Limited Debate Don't Deny Black Confederate Valor

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John Hartwell

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During the Civil War, did black men fight for the Union?
Yes, all black Union soldiers did fight for the Union ... in exactly the same sense that all white Confederate soldiers fought for slavery. The black man may not have cared about the Union, as the white man may not have cared about slavery. But, by fighting in their respective armies, they were fighting for the objectives of those armies -- whatever else their personal motives might have been.
 
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archieclement

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Yes, all black Union soldiers did fight for the Union ... in exactly the same sense that all white Confederate soldiers fought for slavery. The black man may not have cared about the Union, as the white man may not have cared about slavery. But, by fighting in their respective armies, they were fighting for the objectives of those armies -- whatever else their personal motives might have been.
Wouldn't they in effect have also been fighting for slavery?As the union.....United States was also a slaveholding nation during the civil war.

Would seem if one is going to ascribe single motives to all, defending the laws of the United States would go to Unionism, on the the basis of secession was illegal arguement.
 

byron ed

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(The following is from the Southern Fried Common Sense & Stuff blog authored by C.W. Roden.)...In my quarter of a century of Confederate heritage defense...as a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans...As a Southern-born man and Confederate descendant born I am proud to be counted among those who share that unique pride in our common Confederate ancestry, my Southern brothers and sisters who share that same honorable and unique heritage that make us all children of Dixie. It is that Southern heritage that binds us beyond social class, religious creed, and yes, especially skin color...
So after all that ...not a statement made by a descendant of a "black Confederate" at all, but merely another run-of-the-mill SCV posing to speak for "black confederates." To note that Southern whites have always presumed to speak for Southern blacks, so nothing new there.

The most ridiculous thing posed here is the implication that any Southern black, let alone "black Confederate" would ever refer themselves as having shared "the same honorable and unique heritage that makes us all children of Dixie" (unless to acknowledge their black mothers had been bred by their white slavemaster). "All children of Dixie" indeed! Any reasonable student of history will choke on that one.

Bottom line: this a very transparent attempt to mollify our view of the Slavery south. It goes beyond the pale in that regard, and should either be rejected or ignored.
 
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Patrick H

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Martin Jackson had a long and interesting life. As an enslaved person during the Civil War, he rescued wounded Confederates from the battlefield - he was an "official lugger-in of men," he called himself. Much later on, in World War I, he enlisted as a cook! That is not a story you will hear much.

View attachment 306869
Martin Jackson at age 90: Texan, house slave, Confederate servant, freedman, and WWI veteran
Source: Gelatin-silver photographic print of Martin Jackson, San Antonio, Texas, 1937. Prints and Photographs Division and Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Photo was taken by or for the Federal Writers’ Project, which was part of the Works Progress Administration.


Jackson was a long time resident of Texas. At the age of 90, he was interviewed about his life as a slave for the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration. He recalled his early life, spoke about the difficulty of telling the true story of slavery to strangers (such as, perhaps, those who conducted these slave interviews for the WPA), and his experiences during the Civil War. This is an abridged and edited version of WPA interview. Mainly, I have moved paragraphs around so that they follow a linear timeline; the original interview kind of skipped all over the place in time. Here it is:

