Discussion South Carolina: New Bill introduced for a monument to Black Confederates

Rhea Cole

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View attachment 401283

I've seen a great many Union POW records - thousands of them. Yes, even of servants (free and slave) captured at Fort Donelson.
I've never seen one that records the height of the prisoner.
Look it up, you are in for a treat. Scholars who study the beginnings of self-liberation are intimately familiar with the multifaceted Camp Chase situation. When someone cites a source, it would be advisable to read the considerable body of material before posting non factual responses.
 

Andersonh1

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OK, then why the straw men, that is a red flag for an argument intended to divert from a lack of facts?

What do you see as the straw man? I honestly don't know what you're talking about. I keep asking about the free black population, and you always answer with a scenario involving slavery, so I take it you aren't aware of or don't believe that the non-slave black population in the South existed? Or is it that you don't consider them actually free, despite that being the terminology of the time, unless they went over to the Union side?

On another topic, I'd take issue with your use of the term "self-liberation". That would imply that the slaves just up and freed themselves with no help from anyone, but I suspect the presence of the Union army had a lot to do with creating an opportunity, so I'm not seeing much "self liberation" there.
 

ForeverFree

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On another topic, I'd take issue with your use of the term "self-liberation". That would imply that the slaves just up and freed themselves with no help from anyone, but I suspect the presence of the Union army had a lot to do with creating an opportunity, so I'm not seeing much "self liberation" there.
There has been some controversy among scholars about the use of the term "self-liberation." After some deliberation, I think the term is OK.

You correctly say that "the presence of the Union army had a lot to do with creating an opportunity" for freedom. But the fact is, any person who's seeking freedom has to be able to go to a place where they can be free. A person like Harriet Tubman was enabled by the fact that there was a free North to which she could escape... the fact that the North consisted of free states created an opportunity that she took advantage of. But she had to make the decision to escape her master and actually accomplish her escape to gain her freedom... I think the decision and the accomplishment can be fairly called self-liberation... it's not like her master let her go or otherwise enabled her freedom.

The most common term for persons escaping bondage has been "runaway slaves." A lot of scholars today use the term "freedom seekers." In talks, I sometimes use the term "freedom runners," a cross between the phrases "runaways" and "freedom seekers" and "free runners." But I think self-liberation is OK, it distinguishes between somebody who was freed by their master (manumission) and someone who took the initiative to escape from their master (freedom runner). This is IMHO.

- Alan
 
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ForeverFree

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I keep asking about the free black population...
One of the ironies of this discussion of southern free blacks is that, they didn't always see themselves as "black."

Recollect what Jefferson Davis said about black people in his two volume work on the Confederacy:

The forefathers of these (Union) negro soldiers were gathered from the torrid plains and malarial swamps of inhospitable Africa. Generally they were born the slaves of barbarian masters, untaught in all the useful arts and occupations, reared in heathen darkness, and, sold by heathen masters, they were transferred to shores enlightened by the rays of Christianity.​
There, put to servitude, they were trained in the gentle arts of peace and order and civilization; they increased from a few unprofitable savages to millions of efficient Christian laborers. Their servile instincts rendered them contented with their lot, and their patient toil blessed the land of their abode with unmeasured riches.​

To Davis, Africans were endowed with "servile instincts" that made them "contented with their lot", that is lifelong enslavement. No white man would find enslavement acceptable for his own person, or his own family. But for Africans, enslavement was natural, so the thinking went.

