Sherman and Grant's war

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Thank you. I do have to ask how you can suggest that slave market data was just as important as the current quotes for hogs when there were no futures or options markets for chattels. That is the point that I keep trying to make: slavery was absolutely essential, like the air people breathed; but our assumptions about how financial markets valued them seems to be much more a matter of faith than one of evidence. The difference matters because one has to question whether or not "the South was the wealthiest part of the country" - as is usually alleged - when the largest part of that wealth could not, in fact, be turned into money in any wholesale markets. American farmers could forward sell their entire crops into the financial markets; I have yet to find any evidence that plantation owners could mortgage their work force.
Perhaps we can end this dialog in your favor by reviewing together those weekly market reports. Could you send a reply with the links that are available? I may be badly misunderstanding how much financial liquidity there was in the slave trade. It will hardly be the first or the last mistake I will make in struggling to understand the economics and finance of the Civil War period.
I have no idea what you are getting at. The 19th Century slave market reports were not reports on nonexistent futures markets… ok. We are in full agreement.
 
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wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Getting back to Sherman and Grant's war, they both knew that without strict enforcement slavery was impossible. And they both experienced something they did not know, that the enslaved people had much more information about the risks and dangers of self emancipation than was apparent. Everywhere they touched the institution is crumbled.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
We know slaves were worth much more in New Orleans, than in Virginia. New Orleans was the center of an expanding, but disease ridden area of the country. Slavery was old in Virginia. Finding productive, involuntary employment for slaves was difficult there and many enslaved men found their own work. These price differences created the internal slave trade.
The statistical process of aggregating these effects is probably much more difficult than historians have represented. Not everyone was willing to participate in the slave trade. The enslaved people in the upper south were probably resistant to being sold south, and were likely to run.
I think the slave auction records of New Orleans also terminate in August of 1861. By November and December of that year the US was blockading New Orleans.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Thank you. I do have to ask how you can suggest that slave market data was just as important as the current quotes for hogs when there were no futures or options markets for chattels. That is the point that I keep trying to make: slavery was absolutely essential, like the air people breathed; but our assumptions about how financial markets valued them seems to be much more a matter of faith than one of evidence. The difference matters because one has to question whether or not "the South was the wealthiest part of the country" - as is usually alleged - when the largest part of that wealth could not, in fact, be turned into money in any wholesale markets. American farmers could forward sell their entire crops into the financial markets; I have yet to find any evidence that plantation owners could mortgage their work force.
Perhaps we can end this dialog in your favor by reviewing together those weekly market reports. Could you send a reply with the links that are available? I may be badly misunderstanding how much financial liquidity there was in the slave trade. It will hardly be the first or the last mistake I will make in struggling to understand the economics and finance of the Civil War period.
The point is that the slaves were not paid and lived in extreme poverty. Someone collected the excess value of what they produced and that was the landowner and everyone in the cotton marketing chain. That made southern land much more valuable than it would have been without slavery. The land could not be moved and it had value as collateral.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Getting back to Sherman and Grant's war, they both knew that without strict enforcement slavery was impossible. And they both experienced something they did not know, that the enslaved people had much more information about the risks and dangers of self emancipation than was apparent. Everywhere they touched the institution is crumbled.
It is telling that here in Middle TN, the area I have studied the most, all it took was the rumor that Yankees were coming to energize the slave population. The counties surrounding Nashville had almost all the slaves in this part of the state. 72,000 people did not immediately runaway. However, on even a place like Wessington that had a humane tradition, the slaves met with the owner & told him that they weren’t slaves anymore. Many stayed & the plantation prospered as a result. One of the men who left at that time became a millionaire businessman.

Google the ‘Washington’s of Wessington Plantation’ for extensive citations & a Documentary from WNPT, Nashville Public Television. You will not encounter another biography of the families whose lives were entwined by the slave/master experience that is documented to this extent.

A neighbor of theirs was my g-g-grandma who owned 13 slaves. As near as I can tell, they were a multigenerational family. At war’s end, all the older boys & men had left. The mothers & children were still with her on the farm, which she was proud of. Unfortunately, for now that is as far as the documentation will support the oral history.

My point is that the enslaved people who Sherman & Grant encountered already had hopes & dreams. It is clear that Sherman was a garden variety 19th Century bigot who did not actively hate members of other races. Grant was remarkably humane. Had Lincoln & Grant had the second term to manage reconstruction, there is no telling what good they might have done.