"My earliest recollection is the day my old boss presented me to his son, Joe, as his property. I was about five years old and my new master was only two.​
"Lots of old slaves closes the door before they tell the truth about their days of slavery. When the door is open, they tell how kind their masters was and how rosy it all was. You can't blame them for this, because they had plenty of early discipline, making them cautious about saying anything uncomplimentary about their masters. I, myself, was in a little different position than most slaves and, as a consequence, have no grudges or resentment. However, I can tell you the life of the average slave was not rosy. They were dealt out plenty of cruel suffering.
"Even with my good treatment, I spent most of my time planning and thinking of running away. I could have done it easy, but my old father used to say, 'No use running from bad to worse, hunting better.' Lots of colored boys did escape and joined the Union army, and there are plenty of them drawing a pension today. My father was always counseling me. He said, 'Every man has to serve God under his own vine and fig tree.' He kept pointing out that the War wasn't going to last forever, but that our forever was going to be spent living among the Southeners, after they got licked. He'd cite examples of how the whites would stand flatfooted and fight for the blacks the same as for members of their own family.​
I knew that all was true, but still I rebelled, from inside of me. I think I really was afraid to run away, because I thought my conscience would haunt me. My father knew I felt this way and he'd rub my fears in deeper. One of his remarks still rings in my ears: 'A clear conscience opens bowels, and when you have a guilty soul it ties you up and death will not for long desert you.'​
"I was here in Texas when the Civil War was first talked about. I was here when the War started and followed my young master into it with the First Texas Cavalry. I was here during reconstruction, after the War. I was here during the European World War and the second week after the United States declared war on Germany I enlisted as cook at Camp Leon Springs.​
"This sounds as if I liked the war racket. But, as a matter of fact, I never wore a uniform grey coat or khaki coat or carried a gun, unless it happened to be one worth saving after some Confederate soldier got shot. I was official lugger-in of men that got wounded, and might have been called a Red Cross worker if we had had such a corps connected with our company. My father was head cook for the battalion and between times I helped him out with the mess. There was some difference in the food served to soldiers in 1861 and 1917!​
"Just what my feelings was about the War, I have never been able to figure out myself. I knew the Yanks were going to win, from the beginning. I wanted them to win and lick us Southerners, but I hoped they was going to do it without wiping out our company. I'll come back to that in a minute. As I said, our company was the First Texas Cavalry. Col. Buchell was our commander. He was a full-blooded German and as fine a man and a soldier as you ever saw. He was killed at the Battle of Marshall and died in my arms. You may also be interested to know that my old master, Alvy Fitzpatrick, was the grandfather of Governor Jim Ferguson.​
"It was in the Battle of Marshall, in Louisiana, that Col. Buchell got shot. I was about three miles from the front, where I had pitched up a kind of first-aid station. I was all alone there. I watched the whole thing. I could hear the shooting and see the firing. I remember standing there and thinking the South didn't have a chance. All of a sudden I heard someone call. It was a soldier, who was half carrying Col. Buchell in. I didn't do nothing for the Colonel. He was too far gone. I just held him comfortable, and that was the position he was in when he stopped breathing. That was the worst hurt I got when anybody died. He was a friend of mine. He had had a lot of soldiering before and fought in the Indian War.​
"Well, the Battle of Marshall broke the back of the Texas Cavalry. We began straggling back towards New Orleans, and by that time the War was over. The soldiers began to scatter. They was a sorry-lookin' bunch of lost sheep. They didn't know where to go, but most of 'em ended up pretty close to the towns they started from. They was like homing pigeons, with only the instinct to go home and, yet, most of them had no homes to go to.​
"We lived on a ranch of about 1,000 acres close to the Jackson County line in Victoria County, about 125 miles from San Antonio. Just before the war ended they sold the ranch, slaves and all, and the family, not away fighting, moved to Galveston. Of course, my father and me wasn't sold with the other blacks, because we was away at war.​
"My mother was drowned years before when I was a little boy. I only remember her after she was dead. I can take you to the spot in the river today where she was drowned. She drowned herself. I never knew the reason behind it, but it was said she started to lose her mind and preferred death to that.​
"The master's name was usually adopted by a slave after he was set free. This was done more because it was the logical thing to do and the easiest way to be identified than it was through affection for the master. Also, the government seemed to be in a almighty hurry to have us get names. We had to register as someone, so we could be citizens. Well, I got to thinking about all us slaves that was going to take the name Fitzpatrick. I made up my mind I'd find me a different one. One of my grandfathers in Africa was called Jeaceo, and so I decided to be Jackson."

