Book Review Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth by Kevin M. Levin

19thGeorgia

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I am sorry. I should have been more specific. The essay that I mentioned wasn't this letter. It was another article that Gen. Shoup wrote.

"There never was any hesitancy in talking freely before and to them about the war and its causes. They knew perfectly that the conflict was about them, and that the success of the Federal arms meant their freedom. There were large areas in the extreme Southern States from which nearly every able-bodied white man had gone to the scene of war, leaving the old men and the women and children entirely in the hands of the slaves. It was not at all unusual for the managers of plantations to be blacks, with not a white man at hand. They knew, too, that the food supply of the armies depended upon them. There never was an attempt at insurrection."
Shoup's letter covered about a half page of the newspaper. 99% of it was his opinion of how the proposed black troops should be organized and disciplined. The few items I posted (the 1%) were the only things I thought relevant to the discussion.
I considered that Shoup probably had some first-hand knowledge of servants in combat.
 
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Andersonh1

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Brigadier General Francis A. Shoup:
"[T]he negroes that have served with our armies as cooks and teamsters, are as thoroughly enlisted in our cause as are their masters; and in many cases have been known to fight as gallantly as they." -Albany patriot. (Albany, Ga.), April 13, 1865

Interesting. Another of Levin's claims is that during the debate about arming the slaves en masse, no one ever referred to them having fought and fought well for the South in order to argue for enlisting them as soldiers. I have a hard time believing that. April 13 is after the debate had ended, but at the same time, here's a man referring to the black men in the CS army having fought as gallantly as the white soldiers.
 

unionblue

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I've found many who were killed or wounded in battle.

@19thGeorgia ,

Question number one.

How many Free Blacks were counted in the CSA?

Question number two.

How many Free Blacks have you found to date who were killed or wounded in battle?

Observation.

BOTH questions should be answered in the same posted reply to have actual meaning.

In my opinion.

Unionblue
 

Horrido67

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Sep 29, 2019
As I've noted, it doesn't seem correct to define "Confederates" just as soldiers. We don't do that with the white population and should not do it with the black population either. I would rather examine the role they played, whatever it might have been, rather than dismiss them because they were not generally allowed to serve as soldiers in combat (though some clearly did anyway).

Unlike blacks, White confederates were allowed to serve in the Confederate army as combat soldiers as they were full members of the Confederacy. If they had accepted blacks in the Confederate army as combat soldiers, the theory that blacks "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit" would have been seriously challenged. Hence, Confederates refused to enlist black combat soldiers until March, 1865, only a few weeks before the end.

"The day you make soldiers of them is the beginning of the end of the revolution. If slaves will make good soldiers our whole theory of slavery is wrong but they won't make soldiers."
Letter from Howell Cobb to James A. Seddon (January 8, 1865)

Edited
 
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Horrido67

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Shoup's letter covered about a half page of the newspaper. 99% of it was his opinion of how the proposed black troops should be organized and disciplined. The few items I posted (the 1%) were the only things I thought relevant to the discussion.
I considered that Shoup probably had some first-hand knowledge of servants in combat.

No, his opinion was that the Confederacy should start employing black combat soldiers, so it could free white soldiers and officers to do other important tasks. I think the facts that Confederates still barred blacks from enlisting in the Confederate army as combat soldiers and the debate over employment of black soldiers was still going on at the time Gen. Shoup wrote this letter were relevant to the discussion.

Gen. Shoup had an agenda (making "soldiers" out of blacks). Gen. Shoup was delusional on the issue of slavery (slaves were "undoubtedly" happy to serve their masters). Hence, I believe everyone should be a bit wary of accepting his words that "many" faithful servants who were NOT combat soldiers, but "cooks and teamsters" fought gallantly in battles at face value.
 

Horrido67

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From the said article

"The negro does not fight for the enemy because he is free. He has been tricked and forced into his service, and he cannot help it. Those who have been recaptured say they would rather fight on our side, because we know better how to treat them.

It is true, then, that to make good soldiers of these people, we must either give or promise them freedom. On the contrary, it is my firm conviction that to do either would be to impair their efficiency. But the greatest possible advantage can be had by skillfully using their desire for freedom. The President should have power to declare free such of them as may from time to time be recommended for such reward, by their officer, for gallant or meritorious conduct."

