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

Andersonh1

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Several "gray clad negroes" mingled with the veterans at a Confederate reunion, including Howard Divinity, who had been a slave during the war. Divinity declared that "he is still an unreconstructed Confederate."

Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, June 05, 1917
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Andersonh1

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Steve Everhart gets overheated during a parade of Confederate veterans and has to spend some time in the hospital, where he is allowed to keep his chickens. It seems a bit odd to me. The article says he "was one of those who attempted to repulse Sherman on his march to the sea" interestingly.

The Washington times., June 08, 1917
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Andersonh1

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An interesting historical analogy is made here as Germany drafts its "industrial population" during WW1, and it is compared to the Confederate States enlisting the slaves as soldiers, with Lincoln noting that in doing so, they had "drawn upon their last branch of resources".

The Republican journal. [volume] (Belfast, Me.) 1829-current, August 09, 1917
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Andersonh1

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A letter to the editor from a Confederate veteran supports black men enlisting for the draft during WW1. In doing so, he relates a story of a black cook during 1st Manassas picking up a rifle ready to fight, but the captain ordered the disappointed young man back. "All of our boys will be glad to have the support of the black boys with whom they played in childhood."

Richmond times-dispatch. [volume] (Richmond, Va.) 1914-current, September 16, 1917
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Andersonh1

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Not only that, it's clear that what these men had done during the war was remembered, not buried. As this story about the death of Richmond Mitchell tells us, it was Confederate veterans of the W. D. Mitchell camp who paid for his funeral expenses.

"While not on the firing line, the old man had heard the cannons roar and the guns fire on many a battlefield and knew what war meant."

The Butler Herald. (Butler, Ga.), March 29, 1917
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Andersonh1

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Earl Jeron is said to be 101 years old, but many of these men did not know exactly how old they were or when they were born. Jeron claims to have enlisted, despite being a "servant" and to have served "with a gun and two pistols", though he says he was an "orderly". He had been to every reunion.

"I've sen the Yanks and Greys piled up dead. Yey, dead and just like wood. They piled them all together into the holes. I helped fill 'em up with dirt."

The Tulsa star. (Tulsa, Okla.) 1913-1921, September 28, 1918
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Andersonh1

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Thomas Tobe was a Confederate pensioner under the Confederate pension Act of 1919 according to his application, but he received a pension earlier than that. He appears on a pension roll in April, 1899, and then again in 1919. Tobe may have applied under the 1896 eligibility changes that expanded Confederate pensions beyond the disabled, and then the 1919 Act that required everyone to reapply meant that he would have done the same, and that 1919 application is the one that exists today.

According to the application, "Thos was a free negro who volunteered in this company and served to the end of war"

The Newberry herald and news. (Newberry, S.C.) 1884-1903, April 14, 1899
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The herald and news. (Newberry S.C.) 1903-1937, July 04, 1919
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The herald and news. (Newberry S.C.) 1903-1937, July 25, 1919
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Andersonh1

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@Andersonh1

What was a Southern soldier’s pension at the time? I imagine that black Confederates received less than whites?

I think that was true once they specifically passed a law that recognized and allowed black pensioners (see the first link and quote below), though I'm not sure whether that was true for earlier black pensioners who applied under the 1887 law or revisions prior to 1923. There were different classes of pensions for white pensioners, who did not all receive the same amount.

http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/slavery/Black-Confederate-Pensioners.pdf

The South Carolina Confederate pension applications abstracted here were tendered under the act of 1923. Although South Carolina provided a shortlived disability compensation in 1866 and pension relief for regular Confederate soldiers as early as 1887, the state did not recognize the service of South Carolina's African Americans until 1923. At least four African Americans, M. F. Wharton (Abbeville County), Benjamin Chisolm (Berkeley County) ,July Galluchat (Clarendon County), and Andrew Richardson (Richland County), applied under the act of 1887.​
On 16 March 1923, the legislature approved "An Act to Provide for Pensions for certain faithful Negroes who were engaged in the service of the State in the War bel:\veen the States." Under the act (Act 63), African Americans who served the Confederacy as "servants, cooks or attendants" were eligible for a pension. Additional qualifications included at least six months of service and the recommendation of the County Pension Board. These pensions could not exceed $25 annually.​

