"We will not allow n****** to come among us and brag about having been in the yankee army"

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#1
There was much animus towards southern African Americans among white southerners after the Civil War. Something as simple as an African American's pride in his military service could become a flashpoint for violence. Consider this case, from post-war Virginia:

Freedmen's Bureau Agent at Brentsville, Virginia, to the Freedmen's Bureau Superintendent of the 10th District of Virginia

Prince Wm Co. Va Brentsville Jan'y. 15" 1866.

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that a dastardly outrage was committed in this place yesterday, (Sunday,) within sight of my office, the circumstances of which are as follows.

A freedman named James Cook was conceived to be “impudent,” by a white man named John Cornwell; whereupon the whiteman cursed him and threatened him. The freedman, being alarmed, started away, and was followed and threatened with “you d——d black yankee son of a b——h I will kill you”; and was fired upon with a pistol, the ball passing through his clothes. He was then caught by the white man, and beaten with the but of a revolver, and dragged to the door of the Jail near where the affair occurred, where he was loosened and escaped.

He came to me soon after, bleeding from a deep cut over the eye, and reported the above, which was substantiated to me as fact by several witnesses. I have heard both sides of the case fully, and the only charge that is brought against the freedman is “impudence”; and while being pounced upon as a “d——d Yankee,” and cursed and called all manner of names, this “impudence” consisted in the sole offense of saying, that he had been in the union army and was proud of it. No other “impudence” was charged against him.

I know the freedman well, and know him to be uncommonly intelligent, inoffensive, and respectful. He is an old grey-headed man, and has been a slave of the commonwealth attorney of this co. a long time. He has the reputation I have given him among the citizens here, and has rented a farm near here for the coming season. As an evidence of his pacific disposition, he had a revolver which was sold him by the Government, on his discharge from the army, which he did not draw, or threaten to use during the assault; choosing, in this instance at least, to suffer wrong rather than to do wrong.

To show you the state of feeling here among many people, (not all) in regard to such a transaction, Dr. C. H. Lambert, the practicing physician of this place, followed the freedman to me, and said, that “Subdued and miserable as we are, we will not allow ******s to come among us and brag about having been in the yankee army. It is as much as we can do to tolerate it in white men.” He thought “It would be a good lesson to the n******” &c. &c. I have heard many similar, and some more violent remarks, on this, and other subjects connected with the freedmen.

I would not convey the impression however, that there is the slightest danger to any white man, from these vile and cowardly devils. But where there are enough of them together, they glory in the conquest of a “n*****.” They hold an insane malice against the freedman, from which he must be protected, or he is worse off than when he was a slave.

. . . .

Marcus. S. Hopkins.​

> Excerpt from 1" Lieut. Marcus. S. Hopkins to Maj. James Johnson, 15 Jan. 1866, H-59 1866, Registered Letters Received, series 3798, VA Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives.

- Alan
 

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Pat Young

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#2
There was much animus towards southern African Americans among white southerners after the Civil War. Something as simple as an African American's pride in his military service could become a flashpoint for violence. Consider this case, from post-war Virginia:

Freedmen's Bureau Agent at Brentsville, Virginia, to the Freedmen's Bureau Superintendent of the 10th District of Virginia

Prince Wm Co. Va Brentsville Jan'y. 15" 1866.

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that a dastardly outrage was committed in this place yesterday, (Sunday,) within sight of my office, the circumstances of which are as follows.

A freedman named James Cook was conceived to be “impudent,” by a white man named John Cornwell; whereupon the whiteman cursed him and threatened him. The freedman, being alarmed, started away, and was followed and threatened with “you d——d black yankee son of a b——h I will kill you”; and was fired upon with a pistol, the ball passing through his clothes. He was then caught by the white man, and beaten with the but of a revolver, and dragged to the door of the Jail near where the affair occurred, where he was loosened and escaped.

He came to me soon after, bleeding from a deep cut over the eye, and reported the above, which was substantiated to me as fact by several witnesses. I have heard both sides of the case fully, and the only charge that is brought against the freedman is “impudence”; and while being pounced upon as a “d——d Yankee,” and cursed and called all manner of names, this “impudence” consisted in the sole offense of saying, that he had been in the union army and was proud of it. No other “impudence” was charged against him.

