Family of African-American Confederate veteran, of Salley accepts Statehouse honor

jgoodguy

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It did no such thing.
Agreed. Veterans in the classic sense: enlisted/drafted, drew pay, and mustered out.
Bee you need to add subject to military laws or control. For example a Civil War soldier who want to go home had to go through his or her chain of command. Usually the company commander would get permission from the regimental commander to allow a person to go home on a pass. A personal servant or personal cook only had to get permission form the person who paid them or owned them to go home on pass. A soldier who misbehaves faces military justice, a personal servant or cook will not face military justice for doing so.
IMHO if the Great State of South Carolina declares a person to be a veteran of their military, then that makes them a veteran because we do not determine what a veteran is, but the government of that military does ,in this case South Carolina. "hompson served as a cook for the Confederacy under Sam Webb, who was in Company A, 1st Regiment of the Reserves." That appears to me to be a SC State Force.
 

Bee

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IMHO if the Great State of South Carolina declares a person to be a veteran of their military, then that makes them a veteran because we do not determine what a veteran is, but the government of that military does ,in this case South Carolina. "hompson served as a cook for the Confederacy under Sam Webb, who was in Company A, 1st Regiment of the Reserves." That appears to me to be a SC State Force.

This gets more than a bit confusing: The SC of 2017 declares a person a veteran, but the army she served would not have allowed her to be a veteran at the time of said "service".
 

jgoodguy

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This gets more than a bit confusing: The SC of 2017 declares a person a veteran, but the army she served would not have allowed her to be a veteran at the time of said "service".
Indeed it is, but no different from any posthumous honor. Sort of like Joan of Arc getting her conviction overturned.
 

cash

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IMHO if the Great State of South Carolina declares a person to be a veteran of their military, then that makes them a veteran because we do not determine what a veteran is, but the government of that military does ,in this case South Carolina. "hompson served as a cook for the Confederacy under Sam Webb, who was in Company A, 1st Regiment of the Reserves." That appears to me to be a SC State Force.

South Carolina did not declare she was a veteran.
 

jgoodguy

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For the record, I enter into evidence this transcript from the movie "Miracle on 54 Street'

Fred Gailey: Your Honor, every one of these letters is addressed to Santa Claus. The Post Office has delivered them. Therefore the Post Office Department, a branch of the Federal Governent, recognizes this man Kris Kringle to be the one and only Santa Claus.

Judge Henry X. Harper: Uh, since the United States Government declares this man to be Santa Claus, this court will not dispute it. Case dismissed.

Continuing on:
It appears that the South Carolina Senate, a branch of the South Carolina Government recognizes Lavinia Thompson, to be the one and only female Black Confederate Veteran from South Carolina. A veteran by government declaration.

2017-2018 Bill 329: Lavinia Thompson - South Carolina Legislature

A SENATE RESOLUTION

TO RECOGNIZE AND HONOR LAVINIA THOMPSON, AN AFRICAN AMERICAN FEMALE CONFEDERATE VETERAN.
Whereas, the finding of Lavinia Thompson, an African American female Confederate Veteran, was a remarkable discovery, and Betsy R. Bloomer was extremely generous to share her research and bring the story to light; and
A quick reading of the resolution leaves the reader thinking that Lavinia Thompson was a free black though I doubt it. I sense a bit of misdirection.
Whereas, Lavinia Thompson was born June 3, 1844 in Aiken County, South Carolina, daughter to Robert Staley and Phillis Corley. In the census data, her name was spelled a variety of different ways and, at times, was also shortened to a nickname, such as Viney or Elviny; and
This appears to happen before the Civil War, but Lavinia would have been less than 17 at the start of the Civil War and 10 children seems to be a bit too many to have had by that time.
Whereas, census data generally concludes that Lavinia married Logan, a farmer, and kept a household with him of ten children, to include daughter, Dora; daughter, Della; daughter, Carey; son, Willie; son, Robert “Free”; daughter, Effie; son, Oscar; son, Governor; and daughter, Queen; and
Looks like Lavinia 'served' from age 19 to 21.
Whereas, Lavinia Thompson served the State of South Carolina as a cook in the Civil War, under Sam Webb, who was in Company A, 1st Regiment of Reserves. She served continuously from September 1, 1863 to the end of the war in 1865; and
Irony ahead.
Whereas, Lavinia Thompson died at the venerable age of eighty-four on June 8, 1928 in Aiken County, Tabernacle Township and was buried in an unmarked grave at Smyrna Church. It is hoped that her final resting place will be found and a Confederate marker placed on it to mark where this remarkable and unique woman lies; and
Whereas, although Lavinia Thompson may not have taken up arms, her life was placed in jeopardy, and she suffered the same hardships as all of the soldiers. Her story and her life deserve commemoration. Now, therefore,
Be it resolved by the Senate:
That the members of the South Carolina Senate, by this resolution, recognize and honor Lavinia Thompson, an African American female Confederate veteran.

