Skip to comments.The Black Confederate
Posted on 05/21/2005 1:31:37 PM PDT by CurlyBill
Contrary to popular historical education and Southern revisionists, there is much evidence that African-American's served their country not only in the Union army but also in the Confederate army and navy. This evidence is found in the diaries, journals, newspaper articles and documents written by soldiers, officers and politicians.
Many institutions have set about to dismantle these findings by declaring them as `revisionist,' however the proof that these written accounts exist at all shows that slaves were present in the service of their state and country.
It was the commanders in the field who saw the greatest potential in the use of the African-American slave long before the politicians would admit their value. On January 2nd, 1864 Major General Patrick Cleburne of the Army of Tennessee, circulated a petition among several officers calling for the enrolling and arming of slaves into the Southern Army.
The petition read in part, "As between the loss of independence and the loss of slavery, we assume that every patriot will freely give up the latter---give up the Negro slaves rather than become a slave himself." It was signed by three other generals, four colonels, three majors, one captain, and two lieutenants.
Politicians were horrified by the idea. Confederate Major General and political advisor to Jefferson Davis, Howell Cobb pointed out, "If slaves will make good soldiers our whole theory of slavery is wrong." Davis had Cleburne's petition suppressed, yet the idea would not go away.
In February 1865, General Robert E. Lee wrote to Confederate President Jefferson Davis requesting authorization to fill his ranks with slaves, saying that they were already physically fit, and mentally conditioned to be well disciplined. In March, the Confederated Congress passed a bill that when to Davis' desk.
While it was awaiting his signature General Lee wrote the President again, "I do not know whether the law authorizing the use of Negro troops has received your sanction, but I respectfully recommend the measures be taken to carry it into effect as soon as practible." It was signed on March 13th and by the first of April, Colonel Otey, 11th Virginia Infantry, was assigned to duty in Lynchburg, VA, to recruit, muster and organize black units for the Confederate army.
Although this unit saw no action according to official accounts other records indicate they were drilling and standing by to defend the city. There are also historical documents indicating that thousands of slaves served in the Southern army as noncombatants in roles like cooks, teamsters and musicians.
And when called upon they would fight along side `freemen' who served in such outstanding state-militias like the 1st Louisiana Native Guard; Company A and F, 14th Mississippi Confederate Calvary; Company D, 35th Texas Calvary; or the 1,150 black sailors who served in the Confederate navy.
Finally, the first military monument in the US Capitol which honors African-American soldiers is the Confederate monument, erected in 1914. It depicts a black Confederate soldier marching in step with white Confederate soldiers. Also shown is a white soldier giving his child to a black woman for safety.
We may never understand everything about those five remarkable years, but we cannot ever stop trying. And it is time to realize that the historical record has been obscured to the truth on the part of the African-American's role in the Southern Army as a soldier and sailor and to bring these facts to light as both a matter of pride and education.
Well, yeah. They were slaves.
A black fighting for the Confederacy is like a rich person fighting for Communism-it plain does not make any SENSE!
Perhaps illogical, but that does not make it untrue. Most of the people who are fighting for Communism are rich people.
Consider just the examples of Senators Kennedy, Kerry, and Clinton.
True enough.Guess its just a case of the absurd and paradoxical state of the human mind!
We are not a logical species.
True of course, but the article makes reference after reference to use of slaves, not Freemen or black slave holders.
Don't forget Soros.
How could that be? Did the slave have citizenship? No, of course not. Therefore, it can't by definition be his country.
Statements like that are unbelievable. Just a cursory knowledge of the law of the land should prohibit one from even making that argument!
Most people dont realize that Slavery in the southern states was about MORE than mere Race. There were free, black slave owners, thousands of them. Slavery was a way of life for many back in Africa. Not all blacks were slaves in the US South. Some blacks owned slaves. This fact is astounding to many, confusing for some, and leads to a cognitive dissonance in others..
I don't doubt those facts, and they are certainly belong in any body of research on the subject. The significance of such facts may be subject to debate, though. What might be helpful is personal accounts of those volunteers (or conscripts, as the case may be) in the form of diaries or letters that indicated their motivations. Maybe being on the front line with a gun was preferable to being "back home" for one reason or another. Maybe the promise of freedom or some level of privilege in the Confederacy was another. And of course, there had to be a certain number of true believers, for whatever that's worth.
