Don't Deny Black Confederate Valor


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O' Be Joyful

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#82
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. View attachment 306899

I Am 'late" "AGAIN" on this thread...but I have to...ask....AGAIN?!!!?
 
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#84
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.
So it seems we have no disagreement that the following is correct...

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.
...as the black men in question were not Southern citizen soldiers.

- Alan
 
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#85
Ah okay. The other link is to the 1863 edition and the other (the one with the correct information) is the one to the 1862 edition. Someone must have pointed it out and the writer corrected the link. Appears to have simply been an honest mistake on the part of the writer. The quotes appear to be correct, just the wrong sources sited.
At the very least the writer should have pointed out the error and credited the person who pointed it out (something he apparently did on two other blog past blog posts) before correcting it.
Incidentally I checked all the other links sited in the blog post and all seem to be from credible source material.
 
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#87
As noted in an earlier post, on the face of it, it should be self-evident that African Americans fought for the Union (ie, the cause of preserving the Union); it should be that simple. But it's not that simple. Upon investigation, we know that African Americans brought a number of feelings, goals, and thoughts into their service; chief among them was the desire to end bondage and gain full citizenship rights. In the end, simply saying that "they fought for the Union cause" does them an injustice. There was so much more to it than that.

I thought about this as I read C. W. Roden's article about black Confederates, specifically this text:

Were these men actually slaves without free will forced into Confederate service with rifles put to their heads as Deniers claim? Were they willing Southern patriots, like white Southern men fighting of their own free will to defend their Southern homeland from invasion? Were they both and neither at the same time? How many of them served and do they deserve the designation "soldier" by either 19th or 21st century standards?

The answers to these questions is not always so black and white and shows the complex nature of the relationship between the two main ethnic groups of the American Southland.

The main problem with the broad term is that it implies that every African-American who had any sort of service in the Confederate military was a Black Confederate, or held loyalty to the Confederacy. Some stories regarding such black men in Confederate service going over to the Union side when the occasions offered argues strongly that this was not always the case.

The most well known and documented example of this is the defection of Robert Smalls, a African-American slave of mixed ethnicity who served as a pilot for the Confederate transport steamer CSS Planter. Smalls defected to the Union blockade fleet surrounding Charleston harbor along with a crew of other black Southern slaves and their families.
In the above, writer C.W. Roden claims that Robert Smalls defected from the CSA to the USA. Is it right to say that? Does that statement do justice to Smalls?

As Roden says, Robert Smalls is a prominent CW figure. He was born an enslaved person in Beaufort, SC. Eventually, his legal owner sent him to work in Charleston, SC. Smalls was not a cotton-picker. He was a skilled laborer in the maritime industry. He was the wheel man or pilot for an armed steam-powered transportation vessel called the Planter when he made history early in the war.

Smalls had a wife and two children. Fearful that they might be separated, he sought to earn enough money from his work to buy his wife from bondage (he was able to keep a small amount of money from the pay he gave his owner for his work), but that might take forever to accomplish, by which time anything could happen to his family. But maybe there was another way. Smalls became aware that the Union navy had created a blockade around the Confederate coastline. He and his black crew mates devised a scheme in which, under the predawn darkness, they would sail the ship out Charleston harbor, masquerading as the complete crew making a delivery of goods; go out to the Atlantic Ocean; and gain freedom by hooking up with a ship in the Union Naval Blockade squadron.

In May of 1862, Smalls, his family, and his black crew mates and their families, boarded the Planter. Hiding in plain sight, they left Charleston harbor, going past Ft Sumter. They were able to get out to the Atlantic Ocean before the Confederates could stop them. They raised the white flag of surrender so they wouldn't be attacked by Union ships. They were brought aboard a Union warship. And then they were free. They had delivered themselves to liberty.

Was Robert Smalls defecting? The term defection means to switch from one country or cause to another; it means to switch sides. For Robert Smalls to have defected, that would mean that he was on the Confederate side in the first place! Saying that Smalls defected means that he was loyal, or owed some loyalty to the Confederates. Except he didn't. As chattel property, Smalls was stateless, and had no loyalty to give to the Confederate state.

Roden's languages presumes or assumes that Smalls was intending to defect, but there is no proof of that which I know of. What we do know for sure is that Smalls acted to free his family from bondage. That was his end game: freedom. Smalls did not take the risks he took to simply switch sides. He took those risks because he wanted to free himself and his family from bondage.

The odd thing is, Roden himself cautions in his article that we should not assume that "that every African-American who had any sort of service in the Confederate military was a Black Confederate, or held loyalty to the Confederacy." But right after saying that, he uses language that assumes that Robert Smalls must have held some loyalty to the Confederate; loyalty that he repudiated by "defecting" to the Union.

Roden is making bad history here; that is, he's making a historical interpretation that isn't right. To Roden, Smalls is not just seeking freedom; he is consciously making a decision about his relationship with the Confederate and Union nations. But there's no proof of that.

Smalls was indeed being disloyal, but his disloyalty was to his master. As an enslaved person, he was "held to service," to use the language of the Constitution. Smalls did not owe anything to the Confederate state, he did owe service to his master. Consciously or unconsciously, Roden incorrectly frames Small's actions as being, in part, about the citizen-state relationship.

It would be correct to say that Smalls' flight to freedom was the beginning of a transformation from a stateless slave to a full-blooded US citizen. Indeed, after the war, the War hero Smalls goes back to his hometown of Beaufort, and runs for Congress. He serves ten years in Congress during Reconstruction - the longest duration of service of ant black Congressmen in the post-war era. But Smalls was not thinking about such a transformation on that day in May 1862. He just wanted freedom for himself and his family.

The idea of putting Smalls' actions within the context of loyalty to the state is baffling. Until you realize Roden's themes. Roden makes the claim

For me there is no difference between a Southern-born African-American like Private Henry "Dad" Brown who served as a drummer, or a 19 year old Southerner of Anglo-Celtic descent like Sergeant Richard Kirkland, or a large plantation owner and Confederate general like Wade Hampton III -- or for that matter my own Confederate ancestor, an Alabama farmer who fell in battle at Chickamauga during the course of the War. All of them wore the same uniform, fought under the same Confederate battle flag (or some variation of it), and all of them were defenders of Southern independence. None of them are worth any more, or any less than the other in my eyes; and neither are those proud descendants of any of those same Confederate veterans.​

Here's the problem with the above: there is a difference between the lived expereinces of free white folks and enslaved black folks. A huge, substantial and overarching difference. Saying there is "no difference" ignores slavery and trivializes its impact. It ignores the role that protecting slavery had in the cause of Southern independence. It's a bad interpretation. It's bad history.