 

ForeverFree

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Does one have to be a soldier to be a veteran?

I agree with the issue of veterans
South Carolina's African American Confederate Pensioners 1923
Implies that the Act of 1923 was exclusively for servants.

On 16 March 1923, the legislature approved "An Act to Provide for Pensions for certain faithful Negroes who were engaged in the service of the State in the War bel:\veen the States." Under the act (Act 63), African Americans who served the Confederacy as "servants, cooks or attendants" were eligible for a pension. Additional qualifications included at least six months of service and the recommendation of the County Pension Board. These pensions could not exceed $25 annually. Many African Americans applied under the 1923 act.

In 1924, however, the act was amended to include only South Carolina residents who served the state at least six months as servants or cooks. This provision eliminated laborers, teamsters, and those who served from other Slates, and laborers impressed for work on the fortifications. Made ineligible by this act were men likeJake Gantt of Aiken, who served as a laborer for the Fourth Tennessee Regiment, and Alfred Grant of Laurens, whose petition was granted in 1923 and subsequently revoked.​

One issue we have today is that the terms "faithful slave" and "loyal servant" have become pejorative. So, for example, many Confederate partisans would much rather say that folks like Lavinia Corley Thompson were "Confederate veterans" than acknowledge they were "servants" or "slaves." Meanwhile non-Confederate partisans - such as the descendants of these servants - are wary of using the term to describe their ancestors, because they see a "faithful slave" or "loyal servant" as someone who has capitulated to, or lost their self-pride from, being a "willing" and "happy" servant of someone who treated them as property.

But in fact, many of these servants were loyal and dutiful in their servitude, and even took pride in those attributes. Additionally, the experience of war, death, and loss can create unique bonds which transcend race and condition and servitude. But still, the fact that servants/slaves would have stuck by and stuck with actual Confederate veterans out of "loyalty" makes some people - perhaps many people - uncomfortable. And so a lot of people want to refer to these servants as "veterans."

In his essay Looking for Bob: Black Confederate Pensioners After the Civil War, the late James G. Hollandsworth, Jr. offers some interesting points:

Loyalty to the Confederate cause is another issue that has received a good bit of attention. After Reconstruction, Confederate veterans made much of the loyalty of black noncombatants (i.e., servants, cooks, etc). In fact, loyalty was the rationale for expanding the eligibility for Confederate pensions to include this group. Correspondence from pension files in all five states suggests that most black noncombatants were loyal to their masters and that this loyalty was reciprocated. For example, several black non- combatants went to prisoner-of-war camps with their masters rather than accept offers of freedom when they were captured, a circumstance that can be verified by correspondence in the Official Records.​

Some black noncombatants probably took advantage of the opportunity to slip away when in the vicinity of Union troops. But the fact that a large number, serving with units in areas offering opportunities for escape from slavery, did not act on those opportunities is evidence that the service of most of these men was motivated by loyalty to the man or men they served.

It is tempting to assume that the loyalty of many black noncombatants was representative of black southerners in general, but this conclusion is not warranted. Black southerners who were recognized in Confederate memoirs, eulogized at Confederate reunions, and eventually awarded Confederate pensions, were selected from a select group. They were a select group in the first place because they were allowed to accompany their masters to the army. Clearly, a slave-owning Confederate soldier who was about to embark on the hazards of active army life would not take a trouble-maker, a slacker, or an unreliable slave with him to war. It is reasonable to assume that black noncombatants were picked to accompany their masters because of the loyalty they had demonstrated long before there was a prospect of war.

