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

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by Andersonh1, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    With all the discussion about whether black men served as armed soldiers in the Confederate Army, I wanted to start researching contemporary accounts from the war years, 1861-1865, and see what made the newspapers. Thanks to the Library of Congress, there are huge amounts of old papers online, with a pretty good search engine, so it's not hard to find what the papers of the day said. So far I've found rumors, eyewitness accounts, editorials and random references. There was a range of opinion about the topic, just as there is today.

    The purpose of this thread is not to necessarily prove or disprove anything, it's to explore what the news of the day said about the concept. If you want to debate the existence of black Confederates, there are numerous other threads dedicated to that topic. While here, please confine discussion and commentary to posted articles and any observations you may have about them. Any supporting information that tells us about people, places or battles mentioned in an article is also welcome.
     
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  3. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    Another report of black cavalry, "arms in the hands of mounted negroes."

    Burlington free press. (Burlington, Vt.) 1827-1865, January 03, 1862
    [​IMG]
     

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  5. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    Gallipolis journal. (Gallipolis, Ohio) 1837-1919, March 19, 1863
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    I've posted versions of this story before, but here's another one describing the parade of different groups of black battalions in Richmond.

    The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, March 23, 1865
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  7. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    Two articles about the same event, an escort of prisoners by the 1st Louisiana Native Guards. This particular story appeared in many papers, often as just a sentence in a long list of war news, but these two articles are the ones that give a bit more context.

    Memphis daily appeal. (Memphis, Tenn.) 1847-1886, September 25, 1861
    [​IMG]

    Newbern weekly progress. volume (Newbern, N.C.) 1858-1863, October 01, 1861
    [​IMG]
     
  8. east tennessee roots

    east tennessee roots 1st Lieutenant

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    I've had this for sometime. I've even forgotten the newspaper it was from. I'm guessing Brownlow's paper in Union-occupied Knoxville. That's where Stoneman's raid originated. The wording sounds like the "Parson".

    Colored Confederate POW's.jpg
     
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  9. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    I have seen that story, and I think I saved it somewhere. I'll try to dig it up and post the date and newspaper.
     
  10. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    @east tennessee roots I have looked and have not been able to find your article, but I know I've read it somewhere. I'll keep looking.

    Another story about the Native Guards escorting prisoners.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    A Vermont paper carries a Philadelphia Press editorial mocking the UK Galway Vindicator for printing a story about black Confederate cavalry.

    Burlington free press. (Burlington, Vt.) 1827-1865, September 06, 1861
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  12. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    Holmes County farmer. (Millersburg, Ohio) 1857-1926, February 06, 1862
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    The Nashville daily union. (Nashville, Tenn.) 1862-1866, September 20, 1862
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    The New York herald. (New York [N.Y.]) 1840-1920, May 04, 1862
    [​IMG]
     
  15. east tennessee roots

    east tennessee roots 1st Lieutenant

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    I just realized I'd already posted this in this thread..........sorry !

    From the book, “Gone For A Soldier” published in 1975, very detailed diary of Private Alfred Ballard Co. C 5th New Jersey Infantry, (Berdan’s Sharpshooters.) There, on pages 56 & 57, he tells of the following incident :

    “On each of our posts was stationed one of Berdan’s sharpshooters, who were always on the look out for “game,” and woe to the rebel who put himself in their way. One of them who was armed with a telescope rifle had placed a rebel **** picket “Hors de Combat” (put him out of action) the day before. In front of our line stood a large hollow tree, having loop holes cut into it so a rifle could be run through and discharged at our men without danger to the **** who fired it. On this occasion our sharp shooter had fired twice at the black without hitting him, but in the afternoon he left the tree and was taking a walk for the benefit of his legs, when suddenly he was flopped on his face before he had taken six steps. Two white men who were with him tried to haul him back, but a few doses of leaden pills (the author’s favorite term for bullets) being thrown their way, he was left alone until darkness gave them a chance to take him away"
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
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  16. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    Calfornia Joe (and Colonel Berdan is also mentioned):
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
  17. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    Semi-weekly standard. (Raleigh, N.C.) May 11, 1861
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    This ad ran for some weeks at least. If a black man wanted to avoid being impressed into the army, here was one way to do it: go work for the railroad.

    The daily confederate. (Raleigh, N.C.) 1864-1865, January 11, 1865
    [​IMG]
     
  19. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    Semi-weekly standard. (Raleigh, N.C.) April 27, 1861
    [​IMG]
     
  20. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    I still do not see why newspaper reports take precedence over what the Confederate government said, ruled on and decreed. I know when I first joined here was blasted halfway out of the water, using newspaper articles as sources.It teaches you something.


    The Confederate government was still arguing in the weeks before war's end. That is all which is documented. These newspaper accounts were like any, other government releases. Names of these well known Confederate politicians and how they voted are public record, not anything anyone was able to make up.

    black troops confederate 1865 two.jpg




    black troops 1865 march 8 paper senate one.jpg

    1865, weeks before war's end. There are a zillion more of these back and forths inside the Confederate government. Wigfall sure loathed the whole thing. Using troops not approved by the Confederate government seems like something a military leader would find hazardous to his future. It's just that this is a very public forum. This Black Confederate thing is extremely pervasive, for some reason becomes hotly argued ( which I have zero intention of doing ) and this thread seems a terrific place to get information for those interested in furthering this argument. To someone whose ancestors were enslaved, this can be objectionable. Well, mine were not and it drives me a little batty.
     
  21. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    Does the Confederate government always have the last and only say on this issue? We know Confederate states like Tennessee preceded the Confederate government in impressing black men into their state troops, and we know Louisiana had the first black military unit in the war, and these and other events are reflected in the reporting. I think it's a mistake to take "newspaper reports" from many papers over all four years of the war and lump them into one category that has to be either accepted or rejected based on Confederate government policy. I think the different reports and different types of reports have to be evaluated on their own merits.
     
  22. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    Just to make my point, here's a newspaper article I've posted before, from only 3 months after Fort Sumter. Tennessee is already impressing free black men into the military, not to fight but to work on fortifications and other support work. They didn't wait and take their cues from the national government, they went ahead and addressed the needs of their state. This article is not some wild fancy of some editor, but an actual act of the Tennessee government published in the newspaper.

    Nashville union and American. (Nashville, Tenn.) 1853-1862, July 07, 1861
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
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  23. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    We've hit 50 pages! And still going... plenty more newspaper clippings to post.

    Here's another newspaper, this time from South Carolina in April 1864, recuiting "free negroes and free persons of color", this time in response to a national act. They're working on fortifications or government works for the production of materials of war, so they're not in the field as soldiers. But they are employed and in the service of the Confederate military, under the direction of the Secretary of War.

    Edgefield advertiser. (Edgefield, S.C.) 1836-current, April 21, 1864
    jVnIy0c.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017

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