Roden is basically saying that the primacy of the master-slave relationship doesn't matter. It somehow goes away and is subsumed under a desire to seek Confederate independence and serve under the same Confederate flag. That is a theme of his work.

Does that do justice to the experience of Robert Smalls in particular, and black southerners in the Confederate States in general? I don't see how it could.

- Alan
 
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#88
John Brown Gordon was a general who served under R E Lee, in the Army of Northern Virginia if I have it right. After the war he wrote Reminiscences of the Civil War. This is from the book, starting around page 381:

(by the end of the war) The condition of our army was daily becoming more desperate. Starvation, literal starvation, was doing its deadly work. So depleted and poisoned was the blood of many of Lee's men from insufficient and unsound food that a slight wound which would probably not have been reported at the beginning of the war would often cause blood-poison, gangrene, and death. Yet the spirits of these brave men seemed to rise as their condition grew more desperate. The grim humor of the camp was waging incessant warfare against despondency...​
It was during this doleful period that the suggestion to give freedom to Southern slaves and arm them for Southern defence became the pressing, vital problem at Richmond. It had been seriously considered for a long period by the civil authorities, and the opinions of certain officers in the field were at this time formally solicited.​
General Lee strongly favored it, and so did many members of Congress; but the bill as finally passed was absurdly deficient in the most important provisions. It did not make plain the fact that the slave's enlistment would at once secure his freedom.
Public sentiment was widely divided as to the policy of such a step. In its favor was the stern fact, universally recognized, that it was no longer possible to fill our ranks except by converting slaves into soldiers; while the great Government at Washington could enlist men not only from the populous States of the Union, but from the teeming populations of foreign countries.​
Again, it was argued in favor of the proposition that the loyalty and proven devotion of the Southern negroes to their owners would make them serviceable and reliable as fighters, while their inherited habits of obedience would make it easy to drill and discipline them. The fidelity of the race during the past years of the war, their refusal to strike for their freedom in any organized movement that would involve the peace and safety of the communities where they largely outnumbered the whites, and the innumerable instances of individual devotion to masters and their families, which have never been equalled in any servile race, were all considered as arguments for the enlistment of slaves as Confederate soldiers.​
Indeed, many of them who were with the army as body-servants repeatedly risked their lives in following their young masters and bringing them off the battle-field when wounded or dead. These faithful servants at that time boasted of being Confederates, and many of them meet now with the veterans in their reunions, and, pointing to their Confederate badges, relate with great satisfaction and pride their experiences and services during the war. One of them, who attends nearly all the reunions, can, after a lapse of nearly forty years, repeat from memory the roll-call of the company to which his master belonged.​
General Lee used to tell with decided relish of the old negro (a cook of one of his officers) who called to see him at his headquarters. He was shown into the general's presence, and, pulling off his hat, he said, "General Lee, I been wanting to see you a long time. I 'm a soldier."​
"Ah? To what army do you belong--to the Union army or to the Southern army?"​
"Oh, general, I belong to your army."​
"Well, have you been shot?"​
"No, sir; I ain't been shot yet."​
"How is that? Nearly all of our men get shot."​
"Why, general, I ain't been shot 'cause I stays back whar de generals stay."​
Against the enlistment of negroes were urged the facts that they were needed--were absolutely essential--on the plantations to produce supplies for the armies and the people; that even with their labor the country was exhausted, and without it neither the armies nor the people at home could survive; that the sentiment of the army itself was not prepared for it, and that our condition was too critical for radical experiments.​

Some notes on the above:
• Gordon talks of the importance of the slaves who went to camp with their masters. He compliments them by saying "many of them who were with the army as body-servants repeatedly risked their lives in following their young masters and bringing them off the battle-field when wounded or dead."

• Gordon calls them "faithful servants." He notes that some of the slaves fancied themselves as Confederates, but Gordon himself does not. They were vicarious Confederates.

• Gordon notes that these servants attended re-unions "with the veterans." He does not refer to the servants as veterans.

• He sees the idea that these servants were soldiers as a joke. He thought the idea that servants fancied themselves as soldiers was a joke.

• He speaks of the "loyalty and proven devotion of the Southern negroes to their owners." That is, he puts the actions of the servants within the context of master-slave relationship, not the citizen-state relationship.

• He says that the CSA's policy for enlisting slaves at the end of the war had a key flaw: it did not unambiguously state that slaves would gain their freedom via enlistment. Gordon believed that granting slaves their freedom was key to getting them to enlist. Apparently, he did not think that the idea of fighting for master or for Confederate independence was going to be enough to get slaves to enlist.

- Alan
 
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#89
John Brown Gordon was a general who served under R E Lee, in the Army of Northern Virginia if I have it right. After the war he wrote Reminiscences of the Civil War. This is from the book, starting around page 381:

(by the end of the war) The condition of our army was daily becoming more desperate. Starvation, literal starvation, was doing its deadly work. So depleted and poisoned was the blood of many of Lee's men from insufficient and unsound food that a slight wound which would probably not have been reported at the beginning of the war would often cause blood-poison, gangrene, and death. Yet the spirits of these brave men seemed to rise as their condition grew more desperate. The grim humor of the camp was waging incessant warfare against despondency...​
It was during this doleful period that the suggestion to give freedom to Southern slaves and arm them for Southern defence became the pressing, vital problem at Richmond. It had been seriously considered for a long period by the civil authorities, and the opinions of certain officers in the field were at this time formally solicited.​
General Lee strongly favored it, and so did many members of Congress; but the bill as finally passed was absurdly deficient in the most important provisions. It did not make plain the fact that the slave's enlistment would at once secure his freedom.
Public sentiment was widely divided as to the policy of such a step. In its favor was the stern fact, universally recognized, that it was no longer possible to fill our ranks except by converting slaves into soldiers; while the great Government at Washington could enlist men not only from the populous States of the Union, but from the teeming populations of foreign countries.​
Again, it was argued in favor of the proposition that the loyalty and proven devotion of the Southern negroes to their owners would make them serviceable and reliable as fighters, while their inherited habits of obedience would make it easy to drill and discipline them. The fidelity of the race during the past years of the war, their refusal to strike for their freedom in any organized movement that would involve the peace and safety of the communities where they largely outnumbered the whites, and the innumerable instances of individual devotion to masters and their families, which have never been equalled in any servile race, were all considered as arguments for the enlistment of slaves as Confederate soldiers.​
Indeed, many of them who were with the army as body-servants repeatedly risked their lives in following their young masters and bringing them off the battle-field when wounded or dead. These faithful servants at that time boasted of being Confederates, and many of them meet now with the veterans in their reunions, and, pointing to their Confederate badges, relate with great satisfaction and pride their experiences and services during the war. One of them, who attends nearly all the reunions, can, after a lapse of nearly forty years, repeat from memory the roll-call of the company to which his master belonged.​
General Lee used to tell with decided relish of the old negro (a cook of one of his officers) who called to see him at his headquarters. He was shown into the general's presence, and, pulling off his hat, he said, "General Lee, I been wanting to see you a long time. I 'm a soldier."​
"Ah? To what army do you belong--to the Union army or to the Southern army?"​
"Oh, general, I belong to your army."​
"Well, have you been shot?"​
"No, sir; I ain't been shot yet."​
"How is that? Nearly all of our men get shot."​
"Why, general, I ain't been shot 'cause I stays back whar de generals stay."​
Against the enlistment of negroes were urged the facts that they were needed--were absolutely essential--on the plantations to produce supplies for the armies and the people; that even with their labor the country was exhausted, and without it neither the armies nor the people at home could survive; that the sentiment of the army itself was not prepared for it, and that our condition was too critical for radical experiments.​

