Discussion Counting the Confederate Service Records of Black and Mulatto Men

CivilWarTalk

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Welcome to the Discussion thread for Counting the Confederate Service Records of Black and Mulatto Men.

Please keep all discussions here civilized!

If you are interested in seeing the raw information collected for this count, be sure to check out the main thread here:

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/co...vice-records-of-black-and-mulatto-men.142783/
Be sure to check out the "Wrap Up" done by @lelliott19 in Post #1, it gives an accounting of all the records collected as of August 3, 2018. If a new wrap-up is presented we will of course update this post as well!

Evaluation of this data is up to the user!

A spreadsheet is located here.
 

Sailor Haumea

Private
Joined
Feb 5, 2016
Alfred "Teen" Blackburn

Slave/Body Guard to his master, Captain Augustus W. Blackburn, 38th NC Infantry.
(April 26, 1842 – March 8, 1951) Believed to have been the last Confederate Civil War veteran to receive a Class B pension in North Carolina. He was known throughout Yadkin County for his strength, size and longevity. He was the last living person in Yadkin County to have been a slave. He was also believed to be one of the last living survivors of slavery in the United States who had a clear recollection of it as an adult.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/105671883/alfred-"teen"-blackburn (this article names the wrong man as the Captain Blackburn he served. John A. Blackburn was a Private in the 21st NC killed at 2nd Manassas).


His Pension and accompanying letter verifying his service.

View attachment 179383
View attachment 179386

View attachment 179387
Blackburn did not serve in the Civil War.

I have his 1870 census record, where he's listed with his mother...his age is given as TEN.

Additionally, the 1900 census explicitly states his month and year of birth as "April 1860."

He is not listed in the regiment he claimed to have been in (unlike his brother Wiley).

In short, there is no evidence that Blackburn served as a body servant for his master, or was even a centenarian. He was certainly a slave, yes, but a veteran he was not.

P.S. He died on December 15, 1951, not March 8, 1951. Newspaper reports of his death are quite clear about this.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Location
Kingsport, Tennessee
Blackburn did not serve in the Civil War.

He applied for and received a pension from the State of North Carolina.

I have his 1870 census record, where he's listed with his mother...his age is given as TEN.

Many people born and living in the mid-19th century had no idea of their correct age. I've seen sources that give his birth from 1842-1858. The old gentleman probably had no idea how old he was.

He is not listed in the regiment he claimed to have been in (unlike his brother Wiley).

Your wrong about Wiley, there's not a CSR for him with the 38th NC. but he's listed here :

North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster in the regiment's history. as a "Black Servant".

The same 1870 census you claim proves Alfred was too young at age 10, has Wiley age 14 (born in 1856, age 9 when the war ended. Ages are obviously incorrect.

We'll have to agree to disagree.
 

Sailor Haumea

Private
Joined
Feb 5, 2016
He applied for and received a pension from the State of North Carolina.



Many people born and living in the mid-19th century had no idea of their correct age. I've seen sources that give his birth from 1842-1858. The old gentleman probably had no idea how old he was.



Your wrong about Wiley, there's not a CSR for him with the 38th NC. but he's listed here :

North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster in the regiment's history. as a "Black Servant".

The same 1870 census you claim proves Alfred was too young at age 10, has Wiley age 14 (born in 1856, age 9 when the war ended. Ages are obviously incorrect.

We'll have to agree to disagree.
So why does the 1900 census also explicitly state that he was born in April 1860?

A nine year old could serve as a body servant. A five year old doing so is utterly implausible. There's a huge difference.
 
Joined
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Location
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So why does the 1900 census also explicitly state that he was born in April 1860?

A nine year old could serve as a body servant. A five year old doing so is utterly implausible. There's a huge difference.

"So why does the 1900 census also explicitly state that he was born in April 1860"?

That's what the census recorder was told by an illiterate former slave 50-60 years old, who had no idea how old he was, and probably didn't care.

