Would the South Have Armed Slaves?

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Another thing that could help this happen is if the anti-Davis forces do something really stupid. I'm not sure how it would work, but my idea was something like this. Let's say Toombs, Stephens, and the other anti-Davis men decide to launch a coup and depose Davis in favor of Stephens. They don't have access to enough militia troops, so they make a deal with the Devil. They make contact with Ulric Dahlgren, and get the plan to kill Davis bumped up a couple months. The plot still fails, and the papers connecting the Union with the conspirators are released. It's extremely unrealistic, but it has to be in this case.
If no on minds, can I get some feedback on this particular idea? I admit I'm grasping at straws here, but I have to when trying to get this to happen.
 
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Not sure about societal change just because blacks were allowed to enlist in the US Army. Even integrating an army does not in itself mean one group is equal to all the others. Integrating an army may or may not work out in terms of combat performance.
There are many segregated armies that segregation sometimes worked and sometimes didn't work out.
Integration doesn't always work out either.
Lots of examples about the above.
The Union Army and or state regiments such has the Second Kansas Coloured were engaged in combat by 1862.
Very thin evidence at best of more then a one plus black Confederate troops actually being engaged in combat. Really just the thinly documented battle of Paynsville in that few weeks of the war. Even in that account the black troops quickly surrendered to the Union.
Leftyhunter
 

cash

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The north also dealt with prejudice against black men in the military, and took a few years to reach the point where it was widely permitted. The South took two more years to reach that point, albeit in a way that tried to preserve slavery as opposed to attacking it as the North did. Neither side welcomed these men into the military with open arms, and both sides made use of them in whatever way they saw fit. For Americans as a whole, north and south, it was an enormous social upheaval to experience in just four years.
Guess what! I agree with you!! Circle this day in red on the calendar!
 

wbull1

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The north also dealt with prejudice against black men in the military, and took a few years to reach the point where it was widely permitted. The South took two more years to reach that point, albeit in a way that tried to preserve slavery as opposed to attacking it as the North did. Neither side welcomed these men into the military with open arms, and both sides made use of them in whatever way they saw fit. For Americans as a whole, north and south, it was an enormous social upheaval to experience in just four years.

It almost can't be viewed as two separate actions by two sides. It's action and reaction. I could probably make a count and tell you how many newspapers gave credit/blame to the South for starting the whole trend, but whoever first armed black men for whatever reason started an avalanche of societal change, and most knew it at the time.
Quite true that both sides turned down offers for help from blacks. Some blacks that could "pass" as white joined the Union army. Ely S. Parker, a Seneca tribe member, tried to help repeatedly until Grant took him on. Parker was an excellent engineer, but Seward turned down his help.
 
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Here's a few more possible commanders of Confederate colored troops:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Campbell_Preston_Breckinridge
William Campbell Preston Breckinridge was a first cousin of John C. Breckinridge, and became colonel of the 9th Kentucky Cavalry. After the war, he advocated reconciliation between whites and blacks. He represented blacks in court, and helped a black Census Office worker keep his job after the man feared he would be fired due to his race.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Miller_(Confederate_Army_officer)
William Miller was a northern-born Confederate general, who was placed in command of Florida's reserve troops. I have no idea if he was amenable to the idea of black troops, but I thought his Northern birth would give him a different perspective.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Ruggles
Daniel Ruggles is most notable for gathering the field pieces at Shiloh to blast apart the Hornet's Nest while commanding a division. Ruggles' northern birth (Massachusetts, of all places) and abolitionist views made quite the oddity among Confederate officers. In 1864, Ruggles was serving administrative posts.
 
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So I decided to ask about this on alternatehistory.com, and most of the responses I've gotten consist of, "Black troops would have immediately killed their officers and crossed to Union lines." This probably is the most likely result, but I'm willing to hear differing views.
 

2/241

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So I decided to ask about this on alternatehistory.com, and most of the responses I've gotten consist of, "Black troops would have immediately killed their officers and crossed to Union lines." This probably is the most likely result, but I'm willing to hear differing views.
Would not be easy to provide, remember Napoleon I. Bonaparte in one battle put troops in front of the Swedish King, which had been his troops when he was still a marechal de France.

These troops cried Vive Bernadotte! and changed sites
 

19thGeorgia

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So I decided to ask about this on alternatehistory.com, and most of the responses I've gotten consist of, "Black troops would have immediately killed their officers and crossed to Union lines." This probably is the most likely result, but I'm willing to hear differing views.
Several companies were formed in Richmond in March 1865, but none of them did what you describe.
 

