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

Andersonh1

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As I noted before, I can't find the original Wilmington Journal story, so the exact wording of the original story remains a mystery. I wondered at one point if this was a reference to black Union troops, and some of the other papers got it wrong, but Wilmington remained under Confederate control until 1865, so that's not the case. We have here a southern newspaper quoting another southern newspaper, apparently discussing "seven regiments of negroes" who have been in camps of instruction under white officers, ready to "garrison the towns and fortifications".

Newbern weekly progress. volume (Newbern, N.C.) 1858-1863, October 25, 1862
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Parson Brownlow thinks that "the rebels" will eventually respond to the emancipation proclamation by freeing the slaves themselves in the hopes of getting England to recognize them.

The daily sun. (Columbus, Ga.) 1855-1873, October 25, 1862
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Andersonh1

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Another newspaper reports that the Wilmington Journal says "colored regiments" will garrison the town during the sickly season. "Negro Regiments in the Rebel Service"

"The Wilmington Journal says that the colored regiments, which have been in camps of instruction for the past three months, are to garrison the town and fortifications during the sickly season, seven of these regiments having already arrived, who have white officers in command, and are remarkably proficient in drill."

The Nashville daily union. (Nashville, Tenn.) 1862-1866, October 25, 1862
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Not only do we get another report of the "seven regiments of negroes" from Wilmington, but also a report saying that the emancipation proclamation has "opened certain eyes" to the idea of arming and drilling black men for military service, citing the Richmond Examiner calling for slaves to be enlisted.

Cleveland morning leader. (Cleveland [Ohio]) 1854-1865, October 27, 1862
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Andersonh1

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It's the old "source entitled to credit", though not entitled to be identified, who gives "intelligence" that the Confederates have decided to arm "their negroes" in Atlanta, Montgomery and other cities. The paper also mentions the regiments in Wilmington story.

Dayton daily empire. (Dayton [Ohio]) 1850-1865, October 27, 1862
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Same story, "Rebels Arming their Negroes."

Cleveland morning leader. (Cleveland [Ohio]) 1854-1865, October 28, 1862
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Andersonh1

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"At all events, if the South enlisted slaves in its armies, they will at least fight for something in which their personal interests were engaged."

The dollar weekly bulletin. [volume] (Maysville, Ky.) 1862-1864, October 30, 1862
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Andersonh1

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I'm only posting a few versions of this story, which appeared in multiple newspapers. I've made this point before, but it doesn't hurt to repeat it: when a story about armed "negro regiments" appeared many times in many papers in many places, over and over throughout the four years of the war, it should be no surprise that people believed in black Confederate combatants and soldiers. And it also tells us where the idea originated.

Muscatine weekly journal. (Muscatine, Iowa) , October 31, 1862
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How much more true is the above when "a leading rebel newspaper" says seven black regiments have been mustered into Confederate service. Makes me really wish I could see the wording of that original news story to see what everyone was responding to.

Chicago daily tribune. [volume] (Chicago, Ill.) 1860-1864, November 01, 1862
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Andersonh1

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The stories continue to circulate.

The Shasta courier. (Shasta, Calif.) 1852-1872, November 01, 1862
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"The rebels, also, have a large amount of negro soldiers, more than the North is aware of."

The Belvidere Standard, 04 Nov 1862
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Andersonh1

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"Many persons were leaving the city [New Orleans] who had not taken the oath.... among this class, strange as it may appear, were many free colored citizens."

Chattanooga Daily Rebel, 1862-11-05
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Andersonh1

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The Richmond Examiner recommends drafting black men into the army and this Western Virginia newspaper uses the occasion to attack a fellow paper that has criticized the idea of black Union soldiers.

Daily intelligencer. (Wheeling, Va. [W. Va.]) 1859-1865, November 05, 1862
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It's interesting to me how newspapers still went back and forth across the lines while US and CS were at war. It was from the Wilmington newspaper that New York saw the story about "seven negro regiments" to garrison the town.

Memphis daily appeal. (Memphis, Tenn.) 1847-1886, November 06, 1862
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19thGeorgia

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As I noted before, I can't find the original Wilmington Journal story, so the exact wording of the original story remains a mystery. I wondered at one point if this was a reference to black Union troops, and some of the other papers got it wrong, but Wilmington remained under Confederate control until 1865, so that's not the case. We have here a southern newspaper quoting another southern newspaper, apparently discussing "seven regiments of negroes" who have been in camps of instruction under white officers, ready to "garrison the towns and fortifications".