A 9 year-old body servant would have been all of 5 or 6 when the war started. I go back to the pension record. They simply didn't just hand those things out, especially to Black Men.
 
Last edited:

Sailor Haumea

Private
Joined
Feb 5, 2016
"So why does the 1900 census also explicitly state that he was born in April 1860"?

That's what the census recorder was told by an illiterate former slave 50-60 years old, who had no idea how oold he was, and probably didn't care.

A 9 year-old body servant would have been all of 5 or 6 when the war started. I go back to the pension record. They simply didn't just hand those things out, especially to Black Men.
The 1880 census also supports birth in 1860. And the 1910 and 1920 censuses support a birth in the late 1850s.

There's no indication that Blackburn ever claimed birth in the 1840s, or even the early 1850s, before the 1930s.

The burden of proof lies with you to provide evidence that the censuses are wrong.
 

jgoodguy

Banished Forever
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is a terrible thing...
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Location
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The 1880 census also supports birth in 1860. And the 1910 and 1920 censuses support a birth in the late 1850s.

There's no indication that Blackburn ever claimed birth in the 1840s, or even the early 1850s, before the 1930s.

The burden of proof lies with you to provide evidence that the censuses are wrong.
"So why does the 1900 census also explicitly state that he was born in April 1860"?

That's what the census recorder was told by an illiterate former slave 50-60 years old, who had no idea how old he was, and probably didn't care.

A 9 year-old body servant would have been all of 5 or 6 when the war started. I go back to the pension record. They simply didn't just hand those things out, especially to Black Men.
This thread is for data only, the discussion thread about the data is Black Confederate Count Discussion thread
 

SouthernFriedOtaku

Retired User
Joined
May 11, 2019
View attachment 177574

Henry "Dad" Brown (1830-1907), a black veteran of the Mexican, Civil, and Spanish-American Wars, is buried 75´N with his wife Laura. Variously said to have been born free or born as a slave who purchased his and Laura´s freedom, he was born near Camden. Brown, a brickmason, joined the Confederate Army in May 1861 as a drummer in the "Darlington Grays," Co. F, 8th S.C. Infantry. Brown enlisted as a drummer in Co. H, 21st S.C. Infantry in July 1861 and served for the rest of the war, "capturing" a pair of Union drumsticks in battle. He was also a member of the "Darlington Guards" 1878-1907. Described as "a man of rare true worth" at his
death in 1907, Brown was honored shortly afterwards by Darlington citizens who
erected the monument nearby.............Darlington County, South Carolina Historical Maker. I'm inclined to believe Henry was born into slavery, the earliest census I can locate him in, is 1870.

Name Henry Brown
Event Type Census
Event Year 1870
Event Place South Carolina, United States
Gender Male
Age 39
Race Black
Race (Original) B
Birth Year (Estimated) 1830-1831
Birthplace South Carolina
Page Number 4

View attachment 177575
View attachment 177576
View attachment 177577
Henry on the far left, drummer for the "Darlington Guards", Spanish-American War, 1898
I didn't know this picture of Henry Brown existed. Great find!
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Location
Kingsport, Tennessee
I recently found documentation on the service of the two men pictured on either side of Silas Bird in the photo in the previous post.

Ludwell Brown, like Silas, first applied for a Soldier's pension claiming service as a teamster. Veteran, Daniel Driscol vouches for Ludwell's service. Ludwell's application is unusually long (22 pages), for Virginia Confederate pensions. The writing is terribly faded and impossible to read on the actual application.

View attachment 317491
View attachment 317492
Gabe Hunt was interviewed in the WPA writer's project. He proudly tells of taking part in what sounds like a Veterans parade. He makes the boast of being the recipient of a "salute" from "General Lee". I speculate either General Fitzhugh Lee or General G.W.C. Lee. Gabe's name is on the pension rolls, he says he was drawing a pension, but I failed to locate one. He says he only served three months "building fortifications on the North Carolina coast". Gabe's death certificate, I believe was the most interesting find. Notice box #3-B. "If a veteran, name the war". The word "Civil" can be plainly read. Wish we could read the rest.