But this select group was narrowed further by another criterion that was unwritten but applied universally. To receive a Confederate pension, the black pensioner must have remained loyal to his former master’s cause during Reconstruction. Wade Gordon, an ancient pensioner (106 years old) from Lee County in Mississippi, did not even have to answer the questions of his application form in 1907 for it to be approved. “This negro wants a pension[,]” the chancery clerk scrawled across the form. “He belongs to Charlie Kirkpatrick and is a good negro, so they say.” In Tennessee, the county trustee for Shelby County endorsed a pension application from Sam McNeil with this sentence: “Sam is an old negro of the ante-bellum type, and has always been a Democrat and a white man’s negro.”

Expecting pensioners to have been loyal to the Confederacy during the war and afterwards was not limited to black applicants. White applicants were also expected to be members of the community in good standing. Lacking the seemingly inexhaustible resources of the federal government, the former Confederate states had to use their limited resources wisely, and providing a pension to someone, white or black, who had not consistently endorsed the Confederate cause was deemed inappropriate.

Note the pension application form used by SC. The language says the applicant qualifies for a pension via "remaining faithful to the confederacy throughout the said war, and (for) conduct since the war has been such that I am entitled to a pension under the above act."

> To be clear, the author is not saying that these servants acted "loyal" in order to receive a pension. Rather, he is saying that servants who had acted loyal all along were more likely to receive a pension. Six of the former Confederate States did not even offer pensions, and four of the five that did offer pensions enacted them after 1920 ~ some 60 years after the war started. Black pensioners would not have had the sagacity to anticipate that acting loyal would garner them a pension. It just so happened that pensions were finally offered at some point, and their longevity and loyalty made them "worthy" of receiving it.

Now again: if people want to honor a person for the service rendered, so be it. But let's understand: SC gave this person a pension for being a loyal servant, not for being a veteran. But it seems that because the term "faithful servant" is not politically correct today, so these persons have been transformed into veterans. This is counter to how things were viewed back in the day.

- Alan
 
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ForeverFree

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IMHO if the Great State of South Carolina declares a person to be a veteran of their military, then that makes them a veteran because we do not determine what a veteran is, but the government of that military does ,in this case South Carolina. "hompson served as a cook for the Confederacy under Sam Webb, who was in Company A, 1st Regiment of the Reserves." That appears to me to be a SC State Force.

RE: IMHO if the Great State of South Carolina declares a person to be a veteran of their military, then that makes them a veteran because we do not determine what a veteran is,

In 1923, the state of SC said the person in question was not a veteran, but a faithful servant. The use of the term "veteran" to describe Lavinia Corley Thompson in 2017 is ahistorical.

- Alan
 

ForeverFree

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As noted above, the SC form used to get pensions under the 1923 Act state that the applicant qualifies for pension nt qualifies for a pension via "remaining faithful to the confederacy throughout the said war, and (for) conduct since the war (that) has been such that I am entitled to a pension under the above act."

There is also this quote from the essay Looking for Bob: Black Confederate Pensioners After the Civil War, by the late James G. Hollandsworth, Jr. offers some interesting points:

Loyalty to the Confederate cause is another issue that has received a good bit of attention. After Reconstruction, Confederate veterans made much of the loyalty of black noncombatants (i.e., servants, cooks, etc). In fact, loyalty was the rationale for expanding the eligibility for Confederate pensions to include this group. Correspondence from pension files in all five states suggests that most black noncombatants were loyal to their masters and that this loyalty was reciprocated. For example, several black non- combatants went to prisoner-of-war camps with their masters rather than accept offers of freedom when they were captured, a circumstance that can be verified by correspondence in the Official Records...​

But this select group was narrowed further by another criterion that was unwritten but applied universally. To receive a Confederate pension, the black pensioner must have remained loyal to his former master’s cause during Reconstruction. Wade Gordon, an ancient pensioner (106 years old) from Lee County in Mississippi, did not even have to answer the questions of his application form in 1907 for it to be approved. “This negro wants a pension[,]” the chancery clerk scrawled across the form. “He belongs to Charlie Kirkpatrick and is a good negro, so they say.” In Tennessee, the county trustee for Shelby County endorsed a pension application from Sam McNeil with this sentence: “Sam is an old negro of the ante-bellum type, and has always been a Democrat and a white man’s negro.”

