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


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unionblue

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@Andersonh1 ,

Is it me, or do you notice that the newspaper articles concerning slaves and negroes supporting Southern activities tend to go from 'hit' to 'cold' in their telling? That apparent slave efforts are more towards active support to Confederate war aims and then less in 1864 on?

You've been posting and researching these newspaper articles from all over the country, North and South, for some time now. Is it your opinion that stories of slaves and free negroes seem more involved, more active in the first two years of the war and then we see questions and doubts of employing slaves as soldiers beginning in 1864?

Unionblue
 
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@Andersonh1 ,

Is it me, or do you notice that the newspaper articles concerning slaves and negroes supporting Southern activities tend to go from 'hit' to 'cold' in their telling? That apparent slave efforts are more towards active support to Confederate war aims and then less in 1864 on?

You've been posting and researching these newspaper articles from all over the country, North and South, for some time now. Is it your opinion that stories of slaves and free negroes seem more involved, more active in the first two years of the war and then we see questions and doubts of employing slaves as soldiers beginning in 1864?

Unionblue
By and large, yes. The type of story follows the pattern of the war: the initial rush of patriotism and enthusiasm for the Confederate cause in the first year, cooling off in the second, and then the emancipation proclamation changes the equation, and while the stories of black southern support are not gone, they dwindle until the debate over mass arming of slaves begins to really dominate in 1864. You're right that it's not a steady stream of stories for all four years. There are definite ups and downs and changes in emphasis over that time.
 
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It's also worth pointing out that with the exception of a few wild rumors, or stories about vast slave fortification projects, the vast majority of stories prior to 1864 are not about large bodies of armed black troops, apart from the 1st Louisiana Native Guard. The reports number in the hundreds at most, and are often less than 100, or are about individuals. There is no Confederate equivalent to the USCT in the reporting of the day, and that too fits with the evidence we see elsewhere.
 

unionblue

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By and large, yes. The type of story follows the pattern of the war: the initial rush of patriotism and enthusiasm for the Confederate cause in the first year, cooling off in the second, and then the emancipation proclamation changes the equation, and while the stories of black southern support are not gone, they dwindle until the debate over mass arming of slaves begins to really dominate in 1864. You're right that it's not a steady stream of stories for all four years. There are definite ups and downs and changes in emphasis over that time.
Agreed.

I would really like to see these articles you have posted by month and year, in progression, and get a sense of how the stories ebb and flow through the years.

Unionblue
 

unionblue

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It's also worth pointing out that with the exception of a few wild rumors, or stories about vast slave fortification projects, the vast majority of stories prior to 1864 are not about large bodies of armed black troops, apart from the 1st Louisiana Native Guard. The reports number in the hundreds at most, and are often less than 100, or are about individuals. There is no Confederate equivalent to the USCT in the reporting of the day, and that too fits with the evidence we see elsewhere.
Also agreed.
 
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Agreed.

I would really like to see these articles you have posted by month and year, in progression, and get a sense of how the stories ebb and flow through the years.

Unionblue
I have actually finally been working on organizing chronologically by story, and once that's done I'll put them into larger categories. A lot of times I'll use the headline of the article if available, if not I'll summarize. Here's the beginning in 1861 to give you an idea where I'm going. This will enable me to see where certain categories dominate, and when they disappear and others take over.

1. slaves raising fortifications to capture Major Anderson
0104 - Cincinnati daily press. (Cincinnati [Ohio]) 1860-1862, January 04, 1861
0105 - Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, January 05, 1861 - posted
0111 - Delaware State journal and statesman. (Wilmington, Del.) 1855-1870, January 11, 1861

2. 150 able-bodied free colored men offer services on redoubts
0103 - Charleston Mercury January 3 1861 - posted
0105 - Semi-weekly standard. (Raleigh, N.C.) January 05, 1861 - posted
0105 - The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 05, 1861
0107 - The daily exchange. (Baltimore, Md.) 1858-1861, January 07, 1861
0109 - Weekly standard. [volume] (Raleigh, N.C.) 1858-1865, January 09, 1861
0112 - Sugar planter. volume (West Baton Rouge [i.e. Port Allen, West Baton Rouge Parish, La.]) 1856-1925, January 12, 1861 - posted
0124 - Fayetteville observer. (Fayetteville, Tenn.) 1850-1966, January 24, 1861
0130 - The Grand Haven news. (Grand Haven, Mich.) January 30, 1861

