Black Southerners and the Confederate Cause: The Post-War Newspapers

Andersonh1

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William Peat "served in the Confederate army" according to the headline and the body copy. He was a servant to Joe Wheeler who ran away after Missionary Ridge and ended up as a handyman around the Union army camp, going with Sherman's army to the sea. He never enlisted.

Freeman_1911-09-16_2
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Andersonh1

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I haven't done a lot of research on this at all, and the only place I've seen this man's name is in this article and his obituary in March of the following year, so I can't speak to the accuracy of this story. Any time a man's name is attached to one of the famous Generals of the South, it's probably best to confirm the facts (particularly when the story can't get Wade Hampton's name right). In any case, Ransell is said to have been Jeb Stuart's bodyguard during the war, seeing "hard service" and being wounded near Stone Creek.

The Washington herald. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1906-1939, September 26, 1911
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Andersonh1

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A former slave, George Cole, attends a Confederate reunion at Fredericksburg, 50 years after the war began. Interesting that the newspaper was not as precise in its language as some today would be, saying the Cole "served through the war in the Confederate army" and not "with" it.

Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, October 01, 1911
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Andersonh1

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This newspaper strongly objects to a bill to end pensions for former "servants of Confederate veterans" in Mississippi.

"God forbid that such a disgraceful act should become a law in Mississippi."

The Port Gibson reveille. [volume] (Port Gibson, Miss.) 1890-current, February 22, 1912
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Andersonh1

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The removal of "colored pensioners" from the rolls is disapproved by the newspaper, who claims both the public and the Confederate veterans are opposed to the move.

The commonwealth. (Greenwood, Miss.) 1896-1923, February 23, 1912
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Andersonh1

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This is a great write-up about Levi Miller, "the only colored Confederate soldier" with a pension from Virginia. He was a slave during the war, and was with a Texas company all through the war. His actions at the Spotsylvania Court House where he fought beside the rest of the company caused that company to take a vote and unanimously elect him as a full member of the regiment.

Lexington gazette. (Lexington, Va.) 1871-1962, March 06, 1912
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Andersonh1

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Seems like the black pensioners in Mississippi didn't entirely lose their pensions. Note that in this story, it's said to be "old soldiers" who wanted the former servants to lose the pension, and it is others who expressed "vigorous opposition" while in a previous article it was said to be vets that did not want these men to lose their pension. Confederate veterans did not all agree with each other, imagine that! I do wonder what version of the bill finally was passed into law, if any?

Greene County herald. (Leakesville, Miss.) 1898-current, March 08, 1912
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Andersonh1

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A day by day retrospective of the war yields this paragraph which immediately brought to mind those stories I've recently posted on the wartime thread where David Hunter was said to have armed black soldiers for the Union because he had evidence that Confederates were arming the slaves:

"Negro soldiers who had served in the Confederate garrison at Fort Pulaski were declared confiscated, and set free, in a (g)eneral order issued by General Hunter, U.S.A."

Once again, we see a clear belief in black Confederate soldiers, decades before this concept was supposed to have been invented in the late 1970s. We don't know in what capacity these black men served at the Fort, and this newspaper does not ask the question. It just refers to them as "negro soldiers" who "served in the Confederate garrison."

Northern Wisconsin advertiser. [volume] (Wabeno, Wis.) 1898-1925, April 12, 1912
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Andersonh1

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At the very least, stories like the above ought to demonstrate that, ironically, in a less racially tolerant era there was more willingness to name these men as soldiers or Confederates than there is today, when every effort seems to be made to call them anything but.

Jeff Shields was a slave during the war, but here is yet another example of where that was no barrier to the newspaper referring to him as a "Confederate". This paper uses the terminology of 1912 and calls him a "colored" Confederate, but today he would have been referred to as a "black Confederate".

Lexington gazette., June 12, 1912
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Andersonh1

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This reprint of a wartime article from 50 years earlier seems like a typical example of the mix of fact and rumor that we often saw during the war. The details of the unnamed free black man who was impressed into service are probably accurate enough, but his claims about the state of the army and the broader economic and political picture are generally not. In my opinion, whatever this man directly experienced is accurately reported here, but otherwise he's just passing along rumor and opinion. The Confederate army did not number 250,000 at Manassas, for example.

Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, July 21, 1912
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19thGeorgia

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Another copy of the Levi Miller article.

Alexandria gazette. (Alexandria, D.C.) 1834-1974, March 11, 1912
View attachment 390643
"I still have that same roll."

If this was done, it had to be in 1865. There are no rolls on file for that year.

There is no Levi/Levi Miller/L. Miller on any of the existing rolls for Company C. The last one was for Nov-Dec 1864.
 
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Andersonh1

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"I still have that same roll."

If this was done, it had to be in 1865. There are no rolls on file for that year.

There is no Levi/Levi Miller/L. Miller on any of the existing rolls for Company C.

They say it was May of 1864. It could be a wartime exaggeration, it could be a case of missing rolls, it could have been "unofficial" enlistment... without the paperwork there's no way to know. What would he have needed to get the pension in Virginia, just the witnesses on the application? Or would documentation have been needed as well?
 

Andersonh1

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James Mosby, a free black man during the war, enlisted in some capacity in 1861 in Lynchburg, and later spent some time as POW.

The times dispatch., October 13, 1912
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