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 Posted: Fri Nov 7th, 2008 03:29 am
   
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javal1
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Slaves as Southern soldiers?

Please note the topic and stick to it.



 Posted: Fri Nov 7th, 2008 04:04 am
   
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Sgt. Biggenbottom
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Sorry. Linguistical fetish.



 Posted: Tue Nov 11th, 2008 05:07 pm
   
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Johan Steele
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CleburneFan wrote: I've been thinking about this topic. I'm thinking if I'm a young, male slave when war breaks out, I would jump at the chance to be a teamster or cook or make and apply horseshoes or repair saddles and bridles or set up tents or whatnot for the Confederate army because those men probably enjoyed a degree of autonomy unknown on the plantations of the South. They were probably pretty much their own bosses for the first time in their lives.

At least I wouldn't be bent over all day long in the hot sun picking cotton or stuck up to my knees in watery rice fields.

Here's a question if Pam doesn't mind my piggy-backing on her original question. Often wagon trains or parts of wagon trains were captured. What happened to the slaves that Union forces captured? Were they put to work for the Union or were they imprisoned along with their white male Confederates or how did such an event play out for the captured slaves?

 


I had to do some digging to get any kind of real answer on this; it is a very good question as most teamsters would have been civilian contractors instead of military usually paid at $2 a day.  And not a question I'm sure has been asked in any circle I frequent before.

 

The only specific reference at all on CS teamsters being taken POW I could find referrenced the Appomatox campaign and that was inconclusive for the question.  Though the reference did identify several as slaves and sevedral more as freemen.

 

The only western reference I could find dealt w/ some of Minty's men burning a CS train and telling the teamsters to "git."  In that case at least they weren't treated as POWs or even military at all.  They were just told to go home.



 Posted: Tue Nov 11th, 2008 06:16 pm
   
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ole
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I have no reason to believe what Johan has said, but it does have a ring of reality to it. "I don't have time to mess with you. Geddouda my sight.! And don't let me ever see you again!"

That's a poor way to interpret history, but sometimes you just gotta put yourself on the spot. You're cold, hungry and tired. And here they come again -- shootin' and yellin' and wanting you dead. What do you do? Get mad? Get determined? Get the heck out of there? Put your aging butt behind that stump. Think about it.

Ole

Edit to comply with the subject of the thread. The black man, as we've come to discover, had the same thoughts as the white man. Teamster, farrier, cook or gun-toting card-carrying soldier ... didn't much matter. Until you've been on that line and you have chunks of lead zipping by your head, you cannot know what you would do in the same circumstance. I'll go with our guys who've been there. I can't tell you what I would have done. I just don't know. I'd like to think I could have stood there like they did. But I'll never know.

And now I'll tip one for the vets. Bless them all. Every one.

Ole

Last edited on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 06:27 pm by ole



 Posted: Fri Nov 21st, 2008 11:56 pm
   
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I've been reading Kenneth Noe's book on Perryville and he notes that at one point during the battle a few blacks were fighting for both sides.



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 Posted: Sun Mar 15th, 2009 06:41 pm
   
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PvtClewell wrote: CF,

Here's a web site featuring the Confederate monument in question:

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/csa-mem.htm

If you scroll down to the fifth and then to about the 9th or 10th photo, you'll see a closer view of the slave-soldier in question, and the first thing that jumped out at me is that he is not carrying a weapon, as far as I can tell, thus implying (to me at least) that he is serving as something else other than a front-line grunt. That might speak volumes right there. Perhaps it's a more accurate depiction than we might otherwise first want to give credit for?


Even if most blacks in CS service were in non-combat roles (cook, teamster, etc) this still relieves others from those duties and enables them to go to the front lines.

For every 1,000 black cooks, teamsters and musicians this puts another 1,000 guns into the fight.