Free blacks did not want to be seen as inherently degraded and servile. So, they tried to not be black. The late Ira Berlin's book Slaves Without Masters: The Free Negro in the Antebellum South notes (please forgive any typos):

Free Negroes found that their social advancement hinged on their ability to distinguish themselves from the mass of slaves. The closer free Negroes could approximate the white ideal, the greater their chances of acceptance. Acceptance of course was not equality, but... It could markedly improve the freemen's standards of living. Consciously, or unconsciously, upward striving free Negroes understood this and acting on it.​
Status differences continually eroded the bonds of racial unity and turned the free Negroes and slaves against each other. ...some free Negroes... anxious to integrate themselves with white patrons and protectors... vigorously defended slavery as the proper status for the majority of blacks.
{there were} status differences between free and slave blacks at all levels, {but} they tended to be greater at the top and at the bottom. Wealthy freemen wanted little part of slaves except as property...​
Whites promoted these differences between free Negroes and slaves, just as they tried to divide fieldhands and house servants, unskilled bondsman and slave artisans.​
...Dunford {a black slaveholder} fully identified with the white slave owning elite. Many wealthy freemen, like Dunford, considered themselves more white than black, no matter what their precise racial heritage. Dunford's Northern educated son, who urged amelioration of slave conditions—not emancipation—had no greater sense of identification with blacks than his father. He supported African colonization for slaves — but not for himself – spoke of colonization as repatriation, and lauded the plan to return blacks to "the land of their fathers."

The fact that these people we call southern "free blacks" rejected blackness/African-ness... is an irony that most white Americans don't appreciate. But these issues involving skin color have been a constant dynamic among people of African descent in the US.

- Alan
 
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uaskme

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There has been some controversy among scholars about the use of the term "self-liberation." After some deliberation, I think the term is OK.

You correctly say that "the presence of the Union army had a lot to do with creating an opportunity" for freedom. But the fact is, any person who's seeking freedom has to be able to go to a place where they can be free. A person like Harriet Tubman was enabled by the fact that there was a free North to which she could escape... the fact that the North consisted of free states created an opportunity that she took advantage of. But she had to make the decision to escape her master and actually accomplish her escape to gain her freedom... I would call the decision and the accomplishment self-liberation... it's not like her master let her go or otherwise enabled her freedom.

The most common term for persons escaping bondage has been "runaway slaves." A lot of scholars today use the term "freedom seekers." In talks, I sometimes use the term "freedom runners," a cross between the phrases "runaways" and "freedom seekers" and "free runners." But I think self-liberation is OK, it distinguishes between somebody who was freed by their master (manumission) and someone who took the initiative to escape from their master (freedom runner).

- Alan
Just exactly how Free were they? Free to travel North? No. Most Negroes were forced Back onto the Plantations in a situation that mirrored Slavery or forced to labor for the Yankee with no pay and miserable working conditions in situations Northern Edited wouldn’t tolerate.

Hunter was the average Northern Edited who thought the Negro had to be compelled to do something. The reason for his heavy handed recruiting tactics, which were duplicated all over the South to raise Negro troops. Northern War governors wanted to see some dead Negroes. They were recruited as northern white Negrophobic replacements. Paid half of what whites were paid and given tasks whites wouldn’t do. Excluded from the bounties benefit so they were cheaper than the low class Yankee immigrants. Some Negroes volunteered joyfully. Even those were cheated out of their wages. Others were forced into recruitment.

Negroes conditions and pay didn’t change until they forced Yankees to do so. There was no gift of Freedom or and social benefits others than what they Demanded. Even with those they were Restricted to the South. Northern Negros didn’t even get voting rights until later. I don‘t see any of this in your Narrative. The Truth is the Norths interpretation of the Wars history is no better than the Lost Cause and Northern posters here have no more knowledge than Southerners but they are continually Preached to.

Where are all of the Yankee memorials which explain the Negroes contributions to the Yankee’s success. They are few. Why haven’t the Yankee’s told the Truth about all this? They never will. They will just continue to Preach to the South. It is all just Silly. Seems we ALL could learn something.
 
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19thGeorgia

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One of the ironies of this discussion of southern free blacks is that, they didn't always see themselves as "black."
The term 'Black Confederate' has to do with the modern usage of the word black. It's not a claim that there were no class distinctions among "free negroes and other free persons of color" (General Orders No. 32).

