Slave Hiring in the Military During the Civil War


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alan polk

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#3
Agreed. My purpose for the post was to disseminate potentially useful information to those who study Forrest, not to establish the innocence or guilt of anyone.

I probably should have sent the link via PM to persons here who I know study Forrest in order to circumvent the stoking of passions here, but pictures can’t be attached to PMs for those who don’t have FB.

At any rate, it’s just information that I’m passing along. Thanks for looking!
 
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#4
Agreed. My purpose for the post was to disseminate potentially useful information to those who study Forrest, not to establish the innocence or guilt of anyone.

I probably should have sent the link via PM to persons here who I know study Forrest in order to circumvent the stoking of passions here, but pictures can’t be attached to PMs for those who don’t have FB.

At any rate, it’s just information that I’m passing along. Thanks for looking!
By no means, please, do not think the purpose of my post was to be argumentative (regarding guilt)! :smile:
You shared something that I had never heard of before (payroll records) and my ears "perked up" when I read your post! I found it interesting!
Your information WAS useful and I hope I did not dissuade you from posting in the future!
Thanks!
 

Cavalry Charger

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#6
I am currently studying Forrest and this is new and interesting information to me.

Not to be argumentative, as the purpose of the post is to provide information, but as I have been studying Forrest it has become apparent that he spent much of his own money to equip his men and did not request supply from the Confederate Govt. at one point for a period of two years according to Hurst's biography.

The impression created by the OP for me is that Forrest was continuing to build his 'empire' in terms of accumulating monies, when from what I understand he was putting it straight back into the war effort. I'm not sure that would be called 'profiting' in the circumstances.

Just wanted to clarify around that point. And hopefully someone with much more extensive knowledge (calling @diane ) can correct me if I'm wrong.
 
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lelliott19

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#7
I came across this on FB and thought it might be of interest.
Thanks for posting this Alan. These records have been available online for at least 6 months maybe much longer. The hard copies have been available at the archives since 1899. The "date note" says this:
This series was numbered and arranged during the period 1874-1899 to document the activities of the government and individuals serving the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War

There are 5285 records that have been digitized. The records are by county/location, then a roster by name of owner for each county/town. Some records include long lists of names; others have only a few.

Like most Confederate records available online at NARA (A&IGO, Special Orders, Courts Martial, etc.), they are not indexed by county/location and are not searchable.

Here is a link
https://catalog.archives.gov/search?q=*:*&f.parentNaId=719477&f.level=fileUnit&sort=naIdSort asc
EDIT TO ADD: You may need to click the refresh page button after you click the link above. For some reason, when I access the link, it does not proceed to the records until I click the page refresh button.
 
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diane

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#8
I've known about this for a while - and it's in keeping with Forrest's business sense. He did pay for and equip his men, and bringing his slaves with him protected his investment. However, in his powwow with Isham Harris, Tennessee's governor, there was the promise of reimbursement from the new government if Forrest put his gold into the state's pot - which was pretty empty. He was the richest man in Tennessee. The last two years of the war he was out of pocket everything - at least everything he didn't steal from the Union! (And he was very good at that.) Bill's scouts weren't called the 40 Thieves for nothing, either. Didn't get a paycheck, either. It was a you front me now and when we whip the fight, you'll get it all back proposition. Not unprecedented - George Washington paid for everything out of his own sizable purse...and presented Congress with a sizable bill after the war. In fact, Knox practically footed the bill for most of the revolution - yep, here's my bill Congress critters! In Forrest's case, he invested his blood and treasure in a revolution that failed and came out of it flat broke.
 

alan polk

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#10
Hi Diane,

No, I did not. I don’t study Forrest that much. What happened was that I followed an historian’s link from Twitter, which sent me to FB which sent me to the above link.

It was late, but I thought to myself that if I leave this site, I’ll never remember how to get back to the link. Then I thought that it might be some kind of new information that would help folks here and I would hate not to pass it along to y’all just in case. I was going to PM you, but then realized I could not send pictures via that medium (in case you did not have FB). So I just posted it here in hopes that you, @Nathanb1, @lelliott19, @7th Mississippi Infantry and others might see it.

Anyhow, I’m glad you all saw it and I hope it helps - though you guys had been aware of the information before my post. But, you never know! So that was my sole reason for posting it.
 

diane

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#11
Hi Diane,

No, I did not. I don’t study Forrest that much. What happened was that I followed an historian’s link from Twitter, which sent me to FB which sent me to the above link.

It was late, but I thought to myself that if I leave this site, I’ll never remember how to get back to the link. Then I thought that it might be some kind of new information that would help folks here and I would hate not to pass it along to y’all just in case. I was going to PM you, but then realized I could not send pictures via that medium (in case you did not have FB). So I just posted it here in hopes that you, @Nathanb1, @lelliott19, @7th Mississippi Infantry and others might see it.