- Alan
This is one of the most interesting memoirs from a former slave that I have ever read.
 

major bill

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I guess a enslaved back personal cook for a Confederate officer had about the same level of valor as a free black cook working for a Union officer. The only real difference being the Union cook was doing the cooking at his own decision while the enslaved cook had little free choice. Both had about the same level of bravery.
 

O' Be Joyful

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Martin Jackson had a long and interesting life. As an enslaved person during the Civil War, he rescued wounded Confederates from the battlefield - he was an "official lugger-in of men," he called himself. Much later on, in World War I, he enlisted as a cook! That is not a story you will hear much.

View attachment 306869
Martin Jackson at age 90: Texan, house slave, Confederate servant, freedman, and WWI veteran
Source: Gelatin-silver photographic print of Martin Jackson, San Antonio, Texas, 1937. Prints and Photographs Division and Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Photo was taken by or for the Federal Writers’ Project, which was part of the Works Progress Administration.


Jackson was a long time resident of Texas. At the age of 90, he was interviewed about his life as a slave for the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration. He recalled his early life, spoke about the difficulty of telling the true story of slavery to strangers (such as, perhaps, those who conducted these slave interviews for the WPA), and his experiences during the Civil War. This is an abridged and edited version of WPA interview. Mainly, I have moved paragraphs around so that they follow a linear timeline; the original interview kind of skipped all over the place in time. Here it is:

"My earliest recollection is the day my old boss presented me to his son, Joe, as his property. I was about five years old and my new master was only two.​
"Lots of old slaves closes the door before they tell the truth about their days of slavery. When the door is open, they tell how kind their masters was and how rosy it all was. You can't blame them for this, because they had plenty of early discipline, making them cautious about saying anything uncomplimentary about their masters. I, myself, was in a little different position than most slaves and, as a consequence, have no grudges or resentment. However, I can tell you the life of the average slave was not rosy. They were dealt out plenty of cruel suffering.
"Even with my good treatment, I spent most of my time planning and thinking of running away. I could have done it easy, but my old father used to say, 'No use running from bad to worse, hunting better.' Lots of colored boys did escape and joined the Union army, and there are plenty of them drawing a pension today. My father was always counseling me. He said, 'Every man has to serve God under his own vine and fig tree.' He kept pointing out that the War wasn't going to last forever, but that our forever was going to be spent living among the Southeners, after they got licked. He'd cite examples of how the whites would stand flatfooted and fight for the blacks the same as for members of their own family.​
I knew that all was true, but still I rebelled, from inside of me. I think I really was afraid to run away, because I thought my conscience would haunt me. My father knew I felt this way and he'd rub my fears in deeper. One of his remarks still rings in my ears: 'A clear conscience opens bowels, and when you have a guilty soul it ties you up and death will not for long desert you.'​
"I was here in Texas when the Civil War was first talked about. I was here when the War started and followed my young master into it with the First Texas Cavalry. I was here during reconstruction, after the War. I was here during the European World War and the second week after the United States declared war on Germany I enlisted as cook at Camp Leon Springs.​
"This sounds as if I liked the war racket. But, as a matter of fact, I never wore a uniform grey coat or khaki coat or carried a gun, unless it happened to be one worth saving after some Confederate soldier got shot. I was official lugger-in of men that got wounded, and might have been called a Red Cross worker if we had had such a corps connected with our company. My father was head cook for the battalion and between times I helped him out with the mess. There was some difference in the food served to soldiers in 1861 and 1917!​
"Just what my feelings was about the War, I have never been able to figure out myself. I knew the Yanks were going to win, from the beginning. I wanted them to win and lick us Southerners, but I hoped they was going to do it without wiping out our company. I'll come back to that in a minute. As I said, our company was the First Texas Cavalry. Col. Buchell was our commander. He was a full-blooded German and as fine a man and a soldier as you ever saw. He was killed at the Battle of Marshall and died in my arms. You may also be interested to know that my old master, Alvy Fitzpatrick, was the grandfather of Governor Jim Ferguson.​
"It was in the Battle of Marshall, in Louisiana, that Col. Buchell got shot. I was about three miles from the front, where I had pitched up a kind of first-aid station. I was all alone there. I watched the whole thing. I could hear the shooting and see the firing. I remember standing there and thinking the South didn't have a chance. All of a sudden I heard someone call. It was a soldier, who was half carrying Col. Buchell in. I didn't do nothing for the Colonel. He was too far gone. I just held him comfortable, and that was the position he was in when he stopped breathing. That was the worst hurt I got when anybody died. He was a friend of mine. He had had a lot of soldiering before and fought in the Indian War.​
"Well, the Battle of Marshall broke the back of the Texas Cavalry. We began straggling back towards New Orleans, and by that time the War was over. The soldiers began to scatter. They was a sorry-lookin' bunch of lost sheep. They didn't know where to go, but most of 'em ended up pretty close to the towns they started from. They was like homing pigeons, with only the instinct to go home and, yet, most of them had no homes to go to.​
"We lived on a ranch of about 1,000 acres close to the Jackson County line in Victoria County, about 125 miles from San Antonio. Just before the war ended they sold the ranch, slaves and all, and the family, not away fighting, moved to Galveston. Of course, my father and me wasn't sold with the other blacks, because we was away at war.​
"My mother was drowned years before when I was a little boy. I only remember her after she was dead. I can take you to the spot in the river today where she was drowned. She drowned herself. I never knew the reason behind it, but it was said she started to lose her mind and preferred death to that.​
"The master's name was usually adopted by a slave after he was set free. This was done more because it was the logical thing to do and the easiest way to be identified than it was through affection for the master. Also, the government seemed to be in a almighty hurry to have us get names. We had to register as someone, so we could be citizens. Well, I got to thinking about all us slaves that was going to take the name Fitzpatrick. I made up my mind I'd find me a different one. One of my grandfathers in Africa was called Jeaceo, and so I decided to be Jackson."

