Side Bar T or F? Official Records: No Confederate ever refs black soldiers under his command

jgoodguy

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As I see it, these are two pages, dealing with the same man, Presley Hines.
Well, I will not pursue this as I have learned here that the question of "Black Confederates" always seems to open a can of worms. I don't intend to do that, but proof seems to be overwhelming to me. Thanks for telling that a small number of Black Confederates is conceded. That explains a lot!
IMHO we have one Black Confederate. A private.
 

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White Flint Bill

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I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but from Colonel Munford's official report of the 2nd Va. Cavalry's action at Leesburg on September 2, 1862 he writes:

"It is proper to report that Edward, a servant of Private English, Company K, went into the charge, following his master, gun in hand, and shot the notorious Everhart, who was left in Leesburg, badly wounded."

The reference is to Armstead Everhart, who raised a company of Unionists in the Loudoun, Virginia area, had served as Union guide and had testified against local secessionists in military trials. At the time of the battle his company was part of the Unionist Virginia cavalry command called "the Loudoun Rangers," the only unit raised entirely in what is now Virginia to have fought in the Union army.

Everhart was shot in the knee at the Battle of Leesburg (evidently by Edward) and died of the effects of the wound several months later. Edward's owner was Private William O. English of Albemarle County Virginia.
 
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jgoodguy

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I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but from Colonel Munford's official report of the 2nd Va. Cavalry's action at Leesburg on September 2, 1862 he writes:

"It is proper to report that Edward, a servant of Private English, Company K, went into the charge, following his master, gun in hand, and shot the notorious Everhart, who was left in Leesburg, badly wounded."

The reference is to Armstead Everhart, who raised a company of Unionists in the Loudoun, Virginia area, had served as Union guide and had testified against local secessionists in military trials. At the time of the battle his company was part of the Unionist Virginia cavalry command called "the Loudoun Rangers," the only unit raised entirely in what is now Virginia to have fought in the Union army.

Everhart was shot in the knee at the Battle of Leesburg (evidently by Edward) and died of the effects of the wound several months later. Edward's owner was Private William O. English of Albemarle County Virginia.
Good info, but if he is not an enlisted Confederate, then does the term Black Confederate apply?
 

Lnwlf

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I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but from Colonel Munford's official report of the 2nd Va. Cavalry's action at Leesburg on September 2, 1862 he writes:

"It is proper to report that Edward, a servant of Private English, Company K, went into the charge, following his master, gun in hand, and shot the notorious Everhart, who was left in Leesburg, badly wounded."

The reference is to Armstead Everhart, who raised a company of Unionists in the Loudoun, Virginia area, had served as Union guide and had testified against local secessionists in military trials. At the time of the battle his company was part of the Unionist Virginia cavalry command called "the Loudoun Rangers," the only unit raised entirely in what is now Virginia to have fought in the Union army.

Everhart was shot in the knee at the Battle of Leesburg (evidently by Edward) and died of the effects of the wound several months later. Edward's owner was Private William O. English of Albemarle County Virginia.
Edward was brought forward earlier in the thread (post 13). Thanks for the additional information on "the notorious Everhart" as it enhances the story.
 

White Flint Bill

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Good info, but if he is not an enlisted Confederate, then does the term Black Confederate apply?
I highly doubt that Edward was issued a uniform, drew pay or was included on the regiment's roster. On the other hand he was armed, participated in a Confederate cavalry charge and mortally wounded a federal officer. To Captain Everhart he must have looked like a "Black Confederate."

I just thought folks might find it interesting, and it does appear in the Official Records. But I see from General Lnwlf's post that someone had already mentioned Edward's case. I hadn't read all the posts in the thread when I posted mine.
 

jgoodguy

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I highly doubt that Edward was issued a uniform, drew pay or was included on the regiment's roster. On the other hand he was armed, participated in a Confederate cavalry charge and mortally wounded a federal officer. To Captain Everhart he must have looked like a "Black Confederate."

I just thought folks might find it interesting, and it does appear in the Official Records. But I see from General Lnwlf's post that someone had already mentioned Edward's case. I hadn't read all the posts in the thread when I posted mine.
It is interesting. Duplication is OK, better than nothing. There is a problem of defining what exactly is a Black Confederate. Is it a private of African American descent, black in appearance, schooled in the manual of arms at a Camp of Instruction, fighting in formation and under the command of superior officers. Or some servant that picks a rifle and fires a shot.
 

