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

Andersonh1

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A reprint of the story of black men being sighted working on the fort near Yorktown and helping fire the cannon, with the Daily Nashville Union adding some commentary. In short, some "rebels" in Tennessee had apparently been warning those around them that the US would arm the slaves, and that this was a bad thing. This newspaper points to the report of Confederates using slaves in combat, which should shame those "rebels".

Daily Nashville union. (Nashville, Tenn.) 1862-1862, May 07, 1862
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Andersonh1

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Black prisoners of war were discharged from Camp Chase. There is no question in this writer of the original article's mind that they fought for the "rebels", he just wonders if it was done willingly. The Ohio newspaper mocks the Journal's writer for even asking the question, and accuses him of favoritism towards the black man.

Daily Ohio statesman. [volume] (Columbus, Ohio) 1855-1870, May 07, 1862
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Another report about black sharpshooters. The Union troops "dislike very much to be shot by negro soldiers". Do they like being shot by white soldiers better?

The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, May 07, 1862
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Andersonh1

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The writer here appears to be talking about taking personal servants and enlisting them as company servants, so rather than work for one they work for the whole company, with the slave owner to be paid the slave's wages. This newspaper writer approves of the idea, though it seems he's poking some fun at the manhood of the "brave but delicate" soldiers who wouldn't have to do the camp work any more.

Memphis daily appeal. [volume] (Memphis, Tenn.) 1847-1886, May 08, 1862
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Here is a variant on the "they'd arm the slaves, but don't know who they would shoot" story from a few posts back. This story adds a supposed statement made by one of the slaves.

Bellows Falls times. (Bellows Falls, Vt.) 1856-1965, May 09, 1862
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Andersonh1

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Here is an account noting "armed negroes", who are "plainly visible" keeping guard "as other soldiers". It would be very easy to get lost in arguing about enlisted, official status here, but that's a waste of time. We don't know who these men were, probably slaves, but they were black, they were armed, and they were standing guard.

Cedar Falls gazette. (Cedar Falls, Iowa) 1860-1895, May 09, 1862
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Here the black men were seen at labor trying to obstruct the path of the Union army by raising the dam to try and make the river crossing more difficult.

The weekly pioneer and Democrat. [volume] (Saint Paul, Minn. Territory) 1855-1865, May 09, 1862
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Andersonh1

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Some papers reprinting this story just can't resist commentary.

Ashtabula weekly telegraph. (Ashtabula, Ohio) 1853-1873, May 10, 1862
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"The rebels... employ their slaves upon their fortifications", so what does this newspaper propose to do about it? "All the blacks are naturally and gratefully loyal" the writer says, so the obvious answer is to free these men and put them to work on Union fortifications and in "other ways in which they can be useful".

Ashtabula weekly telegraph. [volume] (Ashtabula, Ohio) 1853-1873, May 10, 1862
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Andersonh1

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There was a bizarre idea circulating in the press that the Southern climate would be dangerous for the white troops, and we see it here. It's sometimes used as an argument as to why black men should be armed and posted in southern forts held by the Union. In any case, prior to Union General David Hunter arming slaves and forming regiments before that was allowed, he claimed the reason he needed to do this was that the slaveholders "are arming their negroes by thousands", so his arming of black soldiers was a reaction to armed slaves, according to this article.

Daily intelligencer. (Wheeling, Va. [W. Va.]) 1859-1865, May 10, 1862
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Two black men armed with Enfields are shot dead by Union Pickets, according to a letter to the editor.

Daily Nashville union. (Nashville, Tenn.) 1862-1862, May 10, 1862
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Andersonh1

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When observers saw black men working on entrenchments, do we think they understood what they saw? I imagine so. When they saw them armed and firing at Union troops, as is sometimes reported, I think they clearly understood what they were seeing then as well.

The independent. (Oskaloosa, Kan.) 1860-1874, May 10, 1862
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"Virginia does not hesitate to arm negroes against the United States...."

0511 - The national Republican. (Washington, D.C.) 1860-1862, May 11, 1861
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Andersonh1

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At this point, May 13, New Orleans had fallen to the Union fleet and the "negro regiment" in New Orleans no longer existed. Sometimes timely news was simply not a priority for a give newspaper, to judge by stories like this appearing long after they were first reported.

The Buchanan County guardian. (Independence, Buchanan County, Iowa) 1858-1864, May 13, 1862
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The Richmond Dispatch refers to stories about armed black men in Confederate lines as "the lie, so often repeated."

The daily dispatch. [volume] (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, May 13, 1862
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