Book Review "Blacks in Gray Uniforms" by Phillip Thomas Tucker

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Some accounts are taken at face value, while a few others are dug into a bit deeper. He does quote one or two other authors who have tried to analyze why these men would behave the way they did. A Joseph N. Beilein is quoted at one point, but I'm not familiar with him.

He's a history professor at Penn State who specializes in guerrilla warfare in the Civil War.


Both, I would say. The various different motivations I typed up in that last post don't have a lot to do with Confederate loyalty so much as distrust of the Union, wanting to fight and loot, demonstrating how tough you were compared to the other guys, etc. There is no "one size fits all" motivation given for black men who supported the Confederacy, and Tucker out and out states that they had a variety of motivations for doing what they did, so he's not trying to broadly claim "loyalty to the cause".

That brings up the question of whether or not he distinguishes between sons of white men and black women and those who didn't have a white father with regard to voluntary support of the confederacy.

Also, the question arises as to whether he distinguishes between voluntary support prior to the Emancipation Proclamation and after the Emancipation Proclamation.
 

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Honestly, quibbling over a book title is focusing on unimportant trivia. The substance is what's contained within the text, not the title. But to each his own.
Sorta like buying a book titled About Cats, finding it mainly deals with dogs and the bookseller saying they are both pets are they not.
 

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Define White Confederate. What is it that made a man a Confederate? Seems like the same definition would apply to a Black Confederate.
As I recall from my study of Civil War jurisprudence, anyone residing in a State in rebellion or otherwise participating in the rebellion could be construed to be a Confederate. Sorting into categories normally has me reaching for my headache pills.
 
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a 21st Virginia Infantry, Army of Northern Virginia soldier, Sergeant John H. Worsham.

John Henry Worsham: Enlisted and mustered on 4/21/1861 at Richmond, VA as a Private into "F" Co. VA 21st Infantry. Promoted to Sergeant on 4/15/1863. Wounded 9/19/1864 Winchester, VA (Wounded left leg and disabled). 6', light complexion, hazel eyes, light hair. Born 7/8/1839 in Richmond, VA. Died 9/19/1920, and buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA. Postwar Tollkeeper Mayo's Bridge. Partner in a tobacco firm.
 

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Endnote 5 for chapter 3: Louis Leon, The Diary of a Tar Heel Confederate Soldier (Charlotte: Stone Publishing Company, 1913), pp 7-9, 80-85; "Ancestor of Capt. Richard James Ashe - Ashe Family", Ashe Family Information, internet; Barrows, Segars and Rosenburg "Forgotten Confederates", p 19; Meyer "South Carolina in the Mexican War", pp 33-34

Looking at these, I am unable to find any information about the letter. I appreciate any help.
 

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John Henry Worsham: Enlisted and mustered on 4/21/1861 at Richmond, VA as a Private into "F" Co. VA 21st Infantry. Promoted to Sergeant on 4/15/1863. Wounded 9/19/1864 Winchester, VA (Wounded left leg and disabled). 6', light complexion, hazel eyes, light hair. Born 7/8/1839 in Richmond, VA. Died 9/19/1920, and buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA. Postwar Tollkeeper Mayo's Bridge. Partner in a tobacco firm.

Is he really a "black confederate?" Are we using the "one-drop rule" to declare him black even though the actual percentage of African ancestry may, if present, be small?
 

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Is he really a "black confederate?" Are we using the "one-drop rule" to declare him black even though the actual percentage of African ancestry may, if present, be small?

No, he's the source of the story about the one black cook going to fight in the battle, then the other doing it the next time, not black himself.
 

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... this account by Sergeant Worsham is significant because it has revealed the overall ease of what was a natural evolutionary process that transformed large numbers of black servants into a Confederate fighting man on the battlefield based on their own decisions rather than from an order of a white master or soldier, because this provided a means of upward mobility which was now available to blacks (slave and free) for the first time. ( pp 128-129)

That's about all I feel like typing, and the book is copyright after all. :smile:

What constitutes "Large numbers" according to the author?
 

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I should have recalled Worsham's name. Probably not enough caffeine in my system. :smile:

Here's what Worsham wrote:

Worsham-1.jpg
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It was a story told to make a joke out of the enslaved people who were forced to go with them. Notice that "Ned" didn't believe a word of "Archer's" story after his experience.

The story is given to laugh at black people. That's the motivation.

We need to ask ourselves:

What can be corroborated in the story?

Is the story believable?

Notice we aren't given details such as where it happened, at which battle, what year, ets.

Is it a story we can take at face value?
 

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In the above, I'm not saying we discount the story entirely. But we should be careful in how we use it.
 

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In the above, I'm not saying we discount the story entirely. But we should be careful in how we use it.

How does Tucker use this account?