3. Palmetto Volunteers offer their services and 500 negroes
0110 - The Carolina Spartan. (Spartanburg, S.C.) 1852-1896, January 10, 1861 - posted
0110 - Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, January 10, 1861

4. A Faithful Servant
0111 - The daily exchange. (Baltimore, Md.) 1858-1861, January 11, 1861 - posted
0116 - The central Georgian. (Sandersville, Ga.) 1847-1874, January 16, 1861 - posted
0119 - Sugar planter. [volume] (West Baton Rouge [i.e. Port Allen, West Baton Rouge Parish, La.]) 1856-1925, January 19, 1861

5. want ad: hands wanted to work on defenses
0115 - Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, January 15, 1861
0116 - The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 16, 1861

6. free colored men of Columbia offer services
0117 - The Anderson intelligencer. (Anderson Court House, S.C.) 1860-1914, January 17, 1861 - posted
0119 - The North-Carolinian. volume (Fayetteville [N.C.]) 1839-1861, January 19, 1861 - posted
0202 - Keowee courier. (Pickens Court House, S.C.) 1849-current, February 02, 1861 - posted

7. George Brewer offers services of 20 negro men
0121 - The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 21, 1861 - posted

8. Fortifications in Florida
0129 - The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 29, 1861

8. Joe Clark, colored barber, offers to raise company of free black men
0129 - The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 29, 1861 - posted
0130 - The central Georgian. (Sandersville, Ga.) 1847-1874, January 30, 1861
0131 - Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, January 31, 1861
0201 - Daily Ohio statesman. (Columbus, Ohio) 1855-1870, February 01, 1861 - posted
0215 - The Caledonian. (St. Johnsbury, Vt.) 1837-1867, February 15, 1861
0221 - Holmes County farmer. (Millersburg, Ohio) 1857-1926, February 21, 1861 - posted
0412 - Memphis daily appeal. (Memphis, Tenn.) 1847-1886, April 12, 1861 - posted
0425 - Fayetteville observer. (Fayetteville, Tenn.) 1850-1966, April 25, 1861
 

unionblue

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I have actually finally been working on organizing chronologically by story, and once that's done I'll put them into larger categories. A lot of times I'll use the headline of the article if available, if not I'll summarize. Here's the beginning in 1861 to give you an idea where I'm going:

1. slaves raising fortifications to capture Major Anderson
0104 - Cincinnati daily press. (Cincinnati [Ohio]) 1860-1862, January 04, 1861
0105 - Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, January 05, 1861 - posted
0111 - Delaware State journal and statesman. (Wilmington, Del.) 1855-1870, January 11, 1861

2. 150 able-bodied free colored men offer services on redoubts
0103 - Charleston Mercury January 3 1861 - posted
0105 - Semi-weekly standard. (Raleigh, N.C.) January 05, 1861 - posted
0105 - The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 05, 1861
0107 - The daily exchange. (Baltimore, Md.) 1858-1861, January 07, 1861
0109 - Weekly standard. [volume] (Raleigh, N.C.) 1858-1865, January 09, 1861
0112 - Sugar planter. volume (West Baton Rouge [i.e. Port Allen, West Baton Rouge Parish, La.]) 1856-1925, January 12, 1861 - posted
0124 - Fayetteville observer. (Fayetteville, Tenn.) 1850-1966, January 24, 1861
0130 - The Grand Haven news. (Grand Haven, Mich.) January 30, 1861

3. Palmetto Volunteers offer their services and 500 negroes
0110 - The Carolina Spartan. (Spartanburg, S.C.) 1852-1896, January 10, 1861 - posted
0110 - Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, January 10, 1861