White Flint Bill

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It is interesting. Duplication is OK, better than nothing. There is a problem of defining what exactly is a Black Confederate. Is it a private of African American descent, black in appearance, schooled in the manual of arms at a Camp of Instruction, fighting in formation and under the command of superior officers. Or some servant that picks a rifle and fires a shot.
I don't know. But surely it would be reasonable to say that during that particular battle Edward was a "Black Confederate," whether or not he had been schooled in the manual of arms at a camp of instruction. Had a white civilian "joined in the charge, gun in hand" and participated in the combat, then we'd have the same question of definition, but I doubt we'd be as likely to disqualify him as "Confederate." In any event, I wonder whether it's fair to Edward's conduct in that battle, which seems on the surface to have been courageous, to dismiss him as "some servant that picks a rifle and fires a shot." In any event, I'm not trying to score any political points with the story. Just passing it along because it seemed relevant to the initial inquiry.
 

WJC

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I highly doubt that Edward was issued a uniform, drew pay or was included on the regiment's roster. On the other hand he was armed, participated in a Confederate cavalry charge and mortally wounded a federal officer. To Captain Everhart he must have looked like a "Black Confederate."

I just thought folks might find it interesting, and it does appear in the Official Records. But I see from General Lnwlf's post that someone had already mentioned Edward's case. I hadn't read all the posts in the thread when I posted mine.
Why all the concern about whether an individual "was issued a uniform"? My understanding is that the rebels often- particularly toward the end of the rebellion- wore a variety of clothing, even though they intended it to be 'uniform'. A rebel might have a coat 'recycled' from an unfortunate casualty, a pair of U. S. issued pants 'recycled' from another, and the rest civilian attire.
Depending upon how long an individual was with a rebel unit, he may have had a uniform varying from basic civilian wear to a uniform as frequently illustrated today.
The key seems to be what his peers and commander called him, whether he carried a gun and whether he took part in combat. Given these criteria, Edward- though a servant- seems to qualify to be considered one of the few 'Black Confederates'....
 

jgoodguy

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Why all the concern about whether an individual "was issued a uniform"? My understanding is that the rebels often- particularly toward the end of the rebellion- wore a variety of clothing, even though they intended it to be 'uniform'. A rebel might have a coat 'recycled' from an unfortunate casualty, a pair of U. S. issued pants 'recycled' from another, and the rest civilian attire.
Depending upon how long an individual was with a rebel unit, he may have had a uniform varying from basic civilian wear to a uniform as frequently illustrated today.
The key seems to be what his peers and commander called him, whether he carried a gun and whether he took part in combat. Given these criteria, Edward- though a servant- seems to qualify to be considered one of the few 'Black Confederates'....
I suppose we could classify anything as a black confederate.
 

WJC

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I suppose we could classify anything as a black confederate.
Thanks for your response.
As some here would like.
However, as you pointed out earlier, what difference does it make if a handful of "Black Confederates" is found? Does that suddenly absolve Southern slaveholders from starting a rebellion to preserve and expand slavery?
 

jgoodguy

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Thanks for your response.
As some here would like.
However, as you pointed out earlier, what difference does it make if a handful of "Black Confederates" is found? Does that suddenly absolve Southern slaveholders from starting a rebellion to preserve and expand slavery?
Of course not. The fun fact is that the bulk of known black confederates are undocumented other than in newspaper accounts in Richmond VA in March 1865. I started one thread where all that was needed was a rank of private designation and not many showed up. I am comfortable in believing that there are more documented women in Confederate ranks than black confederates.
 

tonijustine

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Why all the concern about whether an individual "was issued a uniform"? My understanding is that the rebels often- particularly toward the end of the rebellion- wore a variety of clothing, even though they intended it to be 'uniform'. A rebel might have a coat 'recycled' from an unfortunate casualty, a pair of U. S. issued pants 'recycled' from another, and the rest civilian attire.
Depending upon how long an individual was with a rebel unit, he may have had a uniform varying from basic civilian wear to a uniform as frequently illustrated today.
The key seems to be what his peers and commander called him, whether he carried a gun and whether he took part in combat. Given these criteria, Edward- though a servant- seems to qualify to be considered one of the few 'Black Confederates'....
I don't even think it is about the peers and commanders, carrying a gun or taking part in combat. I can claim to be in the army. I can wear an army uniform. I can carry an army-issued weapon. I can get paid by the army. I can shoot someone in battle. But if the army doesn't claim me, I am not in the army.

