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"Black men in the Confederate army": what the newspapers said - 1861-1865

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by Andersonh1, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 2nd Lieutenant

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    With all the discussion about whether black men served as armed soldiers in the Confederate Army, I wanted to start researching contemporary accounts from the war years, 1861-1865, and see what made the newspapers. Thanks to the Library of Congress, there are huge amounts of old papers online, with a pretty good search engine, so it's not hard to find what the papers of the day said. So far I've found rumors, eyewitness accounts, editorials and random references. There was a range of opinion about the topic, just as there is today.

    The purpose of this thread is not to necessarily prove or disprove anything, it's to explore what the news of the day said about the concept. If you want to debate the existence of black Confederates, there are numerous other threads dedicated to that topic. While here, please confine discussion and commentary to posted articles and any observations you may have about them. Any supporting information that tells us about people, places or battles mentioned in an article is also welcome.
     

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  3. 48th Miss.

    48th Miss. Sergeant

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    I think it was jgoodguy that said the numbers here are but a pixel on a graph. But your point is well taken. At face value I just see some commands adapting to circumstance.
     

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  5. 48th Miss.

    48th Miss. Sergeant

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    Could save hassle and time in round robin tit for tats and do like they did on the Gettysburg trip thread and just take this paragraph and post it at the top of each page on autopilot or have a mod do it. That way the derails end and your time is better used doing my homework. Lol
     
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  6. 48th Miss.

    48th Miss. Sergeant

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    Could save hassle and time in round robin tit for tats and do like they did on the Gettysburg trip thread and just take this paragraph and post it at the top of each page on autopilot or have a mod do it. That way the derails end and your time is better used doing my homework. Lol
     
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  7. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    I think it can be done using moderator authority.
     
  8. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    I think it can be done using moderator authority.
     
  9. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 2nd Lieutenant

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    I'm not sure it would solve the problem. This is just a contentious topic. For the most part, we've avoided the usual arguments on this thread, so for now I'm content to just repeat my OP if needed. But that may change.

    Back to posting newspaper stories.

    Cleveland morning leader. (Cleveland [Ohio]) 1854-1865, January 09, 1862
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Allie

    Allie Captain

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    This has enough details that it seems like it should be possible to track down this skirmish and determine who was actually present. Any takers?
     
  11. east tennessee roots

    east tennessee roots 1st Lieutenant

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    [​IMG]

    From the Union Army's history of the 20th New York :

    The entire regiment occupied Camp Hamilton until Oct. 7, when
    four companies were sent to Newport News, engaging the enemy at
    Sinclair's farm and New Market bridge and rejoined the regiment
    at Camp Hamilton on Feb. 20, 1862.


    The "20th German" is actually the 20th NY. The fight described was a skirmish at New Market, Bridge, Virginia 12/22/1861. (22nd inst in the article) Edward Roehr was a 1st Sergeant in Company I that was among the wounded. He later became a 1st Lieutenant. Heinrich Eise was a Private in Company G that was among the captured. He was paroled the following February. The 20th Indiana was garrisoned at Fortress Monroe at this time, as was the 20th NY after arriving in Virginia.

    A much more detailed description of the fight found here in a different regimental history :

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/bill...ws-virginia-december-22-1861/169952623040908/
     
  12. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 2nd Lieutenant

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    I tried to find the Indianapolis Journal article mentioned, but they don't have anything from that paper archived for 1861. I did find this in, I presume, a different Indianapolis newspaper with a few more details.

    Indianapolis Daily Journal Dec 27 1861
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. east tennessee roots

    east tennessee roots 1st Lieutenant

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    "General Mansfield" was killed at Antietam. My 1st thought when reading the name, "Drake DeKay", was fictitious name, Nope. Seems he was very good soldier. In checking the histories of the 20th Indiana and 20th NY, they were both in the area mentioned at that time.

    Drake DeKay : Enlisted on 5/14/1861 as a 1st Lieutenant, On 5/14/1861 he was commissioned into US Army 14th Infantry, Capt 5/14/1864, Major 8/1/1864 by Brevet (Wilderness, VA), Lt Colonel 8/1/1864 by Brevet (Spottsylvania, VA), He Resigned on 1/18/1865, born in New Jersey, died 6/10/1886.