Last edited on Sun Mar 15th, 2009 07:01 pm by borderuffian



 Posted: Mon Mar 16th, 2009 03:53 pm
   
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And they were still not allowed firearms... The topic of Slaves as Southern Soldiers pretty much has been answered, slaves were not used as soldiers in the CS. Were there black men who fought in the ranks of the CS? Absolutely; but their number was insignificant, being, IMO, as significant a number as the women who pretended to be men so that they might fight in the ranks. IN other words one or two here and there do not make the often used number of 50,000 or the patently ridiculous number of 250,000 I've seen put forward on other sites.

Did those who did serve give good service? There is nothing to suggest that they didn't but their treatment in the south after the war should shame any who have a vested interest on the subject.

There is one monument to a Black man in CS service; and he is not shown w/ arms.

There are many to those of the USCT or what would become the USCT.



 Posted: Mon Mar 16th, 2009 05:27 pm
   
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Blacks who served in Confederate armies were given pensions by the state governments. Even servants and laborers could receive pensions.

Did the Federal government award pensions to those who were laborers with Federal armies?- No.

There are at least three monuments to blacks who served with Confederate armies-the one at Arlington National Cemetery, the Howcott Monument (MS), and the Fort Mill (SC) Monument.  There may be others that I am unaware of.  There are certainly several monuments to individuals.

The three mentioned were all established around 1900.  I know of only one monument to the USCT established during that period.  The rest are of modern vintage.



 Posted: Mon Mar 16th, 2009 10:41 pm
   
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borderuffian wrote: Blacks who served in Confederate armies were given pensions by the state governments. Even servants and laborers could receive pensions.

Did the Federal government award pensions to those who were laborers with Federal armies?- No.

There are at least three monuments to blacks who served with Confederate armies-the one at Arlington National Cemetery, the Howcott Monument (MS), and the Fort Mill (SC) Monument.  There may be others that I am unaware of.  There are certainly several monuments to individuals.

The three mentioned were all established around 1900.  I know of only one monument to the USCT established during that period.  The rest are of modern vintage.


Look at the pension details more closely.  Most Southern states that offered them did so in the 1920's, with the exception of Mississippi, which seems to have began doing so in the 1880's.  Also, they seem to have been available only to former slaves who followed their masters as cooks or servants.  The pension applications specifically asked for their master's name, unit, etc.

The Howcott Monument looks to me to validate the points that Johan and PvtClewell were making about the Arlington monument.  Look at its inscriptions.  Erected "to the memory of of the good and loyal servants" of a local unit and a "tribute to my faithful servant and friend...a colored boy of rare loyalty."  It's not a monument to soldiers, but rather a glorification of the fabled, honest and faithful slave.  An idealized figure of the old South that never really existed at all.  It isn't as though slaves had much choice in following their masters.  And they were surrounded by thousands of armed white men helping to prevent escape or disobedience. 

The Arlington monument is in a similar mold, helping to validate the loyal slave idea with its imagery.  All those brave stone Confederates, and a black man, too, marching off to war. 

Let's face it, the black Confederate soldier is largely a myth.  Did some black people pick up a gun and voluntarily fight for the Confederacy?  Likely some, stranger things have happened, but not in any official capacity.  And most all of the cooks, teamsters, and laborers worked involuntarily. 



 Posted: Mon Mar 16th, 2009 11:45 pm
   
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Based on 1890 census records there were over 7000 blacks in Confederate service.  If you include Confederate militia this would bring the total to about 9,000-10,000.

Most were in non-combat roles but if they were officially enlisted in the army (navy or militia) they were soldiers.

Blacks in Confederate service were given equal pay unlike their counterparts in the USCT.

The USCT were paid a net of only $7 per month (with deduction for uniform) compared to $13 for white soldiers (no charge for uniform).

Last edited on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 02:14 pm by borderuffian



 Posted: Mon Mar 16th, 2009 11:45 pm
   
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ole
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Let's face it, the black Confederate soldier is largely a myth.  Did some black people pick up a gun and voluntarily fight for the Confederacy?  Likely some, stranger things have happened, but not in any official capacity.  And most all of the cooks, teamsters, and laborers worked involuntarily.
It largely is a myth. The only reason it can't be condemned as a lie is that one can never insist never or always.