4. A Faithful Servant
0111 - The daily exchange. (Baltimore, Md.) 1858-1861, January 11, 1861 - posted
0116 - The central Georgian. (Sandersville, Ga.) 1847-1874, January 16, 1861 - posted
0119 - Sugar planter. [volume] (West Baton Rouge [i.e. Port Allen, West Baton Rouge Parish, La.]) 1856-1925, January 19, 1861

5. want ad: hands wanted to work on defenses
0115 - Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, January 15, 1861
0116 - The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 16, 1861

6. free colored men of Columbia offer services
0117 - The Anderson intelligencer. (Anderson Court House, S.C.) 1860-1914, January 17, 1861 - posted
0119 - The North-Carolinian. volume (Fayetteville [N.C.]) 1839-1861, January 19, 1861 - posted
0202 - Keowee courier. (Pickens Court House, S.C.) 1849-current, February 02, 1861 - posted

7. George Brewer offers services of 20 negro men
0121 - The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 21, 1861 - posted

8. Fortifications in Florida
0129 - The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 29, 1861

8. Joe Clark, colored barber, offers to raise company of free black men
0129 - The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 29, 1861 - posted
0130 - The central Georgian. (Sandersville, Ga.) 1847-1874, January 30, 1861
0131 - Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, January 31, 1861
0201 - Daily Ohio statesman. (Columbus, Ohio) 1855-1870, February 01, 1861 - posted
0215 - The Caledonian. (St. Johnsbury, Vt.) 1837-1867, February 15, 1861
0221 - Holmes County farmer. (Millersburg, Ohio) 1857-1926, February 21, 1861 - posted
0412 - Memphis daily appeal. (Memphis, Tenn.) 1847-1886, April 12, 1861 - posted
0425 - Fayetteville observer. (Fayetteville, Tenn.) 1850-1966, April 25, 1861
@Andersonh1 ,

EXCELLENT! An excellent database in which to use as research and further study.

Can't wait to see the completed project of your efforts here.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 
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I spent some time today on 1861 trying to broadly categorize the different types of articles and how many are in each. I've listed them from greatest to least number of stories. There's some analysis we could do just from these listings. The activities of the free black population volunteering would have been a matter of public record, so it's no surprise that we see the most accounts there, far from the fog of war. It also tells me that had they been willing to accept the offers, the South would have had black soldiers very early on in the war in multiple places other than Louisiana.

Editorials follow, along with reports and rumors, and given that some in the news business love to give opinions, it's no surprise that there are a lot of them to be found.

The free black population of New Orleans/1st Louisiana Native Guard get a lot of press all year long. Slave labor is not all that newsworthy in that society, but sometimes when it relates to the war there's something of interest, so it's the next highest, followed by the topic of conscription or impressment.

All the specific military accounts have the least amount of coverage, with 1st Manassas having by far the most (though technically the skirmish at New Market bridge has more, because they continue into 1862), and accounts of black pickets began in this year and would continue.

I doubt I have everything there is to find on these topics, but I hope this is a good sample. There's room for refinement on the categories, and there are a number of articles that could fit in more than one category, but this is a good start.

Free blacks Volunteer money and labor
52 stories/102 articles, published between 1/3 and 12/28

Editorials on Arming/Employing black men for military purposes
47 stories/59 articles, published between March 19 and Dec 31

Militant Rumors/Reports (free or slave, sometimes unknown)
38 stories/81 articles, published between 3/16and 12/28

Free blacks volunteer to fight
27 stories/51 articles, published between 1/29 and 9/5

1st Louisiana Native Guard
25 stories/63 articles, published between April 23 and Dec 28

Slave Labor/giving/army support
25 stories/49 articles, published between 1/4 and 12/28

Conscription/Impressment
23 stories/33 articles, published between May 2 and Dec 13

Battle of First Manassas
16 stories/43 articles, published between 7/23 and 9/13

Skirmish at New Market Bridge
16 articles published between Dec. 23 and Dec. 31, continued into the following year