Newbern weekly progress. volume (Newbern, N.C.) 1858-1863, October 25, 1862
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I believe I have seen that Wilmington article, but I don't recall anything about "seven regiments."

Will post it if I find it.
 

Andersonh1

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I believe I have seen that Wilmington article, but I don't recall anything about "seven regiments."

Will post it if I find it.

If you find it, please do. I'm hoping there's some key to understanding what all of these other newspapers were talking about, because this is one of those stories that really makes the rounds and gets reprinted quite a bit.

In Alabama, State house and senate committees discuss "pressing into service for the purpose of defense, all able bodied free negroes".

The daily sun. (Columbus, Ga.) 1855-1873, November 06, 1862
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Andersonh1

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"There is no longer a pretense of denying that Jeff. Davis is organizing, arming and drilling the negroes as soldiers." The source given is "Southern papers", though the exact story is not quoted verbatim, so we are unable to evaluate the original claim.

Pomeroy weekly telegraph (Pomeroy, Meigs County, Ohio) 1860-1866, November 07, 1862
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unionblue

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"There is no longer a pretense of denying that Jeff. Davis is organizing, arming and drilling the negroes as soldiers." The source given is "Southern papers", though the exact story is not quoted verbatim, so we are unable to evaluate the original claim.

Pomeroy weekly telegraph (Pomeroy, Meigs County, Ohio) 1860-1866, November 07, 1862
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May I ask if you know where this county newspaper got his information in the above article?
 

Andersonh1

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This seems like a tall tale to me, but the story was out there as a part of the larger tapestry of news and rumors about black Southern soldiers.

The Liberator, 07 Nov 1862
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The previously reported story about seven regiments of black troops is here said by a "reliable source" from Wilmington to be untrue, and that there are no troops.

Newbern weekly progress. volume (Newbern, N.C.) 1858-1863, November 08, 1862
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Andersonh1

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The "seven regiments of negroes" story is here used to accuse the Confederates of hypocrisy for employing black troops while attacking the Federal Government for doing the same.

The Nashville daily union. (Nashville, Tenn.) 1862-1866, November 08, 1862
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The same newspaper apparently had this topic very much in mind, because we get two different stories on the same date about the same topic. And it's pretty much the same message as the above article: the Confederates employ a double standard when they employ black troops but decry the Union doing the same thing. "Take care rebels, or else your enemies may profit by your instruction."

The Nashville daily union. [volume] (Nashville, Tenn.) 1862-1866, November 08, 1862

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Andersonh1

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The Nashville Daily Union is still going on about the "seven regiments of negroes" story. Today they turned it into a class warfare rant: the Confederate government only took free black men and slaves from small slave owners but left the slaves of rich planters alone!!!

The Nashville daily union. (Nashville, Tenn.) 1862-1866, November 09, 1862
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Some papers are still reporting this story, some are saying it's untrue. Yet another example of why its useful to find every version of any particular story that I can, rather than just accept one in isolation.

Alexandria gazette. (Alexandria, D.C.) 1834-1974, November 11, 1862
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Andersonh1

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Two items of interest in this summary of what the Alabama legislature was discussing, and they appear to be running counter to each other. There is a bill from the Senate committee on military affairs that appears to be opposed to impressing free black men, while in the House there is a bill authorizing the Governor to impress free black men.

The weekly sun. (Columbus, Ga.) 1857-1873, November 11, 1862
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The "seven regiments of negroes" story produces another editorial, in this case complaining about how many black troops the South has, while the North is way behind in enlisting black troops. The writer wants to see Northern black troops pitted against Southern black troops. "We should like to see these regiments pitted against each others."

Bradford reporter. (Towanda, Pa.) 1844-1884, November 13, 1862
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Andersonh1

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Jordan Noble suffered under the military rule of Benjamin Butler when he refused to take the oath of allegiance and lost his property as a result.

Memphis daily appeal. [volume] (Memphis, Tenn.) 1847-1886, November 15, 1862
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A lot of time is spent discussing a bill allowing the Governor "to impress negro labor" to fortify Savannah and blockade the rivers.

Southern confederacy. (Atlanta, Ga.) 1861-1865, November 15, 1862
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