Of course there were some fighting freedmen and slaves in the Confederate ranks. (Never and always.)  It is as foolish to say there were none as to insist that there were more than 100,000.

Freedmen were getting paid for driving teams (allbeit in worthless money), or slave owners were getting paid for hiring out their slaves for driving teams (allbeit in worthless money). So it becomes a silly argument to insist that blacks fought for their country. In a few cases, that might have been true. In most, it is a claim for the benevolence of the master and the slavish devotion and gratitude of the slave.

Nonsense!

Almost all of the black confederates were obligated to serve or were paid for their service. Almost none of them carried a musket. (Some did ... don't get me wrong.) But the entire argument is based on the happiness of the slave or black freedman with his lot. So much as to demonstrate that slavery was not that bad.

All the darkies are a' singin.' Works for some. Not for me.

Ole

 



 Posted: Tue Mar 17th, 2009 12:26 am
   
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borderuffian wrote:
Based on 1890 census records there were over 7000 blacks in Confederate service.  If you include Confederate militia this would bring the total to about 9,000-10,000.

Most were in non-combat roles but if they were officially enlisted in the army (navy or militia) they were soldiers.


In no way is this intended to diminish the role of servants (50,000?) who toiled with Confederate armies throughout the war.  Who had ample opportunites to 'escape' to Federal lines but chose to remain true to the South.

In so doing they probably saved themselves from death because there is no doubt that they would have been forced into Federal service and used as cannon fodder by their armies.

Last edited on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 02:25 pm by borderuffian



 Posted: Tue Mar 17th, 2009 12:38 am
   
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barrydancer wrote:
"It's not a monument to soldiers, but rather a glorification of the fabled, honest and faithful slave.  An idealized figure of the old South that never really existed at all.  It isn't as though slaves had much choice in following their masters.  And they were surrounded by thousands of armed white men helping to prevent escape or disobedience."

If you have the opportunity to read primary source material, (letters of soldiers specifically), you will find that there were opportunities to come and go or escape if that were an intention. Many blacks, and yes they were slaves went along to camp with their white masters and provided a variety of duties as others have described.

I will mention just one of these that I have read, it is a collection of 23 letters written by a private with the 30th MS who writes about one of his neighbors, a fellow soldier's camp slave, traveling back and forth between their camps and their home in Panola County, MS to bring clothes, supplies, letters, and the soldiers even sent money with him from military pay to pass on to their white families back home. He mentions in letters that George, (the slave) made money from soldiers by washing clothes, foraging for food, and other sundry duties. George's owner was killed in action at the battle of Perryville, but George stayed on for many months collecting the money from washing, etc.

I am not sure how he was able to pass back and forth so freely, but the letters written over a period of four years mention these travels frequently. The last letter the soldier writer mentions George is when he himself is in the hospital in Ga, and the slave George stops to visit on his way back to camp, promising to stop back by on his way back to Panola County to take money and personal items back to the hospitlized soldiers family.

Not all blacks had reason to be dissatisfied with their condition, just as not all Southern Whites fought for the south or owned slaves, nor did all Nothern whites support abolition or fight for the North. 





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 Posted: Tue Mar 17th, 2009 01:33 am
   
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buzzard:  You make a good observation.  I've read some similar things about slaves doing similar work.  I would imagine they had some sort of pass from their owners stating who they were and where they were going, similar to the way slaves could leave plantations.  My point was more that the temptation to head towards Federal lines was dampened a lot by being surrounded by the Confederate army.

borderuffin wrote:

"In no way is this intended to diminish the role of servants (50,000?) who toiled with Confederate armies throughout the war.  Who had ample opportunites to 'escape' to Federal lines but chose to remain true to the South.

In so doing they probably saved themselves from death because there is no doubt that they would have been forced into Federal service and used as cannon fodder by their armies."