Anyhow, I’m glad you all saw it and I hope it helps - though you guys had been aware of the information before my post. But, you never know! So that was my sole reason for posting it.
It's excellent information, Alan - very often the filthy lucre side of idealistic patriotism is forgotten - these generals didn't fight for free. Forrest was a real live Southern nationalist but he kept a firm hand on his wallet. So did everybody else!
 
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#12
This is an interesting article from Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. It discusses the hiring of slaves by the CSA military:

Recently, the US National Archives digitized the Confederate Slave Rolls, which is comprised of payrolls for slave labor in the Confederacy. These rolls provide a whole new level of understanding how enslaved people were forced to help execute the Confederate war effort. One of the most interesting is a roll from October 1863, from Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest's Cavalry Corps, a month after the Battle of Chickamauga.​
These rolls actually provide names of enslaved African Americans and the value at which they were being hired by the Confederate government. Keep in mind, they were not receiving the pay, but their owners were, whom were listed as well.​
The particular payroll to Forrest's Cavalry reveals that Ike, Antony, Henry, Ben, Dan, and Roderick were employed by the corps as teamsters, and their owner was receiving $25/month for their work. Who was their owner? None other than General Nathan B. Forrest.​
With that being said, not only was General Forrest receiving his salary as a Confederate brigadier general, but he was also turning a profit of $150/month by hiring his slaves to the Confederate government as teamsters.​

The rest of the article is here.

- Alan
 

Tom Elmore

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#16
Several slaves and free blacks were hired by the Quartermaster Department of the 7th Virginia Cavalry as wagon drivers/teamsters:
-Private James R. Blackmore of Company A hired out his slave Lewis from March-July 1862.
-3rd Lieutenant Andrew J. Bowen hired out his slaves Strother and John from March-July 1862, and Henry from June-July 1862.
-Surgeon John D. Starry hired out his servant boy Tom in June 1863.
(7th Virginia Cavalry, Virginia Regimental Histories Series)

If anything happened to a slave during his service with the army, the owner could file a claim:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/board-of-slave-claims-in-richmond.144270/#post-1779050
 
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#17
In the pre-war South, it was common practice for a slave owner to "lease", as it were, the use of his slaves. This practice, evidently (based on the article presented in the original post), carried over to the Army.
Was Forrest, or any other man engaging in this practice, guilty of anything? No.
Very true !

Just this weekend I was rereading some of the last 'will and testiments' of some of my ancestors.
One passage caught my eye . . . to paraphrase, the document basically said:

To my daughter Molly, I bequeath to her my servant Sam.
It is understood that Sam shall remain to be hired out to those desiring his labor and all profits shall
be placed in an account for Molly's future.


Was this horrible ?

Of course !

But as @Albert Sailhorst said, Forrest was not violating any United States laws before or during "The Rebellion".
 
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#18
This is an interesting article from Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. It discusses the hiring of slaves by the CSA military:

Recently, the US National Archives digitized the Confederate Slave Rolls, which is comprised of payrolls for slave labor in the Confederacy. These rolls provide a whole new level of understanding how enslaved people were forced to help execute the Confederate war effort. One of the most interesting is a roll from October 1863, from Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest's Cavalry Corps, a month after the Battle of Chickamauga.​
These rolls actually provide names of enslaved African Americans and the value at which they were being hired by the Confederate government. Keep in mind, they were not receiving the pay, but their owners were, whom were listed as well.​
The particular payroll to Forrest's Cavalry reveals that Ike, Antony, Henry, Ben, Dan, and Roderick were employed by the corps as teamsters, and their owner was receiving $25/month for their work. Who was their owner? None other than General Nathan B. Forrest.​
With that being said, not only was General Forrest receiving his salary as a Confederate brigadier general, but he was also turning a profit of $150/month by hiring his slaves to the Confederate government as teamsters.​

The rest of the article is here.

- Alan

Alan,

Interesting article. Do we know what become of Ike, Antony, Henry, Ben, Dan, and Roderick? Was wondering if any were able to escape, or were freed by Union forces, or if any joined the United States Colored Troops? I can only speculate, but I imagine quite a many slave-owners hired out their slaves in this manner. The good thing, Forrest was being paid in Confederate dollars which at wars end was worthless.

Respectfully,

William

One Nation
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Confed-American Flag - Thumbnail.jpg
 
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#20
Alan,

Interesting article. Do we know what become of Ike, Antony, Henry, Ben, Dan, and Roderick? Was wondering if any were able to escape, or were freed by Union forces, or if any joined the United States Colored Troops? I can only speculate, but I imagine quite a many slave-owners hired out their slaves in this manner. The good thing, Forrest was being paid in Confederate dollars which at wars end was worthless.

Respectfully,

William

One Nation
Two countries
View attachment 296323
That I don't know, but perhaps @diane can say. I believe she has made the point in the past that many of these enslaved men had family members at home. Escaping could mean a severing of their ties with families members; and also, it could bring punishment on family members.

There were a lot of disincentives to running away, which makes cases of people who did escape all the more notable.

- Alan
 



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