Limited Debate Don't Deny Black Confederate Valor

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Tin cup

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Excellent blog post, and in the last few years of researching this subject, I have seen many of the same facts he points out and seen many of the same reactions from people who would rather downplay this topic. It is a controversial one, and as I've said before, the controversy is what drew my attention to it in the first place.

I thought his definitions were quite useful:

So what is the proper definition of a Black Confederate?​
These are the three best examples of how one can best define a Black Confederate:​
(1) 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.
(2) Any black male, slaver or freeman, who served in the Confederate military in any service capacity captured by Union forces, imprisoned in Union prisoner of war camps, and refused despite all efforts by the enemy to take the oath of loyalty, desert, or behave in any way disloyal to the Confederate military, or the Confederacy.
(3) Any black Southern civilian who, of their own free will, volunteered their service, or preformed any action in support of, or in defense of, the Confederacy against the Union invader.
Your opinion(s) are noted, but you fail to show where the Confederate Government allowed the blacks/slaves in the ranks to have the same status (Confederate) as the whites. I don't see anywhere written that they did so, have you? I don't see any laws written that made them so, nothing in the Confederate OR's, Proclamations, or in the debate records.

So why are folk calling them "Black Confederates" today, when they didn't back then?

Kevin Dally
 
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GwilymT

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In 2019 "Confederate" or "Confederacy" might be invective, but Confederate did not become a bad word until after the war. That's how war propaganda works. Edited.

I don't think you can find anyone in 1860 offended by referring to the states as part of a confederacy or themselves as confederates.
People referred to the government created by the Constitution as a confederacy from Madison, Hamilton and Jefferson to the inaugural addresses of Polk and Pierce. So, the founders were Confederates. (lol) The CSA Constitution is modeled on the USA Constitution, based on the work of the same founders and framers, so how can only one version of it be called a confederacy? There is no historical basis for people of the "Yankee" persuasion trying to take vicarious umbrage on behalf of people in history who voiced no objection to the label.

Union and Confederacy in plain English (and in antebellum times) are not mutually exclusive. A confederacy is a union (a union of states, in this case). The AoC, A1, says the style (name) of this Confederacy is the United States. In that article, confederacy is a "form" of government, and the United States is a label. In modern semantics, the label, the United States, shortened to "the Union,"or just "Union" is somehow perceived as a separate form of government from Confederacy. And Union is a good word, while confederacy is a bad word.

The notion that slaves would fight for the masters or see the state as their homeland may sound strange to modern ears, but you should consider, for example, James Armistead. The histories I have read said that he was motivated to fight by seeing the British destroy property in Richmond.
So “confederate” doesn’t, in the context you and all of the previous posters on this thread have used it, refer to a participant or supporter of the southern rebellion in the 1860s? Madison, Davis, Lee, Sherman, Grant, Lincoln, you and me are confederates?
 

ForeverFree

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War Songs of the South is a book of poems that was edited by William G. Shepperson. For those interested in Confederate culture, it's an interesting read.

One of the poems in the book is "A Southern Scene From Life." It is unattributed. The poem also appeared in a southern newspaper, and considered editorial content; hence the phrase "our opinion" at the top of the poem below. Members will find this of interest.

Scene from Southern Life Mammy.jpg


A poignant section of the poem intertwines the notions of freedom and death:

"De dear Lord Jesus soon will call​
Old Mammy home to him,​
An' he kin wash her guilty soul​
From every spot of sin;​
An' at His feet I shill sit down,​
Who died an' rose for me,​
An' den' an' not 'till den, my chile,​
Your Mammy will be free.​

For the slave in this poem, freedom will come when Jesus calls her to the grave. And she's OK with that.

You have to wonder: is this really something an enslaved person would say... and mean it? Or is this a case of enslavers, believing that slaves were happy and contented, projecting their delusions?

viewing-the-emancipation-proclamation.jpg


This is from the National Archives:

This photograph shows 88-year-old Mrs. Sally Fickland, a former slave, looking at the Emancipation Proclamationin 1947.​
She would have been 3 years old when Lincoln signed the proclamation in 1862.​
The document was in Philadelphia that day on the first stop on the Freedom Train tour. The Freedom Train carried the Emancipation Proclamation and the Bill of Rights across America (on a) 413-day tour, 3.5 million people in 322 cities in 48 states (saw the document).​

I am often moved by the sight of the image. Fortunately for Fickland, she did not have to die to get her freedom.

