Negro Confederate Skirmishers at Chancellorsville

19thGeorgia

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#41
Basically they had ONE race for soldiers....WHITE!

Kevin Dally
"The act of Congress of March 6, 1861, provided for the organization of the volunteer troops then called for by adopting the State regulations." Some states allowed blacks to serve.

That is in the regs. Exceptions can be found, but a whole skirmish line of exceptions is remarkable enough to need confirming evidence.
In this case of skirmishers at Chancellorsville I would say they were the servants of the regiment (not enlisted). Sounds similar to that incident where servants fought at Chickamauga.
 

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#42
Maybe they should have supplied all those union officers with spectacles.
Too many blind to the truth that the "Black Confederate soldier" is more made up myth, than of any real substance.
Blacks/slaves in the Confederate ranks is a hard truth. But their being SOLDIERS in the eyes of the Government that created the Confederate Army, no. Even that unit they formed weeks before the surrender was such an ineffectual attempt that came to nothing.

Kevin Dally
 
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#43
"The act of Congress of March 6, 1861, provided for the organization of the volunteer troops then called for by adopting the State regulations." Some states allowed blacks to serve.

In this case of skirmishers at Chancellorsville I would say they were the servants of the regiment (not enlisted). Sounds similar to that incident where servants fought at Chickamauga.
Servants yes, soldiers no.

Kevin Dally
 

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#44
It was a long way from Richmond. :smile:

I would not let the existence of rules and regulations cause me to rule out the possibility of black men fighting with some Confederate unit. They were called "rebels" for a reason. I can easily envision some commanders allowing men to fight, or drafting some locals, or for the more calculating among them, even putting black men out in front as skirmishers so they would be shot first. There are numerous possibilities other than "the Union officer didn't know what he saw."
As if R. E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson would allow such a breech of law. Oh, I forgot. You all believe Lee was a dottering old fool.
 

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#45
"The act of Congress of March 6, 1861, provided for the organization of the volunteer troops then called for by adopting the State regulations." Some states allowed blacks to serve.

In this case of skirmishers at Chancellorsville I would say they were the servants of the regiment (not enlisted). Sounds similar to that incident where servants fought at Chickamauga.
I suppose they could have been impressed into service as skirmishers, but why? Skirmishers are skilled and necessary to find the enemy or the enemy's intentions. Putting untrained and inexperienced men in that position seems risky.
 
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Pat Young

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#46
In the White Oak Civil War Museum in Falmouth, Virginia there is a display celebrating Black Confederate soldiers. Included is a document "O.R. - SERIES I - VOLUME XXV/1 [S# 39]" The heading is

April 27-May6, 1863-The Chancellorsville Campaign
No. 203.-Report of Col Peter H. Allabach, One hundred and thirty-first Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding Second Brigade

One paragraph reds, "In obedience to these orders, t about 11 o'clock I advanced with these two regiments forward through the wood, under a severe fire of shell, grape, and canister. I encountered their skirmishers when near the farther edge of the wood. Allow me to state that the skirmishers of the enemy were negroes. Slight skirmishing going on until retiring."

The report is from Colonel Allabach to Brig. Gen. A.A. Humphreys, Commanding Third Division, Fifth Army Corps.
My understanding is it was common, until recently, for Virginians to blacken their faces to impersonate African Americans.
 

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#48
The 131st PA. was a nine month regiment. Between August, 1862 and May,1863 they had 2 officers killed or mortally wounded, 36 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded. At Chancellorsville they were part of the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, Army Of The Potomac. Maybe someone familiar with the battle could tell us what Confederate troops they were up against.
According to this map, on May 3 they weren't up against anyone.

Chancellorsville_May3b.png
 

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#49
That is in the regs. Exceptions can be found, but a whole skirmish line of exceptions is remarkable enough to need confirming evidence.

1399. Any free white male person above the age of eighteen and under thirty-five years, being at​
least five feet four and a half inches high, effective, able-bodied, sober, free from disease, of​
good character and habits, and with a competent knowledge of the English language, may be​
enlisted. This regulation, so far as respects the height and age of the recruit, shall not extend to​
musicians or to soldiers who may "re-enlist," or have served honestly and faithfully a previous​
enlistment in the army.​
So that means that stories about whiskey downing during the war should be a mythology, because the "regulations" did not allow it?

That's the reg. Reality differed. Not sure that it did as far as black confederates went, but for sure it did as far as drinkers did. Thus, this argument does not hold much water...
 

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#51
So that means that stories about whiskey downing during the war should be a mythology, because the "regulations" did not allow it?

That's the reg. Reality differed. Not sure that it did as far as black confederates went, but for sure it did as far as drinkers did. Thus, this argument does not hold much water...
I never said anything about myth. If someone asserted that the CSA soldiers were drunk a lot in combat, they would need evidence. What the soldiers did on their own time in camp or off duty seems irrelevant to this discussion.

In addition, blacks were generally in camp out of combat as servants or support personnel. I am not seeing the justification for the 'myth'
 

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#52
I never said anything about myth. If someone asserted that the CSA soldiers were drunk a lot in combat, they would need evidence. What the soldiers did on their own time in camp or off duty seems irrelevant to this discussion.

In addition, blacks were generally in camp out of combat as servants or support personnel. I am not seeing the justification for the 'myth'
Alright.

How about the "free from disease" regulation? :wink:

A.P. Hill would have to take objection to that one, no?

(and by no means I argue pro Black Confederate soldiers. My argument is that regs are not to be used as gospel.)
 

jgoodguy

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#53
Alright.