19thGeorgia

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Very thin evidence at best of more then a one plus black Confederate troops actually being engaged in combat. Really just the thinly documented battle of Paynsville in that few weeks of the war.
Leftyhunter
There's more than that. Two companies organized from hospital workers were sent to the front lines around Richmond. There's a report of 300 black Confederates captured during Stoneman's raid in North Carolina. At least one company was formed at Mobile, Ala., and possibly some in Selma. All of this happened in March-April 1865.

"Wilson, on his raid, picked up the Confederate negro troops at Selma, and took them with him."
Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama by Walter L. Fleming, p86
-
 

DRW

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So I decided to ask about this on alternatehistory.com, and most of the responses I've gotten consist of, "Black troops would have immediately killed their officers and crossed to Union lines." This probably is the most likely result, but I'm willing to hear differing views.

Thank you for the excuse to repost my favorite quote (which I've posted maybe a dozen times previously on CWT):

Rev. L. M. Hobbs toured much of Florida in 1864 and 1865 and became associated with the Freedmen's Bureau's education efforts. Sometime in late 1865, he spoke to some African American young men at a school in the Tallahassee area. The discussion eventually turned to service in the Confederate army, or maybe Florida's militia. Hobbs told his Congressional interviewers the following:

I asked the boys what they understood freedom to mean. They said that to be free was to be their own; that is, that they were not under the control of another person to be bought and sold. I asked them if they could do as they pleased now that they were free. They said they could not break the law – could not do wrong without being punished. I asked them how they knew they had been made free. They said that when the Union soldiers came and hoisted the United States flag over the capitol, that meant freedom; they knew they were free then. Just before the surrender, the rebels were organizing colored troops for their service, and on two or three occasions a large number had been taken to Tallahassee to be drilled. I have frequently asked the negroes what was their opinion of that. They said they were all going into the rebel army. I asked them if they would have fought against the United States government. They said, “Not a man of us; we had our plans all laid; we knew all about it; we would never have fired a gun at the Union soldiers, but on the very first opportunity we would have turned our fire upon the rebels, or we would have gone over to the Union side.” I asked them if they had always believed that that Union cause would prove successful. They said that at times they would feel discouraged, from hearing the rebels always say that they were whipping the Yankees, but that they had always hoped and believed that the Union cause would be successful.” Rep. of Joint Committee on Reconstruction, 39th Cong. 1st Session, Part IV, p. 10.
 
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There's more than that. Two companies organized from hospital workers were sent to the front lines around Richmond. There's a report of 300 black Confederates captured during Stoneman's raid in North Carolina. At least one company was formed at Mobile, Ala., and possibly some in Selma. All of this happened in March-April 1865.

"Wilson, on his raid, picked up the Confederate negro troops at Selma, and took them with him."
Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama by Walter L. Fleming, p86
-
I appreciate the source and per p.86 of Fleming it just states that Wilson picks up the black troops. Fleming does not indicate the black troops actually fought against Wilson troops. Also the troops were enlisted in the spring of 1865 which is a bit late in the war. " Picks up the black troops" is a bit vague of a term. It appears they simply surrendered to the Union .
Fleming does state that a company of free Mulatto's was used as heavy artillery in Mobile. No mention of them being used in Combat.
Do you have a source on the Stonemen raid?
I do have a PM thread on actual segregated armies. They tend to be well publicized and actually used in verified combat. They are not enlisted at the last minute. There is no academic debate about their existence. If you or anyone else is interested PM me.
Leftyhunter
 

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Not many people look one factor: that if the South/Confederacy had enlisted the help of blacks as troops (free or slave) in their army and navy had they accepted the Cleburne Memorandum in January 1864 it would perhaps brought some social change to the South.

Since for the sake of this scenario William H.T. Walker is killed at Chattanooga as OldReliable1862 suggested earlier or he never finds out about the plan and thus the plan is sent to Davis and Lee and both agree as with the cabinet and it is approved and thus blacks are included in segregated units it's going to change Southern society since unlike OTL there are (actual) black Confederates fighting side by side with their white counterparts and regardless if the Confederacy wins or loses and submits to the Union it will perhaps change race relations. Don't get me wrong I'm not expecting a racial utopia for an independent Confederacy post-1864 or during Reconstruction as there will be those who will resent but at the very least if the black Confederate troops perform well like their black Union counterparts then white Southerners might as well be more excepting of rights' than they were before.
 