- Alan
Though it can seem to be repetitive and "trying" for many of us "seasoned" members here @CWT to see the same subjects--such as "Black Confederates"--revisited again and again, factual narratives such as the above that Alan has posted are invaluable, IMHO, to the "newbies"

OBJ
 

Truth Quest

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I’ve attached a photo of an article from the February 24th, 1865, Richmond Dispatch detailing one of the first attempts to enact legislation authorizing the use of black troops.
9270CBEF-62F9-490D-82E7-8E0006A5F27D.jpeg
 
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Truth Quest

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Newspaper article from April 1, 1865, quoting the Richmond Whig (March 22, 1865) about the recently enacted legislation permitting the recruitment and enlistment of black troops. The act was passed with less than three weeks remaining in the war. The logistics that would have been required regarding recruiting, enlisting, forming organized units with officers, and deploying black troops make it highly unlikely black units reached the field.
6E2C771A-8B47-4496-929A-C63FFEB22E3A.jpeg
 

ForeverFree

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Yes, all black Union soldiers did fight for the Union ... in exactly the same sense that all white Confederate soldiers fought for slavery. The black man may not have cared about the Union, as the white man may not have cared about slavery. But, by fighting in their respective armies, they were fighting for the objectives of those armies -- whatever else their personal motives might have been.
During the war, US Grant said that "by arming the Negro, we have added a powerful ally." I use this language myself, telling people that African Americans, in alliance with Union, ended slavery and preserved the Union.

Generally speaking, African Americans and the Union had different interests, but in alliance with each other, they met their objectives. The key point is that African Americans did in fact have different interests and goals.

- Alan
 

ForeverFree

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Here are some examples of what black men were reported to have said when they volunteered for service. Note that we see a variety of reasons: allegiance to the state, a concern over their property, a willingness to work and fight to protect what they have, home defense, and a desire to demonstrate loyalty. In one case, it may just be that they needed the work. A few men were military veterans from earlier wars, and no doubt had past service in mind when they volunteered for this war.

