Confederate Officer asks to recruit Black troops

Pat Young

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#21
I appreciate the points expressed that there is not necessarily anything inconsistent about a Confederate officer promoting black soldiering and, within twelve months, drafting legislation that some scholars have condemned as the most brutish of the black codes from the 1865-1866 years. But are there no commonalities (e.g.., political, social, etc) among those Confederate officers and politicians who endorsed enlisting African Americans? And how about those who opposed?
Maybe we could make up a list of those who endorsed recruiting blacks as a first step.
 

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Pat Young

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#22
Jubal Early apparently told Jeff Davis in 1861 that blacks should be made into soldiers.
Pat Cleburne first made his Confederate emancipation plan known to colleagues in 1863.
 

Pat Young

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#23
Here were the other AOT officers who signed Pat Cleburne's proposal:

P. R. Cleburne, major-general, commanding division
D. C. Govan, brigadier-general
John E. Murray, colonel, Fifth Arkansas
G. F. Baucum, colonel, Eighth Arkansas
Peter Snyder, lieutenant-colonel, commanding Sixth and Seventh Arkansas
E. Warfield, lieutenant-colonel, Second Arkansas
M. P. Lowrey, brigadier-general
A. B. Hardcastle, colonel, Thirty-second and Forty-fifth Mississippi
F. A. Ashford, major, Sixteenth Alabama
John W. Colquitt, colonel, First Arkansas
Rich. J. Person, major, Third and Fifth Confederate
G. S. Deakins, major, Thirty-fifth and Eighth Tennessee
J. H. Collett, captain, commanding Seventh Texas
J. H. Kelly, brigadier-general, commanding Cavalry Division

Note, the signatories included three brigadier generals.
 
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#27
Maybe we could make up a list of those who endorsed recruiting blacks as a first step.
x220px-HWAllen.jpg.pagespeed.ic.2pRzvD9Jlt.jpg


HENRY W. ALLEN


War of the Rebellion: Serial 085 Page 0774 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter LIII.

EXECUTIVE OFFICE,

Shreveport, La., September 26, 1864.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

MY DEAR SIR:

* * * * *

The time has come for us to put into the army every able-bodied negro man as a soldier. This should be done immediately. Congress should at the coming session take action on this most important question. The negro knows that he cannot escape conscription if he goes to the enemy. He must play an important part in the war. he caused the fight, and he will have his portion of the burden to bear. We have learned from dear-bought experience that negroes can be taught to fight, and that all who leave us are made to fight against us. I would free all able to bear arms and put them into the field at once. They will make much better soldiers with us than against us and swell the now depleted ranks of our armies. I beg you to give this your earnest attention.

with assurances of my friendly regard and very high esteem, I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY W. ALLEN,

Governor of Louisiana.
 
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#28
Maybe we could make up a list of those who endorsed recruiting blacks as a first step.
Mississippi governor Charles Clark on negro enlistment, in his Message to the state legislature:

Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Mississippi, Called Session at Columbus, February and March, 1865:
{Electronic Edition. - Docsouth. uno.edu}

NEGRO ENLISTMENTS.


I cordially united with the Governors of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Augusta in October last, in recommending the policy of employing a large force of negroes in the army as teamsters and laborers, or in any capacity in which they might be found effective.

Whatever may be the public opinion on this subject, I hesitate not to declare mine, that, with competent officers and firm discipline, they can be made effective soldiers; and that the experiment should now be made. The whole argument is summed up in a remark attributed to one of our most distinguished leaders: "If we do not use them the enemy will."

The greatest objection comes from our people near the lines of the enemy, who allege that the attempt to conscribe them will drive them to the enemy. This may be prevented by the master removing his able-bodied men from such vicinity, and sending them to the army. To send cavalry to capture them will produce the effect feared, as has been demonstrated heretofore; and if as is anticipated, Congress passes a bill authorizing a conscription of negros, either as laborers or as soldiers, owners near the line should immediately remove them. It would be well that all able bodied male slaves between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years should be so removed; as, if only a part are taken, the remainder, through fear would endeavor to escape. We forced the removal or destruction of cotton to prevent it falling into the hands of the enemy; why, then, not remove that property of which they have made such fearful use?

I do not, however, favor the granting of freedom to slaves, or of offering it as a boon. It is no boon to them. Few of them aspire to this, or covet it. Steady, firm, but kind discipline, such as good masters enforce, is all that is required. Freedom would be a curse to them and to the country.

These views I expressed to our delegation in Congress in November last, and I state them here, as I deem it the duty of all who have been placed in prominent position to candidly avow their opinions at this time upon the vital questions which agitate the public mind.
- Alan
 

lelliott19

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#30
Maybe we could make up a list of those who endorsed recruiting blacks as a first step.
Anderson’s Brigade (7th, 8th, 9th, 11th and 59th Georgia Regiments)

"At a meeting of Anderson’s brigade, Fields’ division, held at
their entrenched camp, near Richmond, Feb. 10th, 1865, the following preamble and resolutions were adopted:

......Resolved, That we call upon Congress to take necessary steps for
immediately placing 200,000 negroes in the ranks of the Confederate army.
We care not for the color of the arm that strikes the invader of our homes.
Resolved, That our depleted commands should be consolidated, and
in no event should the companies be less than the minimum now prescribed by
law, viz: 64 rank and file......"
Columbus (Ga.) Times, March 3, 1865.
 