I know the freedman well, and know him to be uncommonly intelligent, inoffensive, and respectful. He is an old grey-headed man, and has been a slave of the commonwealth attorney of this co. a long time. He has the reputation I have given him among the citizens here, and has rented a farm near here for the coming season. As an evidence of his pacific disposition, he had a revolver which was sold him by the Government, on his discharge from the army, which he did not draw, or threaten to use during the assault; choosing, in this instance at least, to suffer wrong rather than to do wrong.

To show you the state of feeling here among many people, (not all) in regard to such a transaction, Dr. C. H. Lambert, the practicing physician of this place, followed the freedman to me, and said, that “Subdued and miserable as we are, we will not allow ******s to come among us and brag about having been in the yankee army. It is as much as we can do to tolerate it in white men.” He thought “It would be a good lesson to the n******” &c. &c. I have heard many similar, and some more violent remarks, on this, and other subjects connected with the freedmen.

I would not convey the impression however, that there is the slightest danger to any white man, from these vile and cowardly devils. But where there are enough of them together, they glory in the conquest of a “n*****.” They hold an insane malice against the freedman, from which he must be protected, or he is worse off than when he was a slave.

. . . .

Marcus. S. Hopkins.​

> Excerpt from 1" Lieut. Marcus. S. Hopkins to Maj. James Johnson, 15 Jan. 1866, H-59 1866, Registered Letters Received, series 3798, VA Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives.

- Alan
Thanks for posting Alan. I have seen a fair number of reports of USCT vets being particular targets of white violence.
 
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This is a count of members of the US Colored Troops by state of enlistment:


COUNT OF US COLORED TROOPS BY STATE

Union Free States & Territories Number
Pennsylvania 8,612
Ohio 5,092
New York 4,125
Massachusetts 3,966
District of Columbia 3,269
Kansas 2,080
Rhode Island 1,837
Illinois 1,811
Connecticut 1,764
Indiana 1,537
Michigan 1,387
New Jersey 1,185
Iowa 440
Wisconsin 165
New Hampshire 125
Vermont 120
Maine 104
Minnesota 104
Colorado Territory 95
SUB-TOTAL: 37,818

Union Slave States
Kentucky 23,703
Maryland 8,718
Missouri 8,344
Delaware 954
West Virginia 196
SUB-TOTAL 41,915

Confederate States Number
Louisiana 24,052
Tennessee 20,133
Mississippi 17,869
Virginia 5,723
Arkansas 5,526
South Carolina 5,462
North Carolina 5,035
Alabama 4,969
Georgia 3,486
Florida 1,044
Texas 47
SUB-TOTAL 93,346

Other
State or Territory Unknown 5,896

GRAND TOTAL – USCT 178,975

Note: there were 1-2,000 African Americans who were enlisted in non-USCt regiments. A number of these were dedicated non-combatants, such as under-cooks. Additionally there were at least 18,000 black enlistees in the Union Navy.

> Source: Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867, Volume 1, The Black Military Experience: Series II, p 12
*************

The vast majority of black enlistees were from slave states. The four states that provided the most African American enlistees were Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
- Alan
 
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frankfort-ky-colored_soldiers_monument1.jpg

Colored Soldiers Monument, Kentucky
Source: Wikipedia


st-louis-usct-cholera-monument1.jpg

Monument to the 56th USCT Infantry, Missouri



colored-union-soldiers-hertford-north-carolina-waymarking-com.jpg

Monument to the Colored Union Soldiers, North Carolina

westpoint-colored-troop-monument-norfolf1.jpg

West Point Monument, Norfolk, Virginia


lmc-us-army-colored-troops-memorial-1.jpg

Civil War Monument at Lincoln Cemetery in Portsmouth, Virginia

My understanding is that these are the only monuments to African American Union soldiers that were installed below the Mason-Dixon Line prior to 1990. Three are in former Confederate states, two are in Border (Union slave) states. By contrast there are hundreds of monuments to Confederate soldiers spread throughout the former Confederate and Border states. Note that the two Virginia monuments are in African American cemeteries.

Monuments to Confederates monopolized the commemorative landscape for over a century after the war. The Jim Crow South was not open to the acknowledgment of black men who fought for the "yankees" or for their freedom.