The North-Carolinian. (Fayetteville [N.C.]) January 19, 1861
FREE MEN OF COLOR VOLUNTEERING.
We learn that a large number of the free colored men of Columbia have offered their services, through the Mayor, to the Governor of the State. They say that to South Carolina do they owe allegiance, and to her do they look for protection, and they are willing to serve her in any capacity they may be assigned.

Gallipolis Journal. (Gallipolis, Ohio) March 05, 1863
Charles Tinsley, one of their number, stepped forward to receive the flag, and in reply said - "We are willing to aid Virginia's cause to the utmost extent of our ability. We do not feel that it is right for us to remain here idle, when white gentlemen are engaged in the performance of work at Norfolk, that is more suitable to our hands and of which it is our duty to relieve them. - There is not an unwilling heart among us, not a hand but will tell in the work before us; and we promise unhesitating obedience to all orders that may be given to us." In referring to the flag, he said - "I could feel no greater pride, no more gratification, than to be able to plant it first upon the ramparts of Fortress Monroe."

Memphis Daily Appeal. (Memphis, Tenn.) April 12, 1861
Joe Clark, a colored barber at Columbus, Ga., has written a letter to Gov. Brown, offering to raise a company of free colored men, to be enlisted in the service of the State of Georgia in the present crisis. Joe served in the Indian war of 1836, and still limps from a wound received in that campaign.

Baton Rouge Tri-Weekly Gazette & Comet, April 20, 1861
THE FREE COLORED MEN. - A number of this class of our population, fully identified with us in all our interests, are inquiring to know what they can do to give evidence of their loyalty and devotion to the State under whose laws they live and enjoy protection in their lives and property. In answer, we can say on our own account, that they will be called upon at the proper moment, to give new evidence of that bravery and devotion for which they were distinguished when a foreign power invaded our domnion in '14 and '15.

Southern confederacy. (Atlanta, Ga.) 1861-1865, April 22, 1861
Free Negroes Volunteering for the South
NEW ORLEANS, April 22. - The free colored population of this city, at a meeting to day, resolved to tender their services to the Governor in defense of the State.

Newbern Weekly Progress (Newbern, N.C.) April 23, 1861
More Volunteers.
We learn from Mayor Lane that 15 or 20 more free negroes came forward yesterday morning and volunteered their services to go to the Fort and work or assist in the defense of the Fort if required. Laborers enough having gone to the Fort they were not sent down, but requested by Mayor Lane to hold themselves in readiness.

Petersburg, April 23, 1861
Large numbers of free negroes have offered their services, and will be sent to Norfolk to erect batteries. Many of the poor creatures are out of employment, in consequence of the closing of the tobacco factories, and it would be a mercy to give them some useful work to perform, if only for their bread and meat

The Daily Exchange. (Baltimore, Md.) April 26, 1861
A list of 32 worthy free negroes of this city, who have offered their services in the work of defence, or in any other capacity required, has been sent in to the captain of the Woodis Riflemen.

They express an earnest desire to meet their Yankee enemies or their miserable sable brothers of the North, in a regular hand-to-hand fight.

Some of those who have offered to serve in the cause of Southern honor have fought under the old flag.

A large number of the free negroes of Petersburg have expressed a desire to fight for the South, and we learn that 500 will come down as soon as the word is given.

We noticed yesterday several colored men in uniform. They came as musicians with the gallant Georgia troops.