19thGeorgia

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I appreciate the source and per p.86 of Fleming it just states that Wilson picks up the black troops. Fleming does not indicate the black troops actually fought against Wilson troops. Also the troops were enlisted in the spring of 1865 which is a bit late in the war. " Picks up the black troops" is a bit vague of a term. It appears they simply surrendered to the Union .
Fleming does state that a company of free Mulatto's was used as heavy artillery in Mobile. No mention of them being used in Combat.
Do you have a source on the Stonemen raid?
Leftyhunter
I've posted most or all of them on this thread. Search "Mobile," "Stoneman's Raid" etc and limit the search to that thread-
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/bl...se-what-the-newspapers-said-1861-1865.129911/
 
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Of course, Cleburne was not the sole officer to endorse arming slaves. My major point being that such talk was suppressed by the overall leadership and was only re-considered a year later in early 1865 as a desperation tactic. But even that never really amounted to much.
It is also worth noting that most of the officers who are named as signing the proposal there are Cleburne's own subordinates in his own division. Officers in W.H.T. Walker's or Bate's divisions might not have been so enthusiastic about Cleburne's proposal if they were broached at the same time period.

I believe for the Confederacy to have adopted slaves as soldiers much earlier would have required different social attitudes and shifting those attitudes earlier than what actually occurred. Much of those attitudes shifting can be attributed to reversals in military fortunes and flagging morale. Essentially, it would have required for the Confederacy not to be the Confederacy that was. Or the Confederacy would have to be in a position where defeat loomed in the spring of 1864 rather than in 1865.

Just a minor question, but who would get Walker's corps after Chickamauga? His two division commanders were BG States Rights Gist and BG St. John R. Liddell. Would they stay in command after the re-organization in early 1864? @GELongstreet, your help is required.
Not seeing this answered, I will interject. Walker's corps was a temporary formation created out of Walker's division and with brigades from Cleburne and Hindman to form a Reserve Corps for the Army of Tennessee by Bragg for the battle. In the weeks before and after Chickamauga, Bragg was constantly receiving reinforcements and tinkering with his table of organization, creating two corps (Buckner's and Walker's) and a division (Johnson's) just before the battle. Walker's corps wasn't much of a corps, with just five brigades. For comparison, Cheatham's division in the same time period also had five brigades

Walker's division had been created in Mississippi during the Vicksburg crisis by Joseph E. Johnston by the conglomeration of reinforcing brigades from across the south: Gist's brigade from Charleston Colonel Claudius Wilson's brigade from Savannah, Brigadier General John Gregg's brigade from Port Hudson, and Brigadier General Matthew Ector's brigade from the Army of Tennessee (French's division was created in the same period with similar forces).

When the Confederate Government undertook the reinforcements of Bragg's army, Johnston dispatched Walker's division to the Bragg. Gist's brigade was detached along the way to garrison Rome and to protect it from potential Federal raids, and would not rejoin the division until September 20 on the third day of battle. Bragg decided to create a Reserve Corps, and the West Point educated and veteran Walker seemed a candidate to lead it. To give Walker another division, Bragg pulled St. John Liddell's brigade from Cleburne's division and Edward C. Walthall's brigade from Hindman's division to form a small command. This also gave Bragg an opportunity to give Liddell, a man he confided in, a division. Gregg's brigade was detached to help create a division for Bushrod Johnson, which was then attached to Hood's corps.

After Chickamauga, Walker's corps was consolidated back into a division. Liddell's brigade (now under Govan) and Walthall's brigade went back to their respective divisions, breaking up Liddell's division. Walker's division received a brigade from Cheatham (first Maney, then later swapped for Jackson's brigade), and Ector's brigade was sent back to Mississippi. If Walker had died in 1863 at Chickamauga, it is likely this corps would have reverted into a division anyway (likely under Gist as Walker's senior subordinate) or broken up as Walker's division in real life was after Bald Hill.
 