Some notes on the above:
• Gordon talks of the importance of the slaves who went to camp with their masters. He compliments them by saying "many of them who were with the army as body-servants repeatedly risked their lives in following their young masters and bringing them off the battle-field when wounded or dead."

• Gordon calls them "faithful servants." He notes that some of the slaves fancied themselves as Confederates, but Gordon himself does not. They were vicarious Confederates.

• Gordon notes that these servants attended re-unions "with the veterans." He does not refer to the servants as veterans.

• He sees the idea that these servants were soldiers as a joke. He thought the idea that servants fancied themselves as soldiers was a joke.

• He speaks of the "loyalty and proven devotion of the Southern negroes to their owners." That is, he puts the actions of the servants within the context of master-slave relationship, not the citizen-state relationship.

• He says that the CSA's policy for enlisting slaves at the end of the war had a key flaw: it did not unambiguously state that slaves would gain their freedom via enlistment. Gordon believed that granting slaves their freedom was key to getting them to enlist. Apparently, he did not think that the idea of fighting for master or for Confederate independence was going to be enough to get slaves to enlist.

- Alan
All very telling facts, though only the opinion of one man in a military force that numbered close to a million strong over a course of four years of war. Its been noted that the men, the actual soldiers who served with these Black Confederates had widely different views of these people, some positive and some not so much. Most telling is after the war when these men attended reunions with their former comrades. Apparently the average soldier thought of these men as their fellow veterans.
While I don't discount the words and thoughts of General Gordon, I would argue that his is only one voice out of a million. The fact he was a general does not grant his words any particular privilege.
Also his words fail to take into account the actions of free men of color who enlisted into service jobs and preformed the duties of soldier during the course of the war. The master-slave dynamic would not readily apply in those cases.
 

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#90
I enjoyed the memoir of Martin Jackson. I do however find his part on "the battle of Marshall" puzzling. Wasn't Col. Buchel killed at Mansfield?
 
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#91
As noted in an earlier post, on the face of it, it should be self-evident that African Americans fought for the Union (ie, the cause of preserving the Union); it should be that simple. But it's not that simple. Upon investigation, we know that African Americans brought a number of feelings, goals, and thoughts into their service; chief among them was the desire to end bondage and gain full citizenship rights. In the end, simply saying that "they fought for the Union cause" does them an injustice. There was so much more to it than that.

I thought about this as I read C. W. Roden's article about black Confederates, specifically this text:



In the above, writer C.W. Roden claims that Robert Smalls defected from the CSA to the USA. Is it right to say that? Does that statement do justice to Smalls?

As Roden says, Robert Smalls is a prominent CW figure. He was born an enslaved person in Beaufort, SC. Eventually, his legal owner sent him to work in Charleston, SC. Smalls was not a cotton-picker. He was a skilled laborer in the maritime industry. He was the wheel man or pilot for an armed steam-powered transportation vessel called the Planter when he made history early in the war.

Smalls had a wife and two children. Fearful that they might be separated, he sought to earn enough money from his work to buy his wife from bondage (he was able to keep a small amount of money from the pay he gave his owner for his work), but that might take forever to accomplish, by which time anything could happen to his family. But maybe there was another way. Smalls became aware that the Union navy had created a blockade around the Confederate coastline. He and his black crew mates devised a scheme in which, under the predawn darkness, they would sail the ship out Charleston harbor, masquerading as the complete crew making a delivery of goods; go out to the Atlantic Ocean; and gain freedom by hooking up with a ship in the Union Naval Blockade squadron.

In May of 1862, Smalls, his family, and his black crew mates and their families, boarded the Planter. Hiding in plain sight, they left Charleston harbor, going past Ft Sumter. They were able to get out to the Atlantic Ocean before the Confederates could stop them. They raised the white flag of surrender so they wouldn't be attacked by Union ships. They were brought aboard a Union warship. And then they were free. They had delivered themselves to liberty.

Was Robert Smalls defecting? The term defection means to switch from one country or cause to another; it means to switch sides. For Robert Smalls to have defected, that would mean that he was on the Confederate side in the first place! Saying that Smalls defected means that he was loyal, or owed some loyalty to the Confederates. Except he didn't. As chattel property, Smalls was stateless, and had no loyalty to give to the Confederate state.

Roden's languages presumes or assumes that Smalls was intending to defect, but there is no proof of that which I know of. What we do know for sure is that Smalls acted to free his family from bondage. That was his end game: freedom. Smalls did not take the risks he took to simply switch sides. He took those risks because he wanted to free himself and his family from bondage.

The odd thing is, Roden himself cautions in his article that we should not assume that "that every African-American who had any sort of service in the Confederate military was a Black Confederate, or held loyalty to the Confederacy." But right after saying that, he uses language that assumes that Robert Smalls must have held some loyalty to the Confederate; loyalty that he repudiated by "defecting" to the Union.

Roden is making bad history here; that is, he's making a historical interpretation that isn't right. To Roden, Smalls is not just seeking freedom; he is consciously making a decision about his relationship with the Confederate and Union nations. But there's no proof of that.

Smalls was indeed being disloyal, but his disloyalty was to his master. As an enslaved person, he was "held to service," to use the language of the Constitution. Smalls did not owe anything to the Confederate state, he did owe service to his master. Consciously or unconsciously, Roden incorrectly frames Small's actions as being, in part, about the citizen-state relationship.

