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

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
Actually, I think that's the entire point, for all sides of the black confederate issue.

Not to me, it just feels like arguing over words and semantics when we could actually be learning the reality of what these men did and who they were. But yes, to some it all boils down to "soldier who carried a gun and fought or not, no one else counts".
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
Consider this news story:

Charleston Mercury, January 3, 1861​
THE WORK GOES BRAVELY ON. - We learn that 150 able-bodied free colored men, of Charleston, yesterday offered their services gratuitously to the Governor, to hasten toward the important work of throwing up redoubts wherever needed along our coast.​

Who were these men? All we know is that they were part of the free black population of Charleston who offered to work for free on coastal defenses. We don't know names, we don't know motivations, we don't know how long they worked at this job. We do know the offer was accepted, because the governor mentioned them in this State of the State address at the end of the year.

The National Republican (Washington, DC) November 18, 1861​
excerpt:​
Gov. P's message has the following paragraph in relation to free negroes:​
"It is a source of great satisfaction to me to draw your attention to the fact that all classes of our people, without exception, have been loyal and devoted to the State in this her day of trial, and among them I would particularly say that the free people of color have done their duty also. At an important time last Spring, when the whole of our population were intensely excited, from Columbia, and Charleston, and elsewhere, they formally offered their services to me, to act in any capacity in which they might serve their State. They were in many instances employed.​

Should we label them? They can't be "black Confederates" because there was no Confederate States in January of 1861. Did they feel loyalty to South Carolina? Were they afraid not to be seen as supporting the cause of SC secession? Was there a mixture of motivations? We can guess all day long, we will never have a final answer. But one thing I did learn from this story and others like it: enlistment as armed infantry is not the bottom line and is in fact far too narrow a net to be casting here in terms of trying to understand the people we often call "black Confederates". One did not have to be a soldier to be a Confederate, or to support the cause of secession, for whatever reason.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
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?

John Wilson Buckner, Company I, 1st Regiment SC Artillery
Served under Capt. P. O. Gaillard and Capt. Boykin
Private
FMC, WIA. Was wounded at Ft. Wagner repulsing the US (Colored) 54th Massachusetts regiment.

- "always a freeman"
- enlisted as a regular soldier in Capt. P. P. Gaillard's company at the beginning of the war
- later served in Capt. Boykin's company
- after that served as a scout
- "He was a faithful soldier"
- remained a Democrat after the war and was "true to his friends"

The Watchman And Southron (Sumter South Carolina) Wednesday, August 28, 1895
yhlbw70-jpg.jpg
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2021
I wrote this for BGES - It contains info on a Black CSA soldier. I include it here since the discussion concerns that topic.



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The Historic Connections of the Church of the Holy Cross in Stateburg, South Carolina​

Norman Dasinger, Jr., May 31, 2021​

blueandgrayeducation.org
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Historic Church of the Holy Cross | CC
This historic Anglican church was originally established on land donated by Revolutionary War general Thomas Sumter. The present structure was built between 1850 and 1852, and among its long and varied history are two interesting stories.
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Joel R. Poinsett | LOC

Joel R. Poinsett​

Joel R. Poinsett was a famous 19th-century physician, freemason, and statesman. While serving as the United States’ first minister to Mexico, he visited an area south of Mexico City in 1823 and saw an interesting plant with a vivid red flower. An avid amateur botanist, he sent samples of the plant to the United States, and by 1836, it became known as the "poinsettia." Poinsett died in 1851 in Stateburg while away from his Georgetown, South Carolina, plantation and was buried in the Church of the Holy Cross’s cemetery. It is possible his funeral was witnessed by one of the wealthy church members who had donated money for the erection of the current structure.

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William Ellison | CC

William Ellison​

April Ellison was born enslaved in 1790 on the Ellison Plantation in Winnsboro, South Carolina. Apprenticed by his owner at age 10 to a cotton ginmaker, he went on to purchase his freedom on June 9, 1816, using money he earned and saved. He changed his name to William Elliison, moved to Stateburg, and continued to refine his trade of making cotton gins. Ellison also married, had children, joined the Church of the Holy Cross, and began to accumulate wealth and, according to the 1860 U.S. Census, owned 63 slaves, making him, at that time, the largest of the 171 black slaveholders in South Carolina.
At the beginning of the Civil War, Ellison offered the labor of his enslaved people to the Confederate government and converted part of his 1,000-acre cotton plantation to mixed crops in order to supply food to the Confederate Army. He died in December 1861, and his property was divided, including his slaves, among his daughter and two sons.
William Ellison’s grandson, John Buckner served as a private in the 1st South Carolina Artillery, according to the National Park Service, the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System at M381, Roll 5. He joined Company K on March 27, 1863. His family was acquainted with the unit’s commander Capt. Alfred Gaillard.
The 1st South Carolina Artillery was present for the April 12, 1861, bombardment of Fort Sumter. A portion of it was also in the works at Battery or Fort Wagner on Morris Island for the famous assault of the 54th Massachusetts in 1863. Buckner’s Company K appears to have been located elsewhere at the time of the assault against Fort Wagner. They were stationed on Castle Pinckney, an island that was a part of a network of defensive positions in Charleston harbor, which included Forts Wagner, Sumter, and Moultrie.
John Buckner died in 1895 and was buried at the Ellison Family cemetery in Stateburg, praised for being a faithful soldier.
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19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
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.
It was a bit more involved that that - but why do you want to discredit their service?