1) Tens of thousand slaves were freed by the US and they joined the USCT by the time the article was published.
2) The US congress already passed the 13th amendment which did abolish the institution of slavery and 18 states already ratified the 13th amendment by Feb 26 1865. There was no trick.
3) Hence, the statement "we know better how to treat them" just shows how delusional he was. The CSA had not even decided whether they should offer slaves freedom in exchange for their military services at the time.
4) I doubt that "the President" (Mr. Jefferson Davis) had powers to free any slave soldier outright other than his owns who practically freed themselves and welcomed the Union army to his plantation in MS.
 
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Rebforever

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Unlike blacks, White confederates were allowed to serve in the Confederate army as combat soldiers as they were full members of the Confederacy. If they had accepted blacks in the Confederate army as combat soldiers, the theory that blacks "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit" would have been seriously challenged. Hence, Confederates refused to enlist black combat soldiers until March, 1865, only a few weeks before the end.

"The day you make soldiers of them is the beginning of the end of the revolution. If slaves will make good soldiers our whole theory of slavery is wrong but they won't make soldiers."
Letter from Howell Cobb to James A. Seddon (January 8, 1865)

Edited
There are two websites Listed below in my profile. If you are interested about Blacks fighting for the Confederate States of America, have a read about it.
Furnished by a fellow poster @Andersonh1.
 

Andersonh1

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"The day you make soldiers of them is the beginning of the end of the revolution. If slaves will make good soldiers our whole theory of slavery is wrong but they won't make soldiers."
Letter from Howell Cobb to James A. Seddon (January 8, 1865)

Cobb was not the only man with an opinion on this topic, nor did everyone agree with his opinion. I wonder why he gets quoted so often?
 

19thGeorgia

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Cobb was not the only man with an opinion on this topic, nor did everyone agree with his opinion. I wonder why he gets quoted so often?
...and not quote Lee. Didn't Lee outrank Cobb?

These same folk often portray Cobb as a military expert with plenty of experience in commanding troops in the field.

The truth is, he had no military experience prior to the war. He served a few months with the army and then was relegated to desk duty for the rest of the war.
 

19thGeorgia

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Eric Calistri

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Cobb was not the only man with an opinion on this topic, nor did everyone agree with his opinion. I wonder why he gets quoted so often?

Cobb was a long time US Congressman, Speaker of the House, Secretary of the Treasury and President of the Confederate States Provisional Congress. As a Major General in the CSA, his was a leading voice against the 1865 law to allow enlistment of black soldiers.
 

Andersonh1

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Cobb was a long time US Congressman, Speaker of the House, Secretary of the Treasury and President of the Confederate States Provisional Congress. As a Major General in the CSA, his was a leading voice against the 1865 law to allow enlistment of black soldiers.

Just to be more precise with my question, if Cobb had been for the enlistment of black soldiers rather than against it, do you think he would be quoted as often as he is?
 
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Eric Calistri

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If he had been for the enlistment of black soldiers rather than against it, do you think he would be quoted as often as he is?

I've quoted Cobb on a lot of things. On secession, on the 1857 Tariff, on the status of the US treasury while he was secretary, on the Montgomery formation of the Confederate government. I quote him because he was there, he was knowledgeable and he had a large constituency. Whether or not I personally agree with his points is no reason to ignore him. YMMV.
 
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DanSBHawk

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Wisconsin
Just to be more precise with my question, if Cobb had been for the enlistment of black soldiers rather than against it, do you think he would be quoted as often as he is?
Is there any reason to believe that Cobb's point of view was an outlier, and not a common point of view in the Confederate government?
 

Andersonh1

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Is there any reason to believe that Cobb's point of view was an outlier, and not a common point of view in the Confederate government?

The fact that the black soldier bill ultimately passed would seem to indicate that Cobb was in the minority at that point, if only just. I would be more interested in where Cobb fit in society overall at that point when it came to public opinion in general on arming the slaves. I think he was becoming an outlier, and people had far more regard for Lee's opinion than Cobb's.
 

Tin cup

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The fact that the black soldier bill ultimately passed would seem to indicate that Cobb was in the minority at that point, if only just. I would be more interested in where Cobb fit in society overall at that point when it came to public opinion in general on arming the slaves. I think he was becoming an outlier, and people had far more regard for Lee's opinion than Cobb's.
By that time the Confederacy was sunk, so it didn't much matter.

Kevin Dally
 
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