The evolution of black servants to soldiers who fought on the battlefield can be seen in the account of a 21st Virginia Infantry, Army of Northern Virginia soldier, Sergeant John H. Worsham. This process was an informal one that was far more prevalent during the war years than generally realized by historians today. Sergeant Worsham described the transformation:

..... on one occasion we were in line when Archer, a cook in one of our companies, came to the front with his master's haversack of rations... he had only been with us a few minutes when the enemy made an advance.... ARcher was caught in the fight and when night came and we were joined by the cooks, he had a splendid account to tell his companions of the part he took in the battle. He told them he took the gun of one of our dead and fought.... killed a dozen Yankees... one of their number, Ned, made up his mind then and there to go into the next battle and see if he could eclipse Archer's account!.... Ned marched boldly in our midst.... a spent ball hit Ned square in the forehead... the men steadied him by telling him that Archer was knocked down several times by balls, and that he got up and killed the man that shot him!

... this account by Sergeant Worsham is significant because it has revealed the overall ease of what was a natural evolutionary process that transformed large numbers of black servants into a Confederate fighting man on the battlefield based on their own decisions rather than from an order of a white master or soldier, because this provided a means of upward mobility which was now available to blacks (slave and free) for the first time. ( pp 128-129)

He takes the account at face value, as being completely true. Does he attempt to show Worsham's credibility? No. He assumes it's correct, possibly because it conforms to what he wants to be true. It's difficult to see if he's subjected the account to any test of credibility at all. He doesn't say something like, "John Worsham claimed ... " He merely assumes the "transformation," as he called it, happened and that Worsham was giving an accurate account. In fact, he hides the fact that Worsham told the tale to make fun of black people, not to pay any tribute to them. Worsham, in fact, doesn't seem to care about whether or not "Archer's" story is true. He only relates what "Archer" told the other enslaved people, not what he saw "Archer" do. The butt of the joke in Worsham's account is "Ned," who decides to get his own tale to tell. "Ned" here isn't a thinking man, but rather a caricature who doesn't have any idea what he's doing. I'm surprised Worsham didn't include "Ned" yelling, "Feet, don't fail me now!" like Rochester in the old Jack Benny programs. Does Tucker reveal any of this? No. I have to ask, why not? It casts doubt on Worsham's veracity. Again, I'm not saying it should be ignored. I'm saying the full context should be revealed and Tucker should have worded his inclusion of it to account for having doubt on its reliability.
 

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In the above, I'm not saying we discount the story entirely. But we should be careful in how we use it.
It is evidence of something, but what?

From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods
Martha C. Howell, Walter Prevenier
Introduction
p0.jpg


The source was written in 1913 5 decades after the war and based on imperfect memory. So the question is what kind of history is being created.
 
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That kind of comment seems to be self serving to the author, vague and a strawman.

More of the quote. Any idea where the original came from.

Climbing Up to Glory: A Short History of African Americans During .
I’ve bin havin’a good time ginerally—see a heap of fine country and a plenty of purty gals…I have also bin on the battle fields and hear the bullets whiz. When the Yankees run I…got more clothes, blankets, overcoats, and razors than I could tote. I’ve got an injin rubber cloke with two brass eyes keeps the rain off like a meetin’ house. Im a made man since the battle and cockt and primed to try it again. If I kin kill a Yankee and git a gold watch, and a pair of boots, my trip will be made. How other ******s do to stay at home, while we soldiers are havin’ such a good time is more than I can tell.

Letter from a South Carolina body-servant to his sister which summed up his feelings in battle as well as his self-identity, as many others like him must have felt​

"Southern Negroes 1861-1865" By Bell Wiley. Pages 141-142. I doubt most here would know Bell Wiley from "Bell of the Ball".
 
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Andersonh1

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I should have recalled Worsham's name. Probably not enough caffeine in my system. :smile:

Here's what Worsham wrote:

View attachment 188746 View attachment 188747 View attachment 188748 View attachment 188749 View attachment 188750

It was a story told to make a joke out of the enslaved people who were forced to go with them. Notice that "Ned" didn't believe a word of "Archer's" story after his experience.

The story is given to laugh at black people. That's the motivation.

We need to ask ourselves:

What can be corroborated in the story?

Is the story believable?

Notice we aren't given details such as where it happened, at which battle, what year, ets.

Is it a story we can take at face value?

That looks like the story he quotes. Here's the whole section, sorry for the poor quality of my cell phone image. That's why I retype a few sentences rather than post images like this.

HfeUYE4.jpg
 
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"Southern Negroes 1861-1865" By Bell Wiley. Pages 141-142. I doubt most here would know Bell Wiley from "Bell of the Ball".

Wiley's source is the Charleston Daily Courier, May 29, 1863.

One is forced to wonder why a letter purportedly from an enslaved man to his sister was important enough to be printed in the newspaper in the same year the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.
 
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