View attachment 317489
 

rhettbutler1865

Colonel, CSA Cavalry
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
I'm pretty sure this is the same guy. He's the only "Primus" that shows up in the 1870 US census for Charleston, SC area. Following his service as a cook in the 27th South Carolina, he enlisted March 4, 1865 into the 103rd USCT at Charleston, SC, listing his occupation as "Servant." Hewas mustered out April 15, 1866 at Fort Pulaski, GA.
View attachment 317761
Hello, Laura! It's been a long time...glad you're still here!
 

lelliott19

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my dear, how do you find this 'stuff?'
Hi rhett. Good to see you on the boards once again! Thanks for your interest in the "Count" thread. I've moved your question over to this - the discussion thread - to answer it. That other thread is just for posting up data, according to the established criteria.

Initially, it seems the "count" thread was posted as a challenge - you know, to prove that there were no (or very few) black and mulatto men documented as serving in the Confederate Army. And if there did happen to be a few actually documented, that most of them were cooks, servants, and laborers.

Because of the difficulty inherent to locating the records, I believe that the originator of the thread expected there would be very few records located. The criteria for posting was determined by that individual, and since the criteria required carded records, muster roll, or pension application, I don't believe there was an expectation that very many records would be located at all. Of course, I am merely speculating. Unfortunately, that individual is no longer a member here. If he were, I'm sure he would be able to tell us what his expectations were upon initiating the project.

Regardless of what the expectations were, it's best not to tell me something "cant be done" and certainly unwise to propose such a challenge to the others who participated in locating and posting records @Andersonh1 @19thGeorgia @east tennessee roots and @AshleyMel If you say it cant be done, we are, as a group, pretty stubborn and will try even harder - just to prove it can be done.

There is inherent difficulty in locating records for black and mulatto men for whom Confederate carded records exist. It's not like the cards are marked with a big X or cataloged by race. There was no "CSCT" and, as far as I know, no separate regiments of black and mulatto men existed. During the year we worked on the project, this group of folks dedicated a lot of time and energy to actively seeking documentation for black and mulatto men for whom CSA records exist.

It's also important to note that I am not posting entries to suggest or imply that the men supported the Confederate causes. Until the project was well underway, I wasn't even aware that folks might think the work was "agendized." I just became interested in the project because it was implied that it was an impossible task.

Anyway, the five of us working on the project entered "semi-retirement" about a year ago. At that time, we agreed to continue saving records whenever we happened upon them, so the records of those men could be posted at a later time. The recent activity in the "Count" thread is just temporary, in order to add the records we have run across over the past year.

The latest entries posted 7/23-25/19 should actually be of interest to everyone who is interested in the Civil War. The last few are for men for whom CS carded records exist and who later served in the USCT.

Thanks again for your interest in the thread.
 

rhettbutler1865

Colonel, CSA Cavalry
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Hi rhett. Good to see you on the boards once again! Thanks for your interest in the "Count" thread. I've moved your question over to this - the discussion thread - to answer it. That other thread is just for posting up data, according to the established criteria.

Initially, it seems the "count" thread was posted as a challenge - you know, to prove that there were no (or very few) black and mulatto men documented as serving in the Confederate Army. And if there did happen to be a few actually documented, that most of them were cooks, servants, and laborers.

Because of the difficulty inherent to locating the records, I believe that the originator of the thread expected there would be very few records located. The criteria for posting was determined by that individual, and since the criteria required carded records, muster roll, or pension application, I don't believe there was an expectation that very many records would be located at all. Of course, I am merely speculating. Unfortunately, that individual is no longer a member here. If he were, I'm sure he would be able to tell us what his expectations were upon initiating the project.