New Orleans Daily Crescent. ([New Orleans, La.]) April 27, 1861
THE FREE COLORED SOLDIERS. - We some days ago mentioned that the Creole free colored population down town had taken the war question into consideration, and determined to offer their services to Gov. Moore, for home defence. At the meeting held for this purpose, some 1500 men were present. With one voice and with the greatest enthusiasm they agreed to offer themselves, and did so. The Governor accepted them, and they are now forming companies, as their fathers and grandfathers did in 1814 and '15. Should their services be needed, they will be among our hardest and best fighters. Jordan Noble, better known as "Old Jordan," the Drummer of Chalmette, is raising a free colored company; and we learn a similar company is being organized in Jefferson City. When the down-town free colored men form their regiment (and it will be a rousing one.) they will make a show as pleasing to all, as it will be surprising to many of our population. We will give further particulars as the organization progresses.
These are not really examples of what black men were reported to have said when they volunteered for service. They are examples of what some freed black said. This is an essential qualification to make. The free back experience was not representative of the enslaved black experience, and vice versa. So, it's important to distinguish between the two.

We often think of race as the only important dynamic in these folks' lives, but status (free or slave) was also key. Being a free black made an essential difference in the lives of people with African ancestry. The late Ira Berlin's book Slaves Without Masters: The Free Negro in the Antebellum South states:

Free Negroes found that their social advancement hinged on their ability to distinguish themselves from the mass of slaves. The closer free Negroes could approximate the white ideal, the greater their chances of acceptance. Acceptance of course was not a quality, but... It could markedly improve the freemen's standards of living. Consciously, or unconsciously, upward striving free Negroes understood this and acting on it.​
Status differences continually eroded the bonds of racial unity and turned the free Negroes and slaves against each other. ...some free Negroes... anxious to integrate themselves with white patrons and protectors... vigorously defended slavery as the proper status for the majority of blacks.​
{there were} status differences between free and slave blacks at all levels, {but} they tended to be greater at the top and at the bottom. Wealthy freemen wanted little part of slaves except as property...​
Whites promoted these differences between free Negroes in slaves, just as they tried to divide fieldhands and house servants, unskilled bondsman and slave artisans.​
...Dunford {a black slaveholder} fully identified with the white slave owning elite. Many wealthy freemen, like Dunford, considered themselves more white than black, no matter what their precise racial heritage. Dunford's Northern educated son, who urged amelioration of slave conditions—not emancipation—had no greater sense of identification with blacks than his father. He supported African colonization for slaves — but not for himself –spoke of colonization as repatriation, and lauded the plan to return blacks to "the land of their fathers."​

Note that the free black mentioned in the last paragraph above does not even see himself as a person of African descent/black. (Presumably, this person was very light, perhaps light enough to pass for white.)

Note also that free blacks were a very small part of the Confederate population:

acy-confederate-population-slaves-copy-jpg-jpg-jpg.jpg


This is not to say it's unimportant to note what these folks were experiencing. The point is that the experiences of free blacks is not representative of the experience of enslaved blacks, whose population was 25 times larger than the size of the free black population. Indeed, in various situations, the desires and beliefs of free blacks were oppositional to those of enslaved blacks.

- Alan
 
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The author cites the Public Laws of the Confederate States of America: Passed at the First- Session of the First Congress; 1862, and lists several excerpts concerning payment and enlistments of cooks and musicians, but I searched through the link and did not find anything that matched. If anyone has page numbers, I'd be interested in seeing these "military rules" in context.

I searched the text for colored, slave, black and didn't find anything matching his claims. I suspect the author is simply making it up.
Uh, the link in the article is clearly posted, as are the page numbers. I went to the link and found them with absolutely no problem.
 
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I too take a lot of pride in my six Confederate ancestors. One who fought and died for the Confederacy after surviving the bloodiest battles in the war like Gettysburg (where his regiment saw a 65% casualty rate in one day) and Antietam.

With that said, too broad a definition of "Black Confederates" mean

"share with me the honor of being the descendant of the Southern citizen soldier"

doesn't apply to them since the Confederacy government did not consider most of them citizens.

I treat valor and veterans pretty much equally between Whites and Blacks. I don't honor an ancestor that has stories and no proof they did what people said they did. To me that is not honor but in fact dishonors the people that genuinely did.