The fact that these people we call southern "free blacks" rejected blackness/African-ness... is an irony that most white Americans don't appreciate. But these issues involving skin color have been a constant dynamic among people of African descent in the US.

- Alan
The same class distinctions also apply to the USCT, but it's rarely (if ever) brought up in discussions or writings about the USCT.

Why is that?
 

ForeverFree

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The term 'Black Confederate' has to do with the modern usage of the word black. It's not a claim that there were no class distinctions among "free negroes and other free persons of color" (General Orders No. 32).
Well, that's exactly my point. The use of the term is somewhat anachronistic. The term "black" has a modern meaning that gives no sense of the divide between different segments of the African descent population at the time of the Civil War. I'm not saying that anybody is intentionally using the term "Black Confederates" to hide such divisions; I'm making the point that the term is inadequate in identifying that there were such divisions in the first place.

The same class distinctions also apply to the USCT, but it's rarely (if ever) brought up in discussions or writings about the USCT.
Race and class are two intersecting but different constructs. I am focusing here on race.

One issue here is the dynamic of colorism, the concept that people of lighter skin are treated differently, and behave differently, than people of lighter skin. This is a dynamic that transcends class, although, light skinned people did form something of different caste in places like antebellum Charleston and New Orleans. Light skinned people were more likely to be free, and probably more likely to be privileged, than darker skinned people, but this was not simply a function of skin color: having white family had practical and material benefits.

Meanwhile, many northern Negroes embraced their African heritage. The largest black religious denomination in the North was the African Methodist Episcopalian (AME) Church. In New York there were schools that taught people pride in their African beginnings. They weren't trying to run from African ancestry as was largely the case in the South.

This was in part influenced by demographics. The late historian Ira Berlin made the point that southern free negroes "found that their social advancement hinged on their ability to distinguish themselves from the mass of slaves... Status differences continually eroded the bonds of racial unity and turned the free Negroes and slaves against each other... ..some free (southern) Negroes... vigorously defended slavery." There were almost zero slaves in the North by the time of the war; so northern free negroes had no fear of being degraded to the level of slaves. The North did have its own deviant form of racial oppression, but denying African heritage or denying unity with the enslaved population were not, uniformly at least, strategies that northerner Negroes engaged in. As opposed to southern free Negroes (of various classes), free Negroes in the North (of various classes) vociferously advocated for freeing the enslaved.

Having said that, there certainly were class differences among Negroes in the army, just as there were class differences among whites in the army, just as there were class differences in the non-military population. I don't get the sense that such class differences for either blacks or whites has been given that much discussion on these forums, and I haven't researched the subject much from a standpoint of scholarly studies myself. The movie Glory, for one, does talk to those differences, sometimes in ways that I was not happy with. But that's another story.

- Alan
 
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ForeverFree

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Just exactly how Free were they? Free to travel North? No. Most Negroes were forced Back onto the Plantations in a situation that mirrored Slavery or forced to labor for the Yankee with no pay and miserable working conditions in situations Northern Edited wouldn’t tolerate.

Hunter was the average Northern Edited who thought the Negro had to be compelled to do something. The reason for his heavy handed recruiting tactics, which were duplicated all over the South to raise Negro troops. Northern War governors wanted to see some dead Negroes. They were recruited as northern white Negrophobic replacements. Paid half of what whites were paid and given tasks whites wouldn’t do. Excluded from the bounties benefit so they were cheaper than the low class Yankee immigrants. Some Negroes volunteered joyfully. Even those were cheated out of their wages. Others were forced into recruitment.

Negroes conditions and pay didn’t change until they forced Yankees to do so. There was no gift of Freedom or and social benefits others than what they Demanded. Even with those they were Restricted to the South. Northern Negros didn’t even get voting rights until later. I don‘t see any of this in your Narrative. The Truth is the Norths interpretation of the Wars history is no better than the Lost Cause and Northern posters here have no more knowledge than Southerners but they are continually Preached to.