It would be correct to say that Smalls' flight to freedom was the beginning of a transformation from a stateless slave to a full-blooded US citizen. Indeed, after the war, the War hero Smalls goes back to his hometown of Beaufort, and runs for Congress. He serves ten years in Congress during Reconstruction - the longest duration of service of ant black Congressmen in the post-war era. But Smalls was not thinking about such a transformation on that day in May 1862. He just wanted freedom for himself and his family.

The idea of putting Smalls' actions within the context of loyalty to the state is baffling. Until you realize Roden's themes. Roden makes the claim

For me there is no difference between a Southern-born African-American like Private Henry "Dad" Brown who served as a drummer, or a 19 year old Southerner of Anglo-Celtic descent like Sergeant Richard Kirkland, or a large plantation owner and Confederate general like Wade Hampton III -- or for that matter my own Confederate ancestor, an Alabama farmer who fell in battle at Chickamauga during the course of the War. All of them wore the same uniform, fought under the same Confederate battle flag (or some variation of it), and all of them were defenders of Southern independence. None of them are worth any more, or any less than the other in my eyes; and neither are those proud descendants of any of those same Confederate veterans.​

Here's the problem with the above: there is a difference between the lived expereinces of free white folks and enslaved black folks. A huge, substantial and overarching difference. Saying there is "no difference" ignores slavery and trivializes its impact. It ignores the role that protecting slavery had in the cause of Southern independence. It's a bad interpretation. It's bad history.

Roden is basically saying that the primacy of the master-slave relationship doesn't matter. It somehow goes away and is subsumed under a desire to seek Confederate independence and serve under the same Confederate flag. That is a theme of his work.

Does that do justice to the experience of Robert Smalls in particular, and black southerners in the Confederate States in general? I don't see how it could.

- Alan
Sir, I believe you are over-examining the writer's words a bit too much and coming to a wrongful conclusion about his motives.
Let's start with the first part about Robert Smalls. I do not believe it was the writer's intent to claim that Smalls was ever truly loyal to the Confederacy. It seems that the word "defect" is simply used in the context of crossing the lines.
As for the rest the writer's words setting the tone for his work, one needs to look at the context in which he writes.
I spent considerable time going over the writer's work, not just this blog post, but others on his website. From what I understand, Mr C.W. Roden was born in 1976 (a member of Generation X), a decade following the Civil Rights Era when the South was moving beyond Jim Crow and was just growing into the New South. Raised in the 80s and most of the 90s, back when "colorblindness" was more a thing than the current political correctness and identity politics. The writer's views are largely consistent in all of his posts, especially his contempt for what one would call "group-think" ideologies.

Strictly speaking if one were to eliminate skin color, class, ect. then one wouldn't view people as anything less than individuals.
To quote the blog post: "For me there is no difference between a Southern-born African-American like Private Henry "Dad" Brown who served as a drummer, or a 19 year old Southerner of Anglo-Celtic descent like Sergeant Richard Kirkland, or a large plantation owner and Confederate general like Wade Hampton III -- or for that matter my own Confederate ancestor, an Alabama farmer who fell in battle at Chickamauga during the course of the War." I am inclined to believe that he really doesn't regard them as any different in the context of his own apparent upbringing and viewpoints. By extension he does not see those descended from those men as different, but as fellow Southerners by his own modern standards of thinking.

I don't believe that a motive on the writer's part was to denigrate the experiences of people who lived back then. In point of fact he acknowledges such distinctions in other works on his blog. When he says there is no difference I believe the writer is actually saying he views each individual as just that, an individual. That in and of itself is not an necessarily attempt at trivializing anyone's experiences.

Also, keep in mind that the writer styles himself as "a simple small-town country writer from upstate South Carolina" rather than a serious historian. A student of history, but makes no claim at being a historian. Most of his blog seems to be devoted to travel and photojournalism, personal stories (most of them using self-deprivation humor, the writer apparently doesn't have a problem poking fun at himself and his issues living with Asperger syndrome). Much of the history mentioned in the blog consists of local history from his part of South Carolina and appears quite proud of the role that part of the state contributed to American history; particularly the Revolutionary War's Southern Campaign.

From what I gathered reading his blog posts, Mr. Roden would probably be considered a true believer in the whole "Heritage, Not Hate" ideal, and seems consistent in that view when it comes to posts about the Civil War era. Most of the posts are pro-Confederate with a few exceptions here and there, but focuses more on the Confederate soldier as a person rather than the causes of the war itself. Also the writer makes not bones about the fact that his views are anti-war, respecting the soldier and his service while opposing the idea of going to war in the first place. He's also on record in supporting monuments to Union soldiers, and even erecting monuments to British Loyalists. This I think shows a refreshing neutrality that one does not often see in someone others would style as a "neo-confederate" and I applaud him for that.

These are just observations based on what I have read. The only real way to know would be to actually write a response to the blog in the comments section of the post. From what I have seen the writer has no problem responding to comments and addressing points of contention. Overall I don't believe that the writer's intention is to undercut the experience of black Southerners (slave or freemen) but rather to express the point that he views them and their descendants as fellow Southerners and human beings worthy of equal respect.
 
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#92
All very telling facts, though only the opinion of one man in a military force that numbered close to a million strong over a course of four years of war. Its been noted that the men, the actual soldiers who served with these Black Confederates had widely different views of these people, some positive and some not so much. Most telling is after the war when these men attended reunions with their former comrades. Apparently the average soldier thought of these men as their fellow veterans.
While I don't discount the words and thoughts of General Gordon, I would argue that his is only one voice out of a million. The fact he was a general does not grant his words any particular privilege.
Also his words fail to take into account the actions of free men of color who enlisted into service jobs and preformed the duties of soldier during the course of the war. The master-slave dynamic would not readily apply in those cases.
RE: though only the opinion of one man in a military force that numbered close to a million strong over a course of four years of war.

I present this only as one man's opinion. I've tried to include one or two texts from the era on the subject, I invite others to do the same.

RE: Apparently the average soldier thought of these men as their fellow veterans.

You'll have to provide me more proof before I can agree. The point of the story about Lee and the old cook is that Lee, purportedly, recognized there was a difference between soldiers, who were doing the fighting and endangering themselves ("Nearly all of our men get shot"), and those in the rear who were dedicated non-combatants.

There's no doubt that all of these men shared a wartime experience, and there was camaraderie that came out of that. No doubt. The question is, did non-combatant service, such as from a servant, elevate a slave to the status of an actual white soldier? Did white soldiers really see these servants as their equals? Was a servant a veteran the way a white fighting soldier was a veteran?

