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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 1st 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. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    The Potter journal. (Coudersport, Pa.) 1857-1872, March 05, 1862
    48BVIAo.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017

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  5. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    @unionblue thanks again for pointing me towards "The Grey and the Black" by Robert Durden. I'm almost done with Chapter Four, and I'm really liking the way this book is put together. For those who haven't read it, it's often a paragraph or two by the author setting up the original editorial or letter or article written back during the war as the Confederates debated enlistment/emancipation of slaves for the war effort. In other words, it's a little of the author and a lot of the source documents, which is the way I wish McPherson had approached "For Cause and Comrade", just to pick one example.

    Just to link it to the subject of this thread, many of the passages in this book are transcribed from newspaper articles and editorials about the concept of black men in the Confederate military, so it's very germane to the topic. I expect to run across articles later in the book that I've found myself.
     
  6. Harvey Johnson

    Harvey Johnson Sergeant

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    This may have been The Native Guards.

     
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  7. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    That was my assumption as well. And the article is an example of the variance we see in the reporting from time to time. It mentions 1000 free colored soldiers, while most other articles list the number of the Native Guard as 1400.
     
  8. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    Andersonh1,

    You are more than welcome.

    Sincerely,
    Unionblue
     
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  9. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    Raftsman's journal. (Clearfield, Pa.) 1854-1948, May 08, 1861
    0FlVsNe.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
  10. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    New Orleans daily crescent. ([New Orleans, La.]) 1851-1866, January 25, 1862
    d9KZP9b.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
  11. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    I still don't know if this bill made it out of committee.

    Semi-weekly standard. (Raleigh, N.C.) May 11, 1861
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  12. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    This is interesting. This article isn't about the military at all, but when you get about 3/4 of the way into it, it mentions the way that military impressment is affecting the availability of men for the fire department, including free black men.

    Wilmington journal. (Wilmington, N.C.) 1844-1895, May 05, 1864
    uSJVUMa.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
  13. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    When Butler organized the Native Guards into a Union unit, he quoted Gov. Moore's orders noting the "praise and respect" these patriotic men had been given for volunteering.

    Rutland Weekly Herald, September 4, 1862
    [​IMG]

    Memphis daily appeal. (Memphis, Tenn.) 1847-1886, September 30, 1862
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  14. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    A Southern writer attempts to explain why the Yankees thought there was a black regiment fighting against them, and his answer is that there was only one armed black man in the fight, but he was such a good shot that they Union only believed it was a regiment. :smile:

    The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 21, 1862
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  15. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    The counts of the black soldiers at the Newmarket Bridge skirmish vary from paper to paper. Most reports list "a company" (which would have been 100 men according to Hardee's manual), one claims 50 just like this clipping, while an outlier claims "700 negro infantry" were present.

    The south-western. (Shreveport, La.) 1852-1870, January 29, 1862
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    Another account of the skirmish at Newmarket Bridge. Here the entire Confederate force encountered is listed at 700, with the "a company" of negroes involved.

    Evening star. (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, December 24, 1861
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    Alexandria gazette. (Alexandria, D.C.) 1834-1974, May 14, 1861
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    This is the first time I've run across an article claiming that Buckner had armed black men in his army. I wonder how the abolitionists up north felt about black men being lumped in with "robbers, renegades, convicts and savages"? I guess all the worst people ended up in Buckner's gang of outlaws, according to the Daily Nashville Patriot.

    Daily Nashville patriot. (Nashville, Tenn.) 1860-1862, December 17, 1861
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
  19. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    Chicago daily tribune., September 02, 1861
    [​IMG]
     
  20. east tennessee roots

    east tennessee roots 1st Lieutenant

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    "Will not the Government, without delay, send aid to our unhappy State"?

    While I'm a proponent of recognizing the presence and service of Black Confederates, I personally believe this was probably Union propaganda, The ill-fated bridge-burning in east Tennessee was a month after this article. This is an Illinois paper. It was Lincoln's desire to see an early invasion and relief of east Tennessee because of the strong Union sentiment. While McClellan was in favor, Sherman was strongly opposed, and the invasion never took place. The Bridge-Burners did their part. The Army let them down. I believe the article was an effort to pressure Sherman into approving the invasion.
     
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  21. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    It could well be, and you're more familiar with the history of that area than I am. There are certainly no specifics to pin down just who that group "ravaging the counties" is supposed to be.
     
  22. east tennessee roots

    east tennessee roots 1st Lieutenant

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    The two counties mentioned are Morgan and Scott. Scott County had the largest vote against secession then any county in Tennessee (521 to 19) The County officially enacted a resolution seceding from the state of Tennessee, and thus the southern Confederacy, forming the "Free and Independent State of Scott," also known simply as the "State of Scott." The county remained a pro-Union enclave throughout the war, and the area sent a number of men to the Union Army, unlike Newt Knight and his bushwhacking gang of deserters from the "Free State Of Jones".
     
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  23. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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