I would hesitate to draw the conclusion that because a slave didn't escape he was "true" to the South.  As my wife is fond of saying, correlation does not necessarily imply causation.  Fear can be a powerful deterrent.  Hundreds of thousands of black people were born, lived, and died as slaves over the years.  The fact that they never tried to escape doesn't mean they were true to the South or their masters.

What do you mean by "forced into Federal service?"  Contrabands weren't required to enlist in the USCT as far as I know, and I don't think if they signed on with the Union Army to be teamsters, etc., that they would be thrown out in front of the fighting men to catch bullets.



 Posted: Tue Mar 17th, 2009 01:34 am
   
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Not all blacks had reason to be dissatisfied with their condition, just as not all Southern Whites fought for the south or owned slaves, nor did all Nothern whites support abolition or fight for the North. 
Amen, buzzard. We tend to always fall ihto the never and every. The actuality is a bit harder to determine.

Ole 



 Posted: Tue Mar 17th, 2009 02:05 am
   
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"The three mentioned were all established around 1900.  I know of only one monument to the USCT established during that period.  The rest are of modern vintage."

That would be factually incorrect; every single govt stone or GAR marker is a monument from a grateful nation and there are quite a lot of both over USCT graves.  There are large numbers of USCT in National Cemetaries.

I see the 1880 census mentioned often, but upon actually studying it I didn't see 7k Black Confederate veterans anywhere.  It's oft quoted, but as I said when one looks at it they are found wanting.

Blacks were not given equal pay in CS service because it was not legal for a black man to serve in the CS Army as a soldier.  Cook, teamster, etc; yes but "soldier" the answer is no.  A freeman could earn $2 a day as teamster... as a soldier in CS service he would have quickly seen that pay was a rare occurance.  Many of Wheelers command had not been paid in over a year at the time of the March to the Sea... free men were not fools.  As for volunteering for duty... the CS enacted a draconian conscription act very early on and quite a lot of white men never had the opportunity to volunteer.

By the end of the War near to a million black people had sought freedom away from their masters.  That is roughly 1/4 of the black population of the US prior to the War; this despite a very effective "Pattyroller" & Home Guard system intended to keep slaves from even considering that freedom had a chance.  Every single place along the coast where the US created an effective presence you see huge numbers of escaped slaves flocking to the area: Hilton Head, Amelia Island/Fernadina Beach etc.  Those people were running from something; and they were willing to tempt the devil & the deep blue sea for the mere HOPE of freedom.

As for USCT being cannon fodder... the USCT suffered more from disease than battle and by the end of the war about 20% of the US Army were USCT men.  The USCT gave good service fighting well in many campaigns... cannon fodder?  Hardly.



 Posted: Tue Mar 17th, 2009 01:26 pm
   
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"The three mentioned were all established around 1900. I know of only one monument to the USCT established during that period. The rest are of modern vintage."

This statement is correct. The only monument until recent years to a USCT unit was the one for the 54th Massachusetts.

As to individual gravestones this is standard practice. Confederate Veteran organizations supplied or helped to pay for many monuments and markers for black Confederates.


1890 Census

The census is very clear. The number of survivors at that time indicate there were at least 7,000 black Confederate soldiers.

It was certainly custom and regulations that said 'whites only' but there was never any law enacted that prevented blacks from serving.


Number of USCT

The USCT was never 20% of the Federal army. At its height -near the end of the war- it was only about 10%.



Blacks that "Escaped" to Enemy Lines

The largest number estimated by historians (McPherson?) is about five hundred thousand (unfortunately a great many of these people died). I don't know of anyone who has put forth the number one million.


Last edited on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 02:14 pm by borderuffian



 Posted: Tue Mar 17th, 2009 02:04 pm
   
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1880 Census

The census is very clear. The number of survivors at that time indicate there were at least 7,000 black Confederate soldiers.

 
This is an interesting tidbit. Where does it show in the census report?
 
 
Cheers,
HankC



 Posted: Tue Mar 17th, 2009 02:13 pm
   
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HankC wrote: 1880 Census

The census is very clear. The number of survivors at that time indicate there were at least 7,000 black Confederate soldiers.