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#31
Depends on what was in his mind, but remember....the Union was already recruiting soldiers from among the freed slaves. Statements such as Peeler made need not have reflected anything more than political expedience. Anything that might slow the flow of black labor northward in the now could easily be repudiated later. Politicians do it all the time, in all times back to Nebuchadnezzar... And nothing ever really changes....
It is well to remember that the entire value of the Southern economy was tied up in slaves....what person would throw his own dollars down the privy for The Cause? Jefferson Davis surely did not.
 

civilken

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#32
I honestly don't know what I said about this topic. I do know Claiborne was the only officer who looked at it honestly after doing that the high command was done with him.
 
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#33
Depends on what was in his mind, but remember....the Union was already recruiting soldiers from among the freed slaves. Statements such as Peeler made need not have reflected anything more than political expedience. Anything that might slow the flow of black labor northward in the now could easily be repudiated later. Politicians do it all the time, in all times back to Nebuchadnezzar... And nothing ever really changes....
It is well to remember that the entire value of the Southern economy was tied up in slaves....what person would throw his own dollars down the privy for The Cause? Jefferson Davis surely did not.
Jefferson Davis was willing to sacrifice slavery in exchange for independence. The problem was that the vast majority of the Confederate elite were not.

R
 

DR_Hanna

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#34
Slaves were already being used widely in non-combat roles by the Confederate Army, so if they were discussing something new - late in the war - it wouldn't have been that.
 
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#35
Use blacks in the fields or use blacks in the ranks, what's the difference? In both cases you are using them to further your aims and not necessarily their's. They're still your inferiors, and service on their part doesn't mean you are obliged to provide a service in return.

While treatment of blacks in the north post war wasn't anywhere near as bad as the southern Black Codes, it wasn't very welcoming either. Not a whole lot of gratitude for their service was shown.
 
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#37
Anderson J. Peeler was a young Tallahassee lawyer when he joined Co. I of the 5th FL infantry. Quickly promoted to 3rd and then 1st Lt., Peeler gained the admiration of his comrades for his battlefield courage and leadership. He was wounded and captured during the Lang- Wilcox advance on Gettysburg's 2nd day. After a month convalescing at Camp Letterman (under the care of Euphemia Goldsborough), Peeler was sent to Johnson's Island prison where he spent quite a literary internment, writing plays performed by the Camp's theatrical troupe and a florid, maudlin novella "Arthur Murray - Our Little Hero, or the Drummer Boy of the Rappahannock" about an orphaned Fredericksburg boy who volunteers as drummer for his fallen father's VA regiment and then falls himself at Gettysburg. Peeler was exchanged and paroled in March 1865 and arrived in Richmond (how did those logistics work out?).

I'm interested in Peeler because one prominent scholar described him as the primary author of Florida's black codes during the Dec. '65 - Jan. '66 state legislative session. Peeler was also one of two state assemblymen to vote against the XIII Amendment (although he opposed on state rights grounds).
While looking over Peeler's CSR on fold3.com, I came across the following letter (which was very hard to read):
Dated March 23, 1865, Richmond addressed to John C. Breckinridge. Peeler first writes that he arrived in Richmond the day before and explains a bit about his military background (first volunteering on April 1, 1861, at Pensacola), then continues as follows:
I approve most heavily the actions of the Government in placing negroes in the field as soldiers and am satisfied that they can be made effective and valuable as auxiliaries. The company I am entitled to command as captain consists now of only nine men which will be consolidated in a few days. As I cannot enter active service [illeg.] my exchange and after such a long separation from family and friends desire to accept the furlough rendered by the Govt. I am anxious while at home to do everything in my power to promote the interests of the Negro Bill as passed by Congress among the people of my state by urging prompt and immediate action. Believing I can do much good in this way, I wish to engage in the work of recruiting and enlisting negroes. I respectfully ask for authority to raise one or more companies of negroes in the State of Florida or to be detailed as recruiting officer of negro troops and to open a [illeg.] for this purpose at Tallahassee or elsewhere in the state. Signed A. J. Peeler, 1st Lt. 5th Fl Regt.

I'm not sure how to reconcile this letter with Peeler's activities shortly after the war in consigning Blacks to inferior, quasi-citizen status. Maybe there is no inconsistency?

[Edited to correct typo in 1st line of letter from "heavily" to "heartily"]
Did Confederate officials who supported arming blacks so late in the war take into consideration that black troops might just simply desert has massive amounts of Confederate soldiers already had done? Did they not take into account that black deserters could form Unionist guerrilla bands or just become freelance bandits as already was occurring with white Confederate deserters throughout the Confederacy?
Leftyhunter
 

Hunter

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#38
Did Confederate officials who supported arming blacks so late in the war take into consideration that black troops might just simply desert has massive amounts of Confederate soldiers already had done? Did they not take into account that black deserters could form Unionist guerrilla bands or just become freelance bandits as already was occurring with white Confederate deserters throughout the Confederacy?
Leftyhunter
They certainly did. Shades of St. Domingue.
 



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