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

jgoodguy

Banished Forever
-:- A Mime -:-
is a terrible thing...
Don’t feed the Mime
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
... 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)
I've already posted the numbers he claims, earlier in the thread.
He offers as historical precedent examples of slaves and free black men who fought alongside whites in early conflicts with Indians, the French and Indian Wars, the Revolutionary War, the war of 1812 and the war with Mexico. Tucker often names several examples from each war. Tucker claims between 3000-6000 black fighting men on the Confederate side over the course of the Civil War. He makes it clear that the vast majority of black men with the Confederate military were slaves in support roles, but not all. One of the more interesting is John Wilson Buckner, a "free man of color" defending Battery Wagner at the same time that the 54th Massachussets was attacking it

Tucker does not claim large numbers either. The count he most often puts forward is between 3000 and 6000.
They are included. Endnotes: pages 130-139, bibliography pp 140-144, no index

Using these numbers and the other quote we have

this account by Sergeant Worsham is significant because it has revealed the overall ease of what was a natural evolutionary process that transformed 3000-6000 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).
Were these "Confederate fighting man" in CSA provided uniforms receiving CSA rations, on muster rolls, in rank and file or just this "mobility" like the title just literary license? Not real "Confederate fighting man" but just every now and then pick up a discarded weapon and fire in the vicinity of the enemy? Hopefully, the author will explain this along with why the "upward mobility" did not affect slave status.
 

jgoodguy

Banished Forever
-:- A Mime -:-
is a terrible thing...
Don’t feed the Mime
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
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.
Although there are explanations, a slave writing a letter is unusual as is one reading it and it getting through CSA censorship. If the slave sister has it, then how does it end up in the newspaper?
 

O' Be Joyful

Sergeant Major
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?

How did the author in your post, I am assuming its Wiley, use this story and what meaning did he attach to it? Did it differ from Tucker's interpretation?
 

O' Be Joyful

Sergeant Major
Wiley is not a part of this.

I really don't care to bring Wiley into this, as you so charmingly put it and only assumed such as I noted. But if another author used the same account it would be of interest how he framed it and what meaning he took from it as opposed to Tucker. And since you did not link your source you left it open to question.

A simple answer that it came from Worsham's own book would have been much simpler and would have saved me the time searching for it and there would have been no need to trouble you.

https://books.google.com/books?id=wmQUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA197&lpg=PA197&dq=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&source=bl&ots=ohDkNInZ4N&sig=BUazddXH5nP_6gfz7gBqRJszHBs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjlsKKshJPbAhWjx4MKHbuRDX4Q6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=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&f=false
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Right here.
I really don't care to bring Wiley into this, as you so charmingly put it and only assumed such as I noted. But if another author used the same account it would be of interest how he framed it and what meaning he took from it as opposed to Tucker. And since you did not link your source you left it open to question.

A simple answer that it came from Worsham's own book would have been much simpler and would have saved me the time searching for it and there would have been no need to trouble you.

https://books.google.com/books?id=wmQUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA197&lpg=PA197&dq=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&source=bl&ots=ohDkNInZ4N&sig=BUazddXH5nP_6gfz7gBqRJszHBs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjlsKKshJPbAhWjx4MKHbuRDX4Q6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=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&f=false

I thought it was clear when I said, "Here's what Worsham wrote" at the top of the post, and included the title, One of Jackson's Foot Cavalry in the material.
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Location
Kingsport, Tennessee
It's Southern Negroes, 1861-1865 - Bell Irvin Wiley
It would be nice to know his source.

FWIW
51CLlZ-PGyL._AC_US218_.jpg
51Otl9Qh3CL._AC_US218_.jpg
51kjGYNEsaL._AC_US218_.jpg



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

Also quoted in "Black Southerners In Gray" edited by Richard Rollins

 

jgoodguy

Banished Forever
-:- A Mime -:-
is a terrible thing...
Don’t feed the Mime
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
Never heard of that ! As in redacted ? Please enlighten me with an example.
The Southern States routinely censored the mail for any abolitionist literature. Everyone censored mail to and from military units. Slaves were particularly suspect for conspiring for slave revolts. Be happy to discuss in a separate thread about censorship.

In any case, IMHO the letter is a fake anyway, its only evidence is that it was published in a newspaper.
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Right here.
The Southern States routinely censored the mail for any abolitionist literature. Everyone censored mail to and from military units. Slaves were particularly suspect for conspiring for slave revolts. Be happy to discuss in a separate thread about censorship.

In any case, IMHO the letter is a fake anyway, its only evidence is that it was published in a newspaper.

Actually, mail censorship other than abolitionist literature was relatively rare during the Civil War. Soldiers routinely wrote their wives letters that contained all sorts of sensitive information. Mail from prisoners of war was censored, but I'm not aware of much else, again other than abolitionist literature.
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Right here.
In any case, IMHO the letter is a fake anyway, its only evidence is that it was published in a newspaper.

I think we can question it, and it's possible that it's a fake. It certainly would fit with anti-emancipation propaganda. I'm not ready at this point to unequivocally claim it's a fake, though. I think we need more information.
 

jgoodguy

Banished Forever
-:- A Mime -:-
is a terrible thing...
Don’t feed the Mime
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
I think we can question it, and it's possible that it's a fake. It certainly would fit with anti-emancipation propaganda. I'm not ready at this point to unequivocally claim it's a fake, though. I think we need more information.
A copy of the newspaper would be nice. It is not in any free sources I have looked at it so far. Yes it is not primary evidence and without context in the newspaper to examine, questionable. I wonder how many slave letters were published in Southern newspapers.
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Right here.
A copy of the newspaper would be nice. It is not in any free sources I have looked at it so far. Yes it is not primary evidence and without context in the newspaper to examine, questionable. I wonder how many slave letters were published in Southern newspapers.

One thing is to see if there are details in the published letter that can be corroborated. That would lend credence to the letter, even if we don't have an original.
 

jgoodguy

Banished Forever
-:- A Mime -:-
is a terrible thing...
Don’t feed the Mime
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
Actually, mail censorship other than abolitionist literature was relatively rare during the Civil War. Soldiers routinely wrote their wives letters that contained all sorts of sensitive information. Mail from prisoners of war was censored, but I'm not aware of much else, again other than abolitionist literature.
I agree. There is the fact that letters would go with friends skipping the mail service. I have read that local Southern postmasters kept an eye on suspicious people, say ones with Northern relatives so it may be that slave correspondence was checked but that is speculation for this case.
 

jgoodguy

Banished Forever
-:- A Mime -:-
is a terrible thing...
Don’t feed the Mime
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Location
Birmingham, Alabama
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
Getting the best images IMHO often means damaging the spine of the book in some manner. Optimally use a razor to cut the pages out and photo flat. I use small weights to hold the pages down.

After looking at expensive devices to photo books, I am thinking of a board, c-clamps or those spring clamps and a couple of desk lamps from the thrift store. Make a 90 degree 2 board join. Clamp one side of the book vertical and the other horizontal, use daylight bulbs in the cheap lamps and have at it.

May try it soon and make a thread.

Anyone that wants to buy or contribute toward my buying the book for me to photograph and review, please PM me.
 
Top