One of the problems with the requirements outlined in that article is

----
"Any black male, slave or freeman, who served in the Confederate military in any service capacity (cook, musician, teamster, body servant, or other such service job) who, of his own free will and without coercion, fought in defense of an individual Confederate soldier, a Confederate unit, or acted in defiance against the Union military."
----


That's the trick. We can't just suddenly forget the history we know when looking for Black Confederates. Slavery was implicitly a system of coercion. Even the best treated slaves were still coerced by the legal status of being a slave in society and the forced ignorance that they had no say in benefiting from true liberty.

By this alone any slave must be excluded without exceptional evidence otherwise.

We also know the history of free blacks at this time and place. That coercion was common place and the waters they navigated to remain free and survive. A key hint of how bad it was is when the Reconstruction Freedmen Bureau was in place and tried to enforce contracts for newly freed Blacks on the most basic of terms of equality with Whites. If you've ever read/listened to Foner's work you will read/hear countless quotes of Whites being appalled with the very principle of having a contract enforced with a freed Black person (even if they didn't argue the grounds it was on much at all).

Again this at best (for the Black Confederate argument) puts freed blacks as highly plausibly being coerced if not implicitly like slaves.

This is just the beginning of the rabbit hole. Many of us have indeed done a great deal of research into the individual claims. Where the extremely rare Black/Mulatto got a soldier's pension (most got servant pensions which were classified completely differently) but when you trace their records they were found laboring somewhere instead of fighting where claimed (meaning that Blacks are just like Whites and could exaggerate service claims to get pensions).

Being honest and objective with all of this does not deny "Black Confederate Valor." Just like validating a White man's pension claims or service claims doesn't deny the idea of "White Confederate Valor", "White Union Valor", or "White American Revolution Valor." I have indeed had stories of a White ancestor who was alleged to have served in the Civil War (would make him my 11th), instead I discovered he ditched his first family and many kids, a mistress widow living next door and many illegitimate kids, and left with a younger woman and move to another state and started a family, all around 1857 so the timing made it look likely that he died in the Civil War and that became the story.

Likewise many even approved pension claims of service can be wrong on key factual errors. One doesn't deny anything applying a basic standard of validation and truth to things.

One can indeed believe "Black Confederates" did exist and did have "Valor" and pride for the Confederacy, while disagreeing with many of the people alleged to be those people.

I mean DNA tests have shown I have at least three sources of Black ancestry 200+ years ago, up both my maternal and paternal lines. One line, one ancestor was a Confederate soldier. An Elisha Francis Marion May. He served from Alabama for 3 years. From 1862 all the way until 1865 when his regiment laid down arms after the surrender at Appamatox. DNA from male descended cousins show his mother's (a Jane Busby from South Carolina) paternal line is Sub-Saharan African Y DNA. So he had an African American male ancestor, probably in the mid to late 1600s. He himself and his family were all white, his ancestor had passed for white at least 3 or 4 generations before and probably didn't even know. In a way he was an unknowing "Black" confederate, at least a "White Confederate" with Black enslaved ancestors.

That doesn't fit the bill of what people are painting, but I'm fine recognizing and being proud of him in his gray area (multiple puns fully intended).
"...doesn't apply to them since the Confederacy government did not consider most of them citizens." Uh, you mean like the US Government didn't recognized the citizenship of African-Americans prior to the passage of the 14th Amendment? By your logic the men of the USCT were no better off. That does a disservice to the memory and honor of all these men collectively. You should be ashamed.
 
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I don't think anyone is denying that blacks/slaves didn't do anything in the Confederate ranks. The problem is when folk try to use what they did, as evidence that they were soldiers! That places them in a status that didn't exist for them, at that time.
It's trying to place modern connotation that did not apply to them in any meaningful way in 1861-65. It places them in a higher social bracket they were not allowed to have in the overall Southern white supremacist mind-set.