When the 9th Michigan marched through the courthouse square in Murfreesboro TN to take possession in 1862, nobody expected the local slaves to self-emancipate in mass. A year later, USCT Infantry Regiments, ranks full of local men & boys, went on parade at that very spot. I am not so sure what spot exactly Grant or Sherman were surfing on the face of that tidal wave is all that important. That wave was going to sweep all before it. Every individual was going to have to hang on as best they could or be swept away.
 
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Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
We know slaves were worth much more in New Orleans, than in Virginia. New Orleans was the center of an expanding, but disease ridden area of the country. Slavery was old in Virginia. Finding productive, involuntary employment for slaves was difficult there and many enslaved men found their own work. These price differences created the internal slave trade.
The statistical process of aggregating these effects is probably much more difficult than historians have represented. Not everyone was willing to participate in the slave trade. The enslaved people in the upper south were probably resistant to being sold south, and were likely to run.
I think the slave auction records of New Orleans also terminate in August of 1861. By November and December of that year the US was blockading New Orleans.
Something I discovered recently was the extent to which Virginia slaves were allowed to live independently. Richmond, in particular, was replete with slaves who had jobs or enterprises, rented property, entered into contracts & paid their owners a yearly fee from the proceeds. Even the Secession convention rented a hall owned by free & enslaved people. The evolution of the slave economy was, of course, stopped dead by secession.

No wonder slave traders who transported the steady stream of extras from VA to the slave markets on the Mississippi had to ‘break them in’ before sale to Deep South plantations.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The point is that the slaves were not paid and lived in extreme poverty. Someone collected the excess value of what they produced and that was the landowner and everyone in the cotton marketing chain. That made southern land much more valuable than it would have been without slavery. The land could not be moved and it had value as collateral.
You might want to look at the evolution of slaveholding here in Middle TN & Richmond. This is something that I have only recently begun to explore. I am sure that similar evolutionary processes were at work elsewhere, but I have not explored them. It was common for the slave who owned the taxi that met passengers at the depot in Franklin TN, for example, to also be its owner. He paid his master a fixed amount annually. The profits were his own to do with as he pleased. Obviously, that kind of arrangement was subject to the cruelest of behavior by greedy masters, however, it was in everyone’s enlightened self interest to make it a paying proposition.

Here in Murfreesboro, the Spence family had, amongst other enterprises, a custom carriage shop. The slaves who ran the place were master craftsmen who profited personally from the work done there. The majority of slaves in Middle TN were owned by yeoman farmers, which facilitated cash based arrangements of various kinds.

Who do you suppose built all those great plantation homes folks pay good money to tour today? Here, there was a family of craftsmen that were, for all practical purposes, independent contractors. It took years to slake the lime for plaster & collect kiln loads of bricks for a large house. Felling & processing the timber was work that only knowledge craftsmen could accomplish. All of the finish carpenters, plastered, painters, stone masons, etc were in great demand. They had to be managed with respect.

The demand for journeyman & master blacksmiths has in the burgeoning industries of the North was such that one plantation on the KY/TN border lost four blacksmiths in 1859 who went North. The same was true for highly skilled domestic help.

The point is that the grim chattel slavery of the plantation was not the only model. No telling what that evolution would have morphed the peculiar institution into if secessionists had not cut it off.
 
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Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
We know slaves were worth much more in New Orleans, than in Virginia. New Orleans was the center of an expanding, but disease ridden area of the country. Slavery was old in Virginia. Finding productive, involuntary employment for slaves was difficult there and many enslaved men found their own work. These price differences created the internal slave trade.
The statistical process of aggregating these effects is probably much more difficult than historians have represented. Not everyone was willing to participate in the slave trade. The enslaved people in the upper south were probably resistant to being sold south, and were likely to run.
I think the slave auction records of New Orleans also terminate in August of 1861. By November and December of that year the US was blockading New Orleans.
I just read an interesting analysis of New Orleans slave market prices. Because of fears of disruptions, the sale prices in New Orleans dropped 50% between 1860 & 1861. These market drops had no relationship with any battlefield success or failures. Rich people value stability over everything else. Of course, a drop of 50% in the value of slaves was a drastic economic blow to slaveholders. They can’t have been all that enamored with the SC hotheads that had provoked secession at that point.

This is an interesting & novel way of looking at the transition. A 50% drop in the value of the very asset that secessionists intended to preserve must have come as a shock. The cooling of enthusiasm for secession by elites in Nashville, perhaps, have something to do with that self inflicted loss of wealth. Worth a thought or two.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
I just read an interesting analysis of New Orleans slave market prices. Because of fears of disruptions, the sale prices in New Orleans dropped 50% between 1860 & 1861. These market drops had no relationship with any battlefield success or failures. Rich people value stability over everything else. Of course, a drop of 50% in the value of slaves was a drastic economic blow to slaveholders. They can’t have been all that enamored with the SC hotheads that had provoked secession at that point.

