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

Andersonh1

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The governor of South Carolina reduced the amount of slaves that could be impressed for military defence labor in the form of "road and street duty" from 1/3 to 1/4.

The Camden confederate. (Camden, S.C.) 1861-1865, August 22, 1862 -
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A witness cites "seven hundred negroes".... "going to work on Fort Pickering and singing as they went."

The Nashville daily union. [volume] (Nashville, Tenn.) 1862-1866, August 22, 1862
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Andersonh1

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An account of the attack on Baton Rouge by the Confederates includes a "conspicuous" rebel, a black man who was uniformed, armed and equipped, who "led the rebels" and died in the attack. I have read it speculated that this may have been one of the Louisiana black troops we read about in many 1861 stories, chosen as a local familiar with the area to help guide the Confederate troops. Without his name or unit, it's impossible to know for sure who he was.

The Cecil Whig. (Elkton, Md.) 1841-current, August 23, 1862
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Andersonh1

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Two different letters get published in part or in full describing the attitudes in their area of the South.

"Even the negroes are burning for a fight" in Quincy, Florida.

The daily exchange. [volume] (Baltimore, Md.) 1858-1861, April 15, 1861
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A letter from Alabama expresses the opinion that "if it comes to invasion, every boy and old man and negro will fight".

Orleans independent standard. [volume] (Irasburgh, Vt.) 1856-1871, May 24, 1861
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Andersonh1

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We've seen articles published where men like Louis Wigfall assert that the slaves would be willing to fight for the South in the war. The relevant portion of this early discussion of the status of the black Southern population tackles that assertion, with the writer disagreeing. He thinks the slave owners expect insurrection, and have patrols out every night to prevent it.

Litchfield enquirer. [volume] (Litchfield, Conn.) 1829-current, June 06, 1861
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Andersonh1

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Still catching up with some more 1861 articles I have dug up, we see this story from June 1861 entitled "Arming Negroes" which expresses the contradictory views that the slaves are faithful and would fight gallantly, but it's not a good idea to teach them the art of war because they might be "troublesome and dangerous" after the war.

Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, June 13, 1861
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Col. Thomas Bacon of the 7th SC writes in a letter that his regiment, including "70 negroes" will "fight like thunder."

Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, July 04, 1861
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Andersonh1

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Lyman Trumbull offers an amendment stating that slaves "employed in aiding in the rebellion against the Government" should be forfeited, with the reason being that he understood they had been "employed in the recent fight to shoot down Union men".

The national Republican. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1860-1862, July 23, 1861
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jcrook

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Sure seems to me this was an armed unit that included many companies of colored troops, in rebellion against the United State of America, and fully recognized as such by Louisiana. Sure some of them were later union soldiers..but for 61-62, they most definitely took up arms in defense of their city and state against the United States govt.
If I remember correctly most of them were free blacks that owned slaves
 

Andersonh1

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If I remember correctly most of them were free blacks that owned slaves

Some of them certainly were, and they said so themselves.

"... they love their home, their property, they own slaves, and they are dearly attached to their native land, and they recognize no other country than Louisiana, and care for no other than Louisiana, and they are ready to shed their blood for her defense. They have no sympathy for Abolitionism...."

New Orleans Daily Delta December 28 1860
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Andersonh1

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Still catching up on earlier press reports that I've recently found, the black population of Fayetteville raised funds for the soldiers' relief society of Nashville, described as a "liberal contribution".

Cincinnati daily press. [volume] (Cincinnati [Ohio]) 1860-1862, January 08, 1862
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"... even the slaves asked permission of their masters to go and fight the Yankee abolitionists...."

The daily dispatch. [volume] (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 13, 1862
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Andersonh1

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$50 was contributed by the black men of Memphis to the "Southern Mothers of Memphis" for soldiers from Arkansas.

Cincinnati daily press. [volume] (Cincinnati [Ohio]) 1860-1862, January 15, 1862
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The Chicago paper has a low opinion of this letter writers, calling him a "renegade", "extreme" and "a fool." I've excerpted a portion of the letter where he discusses the situation with the slave and free black population who are not causing trouble, and have indeed been raising funds for the benefit of the volunteers.

Chicago daily tribune. [volume] (Chicago, Ill.) 1860-1864, February 25, 1862
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19thGeorgia

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John Wilson Buckner, the grandson of black Confederate supporter William Ellison, was born in Sumter County. Buckner joined the 1st South Carolina Artillery in March 1863. He was wounded at Fort Wagner on July 12, 1863, in the battle against the 54th Massachusetts Regiment.​
Iirc there were about 50 black enlisted men (perhaps more) who took part in the defense of Battery Wagner during July and August 1863. In one company there were four who were listed as Cook on every roll except one- July and August 1863. On that roll they were listed as Private.
 

Andersonh1

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Some of the black population of Pine Bluff Arkansas held a fundraising ball with the proceeds going to a local Confederate military company, donating what would amount to about $1250 today.

The Semi-weekly Shreveport news. [volume] (Shreveport [La.]) 1862-1864, February 25, 1862
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During the battle at Fort Donelson, February 11-16 of 1862, Lt. Alexander Trotter of the 14th Mississippi had what is described by this article as a "negro boy", his servant, fight "manfully" beside him, only to be shot down by Union troops. Trotter is said to have used his bowie knife to kill the man who shot his slave.

Daily Richmond Whig. [volume] (Richmond, Va.) 1861-1862, March 21, 1862
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Andersonh1

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An editorial reprinted here from the New York Journal of Commerce expressed the idea that most Southern blacks were loyal to the South and would willingly fight for them over the North, and this is used to criticize Northern Abolitionists.

"The pretence that they are under compulsion would do very well were it not that the whole Southern army is under precisely the same compulsion."