Where are all of the Yankee memorials which explain the Negroes contributions to the Yankee’s success. They are few. Why haven’t the Yankee’s told the Truth about all this? They never will. They will just continue to Preach to the South. It is all just Silly. Seems we ALL could learn something.

My post was about runaway slaves seeking freedom in Union lines during the war, and the naming conventions for them. You write the above as a response to my post, yet it has nothing to do with what I said. It just seems like you didn't care at all about what I said, and it's OK if you don't. But I'm not going to respond to that, except to say that the comment that "Northern War governors wanted to see some dead Negroes" was singularly disgusting.

- Alan
 

C.W. Roden

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Fantastical claims of whole regiments of willing slave soldiers were, as the documentation makes glaringly obvious, at the heart of the Black Confederate narrative. A simple Google search will provide ample evidence to support that.
Well, I took your advice and did that Google search, but strangely I came up blank on your claims.
Oh certainly I found fantastical arguments from armchair "historians" in both directions on this issue, but nothing I haven't read before. Nothing new at all.
When I wrote that article I was endeavoring to present a far more realistic view of the issue, and -- at least as far as one historian saw it, Tony Horwitz (God rest his soul!), I present the case rather well. The 300K people who viewed the article seemed to think so too, as did a majority of those commenting (though I admit few Deniers ever showed up to actually challenge anything on that forum).
The claim here isn't about trying to justify causes, its simply about remembering lives. It always has been. Period.
 

Rhea Cole

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Well, I took your advice and did that Google search, but strangely I came up blank on your claims.
Oh certainly I found fantastical arguments from armchair "historians" in both directions on this issue, but nothing I haven't read before. Nothing new at all.
When I wrote that article I was endeavoring to present a far more realistic view of the issue, and -- at least as far as one historian saw it, Tony Horwitz (God rest his soul!), I present the case rather well. The 300K people who viewed the article seemed to think so too, as did a majority of those commenting (though I admit few Deniers ever showed up to actually challenge anything on that forum).
The claim here isn't about trying to justify causes, its simply about remembering lives. It always has been. Period.
This is the kind of post Thai find extremely curious. I easily found six SCV sites that tout a presentation where tens of thousands of willing slave soldiers is celebrating by standing ovations. A goof whose name I will not repeat made a pretty good living making speeches to SCV & like minded groups. By the way, he was a black man, go figure that one.

I don’t presume to know a thing about your internet research skills. That would be presumptuous.
Where does the free black population of the South fit into your view of this history? It was a small number, admittedly, and not representative of the majority black experience at the time, but not so small a number as to be ignored entirely, which you appear to be doing here. I went through the following thread and there are over 120 CSR records from South Carolina (which is the focus of this thread), most of which were free black men. Some are noted as conscripts, but not all.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/co...vice-records-of-black-and-mulatto-men.142889/
Do I have this right? This whole deal is about 120 men who could not legally enlist in CSA’s srmy?
 

Andersonh1

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Do I have this right? This whole deal is about 120 men who could not legally enlist in CSA’s srmy?

No, you don't have it right. I doubt the 120 that we've found are the only ones who existed. And since these men were legally enlisted in the CS army, and their CSR records are there for all to see at the link, how exactly can you claim they could not enlist?
 
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Rhea Cole

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No, you don't have it right. I doubt the 120 that we've found are the only ones who existed. And since these men were legally enlisted in the CS army, and their CSR records are there for all to see at the link, how exactly can you claim they could not enlist?
Ok, 122… this only washes with someone who doesn’t know better. Since anyone with African blood was specifically forbidden from joining CSA army, there are no legal enlistments. I would have to dig it out, but there is a list of courts marshal etc removing people of African decent from the CSA army. 200,000 fully documented USCT vs 122 quasi-confederates… thought provoking, no?
 

Andersonh1

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Ok, 122… this only washes with someone who doesn’t know better. Since anyone with African blood was specifically forbidden from joining CSA army, there are no legal enlistments. I would have to dig it out, but there is a list of courts marshal etc removing people of African decent from the CSA army. 200,000 fully documented USCT vs 122 quasi-confederates… thought provoking, no?