James Russell, 24th SC- Killed at Missionary Ridge, TN, November 25, 1863.
A. P. Cohen, 24th SC- Died in hospital at Savannah, GA, November 15, 1863
James E. Stephens, 21st SC- POW. Died of pneumonia at Elmira, NY, February 23, 1865.
Reuben Stephens, 21st SC- POW. Died of pneumonia at Point Lookout, MD, February 23, 1864.
Jacob Dial, 21st SC- Wounded at Battery Wagner (siege), August 23, 1863.
 

Horrido67

Private
Joined
Sep 29, 2019
John Wilson Buckner, Company I, 1st Regiment SC Artillery
Served under Capt. P. O. Gaillard and Capt. Boykin
Private
FMC, WIA. Was wounded at Ft. Wagner repulsing the US (Colored) 54th Massachusetts regiment.

- "always a freeman"
- enlisted as a regular soldier in Capt. P. P. Gaillard's company at the beginning of the war
- later served in Capt. Boykin's company
- after that served as a scout
- "He was a faithful soldier"
- remained a Democrat after the war and was "true to his friends"

The Watchman And Southron (Sumter South Carolina) Wednesday, August 28, 1895
View attachment 402768

I think he came up on CivilWarTalk once or twice before. Based on what I have gathered, I believe our fellow John Wilson Buckner looked light enough to pass for white. His grandfather, William Ellison was already described by his attorney as a “freed yellow man of about 29 years of age,” when he submitted his application to change his name after his former master, which means John's grandfather was already a mixed race person. Five local freeholders presented at the court as supporting witnesses when William Ellison (at the time, April) was emancipated, which means again William Ellison was well-connected & probably had light skin.

Not to mention Wiliam Ellison was a respectable tradesman and a slave owner. The family was well-established in the county and It would have been difficult to distinguish them with their 'white neighbors' since well, they were practically white. It is higly likely John Wilson Buckner, a grandson of William Ellison looked even more white than his grandfather and this is probably why he got passed when it was still illegal for African American to join the Confederate Army as a combatant.

So in my opinion, It would be silly to erect a monument for "Black Confederates" in the image of men who were from slave-holding households and looked white enough to pass. It is essentially Red herring. A distraction from the very fact that enlistment of African American as combat soldiers was against the Confederacy's policy up until 1865.

Black Enslistment Seddon Kirby Smith copy.jpg


James A. Seddon, the Confederate Secretary of War, clarified that their position did not allow Confederates to employ "negros" as armed soldiers.

Again I don't understand the point of the whole legend of "Black Confederates". It just wasn't their official policy. We should accept that fact and try not to do this silly thing to paint the Confederacy as a poorly organized group which could not even enforce their policy. I appreciate all efforts done by members of this community to unearth forgotten heroes of the War of the Rebellion and I do believe all veterans deserve to be celebrated, but maybe it is not appropriate to label those mixed-race gentlemen who looked white enough to pass as "Black Confederates" since they were just "Confederates" and the Confederacy officially refused to employ "blacks" (and mixed-race) as armed combatants for their army.

So maybe it is smart for South Carolina to spend more efforts and energy on actual "colored troops" who were actively recruited & recognized by their government rather than on obscure exceptions who were illegal under their policy. SC alone produced thousands of African American soldiers for the US army which saved the Union. It is their proud heritage.

In my humble opinion, It would be better than unwitting trashing the Confederates by proving Confederates were idiots who failed to implement their policy of not employing African American as armed combatants and allowed a large number of "Black Confederates" to serve in their army by doing so.
 
