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

Andersonh1

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May 30 concluded

This Pennsylvania attempts a pun at the expense of the black companies in the South.

The Alleghanian. (Ebensburg, Pa.) 1859-1865, May 30, 1861
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This is a detailed discussion of the role slaves were playing in the military effort and what the future might hold.

"A war cannot be waged in the South, in which half the population.... shall take no part."

The national Republican. (Washington, D.C.) 1860-1862, May 30, 1861
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I believe this is the first time we've seen the term "contraband" used in the newspapers in reference to escaped slaves.

The New York herald. (New York [N.Y.]) 1840-1920, May 30, 1861
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Andersonh1

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May 31st.

The story of the free black population of New Orleans moves forward, as it is reported that the Governor accepted their offer and companies are being formed. Jordan Noble appears to have been a bit of a local celebrity in New Orleans, as his name comes up over and over in connection with this group.

Des Arc semi-weekly citizen. (Des Arc, Ark.) 1861-1861, May 31, 1861
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This is another of those articles I clipped where I think I'll go back and get the whole thing for context. Note the relevant section near the end: "In many of our cities the free negroes have held meetings, in which they have enthusiastically resolved to strike for "home and Fatherland," if the authorities would accept their services. No doubt this is the type of service the Macon Telegraph would bemoan not accepting in their 1867 article looking back at the war.

Orleans independent standard. (Irasburgh, Vt.) 1856-1871, May 31, 1861
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Andersonh1

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June 1

A discussion of Benjamin Butler's decision to label runaway slaves as "contraband" leads to a discussion of the roles they play in support of the CS army.

Fremont daily journal. ([Fremont, Ohio]) 1861-1861, June 01, 1861
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More free black volunteers to work on fortifications.

Semi-weekly standard. (Raleigh, N.C.) June 01, 1861
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Here is a detailed account of the meeting of the free black population of New Orleans (and I note some resolutions published in city papers, which I do not have but which clearly should be added to my collection of articles) where they offer their services "in case of an invasion by the enemy", so the goal is home defense. All descriptions of this meeting give the impression of an enthusiastic, serious offer of support, underlined by the fact that 75% of those present signed up for military duty.

The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, June 01, 1861
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Andersonh1

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Oath for the Louisiana militia in Point Coupee Parish. We are told that these men were not Confederates because they were not enlisted in the Confederate army, but note the latter half of the oath:

"... support, protect and defend the Constitution of the State and of the Confederate States, so help me God."

Pointe Coupee Democrat, June 01, 1861
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Andersonh1

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Nothing on June 2. On to June 3, where the theme of the day is "forced labor".

Slaves are working on the entrenchments at Yorktown, and "Three hundred free negroes have been forced across James river to work on rebel entrenchments." This according to a "gentleman from between Newport News and Yorktown" telling the story. I'm not sure I believe the part about a "distinguished secessionist" calling his fellows delusional. It feels oddly tacked on to the story.

Chicago daily tribune. [volume] (Chicago, Ill.) 1860-1864, June 03, 1861
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Another story about contraband, and even though that's a term devised by a Union general, it's relevant to this topic because the term came about in part by determining the role the escaped slaves played in the Confederate army. This article is a prime example.

Chicago daily tribune. [volume] (Chicago, Ill.) 1860-1864, June 03, 1861
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Same article as the Chicago daily tribune. [volume] (Chicago, Ill.) 1860-1864, June 03, 1861.

Fremont daily journal. ([Fremont, Ohio]) 1861-1861, June 03, 1861
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Andersonh1

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June 3 concluded. Every article for the day comes from a northern paper.

The same article appears in two papers on the same day, which is not unusual.

The daily exchange. (Baltimore, Md.) 1858-1861, June 03, 1861
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A fine example of editorial comment mixed with reporting, one of the characteristics of this era's reporting.

The New York herald. (New York [N.Y.]) 1840-1920, June 03, 1861
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Andersonh1

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June 4.

Slaves and free blacks who escape to Fortress Monroe give their stories. We'll see more and more stories from "contrabands" going forward.

Daily intelligencer. (Wheeling, Va. [W. Va.]) 1859-1865, June 04, 1861
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Here we have free black volunteers in North Carolina. The context is not labor, the context is the departure of the Jeff Davis Rifles to join another company, so it seems that the black volunteers intended to go with them.

