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

Andersonh1

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We certainly don't hold to the "faithful slave" idea today, but S. E. White took it seriously enough to spend a lot of his own money on this monument, accounts of which continued to appear in newspapers at the end of May, 1896. I won't post them all, because there are certainly plenty more accounts, but here's one more example for consideration.

The Coconino weekly sun. (Flagstaff, Ariz.) 1891-1896, May 28, 1896
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Andersonh1

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This is part of a much longer, illustrated article that was much too large an image to post in the thread. The story is about the Sixth Annual Confederate Veterans reunion in Richmond, and contains hand-illustrated portraits of John Gordon, Steven D. Lee and others of the UCV along with some of the ladies involved in the creation of the Jefferson Davis monument. The final paragraphs, posted here, note that black cooks and James Jones, body servant to Jefferson Davis, will be given a prominent place in the parade.

Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, June 13, 1896 excerpt
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Andersonh1

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Okay, so maybe one more article about the Fort Mill monument is in order. This one includes a story and commentary by the newspaper. Was the editorial section written by a black man? There's no attribution given to the writer, but note at the end he switches to first person. "Never will our race find truer or better friends than exist on the very soil where they were once held as slaves. These white people know us best...."

The broad ax. (Salt Lake City, Utah) June 27, 1896
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Andersonh1

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The History Committee of the UCV met and produced comments and recommendations on history books about the war. The very last sentence of the article, which I've highlighted, indicates that the men of the committee did not believe "a single negro was ever enlisted in the Confederate army." But those of us who have dug into this topic have CSRs which say otherwise. Still, the claim was made, and by some fairly high-ranking former Confederates, so either they did not know of any enlisted black men, or they were engaged in rewriting history.

Richmond dispatch. [volume] (Richmond, Va.) 1884-1903, June 30, 1896
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Andersonh1

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This account of a Confederate veterans reunion in Richmond notes the presence of "a negro cook in full Confederate uniform" with a Nashville veteran group.

The Columbia herald. [volume] (Columbia, Tenn.) July 17, 1896
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Andersonh1

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We don't know in what capacity he served, but John Mitchell of Greenwood SC was entitled to a pension for being "enrolled in the Confederate service". The other Confederate veterans and officers vouched for him and gave his company and regiment. What's more, he was a free black man, not a slave. I think there may be another article with more details, so hopefully we'll see that down the road.

The Abbeville press and banner. (Abbeville, S.C.) 1869-1924, September 02, 1896
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Andersonh1

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Holt Collier, "the king of Mississppi bear hunters" is said here to be "the only regularly enlisted colored soldier" in the Confederate service. The article tries to make the case that if the authorities had know about Collier's enlistment, the problems with prisoner exchanges could have been avoided, which strikes me a more than a bit simplistic, even if the sentiment has to be appreciated.

The sun. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1833-1916, January 10, 1897
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Andersonh1

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You may read through this article and wonder why it's included since there is no mention of Confederate service. There is a much longer story coming up this year detailing the life of William Rose, who served as a servant through three wars: the Seminole War in Florida, the Mexican War with the Palmetto Regiment under a former Governor of SC, and through the Civil War with Maxcy Gregg. Wade Hampton made him porter originally, and successive governors kept reappointing him.

Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, January 27, 1897
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Andersonh1

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This is a strong statement for the day in which it was made as Shelby pushes back against criticism of him for appointing a black man as one of his deputies when he was a US Marshal.

Audubon County journal. (Exira, Iowa) 1884-1993, March 18, 1897
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Andersonh1

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Here is the longer story about the life of William Rose. Born a slave in 1813, he remembered seeing the Marquis De LaFayette visit Columbia. Apprenticed as a carpenter, he was taken to the Seminole War in Florida and the Mexican War by Pierce Butler as a body servant. After Butler died and the estate was sold, as a slave William was in danger of "a dreadful fate", possibly being sold to someone in Texas, but a friend of Butlers bought William to keep that from happening. Then he went to war with Maxcy Gregg, his 3rd war, and after surviving it returned to being a carpenter until Wade Hampton appointed him porter for the executive office. Even Benjamin Tillman kept him in that position. The story says that Maxcy Gregg gave Rose his watch as he was dying, and Rose would not part with it. It's a fascinating life story.

Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, August 14, 1897
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Andersonh1

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Another story about William Rose, and his interaction with the Governor's Guards.

The Fairfield news and herald. (Winnsboro, S.C.) 1881-1900, October 13, 1897
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Andersonh1

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30 years after the Civil War, a New Orleans paper objects to black US troops, and the Richmond paper reminds readers that not only did Lee favor arming black troops, but "... Lincoln enlisted these Negroes and won. Mr. Jefferson Davis would not enlist these Negroes and lost." Black troops had not been forgotten in 1898.

Richmond planet. [volume] (Richmond, Va.) 1883-1938, July 16, 1898
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Andersonh1

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Here is an unnamed black man applying for a Confederate pension in North Carolina. He "swears he enlisted in a company from Warren" and "served 3 years."

The semi-weekly messenger. [volume] (Wilmington, N.C.) 1897-1908, July 19, 1898
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Andersonh1

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Once again, discussion of black US soldiers in the present led to discussion of black soldiers in the past, with a story here about how the officers of the 49th Georgia sent a plan on how to best organize black Confederate troops to Robert E. Lee.

The morning news. [volume] (Savannah, Ga.) 1887-1900, July 21, 1898
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Andersonh1

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William Rose makes the newspapers again on his 85th birthday. The paper notes that he is a "veteran" of the "war between the States". Here he is granted a pension for the Mexican war, interestingly. I think at some point he may apply for a Confederate pension as well, but if so we'll see that down the road.

Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, December 31, 1898
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Andersonh1

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The previous story from two weeks earlier said he had been pensioned for the Mexican War, but this one says the bill was killed. So which was it?

The Lancaster ledger. (Lancaster, S.C.) 1852-1905, January 18, 1899
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Andersonh1

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Nearing the turn of the century, a discussion of the still-living Confederate veterans gives us a discussion of the number of black Confederate veterans. "As may be supposed, the number of colored persons among these is exceedingly small, or less than 1 per cent."

The Superior times. [volume] (Superior, Wis.) 1870-1912, January 28, 1899
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Andersonh1

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Same article as above.

The Lafayette gazette., February 04, 1899
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In this letter to the editor, the writer tells the story of Henry Jackson and others, black Southern slaves, who were excellent spies for the Confederates during the war. He also asserts that many of the black men in the Union army were forced into it. "...in election times the orators down here never fail to commend the colored people for their loyalty to the South...."

The National tribune. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1877-1917, February 16, 1899
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