 
This is an interesting tidbit. Where does it show in the census report?
 
 
Cheers,
HankC

Excuse me...it's in the 1890 Census report under the heading "Soldiers and Widows."  Previous posts have been corrected.

Last edited on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 02:15 pm by borderuffian



 Posted: Tue Mar 17th, 2009 02:43 pm
   
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Albert Sailhorst
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This website, http://www.usgennet.org/usa/mo/county/stlouis/blackcs.htm offers the following:

1. The "Richmond Howitzers" were partially manned by black militiamen. They saw action at 1st Manassas (or 1st Battle of Bull Run) where they operated battery no. 2. In addition two black “regiments”, one free and one slave, participated in the battle on behalf of the South. “Many colored people were killed in the action”, recorded John Parker, a former slave.

2. At least one Black Confederate was a non-commissioned officer. James Washington, Co. D 35th Texas Cavalry,  Confederate States Army, became it’s 3rd Sergeant. Higher ranking black commissioned officers served in militia units, but this was on the State militia level (Louisiana) and not in the regular C.S. Army.

3. Free black musicians, cooks, soldiers and teamsters earned the same pay as white confederate privates. This was not the case in the Union army where blacks did not receive equal pay. At the Confederate Buffalo Forge in Rockbridge County, Virginia, skilled black workers "earned on average three times the wages of white Confederate soldiers and more than most Confederate army officers ($350- $600 a year).


4. Dr. Lewis Steiner, Chief Inspector of the United States Sanitary Commission while observing Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson's occupation of Frederick, Maryland, in 1862: "Over 3,000 Negroes must be included in this number [Confederate troops]. These were clad in all kinds of uniforms, not only in cast-off or captured United States uniforms, but in coats with Southern buttons, State buttons, etc. These were shabby, but not shabbier or seedier than those worn by white men in the rebel ranks. Most of the Negroes had arms, rifles, muskets, sabers, bowie-knives, dirks, etc.....and were manifestly an integral portion of the Southern Confederate Army."


5. Frederick Douglas reported, “There are at the present moment many Colored men in the Confederate Army doing duty not only as cooks, servants and laborers, but real soldiers, having musket on their shoulders, and bullets in their pockets, ready to shoot down any loyal troops and do all that soldiers may do to destroy the Federal government and build up that of the…rebels.”


6. Black and white militiamen returned heavy fire on Union troops at the Battle of Griswoldsville (near Macon, GA). Approximately 600 boys and elderly men were killed in this skirmish.

7. The Jackson Battalion included two companies of black soldiers. They saw combat at Petersburg under Col. Shipp. "My men acted with utmost promptness and goodwill...Allow me to state sir that they behaved in an extraordinary acceptable manner."


8. 14. On April 4, 1865 (Amelia County, VA), a Confederate supply train was exclusively manned and guarded by black Infantry. When attacked by Federal Cavalry, they stood their ground and fought off the charge, but on the second charge they were overwhelmed. These soldiers are believed to be from "Major Turner's" Confederate command.

9. 17. One black  C. S. Navy seaman was among the last Confederates to surrender, aboard the CSS Shenandoah, six months after the war ended. At least two blacks served as Navy pilots with the rank of Warrant Officer. One, William Bugg, piloted the CSS Sampson, and another, Moses Dallas, was considered the best inland pilot of the C.S. Navy. Dallas piloted the Savannah River squadron and was paid $100 a month until the time he was killed by the enemy during the capture of USS Water Witch.

 

Blacks did serve in the Confederate armed forces as soldiers and sailors. However, not to the extent that they comprised a great percentage of the army's numbers.

Since the winners write the history, it is my opinion that the subject of black confederates has been "deleted", to some extent, from fact. After all, why would the winners, who fought for emancipation (remember the Proclimation?), admit that blacks fought for the confederacy? To admit this would de-value the cost in Federal lives lost during the conflict.



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