Newbern weekly progress. volume (Newbern, N.C.) 1858-1863, June 04, 1861
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We've seen a lot of companies of black volunteers accepted around the South, but here a company was rejected.

Richmond enquirer. (Richmond, Va.) 1815-1867, June 04, 1861
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Andersonh1

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June 4 concluded. More stories about free and slave black labor, on batteries as well as fortifications. We get three variations here: one neutral report, one pro-South report, and one forced labor account, so we get a good range of examples on how this subject was treated.

Shreveport daily news. (Shreveport, La.) 1861-1861, June 04, 1861
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Staunton spectator. (Staunton, Va.) 1849-1896, June 04, 1861 - posted
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The Evansville daily journal. (Evansville, Ia. [i.e. Ind.]) 1848-1862, June 04, 1861
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Andersonh1

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June 5

A discussion of Butler's rationale for declaring escaped slaves "contraband" tells us some of what the paper saw the slaves doing for the CS military.

The Lansing state Republican. (Lansing, Mich.) 1855-1874, June 05, 1861 - posted
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Another account of a black man giving his labor or resources to the war effort.

The Savannah daily republican. (Savannah, Ga.) 1855-1858, June 05, 1861
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More free black volunteers. It has occurred to me a number of times that if we added up all the numbers of volunteers to work or fight in the first six months, the actual number would be small and militarily insignificant, but in terms of press coverage what what the Northern papers believed, those accounts were enormously significant.

Weekly standard. [volume] (Raleigh, N.C.) 1858-1865, June 05, 1861
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"From Jackson.--A correspondent of the Appeal writing from Jackson, Miss., says:
....Major Marks, an officer from Montgomery [AL] or vicinity, is entrusted with the difficult and responsible duty of collecting and drilling twenty two hundred (2200) negro troops at this post, under General Order 86."
The daily sun. (Columbus, Ga.), April 04, 1865, Image 2

I believe this is the Marks described in the article. He was dismissed from the 2nd AL Cavalry (personal conflict with a superior officer) but managed to retain his rank of major. He was paroled at Meridian, MS, May 10, 1865.

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"Residence: Montgomery, Ala."
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"M.R. Marks, Maj. of Cavalry, P.A.C.S., on duty with Eng. Dept."
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Andersonh1

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June 6

A letter to the editor discusses the actions of the free black population in Savannah. They offered their services, and some of them participated in the War of 1812, interestingly.

Daily morning news. (Savannah, Ga.) 1850-1864, June 06, 1861
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Lincoln County NC requires the free black men of their county to enter military service "as cooks, washers, etc." because those "enjoying the blessings of peace should be willing to bear a part of the burdens of war."

Fayetteville observer. (Fayetteville, Tenn.) 1850-1966, June 06, 1861
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Andersonh1

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@Andersonh1 ,

At present, how many articles from various newspapers, in total, have you poisted on this one thread?

Sincerely,
Unionblue

I'm not sure how many I've actually posted (though it's a good percentage of them), but here's how many I have:

1860 (after Dec 20) - 1
1861 - 776
1862 - 343
1863 - 229
1864 - 313
1865 (Jan-May) 265

Total for the war years: 1927

Post-war: 1299 so far

The goal here is to be as comprehensive as I can and see as much of the big picture of how the press covered this topic as is possible. At one point I had broken this down into northern and southern newspapers, but my breakdowns are out of date and I need to re-count.
 

Andersonh1

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June 6 continued...

Reprint of the Richmond enquirer. (Richmond, Va.) 1815-1867, June 04, 1861 article. It's been rare to see a group of free black men volunteer and be turned down. It doesn't say what they volunteered for, but the context of the article is largely about military activity rather than labor, so it's possible that these men volunteered to guard or fight.

Port Tobacco times, and Charles County advertiser. (Port Tobacco, Md.) 1845-1898, June 06, 1861
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Here's an account of a group of 200 slaves with Maxcy Gregg's regiment as well as a black band "who played Dixie elegantly".

Rutland weekly herald. (Rutland, Vt.) 1859-1877, June 06, 1861
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This meeting took place back in April (as noted on the attribution at the bottom of the article which gives an April 28th date), but here's a Minnesota paper finally publicizing it, and using a longer version of the article with plenty of names of men who were at the meeting. There is some further evidence of the Creole heritage of these men with all the French names. New Orleans seems very much to have been an international port at this time, with many nationalities represented among the population.