- Alan
 

Pat Young

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frankfort-ky-colored_soldiers_monument1.jpg

Colored Soldiers Monument, Kentucky
Source: Wikipedia


st-louis-usct-cholera-monument1.jpg

Monument to the 56th USCT Infantry, Missouri



colored-union-soldiers-hertford-north-carolina-waymarking-com.jpg

Monument to the Colored Union Soldiers, North Carolina

westpoint-colored-troop-monument-norfolf1.jpg

West Point Monument, Norfolk, Virginia


lmc-us-army-colored-troops-memorial-1.jpg

Civil War Monument at Lincoln Cemetery in Portsmouth, Virginia

My understanding is that these are the only monuments to African American Union soldiers that were installed below the Mason-Dixon Line prior to 1990. Three are in former Confederate states, two are in Border (Union slave) states. By contrast there are hundreds of monuments to Confederate soldiers spread throughout the former Confederate and Border states. Note that the two Virginia monuments are in African American cemeteries.

Monuments to Confederates monopolized the commemorative landscape for over a century after the war. The Jim Crow South was not open to the acknowledgment of black men who fought for the "yankees" or for their freedom.

- Alan
What often goes unacknowledged is that considerable state and local government support went into the placement of Confederate monuments in the South and virtually none went into USCT commemoration.

Also interesting to note that rather than put up monuments to commemorate the men who died during the Civil War from a particular place, white-dominated municipalities (including those with disenfranchised Black-Majority populations) only put up monuments to the Confederate dead.

Would these monuments be so controversial today if instead of only recording local men who served in CSA army, they also included locals who served with USCT or white Unionist regiments? Then they would really be mourning monuments, rather than politicized statements of white solidarity.
 
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The coalition nature of the US Army and Navy during the Civil War was suppressed.
But four different ethnic entities coalesced on the winning side.
President Lincoln had a wee bit of help in winning that war. And the blacks had a new boss man, who was learning on the job about how to win the loyalty of the formerly enslaved. :smug:
 
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What often goes unacknowledged is that considerable state and local government support went into the placement of Confederate monuments in the South and virtually none went into USCT commemoration.

Also interesting to note that rather than put up monuments to commemorate the men who died during the Civil War from a particular place, white-dominated municipalities (including those with disenfranchised Black-Majority populations) only put up monuments to the Confederate dead.

Would these monuments be so controversial today if instead of only recording local men who served in CSA army, they also included locals who served with USCT or white Unionist regiments? Then they would really be mourning monuments, rather than politicized statements of white solidarity.
RE: Would these monuments be so controversial today if instead of only recording local men who served in CSA army, they also included locals who served with USCT or white Unionist regiments?

Undoubtedly, there would be less controversy.

- Alan
 
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RE: Would these monuments be so controversial today if instead of only recording local men who served in CSA army, they also included locals who served with USCT or white Unionist regiments?
Undoubtedly, there would be less controversy.

- Alan
To add: there would be less controversy today. Back then, black or white Unionist monuments would have been inflammatory.

As people look at the commemorative landscape of today, it strikes me that they don't understand that there was a yin/yang nature to it. The yin was the creation of Confederate monuments, the yang was an unwritten prohibition on African American or Unionists monuments. Although there was no problem commemorating African Americans who were faithful servants.

- Alan
 
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John Hartwell

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A rare, perhaps unique example:
Photo209952o.jpg
The Colored Union Soldiers Monument, Hertford, N.C., erected in 1910.

"To remember the county’s African American Union soldiers, women of the black community, many of them the wives and widows of those men, erected one of the few such monuments in the nation on Academy Green in 1910. Coordinated by First Baptist Church and the United Daughters of Union Veterans, the monument is inscribed “In Memory of the Colored Union Soldiers Who Fought in the War of 1861-1865.” Academy Green was the location of the county’s first black school, library, and church (present-day First Baptist Church), which freed-men formed in a bush shelter in 1866."
[https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=84932]
 
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A rare, perhaps unique example:
Photo209952o.jpg
The Colored Union Soldiers Monument, Hertford, N.C., erected in 1910.

"To remember the county’s African American Union soldiers, women of the black community, many of them the wives and widows of those men, erected one of the few such monuments in the nation on Academy Green in 1910. Coordinated by First Baptist Church and the United Daughters of Union Veterans, the monument is inscribed “In Memory of the Colored Union Soldiers Who Fought in the War of 1861-1865.” Academy Green was the location of the county’s first black school, library, and church (present-day First Baptist Church), which freed-men formed in a bush shelter in 1866."
[https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=84932]
This is quite rare, to be sure. It is one of the 5 monuments in post #4 above.

- Alan
 
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I found this unassuming monument near the Battery 9 stop at Petersburg.