You're still thinking in terms of infantry only. Cooks were enlisted, musicians were enlisted, etc. It was the carrying of weapons that was the problem. I'm aware that some men were discharged from service for being found to be black, which if nothing else shows that some were willing to join the CS army had they been allowed to do so.

The number of the USCT was around 185,000, not 200,000. One of the problems I have here is any attempt to inflate one side's numbers while downplaying the other's. The numbers are what they are. They speak for themselves, and one of the things they tell us is that the Union enlisted far more black men and put them in combat roles than the CS ever did, no doubt about it.
 

19thGeorgia

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Ok, 122… this only washes with someone who doesn’t know better. Since anyone with African blood was specifically forbidden from joining CSA army, there are no legal enlistments. I would have to dig it out, but there is a list of courts marshal etc removing people of African decent from the CSA army. 200,000 fully documented USCT vs 122 quasi-confederates… thought provoking, no?
We're only involved with one state here, not the entire CSA.

Enlisted Men
Holcombe's Legion- 43
1st (Charleston) Battalion- 42
21st Infantry- 16
23rd Infantry- 19
24th Infantry- 20

That's 140 in five units. Reckon there'll be any more in the other 60+ regiments and battalions?
 

Rhea Cole

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We're only involved with one state here, not the entire CSA.

Enlisted Men
Holcombe's Legion- 43
1st (Charleston) Battalion- 42
21st Infantry- 16
23rd Infantry- 19
24th Infantry- 20

That's 140 in five units. Reckon there'll be any more in the other 60+ regiments and battalions?
Everybody has to eat & get their laundry done, too. The washer women were regular members of a regiment’s establishment. There is no reason for excluding them. Apparently the only one in this exchange still trying to discover the most obvious facts is not me.
 

DanSBHawk

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We're only involved with one state here, not the entire CSA.

Enlisted Men
Holcombe's Legion- 43
1st (Charleston) Battalion- 42
21st Infantry- 16
23rd Infantry- 19
24th Infantry- 20

That's 140 in five units. Reckon there'll be any more in the other 60+ regiments and battalions?
And not a single one was enlisted or was conscripted as a combatant.
 

DanSBHawk

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You're still thinking in terms of infantry only. Cooks were enlisted, musicians were enlisted, etc. It was the carrying of weapons that was the problem. I'm aware that some men were discharged from service for being found to be black, which if nothing else shows that some were willing to join the CS army had they been allowed to do so.
If they enlisted as white, and were subsequently found to be black and then discharged, then they must have been light-skinned enough to pass for white in a society where being white made all the difference. Enlisting may have been another part of their effort to fit in as white.
 

Andersonh1

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If they enlisted as white, and were subsequently found to be black and then discharged, then they must have been light-skinned enough to pass for white in a society where being white made all the difference. Enlisting may have been another part of their effort to fit in as white.

I think it's pretty clear that some men were able to pass as white to enlist and were later found out. We don't know what motivated them unless they left some record. There could have been any number of reasons. Men who were clearly black did enlist, they just couldn't enlist as infantry. Other roles in the CS army were open to them. I don't really care about the semantics of whether they were "soldiers" or not, that seems beside the point.

I have a reference book, "Black Confederates in the U.S. Civil War" by Ricardo J. Rodriguez, where he basically went through CSRs and found any black man or mixed race listed there. South Carolina records take up pages 114-154. I have not counted the number of men listed in those pages, but I may take a second to do that later. There are cooks, servants, teamsters, laborers, laundrymen, musicians, attendants, bodyguards, and a few listed as private.

*edit* at roughly 25 per page, based on the first few full pages of names, there are probably 1000 records from South Carolina in this book. The back cover says there are over 7000 in the entire book. Some of the names I recognized from what 19thGeorgia and others have posted on the "Counting Black Confederates" thread.
 
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