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19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
If they enlisted as white, and were subsequently found to be black and then discharged,
I think it's pretty clear that some men were able to pass as white to enlist and were later found out.
A "rule" very unevenly and rarely applied (I've seen about a dozen cases). If an officer needed two or three more men to fill out a company, color became less of a factor. "Don't ask, don't tell."
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
I think he came up on here once or twice before, but I believe our fellow John Wilson Buckner looked light enough to pass for white. His grandfather, William Ellison was already described by his attorney as a “freed yellow man of about 29 years of age,” when he submitted his application to change his name after his former master, which means John's grandfather was already a mixed race person. Five local freeholders presented at the court as supporting witnesses when William Ellison (at the time, April) was emancipated, which means again William Ellison was well-connected & probably had light skin.

Not to mention Wiliam Ellison was a respectable tradesman and a slave owner. The family was well-established in the county and It would have been difficult to distinguish them with their 'white neighbors' since well, they were practically white. It is higly likely John Wilson Buckner, a grandson of William Ellison even looked more white than his grandfather and this is probably why he got passed when it was still illegal for "African American" to join the Confederate Army as a combatant.

So in my opinion, It would be silly to erect a monument for "Black Confederates" in the image of men who were from slave-holding households and looked white enough to pass. It is essentially Red herring. A distraction from the very fact that enlistment of African American as combat soldiers was against the Confederacy's policy up until 1865.

View attachment 402826

James A. Seddon, the Confederate Secretary of War, clarified that their position did not allow Confederates to employ "negros" as armed soldiers.

Again I don't understand the point of the whole legend of "Black Confederates". It just wasn't their official policy. We should accept that fact and try not to do this silly thing to paint the Confederacy as a poorly organized group which could not even enforce their policy. I appreciate all efforts done by members of this community to unearth forgotten heroes of the War of the Rebellion and I do believe all veterans deserve to be celebrated, but maybe it is not appropriate to label those mixed-race gentlemen who looked white enough to pass as "Black Confederates" since they were just "Confederates" and the Confederacy officially refused to employ "blacks" (and mixed-race) as armed combatants for their army.

So maybe it is smart for South Carolina to spend more efforts and energy on actual "colored troops" who were actively recruited & recognized by their government rather than on obscure exceptions who were illegal under their policy. SC alone produced thousands of African American soldiers for the US army which saved the Union. It is their proud heritage.

In my humble opinion, It would be better than unwitting trashing the Confederates by proving Confederates were idiots who failed to implement their policy of not employing African American as armed combatants and allowed a large number of "Black Confederates" to serve in their army by doing so.
"I believe our fellow John Wilson Buckner looked light enough to pass for white."
Not to the census takers. Buckner is listed as "mulatto" in every census he is found in from 1850 to 1880.

"failed to implement their policy"
Some folks believe the Confederate army had some sort of "race police" out searching for any non-white among the ranks.

They didn't.
 
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Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
"I believe our fellow John Wilson Buckner looked light enough to pass for white."
Not to the census takers. Buckner is listed as "mulatto" in every census he is found in from 1850 to 1880.

Not to mention the 1895 notice of his death, which referred to him as "the well-known colored man". It seems unlikely that he would be recognized and clearly identified as "colored" in 1895 but not in 1861.
 

Horrido67

Private
Joined
Sep 29, 2019
A "rule" very unevenly and rarely applied (I've seen about a dozen cases). If an officer needed two or three more men to fill out a company, color became less of a factor. "Don't ask, don't tell."

Again I don't understand why Confederates themselves had a firey debate on the very issue if they were able to recruit any person of color. Confederates were in a very dire situation, yet Richmond refused to allow it to happen when some Confederate generals made a petition over the employment of black comtants.

"I believe our fellow John Wilson Buckner looked light enough to pass for white."
Not to the census takers. Buckner is listed as "mulatto" in every census he is found in from 1850 to 1880.

"failed to implement their policy"
Some folks believe the Confederate army had some sort of "race police" out searching for any non-white among the ranks.

They didn't.

Again, we have seen people listed as mulatto on the census, but actually turned out to be light skin enough to pass for white. His grandfather was already "yellow".

I happen to believe what the Confederate Secretary of War, James A. Seddon, said about their policy. According to him, their position did not allow Confederates to employ "negros" as armed soldiers. Some may believe that the Confederacy very loosly enforced their policy as a poorly managed & incompetent organization.
 
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19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
I happen to believe what the Confederate Secretary of War, James A. Seddon, said about their policy. According to him, their position did not allow Confederates to employ "negros" as armed soldiers. Some may believe that the Confederacy very loosly enforced their policy as a poorly managed & incompetent organization.
I would say they were applying their resources and time for more important things - the war.
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Who gives us the 'right' to judge if some one is 'black enough' to be considered BLACK? or Irish enough? or Chinese enough? Many of all 'races' and 'origins' served in both armies.
In a society where status is race-based, being able to pass as a member of the higher-status race means enjoying a completely different experience than those of the lower-status race. A mixed-race person who could pass as white would see a benefit in adopting the same values and attitudes as his white neighbors.