Kevin Dally
Perhaps you didn't actually read the blog post in question. The author never claimed that Black Confederates had any sort of status higher than any other African-American at the time. In fact the article repeats that fine point over and over.
 
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I guess a enslaved back personal cook for a Confederate officer had about the same level of valor as a free black cook working for a Union officer. The only real difference being the Union cook was doing the cooking at his own decision while the enslaved cook had little free choice. Both had about the same level of bravery.
You assume that said Confederate cook was in fact a slave, rather than a free person of color who volunteered for the service. That's the problem with the "slaves, not soldiers" argument of black Confederate denial that the author pointed out, the inability to provide distinctions.
 

Andersonh1

Major
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
7,963
Location
South Carolina
These are not really examples of what black men were reported to have said when they volunteered for service. They are examples of what some freed black said. This is an essential qualification to make. The free back experience was not representative of the enslaved black experience, and vice versa. So, it's important to distinguish between the two.
This is not to say it's unimportant to note what these folks were experiencing. The point is that the experiences of free blacks is not representative of the experience of enslaved blacks, whose population was 25 times larger than the size of the free black population. Indeed, in various situations, the desires and beliefs of free blacks were oppositional to those of enslaved blacks.

- Alan
Two good clarifications, thank you.
 

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
8,869
Location
District of Columbia
With that said, too broad a definition of "Black Confederates" mean

"share with me the honor of being the descendant of the Southern citizen soldier"

doesn't apply to them since the Confederacy government did not consider most of them citizens.
"...doesn't apply to them since the Confederacy government did not consider most of them citizens." Uh, you mean like the US Government didn't recognized the citizenship of African-Americans prior to the passage of the 14th Amendment? By your logic the men of the USCT were no better off. That does a disservice to the memory and honor of all these men collectively. You should be ashamed.
SFO,

The fact of the matter is, enslaved black men weren't Confederate citizens. That's just a matter of fact. You can't share something you don't have.

Now, there might be other things that a white Confederate descendant can share with the descendant of a slave who lived in the CSA. But being the descendant of a Confederate citizen is not one of them.

Regarding USCT, citizenship rights were an issue for black men. Many black northerners fought for the US on the belief that their service would show them deserving of full citizenship rights which were commonly denied to African Americans. They felt that their service was rewarded with laws and amendments were passed through 1870 which expanded rights for people of African descent and others.

- Alan
 

uaskme

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Messages
2,255
Yes, all black Union soldiers did fight for the Union ... in exactly the same sense that all white Confederate soldiers fought for slavery. The black man may not have cared about the Union, as the white man may not have cared about slavery. But, by fighting in their respective armies, they were fighting for the objectives of those armies -- whatever else their personal motives might have been.
Silly. People fought for their Interest. Which were varied. Guys had the ability to Desert, sign up or not. Whatever. Maybe some can’t comprehend that. Others, like the Single Causer, feel a need to simplify a complex situation into a simple, limited Narrative. Individuals fought the War. Politicians can’t control why people sign up. Many fought for s pay check.
 
Joined
May 11, 2019
Messages
70
SFO,

The fact of the matter is, enslaved black men weren't Confederate citizens. That's just a matter of fact. You can't share something you don't have.

Now, there might be other things that a white Confederate descendant can share with the descendant of a slave who lived in the CSA. But being the descendant of a Confederate citizen is not one of them.

Regarding USCT, citizenship rights were an issue for black men. Many black northerners fought for the US on the belief that their service would show them deserving of full citizenship rights which were commonly denied to African Americans. They felt that their service was rewarded with laws and amendments were passed through 1870 which expanded rights for people of African descent and others.

- Alan
Again neither the enslaved nor free men of color were citizens of either the US or the CSA in the 1860s. No matter if they wore the blue or the gray. Same for every black man in uniform in every major American war from the French and Indian War till the end of 1865 and the 14th Amendment.
 
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