http://www.archivesindex.sc.gov/SeriesDescriptions/s126088.html

South Carolina began granting pensions to needy Confederate veterans and their widows in 1887, but initially limited the pensions to veterans who were disabled by loss of limb or other injury during the war and widows of soldiers or sailors who had died in service. Both had to meet means tests, which were made even more restrictive in 1900. Responding to a provision of the 1895 state constitution, the General Assembly in 1896 expanded eligibility to poor uninjured veterans over 60 and poor widows over 60 and ushered in a major growth period for both pension funding and the number of applicants. Revisions enacted in 1900 refined the classification and procedures for pensions, defining a system that would remain in force until 1919. Unfortunately, few applications for Confederate pensions under any of the pre-1919 acts survive either at the state or local level.​
Act No. 176, 1919 S.C. Acts 275 established a Confederate Pension Department under the direction of a commissioner and a seven-member board and required all existing pensioners to reapply. The state board appointed a three-member board for each county to approve applications from local residents. Eligible pensioners included all veterans and widows over the age of sixty who had married veterans before 1890. The state pension board set the compensation and adjudicated any disputes forwarded from the county boards. The General Assembly provided $500,000 to pay for pensions. Changes the following year (Act No. 609, 1920 S.C. Acts 1099) eliminated the state board, named the comptroller general as pension commissioner, and authorized the local veterans camp to hear appeals of each county board's decision.​
Act No. 63, 1923 S.C. Acts 107 allowed African Americans who had served at least six months as cooks, servants, or attendants to apply for a pension. Then in 1924, apparently because there were too many applications, the act was amended to eliminate all laborers, teamsters, and non-South Carolinians by extending eligibility only to South Carolina residents who had served the state for at least six months as "body servants or male camp cooks."​
The legislature dropped the age of eligibility for widows to 55 in 1920, to 50 in 1921, and to 45 in 1930. Under the 1920 amendment, widows were eligible if they had been married by 1900, but a 1929 amendment extended eligibility to widows who had been married at least ten years. The state continued to pay Confederate widow pensions until the last widow died in 1990.​
 

Andersonh1

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The 1887 law can be found here, on pages 26-30. From what I understand, the State Assembly would appropriate a sum of money, establish a State Board of Pensions to disburse, and then it was up tto various County Boards to take applications and determine who qualified and who did not. There is an earlier law, which this amends, but I have not dug it up yet. I've read through it and did not see any mention of race as a disqualifier, and considering that a few black men got pensions under this law, it apparently wasn't.

https://www.google.com/books/editio...etween+the+states&pg=PA26&printsec=frontcover
 
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Andersonh1

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Howard Divinity was still going to Confederate reunions at 90 years of age. There is a lot about his wartime experiences here. He was a slave at the time of the war and went with his "young master" Robert Scott and the 12th Mississippi. Scott was wounded at Seven Pines and Howard rescued him, being shot in the head in the process. According to the story, he wore "a silver plate in the fractured skull" to that very day. He foraged for the Confederates and "claims to be the oldest negro soldier living who acted as a servant in the Confederate army."

I still find it interesting how often these newspaper stories will clearly report that one of these men was a slave during the war, and yet will still refer to them as a "soldier". But here, it's apparently Divinity himself who called himself a "negro soldier".

The news scimitar. (Memphis, Tenn.) 1907-1926, October 06, 1919
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Andersonh1

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Here we get a far shorter notice of the Confederate reunion in Atlanta, with William Mack Lee singled out as "one of the proudest veterans attending."

The Ocala evening star. (Ocala, Fla.) 1895-1943, October 07, 1919
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Andersonh1

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This particular story is slightly off topic in that the subject is a white man and former member of Robert E. Lee's staff, Robert Fitzhugh, not a black man who went through the Civil War on the Confederate side. But I think it's relevant. We so often see where the white veterans paid the way for black men to go to reunions and conducted their funerals and otherwise tried to help them in the years following the war. This is another example of that type of behavior. "Confederate Veteran Had Devoted Life to Help Negroes."

"After the war the Captain came here and began the work of elevating the Southern negro. He raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for their welfare, despite the fact that he and his parents had been slave holders in Carolina county Virginia, where he was born."

The sun. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1916-1920, November 19, 1919
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Andersonh1

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A lifetime job at Bill Yopp's age isn't likely to last very long. But it gives the old man some dignity and a chance to provide for himself.

Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, January 23, 1920
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Andersonh1

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We get very little information about Hamp Perry, other than that he's 101 years old and a "negro Confederate veteran".

The North Mississippi herald. (Water Valley, Yalobusha Co., Miss.) 1888-1929, April 30, 1920
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Andersonh1

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Caleb Glover "C. S. A." (and if that's not identifying him with the Confederacy, I don't know what would), former slave, died and it was noted that the UDC awarded him the Southern Cross of Honor.

The Union daily times. [volume] (Union, S.C.) 1918-current, June 11, 1920
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