Slave patrols as militia duty/service

FedericoFCavada

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Location
San Antonio, Texas
From the State Archives of Alabama, we can look at portions of John J. Ormand, Arthur P. Bagby and George Goldthwaite The Code of Alabama (Montgomery: Brittan and DeWold, 1852).

https://archives.alabama.gov/cornerstone/slavecode1852/title_page.html

I refer you to the original pages 234-245, 300-93, 589-97:

http://www.constitutionreader.com/reader/chapter.engz?doc=constitution&chapter=OEBPS/Text/ch82.xhtml

also

https://constitutingamerica.org/ala...tion-a-reader-published-by-hillsdale-college/


We have no real idea to what extent these provisions and laws were carried out? Still, to summarize:

§983--1. White male slaveholders younger than 60, and able bodied free whites generally between 18-45 years old, unless exempt, were expected to serve as slave patrol members as militia duty...
§984--During the 2nd week of March, every year, the JoP compiles a list of all persons subject to patrol duty... Divide the whole number into detachments of not less than four, no more than six, one member of which is the "leader" of the patrol.
§985--The senior justice must compile the lists, record the term of service "not less than two nor more than three weeks"... Per annum, presumably? _Where are such lists, if extant, one wonders?_
§986--The list is then delivered to the constable in the 2nd week in March, which is "served" on the leader of each detachment, or leaving the list at his place of residence...
§987--If the leader is sick or absent, the constable must notify the next person on the list, and so on... The leader then had to notify the other patrol members within a further five days time. ...
§990--2. At least once a week at night, during a "term of service" but "oftener" when the JoP required it, or if a "credible person" requested it, or if there was some sort of "evidences of insubordination" or plot, outbreak, insurrection or unlawful assembly of slaves or free persons of color....
§991-- Patrol detachments may send a substitute to patrol in his stead with approval of patrol leader.
§992--3. "The patrol has power to enter, in a peaceable manner, upon any plantation; to enter by force, if necessary, all negro cabins or quarters, kitchens and outhouses [!], and to apprehend all slaves who may there be found, not belonging to the plantation or household, without a pass from their owner or overseer, or strolling from place to place, without authority.
§993--The patrol has power to punish laves found under the circumstances recited in the preceding section, by stripes [i.e. flogging/ whipping], not exceeding thirty-nine." ...

§997--if failure to appear, the absent patroller will be fined ten dollars.
§998--Written report at expiration of term on the numbers of times his group patrolled, any absences without excuse, anyone so designated would be called before the justice and if cause why was judged unacceptable, a fine assessed.
§999--Failure to make a report within a month after expiration of term is a misdemeanor, fined $20.

Chapter IV. Slaves and Free Negroes.

Article 1020 denied gun ownership or even possession of arms by slaves. So, as noted by any number of authors and historians, the slave code is for all practical purposes an "anti-Bill of Rights."

...
 

FedericoFCavada

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Location
San Antonio, Texas
From the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History--History Resources--Slave Patrol Contract, 1856
GLC09122 Salisbury, North Carolina
Slave Patrol Contract NC 1856.jpg
 

RedRover

Private
Joined
Dec 16, 2019
I have posted some of this on another thread, but it might be of interest here too. It regards Alabama principally.

Alabama's pre-war patrol law put the duty on the common "infantry companies" and declared at their common musters they had to organize the patrols. The uniformed volunteer militia companies of light infantry, riflemen, cavalry, and artillery were evidently exempted from this. I have also seen a reference that volunteer militia in South Carolina were also exempt from patrol duty...(and men who had served in the SC Volunteers in US service during the War with Mexico, among others).

From Alabama in 1835, a complaint that the militia was not patrolling certain districts, and enforcing the patrol laws:

“Is it not strange, is it not passing strange, that a country situated as this is, with a black population, fast approximating to one half of the whole,--a population dangerous at all times, under the deepest degradation, and strictest subjugation—should, without a seeming apprehension for the consequences, suffer that population to go at large, night and day, work-day, holiday, and Sunday,--scour the country in gangs, and meet in crowds at midnight revels, with no eye to watch their movements? Surely. And yet it is so. Such a thing as a patrol company coming to your kitchen or negro quarter, is never heard of now—or if at all, within the last few weeks since the stir of the abolition question commenced—crowds of negroes are seen in every direction on the sabbath, and to our own knowledge, fashionable parties at night have been almost as frequent if no more so, among the negroes of this town during the last twelve months, than among the whites. The thing goes on swimmingly to prepare the land for ultimate confusion and insurrection. Pride, insolence, a passion for dress—aping the language and fashions of the whites—a vast idea of his own personal consequence and importance—his rights—his honor—and all that, are all getting fast hold of the black man in such a state of relaxation and neglect, as we have had for a long time. One can see it plainly enough now in the great body of the Town negroes—the country ones will follow suit.
To come to the gist of the matter, we must have a patrol, a regular, efficient Patrol at all hazards, and upon any terms. It is madness to remain longer without it. And how is it to be obtained? This question let the next Assembly determine. We will here barely suggest it however, as our opinion, that it will never be had, until militia organization, discipline, and duty are vastly better enforced than at present, nor, until reasonable compensation be given to those who do patrol duty at public cost." [The Democrat, Huntsville, AL, 9-9-1835.]


And, consequently many throughout that State were going out of their way to avoid militia duty generally...

