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Why are so many folks here so much more interested in discussing "Black Confederates" than in USCT?

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by Pat Young, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    One thing about this place that fascinates me is that some folks will spill millions of pixels on the topic of "Black Confederates" yet seem completely uninterested in actual black units like the 54th Mass. and the USCT? Why is that?

    I just saw a thread where a Civil War Era newspaper article in support of the myth of Black Confederates claimed that a quarter of Van Dorn's men were blacks. I wonder if Van Dorn knew this.
    https://civilwartalk.com/threads/mu...my-what-the-newspapers-said-1861-1865.136592/ Post #10

    Such an obviously incorrect article would seem a dubious peg for an argument on what, if any, role African Americans played as Confederate combatants.

    If you are interested in the long-neglected of Southerners of African descent, I would expect you to at least do some research into the 100,000+ who served in the Union army.

    When I see the constant threads claiming black enlistment as soldiers in the Confederate forces by folks who never seem to have anything to add about blacks who fought to end slavery, I have to wonder if there is any real interest in black history being exhibitted at all.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017

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  3. matthew mckeon

    matthew mckeon Brigadier General Moderator

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    Pat,
    Its an attempt to "get right" on race. As history its laughable.
     
  4. matthew mckeon

    matthew mckeon Brigadier General Moderator

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    The USCTs are a contradiction to every Lost Cause myth there is. They put slavery and racism in the center of the story, a story in which they are the good guys. The prime military effort in the Civil War performed by black men are the USCTs, United States soldiers fighting under the flag of the United States. The result was to end chattel, race based slavery. There's not a lot of gray area is this.
     
  5. wausaubob

    wausaubob Sergeant Major

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    They are very successful. By shear volume, with numerous sources either fabricated or found with computed technology, they are overwhelming, by shear attrition, if nothing else, the history of the Civil War, and the meaning of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments.
    The desire to remake the Confederacy into a multi-racial society that has some relevance in the 21st century is understandable from a human standpoint. But to use sources that were not relevant by 1884, about what happened, particularly with respect to African-Americans in the United States Army and Navy is just short of fantasy.
     
  6. JerseyBart

    JerseyBart Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Justification, sympathy, bait and switch, don't look behind the curtain...
     
  7. wausaubob

    wausaubob Sergeant Major

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    Starting in 1863, an inexperienced African-American brigade fought at Milliken's Bend. At approximately the same time, Grant employed Chaplain Eaton to develop some type of system in which the freed slaves would work and the Army could get paid for their work, which must have required incredible patience and co-operation from the African-Americans.
     
  8. matthew mckeon

    matthew mckeon Brigadier General Moderator

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    For good or ill, people feel a connection with their ancestors. But they can't see the ancestors as people with very different experiences and beliefs than we have 150 years later. So they have to finesse the starkly racial way they ancestors saw the world.

    To a degree, the USCTs provide cover for the racial beliefs held by 19th century whites on the Union side. Cover for their descendants in the 21st century that is. But USCTs actually existed. The war was a war for freedom vs. slavery, in a way easily grasped in the 21st century, where we still deal with racism. The motivation of most of the white US soldiers: preserving the Union is more abstract.
     
  9. matthew mckeon

    matthew mckeon Brigadier General Moderator

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    For modern advocates, BCs are used like sandbags to pile around their embattled monuments and flags. They are not an historical event of the 19th century, but a cultural phenomena of our time. "I'm not racist because my best friend is black."
     
  10. RobertP

    RobertP Major

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    I'm not a believer in the black Confederate narrative other than in isolated cases so I don't discuss it. I'm primarily interested in Confederate units represented by ancestors as well as the performance and history of other selected units during the war. I confess I have little interest in specific Union regiments /brigades /divisions or corps but there are obviously many here who do and good for them. And since the forum is dominated by people supportive of the war's Union perspective don't you think the burden of researching the USCT lies there?
     
  11. bdtex

    bdtex Brigadier General Moderator

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    Personally,I am not much of a Regimental History reader yet. I still have a lot to read and learn about the battles. My own personal discussion of USCT is in the context of books that I read about particular battles, battlefields I visit and National Cemeteries I visit. I am still a newbie. 3 years ago,I couldn't have told you about the USCT troops that fought at The Crater or Milliken's Bend or Port Hudson. Glory was all I knew.
     
  12. matthew mckeon

    matthew mckeon Brigadier General Moderator

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    The "evidence" is mostly the same kind of thing we see for flying saucers or the Loch Ness monster. Something blurry glimpsed in the distance, some misread records, and photos that the BC advocates never seem to know anything about. Its takes someone like Andy Hall to actually say, this guy you've labeled a black confederate: he has a name, and an actual life story. The same anecdotes are repeated again and again. Of course a great deal of bias and wishful thinking, and an occasional dollop of fraud.
     
  13. RobertP

    RobertP Major

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    Too easy
     
  14. matthew mckeon

    matthew mckeon Brigadier General Moderator

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    In a way you can view it as a type of progress: your straight up racist that has a white hood in the closet, hates the Black Confederates because they spoil their racist myth.
    Its an attempt to be more inclusive, again serving a need of our time.
     
    leftyhunter and johan_steele like this.
  15. bdtex

    bdtex Brigadier General Moderator

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    Good topic Pat,but I can see where it's going already in this thread so I'm outta here.
     
  16. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Lt. Colonel

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    It's just people with an axe to grind (as they deny doing any grinding or even owning an axe-- the denial is an essential part of the routine).
     
  17. Will Carry

    Will Carry Corporal

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    I have never read any of those "Black Confederate" posts. It sounds to much like "Big Foot fought for the South" posts, a fantasy. I have read about black troops at Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely. They carried the day and sent my Great Grand pappy running into the swamps. I have read about black troops at the battle of Nashville and of course Fort Pillow. Then there's the movie "Glory". Yet that, I am afraid, is a disappointing resume for it only scratches the surface, if that.
     
  18. matthew mckeon

    matthew mckeon Brigadier General Moderator

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    I've posted a bunch on this thread, its really something that used to infuriate me. Its seems very disrespectful to the actual experience of black people during the war. Plus I don't like being lied to.
     
  19. 19thGeorgia

    19thGeorgia Sergeant

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    Most of my ancestry is Confederate. I was raised on tales of their service during that war. So my interest in the USCT is limited - about the same for the White Southern Unionist.

    But this thread seems to be more about attacking and impugning the motives of certain posters here rather than advancing a discussion.
     
  20. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    The USCT were widely ignored in the North from the 1920s to the 1970s. I think it fit in with the reconciliationist narrative adopted during the U.S.'s move towards status as a world power, as well as with the idea that was common that non-white people were limited actors in American history. Since the 1970s, though, there is a lot more awareness generally in the North of USCT and an acknowledgement of the discrimination they endured even from Republicans in Congress and Lincoln. That is healthy.
     
  21. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    I can understand that. You are not someone who writes about Black Confederates. A lot of folks go on here because of geneological interests. That is very understandable. But few of those posting about Black Confederates claim descent from one of the Black Confederates, so I am guessing that their interest is not geneological.
     

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