St. Cloud Democrat. (Saint Cloud, Stearns County, Minn.) 1858-1866, June 06, 1861
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unionblue

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I'm not sure how many I've actually posted (though it's a good percentage of them), but here's how many I have:

1860 (after Dec 20) - 1
1861 - 776
1862 - 343
1863 - 229
1864 - 313
1865 (Jan-May) 265

Total for the war years: 1927

Post-war: 1299 so far

The goal here is to be as comprehensive as I can and see as much of the big picture of how the press covered this topic as is possible. At one point I had broken this down into northern and southern newspapers, but my breakdowns are out of date and I need to re-count.

@Andersonh1 ,

Appreciate you trying to keep track.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

Andersonh1

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You're welcome, glad to do it.

June 6 continues with an editorial discussing extracts from Southern newspapers to show how much "the Southern powers" rely on the "cooperation of colored men." More and more we will see this type of editorial, especially once reports start coming in from the field of black men fighting on the side of the Confederates. Combine Southern newspaper stories with battle reports, and it adds up to a lot of discussion of this topic. Needless to say, the St. Cloud Democrat finds Southerners hypocritical in their treatment of the black population, treating them badly on the one hand, but turning around and highly complimenting them when they "need their help".

St. Cloud Democrat. (Saint Cloud, Stearns County, Minn.) 1858-1866, June 06, 1861
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Andersonh1

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June 6 continued....

The attitude of some in the northern press amuses me. Unable to deny the reports of black southerners volunteering, the press insist that they were "forced" to volunteer (voluntold?). And they seem to believe the report, complaining that the Union troops will have to go through the black men to reach the white southern soldiers.

St. Cloud Democrat. (Saint Cloud, Stearns County, Minn.) 1858-1866, June 06, 1861
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A reprint of Butler's decision to declare runaway slaves as "contraband".

St. Mary's beacon. (Leonard Town, Md.) 1845-1863, June 06, 1861
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Free and slave enlisting in Chatham county, according to a letter to the editor of the Hartford Times. "Black Troops in the Rebel Army" is a pretty blunt headline, and there's no denying how the editor of this Pennsylvania paper views the situation.

The Alleghanian. (Ebensburg, Pa.) 1859-1865, June 06, 1861
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Andersonh1

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June 6 concluded.

Free and black are forced to work on Confederate batteries at Yorktown.

The Jeffersonian. (Stroudsburg, Pa.) 1853-1911, June 06, 1861
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June 7

Slaves in the fields cheer the Confederate soldiers as they pass. The story in general discusses how food production will go on as before since that "class" of the population is not going off to fight.

Richmond enquirer. [volume] (Richmond, Va.) 1815-1867, June 07, 1861
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A slight variant on the story that ended the June 6 coverage, this one does not name free blacks or batteries, but just slaves and entrenchments. It's a good example of the necessity of collecting as many versions of a story as possible to see how consistent they are. In this case, there's no real contradiction, just one less detail and one extra detail. There's no doubt that the manual labor needed involved both cannon and defensive works.

Fremont journal. (Fremont, Sandusky County [Ohio]) 1853-1866, June 07, 1861
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Andersonh1

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June 8.

A Savannah newspaper (here reprinted in the Nashville Union and American) speaks up for the free black population of Savannah, praising them for their volunteer efforts. The men apparently had been ignored at this point, but that situation would not last, as we'll see in future.

Nashville union and American. (Nashville, Tenn.) 1853-1862, June 08, 1861
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Discussion of the South's desire to capture and enslave free black Northern troops, in the opinion of the editor, includes a mention of the free black regiment in New Orleans organized for home defense.

The Texas Republican. (Marshall, Tex.) 1849-1869, June 08, 1861
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Andersonh1

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June 8 concluded.

"... the free negroes of Charleston move as unrestrainedly in their old position as they have always done, patriotic, perhaps, as any other portion of the community...."

The New York herald. (New York [N.Y.]) 1840-1920, June 08, 1861
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No stories from the 9th or 10th.

June 11

We don't just get the ad, we get a story up north noting that the ad was published.

Cincinnati daily press. (Cincinnati [Ohio]) 1860-1862, June 11, 1861
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This is an interesting assertion, and it would be nice to know if this was just a rumor, or if there was a source. A reason to arm the slaves on the sugar plantations would also be useful.

Daily intelligencer. (Wheeling, Va. [W. Va.]) 1859-1865, June 11, 1861
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