It doesn't matter what you call yourself or what you actually do. The army is an institution and it has rules for who it allows in. If it doesn't accept you, you aren't part of the army even if you:

pick up a weapon and fight because someone is coming at you with weapon in hand;
accept a paycheck (which if you were enslaved, would have gone to your master) for your services; and/or
claimed to be part of the army for your pride, your families pride, or just to gain some kind of pension.

The army gets to decide who was part of it, and until March 1865, that did not include blacks.
 

WJC

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I don't even think it is about the peers and commanders, carrying a gun or taking part in combat. I can claim to be in the army. I can wear an army uniform. I can carry an army-issued weapon. I can get paid by the army. I can shoot someone in battle. But if the army doesn't claim me, I am not in the army.

It doesn't matter what you call yourself or what you actually do. The army is an institution and it has rules for who it allows in. If it doesn't accept you, you aren't part of the army even if you:

pick up a weapon and fight because someone is coming at you with weapon in hand;
accept a paycheck (which if you were enslaved, would have gone to your master) for your services; and/or
claimed to be part of the army for your pride, your families pride, or just to gain some kind of pension.

The army gets to decide who was part of it, and until March 1865, that did not include blacks.
Thanks for your response.
I agree. However, since there is such passion on this topic, I am willing to accept a lower standard, knowing that, either way, the number is insignificant.
Certainly, John L. Burns was a 'combatant' at Gettysburg, but I have not seen where anyone claims he was a United States soldier.
 

jgoodguy

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Thanks for your response.
I agree. However, since there is such passion on this topic, I am willing to accept a lower standard, knowing that, either way, the number is insignificant.
Certainly, John L. Burns was a 'combatant' at Gettysburg, but I have not seen where anyone claims he was a United States soldier.
We have had threads in the past discussing that. Out side of the definition of Black Confederates as non combatant 'serving' the CSA, they are few.
 
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White Flint Bill

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Obviously "black confederates" (however defined) are rare, but that's one of the things that make them so interesting.

If we're not limited to references in the Official Records, here a couple of more examples, for what they're worth.

The High Bridge battlefield park near Farmville, Virginia has a couple of relevant interpretive markers:

IMG_4992.JPG


IMG_4984.JPG


Then there is the interesting case of Archibald Harmon of Pee Dee, South Carolina. Mr. Harmon is listed in the 1850 South Carolina census as "Mulatto," along with his wife and children. He was a planter and seems to have been well to do. After the War he and his family are classified as "white," although surely his neighbors in Pee Dee couldn't have forgotten their earlier "mulatto" status. In any event, Mr. Harmon served in the Palmetto Battalion, South Carolina Light Artillery, enlisting in 1861 at age 52. I suspect that kind of thing wasn't uncommon in Creole cultures, but that is probably a whole 'nuther thread.
 

ForeverFree

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If you qualify the term "Black Enlisted Soldiers", to "Black Combatants", here are two :

Report of Confederate Colonel Thomas Munford on an engagement with the Virginia Unionist Partisan unit “The Loudoun Rangers.” January 25, 1862.War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0749 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA :

On the 31st the brigade accompanied General Stuart on a scout to Chantilly, picking up 200 or 300 prisoners. A portion of the Twelfth, under Lieutenant-Colonel [R. H.] Burks, captured one company of the Tenth New York Cavalry without firing a gun.
On the evening of September 1, while our troops were engaged on the Ox road, near Germantown, my regiment was ordered to Leesburg to capture Means and his party.
About 11 a. m. the next day I arrived at Leesburg. Learning that Means was in the town, I cut across from the Dranesville pike and entered the town by the Edwards Ferry road. I succeeded in surprising Means’ party, Means himself escaping. He was supported by Major Cole, of Maryland, with about 200 men, on the Point of Rocks road. Without halting in the town I pressed heavily upon him, and soon succeeded in routing his command after a heavy skirmish, and pursued them as far as Waterford, 7 miles. My command amounted to 163 men, about 40 of which number, including Captain Dickinson and Lieutenants [W. R.] Beale and [A. D.] Warwick, did not join in the charge from some cause not yet explained. Had they followed their comrades in this bold charge I do not think a dozen of the whole Yankee command would have escaped being either killed or captured. As it was, we killed 11, wounded 9 too badly to be sent away, besides some 10 or 11 who escaped badly wounded, and sent off 47 prisoners, including 2 captains and 3 lieutenants.
In this charge Lieutenant J. O. Davis, of Company E, was killed while gallantly leading the advance of his company. Lieutenant John O. Lasley, of Company K, had his arm fractured by a rifle-ball, Sergt. Charles Spears, Company C, was killed. Private N. McGhee, Captain Dearing, of Company F, and John Merryman, of Company I, were badly wounded. It is proper to report that Edward, a servant of Private English, Company K, went into the charge, following his master, gun in hand, and shot the notorious Everhart, who was left in Leesburg, badly wounded.
* * * * * * *