I wonder if Fickland's mother was a Mammy, taking care of other people's children? I wonder what her mother thought of the Confederate nation, Confederate independence, and the impact that the war and its outcome would have on her and her children.

It has been suggested that everyone who lived in the Confederate States was a Conferate. But what exactly did being a Confederate mean to Sally Fickland's mother and family?

- Alan
 
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THREE MEN NAMED ELLIS: From the Encyclopedia Virginia:
Confederate Reunion
Sporting badges from a Confederate reunion, three men named Ellis pose for a photographer. The image is part of the Cook collection at the Valentine Richmond History Center, and it was probably made during the United Confederate Veterans' national reunion that was held in Richmond Virginia in 1907.​
The two men in uniform wear caps with pins that spell out "CAV," perhaps a reference to their having served in the Confederate cavalry. The African American man at center, with his arms on the shoulders of the ex-soldiers, shares a common surname with them and perhaps accompanied the men to war as a body servant. The image conveys the Lost Cause point of view that accentuates the role of African Americans as "faithful slaves," loyal to their masters and the Confederate cause.​
Original Author: Unknown​
Created: ca. 1907​
Medium: Photographic print​

*****

I invite readers to look at this photograph in light of the comments made about camp servants who are commemorated in Confederate Veteran magazine at this link. How does the article from the magazine affect the way you view the photograph?

- Alan
No not really. I still accept Mr. Roden's arguments as valid and this information doesn't dispute the points made in the original blog post. I'm sorry, but they really don't.
 
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War Songs of the South is a book of poems that was edited by William G. Shepperson. For those interested in Confederate culture, it's an interesting read.

One of the poems in the book is "A Southern Scene From Life." It is unattributed. The poem also appeared in a southern newspaper, and considered editorial content; hence the phrase "our opinion" at the top of the poem below. Members will find this of interest.

View attachment 307563

A poignant section of the poem intertwines the notions of freedom and death:

"De dear Lord Jesus soon will call​
Old Mammy home to him,​
An' he kin wash her guilty soul​
From every spot of sin;​
An' at His feet I shill sit down,​
Who died an' rose for me,​
An' den' an' not 'till den, my chile,​
Your Mammy will be free.​

For the slave in this poem, freedom will come when Jesus calls her to the grave. And she's OK with that.

You have to wonder: is this really something an enslaved person would say... and mean it? Or is this a case of enslavers, believing that slaves were happy and contented, projecting their delusions?

View attachment 307569

This is from the National Archives:

This photograph shows 88-year-old Mrs. Sally Fickland, a former slave, looking at the Emancipation Proclamationin 1947.​
She would have been 3 years old when Lincoln signed the proclamation in 1862.​
The document was in Philadelphia that day on the first stop on the Freedom Train tour. The Freedom Train carried the Emancipation Proclamation and the Bill of Rights across America (on a) 413-day tour, 3.5 million people in 322 cities in 48 states (saw the document).​

I am often moved by the sight of the image. Fortunately for Fickland, she did not have to die to get her freedom.

I wonder if Fickland's mother was a Mammy, taking care of other people's children? I wonder what her mother thought of the Confederate nation, Confederate independence, and the impact that the war and its outcome would have on her and her children.

It has been suggested that everyone who lived in the Confederate States was a Conferate. But what exactly did being a Confederate mean to Sally Fickland's mother and family?

- Alan
Can you say for certain that YOU know, my friend? If so that is quite a claim to make.
 
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"Men of African descent from the South, had also fought on many occasions, alongside their slave masters and their fellow Caucasian southerners during the war.
There had always existed a close relationship between many Caucasian slave masters families and some of their African American slaves.
Many of them had played together when they were children.
During the war many would fight if necessary beside their masters who were in the Confederate Army.
That is why it has been recently erroneously reported; that there were regiments of ‘negroes’ fighting for the Confederacy.
They were not part of any military unit.
Just some slaves fighting besides their masters."


Click below to 'read' the complete article.

Thanks.

https://chiniquy.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/the-american-civil-war/

View attachment 307295
The original blog post in question does not contend that these men were officially recognized as Confederate soldiers by the Confederate government as an entity. So why does it seem like everyone here opposed to the service of these men continue to reiterate again and again on this point, when the blogger himself concedes the point? It just seems like this argument is going in circles and getting absolutely nowhere.
 