Black Labor/army support, unknown status
10 stories/13 articles, published between 6/4 and 11/29

Black Men in Uniform (Musicians/other)
6 stories/9 articles, published between 4/26 and 12/06

Armed Slaves
4 stories/5 articles, published between May 2 and Dec 20

Black pickets
2 stories/8 articles, published between 9/10 and 9/18

Battle of Belmont
Two articles published on Nov. 29 and Dec. 31

Battle of Bethel Church
1 article, 6/19

Battle of Wilson's Creek
1 story/3 articles, published between 9/19 and 10/3

Battle of Ball's Bluff
1 article, 11/29

Add all the combat stories up, and we end up with 42 stories/73 articles, so the category balances a bit better against the others. But I divided it up for more specificity about where the stories came from.
 
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Hi all,

I have been reading this thread with some interest as I find the topic fascinating. I would like to thank @Andersonh1 for posting this wonderful data, it is immensely helpful, and I can only imagine has been a substantial amount of work.

My apologies if I’ve put this in the wrong thread, please let me know and I’d be happy to move it.

My particular interest in these articles relates to the stories of armed black Confederate soldiers (be they singular or in larger formations). I became very curious to understand who was reporting these events to hopefully better understand why they might be publishing such news stories.

As such, I decided to undertake an analysis of which newspapers were published these reports, where the newspapers were based (US or CS), what political affiliation (if any) they had, also what (if any) was their stance on abolition, I was also wondering over what period of time were these articles most prevalent.

To be clear, I did not include the following in my analysis:

• Reports of Black Southerners (slave or free) working as laborers, teamsters, servants, etc. The reason being that I see nothing unusual in their use in these capacities.
• Reports of the Louisiana ‘Native Guards’. I do believe that this body existed, offered their services to Louisiana and subsequently had those services rejected by Confederate authorities.
• The late war reports/discussions of the arming and use of black troops by the CSA. I have no doubt that these debates took place.

As such, my analysis was consciously confined to those reports of armed or uniformed Black southerners in Confederate service, whether they are fighting, organizing, on picket or garrison duty, manning artillery, etc.

Here is what I found in my analysis:

Reporting Newspaper Location

Far and away the largest number of newspapers reporting on Black CS soldiers were Northern with 95% of all articles reporting Black CS soldiers being published by Northern newspapers (this includes newspapers publishing from captured cities, such as Nashville and Memphis – after they fell to Union forces).

1549236338582.png


Newspaper Political Affiliation

I got this data primarily from the ‘Chronicling America’ newspaper website https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov

I found this particularly interesting as 80% of published reports of Black CS soldiers were from Republican affiliated newspapers. Only 5% of reports were found in Confederate newspapers and 7% by Northern Democratic aligned newspapers (with the majority of these published by the New York Herald). 8% of newspapers publishing such articles declared themselves to be independent of both political parties.

1549236451103.png


Newspaper Stance on Slavery

I also got this data primarily from the ‘Chronicling America’ newspaper website https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov

As I saw that the majority of reports were being printed by Republican aligned newspapers, I then became interested to know how many of these newspapers might have been overtly abolitionist in outlook. Here is what I found, but please bear in mind I only indicated those papers as abolitionist where the source was clear that the newspaper, editor, etc. were abolitionist in their stance, hence the large number of ‘Unknown’.

What we find is that 35% of publishing newspapers were overtly abolitionist in their stance. 55% of reporting newspapers were Unknown in their view of slavery (but still largely Republican) and only 10% were clearly anti-abolitionist (be they Northern Democrat or Confederate).


1549236378181.png


Story Publish Dates

I also looked at when were these stories published and found that the majority of these reports were made in 1861 and 1862. The majority (39 of 50) reports from 1863 were made in March or earlier of that year. With only 6 and 1 made in 1864 and 1865 respectively.

1549236403516.png


Conclusions

I found this to have been a very surprising set of results and certainly not what I was expecting when I began to look at the numbers.