Regardless of what the expectations were, it's best not to tell me something "cant be done" and certainly unwise to propose such a challenge to the others who participated in locating and posting records @Andersonh1 @19thGeorgia @east tennessee roots and @AshleyMel If you say it cant be done, we are, as a group, pretty stubborn and will try even harder - just to prove it can be done.

There is inherent difficulty in locating records for black and mulatto men for whom Confederate carded records exist. It's not like the cards are marked with a big X or cataloged by race. There was no "CSCT" and, as far as I know, no separate regiments of black and mulatto men existed. During the year we worked on the project, this group of folks dedicated a lot of time and energy to actively seeking documentation for black and mulatto men for whom CSA records exist.

It's also important to note that I am not posting entries to suggest or imply that the men supported the Confederate causes. Until the project was well underway, I wasn't even aware that folks might think the work was "agendized." I just became interested in the project because it was implied that it was an impossible task.

Anyway, the five of us working on the project entered "semi-retirement" about a year ago. At that time, we agreed to continue saving records whenever we happened upon them, so the records of those men could be posted at a later time. The recent activity in the "Count" thread is just temporary, in order to add the records we have run across over the past year.

The latest entries posted 7/23-25/19 should actually be of interest to everyone who is interested in the Civil War. The last few are for men for whom CS carded records exist and who later served in the USCT.

Thanks again for your interest in the thread.
Laura, your dedication to this (and all subjects you take on) is exceptional, to say the least. I'm so glad you're still here. I can learn a lot from you.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I found this thread quite interesting. It is the first one on this site I have read. In this case, it seems to me that the argument is over a claim that large numbers of slaves were Confederate combatants is a case of discussion of a fact without first proving it in fact exists.
It is extensively documented that tens of thousands of slaves were rented to the Confederate army as laborers. Due to cultural reasons, white southern women were relutant to work in hospitals. As a result, large numbers of slaves & free blacks worked in Confederate hospitals. interestingly, the slaves were often paid for their work.
Especially in the early part of the war, it was common for officers & enlisted men to bring body servants with them. The body servants captured along with their masters at Fort Donelson provide a fascinating look at who these men were. It is worth noting that given the choice to stay in the North or return South, not one went back.
I have read claims that 30 or 300 or 3,000 or 30,000 slaves entered the ranks & fought for the Confederacy. This number is combatants, not the grooms, teamsters, camp cooks, leased labor or body servants that abounded in Confederate camps. These men were soldiers, fully equipped & ready to march. In the Stonewall Brigade, there were hundreds or even thousands of these dusky soldiers.
The curious thing about these numbers that self declared experts on Black Confederates refer to is that they are nowhere to be found in public or private or unpublished form until the middle 1970's. In the intervening years, Black Confederate experts have, like frogs in a pond, called back & forth to each other citing the same numbers. Curiously, scholars who have drilled into these claims have categorically debunked them. So, what's going on here?
During the lead up to secession, it was widely published that slaves would take up arms to defend their mistresses when masters went off to fight. Of course, the same men who had so complacently declared their faith in slave's loyalty were gobbsmacked when even privileged slaves ran off the at first opportunity. The record is crammed with the shocked, stunned & even hurt feelings expressed by slaveholders when their 'people' ran away.
Apparently, the advocates of large numbers slave combatants share the naive prewar belief in the loyalty of slaves. Exactly how they square that with the voluminous written record to the contrary is not anywhere I have ever seen. What has always puzzled me about this assertion is any explication for the slave recruit's action. Did a slave recruit really go to war, risk his life & kill people in defense of the right of other men to buy & sell their children, beat him to a bloody pulp at whim, have sex with his womanfolk & work him to death. Really, there were tens of thousands of men willing to do that? What rational motivation could a Confederate slave recruit have? If anybody has a contemporary citation (not from 1880) I would really like to see it.
What is not in question, of course, is the motivation of the 250,000 USCT's & Naval personnel that served in the ranks & roughly a million self-liberated people that worked for the Union cause. The Union could not have won the war without the contribution of self- liberated men & women. Of that, their is no doubt.
 

