What is the Big Fuss About Black Confederate Soldiers?

Viper21

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I was, at first, somewhat interested as well. However seeing how the discussions quickly turned made me rethink entering more than a few of the threads about this subject.

Care. Be interested. Great! I just don't see why it's apparently important enough that we have to fight about it all the time. There's very little, if any fighting over in the Ladies' Tea Forum. However I suspect we'd get side eye and judgement if we suddenly started fighting over which whether or not camp followers existed and who counts as one or was there for a legitimate purpose...
There's nothing that says you can't start your own threads, even in this forum, & direct the discussion how you wish.

Maybe. But, I would suspect only from folks interested in the topics you discuss there.

Here's the thing. Some folks appreciate debate, even spirited debate. It's partly why some of the threads in SlaveryTalk have hundreds, or even thousands of replies. For reference, SlaveryTalk has over a thousand threads, & around 100,000 replies. The fact that some folks, don't appreciate that, is also why, these topics/threads have their own forum, intentionally away from the main page, & don't update on the forums page when new posts are posted. One has to seek out this forum, & threads to read or engage in them.
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
You.
You wrote in the post I quoted that the other topic did not disprove the existence. You should never expect something to be disproved.
It is up to you to prove the existence of something. It it not up to everyone else to disprove it.

So if you think there where black confederates, then it is you who have to prove it.

And depending on the definition of black confederate used, that is very very easy... or near impossible.*
(Since the goalpost can be placed where ever you want it placed)



*until early 1865, that is.

Yes, when a person or persons are so adamant that they are unyielding about a topic and just won't budge an inch they should back their assertions. I said this my OP: Again, what are the Confederate soldier advocates trying to prove? What are the Confederate naysayers trying to prove? I personally believe there could have been free blacks along with Confederate soldiers, but so what, and that doesn't prove anything pertaining to slavery. I asked both parties to prove or give some evidence on their assertion, or some reasoning behind it. The black Confederate proponents gave their reasoning why they study this topic, whereas the anti black Confederate camp did not.

I personally don't care if there any black Confederates because as far as I'm concerned it doesn't change anything. Let me return the history lesson: when in doubt on topic, and when the evidence appears to be scanty and devoid of "certainties" go with the most "probabilities," and right now it seems probable that there were black Confederates, no matter if there was one or one-hundred thousand, and no matter what their job was it seems probable that blacks were war part of the Confederate war effort. If I'm moving the goal posts, then what is the proper definition to qualify as a Confederate?
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Who cares? Were there a few? Probably, I suppose. Why does it matter to either side whether there were or not, to the point where they bicker like children? What does it change about the subject of the Civil War? Or the Confederacy? Or the Union? Or Lincoln?

Absolutely nothing, so what's everyone's point?
I personal don't care. I was just wondering why the great controversy over this subject. The probabilities suggest that there were black Confederates, all the other details can be argued, which I'm not interested in.
 
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Yankee Brooke

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PA
Like I said, I do enjoy the discussion, if nothing else I like to put a face, or at least generic description, to names as much as possible. However reading the discussion is often difficult, due to the "spirited debate" that often happens.

By today's standards, there absolutely were POC confederate soldiers. I believe I read somewhere that up to 50%(or more) of the troops from Texas regiments were Mexican. Either by birth, or first generation Mexican-Americans. Both armies were filled with Native American soldiers in the far western armies.

These are often ignored by both sides, because it doesn't fit neatly in either narrative. Either the Confederates were an army of white supremacists (I do not believe that is true), or they weren't (I also don't entirely believe that either, it isn't that black and white to me), but the presence of Non-African POC doesn't help further EITHER argument(and maybe hurts both) so it's largely ignored.

Obviously the topic is important. If nothing else just to at least put a generic description to a name, or a group of people we otherwise might overlook. Basically I just wish it could be less "spirited" at times.

(I'll admit that I do read a lot of the threads, or at least parts of them, however I rarely comment on them in an effort to stay out of the "spiritedness" of it all.)
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
I suspect the doubt arises because it does not fit in with some people's image of the Confederacy and those who served it.