    Sources : Index to Compiled Military Service Records, Heitman: Register of United States Army 1789-1903
     
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  14. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 2nd Lieutenant

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    One more account of the same fight.

    Cleveland morning leader. (Cleveland [Ohio]) 1854-1865, December 25, 1861
    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Reb

    Reb First Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    These are Federal soldiers saying this? Yikes! They are done disbelieving reports of armed black Confederates?

    ouch.png
     
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  16. Allie

    Allie Captain

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    The real question though is who was present on the Confederate side. Surely there's a record of this skirmish and what Confederate units were at it.
     
  17. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 2nd Lieutenant

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    I agree, there must be something. However, I've been looking and so far I've found many references to the skirmish, and plenty of info on the Union side, but very little about which Confederates were there.

    This is one possibility: http://civilwardata.com/active/hdsquery.dll?SoldierHistory?C&385663

    Robert S. Taylor
    Residence was not listed; 38 years old.
    Enlisted on 6/28/1861 at New Kent Court House, VA as a Private.
    On 6/28/1861 he mustered into "F" Co. VA 3rd Cavalry
    He was discharged on 9/30/1862

    He was listed as:
    * Absent sick 7/15/1861 (place not stated) (Estimated day. Absent through 10/61)
    * Wounded 12/22/1861 New Market Bridge, VA (Wounded in the ear)


    And then there's this: http://www.history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs62x/alcwmb/arch_config.pl?md=read;id=22816
    James Dowling - 8th Alabama Infantry Regiment Company I, enlisted on 5/20/1861 at Mobile, Ala., age 28. Absent on furlough New Market Bridge 12/22/1861; present Siege of Yorktown; absent sick Williamsburg, VA 05/05/1862. Historical Record roll Petersburg, VA 01/01/1865. Occupation listed as a mechanic. Born in Ireland. Rsidence Mobile, Ala.

    An Alabama man would fit in with this account of a dead Confederate found at the battle site that east tennessee roots linked to.
    One of the bodies only was found, and in the center of the forehead was a hole from a bullet, which evidently was the cause of the death of this poor man. In his pockets were found a number of letters, and by that we ascertained that his name was John Hawkins, Adjutant of the Alabama Minute-Men. On his coat the buttons bore the letters A.M.M. About thirty dollars in shinplasters was also found on his body, and a small bag, slung about his neck, contained nineteen dollars in gold. The bills were on the banks of North Carolina and Virginia, and as low as ten cents in value.

    edit: found a couple of newspaper reports listing the Confederate units as the 8th Alabama and the 32nd Virginia, as well as the "New Kent troop" of Virginia Cavalry. New Kent was the Va county where company F of the 3rd Virginia came from, so that would corroborate the above sources.
    [​IMG]
     
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  18. east tennessee roots

    east tennessee roots 1st Lieutenant

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    Company F 8th Alabama Infantry, had a Tom Hawkins. Very little info on him. His widow did apply for a pension, but no dates.
     
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  19. contestedground

    contestedground Private

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    Note than when I asked this in more generous terms that I was shot down.
     
  20. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 2nd Lieutenant

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    From my OP:
    With all the discussion about whether black men served as armed soldiers in the Confederate Army, I wanted to start researching contemporary accounts and see what made the newspapers. Thanks to the Library of Congress, there are huge amounts of old papers online, with a pretty good search engine, so it's not hard to find what the papers of the day said. The point of this is not to necessarily prove or disprove anything, it's to explore what the news of the day said about the concept. So far, in a very short time, I've found rumors, eyewitness accounts, editorials and random references. There is a range of opinion about the topic, just as there is today. I plan to update this thread regularly as I find stories of interest.

    That's the purpose of the thread. I would amend it only to say that any supporting information that tells us about men or places or battles mentioned in an article is welcome to help understand any references.
     
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  21. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Noted.
     
  22. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    I tried to make the OP a sticky and it did not work. I have another method I'll try later. @Andersonh1 please check the first post which I created in this attempt and make sure the OP there meets your needs to keep the thread on topic.
     
  23. atlantis

    atlantis Sergeant

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    The states according to the papers were willing to conscript blacks free and slave much earlier than the CS gov't I find that interesting.
     
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