter.
     
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  19. Stiles/Akin

    Stiles/Akin Sergeant

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    Sorry Billy
    Isn't that what Sherman did?
     
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  20. Stiles/Akin

    Stiles/Akin Sergeant

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  21. contestedground

    contestedground Corporal

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    This eloquent response still does not answer the question, "So what?"
     
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