The Confederacy was served and supported by many people of varying disposition and status, black and white (although predominately white). To discount someone as being black because they are 'mulatto' or some other variation seems a little insulting to those who were black to thus claim they were not black enough to be counted as such. I'm sure they were regarded as black in their communities and in any CS unit in which they may have served. Just as they were recognised then for who they were (heritage-wise), they are so today and I'm sure it would be very insulting today if a black person were told he can't be counted as black because his skin tone is not dark enough.

I get it, the idea behind the doubters is to paint the Confederacy as a total bigoted society, where blacks were subordinate to whites and were just not equal in anything. If you read my past posts I never condemned the Confederacy for racisms or slavery, I just knocked them for depending on slavery for economic purposes. The war did devastate the south, but holding on to slavery did not help their plight.
 
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C.W. Roden

Formerly: SouthernFriedOtaku
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Location
South Carolina, USA, Earth
I get it, the idea behind the doubters is to paint the Confederacy as a total bigoted society, where blacks were subordinate to whites and were just not equal in anything. If you read my past posts I never condemned the Confederacy for racisms or slavery, I just knocked them for depending on slavery for economic purposes. The war did devastate the south, but holding on to slavery did not help their plight.
Its not just the existence of Black Southern Loyalists (aka Black Confederates, or Confederates of Color) but the fact that there are today some African Americans who are proud of the service of their ancestors that causes so much fright from those opposed to their existence.
Many of these people are folks who want you to believe that the Southern Confederacy was the equivalent of folks who need to be unpersoned and that the Confederate soldier deserves no honor as an American veteran, or as a human being. To people like that anyone who does not fit into their narrative is a threat, and nothing frightens someone more than having their "religion" (aka their political and social views connected to how they define the memory of the War Between The States) challenged by facts that run counter to the narrative.
 
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dlofting

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Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Its not just the existence of Black Southern Loyalists (aka Black Confederates, or Confederates of Color) but the fact that there are today some African Americans who are proud of the service of their ancestors that causes so much fright from those opposed to their existence.
Many of these people are folks who want you to believe that the Southern Confederacy was the equivalent of the badguys from WW2 and that the Confederate soldier deserves no honor as an American veteran, or as a human being. To people like that anyone who does not fit into their narrative is a threat, and nothing frightens someone more than having their "religion" (aka their political and social views connected to how they define the memory of the War Between The States) challenged by facts that run counter to the narrative.
I've found that most people on this site who see the Confederacy as the "badguys", to use your words, still recognize and honour the valor of the individual Confederate soldiers. This is a generalization, of course, with a few contradictions.
 

BuckeyeWarrior

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Ohio
I keep reading about Black Confederate soldiers by one group that swears by their existence and by another group that swears by their non-existence. I'm just wondering what these two groups are trying to prove with their assertions? If there were Black Confederates what exactly does that prove? If there were not any black Confederates what does that prove? Does proving that there were black Confederates absolve the Confederates from wanting to sustain and spread slavery? I would say, not even close. Does proving that there were no Black Confederate soldiers prove anything? I would say, not even close.

There were 4 million slaves in 1860 and I read somewhere that the Confederates enlisted 50,000 black troops, but let's pretend that there were 100,000 black Confederates. 100,000 of 4 million equates to 2.5%. 2.5% of slaves were Confederates, but the other 97.5% were left in slavery. Those numbers do not make dent in slavery, so what is the point? Historian Rodger McGrath stated that there were more than a quarter-million free blacks in the south and nearly 4,000 of them were slave masters and owned slaves, owned more than 20,000 black slaves. If McGrath is an accurate historian his assertions have to corroborate that there were indeed Confederate soldiers. But is there any proof that they were combat troops, or were they just part of the war effort? Is there any record of Confederate combat troops? Did any Union soldiers claim that he fought against Confederate black troops? Nevertheless, what does proving that there were Confederate troops even prove?

If there were 2.5% blacks who were enlisted(I don't know the actual percentage) that still leaves the majority of blacks in the south enslaved. The people who are so eagerly to prove the existence of black Confederates are proving what exactly? I know they are not disproving the Confederates Kung Fu Grip on sustaining and spreading slavery. History tells us the Africans sold other Africans to the Europeans and Arabs, which they were placed in servitude, but the majority of blacks slaves stayed in Africa under bondage from other blacks. Blacks sold out blacks because of of self-preservation and other reasons, but slavery still existed. Therefore, these so-called Confederate troops could have opted out of slavery to join the Confederates out of self-preservation or other reasons, but that still left the majority of blacks in the south in servitude.