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Thank you for the excuse to repost my favorite quote (which I've posted maybe a dozen times previously on CWT):

Rev. L. M. Hobbs toured much of Florida in 1864 and 1865 and became associated with the Freedmen's Bureau's education efforts. Sometime in late 1865, he spoke to some African American young men at a school in the Tallahassee area. The discussion eventually turned to service in the Confederate army, or maybe Florida's militia. Hobbs told his Congressional interviewers the following:

I asked the boys what they understood freedom to mean. They said that to be free was to be their own; that is, that they were not under the control of another person to be bought and sold. I asked them if they could do as they pleased now that they were free. They said they could not break the law – could not do wrong without being punished. I asked them how they knew they had been made free. They said that when the Union soldiers came and hoisted the United States flag over the capitol, that meant freedom; they knew they were free then. Just before the surrender, the rebels were organizing colored troops for their service, and on two or three occasions a large number had been taken to Tallahassee to be drilled. I have frequently asked the negroes what was their opinion of that. They said they were all going into the rebel army. I asked them if they would have fought against the United States government. They said, “Not a man of us; we had our plans all laid; we knew all about it; we would never have fired a gun at the Union soldiers, but on the very first opportunity we would have turned our fire upon the rebels, or we would have gone over to the Union side.” I asked them if they had always believed that that Union cause would prove successful. They said that at times they would feel discouraged, from hearing the rebels always say that they were whipping the Yankees, but that they had always hoped and believed that the Union cause would be successful.” Rep. of Joint Committee on Reconstruction, 39th Cong. 1st Session, Part IV, p. 10.
Thanks for sharing this quote DRW. I hope it's understood plainly that I'm aware to some extent how very unlikely this entire scenario is. I would say this though - would the men have been as likely to do this if the Confederacy seemed to be doing better in 1864? I have my doubts on that, but I do wonder.
It is also worth noting that most of the officers who are named as signing the proposal there are Cleburne's own subordinates in his own division. Officers in W.H.T. Walker's or Bate's divisions might not have been so enthusiastic about Cleburne's proposal if they were broached at the same time period.

I believe for the Confederacy to have adopted slaves as soldiers much earlier would have required different social attitudes and shifting those attitudes earlier than what actually occurred. Much of those attitudes shifting can be attributed to reversals in military fortunes and flagging morale. Essentially, it would have required for the Confederacy not to be the Confederacy that was. Or the Confederacy would have to be in a position where defeat loomed in the spring of 1864 rather than in 1865.



Not seeing this answered, I will interject. Walker's corps was a temporary formation created out of Walker's division and with brigades from Cleburne and Hindman to form a Reserve Corps for the Army of Tennessee by Bragg for the battle. In the weeks before and after Chickamauga, Bragg was constantly receiving reinforcements and tinkering with his table of organization, creating two corps (Buckner's and Walker's) and a division (Johnson's) just before the battle. Walker's corps wasn't much of a corps, with just five brigades. For comparison, Cheatham's division in the same time period also had five brigades

Walker's division had been created in Mississippi during the Vicksburg crisis by Joseph E. Johnston by the conglomeration of reinforcing brigades from across the south: Gist's brigade from Charleston Colonel Claudius Wilson's brigade from Savannah, Brigadier General John Gregg's brigade from Port Hudson, and Brigadier General Matthew Ector's brigade from the Army of Tennessee (French's division was created in the same period with similar forces).

When the Confederate Government undertook the reinforcements of Bragg's army, Johnston dispatched Walker's division to the Bragg. Gist's brigade was detached along the way to garrison Rome and to protect it from potential Federal raids, and would not rejoin the division until September 20 on the third day of battle. Bragg decided to create a Reserve Corps, and the West Point educated and veteran Walker seemed a candidate to lead it. To give Walker another division, Bragg pulled St. John Liddell's brigade from Cleburne's division and Edward C. Walthall's brigade from Hindman's division to form a small command. This also gave Bragg an opportunity to give Liddell, a man he confided in, a division. Gregg's brigade was detached to help create a division for Bushrod Johnson, which was then attached to Hood's corps.

After Chickamauga, Walker's corps was consolidated back into a division. Liddell's brigade (now under Govan) and Walthall's brigade went back to their respective divisions, breaking up Liddell's division. Walker's division received a brigade from Cheatham (first Maney, then later swapped for Jackson's brigade), and Ector's brigade was sent back to Mississippi. If Walker had died in 1863 at Chickamauga, it is likely this corps would have reverted into a division anyway (likely under Gist as Walker's senior subordinate) or broken up as Walker's division in real life was after Bald Hill.
Thanks, this had been bugging me for a while.