Expecting pensioners to have been loyal to the Confederacy during the war and afterwards was not limited to black applicants. White applicants were also expected to be members of the community in good standing. Lacking the seemingly inexhaustible resources of the federal government, the former Confederate states had to use their limited resources wisely, and providing a pension to someone, white or black, who had not consistently endorsed the Confederate cause was deemed inappropriate.​

This is how Confederate Veteran magazine, I believe from a 1912 issue, viewed this concept of "loyalty":

Expired Image Removed

To the folks at the Confederate Veteran, "loyal" or "good" negroes were those who "accept the situation" (social inequality) and "treat whites with deference." None of this context is provided in the memorialization to Lavinia Corley Thompson. The whole context under which these pensions were granted is, well, whitewashed.

Again: folks have a right to commemorate what they wish. But it seems like historical context is a victim in all of this.

- Alan
 
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ForeverFree

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Just my 2 cents, but Tennessee and other southern states offered pensions for black persons service during the war just like they offered pensions to Confederate soldiers. That says something.

There is no down side to offering pensions to former servants.

But RE: southern states offered pensions for black persons service during the war just like they offered pensions to Confederate soldiers.

Servants were not offered pensions just like those offered to Confederate soldiers. See the bolded text below (from Looking for Bob: Black Confederate Pensioners After the Civil War by James G. Hollandsworth, Jr.)

Veterans of the Union army who were disabled as a result of their service during the Civil War were eligible for a federal pension as early as 1868. Disabled Confederate veterans had to wait until their representatives regained political control of the southern states after Reconstruc- tion to apply for pensions sponsored by the individual states. Although Confederate pensions were limited initially to disabled veterans, it was not long before eligibility was expanded to include veterans who were indigent. North Carolina and Florida led the way in 1885, and by 1898 all of the states that had seceded from the Union offered pensions to indigent Confederate veterans. Missouri and Kentucky followed suit in 1911 and 1912, respectively.

These states, with the exception of Missouri, also extended coverage to indigent widows of veterans, as long as they did not remarry. African Americans who had served with the Confederate army were not included. That situation changed in 1921, however, when Tennessee decided to offer pensions to African Americans who went to war as servants or cooks. “A new feature in the pension appropriation of Tennessee makes an allowance for pensions to the faithful negroes who were in the war with their masters and served them to the end,” an editorial in the Confederate Veteran noted after Tennessee’s inclusion of black noncombatants was announced. “Doubtless other States of the South will make similar provision for their old negroes, whose loyalty under the circumstances showed a ne sense of honor not apparent in later generations of the race.” Within six years, three other states followed suit: South Carolina in 1923, Virginia in 1924, and North Carolina in 1927.

African Americans who applied for Confederate pensions in the 1920s were, for the most part, very old men. Consequently, the number of black pensioners was small compared to the large number of Confederate veterans in these states who had been allowed to apply for pensions decades earlier.

(However) Mississippi’s pension program for Confederate veterans was initiated in 1888. Initially, pensions were limited to soldiers or sailors with dis- abilities such as the loss of a limb, that prevented them from engaging in manual labor, and to unmarried women who had been widowed during the war. Interestingly, the pension program in Mississippi also included the soldiers’ personal servants who were disabled as a result of wounds sustained during the war. Four years later Mississippi expanded the eligibility for pensions to include veterans, their former servants, and unmarried widows “who are now resident in this State, and who are indigent and not able to earn support by their own labor.”
Note that, with the exception of Mississippi, the states that offered pensions did so in the 1920s, by which time the pool of recipients was "small" and limited "for the most part (to) very old men." Additionally, widows of actual veterans could receive pension benefits, but not the widows of servants (or at least, this was the case in Tennessee).

Meanwhile, it is key to highlight that 6 of the former Confederate States did not offer pensions to former servants. (Although it might be true that Texas offered pensions to some servants; this needs more research.)