View attachment 207248
FYI, this was dedicated in 1993.

Didn't Sec'y Powell and other black veterans construct a memorial to black veterans of the Civil War?
You're referring to the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington, DC. It was dedicated in 1998. It was funded by various sources, including donations from African Americans. I understand that Powell had some involvement with that monument as well as the monument to the Buffalo Soldiers in Kansas.

A list of monuments to Civil War era African American soldiers and sailors is here.

- Alan
 
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John Hartwell

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This is quite rare, to be sure. It is one of the 5 monuments in post #4 above.

- Alan
I missed that in Post #4. I was looking particularly at the pre-WWI period, civic more than cemetery monuments. The Carney Monument at West Point, Va. (dedicated to both colored ACW and Spanish war soldiers) also dates from 1906. I haven't been able to find an original date for the 56th USCT monument -- only that it was "moved" in 1939 (it looks quite a bit older). The Kentucky example was 1924.
 

John Hartwell

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Starting in 1916, there was a movement to erect a National Monument to Colored Soldiers in Washington D.C. A commission was named to make plans, possible sites discussed, and design propositions solicited. The movement continued through World War I. Speakers toured the country to raise interest -- apparently some money was raised. After the Great War, interest increased, as some white officers who had led black troops in France put their support behind the idea.
ColMon20.jpg
[Washington Evening Star, 9 March 1920]
The Bill apparently died in Congress. I find no further mention.
At least one Monument to Colored Soldiers was erected during that time, however, though not in Washington:
1920Fr.jpg
[Washington Evening Star, 29 Oct. 1920]
And, the men had to pay for it themselves.
 

MattL

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#18
frankfort-ky-colored_soldiers_monument1.jpg

Colored Soldiers Monument, Kentucky
Source: Wikipedia


st-louis-usct-cholera-monument1.jpg

Monument to the 56th USCT Infantry, Missouri



colored-union-soldiers-hertford-north-carolina-waymarking-com.jpg

Monument to the Colored Union Soldiers, North Carolina

westpoint-colored-troop-monument-norfolf1.jpg

West Point Monument, Norfolk, Virginia


lmc-us-army-colored-troops-memorial-1.jpg

Civil War Monument at Lincoln Cemetery in Portsmouth, Virginia

My understanding is that these are the only monuments to African American Union soldiers that were installed below the Mason-Dixon Line prior to 1990. Three are in former Confederate states, two are in Border (Union slave) states. By contrast there are hundreds of monuments to Confederate soldiers spread throughout the former Confederate and Border states. Note that the two Virginia monuments are in African American cemeteries.

Monuments to Confederates monopolized the commemorative landscape for over a century after the war. The Jim Crow South was not open to the acknowledgment of black men who fought for the "yankees" or for their freedom.

- Alan
Not surprising considering this (1906) is how they were met when they resisted Confederate monuments. Nothing more than some heads to knock and run out of town.
 

matthew mckeon

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Starting in 1916, there was a movement to erect a National Monument to Colored Soldiers in Washington D.C. A commission was named to make plans, possible sites discussed, and design propositions solicited. The movement continued through World War I. Speakers toured the country to raise interest -- apparently some money was raised. After the Great War, interest increased, as some white officers who had led black troops in France put their support behind the idea.
View attachment 207256 [Washington Evening Star, 9 March 1920]
The Bill apparently died in Congress. I find no further mention.
At least one Monument to Colored Soldiers was erected during that time, however, though not in Washington:
View attachment 207258 [Washington Evening Star, 29 Oct. 1920]
And, the men had to pay for it themselves.
My understanding is that the American brass during the war wanting the French military to go easy on decorating African American soldiers, because it would rile up some of the white soldiers.
 
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Susie King Taylor mentioned that African American GAR men were afraid to wear their membership buttons when she visited Louisiana after the war.
From Reminiscences of My Life in Camp with the 33d United States Colored Troops; Late 1st S. C. Volunteers by Susie King Taylor:

A VISIT TO LOUISIANA
THE inevitable always happens. On February 3, 1898, I was called to Shreveport, La., to the bedside of my son, who was very ill...

I met several comrades, white and colored, there, and noticed that the colored comrades did not wear their buttons. I asked one of them why this was, and was told, should they wear it, they could not get work. Still some would wear their buttons in spite of the feeling against it. I met a newsman from New York on the train. He was a veteran, and said that Sherman ought to come back and go into that part of the country.
- Alan
 



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