How about the "free from disease" regulation? :wink:

A.P. Hill would have to take objection to that one, no?
I've heard there more fighting females in the CSA army than fighting Blacks. I find that fascinating but I still want names, units and evidence.

Regarding A.P. Hill he was an officer and officers were appointed not enlisted. He came in directly from the US army and just signed his oath to the CSA. A.P Hill may have been ill, but so was Lee. Neither was invalided out of the Army.
 

jgoodguy

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#54
Link This account suggest that the 135 PA was engaged in combact.

Regimental History One Hundred and Thirty-first Infantry. — Col., Peter H. Allabach; Lieut.-Col., William B. Shaut; Maj., Robert W. Patton. The 131st regiment was recruited in the counties of Northumberland, Lycoming, Mifflin, Union and Snyder and mustered in at Harrisburg early in Aug., 1862, for nine months. It was ordered to join the 3d provisional brigade in Virginia, but was soon transferred to the force at Alexandria, and at the opening of the Maryland campaign, made a part of the 3d division, 5th corps. It reached Antietam too late to participate in the battle and went into camp at Sharpsburg. Fredericksburg was the first battle of the regiment and it made a desperate charge to within 30 feet of the celebrated stone wall, losing in an hour and one-half 177 killed, wounded and missing, the men fighting with the steadiness of veterans. Winter quarters were established near Falmouth with no event of importance, except Burnside's second attempt in Jan., 1863, which was rendered futile by the impassable roads. On May 3, the regiment was warmly engaged at Chancellorsville and after the battle returned to its former camp. Its term of service expired on May 15, and it was then ordered to Harrisburg where it was mustered out on the 23d.

Footnotes:
Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 1
 

jgoodguy

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#55
(and by no means I argue pro Black Confederate soldiers. My argument is that regs are not to be used as gospel.)
At enlistment, a black man is more evident than a potential drunkard.

Pretty much standard evaluation of evidence as I understand it, if there is evidence of a law against x, then one needs more evidence to show x happened frequently than just because people break the law.
 

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#56
Alright.

How about the "free from disease" regulation? :wink:

A.P. Hill would have to take objection to that one, no?

(and by no means I argue pro Black Confederate soldiers. My argument is that regs are not to be used as gospel.)
Can you show where confederate authorities knew A. P. Hill had a disease prior to being given a commission?

It was usually pretty easy to tell if someone was a black person--except, of course, in cases where the individual was passing for white, but they probably wouldn't have been identified as black soldiers by someone maybe a hundred yards away.
 

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#58
Col. Allabach states in his report that he was instructed to "consider myself under the command of Major General Couch" and his unit was located near the "white house" and the Chancellor house.
If that's the case, he would appear to be opposite McLaws' Division, and I'm not aware of any reports of McLaws having any black soldiers in his division at Gettysburg two months later. What happened to them?

acw-chancellorsville-map-2.jpg
 

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#60
If that's the case, he would appear to be opposite McLaws' Division, and I'm not aware of any reports of McLaws having any black soldiers in his division at Gettysburg two months later. What happened to them?

View attachment 273867
In Support

Fisking Fremantle @AndyHall ??
Fremantle did not see any Black Confederates in McLaws Division

The first passage in Fremantle comes in a description of McLaws’ Division, marching north toward Pennsylvania, on June 25, 1863:​
The weather was cool and showery, and all went swimmingly for the first fourteen miles, when we caught up M’Laws’s division, which belongs to Longstreet’s corps. As my horse about this time began to show signs of fatigue, and as Lawley’s pickaxed most alarmingly, we turned them in to some clover to graze, whilst we watched two brigades pass along the road. They were commanded, I think, by Semmes and Barksdale, and were composed of Georgians, Mississippians, and South Carolinians. They marched very well, and there was no attempt at straggling; quite a different state of things from Johnston’s men in Mississippi. All were well shod and efficiently clothed.​
In the rear of each regiment were from twenty to thirty Negro slaves, and a certain number of unarmed men carrying stretchers and wearing in their hats the red badges of the’ ambulance corps; this is an excellent institution, for it prevents unwounded men falling out on pretense of taking wounded to the rear. The knapsacks of the men still bear the names of the Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey, or other regiments to which they originally be tonged. There were about twenty wagons to each brigade, most of which were marked U. S., and each of these brigades was about 2,800 strong. There are four brigades in M’Laws’s division. All the men seem in the highest spirits, and were cheering and yelling most vociferously·​
Fremantle explicitly identifies the African American men as slaves. He makes no mention of arms or weapons, but does describe them as being “in the rear” of each regiment — i.e., not actually part of the formation of companies, along with the stretcher-bearers. There’s no suggestion that Fremantle viewed these men as soldiers.​
From what I have seen of the Southern Negroes, I am of opinion that the Confederates could, if they chose, convert a great number into soldiers; and from the affection which undoubtedly exists as a general rule between the Slaves and their masters, I think that they would prove more efficient than black troops under any other circumstances. But I do not imagine that such an experiment will be tried, except as a very last resort. . . .​
So Fremantle takes the example of the slave taking charge of the Union prisoner and uses it as an opportunity to give his thoughts on the viability of enlisting blacks as soldiers, “if they chose.” He’s not discussing the success or advantages of a system that he’s seen, but describing what he thinks the prospects for it are if they chose. But Fremantle is resigned that “such an experiment will [not] be tried, except as a very last resort.” F​
 



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