The whole Black Confederate thing, in my opinion, is an effort to claim that the southern slave society was less oppressive to blacks than it actually was, and the war less about slavery than it actually was. The adherents are trying to make the case that southern blacks actually felt loyalty and patriotism towards southern society. But a mixed-race person who could pass as white was actually living the white version of southern society, not the black version.
 
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19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
The whole Black Confederate thing, in my opinion, is an effort to claim that the southern slave society was less oppressive to blacks than it actually was, and the war less about slavery than it actually was. The adherents are trying to make the case that southern blacks actually felt loyalty and patriotism towards southern society.
Is that what you are afraid of? That someone will have a different view of slavery because of black Confederates?

Then you must not be very secure in what you believe.
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Is that what you are afraid of? That someone will have a different view of slavery because of black Confederates?

Then you must not be very secure in what you believe.
I'm very secure in the accuracy of my views. And not afraid of history, in any way whatsoever.

Where did this thing about fear and insecurity even come from? Projection?
 
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Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
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Location
South Carolina
The adherents are trying to make the case that southern blacks actually felt loyalty and patriotism towards southern society.

Some clearly did.

Letter to the editor, New Orleans Daily Delta December 28, 1860

There are certain persons who are disposed to believe and to make others believe - and some will do so from ignorance or mischief - that the free colored poplation (native) of Louisiana are not well disposed toward her, but this is not so; they love their home, their property, they own slaves, and they are dearly attached to their native land, and they recognize no other country than Louisiana, and care for no other than Louisiana, and they are ready to shed their blood for her defense. They have no sympathy for Abolitionism; no love for the North, but they have plenty for Louisiana; and let the hour come, and they will be worthy sons of Louisiana. They will fight for her in 1861 as they fought in 1814-'15. As you have always done them justice, they will ask you the favor of defending them in this case. If they have made no demonstration yet, it is because they have no right to meddle with politics, but not because they are not well disposed. All they ask is to have a chance, and they will be worthy sons of Louisiana. Please give them a little article from your vigorous pen, and remember in all coming time, they trust in your generous and kind heart.​

A LARGE NUMBER OF THEM.​
 

C.W. Roden

Formerly: SouthernFriedOtaku
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Location
South Carolina, USA, Earth
"A goof (sic) 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."

Why would I have trouble with that one at all?
I've attended nearly a hundred Confederate memorial services and SCV and UDC events in the last 20+ years and have met literally hundreds of Black Southern men and women who respect that aspect of Southern identity and heritage, and embrace it as part of their own. That fact would only come as a shock to someone who (a) has never attended one of these events, and (b) relies solely on second-hand information filtered from dubious personalities.
Not sure which individual you are speaking of without a name that you won't repeat, but having met several such speakers -- all of them members of the groups I mentioned -- I have to say that nobody has offered me a convincing argument to convince me that they are lying about honoring the dead.
All of us come from the same place, namely the words "Leave no man behind."
 

C.W. Roden

Formerly: SouthernFriedOtaku
Joined
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Location
South Carolina, USA, Earth
Again I don't understand the point of the whole legend (sic) of "Black Confederates". It just wasn't their official policy.
Official policy has nothing to do with the subject, unless one remains stuck on the endless and ultimately pointless debate over the causes of the war. The irony over the "official policy" argument being that it largely comes from people who don't even believe the CSA government actually existed in the first place, SMH.

The subject of Black Confederates has to do with honoring and respecting the Southern dead, first and foremost.
 

C.W. Roden

Formerly: SouthernFriedOtaku
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Location
South Carolina, USA, Earth
The whole Black Confederate thing, in my opinion, is an effort to claim that the southern slave society was less oppressive to blacks than it actually was, and the war less about slavery than it actually was. The adherents are trying to make the case that southern blacks actually felt loyalty and patriotism towards southern society.
Interesting that argument would be how you would see it. Its completely off base and tone-deaf, but still interesting.
As an "adherent" (for lack of a better term) for the defense of these men, I would argue that these men and women did in fact feel some loyalty and patriotism for the South IN SPITE of how oppressive it was to them.
Sorta like how Black men have fought in all of America's wars despite being segregated, enslaved, or otherwise oppressed -- even in some cases being violently attacked and murdered for simply wearing the uniform by people they fought to help defend in a supposedly free nation (the violent treatment of African-American veterans in major American cities after World War I being the most notorious example).
There are precedents for this sort of loyalty and patriotism -- sometimes unhappy ones to be sure -- but precedents regardless.
I would only agree that anyone who views relations in the Confederate South as any less oppressive is being a bit of a pollyanna.
 
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