ForeverFree

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Looks like a lot of folk are stuck on the word citizen - "there can't be any BC soldiers because they were not citizens, etc."

The great majority of the USCT were not citizens. Native Americans who joined the US army were not citizens. And probably a large number of whites in that army were not citizens.

The 'citizen test' doesn't work. Sorry.
Just some thoughts.

(1) If the definition of "Confederate" is someone who is a resident of the Confederate States, or a member of Confederate society, then all enlsaved people were Confederates. If the definition of "Confederate" is someone who is a citizen of the Confederate States, then no enlsaved people were Confederates. These definitions can make a difference.

If a necessary and inherent part of being a Confederate was being free citizen, then enslaved Southerners were not Confederates. I suspect that if you asked a Southern white person of the time what they saw when they envisioned a Confederate, 99% would see a white man or woman in his or her mind. They would see enslaved people as the slaves of Confederates.

Did either Confederate whites or enslaved blacks think of slaves as Confederates? Or is this an example of presentism?

(2) It has been asserted that people of Africa descent performed service to the Confederacy out of support for the Confederate cause of southern independence. But I think it is correct to say that enslaved people acted out of coercion or submission to or even perhaps genuine affection for and loyalty to their masters. That is, the master-slave relationship was key, not a state-citizen relationship.

Service to a government comes from a legal relationship with a government. Mere residency in a place does not make somebody a citizen. It is the nation-state that decides who is a citizen, or, who can (or will be forced to) fight or serve the nation in a time of war, even if they are not a citizen.

When the war began, African Americans could not join the US Army. In July 1862, the US passed laws which allowed black men to join the army. As discussed in previous posts, we recognize now that African Americans in the Union military were fighting for the cause of freedom and equality, and saw service in the Union military, for example, as the vehicle for gaining this things. Essentially, African Americans entered into an alliance with the Union, not necessarily to achieve the Union cause, but for their own self-interests.

We would do well, then, to ponder, what self-interests were served for a person of African who supported the Confederate cause of an independent South?

(3) Just as was the case with the Union, legal issues were an obstacle for black enlistment in the Confederate Army. This is from the 1864 Regulations for the Army of the Confederate States:

-confederate-regulations-1864-white-enlistment-gif.gif


Regulations say that enlistment was open to "any free white male." We do know exceptions were made for cooks and musicians. And there were non-cooks and musicians who enlisted as well, but these are considered outliers and exceptions, they were not the rule.

We are all familiar with the following:

OR-Mobile-Soldier-5.gif


In November 1863, Maj Gen Dabney Maury asked for permission to enlist free blacks for service. CSA Sec of War James Seddon replied that "our position with the North and before the world will not allow the employment as armed soldiers of negroes"; this is from the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion

Again, we know for a fact that there were black men who enlisted in the Confederate army. We know that on some rare occasions, there were camp servants or other black men who fired a shot in anger for the Confederacy. But that was not something that the Confederate government thought was a good idea, and they said as much to Confederate military authorities.

(4) It was not until March 1865 ~ one month before Lee's surrender at Appomattox ~ that the Confederate government authorized the enlistment of slaves. In advocating for the law allowing the enlistment of slaves, CSA Gen R E Lee wrote to Andrew Hunter, a Virginia politician:

Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia​
January 11, 1865​
(To) Hon. Andrew Hunter​
Richmond, Va.:​
Dear Sir:​
...I think, therefore, we must decide whether slavery shall be extinguished by our enemies and the slaves be used against us, or use them ourselves at the risk of the effects which must be produced upon our social institutions. My opinion is that we should employ them without delay.​
Our chief aim should be to secure their fidelity… it is certain that the surest foundation upon which the fidelity of an army can rest, especially in a service which imposes peculiar hardships and privations, is the personal interest of the soldier in the issue of the contest. Such an interest we can give our negroes by giving immediate freedom to all who enlist, and freedom at the end of the war to the families of those who discharge their duties faithfully (whether they survive or not), together with the privilege of residing at the South. To this might be added a bounty for faithful service.​

What is key is that Lee is under no illusion that slaves will fight for the Confederacy, or the Confederate cause, or for southern independence. He does not recommend appealing to African Americans's sense of patriotism to the South. Lee says that to "secure the fidelity" of slaves turned soldiers, the "personal interest of the soldier" must be addressed. Lee says "such an interest we can give our negroes by giving immediate freedom to all who enlist."