This is an interesting & novel way of looking at the transition. A 50% drop in the value of the very asset that secessionists intended to preserve must have come as a shock. The cooling of enthusiasm for secession by elites in Nashville, perhaps, have something to do with that self inflicted loss of wealth. Worth a thought or two.
We are wandering away from Sherman and Grant. But your point is a good one. It would have taken the Republicans years to weaken slavery that much without secession.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
You might want to look at the evolution of slaveholding here in Middle TN & Richmond. This is something that I have only recently begun to explore. I am sure that similar evolutionary processes were at work elsewhere, but I have not explored them. It was common for the slave who owned the taxi that met passengers at the depot in Franklin TN, for example, to also be its owner. He paid his master a fixed amount annually. The profits were his own to do with as he pleased. Obviously, that kind of arrangement was subject to the cruelest of behavior by greedy masters, however, it was in everyone’s enlightened self interest to make it a paying proposition.

Here in Murfreesboro, the Spence family had, amongst other enterprises, a custom carriage shop. The slaves who ran the place were master craftsmen who profited personally from the work done there. The majority of slaves in Middle TN were owned by yeoman farmers, which facilitated cash based arrangements of various kinds.

Who do you suppose built all those great plantation homes folks pay hood money to tour today? Here, there was a family of craftsmen that were, for all practical purposes, independent contractors. It took years to slake the lime for plaster & collect kiln loads of bricks for a large house. Felling & processing the timber was work that only knowledge craftsmen could accomplish. All of the finish carpenters, plastered, painters, stone masons, etc were in great demand. They had to be managed with respect.

The demand for journeyman & master blacksmiths has in the burgeoning industries of the North was such that one plantation on the KY/TN border lost four blacksmiths in 1859 who went North. The same was true for highly skilled domestic help.

The point is that the grim chattel slavery of the plantation was not the only model. No telling what that evolution would have morphed the peculiar institution into if secessionists had not cut it off.
The institution was being Romanized in many parts of the middle 8 states. And by that I mean that as the Roman empire stopped expanding, slaves became too valuable to mistreat.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
It is telling that here in Middle TN, the area I have studied the most, all it took was the rumor that Yankees were coming to energize the slave population. The counties surrounding Nashville had almost all the slaves in this part of the state. 72,000 people did not immediately runaway. However, on even a place like Wessington that had a humane tradition, the slaves met with the owner & told him that they weren’t slaves anymore. Many stayed & the plantation prospered as a result. One of the men who left at that time became a millionaire businessman.

Google the ‘Washington’s of Wessington Plantation’ for extensive citations & a Documentary from WNPT, Nashville Public Television. You will not encounter another biography of the families whose lives were entwined by the slave/master experience that is doc

A neighbor of theirs was my g-g-grandma who owned 13 slaves. As near as I can tell, they were a multigenerational family. At war’s end, all the older boys & men had left. The mothers & children were still with her on the farm, which she was proud of. Unfortunately, for now that is as far as the documentation will support the oral history.

My point is that the enslaved people who Sherman & Grant encountered already had hopes & dreams. It is clear that Sherman was a garden variety 19th Century bigot who did not actively hate members of other races. Grant was remarkably humane. Had Lincoln & Grant had the second term to manage reconstruction, there is no telling what good they might have done.

When the 9th Michigan marched through the courthouse square in Murfreesboro TN to take possession in 1862, nobody expected the local slaves to self-emancipate in mass. A year later, USCT Infantry Regiments, ranks full of local men & boys, went on parade at that very spot. I am not so sure what spot exactly Grant or Sherman were surfing on the face of that tidal wave is all that important. That wave was going to sweep all before it. Every individual was going to have to hang on as best they could or be swept away.
Sherman's experiences were in the deep south, So. Carolina and Louisiana. So his experience was with enslaved people who were held in abject poverty, and those populations had been refreshed with legal and illegal involuntary immigrants after 1787. Grant's experiences were from Ohio/Kentucky border and from Missouri. He had known enslaved people as individuals and had worked with several. Those are different experiences.
Sherman was racist, but he also knew the enslaved were people who deserved a better deal.
Grant rebelled against his father's abolitionist teachings, but had few fixed ideas on race relations.
It was strange that the greatest practical abolitionists were a ordinary racist and a man who had run a slave operation.
 
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