I do know that in the US army, black soldiers did a disproportionate amount of fatigue, or at least, many said this true. They complained of this, and said they wanted to fight. Combat duty seemed more worthy and manly than fatigue/servant type work.

- Alan
 
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#93
I enjoyed the memoir of Martin Jackson. I do however find his part on "the battle of Marshall" puzzling. Wasn't Col. Buchel killed at Mansfield?
I don't know the answer to the question. But it would not surprise me if, 60-70 years later, Jackson got some facts wrong. But it seems that the death itself was a vivid and lingering memory.

- Alan
 
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#94
RE: though only the opinion of one man in a military force that numbered close to a million strong over a course of four years of war.

I present this only as one man's opinion. I've tried to include one or two texts from the era on the subject, I invite others to do the same.

RE: Apparently the average soldier thought of these men as their fellow veterans.

You'll have to provide me more proof before I can agree. The point of the story about Lee and the old cook is that Lee, purportedly, recognized there was a difference between soldiers, who were doing the fighting and endangering themselves ("Nearly all of our men get shot"), and those in the rear who were dedicated non-combatants.

There's no doubt that all of these men shared a wartime experience, and there was camaraderie that came out of that. No doubt. The question is, did non-combatant service, such as from a servant, elevate a slave to the status of an actual white soldier? Did white soldiers really see these servants as their equals? Was a servant a veteran the way a white fighting soldier was a veteran?

I do know that in the US army, black soldiers did a disproportionate amount of fatigue, or at least, many said this true. They complained of this, and said they wanted to fight. Combat duty seemed more worthy and manly than fatigue/servant type work.

- Alan
Interestingly enough other segregated societies had far less difficulties then did the Confederacy arming and even conscription of people of color and yes they certainly were used in combat and not in the last few weeks of a war. Plenty of examples.
Leftyhunter
 
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#96
Sir, I believe you are over-examining the writer's words a bit too much and coming to a wrongful conclusion about his motives.
Let's start with the first part about Robert Smalls. I do not believe it was the writer's intent to claim that Smalls was ever truly loyal to the Confederacy. It seems that the word "defect" is simply used in the context of crossing the lines.
As for the rest the writer's words setting the tone for his work, one needs to look at the context in which he writes.
I spent considerable time going over the writer's work, not just this blog post, but others on his website. From what I understand, Mr C.W. Roden was born in 1976 (a member of Generation X), a decade following the Civil Rights Era when the South was moving beyond Jim Crow and was just growing into the New South. Raised in the 80s and most of the 90s, back when "colorblindness" was more a thing than the current political correctness and identity politics. The writer's views are largely consistent in all of his posts, especially his contempt for what one would call "group-think" ideologies.

Strictly speaking if one were to eliminate skin color, class, ect. then one wouldn't view people as anything less than individuals.
To quote the blog post: "For me there is no difference between a Southern-born African-American like Private Henry "Dad" Brown who served as a drummer, or a 19 year old Southerner of Anglo-Celtic descent like Sergeant Richard Kirkland, or a large plantation owner and Confederate general like Wade Hampton III -- or for that matter my own Confederate ancestor, an Alabama farmer who fell in battle at Chickamauga during the course of the War." I am inclined to believe that he really doesn't regard them as any different in the context of his own apparent upbringing and viewpoints. By extension he does not see those descended from those men as different, but as fellow Southerners by his own modern standards of thinking.

I don't believe that a motive on the writer's part was to denigrate the experiences of people who lived back then. In point of fact he acknowledges such distinctions in other works on his blog. When he says there is no difference I believe the writer is actually saying he views each individual as just that, an individual. That in and of itself is not an necessarily attempt at trivializing anyone's experiences.

Also, keep in mind that the writer styles himself as "a simple small-town country writer from upstate South Carolina" rather than a serious historian. A student of history, but makes no claim at being a historian. Most of his blog seems to be devoted to travel and photojournalism, personal stories (most of them using self-deprivation humor, the writer apparently doesn't have a problem poking fun at himself and his issues living with Asperger syndrome). Much of the history mentioned in the blog consists of local history from his part of South Carolina and appears quite proud of the role that part of the state contributed to American history; particularly the Revolutionary War's Southern Campaign.

From what I gathered reading his blog posts, Mr. Roden would probably be considered a true believer in the whole "Heritage, Not Hate" ideal, and seems consistent in that view when it comes to posts about the Civil War era. Most of the posts are pro-Confederate with a few exceptions here and there, but focuses more on the Confederate soldier as a person rather than the causes of the war itself. Also the writer makes not bones about the fact that his views are anti-war, respecting the soldier and his service while opposing the idea of going to war in the first place. He's also on record in supporting monuments to Union soldiers, and even erecting monuments to British Loyalists. This I think shows a refreshing neutrality that one does not often see in someone others would style as a "neo-confederate" and I applaud him for that.

These are just observations based on what I have read. The only real way to know would be to actually write a response to the blog in the comments section of the post. From what I have seen the writer has no problem responding to comments and addressing points of contention. Overall I don't believe that the writer's intention is to undercut the experience of black Southerners (slave or freemen) but rather to express the point that he views them and their descendants as fellow Southerners and human beings worthy of equal respect.
SFO,

I did hope to make other comments concerning the Roden article. There is more that I wanted to comment on than just about the part about Smalls. But my time here is short, and I might not get to it, we'll see. But the following might just have to suffice.

RE: Let's start with the first part about Robert Smalls. I do not believe it was the writer's intent to claim that Smalls was ever truly loyal to the Confederacy. It seems that the word "defect" is simply used in the context of crossing the lines.

I did consider that possibility. Nonetheless, that's just bad history (a phrase I use when talking about what I believe to be incorrect historical interpretation). If Smalls' goal was not to defect, then the word shouldn't be used. That word does have meaning, and unintentionally or not, it's use does place Smalls' actions in an incorrect context. And it snowballs in combination with other comments that I think are bad history, such that the big picture is a bad look.

RE: I don't believe that a motive on the writer's part was to denigrate the experiences of people who lived back then.

No, I don't believe that, nor do I say that. For the record, I take him at his word that he genuinely wants to honor these men. But I do disagree with his interpretations. I think he starts out with a baseline of sentiments, and then, he aligns his interpretations in accordance with those sentiments. That's not a good way to approach history, whether his intentions are good or bad.

RE: Various comments on Mr Roden's background.