EDIT: It is not clear to me if former servants were paid the same amount as actual veterans. This is something that needs more research.

- Alan
 

Eagle eye

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Andy Hall can answer better than me, but pensions did become available very late in several formerly Confederate states. It wasn't like social security, but elderly folks in tight situations applying individually for relief.

Whoops! See post above mine!
-------------------------
Veteran pensions had to take a backseat to more pressing concerns for the former so-called CSA. Almost 60 years to build their economies where they would be able to tax residents to compensate their former solders.
First they had to find jobs for black & white citizens so there would be taxes to collect… any help from the Federal Government for the States Right Rebels? Wouldn't / couldn't count on that. Medical care for the disabled thousands of wounded/disabled vets? Droves of orphans of both races to care for? This is just a small taste of what the South was morally & economically facing. As upside down as the South put themselves I think 60 or so years to get to the point where they could pay black man cooks & body servents a few dollars was remarkable anyway you look at it.
Anyone know when pensions for Southern soldiers were available?
 

thomas aagaard

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Anyone think its odd that in 1923 they all of a sudden open up pensions for slaves?
No.
The lost cause mythology was strong. They loved the idea of the happy and loyal slave... or "faithful Negroes" as they called it in the pension law...
It support the idea that the was was not about slavery.

So they "bribed" the few surviving (former) slaves who "served" their masters in the field with pensions...
 

thomas aagaard

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The law is called "An Act to Provide for Pensions for certain faithful Negroes who were engaged in the service of the State in the War between the States."
(https://www.jstor.org/stable/27567203?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents)

Then you use your common sense and some basic knowledge of US history.

What reason would white politicians in 1923 in SC (and other former CSA states) have for suddenly caring about the pensions for old black people?
In a state here the Klan was strong and the laws clearly favored the white population.

Obviously they didn't care about the blacks or equal rights... they wanted jim crow laws and the black population at the bottom.

The idea of the faithful slave fits perfectly into the lost cause mythology that slavery was a good thing for both races...
It also help that you give the former slaves a very good reason for not complaining too much or talking badly about their former owners.
So this law makes perfect sense.


ForeverFree posted more on the pensions above... where more states did similar.
 
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jgoodguy

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RE: IMHO if the Great State of South Carolina declares a person to be a veteran of their military, then that makes them a veteran because we do not determine what a veteran is,

In 1923, the state of SC said the person in question was not a veteran, but a faithful servant. The use of the term "veteran" to describe Lavinia Corley Thompson in 2017 is ahistorical.

- Alan

If we conceded to South Carolina the right to declare a person a servant in 1923, then we conceded the right to declare them a Confederate Veteran in 2017. That is an attribute of a soverign State that we mere bloggers cannot take away, I.E. to categorize their citizens.
 

thomas aagaard

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SC is not and was not a sovereign state.
The Union is the sovereign political entity.

They can't have standing army or navy.
They don't control their own territory
They can't enter into treatises with other states. (France, Russian, Denmark...)
They can't declare wars
They can't maintain embassies in other states...

All of it characteristics of a sovereign state.
 

jgoodguy

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One issue we have today is that the terms "faithful slave" and "loyal servant" have become pejorative. So, for example, many Confederate partisans would much rather say that folks like Lavinia Corley Thompson were "Confederate veterans" than acknowledge they were "servants" or "slaves." Meanwhile non-Confederate partisans - such as the descendants of these servants - are wary of using the term to describe their ancestors, because they see a "faithful slave" or "loyal servant" as someone who has capitulated to, or lost their self-pride from, being a "willing" and "happy" servant of someone who treated them as property.

But in fact, many of these servants were loyal and dutiful in their servitude, and even took pride in those attributes. Additionally, the experience of war, death, and loss can create unique bonds which transcend race and condition and servitude. But still, the fact that servants/slaves would have stuck by and stuck with actual Confederate veterans out of "loyalty" makes some people - perhaps many people - uncomfortable. And so a lot of people want to refer to these servants as "veterans."

