View single post by CleburneFan
 Posted: Tue Nov 4th, 2008 03:23 am
 Full Topic 

Joined: Mon Oct 30th, 2006
Location: Florida USA
Posts: 1021

  back to top

It seems that much of this discussion has devolved into how the word "soldier" is defined. How one does define that word would have a strong bearing on what the answer to Pam's question would be.

My original answer is written with the idea in mind of a uniformed soldier  who holds official rank and is armed to fight in battles and skirmishes. I do believe that is what Cleburne had in mind when he suggested arming soldiers to fight because that was exactly what the Confederacy lacked--fighting men for infantry, cavalry and artillery.

The Confederacy was already using slaves and freedmen of color for teamsters, cooks, servents, and many other support functions. What Cleburne wanted was more fighting men. That this is true can be found in orders from Generals such as Lee, himself, who believed too many men were "hiding" in support functions as teamsters, for example, when they could be of far greater service at the front  fighting.

That said, this discussion seems to have to come to the point at which some want to call the support men "soldiers."  In contrast,  I classify most of them as what the military uses today--civilians working for the military.

 A soldier is one who wears a uniform, has a rank, is trained and drilled, belongs to a specific organizational unit, follows the chain of command, is committed to the military branch to which he belongs by a specified contract for terms and length of duty, is governed by military law, military justice and systems of courts martial. An exception to the uniform requirement would be soldiers engaged in covert ops. That is my amateur's definition.

One way to judge the numbers of slave-soldiers would be to read Confederate hospital records of injured Black uniformed soldiers. Another would be to examine pay records for companies and regiments. Especially valuable would be state Confederate pension records. How many Black soldiers qualified for a Confederate pension for their wartime service?   


Last edited on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 03:24 am by CleburneFan

 Close Window