lelliott19

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Really, there were tens of thousands of men willing to do that? What rational motivation could a Confederate slave recruit have? If anybody has a contemporary citation (not from 1880) I would really like to see it.
Hi @Rhea Cole and welcome to CivilWarTalk - the best place on the internet for Civil War discussion. Since you have just joined, you may have missed the point of the "count" thread. It is simply a research thread where the confederate service records of black and mulatto men are being compiled. In order to be included, the men have to be documented on official records - compiled service records from the National Archives, Muster Rolls, and/or pension applications. The thread is not an effort to promote an agendized position or to speculate about the motivations of the individuals. In reading through the thread, you'll find men recorded as slave, negro, free negro, mulatto, colored creole, etc. who are recorded as cooks, teamsters, servants, boat pilots, and privates. Again, the purpose of the thread is documentation of service records - not speculation about motives. Thanks for your reply and again welcome aboard.

EDIT TO ADD: Sorry, I should have said - this is just the discussion thread. The actual service records are posted up in this thread https://civilwartalk.com/threads/co...vice-records-of-black-and-mulatto-men.142783/ In order to reduce clutter within the records and in order to keep accurate count, only the records in the specified format are posted in the research thread. All the discussion is contained in this thread.
 
Joined
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Location
Kingsport, Tennessee
I found this thread quite interesting. It is the first one on this site I have read. In this case, it seems to me that the argument is over a claim that large numbers of slaves were Confederate combatants is a case of discussion of a fact without first proving it in fact exists.
It is extensively documented that tens of thousands of slaves were rented to the Confederate army as laborers. Due to cultural reasons, white southern women were relutant to work in hospitals. As a result, large numbers of slaves & free blacks worked in Confederate hospitals. interestingly, the slaves were often paid for their work.
Especially in the early part of the war, it was common for officers & enlisted men to bring body servants with them. The body servants captured along with their masters at Fort Donelson provide a fascinating look at who these men were. It is worth noting that given the choice to stay in the North or return South, not one went back.
I have read claims that 30 or 300 or 3,000 or 30,000 slaves entered the ranks & fought for the Confederacy. This number is combatants, not the grooms, teamsters, camp cooks, leased labor or body servants that abounded in Confederate camps. These men were soldiers, fully equipped & ready to march. In the Stonewall Brigade, there were hundreds or even thousands of these dusky soldiers.
The curious thing about these numbers that self declared experts on Black Confederates refer to is that they are nowhere to be found in public or private or unpublished form until the middle 1970's. In the intervening years, Black Confederate experts have, like frogs in a pond, called back & forth to each other citing the same numbers. Curiously, scholars who have drilled into these claims have categorically debunked them. So, what's going on here?
During the lead up to secession, it was widely published that slaves would take up arms to defend their mistresses when masters went off to fight. Of course, the same men who had so complacently declared their faith in slave's loyalty were gobbsmacked when even privileged slaves ran off the at first opportunity. The record is crammed with the shocked, stunned & even hurt feelings expressed by slaveholders when their 'people' ran away.
Apparently, the advocates of large numbers slave combatants share the naive prewar belief in the loyalty of slaves. Exactly how they square that with the voluminous written record to the contrary is not anywhere I have ever seen. What has always puzzled me about this assertion is any explication for the slave recruit's action. Did a slave recruit really go to war, risk his life & kill people in defense of the right of other men to buy & sell their children, beat him to a bloody pulp at whim, have sex with his womanfolk & work him to death. Really, there were tens of thousands of men willing to do that? What rational motivation could a Confederate slave recruit have? If anybody has a contemporary citation (not from 1880) I would really like to see it.
What is not in question, of course, is the motivation of the 250,000 USCT's & Naval personnel that served in the ranks & roughly a million self-liberated people that worked for the Union cause. The Union could not have won the war without the contribution of self- liberated men & women. Of that, their is no doubt.

Welcome Rhea!
 
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