I think that the picture that emerges tells us that the majority of the reports published in newspapers of armed/uniformed Black Southerners were made by Republican-aligned, Northern newspapers, with a large minority of reports being published by abolitionist newspapers. These reports were primarily printed before the Emancipation Proclamation took effect, or shortly thereafter.

This then begs the questions: why were these Republican, Northern newspapers reporting these events? What was their motivation for doing so? Why were larger numbers of Democratic or anti-abolitionist newspapers not reporting the same events?

One has also wonder then, why more Confederate newspapers weren’t printing stories of armed Blacks service in CS armies if the Northern newspaper reports were accurate? Was this really as wide-spread a phenomenon as many suggest today?

I think the answers to these questions deserve further study, but sadly are largely outside the scope of the analysis that I undertook (due to time constraints). I have my opinions on the matter, but nothing more substantial at the moment, unfortunately.

I hope that this has been of interest and useful to you all!

1549236362091.png
 
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Very nice. I'll be curious to see how my collection stands up to what you've found, once I finish tallying and organizing. And of course I'm not just collecting combat reports and editorials on combat, but anything related to black participation, willing or unwilling, in the Confederate cause. So I have a much broader scope than just armed black Confederate combatants.

Thanks for sharing!
 
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Very nice. I'll be curious to see how my collection stands up to what you've found, once I finish tallying and organizing. And of course I'm not just collecting combat reports and editorials on combat, but anything related to black participation, willing or unwilling, in the Confederate cause. So I have a much broader scope than just armed black Confederate combatants.

Thanks for sharing!
I am very curious to see your overall results as well, as you say you're looking at a much broader picture than what I looked at. It's an interesting topic indeed!

My pleasure and a very deep thank you to you for providing all this information. It's a massive effort, and I very much appreciate your hard work!
 
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1862 saw the number of stories drop considerably, based on my sample. The main almost missing category is free black men volunteering, which made up a lot of 1861's news coverage. Editorials are just barely the largest category, with commentaries on all the reports, followed by what I categorize as "reports or rumors", because they are general "so and so reported seeing black soldiers" or "it is said the south is arming at" without specifics.

Battles and Skirmishes name specific incidents where black men are said to have participated in the battle in some way. 1st Manassas gets a few mentions, even though it occurred the previous year, and the skirmish at New Market bridge was in late December, so this is just continuing reporting.

The 1st Louisiana ceases to exist as a Louisiana militia unit but they get a lot of press while they're still active, and some after they were not, largely related to Butler pointing out the orders and commendations concerning them when some in the population of New Orleans complained about black soldiers. In other words, they were fine with their own black soldiers, just not Union black soldiers, the argument went.

And then there are the smallest categories, mentioning sharpshooters and a spy, and a few instances of volunteer labor and even a black man listed in an article memorializing the dead from their unit.

Breakdown for 1862:

Editorials on Arming/Employing black men for military purposes, or the South's use of them - 31 stories/44 articles
Militant Rumors/Reports (free or slave, sometimes unknown) - 24 stories/60 articles
Battles and Skirmishes -23 stories/50 articles
Skirmish at Yorktown/Lee's Mills - 6 stories/9 articles​
Skirmish - New Market Bridge - 5 stories/19 articles​
Battle - First Manassas - 4 articles​
Battle of Baton Rouge - 3 stories/8 articles​
Battle of Shiloh - 2 stories/4 articles​
Skirmish in East Tennessee - 1 story/4 articles​
Battle of Pittsburgh Landing - 1 article​
Skirmish - North Fork - 1 article​
Impressment/Conscription/Drafting - 19 stories/30 articles
1st Louisiana Native Guards - 17 stories/34 articles
black employment in the ranks (musicians, teamsters, cooks, other paid non slave) - 10 stories/12 articles
Armed Slaves/Undetermined - 7 stories/7 articles
Slave/unknown status labor - 5 stories/10 articles
black sharpshooters - 4 stories/4 articles
Mobile Creole Guards - 2 stories/2 articles
Blacks Volunteer money and labor - 2 stories/2 articles
Memorial to fallen comrade (Jack Thomas) - 1 article
Spies - 1 article
 
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Some Confederate newspapers ceased to exist or were on the run from place to place after the union gained control in certain areas. Those that continued were subject to the blockade and dwindling supplies of paper, ink and typeset.
Thanks, that's an important fact to remember. There are going to be less Southern newspaper sources as the war progresses for the simple fact that there were a continually diminishing amount of Southern newspapers in operation.
 