(5) I get back to this point: what did being a Confederate mean to white Confederates and black slaves, in the 1860s? How many people considered black people to be "Confederates," legally or otherwise? I don't think they saw slaves as fellow Confederates with the duties and obligations that citizenship entails. I think they thought of slaves as just slaves, who might break out of that role once every blue moon. Some folks would say these modern day views of Black Confederates are presentism...

- Alan
 
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scone

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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, and especially in my 18 years as a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, this writer has had the privilege of meeting various descendants of Confederate veterans from all walks of life. All of them (men, women and children alike) share with me the honor of being the descendant of the Southern citizen soldier -- both the honored dead who fell during the War Between the States (1861-1865) and those who lived on during the Reconstruction Era and beyond as United Confederate Veterans.
There was a colored flag barrier at Stones River 8th TN or 10th TN infantry I had a picture of once Name first name was George forgot Last Big Fellow
 
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scone

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George Dance was in a picture that was made before 1914 at the Lynchburg, Moore County, Tennessee, courthouse. In it a number of elderly men were posing for a reunion for the area Confederate Veterans. Other pictures from around 1900 taken from Gen’l N.B. Forrest’s Escort reunion, again reveal George Dance with his fellow Vets. For some people these pictures are a problem. For SCV members it is not! A check with a genealogical online service indicates George Dance was a Confederate Veteran. He was obviously at a reunion with his veteran comrades. He had applied for a Confederate pension number C46 in Moore County, Tennessee, having served in the 8th TN Infantry, CSA. Oh yes, why is this a problem to some? George Dance is black. Was George a free black when the uncivil war broke out? Currently no information is available and more importantly, does it matter?

George Dance was born Jan 1, 1842 and died Nov. 12, 1924. This information was obtained from the photograph that also contained the dates of birth and death of the other men. Presently, very little is known about George Dance. The state of Tennessee census records of 1891, page 27, indicates he in District 1 as a registered male voter. He, his wife America, and their three children are in the 1880 U.S. census of Moore County. He is listed as a farmer and she as keeping house. All are listed as being born in Tennessee. Next he was found in the 1910 U.S. census of Moore County as widowed, employed in a grist mill, and a survivor of the war. The census does indicate he said he was born in Alabama. He is next found in the 1920 U.S. census of Moore County as widowed, not employed, and living with a son and family. A granddaughter is named America. Again it states he was born in Alabama. There is a state of Tennessee record of marriage in Moore County, between George Dance and Maggie Travis, of 11 Dec. 1873. Could she possibly be Maggie America Travis

?
 

ForeverFree

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No not really. I still accept Mr. Roden's arguments as valid and this information doesn't dispute the points made in the original blog post. I'm sorry, but they really don't.
I'm under no illusion that I can change minds. What I have done is provide some docs to the forum that might tell a different story than the one you or others might be familiar with. Perhaps you can weave these together to make a narrative that challenges your perceptions or beliefs. Or maybe those docs tell you nothing new, or simply mean nothing to you. It is what it is.

Can you say for certain that YOU know, my friend? If so that is quite a claim to make.
The poem is probably fiction, a romantic fiction. At its core is the "contented slave" myth. If you are interested in reading about that subject, a good source is Emotional and Sectional Conflict in the Antebellum United States by Michael E. Woods. It's not the easiest read in the world, but after the 1st chapter, it gets good.

I go back to this stanza of the poem:

"De dear Lord Jesus soon will call​
Old Mammy home to him,​
An' he kin wash her guilty soul​
From every spot of sin;​
An' at His feet I shill sit down,​
Who died an' rose for me,​
An' den' an' not 'till den, my chile,​
Your Mammy will be free.​

Question: how many white people would say that? During the Civil War, white men fought and died for the cause of political independence. The woman in this poem says she's happy to be a slave and will be happy to be free when she dies. The assumption of the poem is that black people don't have the same hopes, dreams, and goals as white people. Do you think that's true?

