Brass Napoleon Award Black Southerners and the Confederate Cause--What the newspapers said: 1861-1865

Jimklag

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Yes. In Raleigh, in 1860, there were around 1600 slaves and about 460 free blacks living there, out of a total population around 4,800. It was North Carolina's fourth largest city.

North Carolina as a whole had 30,463 free blacks in 1860.
That means that 75 out of 460 free blacks volunteered. Let's just say I'm skeptical.
 

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That means that 75 out of 460 free blacks volunteered. Let's just say I'm skeptical.
How many of that 460 were women and children, or men too old to do the work? I'd have to dig for more detailed information on the composition of the free black population, but I suspect 75 is a large portion of the male population able to do the type of physical labor required, and is actually a good turnout.
 
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Am very glad to see this thread, I suppose that is what it is called. It’s a subject that is fascinating to me. One of my ancestors kept a notebook while imprisoned at Johnsons Island, and one of his fellow CSA officers who wrote in it turned out to be one of the officers who attempted to raise black units at the end of the war.
I’ve barely begun to read all the entries here from the beginning of the the thread, but I look forward to wading into it— it’s my first one as a new user.
I also notice that unfortunately, the topic seems to trigger the easily upset and make them rude, but am glad this has not deterred you.
Keep up the good work!
 
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Am very glad to see this thread, I suppose that is what it is called. It’s a subject that is fascinating to me. One of my ancestors kept a notebook while imprisoned at Johnsons Island, and one of his fellow CSA officers who wrote in it turned out to be one of the officers who attempted to raise black units at the end of the war.
I’ve barely begun to read all the entries here from the beginning of the the thread, but I look forward to wading into it— it’s my first one as a new user.
I also notice that unfortunately, the topic seems to trigger the easily upset and make them rude, but am glad this has not deterred you.
Keep up the good work!
Welcome to the site !
 
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Jan 12, 2016
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Am very glad to see this thread, I suppose that is what it is called. It’s a subject that is fascinating to me. One of my ancestors kept a notebook while imprisoned at Johnsons Island, and one of his fellow CSA officers who wrote in it turned out to be one of the officers who attempted to raise black units at the end of the war.
I’ve barely begun to read all the entries here from the beginning of the the thread, but I look forward to wading into it— it’s my first one as a new user.
I also notice that unfortunately, the topic seems to trigger the easily upset and make them rude, but am glad this has not deterred you.
Keep up the good work!
Glad to have you here! For the most part, this thread has managed to avoid the contentiousness of other threads on this topic. I hope you find time to read the various articles. I posted them in random order as I searched, and were I starting today, I'd be better able to post them in some sort of categorized and chronological fashion. But everything's listed by newspaper and by date, so I hope the topic is of use to you.
 
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Louisiana had a rather large free black population before the civil war, they also had a few black militia units as well, and I've read of some men that served in the confederacy during the war.

I've read of a man in the 9th Louisiana who was black and served throughout the war in the AnV.

I haven't been able to read through this whole thread but I will say it's easy to look at this through modern eyes and say that blacks never would have served in the confederacy willingly, but is this truly the case?

I've heard first hand accounts about slavery and it sounds much different from the horrific picture taught to me in school and by modern culture. We have to try and look at the situations through their eyes and try and think the way they thought in order to get a clear picture of things.
 
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While browsing in a Florida used book store today on vacation, I happened upon this photo in the book “The Chesapeake Bay Country”, published in 1924. It is in a set of photos at the back of the book, and is captioned “General Lee’s Bodyguard singing ‘Dixie’ at a Confederate reunion”. I’m originally from the Tidewater area of Virginia so I couldn’t resist buying the book. The photos don’t seem to be connected to anything in the text, though it is over 500 pages long so it may be. I am VERY curious about this photo and who this gentleman was. He appears to be festooned in medals and decorations. The Lees were from Westmoreland County (where my ancestors are from too, incidentally), so it is very possible he was too.

86C5845F-E5A3-43EA-B296-C020E289F7F0.png
 

CSA Today

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Why not? Were there lots of free blacks running around Raleigh in 1861? IIRC, most southern states required manumitted slaves to leave the state.
If true, apparently not enforced, the Southern States had more free blacks than did the North in 1860. where would they have gone? The North and West didn't want them.
 
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It's important to remember that 1861 was when we saw the big rush of enthusiasm and volunteers for the Confederate war effort, and the free black population was not immune. 1861 is the year where the vast majority of these stories appear where they volunteer for service or give money to the cause. As the war went on, the rush to volunteer died down and conscription replaced it, for both white and black. This too is reflected in the news coverage.
 
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One of the arguments I've seen against the veracity of some of these reports is that the Northern papers were just using reports of armed black men in the South as propaganda and so the reports themselves cannot be taken at face value. That doesn't hold up here, where the fifteen hundred free black men in New Orleans were certainly real. The fact that the writer of this article goes on to say "what's sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander" and uses the report as "propaganda" to push for arming black men in the north, in no way diminishes the reality of the existence of the 1500 men.

I would not automatically discount similar articles written at different times about different reports. We need more than the fact that a northern newspaper editor uses a story to push an agenda to demonstrate that the story is unreliable.

Burlington weekly hawk-eye. (Burlington [Iowa]) 1860-1876, June 29, 1861
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