The writer apparently thought the black population of the South ought to have risen in insurrection, but they did not because they were "as thoroughly attached to the cause their several masters espouse."

Daily Ohio statesman. [volume] (Columbus, Ohio) 1855-1870, August 15, 1862
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Andersonh1

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Back to the chronological posting, we're nearing the end of August 1862.

The New York Tribune points out the double standard of "rebels" who object to black Union soldiers but "have themselves employed Blacks extensively in their Military operations from the very outbreak of their rebellion." The examples they give are not labor related, but are military, including the "black battalion" at New Orleans and black sharpshooters at Yorktown and Baton Rouge.

New-York daily tribune. (New-York [N.Y.]) 1842-1866, August 25, 1862
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An account about a series of cavalry skirmishes includes an account of prisoners taken by the Union army, including a black man.

"We took nine prisoners at this point, who were the most oddly and wretchedly dressed soldiers we ever cast our eyes on... another was an intelligent looking and determined negro who fought, we were told, with the utmost desperation as he was about to be captured."

The national Republican. (Washington, D.C.) 1860-1862, August 25, 1862
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Andersonh1

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Another paper prints the report about the battle at Baton Rouge that includes the "huge negro" who was armed and equipped, led the Confederates, and was killed by Union forces.

The Manchester journal August 26, 1862
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Excerpt from the same report as the previous post, and it occurs to me that in the case of both of these battles, a single black man and his part in the battle stood out enough that someone saw it, remarked on it, and it made the newspapers.

Civilian & telegraph. (Cumberland, Md.) 1859-1875, August 28, 1862
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19thGeorgia

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Another paper prints the report about the battle at Baton Rouge that includes the "huge negro" who was armed and equipped, led the Confederates, and was killed by Union forces.

The Manchester journal August 26, 1862
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Excerpt from the same report as the previous post, and it occurs to me that in the case of both of these battles, a single black man and his part in the battle stood out enough that someone saw it, remarked on it, and it made the newspapers.

Civilian & telegraph. (Cumberland, Md.) 1859-1875, August 28, 1862
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According to these witness accounts the Baton Rouge Guards were still in operation in the Spring of 1862.

Case of Marie P. Evans vs. the United States (compensation for property taken by the Union army in East Baton Rouge Parish, LA)-

p63
DUNCAN WILLIAMS (colored) sworn and examined....
Q. Did you know one B. T. Beauregard ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is he a colored man?-A. Yes, sir,
Q. Did you ever see him in any military organization about the breaking out of the war or afterwards ?-A. Well, about the time the troops landed in New Orleans. [May 1862]
Q. What troops ?-A. The Union troops. When they landed in New Orleans he was in the service then.
Q. In what service?—A. Well, there wasn't but one service up there then ; that was the rebel service.
Q. State what kind of an organization it was.-A. Well, they were drilling just like I saw the Union troops drilling there after the war.
Q. Was it a company ?-A. Yes, air.
Q. Composed of what kind of men ?-A. They were democrats, I think.
Q. Were they white men or colored men ?-A. The captain was a white man, but the company were black men-free men before the war.
Q. Did they allow any slaves to go into the company?-a. No, sir: nary a one.

p50
NOVEMBER 11, 1873.
ACKLEY PERKINS recalled.
Q. Do you know B. T. Beauregard, a colored man ?-A. Yes, sir; I knew him ; I know he is a colored man ; I know him passing about.
Q. Was he in the confederate service?-A. I saw him there drilling in it; I don't know whether he went off in it or not.
Q. When was that?-A. In the spring of 1862 ; he was drilling there with a colored company ; I saw them often drilling,
Commissioner ALDIS :
Q. Did they have guns ?--A. Yes, sir.
Q. It was a regular military company ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. And in the confederate service ?--A. Yes, sir.
Q. That was in the spring of 1862 ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Were there any slaves among them ?-A. Yes, sir; they were all slaves ; he was one himself, They were not slaves then ; they were free people; freed before the war.
Q. Weren't any of them slaves ? A. No, sir ; I don't think there were any slaves; they were all free people.
COUNSEL: Q. Did he seem to be an officer ?-A. I don't think he was ; I don't know that he was ; I cannot say that he was.
Commissioner FERRISS : Q. Did the confederates organize any colored troops ?-A. No, sir; none except those that were free; they organized those. I forget the captain's name. They had about sixty or seventy in the company.

https://books.google.com/books?id=jllHAQAAIAAJ&pg=RA18-PA98&lpg=RA18-PA98&dq="Marie+P.+Evans"+beauregard&source=bl&ots=x-cVZruyqQ&sig=ACfU3U3el53CpYYQOxzYG4RFrAYgmJeI8A&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwioytPMra7wAhUSGTQIHfMHASsQ6AEwAHoECAIQAw#v=snippet&q="b t"&f=false
 

Andersonh1

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If the Baton Rouge Guards were still active, that would probably explain both the black Confederate witnessed in the above report, and the "corps of blacks" that Halbert Paine complained of in his correspondence with John Breckinridge about the battle of Baton Rouge, which we'll see very soon in early September. The Chicago Tribune brought up both of these sources:

Chicago daily tribune. (Chicago, Ill.) 1860-1864, September 09, 1862
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Andersonh1

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"... a large number of negroes who were in the rebel army brought away..." as part of a Union haul of prisoners near Helena, Arkansas.

Daily Democrat and news. (Davenport, Iowa) 1859-1864, August 29, 1862
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The areas in SC liable to send slave labor to work on military defense is expanded to smaller towns, but the percentage that owners are required to send is reduced from 1/3 to 1/4 "liable to road and street duty".

The Camden confederate. (Camden, S.C.) 1861-1865, August 29, 1862
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