View single post by Johan Steele
 Posted: Sun Nov 2nd, 2008 07:56 pm
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Johan Steele
Life NRA,SUVCW # 48,Legion 352


Joined: Sat Dec 2nd, 2006
Location: South Of The North 40, Minnesota USA
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"...To substantiate tens of thousands or refute the presence of documentable few hundreds throughout all threater of operations during the conflict are both ridiculous.

The bottom line really to this subject is that it is a proven fact that both enslaved and free blacks were used by the Confederate government including their armies and its citizens to sustain the war effort. This subject, fascinating as is, loses critical elements that many a Confederate soldier would have gone hungry without the sustainment of slavery (as well as crops turned over, sold, or confiscated) in the production of corn and wheat. Many a Confederate soldier would have had less clothing without slave labor in cotton growth. Many a Confederate soldier would have died without the labor of black men and women in hospitals from Richmond to Texas. Many Confederate soldiers would have not been able to shield themselves from sheets of bullets and shrieking shells had not black men been engaged in the construction of miles of fortifications. Many Confederate soldiers would have lacked ammunition, weapons, and transportion without black men employed in factories and for railroad companies. These efforts for whatever reason have been pushed to the side to uphold combatants. Ultimately, millions of black Southerners, free and enslaved, were critically important to the Confederate war effort. Just the same whether the United States government took up the fundamental issue of enslavement or not, tens of thousands are clearly noted as having fled into Union lives and began to carve out a new life as free people. Richard Eppes of Prince George County never had a serious runaway issue until May-August 1862 when of 130 slaves, 106 ran away with the Army of the Potomac and their naval escort, one more ran after this period. At war's end, six had served with the U.S. Navy and one lied about his age and enlisted with the 19th U.S. Colored Troops. Only a few of his former slaves returned to work as freedmen.

Critically important to the Union war effort were thousands of fleeing people who never fired a shot at Confederate troops. These people unloaded thousands of ships, cooked for troops, were paid servants to Northern citizens who also ended up with Union troops, labored in hospitals, constructed fortifications, worked on railroads, and drove wagons.

This in fact was a national war and everyone from Maine to California, black, white, Indian, Chinese, and mixed heritage were affected by the war. No one should deny any of these players the place they deserve to be remembered in our own minds and in society at large."
__________________
Sincerely,
Emmanuel Dabney, Moderator
Atlantic Guard Soldiers' Aid Society
http://www.agsas.org

My addition to the conversation follws:

"My wife portrays a free woman of color w/ an impression more based on the day to day life of a black woman in 1860-65. It is something that is sorely underrepresented in pretty much any aspect of CW Re-enacting or Living History. Her own research came first from sitting at the feet of her grand mother and great aunt and just listening to the stories from those still directly connected to slavery.

My wife has concentrated far more upon the civilian aspect; the everyday life of a woman of color. While I have looked more at the military aspect.

Several years ago I started a project to educate myself on the roles & experiances of the Civil War era black man and woman. This was partly fueled by a crow eating experiance where I took for granted as legitimate some information on Black Confederates. A learning experiance for me that forced me to check much of what I thought to be legitimate research.

I was specifically told about a major Black CS force at the battle of "Dingles Mill" near Sumter SC in the last monthes of the war. I took for granted that the SCV man knew what he was talking about when he spoke of 300+ black confederate soldiers opposing Sherman's men there (in his defense he was merely repeating what he had been told). Upon further research I came to realize that Dingles Mill was so insignificant a skirmish that it isn't listed upon the rolls of battle for the war and to add insult to injury the 300 + black soldiers present were USCT men w/ nothing to do w/ Sherman. Some of the further research pointed that there MAY have been some black men manning one of the two guns contesting the USCT but that in reality they were likely the men who manhandled the guns there in the first place.

I spent the better part of two years (maybe 600 hours) on the project taking a lot of time looking through my copies of period diaries & letters and every other period letter or diary I could lay my paws on, to the tune of 2200 different authors. In all I found just over a dozen specific incidents referencing black men in any way directly aiding the CS cause by carrying arms. IIRC they were almost all Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas troops referred to. I was able to coalate a number of about 140 names of black men who might have been considered under arms; I added in the numbers of black men who joined the CS army in the last chaotic days of the CS outside Richmond and several other accounts, all told I came to a number of a little less than 1300 and gave myself an error rate that would put the numbers closer to 1400. I have since seen the referenced number of 13,000 and the methodolgy that came to such a number and feel it a reasonable number. While I consider it quite high I can understand it and feel it was reached through legitimate research.

THe only verified account of large numbers of black men in direct combat w/ US forces I have found were those men who took up arms at the last minute at Chickamauga. And IIRC I owe a big note of thanks to Mr White of the NMP for putting me on that track.

Mr Dabney puts forward a vital point when referencing black men and women of the Confederacy; the majority were directly involved with the war effort in a support role. Without which the war effort of the CS would have crumpled like so much newspaper. When one studies the works prepared around Petersburg, Vicksburg, Atlanta or all through the CS the majority were built by slave labor, the rapid and efficient repairs to damaged rail lines were accomplished by slave labor and the majority of foodstuffs used by the CS Army were procured through slave labor. The work done in factories to create many of the arms and munitions utilized by the CS was done through very efficient and effective slave labor. So that when one looks at it thus the amount of black support for the CS was nearer to three millions. Then question then becomes how much of it was willing?

THus Mr Dabney point is the salient one of this or any other discussion dealing with black men and women in the Confederacy.
"The bottom line really to this subject is that it is a proven fact that both enslaved and free blacks were used by the Confederate government including their armies and its citizens to sustain the war effort. This subject, fascinating as is, loses critical elements that many a Confederate soldier would have gone hungry without the sustainment of slavery (as well as crops turned over, sold, or confiscated) in the production of corn and wheat. Many a Confederate soldier would have had less clothing without slave labor in cotton growth. Many a Confederate soldier would have died without the labor of black men and women in hospitals from Richmond to Texas. Many Confederate soldiers would have not been able to shield themselves from sheets of bullets and shrieking shells had not black men been engaged in the construction of miles of fortifications. Many Confederate soldiers would have lacked ammunition, weapons, and transportion without black men employed in factories and for railroad companies. These efforts for whatever reason have been pushed to the side to uphold combatants. Ultimately, millions of black Southerners, free and enslaved, were critically important to the Confederate war effort."






Last edited on Sun Nov 2nd, 2008 07:58 pm by Johan Steele

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