Again, what are the Confederate soldier advocates trying to prove? What are the Confederate naysayers trying to prove? I personally believe there could have been free blacks along with Confederate soldiers, but so what, and that doesn't prove anything pertaining to slavery.
I first encountered the myth of black confederates from a neo-confederate article I came across on the internet. This article attempted to use black confederates as proof that the war wasn't primarily about slavery. From what I've been able to track down neo-confederates started this myth in order to further their agenda.

Personally I like the way American Battlefield Trust sums up the black confederate myth;

"The modern myth of black Confederate soldiers is akin to a conspiracy theory—shoddy analysis has been presented, repeated, amplified, and twisted to such an extent that utterly baseless claims of as many as 80,000 black soldiers fighting for the Confederacy (which would roughly equal the size of Lee’s army at Gettysburg) have even made their way into classroom textbooks. It is right to study, discover, and share facts about the complex lives of 19th century black Americans. It is wrong to exaggerate, obfuscate, and ignore those facts in order to suit 21st century opinions."

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/black-confederates-truth-and-legend
 

DanSBHawk

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Location
Wisconsin
I first encountered the myth of black confederates from a neo-confederate article I came across on the internet. This article attempted to use black confederates as proof that the war wasn't primarily about slavery. From what I've been able to track down neo-confederates started this myth in order to further their agenda.

Personally I like the way American Battlefield Trust sums up the black confederate myth;

"The modern myth of black Confederate soldiers is akin to a conspiracy theory—shoddy analysis has been presented, repeated, amplified, and twisted to such an extent that utterly baseless claims of as many as 80,000 black soldiers fighting for the Confederacy (which would roughly equal the size of Lee’s army at Gettysburg) have even made their way into classroom textbooks. It is right to study, discover, and share facts about the complex lives of 19th century black Americans. It is wrong to exaggerate, obfuscate, and ignore those facts in order to suit 21st century opinions."

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/black-confederates-truth-and-legend
I think your link sums it nicely why people push back on this. It's not that there were zero black confederates, but that it has been exaggerated and some of the evidence has been fabricated.

The one thing that bothers me about the whole issue is when heritage groups start decorating the graves of slaves with confederate stuff, without knowing what the dead slave would have wanted. I don't care if the descendants agree to it. Unless they know for sure that the dead person would have wanted it, then it is a desecration of a grave in my opinion, and shame on both the heritage groups and the descendants.
 

AshleyMel

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 26, 2016
Accusing heritage groups of grave desecration is inflammatory and certainly not beneficial. Desecrations of graves is an illegal act and the heritage groups work closely with the cemeteries and family members to care for these graves.
A descendant certainly has the right and free will to honor their ancestor in anyway that they choose.
Opinion is noted.
 

AshleyMel

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 26, 2016
I'd like to say a little bit more about the issue of grave desecration to make sure there is clarity.
This is not grave desecration. This is remembrance. Note: These pics are mine. Pic is blurred for privacy.
Confederate grave.jpg


This is desecration. Gen. Tyree Bell's grave.

TyreeBell.jpg


Now...shame on who again?
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
I first encountered the myth of black confederates from a neo-confederate article I came across on the internet. This article attempted to use black confederates as proof that the war wasn't primarily about slavery. From what I've been able to track down neo-confederates started this myth in order to further their agenda.

Personally I like the way American Battlefield Trust sums up the black confederate myth;

"The modern myth of black Confederate soldiers is akin to a conspiracy theory—shoddy analysis has been presented, repeated, amplified, and twisted to such an extent that utterly baseless claims of as many as 80,000 black soldiers fighting for the Confederacy (which would roughly equal the size of Lee’s army at Gettysburg) have even made their way into classroom textbooks. It is right to study, discover, and share facts about the complex lives of 19th century black Americans. It is wrong to exaggerate, obfuscate, and ignore those facts in order to suit 21st century opinions."