Lately, I have seen several posts that explore the background of writers or authors. That's not something I like to do. I try to get everything I can from what people say. I want to judge Mr Roden's words based on his actual words.

RE: When he says there is no difference I believe the writer is actually saying he views each individual as just that, an individual. That in and of itself is not an necessarily attempt at trivializing anyone's experiences.

It just takes too long to provide an answer that is adequate. First off, we're not talking about individuals. Mr Roden is making lots of comments, some generalizations, about groups of tens of thousands of people.

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

Figure 1: The Confederate Population based on 1860 Census Data: Doing the math from the above, 96% of all African Americans in the Confederate States were enslaved. Given that the master-slave relationship was key for that population, one would think that a discussion of their experience during the War would address that point.

In a perfect world, these comments would be informed, at the least, by an understanding of era race relations, specifically the master-slave relationship. I find that lacking in Mr Roden's article.

For example, he says

Loyalty to community and home were a large factor for many Black Confederates, as it was for the rest of the people in the South. Many people living back in 1860, particularly poor people, knew only the small communities they grew up in. Some folks never traveled more than a couple days walking distance from their homes for most of their lives. Their families were there, either living their lives, or buried in local cemeteries. Some of them several generations that laid their roots there.​
Defending those homes, those communities, and those family bonds were the driving factors for young Southern men to join their local regiments and march off. The martial sense of personal duty most Americans believed in at the time was also a factor -- not to mention the opportunity to see more of the world and get away from their mundane jobs, or chores, for a time.​

In point of fact, the loyalty that blacks owed was to their masters. We know this because their masters said do. We know because the laws said so.

Meanwhile, Roden seems to assume that home meant the same thing to slaves as it did to free whites. It didn't. We have proof. We know that when the war came, tens of thousands of slaves fled their homes to seek freedom with the Union. Very very very few white people did the same. We know that Confederates actually enacted a policy of what I call Negro removal, where slaves were taken from places where the Union was close enough that slaves could escape to their lines. To an extent, the Civil War was a contest for black bodies.

That is, when slaves went off to war, it was not because of duty to community or home. It was because their masters told them to go, and that was that. That's how slavery worked.

And it's not like there were no slaves who wanted to be loyal. Many slaves did have genuine affection for their masters, and were more than happy to follow them to a war zone. Many wanted to look good in the eyes of their masters, as that was worth approval, status, or additional privileges from the master.

Master slave relationships were complicated. Roden oversimplifies to the point of misinterpretation. Comments like "they fought for their homes and communities" asserts that blacks and whites had the exact same attitudes toward their homes, war, and service, and that the relationship with master had little or nothing to do with it. Intentionally or not, this does trivialize the role of slavery in the lives of these folks. If somebody can give me a better word to use, I'll use it.

This gets a little bit into mind-reading, but, it seems to me Mr Roden should know better than make some of these assertions. He's obviously put a lot of time and effort into his research. Is the problem that, the notion that slaves served out of coercion or submission to or even affection for slave masters is a lot less romantic and noble-sounding than the notion that they served out of a desire for southern independence to save their homes?

Again, I hoped to have more to say than this, but I might not have the time to get to it. So perhaps you can have the last word on this.

- Alan
 
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#97
SFO,

I did hope to make other comments concerning the Roden article. There is more that I wanted to comment on than just about the part about Smalls. But my time here is short, and I might not get to it, we'll see. But the following might just have to suffice.

RE: Let's start with the first part about Robert Smalls. I do not believe it was the writer's intent to claim that Smalls was ever truly loyal to the Confederacy. It seems that the word "defect" is simply used in the context of crossing the lines.

I did consider that possibility. Nonetheless, that's just bad history (a phrase I use when talking about what I believe to be incorrect historical interpretation). If Smalls' goal was not to defect, then the word shouldn't be used. That word does have meaning, and unintentionally or not, it's use does place Smalls' actions in an incorrect context. And it snowballs in combination with other comments that I think are bad history, such that the big picture is a bad look.

RE: I don't believe that a motive on the writer's part was to denigrate the experiences of people who lived back then.

No, I don't believe that, nor do I say that. For the record, I take him at his word that he genuinely wants to honor these men. But I do disagree with his interpretations. I think he starts out with a baseline of sentiments, and then, he aligns his interpretations in accordance with those sentiments. That's not a good way to approach history, whether his intentions are good or bad.

RE: Various comments on Mr Roden's background.

Lately, I have seen several posts that explore the background of writers or authors. That's not something I like to do. I try to get everything I can from what people say. I want to judge Mr Roden's words based on his actual words.

RE: When he says there is no difference I believe the writer is actually saying he views each individual as just that, an individual. That in and of itself is not an necessarily attempt at trivializing anyone's experiences.

It just takes too long to provide an answer that is adequate. First off, we're not talking about individuals. Mr Roden is making lots of comments, some generalizations, about groups of tens of thousands of people.

View attachment 307116
Figure 1: The Confederate Population based on 1860 Census Data: Doing the math from the above, 96% of all African Americans in the Confederate States were enslaved. Given that the master-slave relationship was key for that population, one would think that a discussion of their experience during the War would address that point.

In a perfect world, these comments would be informed, at the least, by an understanding of era race relations, specifically the master-slave relationship. I find that lacking in Mr Roden's article.

For example, he says

Loyalty to community and home were a large factor for many Black Confederates, as it was for the rest of the people in the South. Many people living back in 1860, particularly poor people, knew only the small communities they grew up in. Some folks never traveled more than a couple days walking distance from their homes for most of their lives. Their families were there, either living their lives, or buried in local cemeteries. Some of them several generations that laid their roots there.​
Defending those homes, those communities, and those family bonds were the driving factors for young Southern men to join their local regiments and march off. The martial sense of personal duty most Americans believed in at the time was also a factor -- not to mention the opportunity to see more of the world and get away from their mundane jobs, or chores, for a time.​

In point of fact, the loyalty that blacks owed was to their masters. We know this because their masters said do. We know because the laws said so.

Meanwhile, Roden seems to assume that home meant the same thing to slaves as it did to free whites. It didn't. We have proof. We know that when the war came, tens of thousands of slaves fled their homes to seek freedom with the Union. Very very very few white people did the same. We know that Confederates actually enacted a policy of what I call Negro removal, where slaves were taken from places where the Union was close enough that slaves could escape to their lines. To an extent, the Civil War was a contest for black bodies.

That is, when slaves went off to war, it was not because of duty to community or home. It was because their masters told them to go, and that was that. That's how slavery worked.