Robert E Lee thought otherwise. In advocating for slave enlistment in early 1865 he said:

Our chief aim should be to secure their (enlisted slaves') fidelity… it is certain that the surest foundation upon which the fidelity of an army can rest, especially in a service which imposes peculiar hardships and privations, is the personal interest of the soldier in the issue of the contest. Such an interest we can give our negroes by giving immediate freedom to all who enlist, and freedom at the end of the war to the families of those who discharge their duties faithfully (whether they survive or not), together with the privilege of residing at the South. To this might be added a bounty for faithful service.

That is: Lee did think that enslaved people wanted freedom, and would fight for it. Lee was not engaging in romantic fiction. For him, at that moment, enlisting slaves was a matter of life and death for the Confederacy. No time for pretenses and delusions like slave contentment or patriotism for the Confederate cause... the prospects of defeat afforded a heightened sense of clarity.

- Alan
 
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19thGeorgia

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Slaves owed their service to their masters, not the state. There were Southerners who would call slaves who supported the Union traitors, but the claim was legally dubious.
- Alan
OK I'll change treason to insurrection/rebellion - which are practically the same and incur the same punishment.

Based on that and for all intents and purposes they owed their allegiance to the state.
 
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19thGeorgia

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As far as a majority of the USCT'S not being United States citizens, that would be incorrect. In 1863, the Attorney General of the United States released a written legal opinion that stated free Blacks were in fact, citizens of the United States. The legal opinion was never challenged in court and therefore held the weight of law.
If so, there would be no need for the 14th amendment (1868).
 
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Shelby's Foot

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So “confederate” doesn’t, in the context you and all of the previous posters on this thread have used it, refer to a participant or supporter of the southern rebellion in the 1860s? Madison, Davis, Lee, Sherman, Grant, Lincoln, you and me are confederates?
Words have more than one meaning. And politics has a way of taking over the meaning of words. It's no less confusing for me than it is for you.
 

ForeverFree

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If so, there would be no need for the 14th amendment (1868).
The 14th Amendment was needed because post-Confederates would not recognize or allow African American citizenship, forcing the need to codify citizenship in the Constitution. That is, white southern resistance to black citizenship prompted the 14th Amendment.

OK I'll change treason to insurrection/rebellion - which are practically the same and incur the same punishment. Based on that and for all intents and purposes they owed their allegiance to the state.
So you're saying that secession was "practically the same" as one big slave rebellion? Hmmm...

Interestingly, Judah Philip Benjamin of said this in the United States Senate, December 31, 1860

The wrongs under which the South is now suffering, and for which she seeks redress, seem to arise chiefly from a difference in our construction of the Constitution. You, Senators of the Republican party, assert, and your people whom you represent assert, that, under a just and fair interpretation of the Federal Constitution, it is right that you deny that our slaves, which directly and indirectly involve a value of more than four thousand million dollars, are property at all, or entitled to protection in Territories owned by the common Government...​
What may be the fate of this horrible contest (possible war between the US and secessionists), no man can tell, none pretend to foresee; but this much I will say: the fortunes of war may be adverse to our arms; you may carry desolation into our peaceful land, and with torch and fire you may set our cities in flames; you may even emulate the atrocities of those who, in the war of the Revolution, hounded on the blood-thirsty savage to attack upon the defenceless frontier; you may under the protection of your advancing armies, give shelter to the furious fanatics who desire, and profess to desire, nothing more than to add all the horrors of a servile insurrection to the calamities of civil war; you may do all this---and more, too, if more there be---but you never can subjugate us; you never can convert the free sons of the soil into vassals, paying tribute to your power; and you never, never can degrade them to the level of an inferior and servile race. Never! Never!
Benjamin seemed to think that white Southerners were being treated like slaves. I'm not sure about what actual enslaved people thought of that proposition...

- Alan
 

Rebforever

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Many southerners stayed loyal to the United States and would likely be offended by being referred to as a confederate. Also, I think it is fair that the title “confederate” should only apply to citizens of those states, not just the people living there. We don’t consider immigrants or expats living in the US “Americans” until they are citizens.

Further, as the CSA government was never a legal enterprise and amounted to nothing more than a failed rebellion, only those citizens actively supporting the rebellion can really be called “confederate”.

I short, just because a person was living in a state at the time it rebelled does not qualify that person as a confederate.
Your opinion is noted without response.
 
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