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/black-confederates-truth-and-legend

Thanks for posting. But the myth you are claiming has to do with numbers, not that were never any black Confederates. That neo-Confederate article could not have made much headway, because whatever the number was of black Confederates over 98% were still enslaved. I would like to know how they tried to prove that one?
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
I think your link sums it nicely why people push back on this. It's not that there were zero black confederates, but that it has been exaggerated and some of the evidence has been fabricated.

The one thing that bothers me about the whole issue is when heritage groups start decorating the graves of slaves with confederate stuff, without knowing what the dead slave would have wanted. I don't care if the descendants agree to it. Unless they know for sure that the dead person would have wanted it, then it is a desecration of a grave in my opinion, and shame on both the heritage groups and the descendants.

Thanks for openly admitting that there were at least some black Confederates, so we cannot accuse you of exaggerating. I'm sure that this subject has been exaggerated, but that's not the point.
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Number of Black Confederates

Enlisted (about 10,000)
Enlisted in "white" units, 1861-65: 3,000*
Conscripts (labor), 1864-65: 4,000-5,000
Militia, 1861-62: 2,000
Troops raised March & April 1865: 500-1,000

*Private, Musician, Cook, Teamster and a few with the unusual ranks of Artificer (craftsman, carpenter, etc) and Farrier (blacksmith).

Non-Enlisted (50,000+/-)
Servant, Musician, Cook, Teamster, Hostler, Laborer (earthworks, placement of artillery, etc)
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
I'd like to say a little bit more about the issue of grave desecration to make sure there is clarity.
This is not grave desecration. This is remembrance. Note: These pics are mine. Pic is blurred for privacy.

This is desecration. Gen. Tyree Bell's grave.

Now...shame on who again?
I stand by what I wrote. If the slave did not ask for confederate symbols on his grave when he was still alive, then it's a desecration.

Shame on the people who think they know better than the deceased.
 
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DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
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Location
Wisconsin
Thanks for openly admitting that there were at least some black Confederates, so we cannot accuse you of exaggerating. I'm sure that this subject has been exaggerated, but that's not the point.
Then I don't understand the point, but that's fine.
 

AshleyMel

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 26, 2016
I stand by what I wrote. If the slave did not ask for confederate symbols on his grave when he was still alive, then it's a desecration.
I'm glad you stand by your words. I would never try to change your convictions. You are free to have them and again, opinion noted. As someone who has personally been a part of Memorial services I can factually state the remembrances and ceremonies are not grave desecrations. Far from it.

Shame on the people who think they know better than the deceased.
I do not think anyone is saying they know better than the deceased. Unless there was a will or written statement, they have passed and only have their descendants and a small few to care for their burial places. I feel no shame when I place flowers or flags on the graves of any person. I would hope that there would be mutual respect for the liberty to have different convictions on the care for the dead. Kindness and care is paramount. My Chapter was contacted by a woman from another state who was looking for her ancestor. We were able to locate his grave, replace his headstone and we held a memorial service in his memory. Of course she had no idea of his desires but we were able to assist her in honoring her family line. By extending this service, we care for the living as well as the dead.

I am left wondering tonight again, why anyone would object to these memorial events that are mostly held with the involvement and blessings of the family.
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
I'm glad you stand by your words. I would never try to change your convictions. You are free to have them and again, opinion noted. As someone who has personally been a part of Memorial services I can factually state the remembrances and ceremonies are not grave desecrations. Far from it.


I do not think anyone is saying they know better than the deceased. Unless there was a will or written statement, they have passed and only have their descendants and a small few to care for their burial places. I feel no shame when I place flowers or flags on the graves of any person. I would hope that there would be mutual respect for the liberty to have different convictions on the care for the dead. Kindness and care is paramount. My Chapter was contacted by a woman from another state who was looking for her ancestor. We were able to locate his grave, replace his headstone and we held a memorial service in his memory. Of course she had no idea of his desires but we were able to assist her in honoring her family line. By extending this service, we care for the living as well as the dead.

I am left wondering tonight again, why anyone would object to these memorial events that are mostly held with the involvement and blessings of the family.
I think it's wonderful to hold memorial services, place flowers on the grave, and help descendants.

It's the confederate symbols that are the problem, in my opinion. How many southern blacks hated the confederacy and hoped for its defeat? We'll never know because its not something they could have stated openly.
 
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