And it's not like there were no slaves who wanted to be loyal. Many slaves did have genuine affection for their masters, and were more than happy to follow them to a war zone. Many wanted to look good in the eyes of their masters, as that was worth approval, status, or additional privileges from the master.

Master slave relationships were complicated. Roden oversimplifies to the point of misinterpretation. Comments like "they fought for their homes and communities" asserts that blacks and whites had the exact same attitudes toward their homes, war, and service, and that the relationship with master had little or nothing to do with it. Intentionally or not, this does trivialize the role of slavery in the lives of these folks. If somebody can give me a better word to use, I'll use it.

This gets a little bit into mind-reading, but, it seems to me Mr Roden should know better than make some of these assertions. He's obviously put a lot of time and effort into his research. Is the problem that, the notion that slaves served out of coercion or submission to or even affection for slave masters is a lot less romantic and noble-sounding than the notion that they served out of a desire for southern independence to save their homes?

Again, I hoped to have more to say than this, but I might not have the time to get to it. So perhaps you can have the last word on this.

- Alan
All of which are good points. My only point is that it seems the author doesn't have a specific agenda and apparently rejects the idea of racial identity politics as a means of confronting historical fact. That might me a drawback in interpretation, I concede your points there. Mr Roden can speak for himself on that one, I left a link to this page on his blog. Waiting to see if he respond to it.
All the same from what I have observed those opposed to the idea of Black Confederates tend to do more than just a bit of "mind reading" themselves. Every individual has a mind of their own, even slaves. Assuming to know how they thought as individuals based on presumptions of how these people lived is problematic at best, dishonest at worst.
There's also the matter of free blacks in the South. How slaves thought probably wouldn't apply in their case. They certainly faced different experiences than those enslaved and likely thought of themselves differently. Maybe they too thought of themselves as Southern and were willing to fight for the South of their own free will? Again I don't know for certain. My area is World War 2 (I can go all day on that subject!)
Your point about the war being about "black bodies" is one I want to touch on though. It was the Union that started out capturing slaves as "contraband" was it not? As property, not as people in the legal sense. Even the Emancipation Proclimation's final draft excluded freedom for slaves in Southern territory under Union control as of Jan. 1, 1863. It strikes me that a so-called righteous cause of freedom would have said screw politics and simply done what was right. If Britain has interferred then we could have kicked their ***** too if need be. If you have the courage of your convictions and the will to see it through, God always chooses the right.
 
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#98
All of which are good points. My only point is that it seems the author doesn't have a specific agenda and apparently rejects the idea of racial identity politics as a means of confronting historical fact. That might me a drawback in interpretation, I concede your points there. Mr Roden can speak for himself on that one, I left a link to this page on his blog. Waiting to see if he respond to it.
All the same from what I have observed those opposed to the idea of Black Confederates tend to do more than just a bit of "mind reading" themselves. Every individual has a mind of their own, even slaves. Assuming to know how they thought as individuals based on presumptions of how these people lived is problematic at best, dishonest at worst.
There's also the matter of free blacks in the South. How slaves thought probably wouldn't apply in their case. They certainly faced different experiences than those enslaved and likely thought of themselves differently. Maybe they too thought of themselves as Southern and were willing to fight for the South of their own free will? Again I don't know for certain. My area is World War 2 (I can go all day on that subject!)
Your point about the war being about "black bodies" is one I want to touch on though. It was the Union that started out capturing slaves as "contraband" was it not? As property, not as people in the legal sense. Even the Emancipation Proclimation's final draft excluded freedom for slaves in Southern territory under Union control as of Jan. 1, 1863. It strikes me that a so-called righteous cause of freedom would have said screw politics and simply done what was right. If Britain has interferred then we could have kicked their ***** too if need be. If you have the courage of your convictions and the will to see it through, God always chooses the right.
I'm not sure how you can extricate racial identity politics from a conflict that was based on racial supremacy. And yes, whites are just as often perpetrators of racial identity politics as any other group.

And God always chooses the right? That's not even close to being historically accurate, even if you presume there is a supreme deity and can ascertain which interpretation of it is valid.
 
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#99
As noted in Wiki, Confederate Veteran magazine was "the official organ first of the United Confederate Veterans and later of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the Confederate Southern Memorial Society." It spoke to, about, and for Confederate veterans and their families.

In the Vol XIII, no. 9, issue of the magazine, pages 421-423, an article speaks about issues of commemoration for faithful slaves, servants of Civil War veterans, and ongoing race relations.

The article is titled "White People and Negroes." it begins with this:

white-people-png-png.png


The article continues, and talks about two men, "Uncle" Jerry Perkins and Jerry May, who were former slaves and Confederate camp servants. The articles notes that the masters of both men were enlisted, but not the two men themselves. Both of them were regular attendees at military reunions.

Both are lauded by CW magazine. Uncle Jerry, during the war, had walked miles to recover the body of his fallen master, and bring it home. Jerry May, who was a mail carrier after the war, was thanked for helping his former mistress get an army pension.

Confederate-Veteran-first.jpg

Confederate-Veteran-Second.jpg

Confederate Veterans magazine "honors" these former camp servants in its own unique way.

The article features photographs of both men. Right next to the photo of Jerry May, the article ends with a statement about modern day race relations:

These are sincere suggestions to young negroes as to how they may ingratiate themselves into the good will of white people. It would be well for them to consider how they can best advance their highest interests. Those of the South should not forget that the element of their color at the North are no credit to the race as a class, and that the result is fast creating far bitterer prejudices against them in that section than has ever existed in the South.​
If young negroes at the South would accept conditions that cannot be overcome and steadfastly avoid impolite, not to say, impudent methods, they would speedily find friendships... that would be as lasting as it is with their parents.​
It is for the good of all and more for the inferior race that generally good relations exist. The Southern people remember the amiable dispositions of the race, and will be diligent to aid them if they will adopt the only method possible for friendly relations.​
Note that, the actions of "Uncle" Jerry Perkins and Jerry May are specifically and explicitly placed into the context of the race relations of the day. These men are not admired simply because of the service to their masters during the war. They are seen as role models for the "young negroes" of the day.

As stated in the start of the article, young negroes should understand that "aspirations for social equality will ever be their calamity." It is the "old-time negroe(s)" like former camp servants Perkins and May who are the "successful negroes." The "old-time negroe(s)" understood that no matter how "much wealth they accumulated," even "poor white trash" would "no more defer to them than white masters did to their slaves."

Camp servants Perkins and May were exemplars of "the inferior race." The honor given to them was based in part on their acceptance of their place. That is, the honor they were given was qualified and conditional.