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jgoodguy

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I have actually finally been working on organizing chronologically by story, and once that's done I'll put them into larger categories. A lot of times I'll use the headline of the article if available, if not I'll summarize. Here's the beginning in 1861 to give you an idea where I'm going. This will enable me to see where certain categories dominate, and when they disappear and others take over.

1. slaves raising fortifications to capture Major Anderson
0104 - Cincinnati daily press. (Cincinnati [Ohio]) 1860-1862, January 04, 1861
0105 - Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, January 05, 1861 - posted
0111 - Delaware State journal and statesman. (Wilmington, Del.) 1855-1870, January 11, 1861

2. 150 able-bodied free colored men offer services on redoubts
0103 - Charleston Mercury January 3 1861 - posted
0105 - Semi-weekly standard. (Raleigh, N.C.) January 05, 1861 - posted
0105 - The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 05, 1861
0107 - The daily exchange. (Baltimore, Md.) 1858-1861, January 07, 1861
0109 - Weekly standard. [volume] (Raleigh, N.C.) 1858-1865, January 09, 1861
0112 - Sugar planter. volume (West Baton Rouge [i.e. Port Allen, West Baton Rouge Parish, La.]) 1856-1925, January 12, 1861 - posted
0124 - Fayetteville observer. (Fayetteville, Tenn.) 1850-1966, January 24, 1861
0130 - The Grand Haven news. (Grand Haven, Mich.) January 30, 1861

3. Palmetto Volunteers offer their services and 500 negroes
0110 - The Carolina Spartan. (Spartanburg, S.C.) 1852-1896, January 10, 1861 - posted
0110 - Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, January 10, 1861

4. A Faithful Servant
0111 - The daily exchange. (Baltimore, Md.) 1858-1861, January 11, 1861 - posted
0116 - The central Georgian. (Sandersville, Ga.) 1847-1874, January 16, 1861 - posted
0119 - Sugar planter. [volume] (West Baton Rouge [i.e. Port Allen, West Baton Rouge Parish, La.]) 1856-1925, January 19, 1861

5. want ad: hands wanted to work on defenses
0115 - Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, January 15, 1861
0116 - The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 16, 1861

6. free colored men of Columbia offer services
0117 - The Anderson intelligencer. (Anderson Court House, S.C.) 1860-1914, January 17, 1861 - posted
0119 - The North-Carolinian. volume (Fayetteville [N.C.]) 1839-1861, January 19, 1861 - posted
0202 - Keowee courier. (Pickens Court House, S.C.) 1849-current, February 02, 1861 - posted

7. George Brewer offers services of 20 negro men
0121 - The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 21, 1861 - posted

8. Fortifications in Florida
0129 - The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 29, 1861

8. Joe Clark, colored barber, offers to raise company of free black men
0129 - The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 29, 1861 - posted
0130 - The central Georgian. (Sandersville, Ga.) 1847-1874, January 30, 1861
0131 - Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, January 31, 1861
0201 - Daily Ohio statesman. (Columbus, Ohio) 1855-1870, February 01, 1861 - posted
0215 - The Caledonian. (St. Johnsbury, Vt.) 1837-1867, February 15, 1861
0221 - Holmes County farmer. (Millersburg, Ohio) 1857-1926, February 21, 1861 - posted
0412 - Memphis daily appeal. (Memphis, Tenn.) 1847-1886, April 12, 1861 - posted
0425 - Fayetteville observer. (Fayetteville, Tenn.) 1850-1966, April 25, 1861
Stats :dance:
 

jgoodguy

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Hi all,

I have been reading this thread with some interest as I find the topic fascinating. I would like to thank @Andersonh1 for posting this wonderful data, it is immensely helpful, and I can only imagine has been a substantial amount of work.