In his essay Looking for Bob: Black Confederate Pensioners After the Civil War, the late James G. Hollandsworth, Jr. offers some interesting points:

Loyalty to the Confederate cause is another issue that has received a good bit of attention. After Reconstruction, Confederate veterans made much of the loyalty of black noncombatants (i.e., servants, cooks, etc). In fact, loyalty was the rationale for expanding the eligibility for Confederate pensions to include this group. Correspondence from pension files in all five states suggests that most black noncombatants were loyal to their masters and that this loyalty was reciprocated. For example, several black non- combatants went to prisoner-of-war camps with their masters rather than accept offers of freedom when they were captured, a circumstance that can be verified by correspondence in the Official Records.​

Some black noncombatants probably took advantage of the opportunity to slip away when in the vicinity of Union troops. But the fact that a large number, serving with units in areas offering opportunities for escape from slavery, did not act on those opportunities is evidence that the service of most of these men was motivated by loyalty to the man or men they served.

It is tempting to assume that the loyalty of many black noncombatants was representative of black southerners in general, but this conclusion is not warranted. Black southerners who were recognized in Confederate memoirs, eulogized at Confederate reunions, and eventually awarded Confederate pensions, were selected from a select group. They were a select group in the first place because they were allowed to accompany their masters to the army. Clearly, a slave-owning Confederate soldier who was about to embark on the hazards of active army life would not take a trouble-maker, a slacker, or an unreliable slave with him to war. It is reasonable to assume that black noncombatants were picked to accompany their masters because of the loyalty they had demonstrated long before there was a prospect of war.

But this select group was narrowed further by another criterion that was unwritten but applied universally. To receive a Confederate pension, the black pensioner must have remained loyal to his former master’s cause during Reconstruction. Wade Gordon, an ancient pensioner (106 years old) from Lee County in Mississippi, did not even have to answer the questions of his application form in 1907 for it to be approved. “This negro wants a pension[,]” the chancery clerk scrawled across the form. “He belongs to Charlie Kirkpatrick and is a good negro, so they say.” In Tennessee, the county trustee for Shelby County endorsed a pension application from Sam McNeil with this sentence: “Sam is an old negro of the ante-bellum type, and has always been a Democrat and a white man’s negro.”

Expecting pensioners to have been loyal to the Confederacy during the war and afterwards was not limited to black applicants. White applicants were also expected to be members of the community in good standing. Lacking the seemingly inexhaustible resources of the federal government, the former Confederate states had to use their limited resources wisely, and providing a pension to someone, white or black, who had not consistently endorsed the Confederate cause was deemed inappropriate.

Note the pension application form used by SC. The language says the applicant qualifies for a pension via "remaining faithful to the confederacy throughout the said war, and (for) conduct since the war has been such that I am entitled to a pension under the above act."

> To be clear, the author is not saying that these servants acted "loyal" in order to receive a pension. Rather, he is saying that servants who had acted loyal all along were more likely to receive a pension. Six of the former Confederate States did not even offer pensions, and four of the five that did offer pensions enacted them after 1920 ~ some 60 years after the war started. Black pensioners would not have had the sagacity to anticipate that acting loyal would garner them a pension. It just so happened that pensions were finally offered at some point, and their longevity and loyalty made them "worthy" of receiving it.

Now again: if people want to honor a person for the service rendered, so be it. But let's understand: SC gave this person a pension for being a loyal servant, not for being a veteran. But it seems that because the term "faithful servant" is not politically correct today, so these persons have been transformed into veterans. This is counter to how things were viewed back in the day.

- Alan
I have been at the black confederate issue for about as long as I have been at secession. I have most of the references and most of the online articles and have actually read them.

I agree in general with your observations with the following observation if we have pieces of paper with servant on them based on the acts of State governments with political objectives that we enter into the record as evidence, then we must enter into evidence other pieces of paper with Confederate veteran on them with political objectives.
 

jgoodguy

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SC is not and was not a sovereign state.
The Union is the sovereign political entity.

They can't have standing army or navy.
They don't control their own territory
They can't enter into treatises with other states. (France, Russian, Denmark...)
They can't declare wars
They can't maintain embassies in other states...

All of it characteristics of a sovereign state.

None of that matters does it. SC has the right to honor any of their citizens in any matter they wish. It is a soverign reserved right under the 10th amendment.
 
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