By the way, since no one has responded to this yet: how would the South respond to Toombs, Stephens, and co.'s attempt to kill the President with the aid of Ulric Dahlgren and the Union troops? I'm not expecting it to automatically change views over black troops, but surely the men against doing this committing treason in such an egregious manner accounts for somethng?
 
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I'm trying to figure out how my anti-CSCT conspiracy would work, and part of this is figuring out who would be involved and where they were in early 1864.

Robert Toombs had such a dislike of Davis and his policies it bordered on treason, so it seems likely he would be involved. The purpose of some kind of coup would likely be to depose Davis in favor of Alexander Stephens, and as he and Toombs were good friends, he'll likely be involved as well. Louis T. Wigfall and Robert M. T. Hunter are also likely as well. Congress was in session from 7 December 1863-17 February 1864, so that tells us where any conspirators serving in Congress would have been.

From what I can gather, these men were here in January-February 1864:
Robert M. T. Hunter: Richmond, Virginia
Alexander H. Stephens: At home in Atlanta, Georgia
Robert A. Toombs: At home in Washington, Georgia
Louis T. Wigfall: Richmond, Virginia
 
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After Chickamauga, Walker's corps was consolidated back into a division. Liddell's brigade (now under Govan) and Walthall's brigade went back to their respective divisions, breaking up Liddell's division. Walker's division received a brigade from Cheatham (first Maney, then later swapped for Jackson's brigade), and Ector's brigade was sent back to Mississippi. If Walker had died in 1863 at Chickamauga, it is likely this corps would have reverted into a division anyway (likely under Gist as Walker's senior subordinate) or broken up as Walker's division in real life was after Bald Hill.
Great comment.
Though I think the command might have gone to Liddell, if he was transferred back, or maybe Lafayette McLaws, if Walker was killed at Missionary Ridge.
McLaws since he barely escaped court martial, and still retained his rank, but not the favor of General Longstreet. A transfer to the AoT and Walker's old division, of similar state makeup as his previous command (Mostly Georgian, plus South Carolina and Mississippi).
Liddell, since he was left without a meaningful command for practically the rest of the war. Given his competent performance at Division-level command at Chickamauga, as well as his previous combat record in command of the Arkansas Brigade as well.


I'm trying to figure out how my anti-CSCT conspiracy would work, and part of this is figuring out who would be involved and where they were in early 1864.

Robert Toombs had such a dislike of Davis and his policies it bordered on treason, so it seems likely he would be involved. The purpose of some kind of coup would likely be to depose Davis in favor of Alexander Stephens, and as he and Toombs were good friends, he'll likely be involved as well. Louis T. Wigfall and Robert M. T. Hunter are also likely as well. Congress was in session from 7 December 1863-17 February 1864, so that tells us where any conspirators serving in Congress would have been.

From what I can gather, these men were here in January-February 1864:
Robert M. T. Hunter: Richmond, Virginia
Alexander H. Stephens: At home in Atlanta, Georgia
Robert A. Toombs: At home in Washington, Georgia
Louis T. Wigfall: Richmond, Virginia
If Wigfall is implicated, that will have dire consequences for Joe Johnston's command. Wigfall had been his cheif supporter in Richmond; if he implicated himself in the Toombs-Dahlgren Affair, Johnston will probably lose command of the AoT by April.
This is one less (detestably) skilled army commander off the list. Who'd take his place?
Hardee was the senior Ltg in the AoT but he lacked the charismatic aura of commanders like Lee, A. S. and J. E. Johnston, Beauregard, and even Hood to an extent.
Hood was the historical choice and most likely to receive it, considering his ties with Davis, but this could result in a much bloodier Georgia Campaign in May, maybe even a disaster at Reseca.
Polk is a brave and beloved general, but not a very talented tactician or strategist.
Beauregard is probably the best choice, but Davis' pride would allow him to let him; he didn't want to go back on his removal of Beauregard after retreating from Corinth, and given his refusal to remove Bragg from command until Bragg himself submitted his resignation, it is highly unlikely he'll fold.
Most other options (Cleburne, S. D. Lee, Forrest, etc.) are too junior or too low in rank, experience, or social stature (West Pointers are much more favored for promotion) to be bumped up to army command.
I guess Taylor could be a good option, given his record and his lack of a field command after Kirby Smith removed him after repulsing the Red River expedition, though I believe Hood will be infuriated after losing his chance at an army command to someone who he'd probably think to be his inferior (Hood was a West Point graduate; Taylor was self taught, his famous father having taken him as his aide-de-camp during the Mexican War).
 

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