View single post by CleburneFan
 Posted: Wed Nov 5th, 2008 12:48 am
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Joined: Mon Oct 30th, 2006
Location: Florida USA
Posts: 1021

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pamc153PA wrote: Please forgive my ignorance, but just how did those black teamsters, cooks, etc. become part of the Confederate army's support staff? I know that some probably "joined up" when their owners did, but what about the others? Would owners really "rent" their slaves out to the army, if they were so reluctant to allow them to leave their plantations?

Some good points about the escape rate of those black "soldiers." Running away sounds easier than it was, in all instances, I think.

Do you think the Confederate army would have been able to support itself if it'd had to rely on white civilian wagoneers, engineers, etc.? Or was it just an extension of the way slaves were already being utilized in the Southern culture? Just some thoughts.


One of the books I read recently did discuss the practice in the south of "renting out slaves" to those who didn't have them but needed them for, say, planting or harvesting, or some similar short term work. Note, the slave's owner received the rental money, not the slave.

That said, I'm not sure that owners rented slaves to the army because the army would have had to ante up the money to pay the rent. Now, I have to dig into my piles of books. Did I read somewhere that at one time slave owners, especially those who owned ten or more slaves, were either asked or required to "lend" some slaves to the war effort? Maybe someone else recalls. I don't want to start a myth if this notion is totally unfounded.

You do bring up a good point that I never did consider. The number of support staff in the rear of the army driving mule and ox teams, cooking, laundry and all manner of collateral chores, male hospital nurses, and so on, did represent a huge number of blacks both in Lee's armies and the other Confederate armies. Where all of these blacks came from (Freedmen or slaves), whether they were all coerced or some, did in fact volunteer or even were paid a humble amount for their services I don't know.

Last edited on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 02:51 am by CleburneFan

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