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


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I've seen plenty of stories about slave and free labor (see the bottom story for an instance of the latter being suggested), but this is the first time I have run across a story of black prison labor being offered for use on the fortifications.

The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, May 04, 1861
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I haven't posted a lot on this thread lately. Had some real life distractions, and I've been busy on other projects, one of which is organizing all the post-war articles I've collected so far, and in doing so I've run across some that I had forgotten about. This is a great example. A southern newspaper in 1891 refers to "A brother in black", a "brave Confederate negro", Celestin Beaulieu. Beaulieu was a slave, and a cook for the 10th Louisiana, who the Richmond Dispatch refers to in the opening sentence as "an ex-Confederate soldier", who bought a musket when the war broke out and took it with him when he and his master went to war. Beaulieu did not sit on the sidelines, he went and fought, even getting angry once that he was left behind and going anyway. I think valor was recognized when it comes to this black war veteran.


Richmond dispatch. (Richmond, Va.), 29 Nov. 1891
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unionblue

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We seem to be getting a bit afield from the title of this thread: black southerners and the confederate cause what the newspapers said 1861-1865.

It is now your intent to give only post-war accounts of what the newspapers said about black southerners and the confederate cause?

Or are you finally going to consolidate and present in chronological order the vast number of newspaper articles you have collected?

Either one would be an area of worthwhile study, but I confess, I look more forward to the latter than the former.

Unionblue
 
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I've been posting post-war articles for over a year now, ever since I decided to stop excluding them entirely because there's just too much specific information about individuals in them. https://civilwartalk.com/threads/bl...rs-said-1861-1865.129911/page-97#post-1751859

I have considered starting from the beginning and re-posting in chronological order. You may have seen occasionally where I post an article and there's a four digit number at the beginning of the article name. That's my filename system to keep them in order. I have them sorted into folders by year, and then the numbers are the month and day, so it wouldn't be hard to do. I've also been transcribing them with a view towards turning all of this research into a book, as we've talked about from time to time. Having collected all the info, it seems a shame not to get the information out there. But let me tell you, typing up 1400 newspaper stories takes some time!

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I think Unionblue has a good idea. Let's start all of this from the beginning of 1861 and watch the press coverage develop over time. And keep in mind, we're not discussing "black Confederates" in general here, we're discussing how the press, north and south, reported all aspects of black southern participation in the secession and then war efforts. Willing or unwilling, free or slave, combatant or camp servants, all coverage is of interest here. How did the press see this aspect of the war? It will become very clear that early press reports very much influenced later ones.

I will probably not post duplicates of articles, unless there is some significant difference or additional information. Keep in mind that many articles were circulated widely, with this Charleston Mercury article for example appearing in over a dozen newspapers, north and south.

January 3, and South Carolina is the only state to have seceded so far, though others are in the process of following. Coastal defenses are being prepared, and 150 free black men of Charleston offer free labor to help build them. Charleston SC had the largest free black population in the state, followed by Columbia.

Charleston Mercury January 3 1861
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January 4, 1861

The Charleston Mercury article was reprinted in the Daily Morning News (Savannah, Ga.) and the The Savannah Daily Republican.

The free black men volunteered, the slaves had no say in the matter. They were put to work in Charleston Harbor.

Cincinnati daily press. (Cincinnati [Ohio]) 1860-1862, January 04, 1861
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unionblue

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I've been posting post-war articles for over a year now, ever since I decided to stop excluding them entirely because there's just too much specific information about individuals in them. https://civilwartalk.com/threads/bl...rs-said-1861-1865.129911/page-97#post-1751859

I have considered starting from the beginning and re-posting in chronological order. You may have seen occasionally where I post an article and there's a four digit number at the beginning of the article name. That's my filename system to keep them in order. I have them sorted into folders by year, and then the numbers are the month and day, so it wouldn't be hard to do. I've also been transcribing them with a view towards turning all of this research into a book, as we've talked about from time to time. Having collected all the info, it seems a shame not to get the information out there. But let me tell you, typing up 1400 newspaper stories takes some time!

View attachment 313776
@Andersonh1 ,

The idea for a book on this topic is an excellent one and I hope it is something you accomplish.

I would like to offer to buy your first copy when you get it printed.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 
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January 5, 1861

I've seen a number of posters on the board cite a list of acts of aggression by southern states prior to Sumter, and here is just such a contemporary list, concerned mainly with South Carolina at this point. The 1000 slaves mentioned in the Cincinnati Daily Press are also noted here, as is the fact that they're at work in the Charleston harbor working on fortifications.

Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, January 05, 1861
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The Charleston Mercury article was reprinted by the Richmond Daily Dispatch, and mentioned by the Raleigh Semi-Weekly Standard.

Semi-weekly standard. (Raleigh, N.C.) January 05, 1861
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The only article I have for January 7 is yet another reprint of the Charleston Mercury article from the 3rd, printed in the Baltimore Daily Exchange.

January 8 gives us an article from the Alexandria Gazette, essentially reporting almost the same news we've seen over the past few days: offers of volunteer service from the free black population, and now batteries being erected.

Alexandria gazette. (Alexandria, D.C.) 1834-1974, January 08, 1861
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On January 9 the Edgefield Advertiser gives a word for word reprint of the Charleston Mercury article, while the Weekly Standard reprints the Semi-Weekly Standard article, something we'll see often.

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A major event of note: the Star of the West was fired on and driven off, and some of the requests for building coastal defenses that follow this date may well be a reaction to that.
 
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January 10 gives us two papers printing the exact same story. The Carolina Spartan. (Spartanburg, S.C.) and the Yorkville Enquirer ran this article, involving a group calling themselves "the Palmetto Volunteers" who volunteer themselves and their slaves directly to the Governor.

Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, January 10, 1861
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