An honest acknowledgement of history shows that to be true. There were many black slave owners. It's not a secret.
Slavery was a way of life for many back in Africa.
True, but what has that to do with this nation? Answer: Nothing.
Not all blacks were slaves in the US South. Some blacks owned slaves. This fact is astounding to many, confusing for some, and leads to a cognitive dissonance in others..
Somehow I missed being in a state of cognitive dissonance about this. I wonder why that is.
Helsinki syndrome, perhaps?
Any black man or woman who voluntarily fought for the Confederacy was a damn fool.
It's an historical fact that blacks did fight for the South. They didn't have them at division strength as did the North, but they served none-the-less.
As for sentiment, Shelby Foote tells of a slave that accompanied Lee's army into Pennsylvania that thought PA looked like a nice place, but he preferred "home."
The Civil War was as complicated as are human beings, a blending of meanness and greatness as Bruce Catton described.
Edgerton blames the media and the educational system for creating the perception that exists today regarding southern history. "This is a continuation about the lies of the Christian southern white folks during the Civil War. African Americans in this country don't know a thing about that war and that time. They see that flag and someone says slavery and it all falls apart and they think of Southern Christian white folks as being evil."
"We can't let the stars and stripes get away that easy. Never were the stars and bars flag flown over a slave ship. And you want to know why? Because it's a Christian Battle Flag that was emulated after St. Andrew, Jesus Christ's first disciple. In 69 A.D. in Petro, Greece -- now a part of Russia -- St. Andrew was jailed because of his teaching and preaching of Jesus Christ, his Lord and Master, and he was told he was going to be crucified on the cross. He begged that persecutor not to nail him to that Latin cross in the shape of "T" because he was not worthy of being punished the way Jesus Christ had been nailed. So he begged to be tied in an X-shape to the cross and the persecutor did what he asked him to. That X is a Greek symbol to CH, the first two letters in Christ's name. When St. Andrew was on the cross he continued his teaching of Christ and all the folks started believing him and for three days he remained on that cross teaching and after three days they begged the persecutor to take him down and when he did, St. Andrew came down off that cross and died, and he became a martyr and a saint.
"When (Civil War Confederate ) General Beaureguard decided they needed another flag, he chose the cross of St. Andrew for these reasons. Most Southerners, in fact, did not want to do away with the stars and stripes because they didn't feel they had done anything wrong. They thought it was the north who was eradicating the Constitution.
"And as for President Lincoln, our American hero, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation. In march of 1861 Abraham Lincoln called all those black leaders in his office and he told them -- Even if I set you free you'll be inferior. You need to get out of the country because I will colonize you. Lincoln proposed the 13th Amendment, being the only President ever to do so. That amendment said Congress would never have the power to interrupt an institution of state. He told the southerners they could keep the slaves if they paid the North a 42% tariff. The South agreed to a 10% tariff but not 42%. So, who I am supposed to blame the institution of slavery on?
"At that time, one of the richest men in the world, John D. Rothchild told his family to put all their money into the Confederacy and described Lincoln as a crook. He said the slaves in the south were better off than the slaves in the north who had to work for next to nothing in the cotton mills.
"The attack on the Confederacy doesn't get the attention it deserves. These blacks today have no idea what took place back then. (Blacks) earned a place of dignity in that war. If it wasn't for Africans that war would have lasted four days, not four years. We made all of the implements of war, we fought, we participated -- not one slave insurrection happened during that period of time. They did not have whips and guns forcing them to be there. God and his infinite wisdom brought these people here. He brought about a love between master and slave that has never happened before. If you search this empirically then you will know the only one who cared about the African was the man in the south. But we don't want to face that.
If you have evidence of that, post it. Otherwise the more likely interpretation is that "cleaning weapons etc." was the slave's work, whether on not he on occasion picked up a gun.
There is much testament from Union solders caught by surprise by a slave fighting for his country, The SOUTH.
Again, if you have evidence of Union troops coming upon Blacks and being fired upon them, then post it. There are stories of Northerners taking navvys and sappers digging trenches for combat soldiers. That was a plausible mistake. There are also stories of Union troops being pinned down by snipers whom they took to be Black. The problem is that in the darkness and chaos and from a distance it would be hard to tell just what the race of a sniper was.
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