From under which each individual seeks to glide or extricate himself. Hence we find men of wealth (the very men whose situation best enables, and whose patriotism should stimulate them to accept office in the Militia) refusing to perform any of the Militia duties, and also catching at any opportunity to skulk themselves clear of Military fines... [Flag of the Union, Tuscaloosa, 11-14-35.]

Former slave R.R. Moton of Alabama stated in his autobiography that in many places the planters paid men by the hour to act as night patrollers. I have seen other account that the planters of the deep south frequently arranged the patrols themselves where the militia would not muster to do it.

The disordering of the militia by such laws etc. rendered them unable to enforce even the laws against cruelty to, or murder of slaves. I recall a captain of Louisiana Militia made some enemies by enforcing such laws. (see Roll Jordan Roll, by Mr. Genovese).

by 1860, a notice Alabama's militia was largely disorganized:
1624426098352-png.png


Daily Confederation, Montgomery, AL, 1-28-60.


In Florida, in 1861, there were 20 Regiments of Militia, and Florida citizens could not vote unless actively enrolled. Regardless, when the war kicked up, the Adjutant General reported that year that only 5 of the regiments were compelled to muster, and a few other companies from among the others, regardless of the State laws, which included the patrolling.



J. Marshall,
Hernando, FL.
 

FedericoFCavada

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Location
San Antonio, Texas
Alabama became a state in 1819. The somewhat hyperbolic descriptions of lassitude from 1835. The patrol law from 1853. Then the article about the inefficiency of the militia from 1860 with secession nigh.

Thanks for the Alabama material.
 

RedRover

Private
Joined
Dec 16, 2019
This also regards Madison County, Alabama, in 1835, but references the general state of the Alabama Militia:

Militia Laws, Patrols, Etc.
Was ever a country whose peculiar condition requires most urgently a well organized militia, and a regular, vigilant, and active patrol, so wretchedly off as this State of Alabama? We presume that we may properly take the County of Madison, rich, populous, and intelligent as she is acknowledged to be, as a fair specimen of the whole State; and if we may, we can unhesitatingly answer the question, and say—never.
Now where does the fault lie? Law after law, statute after statute has been passed year after year, ever since we have been a state, and indeed before, to infuse spirit and proper organization into the militia. We have more than ___ pages of the Digest occupied with these laws. They seem to be good. If they were enforced, and carried out, they would be no doubt all sufficient to accomplish the object intended. There is provision for every thing; from the election and duties of a General of Division, down to the appointment and duties of a sergeant or corporal. Yet notwithstanding all the legislation which has been bestowed on this subject, we are, as we honestly believe, the worst organized State in the Union; all are bad enough, but Alabama is, we think, entitled to the extreme right of line in a controversy for precedence in mal-organization of militia.—As some evidence of the correctness of this opinion, we may mention the fact that she has never yet drawn from the Federal Government but about 3,000 musquets, for the sole and only reason, that she has never yet been able to furnish authentic returns of any thing like her effective militia forces. These 3,000, as we have been informed, were procured upon returns collected and furnished by Col. John B. Hogan, of Mobile, while he enjoyed the temporary appointment of Adjutant General, which was filled the following session of the Legislature, by Gen. James G. Carroll, since which we have received not one musquet more. But let us not be supposed by this remark to impute more blame to Gen. Carroll than others. Every Captain, Major, Colonel, Adjutant, Brigadier General, and Major General, in this state, must share equally the blame. There are no Court Martial, no fines—consequently no musters, no men, no subordinate officers. When there is vacancy in any of the higher military offices, then for a while we have a stir to see who shall wear the laced coat, sword and plume, and ride the parade horse, and there the whole military spirit of the country ends. Our company musters, now extremely rare, even such as they are, make the most perfect farce of military duties—our Battalion and Regimental musters do but little better—our Brigade musters and reviews scarcely more serious, respectable, or imposing. There is nothing spirit-stirring—nothing to stimulate—nothing to excite pride or ardor or discipline or attention to military duty at present, it must be confessed. We give no pay to give our militia; such a proposition has never been thought of; but if it can be had on no other terms, our condition imperiously requires that we should pay for military organization, rather than being entirely destitute as we now are, lie supine with our hands folded and our minds at ease at the mercy, as it were, of the insurrectionary butcher knife, scythe blade, or chopping axe. But if it is too mean spirited for a free people to ask or receive pay for doing that which is essential to the security and protection of themselves, wives and children, as we must suppose it to be; what then is next to be done to remedy this grievous evil,--to banish this dangerous and culpable … of apathy? As we have already … in force. The reform may commence with a single captain, a single company—or better, with a single Col. Commandant,--best with a single Brigadier General. A Captain may issue orders to his company and compel his Colonel or Brigadier by the force of public opinion, if that be necessary, to see them reinforced to the very extent of the law.—A Colonel or a Brigadier, who has the power to issue orders, and further to call Courts Martial to have them enforced, possess the means within themselves, and each one for himself to commence the reform, and to carry it but too amply and completely in his own Brigade, or Regiment, giving thereby example and encouragement to all the rest in the State. The law, we say, is not in fault, at least not to any great extent,--the mode and manner is plainly pointed out, and full authority conferred upon the proper officers to enforce organization and discipline. Plainly then the blame or the chief part of it, rest upon the officers, and among them the principal share upon those highest in authority. We mean to offend no many be our remarks—they are general in their character, and as far as our declaration extends, apply to all.—What is to be done gentlemen officers? [The Democrat, Huntsville, AL, 9-2-1835.]
 
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