My apologies if I’ve put this in the wrong thread, please let me know and I’d be happy to move it.

My particular interest in these articles relates to the stories of armed black Confederate soldiers (be they singular or in larger formations). I became very curious to understand who was reporting these events to hopefully better understand why they might be publishing such news stories.

As such, I decided to undertake an analysis of which newspapers were published these reports, where the newspapers were based (US or CS), what political affiliation (if any) they had, also what (if any) was their stance on abolition, I was also wondering over what period of time were these articles most prevalent.

To be clear, I did not include the following in my analysis:

• Reports of Black Southerners (slave or free) working as laborers, teamsters, servants, etc. The reason being that I see nothing unusual in their use in these capacities.
• Reports of the Louisiana ‘Native Guards’. I do believe that this body existed, offered their services to Louisiana and subsequently had those services rejected by Confederate authorities.
• The late war reports/discussions of the arming and use of black troops by the CSA. I have no doubt that these debates took place.

As such, my analysis was consciously confined to those reports of armed or uniformed Black southerners in Confederate service, whether they are fighting, organizing, on picket or garrison duty, manning artillery, etc.

Here is what I found in my analysis:

Reporting Newspaper Location

Far and away the largest number of newspapers reporting on Black CS soldiers were Northern with 95% of all articles reporting Black CS soldiers being published by Northern newspapers (this includes newspapers publishing from captured cities, such as Nashville and Memphis – after they fell to Union forces).

View attachment 262203

Newspaper Political Affiliation

I got this data primarily from the ‘Chronicling America’ newspaper website https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov

I found this particularly interesting as 80% of published reports of Black CS soldiers were from Republican affiliated newspapers. Only 5% of reports were found in Confederate newspapers and 7% by Northern Democratic aligned newspapers (with the majority of these published by the New York Herald). 8% of newspapers publishing such articles declared themselves to be independent of both political parties.

View attachment 262207

Newspaper Stance on Slavery

I also got this data primarily from the ‘Chronicling America’ newspaper website https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov

As I saw that the majority of reports were being printed by Republican aligned newspapers, I then became interested to know how many of these newspapers might have been overtly abolitionist in outlook. Here is what I found, but please bear in mind I only indicated those papers as abolitionist where the source was clear that the newspaper, editor, etc. were abolitionist in their stance, hence the large number of ‘Unknown’.

What we find is that 35% of publishing newspapers were overtly abolitionist in their stance. 55% of reporting newspapers were Unknown in their view of slavery (but still largely Republican) and only 10% were clearly anti-abolitionist (be they Northern Democrat or Confederate).


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Story Publish Dates

I also looked at when were these stories published and found that the majority of these reports were made in 1861 and 1862. The majority (39 of 50) reports from 1863 were made in March or earlier of that year. With only 6 and 1 made in 1864 and 1865 respectively.

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Conclusions

I found this to have been a very surprising set of results and certainly not what I was expecting when I began to look at the numbers.

I think that the picture that emerges tells us that the majority of the reports published in newspapers of armed/uniformed Black Southerners were made by Republican-aligned, Northern newspapers, with a large minority of reports being published by abolitionist newspapers. These reports were primarily printed before the Emancipation Proclamation took effect, or shortly thereafter.

This then begs the questions: why were these Republican, Northern newspapers reporting these events? What was their motivation for doing so? Why were larger numbers of Democratic or anti-abolitionist newspapers not reporting the same events?

One has also wonder then, why more Confederate newspapers weren’t printing stories of armed Blacks service in CS armies if the Northern newspaper reports were accurate? Was this really as wide-spread a phenomenon as many suggest today?

I think the answers to these questions deserve further study, but sadly are largely outside the scope of the analysis that I undertook (due to time constraints). I have my opinions on the matter, but nothing more substantial at the moment, unfortunately.

I hope that this has been of interest and useful to you all!

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More Stats and Pie Charts!!!!:dance::dance:
 



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