We can only guess what these two men, and their friends and families, thought about this recognition they had been given.

Clearly, Confederate Veterans would have denied these men their honor if they had not accepted their inferior status or agitated for racial equality. In point of fact, they were not being honored just for their service during the war; but also for their subservience to the superior race after the war.

I am not hereby saying that persons considered as black Confederates should be thought of this way. I am showing what actual Confederate veterans thought of such men at the time. All of the information I am providing will, I hope, enable us to make accurate interpretations of this part of our history. So for example: what do these comments from Confederate Veteran indicate about the way white Southerns viewed camp servants and other African Americans during the war?

- Alan
 
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All of which are good points. My only point is that it seems the author doesn't have a specific agenda and apparently rejects the idea of racial identity politics as a means of confronting historical fact. That might me a drawback in interpretation, I concede your points there. Mr Roden can speak for himself on that one, I left a link to this page on his blog. Waiting to see if he respond to it.
All the same from what I have observed those opposed to the idea of Black Confederates tend to do more than just a bit of "mind reading" themselves. Every individual has a mind of their own, even slaves. Assuming to know how they thought as individuals based on presumptions of how these people lived is problematic at best, dishonest at worst.
There's also the matter of free blacks in the South. How slaves thought probably wouldn't apply in their case. They certainly faced different experiences than those enslaved and likely thought of themselves differently. Maybe they too thought of themselves as Southern and were willing to fight for the South of their own free will? Again I don't know for certain. My area is World War 2 (I can go all day on that subject!)
Your point about the war being about "black bodies" is one I want to touch on though. It was the Union that started out capturing slaves as "contraband" was it not? As property, not as people in the legal sense. Even the Emancipation Proclimation's final draft excluded freedom for slaves in Southern territory under Union control as of Jan. 1, 1863. It strikes me that a so-called righteous cause of freedom would have said screw politics and simply done what was right. If Britain has interferred then we could have kicked their ***** too if need be. If you have the courage of your convictions and the will to see it through, God always chooses the right.
RE: There's also the matter of free blacks in the South. How slaves thought probably wouldn't apply in their case.

This is true. I have made the point in the past that free blacks should be considered separately from enslaved blacks when talking about things like black Confederates.

Having said that, it also has to be noted that free blacks were just 1.5% of the Confederate population, and less than 4% of the African descent population. Demographically, they are most notable because there were so few of them. I am not trying to say to ignore them, but making much of their experience is like making a mountain out of a molehill.

{Incidentally, much is made of free blacks in Louisiana. But that state had maybe 10,000 free black males at most, and of course not all were able bodied adult males. Meanwhile two out of every three free blacks within the CSA lived in just two states: North Carolina and Virginia. A great idea for a thesis would be to look at free blacks in those states during the Civil War. Meanwhile, only 14% of all Confederate free blacks resided in Louisiana.}

RE: They (free blacks) certainly faced different experiences than those enslaved and likely thought of themselves differently. Maybe they too thought of themselves as Southern and were willing to fight for the South of their own free will?

I'm not sure I get the question. I would say, there's no question they thought of themselves as Southerners... they were Southerners. Why would they not think of themselves as Southerners? Just because they were not part of the white Southern majority, they were no less Southern. The South was not a white monolith.

Black Union men were fighting for the South. It's just that, they weren't fighting for the Confederate cause. They had a vision of the South in which black Southerners had freedom and equality. That was not an anti-South proposition, that was a pro-liberty position.

RE: My only point is that it seems the author doesn't have a specific agenda...

People use the word agenda a lot, and I'm not sure what it means or even what it proves. I think we all have specific views of the world, or things that interest us, or positions that we take. All of that is fine.

The problem is not having an agenda, it's losing objectivity. But I do not believe in assuming somebody has lost their objectivity just because they have opinions on things. Nor do I think all "bad" historical interpretations are the result of having an agenda; it could be that somebody lacks all the facts, for example.

I will let the author say if he has an agenda or not. What I will say is, it seems like he comes into this project about black Confederates with certain sentiments in mind, and I wonder what impacts that's had on his interpretations, which I find are flawed in several ways.

RE: ...and apparently rejects the idea of racial identity politics as a means of confronting historical fact.

To be frank, I am not sure that the author does or does not "reject the idea of racial identity politics as a means of confronting historical fact," or even, what that means.

It's not racial politics to talk about the important role that slavery played in the lives of blacks southerners. Their problem was not that they were black; their problem was that they were enslaved. If folks don't want to discuss racial identity, that's one thing. But if they look at history in a way that doesn't reckon with the effect of slavery on people's lives and decision-making, that is a problem.

RE: Your point about the war being about "black bodies" is one I want to touch on though. It was the Union that started out capturing slaves as "contraband" was it not?

This is off-topic. I will answer, but I won't go back this point.

When I stated "To an extent, the Civil War was a contest for black bodies," I was talking about both the Union and the Confederacy. The Union's policy of emancipation and black enlistment was borne of military necessity, and Union men said so.

But consider these contrasting statements. In August 1863, Lincoln says this concerning his emancipation and black enlistment policy:
I thought that in your struggle for the Union, to whatever extent the negroes should cease helping the enemy, to that extent it weakened the enemy in his resistence to you. Do you think differently? I thought that whatever negroes can be got to do as soldiers, leaves just so much less for white soldiers to do, in saving the Union. Does it appear otherwise to you?​
But negroes, like other people, act upon motives. Why should they do any thing for us, if we will do nothing for them? If they stake their lives for us, they must be prompted by the strongest motive--even the promise of freedom. And the promise being made, must be kept.​

In 1881, after the war, Jefferson Davis says this
[The] servile instincts [of slaves] rendered them contented with their lot, and their patient toil blessed the land of their abode with unmeasured riches. Their strong local and personal attachment secured faithful service ... never was there happier dependence of labor and capital on each other. The tempter came, like the serpent of Eden, and decoyed them with the magic word of 'freedom'​
... He put arms in their hands, and trained their humble but emotional natures to deeds of violence and bloodshed, and sent them out to devastate their benefactors.​

Yes, it was a fight for black bodies. But Lincoln said that negroes were "like other people." He talked about them as having a desire for freedom, for which they would stake their lives. Meanwhile, Davis said that negroes were marked by servile instincts, happy to be slaves, and would only fight for freedom when seduced by "the serpent" to do so.

These two men voiced very different ideas about the souls in those bodies. Maybe their two nations had differing ideas of the hopes and humanity of black men and women.

- Alan
 
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