I am, Major, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
THOMAS T. MUNFORD,
Colonel Second Virginia Cavalry.

The second is a rather lengthy report authored by Thomas J. Jackson 2 weeks before 1st Bull Run. It can be found here :
War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0186 OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA. Chapter IX.

An excerpt reads :
"Colonel Stuart reports his capture of an entire company (the Fifteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers), with the exception of the Captain. Three, resisting, were killed. He further reports that "one of the enemy was killed by a negro of Captain Carter's and one of Captain Patrick's Company." The following is his list of prisoners: Forty-three privates, Fifteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers; one second lieutenant, one surgeon, one (position not known), but all of the Fifteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers; one Private First Wisconsin Volunteers; two Privates Second U. S. Cavalry, mounted and equipped; making a total of forty-nine. He reports one wounded and two missing. The enemy, he states, entered Martinsburg at 12 n. to-day".

@jgoodguy,

I'd like to keep this in the original thread. It is debatable as to whether this meets the criteria set forth by the CWT. But for the sake of discussion, I'd like to include it, as well as the other posts that talk about why these items are problematic.

- Alan
 

WJC

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Obviously "black confederates" (however defined) are rare, but that's one of the things that make them so interesting.

If we're not limited to references in the Official Records, here a couple of more examples, for what they're worth.

The High Bridge battlefield park near Farmville, Virginia has a couple of relevant interpretive markers:

View attachment 163458

View attachment 163459

Then there is the interesting case of Archibald Harmon of Pee Dee, South Carolina. Mr. Harmon is listed in the 1850 South Carolina census as "Mulatto," along with his wife and children. He was a planter and seems to have been well to do. After the War he and his family are classified as "white," although surely his neighbors in Pee Dee couldn't have forgotten their earlier "mulatto" status. In any event, Mr. Harmon served in the Palmetto Battalion, South Carolina Light Artillery, enlisting in 1861 at age 52. I suspect that kind of thing wasn't uncommon in Creole cultures, but that is probably a whole 'nuther thread.
As we have seen, before the rebellion there were a relatively small number of free Blacks in the Southern states. An even smaller number of these were slaveholders. It would not be surprising to find a few of these- or their family- among the rebel ranks.
The issue of color further complicates the analysis. Often then- as now- some 'light skin' individuals of black ancestry were considered 'White', particularly if they were new to a community whose members were thus unaware of their ancestry.
There is also at least one recorded case alleging that a White woman- a German immigrant- was sold into slavery and considered Black by her 'owners'. See https://civilwartalk.com/threads/sally-miller-german-immigrant-twenty-years-a-slave.133828/#post-1524176
 
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19thGeorgia

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The Civil War Trust article does specifically say that the CSA allowed black enlistment in March 1865. I believe that the state of Virginia allowed black enlistment in March or maybe even February of 1865, ahead of the CSA Congress actions.

But those are righteous examples, and I won't move the goal posts. But I was aware that there was black soldier enlistment activity in March 1865, as was the CWT I think, I'm really wondering about what happened before then.

- Alan
Prior to March 1865 there were no units of black soldiers in the Confederacy except for militia. But there were some enlisted in the various units that were organized from 1861 on. So 3 or 4 members (or even 10 or 12) in a regiment is not going to receive much notice in reports. Union regiments also had blacks that were enlisted from 1861 on. There is a book that lists some of them. I haven't seen any mention of them in the Official Records either.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0788446479/?tag=civilwartalkc-20
 


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